Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lost amidst the no-man's-land of melancholy boredom, and stale bread.

So im very aware I haven't written anything in over almost two months now. Its really starting to bother me, and im sure that the very small demographic of people who read what I say have buggered off to all the other cool blogs out there, filled with political punditry and eco-awareness and bosoms and all that. So if you -are- still around, and are reading this, kudos to you, sir or madame. You have made a young man proud. But to return to the initial subject, my life as of late has been melancholiously devoid of interest. Imagination comes at inopportune times, or not at all. And im always running out of bread, which is always a good mood-killer. But in any event, im going to try once again to pick up the digital quill, and hopefully there'll be something to read sometime in the very near future. Adios!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Writer's Decahedron

So I haven't really been able to write much. Nothing seems up to my own standards, which is problematic to say the least. I think there's several things that could be affecting this. Several personal problems, strained relationships with friends, and my distance from the girl I love. Thus, which is why I have chosen a decahedron for it's 10 sides, as opposed to the conventional "block", which is usually a conventional cube/rectangular prism, and it's conventional 6 sides. But I live to break convention, bitches. But summed up, in addition to the three problems aforementioned, my mind is also concerned with my weight, lack of patio furniture, my lower back, dust, poor weather, and one more rather large one below...

I'm really unsure how to even start trying to take writing as a career. I imagine University is required, and then for that massive money is required, which in turn involves standing around some fithly establishment, with stupid people yelling at you for 8 hours until you have a brain hemorrhage. Which just plain isn't fun.

Hopefully things will change soon. For all you that have read this, I appreciate the dedication to my writing that made you brave my slight geometry throwback. Ciao.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Invasion of the orange people from.. down your street!

So, this is something unusual. I'm making a more traditional blog today because something sparked my ire in an uncommon way the other day. I was sitting at home, enjoying my usual snack of a pizza pop wrapped in bacon when my sister lets of a shriek of distress; my mother had just forbidden her to go to one of those many chemical/artificial tanning salons. This made my mind spin, recalling all the people I knew who used them, and they all had one thing in common. They were orange. Not as is they had a slight tinge; they were so orange is was a difficult matter to simply not walk up to them and say, "Why Madam, what a pleasant shade of pumpkin orange you are, perhaps you might like to join me for a malt?" Except that wasn't true at all, it just irritated me. Normal suntans, leave a person with a simply darker complexion, and that -still- isn't all that good for you, what with melanoma and all. But these artificial tanning places; what do they actually spray on you? It could be like old McDonald's grease or something. I personally would like to keep my number of arms at an even two, and avoid horrible mutations from exposure to god knows what. But even that aside, how attractive can orange possibly be? I, personally, don't even understand the attraction of tans in general. But orange; is it some form of tree-frog mating shtick? Like, the brighter-coloured you are, the more likely you'll find a mate? This is ever a mystery to me. But in any event, I explained my position to my sister, who started screaming at me as well, and then fled off to her room. At least I tried. But remember folks: friends don't let friends become orange. If mankind was meant to look like a vegitable, we'd have seeds.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

I need to stop slacking. Or being confused. Or both.

So it's been a while since i've written much of anything really- save for a quick intro to a character from my friend's roleplaying game sessions. But otherwise, im generally being upset with writing. It would not be unreasonable to compare it to a fabulous emperor; only looking for the most worthy of tributes. My digital Recycling Bin is littered with the corpses and husks of failed attempts and empty stories recently, and very little seems worth keeping. I have however, with stimulation from a good friend, considered an interesting idea. How would the modern world cope with anicent evil from times bygone? Would it topple our consumeristic society without a second thought, or become buried in our world of parking tickets, taxes, and reality television? Food for thought, and something that you (my readers, as few as you are,) may look forward to, as I hammer diligently on the keys, feeding the beast. But for now, here is that introduction I am somewhat proud of. It was meant to be the beginning to a character used in a comic we may create someday. Enjoy. Or don't. See if I care.


It was fucking hot.

That was the main thought running through the head of the figure, as it hiked across the dead, scorched earth, his boots crushing dried-out weeds, making his footsteps crackle. The keening sun seemed to encompass the entire sky, setting the very air itself on fire. Each breath burned the figures already parched throat. The figure in question, which could only belong to a man, yet hardly even that, a mere boy most would judge, was panting heavily, his breath coming in sharp, painful gasps. Bloodshot eyes darted under the broad-brimmed hat, scanning the heat mirage-ridden horizon for a sign of his salvation. The boy, at the point wondered how things had come to pass this way. His clothes looked to be a tattered uniform of the NUA, or National Union Army, which was so covered by dust and blood at this point that it hardly resembled what it truly was. Heavy knee-high boots, of the solidest Groth-hide leather raised up to his knees. He knew he must be walking in a shallow pool of his own blood and sweat, every step was a stinging, laboured effort. A once fine, but now tattered and worn coat was dropped onto the stinging sand behind him, it's weight too much to bear. A pair of the empire's heavy clockwork guns hung down to his hips in what should have been oiled skins- they were the one thing the boy had not considered abandoning. Because he was being hunted. And the hunter was catching up.

Alexander Von Barkov was good at getting thrown out of bars. He had turned a normally shameful act, into a thing of practice and awkward grace. He swore people followed him occasionally to hold up scorecards.
. He had mastered wearing clothes loose around his nape and rear so the bouncer could grip for a better throw. He knew how to twist in the air, as his semi-concious body soared into alleyway after alleyway, so he could land painlessly on his feet or stomach. He was working on a forward roll that his fans thought was very promising. This night was business as usual. The door of the Pull Yer Whistle was flung open, a thin shaft of light drifting into the dark night of Newport's twisting streets and alleyways.
"Get out!" Shouted a slurred voice, and a bottle pitched out the door, smashing against the wall of the opposite building, sending rats scurrying into the gloom. The bottle was soon followed by an Alexander-shaped silouhette, which collided with a collection of barrels.
"Awrwarg--" said Alexander, from underneath a pile of splintered wood and rubbish. "Was a good toss," he said to no-one in particular, the bouncer in question having shut the door leaving Alex at the mercy of the chilly coastal night in Newport. He tried to stand up, and found that the world of being vertical was a challenge best not undertaken, and collapsed back to the grimy cobbles. "'Uck."
"You mean "fuck"?" Said a slight voice from the doorway. Alex's usual night companion Tomas had ventured out to see what had become of his friend.
"That's tha' bunny." Said Alex, hiccuping slightly. "Fuck." He looked thoughtfully at the night sky, in which, through the rare gap in the light-glare and smog, you could see the odd star trying hard to make its debut a show to remember. "FUCK!" He screamed at no-one in particular. Then he giggled and fell over again.
"Well, at least now im positive you've had too much to drink Alex. Up you get." Said Tomas, hoisting his friend's arm over his shoulder. and swaggering off into the night, in search of somewhere warm, dry, and preferably with coffee.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Michael and Stephanie

Soo.. this is one of the few short stories i've actually finished. And... it's about love. I wrote it for someone very special to me, and to this day even though its almost a whole year later, is just as special still. Looking back, it's a tad embarassing, although I aim for fairly humourous. I think I hit that goal too. But i'll stop rambling. Enjoy.

(New note! I actually wrote this using actual Norse Elder Futhark Runes in some places, unfortunately they don't show up unless you download the font from here: I dont expect anyone to do that.)

Michael and Stephanie

The girl didn't so much fall, as appeared. One second there was sidewalk, the next, the sidewalk was covered with a confused young woman.
"Ouch." She said softly, followed by; "Shit." She tried to stand up, and found that she'd rather hurt her ankle. She whimpered, and looked around, and only then did she notice Michael Edmond, who happened to see the whole thing occur. A look of surprise and shock sat lightly on his face. Michael decided, it'd be appropriate to say something. It wasn't everyday a girl in a skirt and business petticoat, complete with a belted Longsword and shield strapped to her back dropped onto the sidewalk infront of you. At least, not around here.
"Er, are you all right? Where did you fall from?" He checked his surroundings again; he was standing on Corydon, and the tallest building around was the apartment block across the street. This should have unnerved Michael, but the human mind has a way of blocking out things that could not have possibly happened. The girl tested her leg experimentally, cried out in either shock or pain, mostly likely both, and tumbled back to the ground again.
"Not really." she said softly. Her head was a mane of wavy auburn hair, and her eyes were grey pools of moonlight, and her fair skin almost seemed to glow in the miasma of streetlamps and storelights. Michael suddenly remembered he was very nervous around women.
"I, um.. l-l-let me give you a hand..." He reached down, and the girl took his hand, and Michael helped her up. They looked at each other for a second, then almost simultaneously blushed and decided there was something -very- interesting about the sidewalk. She busied herself with checking... oh dear, so the sword was there after all, Michael thought, that and her shield. He hoped this wasn't attracting attention.
"I.. I think I may have hit my head." She said eventually, looking around. "I'm not really sure where I am.." Michael bit his lip.
"This is, er, Corydon. Off Osbourne?" He added when he saw no recognition in her face. "Well, what's your name?" He asked. She was silent for a minute, then tears rimmed her eyes.
"I don't know!" She said, on the verge of sobbing. Michael looked around nervously, and a sign across the street caught his eye. Stephanie's hair salon. It'd do, he supposed. He was getting a little worried.
"Well, let's call you Stephanie for now." He said, trying his best to sound comforting, which to any outside party listening, only come off as awkward and agitated. She looked at him for a moment, then spoke again.
"You're being really kind, but I mean, im sure you have places to be..." Michael grinned morbidly inside. Not in the least... He'd just left a very unfortunate meeting with his boss, Basil Flintworth. And the problem with Basil Flintworth, was that he had a Problem with Michael Edmond. The capitalization of the P is essential for the understanding of Michael's woes.
And, thusly, Basil Flintworth went far out of his way to make every day to make sure his Problem with Michael Edmond surfaced in as many forms as possible, including tedious tasks, miss-informative memoes, and idle threats of incompetence and demotion.
"Into every life rain must poor, my dear Michael. And you're this close to a monsoon." Basil Flintworth had said to him earlier that night, accompanied by the appropriate thumb and fore-finger gesture. The man smiled maliciously, his angular features twisting with the wicked grin. He strode out of the room, and into his office, his secretary giving him an acknowledging look as he passed.
"Marilyn," He began in his nasalous voice, "send a memo to the Edmond lad for me. I'm having a bit of a Problem with him, i'm afraid." Marilyn sighed.
"So you've mentioned, sir." And then pulled out her memo pad. Michael was left alone in the boardroom, with his failed project pitch, and many, many worries.
At this rate, it won't even matter if you show up for work, you charmer, you. Said Michael's inner monologue snidley. It had a point, he figured.
"I, um... well, let's get something to eat." He said. "I mean," he said hastily after, "if you don't mind, I totally understand if you do-" the girl, Stephanie, put a finger to his lips, and smiled for the first time since she, well... fell into his life.
"That, would be fantastic." She said softly.
Michael came home in a far better mood than he left. His heart was ringing, and his stomach was swimming with butterflies, which he hoped were simply due to excitement, as the food had been a little questionable. Something about the girl was almost... otherworldly. He shook off his tie, and his suit, and much to his relaxation, loafed around his apartment in his boxers and undershirt for the rest of the evening. A failed attempt at watching re-runs of stand up comedy lead him to deciding to head to bed.
In his room, he paused at the mirror beside his desser and sighed. A slightly rotund stomach stared back at him. He sighed, Just another problem. He unfolded onto his bed, deciding that his room really rather needed a good cleaning, and thoght about his evening. You've got to have family or something... he had said to her.
"I do, I know..." She said, sipping her coffee gently. "I just can't really remember... I have.. 7 sisters. And Father.. I remember, we live with him. He's a damn pain, alot of the time..." She winced, and Michael, whose mouth was half-full of pizza, quickly reached across to gently hold her shoulder and was about to ask if she was okay, when he realized what he was doing. Then he blushed heavily, removed his arm and spent the next minute contemplating apologizing. He ended up just going through with plan A.
"Are 'ou 'lrigh'?" He said through a slice of hawaiian. She looked at him, and smiled her breath-taking smile.
"I'm alright Michael. It just hurts.. when I try to remember anything." she said with a sigh. The waitress came and refilled her coffee. She didn't notice the thick, worn longsword hanging from her hip, nor the heavy steel sheild over her shoulder. He was beginning to think no-one could. Which was, he supposed, a releif. But he figured, it'd be impolite to not ask.
"So.. you don't remember what you do? Like, for work?" He asked curtly, between peices of pizza. She shook her head. "I just thought maybe... with the, you know, sword and all... you were an actress maybe?" She looked at him blankly, and then, looked at the sword as if she hadn't even realized it had been there.
"Oh... I... I don't know.. I work for my father, all my sisters do. I.. might have been an actress. My father.. I think a Director. That sounds right." She said contemplatively. "But actress... I doubt that.." She blushed. "I'm hardly pretty enough for that..." Michael blushed, and swallowed his bite of pizza.
"No way, you totally are. I think so anyway." Stephanie looked surprised, then blushed a deeper shade of crimson.
"That's very sweet of you." She said, staring at her lap. They passed the rest of the meal as best the could... Michael told her about how he wanted to be a writer someday, and of Basil Flintworth's Problem with Michael Edmond, and how it merited all the capital letters. And also how his hobbies included "Middle Age of England" where he was a Magelord fighting the viking hordes, only realizing halfway through his sentence that this was usually the part where his date sighed, asked for a check, and gave him a fake phone number. He apologized, but Stephanie giggled and told him he was fine, and that the whole thing wasn't so distant to her as he would think.
The waitress brought the check, and Michael, asked where Stephanie was staying.
"I probably sound like a broken record... but I don't know.." She said with a nervous titter.
"There's a hotel just round the corner here, it's a great place. Brother stayed there when he was in town." He added. "Are you um, okay for money?" The girl paused, and opened her purse. Michael swore he saw the room get lighter as she did so.
"Money isn't a problem." She said with a laugh. Michael gave her his phone number, wished her good night, and headed home.
Michael drifted off to sleep while wading through his memories, and began snoring loudly. And night faded into day.

Michael woke, cleaned himself, and with the resigned sigh of those who hate their jobs, he headed off to work.
Basil Flintworth, was ready to greet him at the door. He'd had the special priveledge of arriving early to change all the clocks ahead 10 minutes,
"My dear, Michael, it appears you are late." He said, predatory eyes staring at him. Michael sighed, and looked at his watch, which read ten to eight.
"Sir, my watch says i've still got 10 minutes, so if you'd just let me in i'll get to work." He nervously pushed past Basil Flintworth, who made a loud condecsending noise with his tongue at him, and went on about the unreliability of personal timepeices, and the further unreliability of employees. It should be said at this point, that very few people use their full name at every interval, and Basil Flintworth was no exception. Most of the others at the Basil advertising firm called him Mr Flintworth, his mother called him Basil-leaf, his wife Gloria called him simply Basili and so, unfortunately, did his other wife Susan. His friend Rodney at the nightclub called him The Baz. But Michael's fear of his employer was so concentrated that he would always be known only, as Basil Flintworth to him.
Michael shut himself up in his office all day, receiving occasional obscure memoes from Marilyn, but none that he ever heeded. Basil Flintworth, however, busied himself with arranging these tasks. After one of these expeditions, he turned around and re-entered his office to find a rather familiar face sitting behind his desk. It was, after all, his. He was holding a shimmering golden coin in his hand, staring at it hard enough to melt it.
"Why, hello Basil." He said, greeting himself behind the desk.
"Good to see you too." Said Basil, without looking up. "I see you've been letting the Problem of ours get out of hand, again." He continued, taking his best schoolteacher voice, while chewing a pencil absentmindedly. Basil suddenly looked rather uncomfortable.
"Nonsense. I have everything well under control Basil. Now, if you'd let me get back to work..." He said, shifting on his feet, watching himself at the desk, who in turn said;
"I don't know, Basil. I don't think you're taking this Problem seriously enough... do you want to end back in that place of which we don't speak?" Basil had a sudden image of platefuls of medication and long, white coats.
"Positively not, I assure you. Wheels are in motion, et cetera. You understand these things take time." He said hoarsely, watching himself shuffle more papers about his desk. Then, he stood up, and walked over to himself.
"Well, I just wanted to make sure you were on track Basil. You must not forget, we have a very large Problem with Michael Edmond. He'll see to it we end back up in there. And something needs to be done about it." He said. Then, with a gleam in his eye, he added; "Oh, and by the way- the Queen says she's free for tea on sunday." Basil's eyes suddenly burned with a fire, and he locked his hands around his throat.
"I told you to stay away from her you bastard!" He spat, digging his thumbs in. At this point, Marylin opened the door, to the sight of one man, Basil, with his hands around his own throat.
"I brought you the... oh. Sir?" Basil suddenly stopped, looked around quickly, then looked sheepish.
"Was just.. practicing, er. Pilates." He muttered, walking back to his desk. He gave Marilyn the glare one gives a subordinate whom is wished and expeditious departure.
"I'll let you get back to it then" She said hastily, and shut the door. Basil Flintworth sat back down at his desk, and took out a freah page of notes. At the top of which he wrote; Things to do:, beneath which, he jotted; Resolve the Problem with Michael. He tapped the pencil to his mouth, then repeated the last line a second time. Then a third. And many more thereafter.

Michael met Stephanie at the spot where she had asked him to. It was the tall, barren Ash tree in the park near his apartment. A raven cawed loudly as he approached. He had bought some chocolates, and was about to buy flowers when he thought that maybe flowers weren't the most appropriate thing for a girl who carried around a Longsword. He went to Canadian Tire and bought a whetstone instead. He arrived at the tree, to find Stephanie sitting up in it's brances staring at the starts. A few grunts, and he climbed up beside her. She looked at him, and blushed immediately.
"Hello Michael.. im glad you came.." He handed her the chocolates, which resulted in a quiet mumble of "you shouldn't have..." and he then took out the whetstone, at which she laughed, and pecked him on the cheek."You're adorable Michael."
"Well, I think you're adorable too." He replied, then regretted it as he felt heat flush his cheeks. He changed the topics."How's your leg?" She smiled and waved at it.
"It's doing fine.. I can walk again." They enjoyed the silence of the clear, star-blanketed autumn night sky together for a few moments, only interrupted occasionally by the Raven, who had hopped onto a closer branch.
"One hell of a weird bird." Said Michael, giving it a curious gaze.
"Ravens are really smart. My father has a pair of them, they come at his bidding." Stephanie said dreamily.
"No kidding? Are you starting to remember things? Your... name? Where you came from? I'm just worried about you, is all." He added, plaintively. Stephanie stared up at the moon again.
"I know me and my sisters... we were... couriers for father, but... I just can't remember what it was.. we live with him, mother left a while ago... her and dad don't agree on much... and alot of dad's friends and... I guess business people are always around.. it's a huge house, I remember. A bitch to clean." She said with a giggle. Michael gingerly put his arm around her shoulder, crimson flooding his cheeks. She smiled and pulled closer to him, and they sat together a while longer in the night.
"Caw." said the Raven, making them both look.
"If he says Nevermore, i'm going to wing the whetstone at him." He said with a faint smile. Stephanie laughed, and kissed him, thoroughly making Michael forget entirely about the Raven.
"That joke died back in the 1700's, jackass." Said Huginn the raven irritably, watching the pair sitting on the thick Ash bough, and then it flapped it's wings and soared off into the night.
That very same night, Basil Flintworth dreamt about his childhood. History, some people say, is the bitch of destiny. That is crudely true, although History is only really a script for destiny to play out through. This could possibly explain some of the bizzarre occurances in Basil Flintworth's childhood, and his chance meeting with something most people manage to go their lives without meeting. He dreamt, that he was eleven, usually a good year. His father had gone overseas to sign contracts on oil somewhere in Tripoli, and his mother was in Louisiana with her friends. He wondered what of importiance happened there in the summer. He, on the other hand, was staying home with Uncle Lyman. He spent most of his time wandering around his family's estate, which were rather large in size, wondering about what he would be doing if his parents were home. "Louisa," He began one day when his family's maid was helping him clean his room, "What does Uncle do?" She gave him the friendly look all housekeepers give their employers' children, and told him to go ask him himself.
Uncle Lyman was getting on in his years, but his hair was still the fiery red it had always been, trimmed into a sharp crew cut. He had, to Basil's recollection, always also been wearing some bright hawaiian overshirt with nothing underneath, and a pair of tattered-looking jeans. His eyes were permanently masked by the pair of cheap, yet near-opaque sunglasses that rested on his nose. And he always seemed to be grinning. Basil found his uncle sunbathing by the pool, a bottle of dry vodka in his hand. He was about to speak as he walked up, but his uncle spoke first.
"Heya sport. I've got a question for you." He said in his slick voice. He patted the concrete near his chair. Basil sat down obediently, and looked up athis uncle, who continued to grin. "Ever seen something like this kid?" He said, holding up a bright, shining golden coin. It almost seemed to shimmer and sing in the sunlight. "This is gold from the Rhine." Basil furrowed his brows. His parent's didn't send him to private school for nothing.
"Isn't that in Germany?" He said cautiously after a few seconds.
"You bet your baseball cards it is." Said his uncle.
"But I don't have any baseball cards..." Basil replied giving his uncle an odd look, who frowned for once.
"Don't be a wiseass, that dosen't matter." He paused. "What matters; is this is Rhine gold. And there's a damn lot of it, for you kid. But you have to do something for me." Basil was about to reply, when uncle Lyman brought his free hand right in front of his face, and traced a symbol in the air with his forefinger in the shape of an H. Hagalaz, said a voice at the back of his head. His uncle smiled.
"That's right. Hagalaz, it means change, and redirection. Of which, you will partake." Basil felt cloudy, distant. He also knew, his uncle was right. He traced another, this one in the shape of F. "That one, is Fehu. And it-" He said, grinning his grin, and flicking the golden coin to the boy, who caught it deftly. "means good tidings for you, kid." He looked the cloudy-eyed Basil over for a moment. "Fuck, this job's gonna take two of you." He snapped his fingers. Basil suddenly felt slightly crowded in his body... but he couldn't take his eyes of his uncle... but he wasn't really his uncle, was he? He then leaned forward, and whispered into Basil's ear. No-one knows why antagonists always feel the need to whisper at importiant parts that should rightfully be narrated, but it happens. "Edmond. You got that?" He said, after he'd pulled away, sunglasses hiding all expression from his eyes.
"Yes, Loki." Muttered young Basil, his palm clutched tightly around the golden coin, face blank and looking like the folk who've been brainwashed on infomercials.
Loki, for that was his name, scowled. "That's uncle Lyman to you, kid." He said, and snapped his fingers again, this time, vanishing.
The next day, Basil's parents came home, and he was ever so excited to tell them about uncle Lyman, who both his mother and father were positive didn't exist, and how he was actually a god in disguise, and how he'd given him a importiant mission to see to it that a man in the future was taken care of. Basil's parents gave each other a helpless look, and did what all respective parents and upstanding members of high-society would do in that situation. Took Basil to a psychiatrist, which was, unfortunately, only the beginning. His parents discovered they now, so to speak, had twins.

Michael was in love. He came home practically singing, and feeling totally inebriated, which was curious, he hadn't touched any alcohol all day. But, of course! He was in love!
"I'M IN LOVE!" He shouted to the Winnipeg nightlife as he reached his apartment building's walk.
"You'll be goddamn in a wheelchair if you don't shut up!" Said a voice from a window up high, which sobered Michael fairly well, as he was particularly allergic to being hit.
"Sorry..." He mumbled, fumbling with his keys. He collapsed on his bed a few minutes later, and fell asleep almost immediately, and dreamt of his and Stephanie's romantic honeymoon in the Dominican, her in one of those smashing sarongs with the coconut tops. Their beautiful home in Vancouver. Their equally beautiful but not property-value equal children.The next day, nothing could ruin his good mood. Not the spilt coffee on his shirt at break, the tumble down the small set of 5 stairs at the lounge infront of all his co-workers, and not even Basil Flintworth's constant belittlings could peirce Michael's cheerful resolve, because he was in love.
"Michael, there's another presentation Mr. Flintworth would like you to sit in on." Said Marylin on the phone, later in the afternoon. "Said he might be able to save your career." She said morosely. "He really has a Problem with you, and I don't know why. But im on your side, dear." She said, and hung up. Michael smiled to himself, put his jacket on, and headed down the hall to the board room.
Basil Flintworth was upset with himself. Quite literally.
"Didn't I say we need to do something? I'm not going back there Basil, im not." He said, pacing back and forth infront of himself, who sat in the chair looking meekly at his feet.
"S' a complicated process-" he muttered, but was cut off.
"Shut the fuck up, Basil. You've been messing around for too long, and it's going to get us both put away. I'm taking over." He quickly grabbed a stapler of his desk, and, his own eyes widening in fear, neatly clocked himself over the head with it. "There. That's done with." He dragged his body into the closet into the corner which had his spare suits in it. Then, with a predatory look in his eyes, he cracked his knuckles and headed down the hall to resolve a rather big Problem.

Michael sat, uncomfortably, by the window, watching Basil Flintworth delicately point out how he was to prove his detergent was similiar in exactly every way to the other one, but ultimately superior. Michael realized, as he did sometimes, that his job was incredibly moronic. The other assortment of interns and clerks watched with a bored and sluggish intrest. If any had been paying attention, they might have noticed the odd, and keen edge to their bosses' voice, and the sparkle behind his eyes that was rarely there. Which made it all the more shocking when Basil, mid-sentence, bellowed and threw himself across the table, grabbing Michael by the collar, who shreiked in terror. His boss hoisted him up, standing ontop of the boardroom table. Most of the others in the room had scarpered, hearing that mr Flintworth had had it in for Edmond for months now, and assumed this was office warfare at it's peak. Across the street, a man in a rather gaudy hawaiian shirt, and a young girl watched the events in the boardroom from a rooftop.
"Cigar?" Said the man, offering a tin case down to the girl. The light glinted painfully off his shades.
"Ugh. Those are disgusting." Said Stephanie. They stood in silence for a minute more. Basil had a chair now, and Michael was just barely keeping out of his reach. "I love him you know." She said again, quietly. Her hair cascaded around her head in the wind. Loki took another drag from his cigar.
"Well, that's a good thing isn't it? You know you can't stay down here forever. You really ought to tell your father when you go for walks Brun, he worries." He paused. "Besides, why? He's no Volsung." He said with a grin.
"Because he's sweet, and thoughtful, and kind. That's why." She looked at him icily. "Why did -you- do this? Why him?" Loki stared quietly at the window; Michael had just ducked a thrown fire extinguisher.
"Hey, im just doing my job. Ragnarok is the big battle, remember? The fates said your boy was someone we needed. And that mr. Flintworth over there," He flicked a hand in the diection of the fuming madman in the suit, "has more roles to play. It's all about something bigger, sweetcheeks." Stephanie glared icily at Loki.
"Don't call me that." She spat. Loki cocked an eyebrow and shrugged, silently.
"He's just lucky he met you." He said, breaking the silence, or relative silence with the shouting and smashing of glass carrying across the street. "You should hope he fights back, otherwise he's not gonna make the list." Luckily, Michael did just that, he covered his eyes with one arm, and swung with the other, connecting on Basil Flintworth's nose. They stood in silence for a few minutes more, then there was a loud smashing sound, and a cry of surprise. "You're up kid." Said Loki, and he vanished. Stephanie looked very sad, and headed for the stairwell.

Michael sat up. My god... he was lucky. They did say that only 50% of heavy falls are lethal... he wondered what Stephanie would have to say when he told her.
"She'd say 50% isn't a very big amount, Michael." Stephanie said gloomily, appearing beside him. He looked at her, confused. Then looked down.
"Oh." Said Michael. He looked up again, at her. "What now? How come I can see you Steph?"
"My name's Brunhilde, actually..." She said quietly, looking down. Wings unfolded from her back, and she pulled the sword out of her belt. Dawning understanding filled Michael's eyes. "I told you I was a courier." She said with a giggle.
"7 sisters, the part with your father and the Ravens..." He trailed off. "I supposed I wouldn't have beleived even if I -had- guessed." He looked at her sadly. "Well, I guess you have to be off then, um, Brunhilde.. i'll get onto whatever it is ghosts do.." The Valkyrie took a step forward, and kissed him firmly on the lips.
"Don't be a silly. Im a Valkyrie, I remember it all. I take the spirits of the slain to our home, Valhalla, to feast and do battle for eternity." She blushed. "I'd like it if you'd be there... I don't really want to do this anymore, my sisters were always better at it anyways..." she said softly, and hugged him. Michael blushed, and fumbled for words. " You remember now... im glad. But Brun-" But the Valkyrie cut him off, saying; "I honestly like Stephanie better." Michael thought about how bland, dreary, and just... awful his life had been three days ago, before this girl had literally fallen into his life.
"I love you Stephanie." he said quietly, and they kissed again. "Um, about that eternal battle thing..."
"Oh, well there's Xbox and a tennis court." She said. Michael took her hand.
"Well, that's alright then." And Stephanie lead Michael to her home. Her father, Odin, said at the feasting table that night that he was very happy that his daughter had finally found a nice man to settle down with, and if only he could find one for the other seven now! Which was met by an embarassed sigh from Stephanie and her sisters.
"I'll have to take you on the Great Hunt with me one night lad. A rifle? You haven't truly hunted the mighty stag until you've used an army of wargs and spirit warriors. Only way." Said odin, grinning. Michael politely said that was very kind of him, but he wasn't much for killing animals. He could show him how to play Fable and improve on his topspin sometime, on the other hand, which Odin sounded actually rather pleased with.


"You have the right to remain silent." Said one of the police officers holding his cuffed arms. Basil Flintworth was muttering incoherently, giggling to himself every now and then. "I wish you'd bloody use it..." The officer grumbled. His partner picked up where he left off.
"Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law." Basil Flintworth stopped dead in his tracks, and cleared his throat.
"I had A Problem with that man." He said clearly. One of the police officers circled his forefinger around his head, giving his partner a helpless look. The other officer nodded grimly, and they all went off to see the men in the white coats.


Later that night, Michael and Stephanie sat outside beneath another Ash tree, watching the stars again.
"I never thought i'd like being dead. I figured i'd be all misty and stuff like that, being a ghost." He said, vacantly, his arm cuddling Stephanie close to him.
"You're still solid enough for everything i'd like." She said slyly, giving Michael a kiss and making him blush a deep crimson. He said nothing back, but held her even closer.
"I love you Steph." He said softly, but the only reply was a light snore. He smiled to himself and wrapped his fingers around the sleeping Valkyrie's. Not soon after, he was asleep too, but happier than he'd ever been.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Richard, cont.

This, in the greater scheme of my story, was a flashback that occurs when the question of Richard's past shows up, when I wrote it. I think it still will be, when I finish the whole thing. It gives a fair impression of why Richard is the pessimistic burn-out he is. And as a warning, it's not exactly cheerful. Read on...

Conciousness was something Richard wasn't particularly worried about. While unconcious, he didnt have to deal with the overwhelming pulses of pain coursing through every point of his body, for instance. Or the horrible surroundings he expected to wake up to. Of course, being unconcious made Richard unaware of this thought process entirely, but long ago his body had developed a sense of self which wasn't really too keen on seeing it's home harmed or burned or subject to many other mortal inflictions. And so, when Richard eventually came to, he screamed because every bone in his body felt like it was broken, and his eyes registered only darkness. Eventually he stopped screaming, and took up whimpering instead. When that finally subsided, he sat in silence. Although there was still sobbing audible, and he was fairly certain it wasn't him. He bit his lip in contemplation, and the imp of the perverse won out.
"H.. hello?" He cautioned. The sobbing turned into sniffling, and then quiet. "Are you going tear my body apart and use it in unspeakable rituals of the lower planes?"
More silence. "Well, im glad that's sorted out at least." He snorted, and let his eyes scan his surroundings, finding they had adjusted slightly, and felt his way around the room. Four sides, that was a small releif. He'd woken up in triangle rooms, rooms without walls, and on one occasion he'd been feeling his way along a wall and his hand felt something that was curiously shaped like his other hand... he'd just stopped moving after that. Looking, too, because seeing yourself without a mirror is only a good idea on paper. Aside from that, and the thick sheet of black metal that was burning hot to the touch that he assumed served as a door, he was alone in the room. "Felsteel..." he mumbled, sucking his slightly singed fingers. He slumped back against the wall, and closed his eyes, and began to count what few facts he knew. One, a rather familiar unfriendly voice, attached to a fist, had hit him. Hard. Two, he'd been -very- conveniently called to the building. Three, Susan's strange behavior before she- shit, bad idea. But it was too late, and once the small metaphorical train of memory has been switched on, it likes to pass each landmark on the track before shutting off. And there was the small minature tour director calling the passenger's attention out the windows, to push the metaphor... because he recalled the day vividly. If you'll look out to your left you'll see a shattered past...

It was snowing, and Richard had the window open. A fine layer of white flakes was gently settling on the floor. He shifted the papers around on the desk ackwardly. He'd never been comfortable with office buildings, the old office back in Philedelphia suited him much better... he'd heard that the Canadian branch's business was booming, and that it was the place to be for those heading up. When he got the letter that he was to be transferred, there were equal portions of jealous glances, and well wishes. He gently sipped at his scotch and thanked all the well-wishers at his farewell party. Many people working here were heading up anyways, he thought with a scowl, and quickly flipped his thrilled-yet-modest smile as Rhonda from revenue told him with a fake laugh how she'd enjoy not having to deal with his late damage reports. She wasn't joking Richard knew. They were glad to be rid of him. So much for company ethics. If it wasn't for Susan, he'd have cracked up here in this frozen city. God, he loved her. And how she put up with his rediculous-cum-almost-unrealistic profession, he'd never know. He thought of her brown waves of hair dropping in ringlets over hazel eyes, and looked at the clock. God he wanted to see her right now.

With a sigh, he turned his attention back to the papers on the desk, and one in particular caught his eye. It was the one regarding the "Special" training that all the Field Agents were going to be receiving soon. Every time he glanced at the memo, he could feel the hair on his back rise. He needed to get out of here, outside, doing what he actually knew... it may not be safe, but Richard simply wasn't planned to handle broken copier line-ups and office drama. He narrowly avoided being struck by a stapler when young Debbie found out Chris was cheating with the temp receptionist yesterday. He let his gaze slide toward the window, and watched the snow slowly twirl and dance its death-dance towards the streets below. God it never stops snowing here, He thought, with yet another vacant glance out over the twilight-lit woolen city, and turned back to his papers.

The next few weeks went by uneventfully. Richard's suporvisor seemed rather intent on burying him in paperwork, and almost suddenly enough to give him a heart palpitation, a man in a starch-white suit burst in through his door. In one of his hands were a clipboard, and the other a Sword that could not of conceivably been used in one hand, yet the man didn't drag it at all.
"Harper, Richard. Training begins, please follow me." His voice sounded almost like harp strings, and Richard had a vague idea of who he was following right away. He stopped a few other offices, following the same non-descript instructions. A older african-american man, easily in his late 40's, came out of the first room, and the young Debbie from the incident a few weeks ago, and last and also least, a young dampish fellow, wearing a pair of glasses almost as wide as his head and a most comically of all, a set of rosary beads and almost ten different crosses of various materials around his neck. Richard had long ago cast off the thought that the more you had the better.

His hand slowly reached towards his own chest where the golden cross, the one Susan had given him on the night of their wedding, after they had both flopped on the matress, hot and exhausted, and he had run his big almost paw-like hands over her small, frail, beautiful body, and he almost melted when she whispered into his ear about how much she loved him, and slipped the cross around his neck.

"You'll never have to separate my love, and-" Susan knew of his grudging employment issues. "-obligation to... the upstairs." She then giggled and bit his ear, and he rolled back on top her in the mess of sheets and the night faded away between them.
"Richard!" The man in the suit said loudly, coughing and adjusting his tie.
"Sorry, late night last night." He mumbled, looking around, and almost cried out in surprise. The room he and the three other trainees had entered during his spaced reverie went on endlessly as far as the eye could see, in the same fashion as a normal office... post-modern black and wood finish, thick carpeted floor... save for the point where the floor met the ceiling on three out of four sides... the other, was occupied by a long glass picture window, which gave a vertigo-inducing view of Winnipeg, and like the room, extended both left and right endlessly. The man in white coughed again, and cleared his throat, obviously hoping to regain the attention of his charges.
"This-" he began, "is a test. To show three things." He held up his hand, in which was a small, translucent glass ball. "Faith." He held the ball out towards Richard and the others. "This, is what it looks like. Scoff if you wish, but it is a precious thing, and -ever- so to us. This, is your first test. We require yours." He started pacing back and forth in front of them. "The second test, is that of balance. A man of untainted purity is of no hope, in this profession. He could smite, he could vanquish, but he could never understand, or think." The black fellow hadn't flinched, Debbie looked slightly irritated, and the small man Richard decided to dub "Toad" was practically sweating bullets. "The last-" he began again, just when Richard was sure they were being given a moment to ask questions, "-is sacrifice."
Richard felt his blood run cold, yet he was unsure why, although his third sight rarely gave him a false hunch... The man then snapped his fingers, and his three companions into the room vanished. "I have been instructed, Mr. Harper, to take your through the third test, first." He smiled... but in a sad way, Richard thought.

"Listen pal, I dont know what's goin on, but I--" He stopped. He would recognize his wife's favourite perfume from miles away, and currently, it was coming from right behind him. He spun. And then spun again, with almost hellish speed, reaching for the man in white's collar. "What the fuck is going on here? What've done with Susan?!" He knew how steriotypically Heroic that sounded, but he wasn't inclinded to care at this moment. His hands, however, passed through the now spectral and translucent man.

"Richard, I explained. This, is a test." Richard's wife, was floating in the air, with white bands of light shackling her ankles, wrists, and most alarmingly, mouth. She didnt appear to be breathing.
"I dont care, im going to rip your gospel-spewing voicebox out through your throat unless you GET SUSAN OUT OF THIS!" He shouted, his eyes burning like coals. The man just continued his sad smile, and then faded away totally. Richard swore, and turned and ran towards Susan, only a thought stopped him. A test of sacrifice. He turned around again, only to see something standing in place of the white man. It wasn't a nice something. It had horns, and claws, and wreathed in fire. In one hand, it carried a the biggest spear Richard had ever seen, which appeared to be made of shifting molten metal and ash. And it was chasing people- Just then the monster.. no, the Demon, grabbed a man attempting to flee and did something to him normally reserved for origami paper. Alright, chasing and -killing- people. The street was filled with screams-- Am I in a street? Things seemed to go in slow motion for Richard after that... He saw his wife hanging from a window sill 5 stories up... saw the Demon throw a car that crushed a poor woman further down the street... A test of Sacrifice... Richard grabbed the cross off his neck, and began screaming in latin, facing down the Demon as it slowly stalked down the street towards him. The air around him cooled, and the sheer clouded darkness seemed to lessen.

"Pro Lux Lucis Itaque Deus!" He cried, spreading his free palm which shone a light like a thousand football stadium spotlights. The light shot forward like a bullet fired from a gun, straight into the Aberration that was now looming almost on top of Richard, and it flew back with a cthonic screech, and Richard saw a large hole in the creatures upper-mid-section, where a man's heart would be.
Every fabric of his being cried for him to run to Susan, to catch her, or pull her up into a room, but... This, is a test. This momentary lapse for focus wasn't the best decision however, because the creature had righted itself and had lashed out with an arm and caught a firm grip on Richard, who screamed in surprise. The Devil raised him to it's head level... and gazed into his eyes, him looking right back into dark, flaming cores that burned like suns.

"What do you fear, son of Adam, one who walks the line of dark and light?" Said a horrifying... yet, pleasant, inviting voice, inside his head. Far away buried in his concious at the moment, Richard's sense of humor would have been amused to know that the Demon had a Welsh accent. It continued to stare, the eyes boring into Richard's head, and he felt, his soul. The things eyes widened for a split second in recognition. "And so I shall take that from you, son of Adam. And you shall know despair." With that, it cast him against the side of the office building so hard he felt bricks crack beneath him, knocking his wind and almost his senses from him.
"Mathias, it's gone too far!" Shouted a voice that Richard could hear over the din. "Stop it!" A different voice now.
"I can't, i've... oh sod, i've lost control of it! Adrian! ADRIAN! We need to stop it, Harper is hurt!" Richard rolled over. The street was fading back into the endless office he had been occupying before, Susan still where she was before in front of the window, but the Demon was now swinging it's huge, blazing spear at one of two men in white suits, each clutching rapiers. One of them lunged in at the Demon, only to realize at the last moment that was just what was expected of him as the monstrosity jumped backwards and brought its spear down in a savage arc which sank into the man in the suit, who almost exploded outwards in a shower of water. Angels bleed tears, A faint voice echoed through his head. He tried to stand, to get to Susan, but his legs would not hold his weight and he collapsed back onto the floor.

"Adrian, thank the boss! Matthew, get him!" Richards vision was far more blurred now, but he saw more white shapes appear, only to be flung back by the Demon. It turned, and in a moment of clarity, stared again into Richards eyes, and pointed at the wound in it's chest, which obviously pained it so, and smiled the most horrible smile he'd ever seen. It struck him on a primal level of fear before unknown to him.
"Balvantilorthirr! Halt in the name of the Lord, this breaches the pact and deal!" Shouted the voice of the first "White" man. Richard then heard again the voice of the demon, and its words haunted him still.

"Fuck the deal." And it launched itself at Susan, who's now-concious eyes met her husband's for a split second, and then she was carried through the glass window, along with the demon, shards of glass peppering the room. She hadn't said a word. She couldn't have. "Farewell son of Adam. May you walk the balance eternally." He heard on the wind say with malice and venom.
Richard collapsed on the inside. He knew that life as he had known it was over, but rage, and sorrow were vying for dominance in his head. His blood ran iced, his vision blacked and all he could see was the replaying scene of his Susan, carried silently out into the night and into the urban abyss below. And then Richard knew no more.

"It was never meant to happen." Said Colin, senior partner. His face was pale, his eyes filled with genuine remorse. Richard didn't care. He sat in the office with Colin, blank, empty, and almost devoid of life. He stared at some point behind Colin's head, never focusing. "The test was meant.. as a show of faith, you must understand... Susan knew it was a test, and that nothing should have happened, but the equipment failed, and that Demon..." Colin sighed and rubbed his temples. "God. How could this have happened..." He reached over, and put a hand on Richard's shoulder. "I'm... i'm so sorry Rich." He then got up, and left the office, leaving Richard alone with his shock and grief. Richard, who hadn't been able to say a word, not able to say his wife's name, felt something was required of him.
"It's Richard." He said. And then began to cry.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I began writing this story almost a year ago. I write it in moreso small, isolated parts, like short stories, but it's my hope one day to actually put them all together. I think, it'll shape up to be something fairly interesting. Richard was a new character for me in that I was tired of my heroes wanting to right wrongs, or put and end to their pain and angst. Richard wants, among most things to be alive at the end of the day, and preferably somewhere with alcohol. I must say it was a fun change. And also, I feel I must warn that it contains language of a slightly questionable nature. Not to make any kind of a statement, it's just simply that most people do swear. But without futher foreward rambling:


The human imagination is a beautiful thing. It is a veritable plethora of possibilities, it’s twisting corridors and passages hiding things that mankind can, literally, only dream of. Similarly, the run-down streets and alleyways in cities are places where the imagination can thrive. The dead areas, abandoned by the constant urban growth, which are closed off by chain fences and locks, and known to few. Not often do the polished loafers of the modern day businessman touch the worn pavement of the slums. His pinstripe suits and briefcase are better left to the flashy streets, where neon signs, honking taxis, and reflective buildings reign.

If one became so accustomed to these alleys of wonder, one might not find it so difficult to imagine a very large man, dressed in patchwork, old, stretched clothing, complete with overalls, and a with an undersized piper's cap crowning his brow. He looks simple, but not simple in the way that a piece of loose-leaf is simple, but more in the way that Rhinoceroses are simple. Simple, and might as well be hewn from granite. His companion is a curious contrast. He is shady, and sports a long, black coloured duster coat, and an oversized dark grey fedora. A snake of grey smoke can be seen trailing from a glowing ember somewhere beneath the shadow of the hat. The two walk in unison, and with definite purpose.

"’Ey." Says the large man, in a gluttoral voice like a tractor’s engine. "We gonna’ get the guy?" The smaller man stops, and peers up at the mountainous visage that just spoke. He throws his cigarette to the ground, not bothering to step it out, and produces a new one from an unknown source, and lights it, curiously, with a snap of his fingers.

"Yeah." He says. This man’s voice rings of cold winters, shadows, and sharp edges. He coughs.

"Those can kill ya you know," Says his large companion knowledgably, eyeballing the smoke. He stops and thinks for a moment, and then continues; "well, could kill someone, anyways. 'Dat second-hand smoke is dan.. dange... er," His vocabulary surrendered. "It's deadly." He grunted.
The smaller man accepts this comment without response, and then blows a huge puff of the smoke into the air, and lights a second cigarette, fitting it between his lips with the first, and smiles wickedly.
"Well, it's a shame no-one told me sooner. I could be doing alot more than one pack a day."

They continue walking for a short period of time, and arrive at a fenced off dead end. A big, mahogany-coloured grin can be seen from beneath the mountain man’s nose. He walks up to the fence, and as if lifting a feather, he lifts the fence, and gently places against a building. They stand still for a while, skulking in the shadows of the alley, watching intently across the busy street...
On the other side of the street in question, a busy sidewalk on Main Street beckons. A man swaggers out of a pub across the bustling highway, his faded old brown leather jacket and cheap brand blue jeans making him seem a rather unremarkable person from the flashy eccentrics often found in downtown Winnipeg. His hair is jet black, his eyes much the same, a deep hazel in hue. His face is slightly angular, stubble-ridden, troubled, and although most women would call it handsome, he just called it something he had to look after out of obligation. A sharp eye would catch the gold Cross hanging from a chain around his neck. He appears to be swearing at something clutched in his fist.

"God damn piece of god damn shit!" Yelled Richard Harper, his vehement curses directed at the object in his palm, which was a common motorola pager. This action drew curious and cautious stares from other motley assortment of people occupying the sidewalk who took care to step around the shouting figure.

I’m not surprised. Another goddamn call. He thought. And I was enjoying that chat with rob, too. He stood still for a few moments, gazing at the most hated pager, as if expecting it to apologize. It didn’t, so he swore at it again and threw it at a nearby wall, where it shattered into a plethora of electronic bits. "Serves you right, you rat bastard." He spat at the corpse of the device, and continued walking.

It was well into the evening, and Richard simply strolled through the busy downtown, unafraid of anything, because he simply knew that no one would bother him, save for the odd beggar seeking a resolution to his monetary problems, or prostitute inquiring about a transaction. It was not really because he knew he could handle most situations; quite the contrary; Richard had a deep-rooted fear of being stabbed, beaten, shot, mauled, eviscerated, or even being pointed at. He was allergic to it, so he told others. It was because he knew that They wouldn’t let anything happen to their special delivery boy.

There was an almost silent beeping coming from below his waist somewhere, and he stopped walking and closed his eyes. His lips synched the movements of someone counting to 10 very quietly, and he reached down to his belt. "Fuck." Said Richard. On his belt rested a black, unremarkable, ad quite familiar pager. "Beep." the pager said one last time in quiet defiance. The flashing red name on the pager screen read; "Paul." Which was written in unexplainably fine handwriting, which was uncommon for a pager. "Well, I guess I’d better go then, hm?" He said to himself with a scowl, and began dialing the number for a taxi. A few moments later, he sat down on the old seats of the cab which had fortunately pulled up in relatively good time. "That one big office building, the one made all of glass. Im afriad I can't give you the exact address, but it's on Portage."

Richard silently cursed the constantly changing address of the building. He was becoming very tired of these ackward conversations... and he also made a mental note to buy his own car, when he could afford it. The middle-eastern man in the front seat turned around and gave Richard a curious look.

"There are many different office buildings that are made all of glass on the Portage, sir." The driver said in a thick accent. Richard sighed.

"But there’s only one with a statue of an angel outside. You'll know it, trust me."

Simon Myers had spent his most of his adolescent years sitting in his basement on his computer playing Everquest and watching re-runs of Hercules & Xena. His mother nurtured him, and his father scorned him. The children at school made unspoken jokes about his collared shits and ties, and spent a fair sum of time pestering him about whether the pen he was using was a +2 pen of Calligraphy, and throwing things at him. One might think a person of this calibre would be academically oriented; quite the contrary, Simon was a sharp as a billiard ball. His teachers sighed and groaned over his inability to understand the simplest of vertices or compound fractions, and his somewhat lethal approach to grammar and punctuation. His spelling could kill at fifteen paces. At one point or another, Simon decided it was time to be cool. He dyed his hair green, and bought a large quantity of metal bits and stuck them on or in chosen parts of himself. He started calling himself Iguana, because having a reptilian nickname was "dope", as the other kids said. He wanted a name like Snake, or Viper, but those names were already taken.

Months passed, and Iguana became a name to fear, in the same way you fear meeting an Ex-lover and having to start up an ackward conversation. He began to fight people, seemingly at random, with no real pattern, and would have his ass thoroughly kicked by pretty much everybody. He then stopped using his allowance money to purchase upgraded Dungeons and Dragons Books, and used it to bribe people into becoming his "Krew." He used the letter K because, the way he saw it, K was pointier than C, and so it was cooler and more imposing. Iguana and his posse became known for attempting to smoke anything green, regardless of its narcotic value. Some examples would be houseplants, grass, green chalk, and the carpet in the teachers lounge. He also decided, that he should run away from home. So now, he christened himself Iguanator: ruler of the alleys, regent of the darkest lane, and other such pointless honorifics.

It was possibly by chance, or possibly by providence, that Iguana happened upon two curious figures standing at the mouth of one of his alleyways. They were arguing over something that he really could care less about. The way he saw it; these two were easy marks, which had foolishly strayed into his territory. The conversation that echoed from the alley entrance proceeded as such:

"I told you, you imbecile, NOT to let him out of your sight!" Said the smaller figure.

"Well you ‘din’t have to go off and get a coffee, you coulda’ stayed here." Said the large one. He could be trouble, Iguana thought.

"Shit!" Said the smaller guy, as he punted the larger man in the shin, who promptly groaned. The smaller figure paced a few times, and sighed, cupping his chin in his hands. "I know it’s not like we can’t find him again, but the boss is going to be right fucking livid that we have been delayed again, Mr. Smith. The deadline was for 10, sharp. And we've just missed it." He glared up at the larger figure from under his hat.

"M’ sorry, Mister Wesson." The booming voice said from beneath the straw hat-like object, as he wiping his nose with a hand that would be better described as a paw.

"Never mind, Smith, never mind… let us just-" It was at this point that Iguana and his counterparts leapt from their hiding places behind rubbish bins and dumpsters.

"All right you pricks, hand over your G’s or my boys here will have to mess you up!" Needless to say, Iguana’s men, in their motley assortment of rags and un-matched clothing looked more equipped to dance around, not mess anybody up.

Mr. Wesson scowled. "Oh look, Mr. Smith." His gold-flecked grin was visible beneath the tilt of his smoke-wreathed hat. "It’s the Cirque-du-fucking-soleil. Seriously my lad, piss off while I’m in the mood to let you. Smith, we have places to be, people to inhume." Mr. Wesson made to turn around, but Iguana, who was ill experienced in sizing up possibly lethal situations, wasn’t about to give up so easily.

"I’m Iguana, and nobody tells Iguana to piss off. Your gonna’ get hurt old man, unless you fork over your fucking wallets!" He huffed his chest with pride. Mr Wesson simply looked amused.

"Oh, so it’s a real honest mugging? Say, Mr. Smith, when was the last time we carried wallets, hmm?" The towering mound of a man grunted, and then the plodding silence of someone thinking very hard.

"Never." said a voice like tectonic motion.

Mr Wesson nodded. "Indeed. Vacate yourself off son, while im in the temperment to let you." He said, in a low voice, his face showing mild amusement. All the while Iguana, to any outside party, would’ve looked like he was trying to disclose a mystery wrapped in an enigma. His face was screwed up in an awkward mixture of rage, and bewilderment. He took a step forward.

"Enough of this." He spat, and swung a fist at thin air, which was, up until a second prior, was the space the man in the coat was occupying. "The hell?" He heard one of his boys say something about the wall, and he slowly looked to his left, dread growing like weeds in a garden in his gut.

"I’m thinking," Said a voice like death from the general area, "That Skink here needs a lesson in humility." Iguana scowled.

"It’s Iguana." He said instinctively. Now, what followed happened very fast, possibly within the span of thirteen or fifteen seconds, and was a blur to Iguana. Mr. Smith had picked up one of Iguana’s lackeys with apparent ease and lobbed him straight at the congealment of the others, which comically scattered like bowling pins and flew into the walls with loud cracks. Mr. Wesson had also begun to violently beat Iguana into submission, starting at the kidneys and working his way up with a rapid succession of precisely aimed jabs and kicks, ending with a solid punch that launched Iguana against the far alley wall, where he cracked the masonry when he hit. Wesson calmly readjusted his hat, and strutted over to where Smith was vehemently swearing and kicking a downed gangster.

"Fuckin' little sod son o' a—" Wesson coughed, and Smith stopped and looked sheepishly at his counterpart. "Oh. Right. Sorry." He stopped kicking, and the man groaned and writhed around. "Can we? Just this once? I mean, who’d know? ‘Onestly, it’s just a bunch of scummy ‘lil urchins-" Wesson plucked the still lit smoke-fuming cigarette from his hidden maw, and bent over and put it out on an unconscious Iguana’s forehead, who woke with a howl and slowly backed up against the wall, quaking in fear.

"Didn’t mean to be so rough on you lads." His grin could have caused a mountain of earth to shy away and hide. He tilted his hat back, to reveal a face out of a nightmare, pale yet ashen at the same time, entirely hair free save for the tiny french moustache that adorned his upper lip, and with eyes like bloody kitchen knives, with deep crimson pupils. A cruel scar cut across the entirety of the face at a 45-degree angle. Iguana gulped, and turned away. So did Mr. Wesson, who faced Smith again. "No dice, my large friend. Arganoth said, no one until He is dead." He responded to Smith earlier comment, and produced another smoke from under his hat, and one again lit it with a flick of his hand. "When he’s dealt with, we can have all the fun we like. A hundred years on the surface. Why, we can finally go see Monaco, Mr. Smith!" He cackled, which was a terribly unpleasant sound. To the battered Iguana’s ears, it sounded like windblown hail on a glass pane. Which is not a normal laugh, he noted.

"Don’t wanna’ see fuckin’ Monaco. Wanna' Burger." The enormous man replied. He stopped for a moment. "Fuck." He added, seemingly as an afterthought. And as they began to walk away, chuckling at an unheard joke amongst themselves, Iguana saw the smaller man, named Wesson, pull a long object that he might have sworn was a sword, which glinted and shone in the streetlight and glowed and flickered like it was on fire, and spun it around in his hands as he walked.

Iguana realized, for the first time in a while, as he cupped the blood leaking from his nose, that he was curious as to what his mother was making for supper.

"This one, ‘s this one! Stop tha’ fucking cab!" Screamed Richard as the driver screeched to a halt. The East-Indian man turned around, his face sporting a comic and brown-toothed grin, and reached out a hand toward the currently pale-faced Richard.

"Forty-eight eighteen. I hope you enjoy the ride, I see you again soon!" Said the cabbie cheerfully. Richard snarled and threw a red-coloured fifty into the front of the cab.

"Keep the change… damn maniac…" He grumbled, as he hauled his carsick-self out of the vehicle. No cabs, ever again, he told himself. Stick to busses. Then he vomited in a nearby shrubbery. The building was large, to say the least. It was a new building, four or five years old only, and the Winnipeg contractors had been put on all-out orders to make this huge mirrored behemoth possible in only seven months. Apparently they had succeeded, as the structure in front of Richard stood. Practically a tower, the building was ovular, almost a circle, in diameter, and n the front, above the doorway almost 60 stories up near the top was a large golden ornamental plaque depicting a man dressed in a nonchalant robe, plunging a sword through a dragon’s head. There was absolutely nothing to comment on about the building, aside from that. It was completely covered in that new fancy reflective glass all office buildings seemed to be made of these days. The sign above the door read:

Apostle Industries, ltd.
Making your miracles, today!

Subtle, thought Richard, and, cursing the mid-east, cars, alcohol, and pretty much everything else, he sauntered up the walk, and then made a haphazard attempt at the stairs, and failed a good three times before his sensibilities told him that his inebriated self wasn’t prepared to tackle such an obstacle. A few minutes of searching rewarded Richard with the wheelchair ramp, which he manage to scale with the help of the railing. He looked up, and the beautifully crafted Ivory face of the Angel statue gazed down at him. He stood there silently for a moment.

"I must be dead-" He began, in a slurred voice. "Because I’m seeing an angels! Ha!" He laughed at his own joke, which was in really bad taste, then fell over. He took one last look at the shining building that was towering above him, and pulled himself up, and pushed open the front doors.
The interior of the building was nothing to comment on, either. Well-polished marble floors, modernized d├ęcor consisted of brass poles, sleek grey chrome and varnished wooden walls, a few soft couches and an out of place pop machine, that was doing it’s best to fit in with its neighbours. The lobby also came complete with all the important little touches: potted plants, classy fixtures and lighting, and the ever-present over weight security guard, snoring with his face glued to his desk via his own saliva.

Richard walked in gingerly, and cleared his throat. No response. He tried again, louder this time. Still nothing. He walked over, and rapped on the desk softly with his knuckles. The guard jumped, and shook his head around violently, obviously horribly disoriented.

"Wha… who? I--I’m sorry, we’re c—" Large yawn. "Awwmm… closed." He rubbed his eyes, and squinted at Richard.

"I work here." The guard gawked at him blankly. "Richard Harper? Senior field Marshal?" The guard simply yawned again, and grunted his way over to the PC on the opposite side of his desk, and began pecking at the keys vigorously. A few minutes had obviously produced a result, as he wheeled his way back over to Richard.

"Oh… yeah, Mr. Harper… I’m sorry, but I can’t let you in past hours without clearance. Security you know… never can tell, these days." Richard sighed. And scribbled an unrcognizable sigil on the black electronic pad the man passed him. All of a sudden, it glowed with a bright orange ferocity, and then died, just a quickly. The guard nodded to Richard, who began making his way over to the elevator. Richard wasn't really upset. Just curious (and still drunk). All his years working here, and he’d never once been asked to see The Director. The capital letters were importiant.

Come to think of it, he though, Do I even know what the Director looks like? Mr. Paul, or, as he was simply known to most, The Director, was an unseen figure who held most of the firm in terror. People whispered and speculated over what the Director looked like, whether he stayed shut up in his top-floor office due to some sort of horrible disfigurement, or maybe someone had locked him in there and he could never leave. Richard never really thought about it very much, his mind usually concerned with far more trivial matters, like which brand of coffee filter was the most efficient, how many toothpicks it would take to build a working replica of a steam train, or if his housekeeper was slowly trying to exterminate him by slipping in 18 more grains of salt than he requested in his evening bowl of mushroom soup. "Mushroom soup," he always commented to her after she handed him the bowl. "A harsh mistress indeed, Louisa. The harshest of them all." He would always say the last bit staring her in the eyes. His understanding was that if she thought he was crazy, she would quit her job, as no one likes to work for a lunatic. Rob often asked him: "Why not simply fire her, Rich?" Richard would then nervously shift about, and reply with: "Well. She’s a sweet girl; I’d feel bad if I put her out of a job, you know? And don’t call me Rich." He’d add. Such thoughts weren't too uncommon.

Richard completed his plodding journey over to the elevator, and impatiently tapped his foot waiting for the left car to slowly skulk down the shaft. There was a "ding" and the doors slid open, revealing the shiny chrome interior. He stepped inside, hitting one of the buttons absentmindedly. It should be said at this point that Richard Harper, is not the most stable person. No one in his profession would be. What is his profession to be exact? He's a Geneva inspector in the middle of world war 3, to be metaphorical. He makes sure people play by the rules. And by people, I really don't mean people at all. Demons, Vampires, the forces of hell in general, and then, there's the more human realms of the Fairie Courts, the Unseelie, the last of the Dragons... well, you get the picture. It takes a lot of training to see things the human mind isn't programmed to see by default. But someone had to do it. Humans weren't subject to alot of the rules that affected... what Richard liked to call the management. And so Richard drifted unsteadly through life in a state of perpetual irritation, caution, and in many cases, drunkeness.
He really liked that last option.

There was no accompanyment in the elevator save for the weary drone of cables hoisting the metal box skywards. What am I doing? He thought to himself. It's a saturday night. I should be at home, watching reruns of CSI, drinking myself into a stupor, and eating week-old borsht. Not going to see my damn boss. THE damn boss, his mind added respectfully. Then, a curious thing happened. Richard staggered to the floor, wheezing. He wondered if this was tonights drinking escapades catching up with him, but changed his mind when the telltale bursts of searing pain began shooting up and down his spine, and purple lights flashed behind his eyes.

"Urrk." he said with defiantly, eyes watering from the pain. He managed to pull himself upright and leaned against the wall. Richard fumbled in his pockets and after a few seconds produced a small, transparent, red vial. Closer inspection of the vial would yeild a label written in characters you'd most commonly find on menhir rings in Scandinavia. He uncorked the stopper and glared at the vial, much in the same way one would glare at a deliquent dog after leaving a plate of sirloins on the table. He then put it to his lips and took a short draught. He gasped loudly, and the pain slowly subsided. Fuck. He thought. That was the worst attack i've had in a long time.. it's getting worse. The biggest concern, for almost any human, is his or her own mortality, and Richard was no different. Richard knew he was going to die. The doctors told him, his grandmother told him. They never really could tell what was wrong with him, but they weren't the only ones who knew.

"You're going to die, Richard." Said the Angel that one night a month before his first hospital visit, as he lay half-concious in the field, bleeding a strange black fluid from a large gash on his hip. "You've been touched by that which man was never meant to touch-" The angel had the courtesy to look a little sympathetic. "You were not meant to be here... yet here you are. And we are sorry. You're going to die." But he'd told them, he thought smugly. Self-satisfaction was the best reward in the universe. Richard had hoisted himself up, his face drained of colour, blood trickling from his lips. He waved the angel to come closer, opened his mouth, and said;
"Blow that."

And he'd made it his own personal mission to stay alive. Life was, he argued, very much like money. Those who had it liked it, those who didn't were generally unimpressed, (the ones he met, anyways.) and you could never have enough of it. But mainly, he didn't really feel like giving death the satisfaction. Ding. floor 10. Richard sighed. For such a new building, the elevators took forever. He had just pulled out his pocket book and was flipping through a few notes of events of late, except that then, the lights went out.

"Fuck." He grunted.

The dim red emergency light suddenly flickered into life, washing the car in a sickly crimson glow. He hammered the red emergency button. This was -not- improving his mood. The light pain at the back of his head was starting to grow again, pinching his nerves and making him wince. In the realization he was getting nowhere with the buttons, he took a step back, and a deep breath. It might be said at this point that Richard Harper, no Pan-am athelte or olympiad, was generally against exercise in general. He was in fairly good shape- people in his profession who couldn't run quickly didn't tend to hold the position for very long. But he spend time each week-grudgingly-on the weight machine in his vast apartment, and jogging. His physique, while not anything like chiseled, was definately slightly honed.

He took another deep breath, and threw his leg at the door. There was a resoundingly loud "clonging" noise, and all Richard did, in his opinion, was bust his foot. "Jesus christ!" he growled. He slumped against the walls, defeated. It's just a power outage. His inner monologue said. But you have this little sick feeling at the back of me, that you -know- it's not. Don't deny it.
"Okay, I wont." He said simply. The problem with a powerful mind is that sometimes it wanted a different vote in the mental congress. He sat for a few minutes in the relative silence of the elevator shaft, the occasional creaks and whining of metal his only companion. And he sighed. "I really rather would not have had to do this..." he muttered, and reached around his neck and grasped the cross dangling from his neck. If one listened closely, one just might hear Richard whispering a Psalm under his breath. With his other hand, he then folded his middle and ring fingers inwards amd spoke one loud word. "VENAS!" There was a blinding flash of white, and the creaking of metal, and the doors slid open.

Richard groaned and clutched his head with one hand, and used his other to hoist himself into the crack between the floor and roof of the elevator. Tight fight. He thought. He stood up shakily. Using the power of... those above him always made him a little sick. Probably because the power knew he wasn't exactly a preist himself. And so he made a good effort to avoid using it. Although Richard made a good effort to avoid effort in general. He opened his eyes, to see what there was to be seen. He was somewhere in the mid 40's floors.. all cubicles and fax machines and little boxed in offices, yet still bathed in the sicking red glow of the backup generator lights.

He began to stalk his way across the halls, occasionally knocking over stationary and swearing at the noise, not really caring his voice carried much farther than the stapler or holepunch had. His thoughts turned eventually as to why he was paged by the "big" boss he'd never even met face to face. And he felt a tingle. He'd felt that tingle before, and usually it occurred a moment before he was thuroughly beaten and/or assaulted. He ducked, and felt the air of whatever it was pass milimetres above his head. Boy was that lucky. He turned around.

"Not lucky enough there mate." Said Mr. Wesson, and punched him in the face.