Tag Archives: #AtoZ

Killing You Would Be Easier (Fiction – Part 4)

Killing You Would Be Easier

The final installment to the story posted on April 1 – don’t forget to check out  Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 if you missed them.  
~

Sweat covered Drada’s palms; the fine chain slipped. Am I close enough? He chanced another step and a blast of red light blew a chunk out of a stalactite to his left. He threw himself aside, Phaeton’s scream of rage echoing in his ears. His breath whooshed out of him as he hit the ground. The chain, so fine it was almost invisible, slithered across the stone floor and disappeared into the shadows. Drada skittered after it, sliding on his belly, pushing with his booted feet. Another blast of red light sent chunks of stone and dust raining down on his head. Behind him, Gan called hoarsely. More red light flashed in the sergeant’s direction.  

Drada coughed, choking on the fine dust. His hands fumbled along the stone floor, feeling for what his eyes couldn’t see in the red shadows. Dust ruined his sense of touch, the chain so fine it was indistinguishable among the ruins of stone. Another explosion of red light elicited a glint of gold before stone fragments showered down on him. A piece of shrapnel burrowed its way into his flesh in an explosion of white agony. Choking back a cry of pain, he lunged for the stray gleam of gold. Behind, the stone floor he’d lain on exploded.  

His hand closed on a fistful of dust and stone fragments. Lifting the fist, he saw the links of the chain trail from his grip like stardust. He seized it with the other hand, shaking out its near invisible length. More stone exploded as he rolled onto his back. 

‘Stay still, damn you!’ Phaeton stood with his fists raised. They glowed with a burning, red light so bright it seared Drada’s eyes. He lurched to one knee. Swinging the chain, he squinted into the red inferno and tossed the chain at the figure outlined against the flaming sorcery. 

The near-invisible chain ignited with golden light, carving its way through the malevolent, red glow. It bounced off Phaeton’s shoulder, opening a line of gold fire in his flesh. Phaeton screamed. The sorcerous light at his fists flickered and died. Drada hauled in the length of chain, thick fingers fumbling with the fine gold. Red energy exploded into the stalactite beside his head. A flying stone fragment opened a line of fire on his cheek. The chain’s weight feather-light in his left hand, he flung it again. 

The length of the chain, aflame with gold light, snaked out. It flew true, wrapping around Phaeton before he could fire another bolt of energy. 

The red light winked out. The sorcerer’s howl reverberated off the stone. On his knees, blood dripping down his face, Drada dropped his head and wept. 

Phaeton spun, nearly losing his balance with his arms pinned to his sides. The golden fire dimmed to a dull glow, but it stood out like blazing fire in the darkness of the cavern. Before he’d taken three steps, Gan barrelled out of the darkness and flung himself on Phaeton. The two men crashed to the ground, rolling in a tangle of limbs. Through it all, the impossibly fragile length of chain glowed steadily gold, whole and unbroken. 

Gan hauled the sorcerer to his feet. ‘You won’t be going anywhere for a long time, pup.’ He shook Phaeton for emphasis. ‘You broke your mother’s heart. And your father…’

Drada climbed to his feet with slow, heavy steps. A hole opened in his heart where once there’d been a son.

Phaeton lunged forward in Gan’s grip. ‘To hell with you, and mother! You should have just killed me.’ Vitriol dripped from every word. 

‘Killing you would have been easier for both of us, but you don’t deserve easy.’ Drada swallowed hard. ‘Phaeton, son of Drada, you are under arrest for crimes against the people, unspeakable acts of sorcery and murder most vile. You will go from here to face trial by your sorcerous peers. It will be for them to decide if you will live and, if you do, if you will ever be permitted to wield sorcery again.’

The words fell hard and heavy into the silence, like crypt doors slamming. It lasted a moment only, before Phaeton screamed and threw himself against Gan’s rock-like grip. 

Drada turned his back. It was done. Tomorrow had come. The day after tomorrow would be brighter. 


This is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge Series. If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here – A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and J.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or subscribe to my newsletter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!

Author’s Note: Due to the time constraints of the A to Z Challenge, this piece of fiction has not undergone my usual rigorous editing process and is essentially a first draft.   

A Heinous Defence – Fiction (Part 3)

A Heinous Defence

Part three to the story posted on April 1 – you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Two figures emerged, silhouetted against the nightmarish backdrop. They were alone, their prisoner already delivered. What was done with them? The guards turned aside before reaching Drada and Gan, swallowed by the wall as they stepped through a doorway out of sight. The echo of boots striking stairs floated into the cavern. Drada’s breath whooshed from him. Behind, Gan prodded him forward. 

Sweat covered Drada’s palms. The heat of the cavern smothered him, but it wasn’t the reason he perspired. His slid slippery fingers into the pouch and fingered the cold, chain links. Can I do this?
 
The red glow intensified and Drada stepped past a wall and into a smaller cavern bordering the edge of the legendary magma lake. He slammed to a halt so hard Gan stumbled into his back, pushing him forward two more steps towards the figure beside the lake. 

The man turned, his face a landscape of shadows and hellish red light leeching his features of all other colour. ‘Father?’

Stunned surprise reverberated through his voice, but Drada barely noticed, his eyes locked to the crude, wooden bench behind Phaeton. A man lay there, strapped facedown to expose the bare flesh of his back. Thick, black lines marked out a space near his kidneys. A low groan issued from the shadowy prisoner. 

Drada dragged his eyes away from the shackled prisoner to his son’s shadowed face. ‘Phaeton?’ He heard the horror in his own voice; so did his son. Even in the red glow, he saw his son’s face harden.

‘You can’t understand, but I’m saving people. Did you know it’s possible to transfer one person’s organs to others? This man’s kidneys will save two other men, with the help of my sorcery. Two, productive lives, at the expense of what? One murderer?’

Drada shook his head. His knees tried to buckle; instead he forced himself forward a few steps. His fingers clenched around the cold chain. ‘What would your mother say?’

Phaeton stiffened. His eyes flickered over Drada’s shoulder. ‘I should have known it was you, Gan. Have you brought my father to kill me?’

Drada silenced Gan with one lifted finger. The heat of the magma lake beat at his exposed face and arms. ‘It nearly killed your mother when she heard the charges brought against you. What do you think it would do if I were to tell her I’d killed you?’ With exaggerated care, he lifted his sword free of his scabbard and dropped it. The clang of metal striking stone reverberated painfully off the cavern walls. Phaeton’s mouth dropped open, hastily closed. 

‘No?’ Phaeton sneered, a poor attempt to cover his surprise. ‘And yet violence was ever your first resort.’

Drada spread his arms wide, the fine gold of the chain concealed in his hand. The links were so tiny the chain formed a ball barely large enough to fill his palm. ‘Won’t you reconsider? Mere mathematics is not enough to justify killing a man.’ He shuffled a few steps closer. Just a few more moments, a few more steps.
 
There was no hesitation in Phaeton. His chin lifted; arrogant, insolent. ‘You think I haven’t given this due consideration?’ He pointed a long finger. ‘That’s far enough, father. Even without your sword, I don’t trust you.’

‘Your mother-.’

‘I don’t want to hear about my mother!’ The scream bounced off the stone of the cavern. Power sparked dangerously around Phaeton’s clenched fists.


Click here to read Part 4.

This is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge Series. If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here – A, B, C, D, E, F and G.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or subscribe to my newsletter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!
 
Author’s Note: Due to the time constraints of the A to Z Challenge, this piece of fiction has not undergone my usual rigorous editing process and is essentially a first draft.  

Everyone Knows Tomorrow Never Comes – Fiction (Part 2)

Tomorrow Never Comes

Part two to the story posted on April 1 – you can find Part 1 here.
~

Drada’s thoughts raced. ‘You set off the alert. You planned this. You planned me. Why me?’  Beneath the thick, dark wool of his coat, goosebumps ran down his arms. 

Gan’s eyes darted away, dark with the shadow of memories. ‘I know what they do with the prisoners,’ he repeated. His words sounded as though they were dragged from him. ‘They’re taken to a sorcerer.’

Drada’s breath caught. His chest felt as if it were crushed until he couldn’t breathe. ‘A… sorcerer?’ 

Gan hunched impressive shoulders, appearing small despite his bulk. ‘Yeah.’ Blue eyes held Drada’s grey ones, but the sergeant looked like he’d rather be elsewhere. ‘You still got that chain?’

The colonel’s hand dropped to his belt pouch. ‘It’s…’ His throat seized on his son’s name. ‘It’s for Phaeton.’

‘I know.’

Drada’s mouth worked soundlessly. Gan’s face drooped in a frown and he patted the colonel’s shoulder awkwardly. Drada clutched the pouch and its precious cargo. He’d known this day would come, but it had always been tomorrow. Tomorrow didn’t need thinking about. Everyone knew tomorrow never came. 

‘You’re sure?’ Drada hadn’t seen his son for nearly three years, not since charges were brought for  practising illegal, experimental sorcery on humans. 

‘I was virtually an uncle to that boy, Drada. I’m sure it’s him.’

Drada trembled, battered by a hurricane of emotion. When the storm passed, he found himself leaning against the wall and gasping for breath. Gan offered a hand, but Drada brushed him aside. His hand switched between the hilt of his sword and the pouch. Which? Neither option bore contemplation. One would put an end to it now, one would pass responsibility to others. One would offer irrevocable finality, the other the possibility of no closure at all. Neither should be for a father to execute. 

‘Where?’ His voice rasped, so hoarse it was barely audible over the stamp of his boots on the prison’s bare stone floor. 

Grabbing the candle, Gan hurried to catch up, his mail jingling. ‘Phaeton?’

‘Who else?’

Gan waved his hands to signal his helplessness. ‘The prison warden? The lord governor?’ His voice hushed. ‘Duke Alcon? Many are involved, you could want…’ He trailed off under the baleful, grey, glare. ‘This way.’

They took a narrow stairwell, spiralling deep underground. Drada counted the floors. They passed the prison’s upper levels and into the lower, forgotten levels; levels the king had ordered bricked up, levels heavy with the dark secrets of the past. He saw the broken brickwork where sealed doorways had burst asunder. No man with a hammer had wrought that damage. The edges of the bricks gleamed, melted and glassy in the weak candle flame; evidence a sorcerer had been this way.

They trod through the darkness of the horrific past, and deeper into ancient history; a time of whispered fear and half-formed legends. Finally, the stairs spilled out deep in the bowels of the prison. This was a place Drada had never stood, not even before the king’s edict. The walls here were rough, unformed by human hands. He stared into a vast cavern, stalactites and stalagmites spearing the empty space. In the distance, a red glow burned. Rumour spoke of a lake of magma, fuelling the worst and darkest of the ancient sorceries. Drada’s gut clenched. 

Voices echoed out of the glowing darkness, distorted and twisted by the confining stone. It was impossible to tell how many men or where. Drada shrank backwards into the cold, rough wall. 

Extinguishing the candle, Gan pushed him forward. ‘Prison guards,’ he whispered. ‘Making a delivery.’ He nudged Drada into a shallow hollow in the wall. 

Drada pressed himself hard against the stone, but the depression was too shallow to offer any real cover. His heart thudded inside his ribcage as the voices drew nearer. Gan dug his fingers into Drada’s arm. He froze. Sweat trickled down his nose as together they peered into the red shadows.


Click here to read Part 3.

This is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge Series. If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here – A, B, C and D.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or subscribe to my newsletter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!

Author’s Note: Due to the time constraints of the A to Z Challenge, this piece of fiction has not undergone my usual rigorous editing process and is essentially a first draft. 

Daylight Robbery

Big bucks

I am the victim of daylight robbery. Daylight highway robbery, even! I am, literally, being robbed of daylight by my electricity company!
 
Say what?

Suffice to say, in December 2010 we contracted a builder to construct us a new house. The contract included the installation of solar panels. There has been a bit of back and forth on solar power, and what benefits people with solar panels get, here in my State of New South Wales. Last I heard, solar panel owners were to no longer receive 60c/kW for solar energy generated, but only 20c/kW. Now I didn’t consider that unreasonable so I had no issue. 60c was always far too much in my opinion. 

So construction was completed in December 2011 and we moved into the house just before Christmas. In January, we received our first electricity bill… and there appears to be no allowance for the solar power we have generated. So I call the electricity company and this woman says to me…

‘We don’t pay for solar energy.’

‘What, nothing?’

‘That’s right.’

‘You have got to be joking!’

Deadpan. ‘No I am not.’

So, basically, my electricity company is stealing my solar energy and selling it to other people! I was so pissed off, I even briefly considered if this was reportable under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). See that? See the way my brain works? See my Twitter profile – ‘Cross at own peril?’ Connect the dots?

I decided it probably wasn’t reportable, or even if it was, the police would find my complaint laughable, or just wouldn’t know what to do with it. Plus, I’m sure they have more important crimes to be worrying about.
So I find myself in a situation where I’m shopping around. The best deal I can get is $0.06/kW for the electricity I generate and it costs me something like $0.22/kW, so there’s a bit of a gap there. 

Apparently the house uses the electricity we generate first, but it can’t store the energy, so if we don’t use it as it’s generated, it goes back to the grid – at no benefit to me! And of course, the house generates energy during the day, and no one is home five days a week, so our day energy use is really low…

I am determined to use as much of my solar energy myself as I can. So I run the dishwasher now as I leave the house, instead of at night. I schedule my washing machine to come on in the afternoon so I can hang the laundry out when I get home. And of course, now that our ginormous spa is hooked up, it should be drawing our solar energy to heat the spa and power the filtration system. 

Hopefully this sucker will guzzle my solar energy before my electricity company can steal it!
But for now, I have to wait until next bill to find out how much daylight has been stolen from me this quarter….

This is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge Series. If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here – A, B, C.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or subscribe to my newsletter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!

Country Goes City – My Drizabone

Drizabone

I own a Drizabone. That’s basically an Australian oilskin for stockmen. No… I’m not a stockman. I don’t even own a horse…anymore. But I did, and my Drizabone is so totally awesome for keeping the rain off I even wear it into the Sydney CBD when we have heavy rain. 

OK, so I probably look like a noob. Actually, I’m not 100% sure on that, because I stole noob from a pre-teen boy, and I don’t really know what it means. I am sure it’s not flattering. 

So there I am, in Sydney CBD, in a sea of suited and briefcased people, flooding around the skyscrapers, wearing my Drizabone and looking like I just rode into town. It’s got straps to buckle around your legs – so, you know, your coat doesn’t blow up while you’re astride your horse and soak your legs. It’s got an expandable flap at the back; plenty of room to accommodate your horse’s rump. 

And I’m horseless. 
 
But you know what? Those features are just as great for keeping you dry while walking as riding a horse. The leg straps keep the oilskin close, so your coat doesn’t flap open in the wind while you’re walking, helping to avoid the usual umbrella phenomenon of being soaked from the knees down in heavy rain. I’m even so short my Drizabone goes all the way to my ankles!

So maybe I look like a noob. But I’m a dry noob, so when you get right down to it, maybe I’m less of a noob than the people who are wet. 

I love my Drizabone! And I love my hubby, who gave it to me.

This is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge Series. If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here – A, B

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or subscribe to my newsletter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!