A New Place to Farm

He stopped his wagon for the soldiers guarding the border of this new kingdom. “State your name and business,” the first soldier said.  

“My name is Tomas,” he replied. “I heard you needed people to farm your land.” 

“You heard correctly, but why would you leave your home to come farm our lands?” 

“I don’t have a home anymore. All my land is underwater now that the dam broke during the flood. I managed to grab a few baskets of my crops and a handful of my chickens, but I lost everything else.” 

The first soldier walked around to the wagon and looked inside. When he walked back, he nodded at the other soldier to indicate that Tomas only had what he said he had. The second soldier finally spoke. “We need to ask you a few questions before we allow you to enter our fair kingdom. 

“I understand,” Tomas said. “Security is important. 

The first soldier shook his head. “Not security, no. Matters of security here tend to work themselves out with almost no help from us.” 

Tomas was confused by that answer, but he didn’t have time to question it before the second soldier added, “The questions we ask will be to determine if you are compatible with the people here and how well you blend in with our culture. 

He was still confused. Unsure, he weakly replied, “Okay…” 

“Question one: Can you sing?” 

“What?” 

“Can you sing?” 

Tomas couldn’t believe the question. “Are you joking?” 

The second soldier put his hand on his sword, indicating that it was no joke. Before the weapon was pulled, the first soldier jumped in. “Our princess likes to break out into song for no reason. Therefore, the citizens of our kingdom must be able to sing as well in order to harmonize with her. So, we’ll ask you one last time, can you sing?” 

This was ridiculous, he thought, but if this is what he had to do in order to start his life over, so be it. “I’m not the best singer in the world,” he said, “but I’m good enough to sing in the background. 

“Go ahead and sing something for us.” 

Tomas still felt like this was absurd, but went along with it anyway. Not that he really had much of a choice in the matter. He began singing a folk tune that had been sung in his lands for centuries. The two soldiers stopped him before he got to the third line. 

“That was terrible,” the first soldier said.  

“Completely horrible,” the second soldier agreed. “Can you dance? If you can’t sing, you’ve at least got to be able to dance behind her while she sings.” 

“No,” Tomas admitted. “I lost three of my toes fighting of some wolves that were attacking my sheep. I haven’t been able to walk straight since.” 

I’m sorry,” the first soldier said, “but if you can’t sing or dance, we can’t let you into our kingdom. 

“This is ridiculous,” Tomas protested. “I can farm. Surely, that must be more important to your kingdom than your princess’ songs.” 

Both soldiers drew their swords. “Nothing is more important than the musical numbers of our princess,” they said in unison. 

“But…” 

“Get out of here right now,” the first soldier ordered.  

Tomas hurried to do as he was instructed. After he got his wagon turned around, he heard the second soldier yell out, “And if we ever see you anywhere near the land of Disneya again, we’ll fuckin’ kill you!” 

At the Office

Bob was walking down the hallway to his office when he heard a raised voice coming from one of the other offices. He listened for a second to figure out which office it was before he stuck his head in. The office belonged to a man named Tom. Though Bob found Tom to be a little odd, he thought he was a good guy and wanted to help if he could.

At first glance, however, he noticed that something wasn’t right. There was nobody else in the room with Tom. The light was off on the office phone, so he wasn’t using that, and Tom didn’t have a Bluetooth earpiece that he could be talking into. So, who was he talking to?

It wasn’t the first time he’d caught Tom talking to himself, but it was the loudest he’d been while doing it. The frequency of them had been rising too. This was probably the third time in the past couple of weeks it’s happened. Usually, it was in the break room, though.

“Everything all right?” Bob asked the agitated man.

Tom slowly turned his head until he was looking at Bob out of one eye over his shoulder. It was eerie, sending a chill up Bob’s spine. “Everything is fine,” Tom answered after a few seconds. “I’m just trying to work something out and it helps to hear it out loud.”

Bob relaxed a little. It was an explanation that made at least some sense. Still, he wasn’t entirely comfortable with the way Tom was looking at him. He thought it best to just walk away and let Tom deal with whatever the problem was on his own. “Ok. I hope you get it figured out.” Bob should have left it there, but he inexplicably added, “Let me know if I can do anything to help.”

Bob cursed himself for saying that. Why had he said it? He certainly didn’t want to help Tom. Sure enough, as soon as he turned to leave he heard Tom say, “You know what? I probably could use some help.”

Bob rolled his eyes before whipping back around with a fake smile. “Sure, buddy, what are you working on?”

“No!” Tom screamed.

“No? No what? Do you want my help or not?”

A wicked grin slowly worked its way onto Tom’s face. “He knows.”

The whole thing was starting to irritate Bob. Tom was acting crazy and he still had that uneasy feeling that he’d gotten when he first entered the room. “Stop playing around,” Bob snapped. “I don’t have time for this. I’ve got other work to do.”

Bob stepped toward the door only to have it slam in his face. He jumped. The door had shut by itself. “How did you do that?” he demanded.

Tom took a step closer, the grin still on his face. “He knows,” Tom repeated.

“I don’t know anything,” Bob countered, taking a step back.

“You’re not allowed to know. You must be punished.”

Before he could ask what the punishment was, a shadow flew from out of Tom and hit Bob squarely in the chest. The force of the impact threw Bob backwards into the door. Wood shattered when he hit and the door blew apart. When Bob landed, he had a burning sensation in his chest. His heart pumped faster and faster until it felt like it was going to explode.

Then, it did.

Bob’s head lulled to the side as his last breath left his body.

Tom shook his head, wondering why he was at work. The last thing he remembered was opening the door at his apartment for the pizza delivery man. He took out his phone to see what time it was, and was shocked by what he saw. Not the time, but the date. According to his phone, it was a week later than he thought it should be.

All of that flew out of his mind when he looked up and saw Bob laying in the middle of the hallway, surrounded by pieces of the broken door. “Oh my God,” he said as he rushed to Bob’s side. “Are you ok?”

Tom breathed a sigh of relief when Bob started moving. His relief was short-lived when Bob grabbed his arm and tried to bite it. Luckily, he managed to pull his arm free before the teeth clamped down. Tom jumped back and shouted, “What the hell, man?”

When Bob started moving after him, Tom saw that something was very wrong. Bob’s movements were clunky. It was Bob’s eyes that made him cringe, though. They were completely dead and, while he could’ve been imagining things, Tom would’ve sworn he saw a black shadow pass briefly over them. Tom backed away as Bob started to crawl towards him.

“B…br…bra…” Bob stuttered before finally finishing the word. “Brains…”

Tom turned and ran.

What’s Inside

His alarm went off, signaling the start of another day he would spend at work. He brushed the loose strands of his light brown hair away from his eyes before opening them. If he were being honest, he’d admit that he didn’t like his hair being long enough to fall into his eyes, but the longer hair seemed to be more popular with the ladies. That’s the only reason he kept it.

He rolled over to the edge of the bed and sat up. A yawn escaped as he cursed his lack of sleep. Not only had he been up late putting his hair to good use last night, but what little sleep he did get was fitful. He tossed and turned. While he sleeps, his mind bombards him with images and memories of the times he’s been hurt. And the times that he’s been the one hurting another. Those are the moments that haunt him the most.

Lately, those feelings of hurt had escaped from his dreams and they started attacking him throughout the day. Whiskey and women helped push the feelings away, but they were a temporary fix. Once his bed was empty, or his sobriety returned, the feelings would come back to try to break him down. If things stayed the way they were, his breaking point would come soon.

“It’s too early in the morning for this shit,” he mumbled to himself as he stood up.

He walked into his bathroom and turned the cold water on in the sink. Cupping his hands, he splashed some of the water on his face before looking at himself in the mirror. The water on his hands wet his hair, which pulled back as he ran his fingers through it. Red ran through the whites of his green eyes. Stubble covered his dimpled chin. He needed to shave, but didn’t feel like it. A little bit of growth on his face for a day wouldn’t kill him.

As that thought ran through his mind, his reflection in the mirror smiled. He jumped. That shouldn’t be possible. He hadn’t smiled. Only his reflection did.

A nervous chuckle escaped his lips. I’m just imagining things, he thought. It’s just a manifestation of too much to drink and not enough sleep.

He splashed another handful of water on his face, hoping the cold liquid would wake him from whatever stupor he was in. After staring at his face in the mirror for a minute straight, waiting to see if something else would happen, nothing did. He wrote it off as his mind playing tricks on him. That’s when he got the most excruciating headache he had ever felt. His brain felt like it was on fire.

He grabbed at his head and cried out in pain. His body thrashed about uncontrollably. Tears formed in the corners of his eyes and threatened to block his vision. Somehow, through all of that, he saw what had started this whole thing in the first place. His reflection in the mirror didn’t match his movements.

While he writhed in pain, his reflection stood motionless, with its arms crossed, as if bored by the whole display. He tried to hold still long enough to get a better look at it, but he couldn’t. His body wasn’t responding to his commands. The pain was too much.

To his surprise, and horror, his reflection moved. Its hands shot out of the mirror and grabbed him on either side of his face. “Be still,” his reflection ordered.

His uncontrollable body responded to the demand instantly. “What are you?” he asked when he finally found his voice.

The reflection laughed. It began changing in front of his eyes. He watched as it kept growing darker and darker until it was devoid of all color and light. His reflection was nothing more than a human shaped area of blackness. It laughed even harder as a chill of fear rolled down his spine.

“You wish to know what I am?” it purred. “Then I shall tell you. I am every hurt you’ve ever felt. I am every hurt you’ve ever given. I am every fear that has shaken your soul or has come from your actions. I am your every wrong. I am the part of you that you don’t wish the world to see.”

“What?”

“I’ll simplify it for you. You know how everyone has inner demons that they wrestle with?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, your inner demon isn’t very ‘inner’ anymore.”

Before he could ask what that meant, the dark form lunged at him. Right when it looked like it would hit the mirror, it disappeared. The hands holding his face went away too. Then he felt a thud in his chest and couldn’t breathe. It suddenly felt like he was drowning. He fell backward, the blackness that made up his reflection pouring out of his mouth and nose.

The impact with the ground made him see stars. A black shape appeared in his blurred vision. “Thank you for birthing me,” it said. “Thank you for feeding me and making me so strong.” It paused. “Unfortunately for you, you’ve made me strong enough that I don’t need you anymore.”

The last thing he saw was a surge of blackness coming for him.

The Information Broker

I know. I know. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here. To be completely honest, I wasn’t even going to post this, especially after the week I’ve had, but I thought it might do good to post the only good news that I’ve gotten in a while.

Matticus and I have finally published the sequel to The Erratic Sun. It is called The Information Broker and you can get the Kindle version of it here. If you prefer paperback, then this is the link for you.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us and our writing endeavors.

Blackmoon Conquest

Hey everyone. I just wanted to let you know that, as long as everything goes smoothly, the second part of my short story series (about my character Declevon Blackmoon) will be released within the next 4 or 5 days. It is called Blackmoon Conquest and will be available for purchase on Amazon.

I will post a link once it becomes available. I hope you all will check it out.

The Fan Fic Answer

For the none of you out there who were curious about what world I was referring to in my last post, the answer you haven’t been waiting for is finally here. The world that I would like to write a fan fiction in, but haven’t come up with a story to do so yet is:

Thedas.

For those of you who are wondering what that is, Thedas is the name of the land in Dragon Age, which consists of 3 console video games (so far. From what I hear, the fourth one will be releasing sometime within the next couple of years), 5 novels, an animated movie, and a number of comic books.

I have beaten the first two games at least five times each. The third one, only twice, but that’s mostly because it’s a lot longer of a game than the first two. I’ve read each of the novels twice, except for the last one which I’ve only read once. I’ve read almost all of the comic books. I’ve watched the movie 3 or 4 times.

Yet, during all of that, not a single idea for a story has popped into my head. It’s frustrating….

The Fan Fic I Have Not Yet Written

I’ve written in the Star Wars universe. I wrote something in the Left 4 Dead world. I’ve made a couple of trips into the realm of Marvel. I even took a very short hop into the DC universe.

There is one place that I have not yet visited that I would really like to. The only problem is that I really haven’t had any stories come to me from it. That’s incredibly frustrating to me because, other than perhaps the Star Wars universe, I’ve spent more time in this fictional world than any other. Between the books, movie, and video games, I’ve spent a good chunk of time there, yet I can’t seem to get a story from that world to form in my head.

It doesn’t have to be a long one, or even a very good one. I just want a story from there to come to me. I want to type it up. I want to post it on here, if only so I can say that I wrote something from this universe.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

It was at this point, when I originally thought up this post, that I was going to tell you all what world I was referring to, but I think it’d be more fun to see if any of you can guess it. Any of you out there who know me, or have followed my blog for a while, will probably be able to get it fairly quickly. Let’s see, though.

Any guesses on which fictional world I’m referring to?