A Couple of Post Updates

Last week, I told you about how I’m on the fence about continuing with a story that I had started. I didn’t think that I had the time or effort to put into the research I’d need to do to give the story some credibility, to make it as good as I want it to be.

Well, I’ve decided to put that story on hold. It may be temporary, or it may be permanent. It just depends on whether I ever come to a time that I feel like I can finish it properly. I’d rather have an incomplete story that I’m happy with than a complete one that I don’t like.

The other post I’m going to be talking about is from way back in November. It was a post in my Versus series. In it, Matticus and I each made an argument on who would win in a fight. He chose Duncan McLeod. I chose Achilles. At the end of the post, I put a poll down at the bottom for people to vote on who they thought would win. I thought I had set up the poll to close after a week. Apparently, I was wrong. It’s still going.

Over three months have passed now, so I’m calling it. The winner is:

Achilles!

Although, to be honest, it should’ve been an 11-10 outcome instead of 12. I accidentally voted when I was trying to figure out if it was still active. Oops.

A big round of applause to Matt for playing along with me. Sorry for the technical difficulties…

I wouldn’t mind doing another of these posts, if anyone out there is interested in going up against me. Hopefully I’ll be able to iron out the poll glitches before then, though.

Ghoul Fan Fiction Finale

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With five guns now swinging my way, I didn’t have time to check on the Punisher’s condition just yet. I hoped that I could get all five men with one long burst from the automatic pistol. After I mowed down the first two men, the gun began clicking. Damn. I was out of ammo. I dropped the empty gun and drew the two pistols I had in my shoulder holsters.

By that time, the remaining three men had trained their guns on me and opened fire. I was hit by a barrage of bullets. None of them really did any major damage to me. Most of my coat and shirt were gone. My left pinky finger and my right middle finger had been shot off. Although I wasn’t a hundred percent sure, I was pretty sure my hat was now gone too.

Their shots did nothing to slow my own attacks. My trigger fingers worked furiously, sending speeding metal at the jackasses who were doing their best to kill me. Two of them fell with new holes in their bodies. The third man had taken cover before I could get him in my sights. A metallic ring sounded off to my left and I remembered that he was the grenade thrower.

While the grenade wouldn’t kill me, being blown up would severely hamper my ability to do….anything, really.

I dove to my right and hoped that it’d be enough. The explosion came as I hit the floor. Looking back to where it had gone off, I saw that I was now missing my left foot. It wasn’t ideal, but it could’ve been a lot worse. My guns had miraculously managed to stay in my hands, so I made ready for when the grenade thrower moved from cover to check on his handiwork.

Sure enough, he peeked around the corner to look in my direction. I shot the second I saw his head. From the other side of the room, someone else shot at the same time I did. Grenade thrower’s head literally exploded as two bullets tore through it. The Punisher stepped out of the doorway he had been using for cover, the barrel of his assault rifle smoking.

There were some dents in his body armor, and some small cuts on his arms and legs, but the grenade didn’t do him any major damage. I assume he found something to hide behind before it went off. “What’re you doing here,” he gruffly asked.

“Saving your life,” I replied while rolling my eyes. “Now, could you stop being an ungrateful ass and hand me my foot?”

Grunting slightly in response, he did as I asked. Once I had my foot back in place, I picked my two fingers off the ground and reattached them. To test them out, I held up my right middle finger up to the Punisher. “It works,” I said.

He ignored my awesome joke and moved further into the mansion. We made our way through the rest of it with ease. I would go into a room first and draw all of the fire. That left the Punisher free to take them out without having to worry about being under fire himself. It was the most efficient fight I had ever had in my “superhero” career. Well, when working with someone without powers, anyway.

The last room we got to was the master bedroom. When I busted down the door, Dallos stood alone. He was unarmed and holding his hands in the air. “I give up,” he pleaded. “I surrender.”

I thought of the sadness I saw on Amanda’s face when her spirit talked to me. “He’s all yours,” I told the Punisher as I turned and walked out of the room.

I wasn’t sure what he was going to do to Dallos, but I was sure that I didn’t want to be there when he did it. Besides, the sounds of the gunfight had been noticed. Police sirens played outside the house. Flashing red and blue lights could be seen in the windows in the front of the house. I needed to get the hell out of there.

I took off my shirt and trenchcoat, since they were nothing more than tatters now, and grabbed replacements from one of the other bedrooms. The shirt was fine, but there wasn’t a coat as good as my trenchoat at obscuring my face. Grabbing the best thing available, I threw it on and vowed to put my ring back on as soon as I possibly could. I also tucked a change of clothes under the jacket for when I found a place without any cameras.

The police were only at the front of the mansion at that point, so I was able to slip out the back undetected. I took a random route for a while, just in case someone was behind me. After finding a suitable place, I put on my  ring and changed my clothes. Once that was done, I hailed a cab and took it back to my office. Just like last time, I walked in to find the Punisher sitting behind my desk.

“Did you honestly think I wouldn’t figure out that you had taken the file,” he asked.

“I honestly don’t care that you know I took it,” I responded.

“I’ve seen firsthand that bullets don’t do much against you,” he grinned as he pulled something out of his pocket. “I also saw you run from a grenade. You made my work tonight far easier than it normally is, so it would be a shame if I had to use this on you. Give me the file, and we’ll part ways as friends.”

If I had lips, I would’ve smiled. Instead, I said, “Crop dust.”

He began to frantically look around, but didn’t see anything. I could tell he was debating using the grenade, but there was no guarantee that he’d be able to escape the blast when I was this close to him. Within seconds, his arms began to droop. Not long after he slumped over completely.

“Paralyzing gas,” I told him. “A friend of mine got it for me from S.H.I.E.L.D. It works really fast once it gets into the bloodstream. Another benefit of being dead is that I no longer have blood, so it doesn’t affect me at all. I wasn’t sure that I’d ever need this setup, but I like to be prepared.

“I could easily kill you right now, and I bet that I’d be the best friend of many spirits roaming the city tonight if I did, but I won’t be doing that. What I am going to do is drop this off at the police station. I’m pretty sure that a lot of the people in this file probably have enough people paid off that this won’t hurt them too much, but I think some of them will face some time because of this.

“All I’m really sure of right now is what will happen if you get your hands on this: My city will gain a lot of new spirits. You may not care, because you’re done with them once they’re dead, but I do. I don’t want to have to deal with a lot of disgruntled mobsters that you set your crosshairs on.”

I walked over to stand in front of him and put my face right in front of his. “I know you can hear me, so listen up. You’re going to stay right where you are until the gas wears off and then you’re going to disappear from my life forever. I’ve heard you’re not to big about letting things go, so if you ever get the urge to come after me, I want you to remember something. I want you to remember how many people you’ve killed. How many of those spirits would help me against you?

“Sure, you could hurt me with that grenade, but you still wouldn’t kill me. And, once I recovered, I would use every one of those spirits to find out every single thing about you. With help like that, I’d be able to take you out before you even knew I was coming after you. Or, maybe I’d use them to warn every person you’re targeting that you’re coming after them. I suppose I could always scare away anyone who supplies your gear, too. There’s really no end to the things I could do to disrupt your crusade.”

I walked to the door, put my hand on the knob, and turned my head towards him. “No matter which option you choose, I will always be ok in the end. All you’re really doing is choosing how hard your life will be from now on. It’s up to you, Frank.”

With that, I walked out the door, hopefully to never see the Punisher again.

Hiatus

Despite the fact that this is my fourth post in the last three days, I’m actually not in this here blog very often. The recent uptick is due to me not bringing in a new book to read on break at work after finishing my last one. Once I finally remember to grab one in the morning as I’m coming in, it’ll all go back to normal. 

However, in about 2 1/2 weeks, my blog presence will drop off to next to nothing for about 2 months. I’m going to have some issues at home that I’m going to need to take care of and it won’t leave me with a lot of free time. 

During that period , I may find the time to do what I’m doing now, writing a post while on break, but it will probably be sporadic at best.

I’ll still be on here until then. And I’ll come back once everything settles down. I’m just going to need some time away.

Ghoul Fan Fiction Part 7

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Aa much as I wanted to run out the door to help the Punisher, there was some unfinished business to take care of here first. The fate of an innocent child was far more important to me than the fate of a man who spends his nights on a murder spree. “Why’d you take the boy,” I asked. “Are you, or one of your sons, his father?”

“What,” Cook cried, his face crinkling up in disgust. “God, no. I’ve known her since she was born. She grew up with my kids. She was like a daughter to me and a sister to my boys. It’s just that if I didn’t get him, who knows where they would’ve stuck him. I took him because I thought he should stay with family.”

I let my gaze drift over to Robert, who was studying Cook’s face. Making up his mind, he gave me a slight nod of his head. “Ok, Cook,” I said. “Here’s the deal. From now on, you’re out of the business.”

“Dallos will kill me if I try to back out.”

“After tonight, you’ll never see Dallos again, so don’t worry about it. I’m going to assume that, like McKenzie, you have a number of legitimate enterprises?” Cook nodded, so I continued, “Good. You’re going to focus on those and raising Amanda’s son. You will care for him as much as you do your own. I will have someone watching you at all times, Cook. If you do anything to hurt that boy, I’ll be back and when I get done with you, you’ll look worse than me.”

That last part put a little fear in him. I didn’t have time to stick around and press the issue. Instead, I took the elevator back downstairs and ran outside. A couple was out front about ready to climb into a taxi. Once again, my horrid appearance worked in my favor. Not only did the couple run away upon seeing me, but the driver did too. It was about time something went my way.

I punched the address McKenzie gave me for Dallos  into the GPS and gunned the engine, letting the navigation unit catch up as I went. I knew the general area fairly well, from my own time as a taxi driver, but I didn’t know exactly where. Another throwback to my taxi days was knowing the best routes to take to avoid traffic. It still took longer than I liked to get there, though.

The last few blocks were a little odd. Through the city, I moved at a frantic pace. Out here, among the large estates that made up this neighborhood, everything seemed calm and serene. I started wondering if I had come to the wrong place. That’s when the sounds of gunshots began echoing through the night sky.

A gate barred the entrance into Dallos’ estate, so I plowed the cab right through it. Or, I  attempted to, at least. The gate was a lot sturdier than it looked. It stopped the car flat. Still, the taxi did enough damage to it that I was able to squeeze through it. I ran the rest of the way to the front door. When I flung it open, I was greeted by one of Dallos’ men.

With one look at me, he dropped the automatic pistol he was carrying. “Oh, hell no,” he said as he raised his hands and started walking out the door behind me. “First, the Punisher and now some dude who looks like he’s right out of Night of the Living Dead? Nope. I’m done. I ain’t getting paid enough for this bullshit.”

I watched him go, not knowing what to do. That was definitely a first for me. Shaking it out of my head, I picked up the gun he dropped and went deeper into the house. Trying to pinpoint where the gunshots were coming from based solely on the sound was impossible for me. Having no ears has its drawbacks, folks. So, basically, all I was doing was blindly walking around.

In the second hallway I walked down, I found the billiards room. Going inside, I quickly located the flash drive behind the vent, grabbed it, and put it in my pocket. Before I had a chance to put the vent back, a shot rang out behind me. The bullet tore through my trenchcoat and out of my chest.  I turned to see another henchman standing there with a smoking gun. His hands trembled when he saw that his shot did no damage to me.

“We gonna do this the easy way or the hard way,” I sighed.

He replied by repeatedly pulling the trigger. The only thing he accomplished was putting more holes in my coat. Now, I was angry and he wouldn’t like me when I was angry. One squeeze on the automatic pistol sent a small spurt of lead in his direction. He fell backwards, landing with a groan. I didn’t see any blood coming from his torso, so he must’ve been wearing a vest. There were holes in both his left thigh and the opposite shoulder.

I thought about finishing him off, but just walked out of the room instead. As a general rule, l avoid killing people, especially since they might come back to haunt me. If this guy ends up going, it won’t weigh on my conscience. I gave him the chance to walk away and he chose to shoot me.

I checked my pocket to make sure that the man’s barrage of bullets didn’t hit the flash drive and breathed  sigh of relief when I found it intact. I continued on into the next corridor and hoped that the growing decibel level of the gunshots meant that I was getting closer to the action. I was.

As I rounded a corner, I saw that there were five men firing into an open doorway. Three other men lay dead around the room. Obviously, I had found the Punisher. I raised the automatic pistol just as one of the men threw something into the room with Frank. “Punisher,” I yelled to get his attention. “Grenade!”

The men, hearing my cry, turned their guns on me. My weapon started barking out seconds before the grenade exploded. I glanced at the doorway long enough to see nothing but a cloud of dust come out of it.

Going On

Anyone that has been coming to this here blog for a while has probably noticed that, on the sidebar, there’s a column that says “Currently Writing”. Ever since that has been up there, there’s been an entry that says “Twin Earths”. Twin Earths is a story that I have been writing on and off for close to a decade. A few months ago, I got back into it and swore that I would finish it this time, no matter what. 

Now, I’m thinking about breaking that promise to myself. I’m debating on whether I should write in it at all anymore. 

Honestly, the only reason I haven’t given up on it yet is the amount of time that I have put into it. This last time I began writing is the third different time that I have started over in it. I have pages of notes about characters and plot points that I wanted to cover. It just seems like such a waste to give up on all of that.

However, this story was a big undertaking. I had so much planned out that I would have had to make it a duology, which I used to think was fitting considering that it’s called Twin Earths. It’s just too much to live up to now. 

I’m halfway through the first book and I’m having trouble coming up with a reason to keep going. I’ve given up on a number of different projects since I’ve began writing. Most of the time, it’s because I’ve lost passion for the project: the story doesn’t excite me as much as it first did, I don’t like the characters as much as when I started, or a number of other reasons. This time, though, that’s not the case.

I still like the characters. I have the will to continue on. I have faith in the story.

I just don’t have faith that I’m the right one to tell it.

This story is epic, talking place on a global scale. That means that I would have to write about places and cultures that I don’t know about. There is a lot of fighting in it, which would mean that I would need to know a lot about modern police and military tactics. I don’t. Sure, I could probably look a lot of that stuff up, but I just don’t have the time or energy to do that. 

That just leaves me with the question: Should I continue on, knowing that the story will never be as good as I want it to be just so I can finish it, or should I take everything I’ve done and shove it in the back of a closet in hopes that one day I’ll have the time to write it well enough to do the story justice?

As of this moment, I think I’m done.

Little Victories 

The longer I’m at my job, the more I’m growing to despise it. While the work itself isn’t hard, it is pretty monotonous. I used to be able to power through that by playing songs in my head, since we’re not allowed to listen to music. I can’t do that anymore because of the people I work with, who make me wish I could call in every day of the week. They never leave me the hell alone. 

I don’t really like anyone that I work with anymore. There’s a few that are ok, but, for the most part, they all annoy rhe crap out of me. Out of the dozens of people here, there are maybe 2 or 3 that I would even consider hanging out with outside of work. And I probably still wouldn’t. 

So, in order to make my time spent on the job remotely tolerable, I’ve began messing with my team lead. While we’re not overly fond of each other, we’ve worked together long enough that we can get along. Lately, I’ve been playing a game to see if I can say something that will get him to just shake his head and walk away. Since he’s used to my antics, it’s not easy, but here are a couple of times that it’s worked.

  • He asked me why I was taking so long to get something done, so I responded, “Well, I was doing that, but then (our boss) told me to do something else. So, I did that. Then, I went to the bathroom and took a righteous dump. There were several casualties, but everyone survived. Now, I’m finishing up what you asked me to do.”
  • They recently got new computers. One of them, which is pretty much only used by me, has been acting up since it was set up. It will sporadically act like it’s going into hibernation mode, but it’ll only last for 5 seconds. This is very disruptive for me since I have to enter in information on it. When I first told him about it, he said he didn’t think it could be that bad, to which I replied, “I know. I didn’t think anything could mess up as much as you do, but I actually found it.”
  • He told me that some side project needed to be finished by a certain time. I told him, “You know, with as much shit as you give me, you’d think I’d have one to give. But I don’t…”

There are more, but they’re more of a “you have to work here in order to get it” variety. So, I’ll leave you with those.

Ghoul Fan Fiction Part 6

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Once again, the Punisher looked pissed that I was having a conversation that he couldn’t hear both sides of. I didn’t care. “Cook took your grandson,” I asked, not really believing. “With you and Amanda both dead, your grandson gives him no leverage over anyone. Why would he do that?”

“I’m a ghost, not a mind reader, you jackass,” McKenzie retorted. “How the hell should I know?”

“He has two sons around that age,” the Punisher interjected with a shrug. “Maybe one of them is the father. Or, maybe it’s Cook himself, if she had a thing for older men.”

“They had better not be,” Robert fumed. “She told me it was some boy from school. I swear if any of those three even thought about touching my daughter, I’ll kill all of them.”

“Focus, people,” I hollered. “Let’s get back to what matters. We have a deal, McKenzie. If you tell me where you hid those files, we’ll go get your grandson.”

“It’s behind an air vent in Dallos’ billiards room.”

“You hid your files in Dallos’ house?”

“If I was trying to hide something from you, would you look in your own house for it?”

“Good point. Wouldn’t he notice that the air flow is being disrupted, though? There’s no way those files are letting air go by them.”

“They’re on a flash drive.”

“Amanda said you kept all your files on paper because you didn’t trust computers.”

“Do you know how many people in this city are in the business? I’d need a warehouse to keep files on all of them on paper. I was forced to make an exception.”

“It’s really annoying when you talk to people who aren’t there and don’t tell me what they say,” the Punisher grumbled.

“It’s not important,” I countered. “Let’s just go get his grandson.”

“I don’t think so. I’m going to Dallos’ house to get the files.” The look on my face must’ve shown my confusion  because he clarified, “I still heard your side of the conversation, genius.”

I thought back. Had I said where the files were out loud? Damn it! I had.

By the time I turned to try to convince the Punisher to change his mind, he was already halfway out the door. “Let him go,” McKenzie said. “We don’t need him. You’re immortal, right?”

“More or less.”

“Then you’ve got nothing to fear from a bunch of guys with guns.”

I stood up and got my gear together. Once I had both of my shoulder holsters on, and full, I put a couple of extra clips of ammo in my pocket. An old rickety jacket was thrown over my shoulders to cover the guns up as I walked out of my office.

When I was around halfway to Cook’s house, I ditched the old jacket in an alley and put on my tan trenchcoat, that I had been carrying underneath the other jacket. I put on the other garment that I had under my jacket, my brimmed hat, and pulled up the collars. My face needed to be as obscured as possible. Once I had it hidden as best I could, I pulled off the magic ring. Immediately, I returned to my actual appearance.

“What did you do that for,” McKenzie griped disgustedly.

“As far as the world knows,” I replied, ignoring the ghost’s tone of voice, “Jonathan Martin is just a regular private investigator. If a surveillance camera catches him entering, or even near, a place right before a gun fight breaks out, his life becomes far more difficult. For tonight, I’m Ghoul.”

“If you say so, pal,” I thought I heard Robert mutter, but I ignored the dead bastard.

The remainder of the walk was fairly uneventful. Most people ignored my horrid appearance. I told the few who didn’t that I was on my way to a zombie walk, which they applauded. That’s one of the great things about living in New York City. Nothing is considered weird here.

Unlike Dallos, who had a house out in the suburbs, Cook resided in a fairly swanky building in the city. Swanky enough to have a doorman, anyway. I had a way around him, though. All I had to do was walk up to him and show him my face. Naturally, he freaked and tried to run away, but I  grabbed him by the collar of the ridiculous looking jacket they made him wear and made him open the door first. Once he did, I released him and he ran away screaming.

After I got inside, McKenzie, who had been here many times before, directed me on where to go. I got on the elevator and hit the floor number he indicated. While I was going up, I pulled my guns out of their holsters, expecting trouble as soon as the doors opened. There was none.

The doors opened up directly into the living area, an entertainment room by the looks of it. Cook sat on the couch watching TV, with the infant in his hands. Obviously, he heard me approach because without turning around he said, “It wasn’t supposed to happen like that. Amanda wasn’t supposed to die. But, Dallos moved too quickly. I couldn’t stop him.”

“Where are your bodyguards?”

“I don’t have any. I’m a secret mobster, remember?”

He turned to face me for the first time. To his credit, he didn’t react to my visage. “I thought you were the Punisher,” he admitted.

“No,” I responded, “I’m much more charming than he is. I can, however, kill you just as dead as he can if you keep lying to me. Now, where are your bodyguards?”

“I’m not lying. Not tonight, at least. There’s nobody here but us. Everyone else is at Dallos’ house.”

Uh oh. “What are they doing there?”

“Dallos killed Amanda  because he didn’t believe her when she said she couldn’t get the file for us. He thought she was working with someone else to hide it from us. After he killed her, he said we wouldn’t need to look for her partner because they’d come after him for revenge. So, now he’s got all of our guys, plus some extra muscle he hired on, waiting for whoever shows up.”

Damn, I thought. The Punisher is about to walk into an ambush and I have no way of warning him.