Monday, September 12, 2011


The Lady swept across the floor with the grace and purpose afforded only those benefiting from lavish description of literary prose or dream time disregard for human failings. Languid and sublime her eyes followed her companion as he paced the room agitated and vexed as he sought to know the mind of his god.

The room was dark and vast with shadows hiding secrets of deeds and ages best hidden from the eyes and minds of men. His steps echoed down marble corridors and back through time while her step left no sign of her passing as she was of course neither here, neither now nor even a true to her form and function. Her companion knew her as a lady, as The Lady in fact and nothing else and yet this form was but an apparition; a physical presence to which they could assign a name, an identity, a person where truly none existed. She was after all not a physical thing but rather a concept; a conduit; an artifact.

"There's a war coming, I can feel the distant rumble of the enemy lock step and heretical", his baritone voice echoed through the catacombs. He lowered his helmet into place a thing of dark metal with rigid horns thrust out from the face as if fashioned after something ancient and aquatic. Something one would do well not to stare into or question its origins.

"7", The Lady said turning to the dreamer. "You'll forgive my friend I hope. He has been a devout man for several lifetimes long and bears the scars of his faith. One cannot stare into the furnace of one's god without consequence nor converse with the black and not have one's tongue twisted as a result", the Lady was tall and pale, lovely and distant and spoke with a far away lilt.

"But this time it's different. This time they come with steam, "reason" and logic. They dissect His world and leech from it the wonder and glory. And, and something...else." The man was wearing the trappings of death, of bone mantle and robes of human skin, twisted flesh and pale skin looked off into the dark lost in thought.

"14", the Lady brushed her hair back and moved in a fluid drift. She looked saddened by the plight of her companion. "He seeks to know the mind of his god and in so doing fights darkness with darkness seeing justification and reason, such as it is, where he sees fit. As is the nature of your kind I suppose".

The unholy holy man continued to rave, "This time, this time there's something else. Something just beyond the veil not of their making but an artifact. Something calling to them and whispering corruption into their eager ears. Blasphemy. An arrogance of technology".

"28 and back again," the Lady said turning back to her invisible dreamer. "The worlds want unification and peace."

"And that heathen thinks he can control me and employ my influence to his own ends. He'll face the flames of judgment soon enough. A fitting reward to one who claims to have given fire to man. Heretic!"


"Hardly the blood of innocents" , The Lady's gaze drifted languidly about the room, a candle lit horror of carnage ­and blood. Cloaked figures lay sprawled amid the trappings of necromantic ritual.

"Well, innocence is a subjective thing isn't it my dear?", offered The Demon at her side. Looking to the knife held absently in her elegant and blood soaked hand he raised an eyebrow and smiled wistfully, "Really, a bloody knife? Something of a cliché as metaphors go wouldn't you say?"

"Yes, well, some things are classics for a reason." Examining the blade with a critical eye The Lady smiled approvingly, "Although sometimes a knife is just a knife and a key nonetheless to deeds that lay hidden 'neath layers of self-deception."


The Lady with timeless grace and silence of ages reached down a pale hand and lifted Clarisse from the floor. The two stood in the shadows above the ritual as it unfolded, Clarisse's nude form lay on the cold stone her eyes heavy with drug or religious stupor. Cloaked figures moved about the room, their steps mimicking a rune carved into the floor as they murmured a long forgotten tongue.

Detached and distant Clarisse watched as the ritual unfolded. As if in a dream, for in fact it was, the events played out with the surreal and removed nature of dream. The binding. The perfect assassin. The blending of worlds. In the shadows a lone figure watched as if conducting through force of will alone. A tall man wearing a dark cowl and darker demeanor he turns towards the dreamer and in a familiar baritone , "They were but a means to an end and mean indeed; base of nature. And yet in the end I too was a dupe of the villain that would bring fire to man and in turn their destruction."

In chorus the others turned to the dreamer, " We never sought the merging of worlds; the destroyer, we were but pawns in a greater game begun long before the memory of man".

Again the scene changes as dreams are wont to do. "Theirs' were but simple ambitions to summon a demon do their will never realizing they were being manipulated by a greater and far darker ambition." The Lady drifted through the scene of the devout and misguided man from the earlier dream as he vilified those that assail his god with technology, reason and science while leeching wonder and glory. His cold stone floor bears the same inscription as did the earlier scene, as does Clarisse's pendant, as is mimicked in the room beneath the Temple of The Veil. "No dear, not his ambition. He is but a misguided soul whose religious fervor distorted his calling over more lifetimes than a man is meant to live. No, he too is but a pawn in the grand scheme of things."

Again the scene changes and now Polidori stands in a placeless place and directs the dreamers view out over a map of the world. "We truly did have the best interest of man at heart. We took upon ourselves to protect man from the fire of his own imaginings, his superstitions and fears. Man is indeed his own worst enemy and we the shield against his own imaginings."

Clarisse wakes. She stands in the dark, in the library of Diadotti holding the map recovered from the sub-basement of the Temple of the Veil. "Some maps are meant to hide not find" echoes in her ears.

Aztec legend: THE END OF DAYS – “ When the great seals align the gods shall return to the world of man with beauty and wonder, and man shall tremble in their passing. Their very whim shall set the lands afire with chaos and fear; their passions shall lay waste the promise of man.”

This is a time of secret and not so secret societies, séances supposedly reach out to the spirit realm treading a fine line between spiritualism and necromancy. The former being all the rage in polite society and the latter strictly forbidden. While the likes of Helena Blavatsky may publically tout the virtues of Theosophy, astral dimensions and Atlantis those that cross line into the practice of compelling spirits and demons do so in darkened halls with hushed voices whispering through the veil. Even so, most are of course led by charismatic charlatans whose focus is less on breaching the veil of the nether realm and more on the far less ethereal goals of founding cults for wealth and power - financial and charnel - in this physical realm. The Hall of the Nameless was not such as this. The Nameless were rumored to have halls in various major cities and their ranks reached the lowest of society and highest levels of nobility and influence. While other so called secret societies enjoyed a thinly veiled intentional celebrity couched in terms of secrecy with secret handshakes, lapel pins and smoking lounges the Nameless rewarded loose tongues and bravado with quick and brutal death.

Clarisse found herself within these halls and learned of things dark and lost to the minds of man. Whispers of the Antediluvians that walked the Earth even today; of demons and devils whose form and nature are dictated by the fears and superstitions of man; of places here and not here just beyond the reach of man and just beyond his knowing. And of something waiting just beyond the veil. A secret only hinted at in ancient texts. This was a black time and demons roamed the halls held in checked by pacts best left unknown and things dark and unspoken lurked behind the oily eyes of those self-appointed priests of the Hall of the Nameless. In 1817 it ended.

Clarisse awoke from a ritual to find herself naked and while all of her fellow members of the hall lay dead she was far from alone. She would never again be alone as she had been inexorably bound to Hercule, a demon infinitely and but a whisper far away. But the others. The member of the Hall lay dead or missing, not simply in this one chamber but everywhere within their sanctum. And not only this sanctum. Her search for answers took Clarisse throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas as well and in each city, in each sanctum she found the same; dead or vacant halls. None of the Hall of the Nameless seemed to have survived the night of the ritual.

While she has no memories of what happened that night one image lingers: a woman. A woman beautiful and timeless looming over her with a gentle smile and comforting words of an unknown language. A dream, a demon or a fevered memory of a fellow member of the Hall she doesn’t know. But the image persists.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Topic: Chapter 1

For this assignment (should you choose to accept it!) you are to write the beginning of your new novel. Imagine the book, and then write the opening of the story - the first chapter (of course, you don't have to write the whole chapter, just the beginning of it - unless you WANT to, in which case, go nuts!). Your goal here is to establish the setting, the characters, anything that's going to be important to the overall story - this is the reader's first impression. They just picked up a 500-page novel; here's your chance to hook them.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Went through the desert

Yeah, the lyrics say it all - "I went through the desert on a Horse with no name.." lah la la la la lah. See? Roadies never get any credit. A Horse With No Name. That's me. No recognition, no attribution, nothing.

BUT, I hear you say - that's just a metaphor! It's Symbolism.

Symbolism my shaggy... tail. That damn desert sun was HOT. And that river that flow'd made me more than sad it was dead, it damn near killed me. Then, then, after I'd hauled his sorry unprepared ass across the desert AS requested, he just turns me loose as soon as he gets where he wanted to go. No pay, just "run free!". That's a life of service for ya.

Working for musicians is a hard gig, excuse the pun. They don't think ahead and you kinda get pulled into their personal unreality. Then, suddenly you're out and looking for new ride. On the other hand, they ride you hard but they ride you light. Too skinny, most of 'em to weigh much and too spacey to pack even the basics so as long as you're good at scrounging you can have a good time. Saved a few lives in my time too - leading the lost out of the wilderness as it were.

Not bad people really.... I was actually glad to get out of the rain. It had been a long cold lonely winter and you know how that makes a hard days' night out of the whole damn year.

You gonna eat that apple?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Son of the desert

Yeshua squinted into the unforgiving sun overhead. His feet ached and his head pounded; his mouth felt dry and his hands seem to open and close of their own volition. He could feel his heart pound, a shiver of sweat running down his back and the desert wind was anything but refreshing. Through the haze of the desert heat he could make out the crowds below and immediately dropped his gaze as if to avoid eye contact even knowing there was no danger of that at this distance.

"You're stalling" came a voice from behind him.

Yeshua sighed and rolled his eyes skyward. "And you are helping not at all". He flexed his hands and ran his fingers through his beard absently pulling out a tangle. "What if I'm wrong?"

His friend stood behind him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, "It really doesn't matter at this point does it?"

"How can you say it doesn't matter? How could anything possibly matter more?! They're here because of me. They're here because...because..."

"I know," said the other man as he looked down the hillside as the crowd below. "Yeshua...I know. I know you're scared. I know you doubt. But at this point it doesn't matter. They need a messiah. And they need YOU to be that messiah."

The murmur of the crowd in the distance and the howl of the desert wind punctuated the silence of the moment. "But...but what if I'm not? Judas, what if I'm not? What if I've imagined it all? What if I've fabricated it all in a vain attempt at fulfilling the prophesies? What if I'm simply crazy?"

Judas breathed deeply and surveyed the crowds gathered below. He thought back to the man named John whom they all knew to be insane. He thought back to the hope he had seen in the eyes of the enslaved and hopeless. The spark of glory and enlightenment he had seen in the eyes of those that followed his friend and were inspired to greater things by his teachings. He cast his mind's eye back to the temples, the market place and the expulsion of the money lenders and heathens and the healing of those inflicted and without hope. And he wished desperately for his friend to be the savior of man, the lamb and the son of Yahweh. And he knew without doubt he was sending the lamb of god off to be a lamb to slaughter. "My dear friend, you're not crazy. At least not in deed and spirit. The people need a lamb of god and they need you to be that lamb. They need hope and they need a future." And the future needs a lamb to slaughter.

Yeshua stood and his body ached. His head pounded and mouth was dry. He walked to the overlook and cleared his throat. He felt dizzy as he looked down at the expectant faces as the murmur died to an overwhelming silence. "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Son of the Desert Sun

Jacob cleaned his father's guns - among his many responsibilities at the homestead, that was the most important. As the eldest he had been the one who learned how to clean the rig - Ezekial tended father's stallion, Michael kept his bedroll and camp gear clean and in order, but Jacob cleaned the guns and the belt and holster they rode in.

He remembered how his father had called him over to the fire one night when Jacob was eight - seven years ago now. His father had just returned from the desert and still wore the sour smell of weeks spent under the pitiless hammering sun tracking his prey; always, before even washing himself he would tend to his guns. He had called Jacob over and Jacob had approached apprehensively - if he had come near on his own his father would have driven him off with scarce more than a baleful glare, but now his father beckoned him close with a gesture. He remembered how his father had wordlessly shown him how to clean the guns - removing the cartridges from the cylinders, breaking down the pistols, lathering and cleaning and polishing the leather holsters. When he had finished, his father had handed them to Jacob and said, "Now you." Jacob remembered the quailing nervousness in his heart as he took the guns in his hands, but he knew Father would be more angered by trepidation than mistakes, so he did his best to repeat the steps Father had taken. Father had watched him wordlessly, correcting with a grunt and a pointed direction when Jacob erred. When he finished, Father said to him, "Next time I return, you will do this," and Jacob had done it since. How many times had that been? Easily ten, twelve times a year...nearing a hundred by his estimation.

He had come to know those guns and the leather of the rig intimately by that point. When he was done the ancient scrollwork on the barrels would gleam and catch the light; the countless layers of salt and grime that had seeped into the leather of the belt had been washed clean and the carved leather shone with a deep glow.

The gun-belt had been intricately worked and carried symbols and runes that ran around the entire edge of the leather, top and bottom. On the back the belt-maker had carved a tableau; Jacob speculated that it depicted a scene from some lost tale. It showed a barn surrounded by spreading trees and standing hard by a vast pond; at least Jacob reckoned it to be vast - he had never seen a pond, so anything larger than the watering trough the horses drank from was vast to him.

Father had returned today after ten days' absence. He arrived just after sunrise; Zeke had slammed the door open and yelled that Father was back. Michael and Jacob had immediately dropped the chores they'd been attending to and readied for Father's arrival. Jacob pulled the lacquered box that held the soaps and brushes from the red cabinet in the entryway and Michael cleared a space among the breakfast dishes, preparing to clean father's camp plates and cups and the coffee pot he always carried.

Father had come through the door limping. Jacob and Michael bowed formally but instead of stopping and studying them a moment before returning the bow as he usually did, Father made a noise, a sound halfway between a gruff dismissal and a grunt of pain, and brushed past them into the bedroom and closed the door. Jacob observed that he was holding his left arm stiffly by his side. Jacob turned to see Michael and Zeke, who was standing in the doorway, both staring wide-eyed at the door Father had just shut. None spoke for a moment, then Zeke whispered,

"Come, see! There's a man on Father's horse!" He swallowed nervously, then continued, "I think he's dead!"

Desert Sun or Son (suggested by Margaret)

Friday, July 22, 2011

An Object in a Dinner Scene - 7/23/11

Sherri looked magnificent. The flimsy red dress with the deep decolletage showed off her brand-new boobs, and Max's thick gold and diamond tennis bracelet made the perfect complement to the outfit - a necklace would've just cluttered the lines of the dress and distracted from the view.

It was the best table in the restaurant, and as she sat there alone, she was aware of the glances in her direction. More men than women would stare, of course, but the women always looked longer. They wanted to see something besides a bland smile on her face. The men, though - they only took in the superficial details. Aware of the audience, Sherri refrained from checking her lipstick, smiled just enough at the waiter who had silently appeared at her elbow, and ordered an expensive Scotch whiskey, neat. It would irritate the women and the intrigue the men.

Thanking god for booze, Sherri wondered what else she could do to pass the time. The appetizer menu arrived with no prices - of course. Four perfect little choices, all beyond hip and more taste than substance. "Lemon-grass foam with oyster reduction and bacon pearls" - what the hell? At least it was amusing reading. She toyed with her left earring, making sure that the expensive little bauble was still firmly attached to her ear, before giving in to temptation.

The bracelet glinted alluringly in the discreet candlelight of the restaturant as she checked her smartphone again. Max was never on time, but always insisted that she be there waiting for him when he swept in with his financial entourage, his reporters, and that person that she always privately thought of as his Famous Groupie of the Week. She didn't care who it was anymore. Waiting for Max, looking perfect - all part of the deal.