Friday, 31 March 2017

Part 1

I received my most recent royalties check in the mail today. I opened the chest freezer and realized I needed to go to Henry’s to stock up on meat. I took my collapsible shopping cart from its place under the table against the chest freezer. I put the check in my arc notebook in my mini backpack. I added my surface, because I might need it. I put my cellphone in my right front pocket and after locking the door, the key went into my left pocket.

First, the long walk to Pioneer bank to deposit the check. I took out two hundred in cash and deposited the rest. Enough to go to Henry’s Meat Market and get their Plan D, a shepherd’s pie, and an iced tea. I started planning a menu. The roast first, in the crock-pot, tomorrow night after a second shopping trip to Hannaford. That would last me a few days. Tonight a simple pork chop with applesauce. Humming to myself, I walked passed McDonalds and right up to the door before I realized Henry’s was closed. There were no lights on inside. No meats or products visible. The shelves were bare. The coolers visible on the far side of the shop were empty.

I walked quickly next door to the hardware store. “When did Henry’s close?” I asked.

The woman in the box with the registers answered “About a month ago.”

“That sucks. What happened?”

“The owner in Vermont decided to close the store.”

“Thank You.” I said with a sigh.

“I miss their cheeseburger sub.” The woman answered wistfully as I walked out.

I was upset. I walked over to Stewart’s and got a double scoop chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream cone. Dragging the still folded cart behind me with my left hand, I went back to my apartment eating the ice cream along the way.

I finished chomping on the cone as I reached the door to my studio apartment. I switched hands for the collapsed cart to pull out the key. Then I opened the door and went in. I just leaned the cart against the dresser behind the door as I closed it. I would need it tomorrow or perhaps later today. I really wanted the roast. I placed my mini backpack onto the dresser with the key and cell phone.

I sat on the sofa next to the dresser and looked around my studio apartment. I kicked off my shoes and warmed my feet over the hot air forced vent in the floor. There was still a bit of winter chill and slush from our last storm. The bottom of my flannel pants had gotten wet too. I stood and went to the second left dresser drawer. I pulled out another pair of flannel pants and quickly changed. I walked passed the bathtub and dropped the pants into the washing machine. It was about two-thirds full. No need to run it yet.

I followed the clothesline diagonally across the apartment to use the toilet. Once done, I crossed the apartment to wash my hands in the kitchen sink next to the wine chiller. I crossed the apartment again, back to the freezer. I pushed aside a box of Thin Mints. Pulled up a package of ribs that came in a plan C I had bought last year to find a package of Bone in Chicken Breasts. I dropped the ribs and checked the other side of the freezer. Another chop, a steak, and a package of stew beef. I slammed shut the top of the freezer in frustration. It was too near empty.

The cellphone chimed. I walked over to it and looked. A new email. From the Waterford Library. My books were ready to be picked up. I put the phone back onto the dresser. I looked around the apartment again and sighed. I grabbed the nearly full bookbag from against the wall on the corner of the dresser. I took my surface and arc from the mini backpack and put them in the front pouch of the bookbag.

Not being in the mood to be helpful I plugged the ear buds into my phone. I picked the Irish Pub Rock Radio on Pandora, hefted the bookbag, and once again headed out.

I returned fourteen books to the library and picked up two. I walked out the front door and down Third Street debating. I could easily walk to Hannaford and get what I needed for a good meal tonight. I had room in the bookbag. Buying frozen vegis instead of fresh would keep the roast cold. A couple potatoes. More crock-pot bags. A small sweet tea to drink on the way back, not a two-quart bottle. Some hummus and crackers for a snack. On the other hand, a block of Colby Jack cheese would be good. I might have room to get both actually.

I looked to my left over the Hudson River. Distracted by the thoughts of food shopping I had headed straight towards Hannaford. I leaned on the rail and just looked upriver. The Sick Note began playing and I grinned. I stood there just listening to the story song. When it was over, I pulled out my cell phone, turned off Pandora, and pulled out my earbud. I stuffed the mess into my pocket.

“Hello.” I jumped and spun to the right. Nobody was there. “About time.” The disembodied voice said.

“I don’t suppose you will wait here until after I am done grocery shopping?”

“No.” He said like a petulant child.

I sighed. They were never willing to wait. “What would you like me to do for you?”

“I need to tell my Mother she was right.” He said earnestly. “And I need to tell the police where my body is before she can get rid of it.”

NaBoBloMo Warnings

The month of April is National Book Blogging Month aka NaBoBloMo. It is also Camp NaNoWriMo. Every day this month, I will be writing a blog post of about a thousand words. The main topic will be my new occult detective Tiffany Sibyl Tien. Should any of  the Terrible Minds challenges fit for Tiffany I will write them up too.


On Wednesdays, There will be no short story post. Instead, I will have my usual Young Living Experience post. They all can be found at


Posts this month will be without beta readers. Please do not judge too harshly.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Flight timed out

I was in my shop on the northern edge of the coins when a young news runner raced in and back out with holler of “… is attempting the Test…” I laughed, shaking my head. He was so over excited.

It was a nice day outside. I was alone in my shop so I decided to close up and join the crowd of onlookers. There was always a crowd whenever someone attempted the Test of the Starstone. Business had been slow for a while, not unusual for a specialized shop like mine. Absalom might be the city at the center of the world but firearms are still explosive, expensive, exotic weapons untrusted by many.  Perhaps I could drum up some new business in the crowd. At the very least, I could get another idea for crossing the chasm.

Eventually I wanted to attempt the Test of the Starstone myself and become the first God of firearms. The first true gnome God. I fondled the cubic die with seven pips on the one side in my pocket while exiting the shop. I locked the door and lovingly stroked the bronze female mask upon it. Not only there to symbolize that my shop crafted items on commission but also to attach a glyph of warding to, making the rune on the forehead glow.  If anyone tried to get into my shop while I was gone, the sonic blast from the glyph shouldn’t do too much damage.

The walk wasn’t very long. I had set up my shop as close to the Starstone Cathedral as I was able without having to pay for the Ascendant Courts higher property values. The crowd was gathered towards the right, by Arodens fallen bridge. It was not too large yet and I was able to make my way close to the front so as to not be blocked by taller people.

Standing on the edge of the bottomless pit surrounding the Starstone Cathedral was a female catfolk. She faced the crowd that had gathered to watch her with a toothy grin. She was practically purring from the attention. I was too far away to know for sure if the black stripes on her white fur face were natural or dyed.

After a long time, with the crowd doing nothing but growing, a halfling in plain black robes pushed his way next to me. Someone directly behind us shouted “Speech.” A few more voices took up the shout, which quickly turned into a chant. The halfling beside pulled out an inkpen and traveling journal. The feline held up her hands shoulder high and waved at the crowd. The crowd went silent.

“My name is Vanus. I am a summoner.”

My first thought ‘you’re going to die.’

“I have defeated demons at the Worldwound. Slain a dragon.”

‘A wyrmling?’

“I got this cloak from a worm that walks.”

‘How much gold did that cost her?’ I wondered as she twirled to show the cloak off.

“I recently slew a pack of moon dogs on my way here.”

‘How Many? Three?’

“Now I am going to cross this and enter the Starstone Cathedral.” She said as a griffon flew on an updraft from the chasm to land beside her.

‘It’s about time.’ I glanced at the halfling next to me and saw his brief notes. Vanus. Catfolk. Griffon rider. “Really?”

“Let’s see.” The halfling said with a grin.

I turned back to see the want-to-be goddess struggle up on the griffons bare back.

As I watched the griffon take off, and fly once around the crowd before heading straight towards the Cathedral, I thought. ‘If she was such a powerful summoner why didn’t she summon an air elemental instead? They fly so much better.’ When the female griffon flew over me, I saw the single set of breasts as opposed to the lines of nipples most cats had. ‘Had she been trying for a catfolk version of Mother-Sphinx?’

At the edge of the chasm, the griffon got caught by an updraft and threw the catfolk off trying to regain its own stability. Vanus landed on her feet at this side of the chasm. “Come here.” She yowled at the griffon. It landed beside her and she once again clambered onto its back.

The wind shear would not be the same. It changes just as the inside of the Cathedral changes configuration. The griffon, obviously not knowing that, overcompensated and the summoner nearly flew herself over the griffons head. Nobody has succeeded in obtaining godhood through the Test of the Starstone in eight hundred eighty-five years, not since Iomedae, and it did not look like that streak would be broken.

A gust of wing caught the griffons’ left wing, causing the beast to roll over in the air. The catfolk hung on for dear life. Many in the crowd gasped and cheered when the griffon righted itself with her still on its back.

As the wind buffeted its right wind, the griffon seemed to stagger in midair like a drunk walking over cobblestones. Hard to believe that Cayden Cailean passed the Test of the Starstone on a drunken bet.

A gust of wind blew the griffon back once it finally neared the far edge. The gust blew the griffon nearly into the rim of the chasm in front of us. Vanus flung her legs back, ready to jump off back onto the ground in front of us if necessary. At least she had good reflexes. She would need them in a demiplane where magic was known to not always behave normally. That was if she could get the beast to the other side.

The griffon flapped its wings and tried once again to get through the gale. It was nearly to the other side when in a burst of light it disappeared. The summoner plummeted then her descent slowed.

“Feather fall won’t save her.” I mumbled.

“Perhaps we can finally find out how deep it is.” The halfling said stepping close to the edge as the crowd dispersed.

“Is griffon rider going to be on her monument in the Shrine of the Failed?”

“No.” The halfling said then looked me in the eyes. “Any ideas on how you are going to be using your firearms in the water hazards?”

“None I am willing to share.” I said grinning and turning to return to my shop. “Besides, first tests first.”

“Indeed.” The halfling said behind me.

Aroden became a God when he raised the Starstone from the ocean. It is only natural that water hazards would be present during the Test of the Starstone. Alas, water and gunpowder did not work together.