Sunday, July 29, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – Willow in the Desert

Someone had once been stupid enough to calculate the odds of any one person surviving the first two years of the invasion.  Then they’d been even dumber and told those odds to Arner.  The number had been so astronomical as to be impossible.  And the odds of a group consisting of one adult and three children, one still in her diapers?
Arner had been too busy beating the shit out of the mathematician to find that out. 
            He swung his arm out to the nightstand, easily finding his lamp in the utter darkness and switching it on. 

Coming January 2013

Friday, July 27, 2012

First Four Friday – Willow in the Desert (WIP)

Chapter 7

The recon team made good time, and it was still dark on the second night when they caught sight of Gander’s Gulch.  Its surrounding chain linked fence reached high, about twenty feet.  Barbed wire capped it off like a maximum security prison.  The equally high wooden gate wasn’t nearly as sturdy as Freetown’s steel, and it required manual opening and closing, but it was forbidding just the same. 

Coming January 2013

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – The Willow and the Stone

            He brightened.  "Maybe there'll still be a nuclear missile hidden in a silo somewhere so I can blast a Pyramid."
            Adam chuckled.  "You'd be wasting your time.  Those damned Pyramids are impenetrable.  They turned all of San Francisco into a nuclear waste dump with no effect on the Pyramid."

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Friday, July 20, 2012

First Five Friday – The Willow and the Stone

Chapter 14

            That night a world of white enveloped the farm.  Snow whirled in a mad dance as the wind whistled.  From time to time, someone emerged from the house to check the animals huddled in their stalls in the barn.  It became necessary to tie a rope from the house to the barn; in that blowing white abyss one might get lost in the mere 50 yards that separated the two buildings.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – Lilith’s Return (WIP)

            The last time Lilith had tried to wrest control of Earth, she’d wiped out all but one of the holy sect.  With no way to know how many years had passed since that last fight, she wondered if the bitch Alex Williams still lived.  If the Segreto had reformed and awaited her return.

“I’m not ready to do this again,” she hissed to herself.  But ready or not, she was back on Earth.  She would not return to the ether until the body she’d spun out of nothingness upon her descent had been destroyed.

Friday, July 13, 2012

First Five Friday – Lilith’s Return (WIP)

Scene 2
…on Earth again.  Shuddering all over, Lilith dragged herself to her bare feet in the middle of a thin, one-lane gravel road. 
            She was corporeal and naked.  Usually, she carefully prepared before chancing the Earth realm again, looking for just the right time and place to launch another offensive against the children of Adam.  To cleanse the world, her world, of mankind’s infestation.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Creating Aliens: The ‘Old Ones’ From The Willow and the Stone

            Two monstrous creatures glided into view, their elongated insectoid figures silhouetted in the bright moonlight.  They stalked up to the bridge that spanned the dry, dusty creek bed and joined the women in the darkness.  Carli and Renee melted behind a support beam. 
            Trapped, Carli's frantic mind whispered.  The monsters had them for sure this time.  She squeezed her eyes shut but couldn't block out the aliens' cricket speech.  They chirped and chittered, grating against her ears.  She wished she could be struck deaf.  Sweat tickled its way down her spine. 
            Muscular Renee, who couldn't begin to approach the power of the spindly aliens, tensed beside her.  The creatures came abreast of the hidden women, chirping ear-bleeding conversation right in front of them. Carli tried to shrink further back, mashing her backside into the ungiving, unsympathetic stone.  Renee crushed against her. 
            A pebble slid from under Carli's foot and clinked in protest as it dislodged and rolled down the slope.  Her mouth flew open to scream; surely the monsters heard the rock crash down.  No whistle of sound escaped her locked, straining throat, but her heart was a bass drum of thunder booming through the night. 
            Her eyes screwed shut against the sight of the looming predators, Carli waited for the bristle-haired mantis arms of an alien to embrace her.  She waited for its needle proboscis to slide into her flesh and secrete its paralyzing poison.  She waited to sag helpless in the grip of the monster while it sipped the life from her veins.  She waited to die a slow, fading death.  Her heart pounded louder than ever, as if to beat as hard and fast as it could in its few remaining minutes.
            The chittering aliens, intent on their conversation, stalked past.  Disbelieving, Carli’s eyes flew open, and she watched them pass from under the bridge.  Motes of moon-glittering dust danced in the wake of the monsters’ long, tapered legs. 
            She released the breath she'd been holding in a rush and sucked it in again as one alien swiveled its head around.  It looked back at the bridge that hid the two women.
            Carli's stomach lurched at the pale orb of the creature's face glowing in the moonlight.  Wispy tufts of hair sprang in sparse bunches from its bullet-shaped head.  The proboscis writhed like a blind worm where a nose and mouth would have been on a human.  Its grayish flesh seemed stretched too tight over its skull; there were no wrinkles, not even creases on its face.
            Its eyes shocked her the most; eyes cold in intent, but horribly human in appearance, almond shaped and ringed with black lashes. 
            The creatures’ naked torsos were long and smooth without benefit of hair, muscle tone, or even genitalia.  Carli had no idea if skin or a harder shell covered their bones; happily she’d never been in contact with one.  Odds were she’d someday lose that joy.

-- The Willow and the Stone, Chapter 1

I hate bugs.  I don’t mind snakes.  Rats, while not pleasant, don’t give me the willies.  But insects, outside of butterflies and dragonflies, are a nightmare for me.  It’s little wonder I went that route when I created the physical description of invading aliens of The Willow and the Stone.  I mean, just look at bugs.  They look like they should be from another planet, right?  But the horror of my aliens is that they also have a passing resemblance to us.  The marriage of insect and human could only result in something nasty.  If you’ve ever seen the classic horror movie The Fly, you know what I’m talking about.

However, these aliens which call themselves the Old Ones can’t be summed up by their appearance alone.  Based on equal parts Bible and Ancient Astronaut Theory, I dreamed up an even more insidious evil:

            It stepped close to a wall, letting the illumination wash over it.  Carli almost screamed.  It was an alien, yet not quite.  Her mind groped to understand what her eyes saw.
            The skin was smooth and peachy-pink, unmarred by the usual bristled hair. It had elongated arms rather than praying mantis legs.  She could even see fingers, though the digits were fused together to form tapering ends.
            It was genderless like all aliens.  It wore no clothing, so she couldn't miss the absence of genitalia.  Still, its voice sounded masculine. 
            Strangest of all was its face, and not just because of the too-human brown eyes.  One dagger fang in the upper gum kept its mouth from being toothless, but still the Old One possessed a mouth, not a writhing siphon.
            This creature could only be an alien, but there was no mistaking it had once been human.
            It flashed her a gummy smile.  The single fang winked.  "As you can see, I'm still in the process of Becoming."
            "You — you were human?" she ventured.  She fought the urge to run.
            "Once I was a man.  Handsome and successful before the Pyramids came but still puny.  Now I am Becoming.  I will have strength and power ... as an Old One I rule the world."  It grinned down at her.  "Go ahead.  I know you have a million questions.  Ask now while I'm in a good mood."
            Carli swallowed her horror.  This thing wants to talk?  Maybe it’s still more human than monster.  While it offered the chance, survival insisted she learn as much as possible.  Her voice shook despite her resolve.  "Were all the Old Ones once human?"
            "All the ones now living.  We predate humans though.  Earth was our beginning too.  We're even in the Bible."
            Carli didn't dare voice her disbelief to the horrific creature, but it must have shown on her face.  The Old One nodded affirmation.  "Really.  Listen to this:  'There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same Became mighty which were of old...'  There you have it, right in the book of Genesis."  It grimaced.  "My father was a Baptist preacher.  At one time I could've quoted you the entire Old Testament.  He was avid about memorizing verses."
            "The aliens – I mean, the Old Ones came from space, didn’t they?"
            "They fled with the Great Flood and traveled for hundreds of years before finding a habitable planet.  They took a few humans with them to breed for food and their own continuation.  Transforming humans is our way of perpetuating the race." 

-- The Willow and the Stone, Chapter 18

And you thought mosquitoes and cockroaches were bad.  Just imagine a seven-foot praying mantis man eyeballing you as a tasty snack.  Eek.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – Lilith

Playtime had also been kept low key.  Her acts of destruction were petty for now, little amusements to while away the time.  Poisoning beloved pets, going to nightclubs and distributing hallucinogens that would leave partakers mentally unbalanced for the rest of their short lives, setting fires to a couple of churches … these were tiny pleasures until she could visit the full brunt of destruction on mankind.
            Lilith was determined to stay hidden, to arouse no suspicion from the Segreto.  She'd have to get help, someone who could accomplish the more trivial matters of corporeal existence.  Someone she could trust. 

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Friday, July 6, 2012

First Four Friday – Lilith

Chapter 13
                As Alex and the brothers tensed to battle Lilith, the strains of merry music floated out of the house on pine-scented good cheer.  Burl Ives invited them to have a holly jolly Christmas.  The demoness at the door, her head topped by a shock of frizzy brown hair, her torso wrapped in a green candy-cane embossed sweater, peered through the screen door at them.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Five Fave Ray Bradbury Stories/Books

With the passage of a great author that I idolized, I decided to share the works this amazing and prolific master inspired me with.  RIP Ray, and thanks for all the great stories.

Fahrenheit 451:  You wouldn’t think a book I had to do an 11th grade report on would become a favorite.  This was my first exposure to Bradbury, and what an introduction.  Even more amazing is the fact he wrote this classic in only 9 days. 

The Martian Chronicles:  Written in the 1950’s, a series of interwoven stories taking on capitalism and racism in the form of a narrative involving Earth colonizers destroying the Martian society still stands tall today.  It remains an astounding piece of work.

Something Wicked This Way Comes:  Good vs. evil in a nightmare of a carnival.  Shivers galore. 

The Sound of Thunder:  The short story of a safari hunt in the prehistoric past.  This is where ‘the butterfly effect’ was born.  Chilling to think how one small change in history could have such far-reaching effects.

Zen in the Art of Writing:  Bradbury transmitted his enthusiastic joy for his art in this nonfiction treatise on writing.  It was a terrific inspiration for me as I struggled to realize my own dream.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – The Prophet and the Crown II: Descent (WIP)

            The strange thing about Hell, when she paused long enough to think about it, was there was no lake of fire, no inferno of flames.  Her surroundings were so bland one could go mad with boredom looking at them.  The curved ceiling, the walls, and the floor appeared to be granite, but smoothed over as if carved by a constant underground river.  Smooth, but not polished.  There was nothing to relieve the blandness, no crags, no crannies, no nooks, no hard edges anywhere. 
            For all the time she’d been there … it could have been days or weeks or eternity … she’d never seen a light source.