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Contest Time!

I found a few extra copies of different Monster Squad books and thought to myself, ‘Hey self! If you order just a handful more, then you’ll have a complete set!’ Well, I did and they came in today!

Then I sat here, feeling accomplished, and wondered, ‘Hey, self…what are we gonna do with another whole complete set of books?’ For the record, self didn’t answer. But while talking to the missus, she said, why not have a contest? Again, I was confounded. What could kind of contest could I possibly have to justify a complete (autographed) set of the Monster Squad??

MS1-10

So I did the smart thing. I asked Jess again. She said, ‘Have a contest where people prove they’ve left a review for all ten books, then draw your winner.’

I’m so glad I married someone so smart. A contest like this would accomplish quite a bit. You guys all know that reviews make or break indie authors and this way we both win.  Well…ONE of you will win because I only have one extra set, BUT it’s a COMPLETE set. And did I mention that they’re autographed? That makes them almost worth as much as they were before I scribbled in them.

So there ya go. I reckon I’ll let this contest run a month, have the entrants email me their reviews and toss the names into a hat. Shipping is on me so this one is CONUS only, sorry overseas fans (although your reviews are highly appreciated, too!).

That’s it y’all. Enjoy, have fun and if you haven’t read MS10 yet, give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Peace, Love and Bacon for all!

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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For My Girls Ch 4

Now that the dust has settled around the release of MS10, The Final Monster Squad novel, let’s get back to the unfinished stories that lay in the shadows of my computer’s hard drive.

Huntress was a continuation of Sven’s Hunter trilogy. Erica, his daughter, is demigod and must be hidden from her grandfather, Odin. She is an assassin, trained by the best of Asgard and she has only one mission…to destroy any demigods that may arise.

But what happens when the demi she is sent to kill captures her heart? Read on to find out more…

4

I learned that her name was Hildy. Short for Hildegard. Not a pleasant name to have roll off the tongue, but I’m told it was considered a blessing to have a female named Hildegard amongst her peoples.

She spoke of the gods and the great battles that they had amongst themselves. She explained to me how the less honorable of them would come to earth and walk amongst mankind. It cemented their faith and gave them great strength…for a short time.

When men think about their gods, it ‘feeds’ them. The power of the spoken word or unspoken thought, prayers and meditations, it all concentrates into a mental energy that the gods feed from. They use that power to increase their own strengths.

Gods like the zodiac used to cheat the system and go to those people who had multiple gods. They appeared to them and they would assume their god’s mantles. They cheated the ancient people of their true gods and it was looked down upon by the other gods. They were soon blacklisted and it was the Greco-Roman gods that finally broke them of their bad habits and left them banished from the realm of the gods.

This was immediately after the zodiac had tried to assume the Norse gods positions from their people. Odin led the battle and kicked the zodiac’s asses. They had just returned to their own realm when the Greco-Roman gods struck the final blows. Zeus banished the zodiac and they hadn’t been heard from in millennia.

I listened intently, taking in the lessons of my people that I had never been taught. I learned how the demigods used to be common until Odin, Zeus and a few other leaders among the gods declared the demigods heretic and slayed them all.

This caught me off guard. I was suddenly afraid to even be in her presence, yet…she knew I was a demi before I ever spoke to her. I think she noticed my apprehension because she gripped my hand and soothed me with her voice. “Easy child. Not everyone believes as the Allfather.”

“Aren’t you afraid what might happen to you if they ever discovered you helped me?”

She laughed and it was a deep throaty laugh. I hate to admit that it was contagious, but she had me chuckling right along with her. “Really? And what could they possibly do to this old woman that hasn’t already been done?” She wiped the tears from her cheeks and patted my arm. “No, child. You need to know what you are and why.”

I wasn’t sure I understood but I nodded. “Please, explain it to me.”

She leaned back and took a deep breath. “Child, you are the product of two completely different worlds. The world of man and the world of the gods.” She stared intently into my eyes and I felt as though she could read my very soul. “The gods fear you because you have the potential to be even greater than they are.”

“I don’t understand. If I’m only part god, how can I be greater than they?”

Her smile set my mind at ease and I believed every word that escaped her. “Because you can combine the best of both worlds. It’s the very nature of what you are. The real quandary is, why were you created.”

“My parents say it’s because they loved each other and I came into being.” I glanced over my shoulder towards Asgard. “My uncle says it’s to serve the gods and do those things that they have sworn never to do again.”

Her brows hiked and she stared at me. “Truly? And what have they sworn never to do again?”

I cleared my throat, almost afraid to repeat the words. “To appear before mankind. Even to do what needs doing. That is why they act through nature.”

She laughed again and shook her head at me. “Silly child. They simply want to use you. You are their enforcer. Much like your father is for the vampires.”

I gave her a shocked stare. “How could you know what my father does?”

Her face sobered and she stared back at me. “Child, that is what I do.” She pointed to herself. “I was the oracle.”

 

*****

 

Hildy explained to me how she had been the oracle until she met her true love. She knew he was coming and she had been ordered to turn him away.

She couldn’t do it.

Instead, she ran off with him, abandoning her post and her responsibilities. It had taken them nearly two generations to find another who could do what she had done.

In her prime, Hildy had advised kings and gods, paupers and trolls. She was highly sought after and although the legends say that once she was deflowered, her gifts would fade, they never did.

The only thing she never saw coming was the king’s men taking her only child from her. She assumed it was her eternal punishment for abandoning her position. She had spent many lifetimes questioning whether she would have still left with her love if she could have known the pain she would feel later. Part of her claimed that she would have never known love…the love of her husband or the deepest love that only a mother could know. Another part of her would argue that knowing love and losing isn’t worth the pain. She had long ago given up on the ‘what if’ arguments.

“What it all boils down to is, what are your intentions?”

I shook my head. “To serve. To protect the nine realms. To do what I was created for.”

She sighed heavily and shook her head. “Child, if you learn nothing else from me, learn this…it’s a far more noble thing to live your own life than to live the life expected of you.”

Her words caught me off guard and I debated whether she was speaking from her own experience or channeling my future. “I’m not sure I know how to live my own life.” I poked at the dirt with a stick, unable to look her in the face. I was too embarrassed to admit that I was too young to know what I might want to do with my life.

She nodded as though she truly understood. “You will know when the time is right.” She suddenly stood and stretched.

“We’re not done are we?” I was honestly worried that she was going to send me away. I felt like there was so much more I needed to know and only she could enlighten me.

“I need a drink. And not some weak tea brewed from bark and leaves.” Her eyes glimmered with that mischievousness that I had seen earlier. She disappeared into her tree trunk and reappeared moments later with a leather flask. She pulled the cork with her teeth and took a long pull from the skin. She took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. “That will tighten the skin on your backside.”

She handed me the leather skin and I held it close to my mouth, unsure if I should partake. My mother would have a fit if I did. She wouldn’t even let me drink coffee.

Now I know why my father enjoys his mead. The honey wine she offered me was sweet and savory, but it burned all the way down my throat. The warmth it left in my stomach was not unpleasant.

It didn’t take long and the trees were swaying without a wind to blow them. Everything we spoke of was much funnier and I suddenly didn’t care so much about the problems I had arrived with.

“So tell me child. What really troubles you?” She sat beside me, passing me the skin.

“I’m supposed to kill this boy.” I took a swig and felt my head spin. “He’s a man, really, but…he’s a demi, like me.” I handed the skin back to her.

“Ahhh. Let me guess. The gods sent you to kill him, yes?”

I nodded. “They did. Oh, but he’s sooo cute.” I batted my eyes at her. “Surely they must have made a mistake to want to kill somebody so…”

“Handsome?” She gave me a wink as she took another pull from the skin.

“Oh, very. He has the prettiest eyes. Like liquid pools of the purest amber.” I sighed heavily and leaned back against her tree. “And his smile is brighter than the sun.”

She laughed as she handed me back the skin. “Sounds to me like you’re in love.”

I gripped the skin and stared at her. “How can I be in love? I’m not even six years old yet.” I snorted and took another pull of that sweet nectar.

“Child, age is nothing but a number.” She pulled the skin from my grip and pointed to herself. “How old do I look?”

I was starting to see two of her. I leaned closer and tried to gage the wrinkles around her eyes. “Which one of you?”

She laughed and fell back against the tree. “Either of us. Both!”

“Oh, well, then….you must be at least fifty years old.”

She laughed so hard she fell over. For a moment I feared she might spill the mead, but she held the flask high and upright. When she finally composed herself, she handed it back. “You’re too kind.”

I shrugged. “Fiftyfive?”

She shook her head at me and pointed a finger. “Much, much…much older than that. But nevermind.” I felt her hand cup my face and she pulled me closer. “You’re a woman. You may not have many years in the realms, but you are grown. And a grown woman can…and often does, fall in love.”

“But I don’t know this boy.” I pushed the cork back into the skin and set it between us. “I just know that he’s pretty.”

She nodded. “That’s all I knew of my husband when first we met.” She gave me a sad smile. “Sometimes that’s all you need.”

“But I’m supposed to kill him.” I tried to sober and found it increasingly difficult to keep my eyes open. “He’s a demigod like me. He can’t be allowed to…to…”

“To live?”

I had to think about what she had said. I found myself nodding, but still questioning the ‘why’ he had to die. “They never told me what he’d done to deserve death.”

She shook her head and turned my face to hers. “Because he exists. They cannot suffer a demigod to exist. It could upend their entire creation.”

“How?” I tried to stand and quickly realized that was a mistake. I sat back down and placed a hand firmly against the trunk of the tree to keep the realm from spinning out of control.

“Did you not listen to what I told you? You and he…you have the potential to be even greater than they are.” She sat upright and seemed to sober immediately. “Child, they are old. Nobody prays to them any longer. They survive off the energy of those who are already here. The humans? They’re all enjoying their form of the afterlife. The rest of us? We were moved here when mankind broke the treaties with us. The elves, the trolls, the dwarves and giants…we all came here when mankind decided to hunt us down. We’ve been here ever since.”

“Sounds to me like mankind isn’t worth the trouble of saving.” I reached for the skin and she pulled it away from me.

“You’ve had enough. You need to be able to think now.” She snapped her fingers and I was suddenly clear headed. I have no idea how she did it, but something told me that she was more of a witch than an oracle. “Now pay attention.”

“I am.” Although it was very disconcerting to suddenly sober.

“You and he are different. And not just because you are demis. No. You two could simply walk the earth and reveal yourselves to men and you would have worshippers falling from the trees like leaves in autumn. Think of the power you would be stealing from the gods if you did that!”

I shook my head. “But we wouldn’t do that.” Could I truly say that for Alejo? “I mean, I know I wouldn’t.”

“Child, what is the worst thing that can happen to a god?”

I shrugged, truly unsure of the answer. “Death?”

She shook her head solemnly. “No. To be forgotten is a fate worse than death.” She stood on shaky legs and stretched her hands upward. “When those who once worshipped you suddenly forget that you even exist? That is truly a fate worse than death.”

“Then why don’t they reveal themselves to man once more? Prove that they are real and let-”

“Man doesn’t think he needs the gods anymore.” She stamped her stick into the ground and the dirt seemed to swirl. Within moments it faded and became a portal. I could see people walking the streets of a large city, their faces down, staring at the phones in their hands.

“Man worships things now. They don’t need to pray to the gods to fix things when they can do it themselves.” She caught my attention and I saw the fear in her eyes. “The gods chose to use nature to speak to mankind, but man isn’t listening any longer. That’s why they use every gadget they can possibly dream up to ignore nature. They don’t care what they do to the land, the waters or the air.” She sighed and sat back down, the portal to the earth closing. “Some think they are saving the planet by picking up trash or recycling the things they buy, but they aren’t. They don’t listen to nature. They don’t feel what nature is offering them. They don’t…care.”

Her words struck a chord with me. I felt my own phone bulging in my pocket and I knew she was right. I had been just as guilty of losing myself in some game or social media thing when I could have been doing something productive. Anything would have been more productive.

She patted my hand. “These things are just man’s most current distraction. They lost sight of what was important a millennia ago. Before they broke the accords with us.”

“Okay.” I swallowed hard and dreaded her next answer. “What does that have to do with me? How does this help me with Alejo?”

She sighed and closed her eyes, suddenly appearing very tired. “Child, if you and this Alejo were to suddenly show them what you truly were, a grand portion of mankind would follow you. Worship you. You’d be the center of attention for as long as you wished. All of that power focused on the two of you would make you stronger than…”

“The Jewish carpenter?” I knew that was a long shot.

She nodded slightly. “That’s entirely possible. It’s been at least two millennia since he made his walk with them.”

“But that’s not what I would want and I don’t think Alejo would either.”

“That doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that you could.” She suddenly stood. “You look like them but you have the power of the gods. If Odin Allfather suddenly appeared on earth, would they fall to their knees and love him or would they fear a ten foot tall Norse god with one good eye and a penchant for shoving lightning up their arses?”

I could see her point, even though I’d never met my grandfather. This all seemed too much for me to accept at once. The different thoughts racing through my mind all came to one conclusion…if I allowed myself to be the weapon of the gods and destroyed Alejo, who then would protect me from their wrath?

I turned to her and she had that knowing look on her face. “Exactly. Who would protect you, child?”

 

And that’s where chapter 4 ends.
If you’ve been following the blossoming adventures of young Erica Svensdottir and you like what you’ve read so far, know that there are a few more chapters waiting to be shared.
All in good time, faithful readers.
All in good time.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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MS10: The Final Chapter

It’s nearly here.  I’m wrapping up the final touches on MS10 Reckoning and I’m almost as nervous as I was when my very first was published.

This is the end of an era. As I’ve said before, these characters needed closure. The readers needed closure as well. And to be honest, so did I.

I hope this final chapter does us all justice.

Here’s the cover art by Jeffrey Kosh. Once again, he knocks it out of the park!

MS10 update

And yes, dear readers…the Good Guys wear black.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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For My Girls Chapter 3

And it’s time again for another taste of what will never be…chapter three of Huntress: Of Gods and Men.

Part of me wishes that I had finished this story, but in my own twisted mind, it couldn’t be just ONE story. No, it would have to be a trilogy, just like Sven’s story had been. What’s fair is fair, right?

Anyway, onward and upward. Read on for Chapter 3 of Erica’s story. Please remember that this is the raw, first draft. It’s unedited, unproofed, etc.

3

I opened my mouth to speak and mother shushed me. “Close your eyes. Relive the events and describe it to me.”

I swallowed hard. As soon as I closed my eyes, I was transported back to that exact moment.

“He said that I wasn’t from around there. I told him, no…I was from America. Then I turned. I didn’t expect what I saw even though Thor had shown me what he looked like. He had olive skin, amber eyes, jet black hair and a smile that made me want to smile.”

I felt my mother’s hand squeeze mine and I took a deep breath, continuing my story.

“He said, ‘There’s something different about you.’ I pulled back my hood and revealed my face to him. He was still smiling. Then he asked me, ‘where are you from?’ and that’s when I told him I was from America. He said that he hoped to visit there one day. Then he told me his name is Alejo. He held his hand out to me and…”

I felt the familiar squeeze of my mother’s hand and I knew she was right there with me.

“When my hand gripped his I felt a rush of power stronger than anything I’d ever experienced. Even stronger than when I’m near Thor.” I opened my eyes and couldn’t read my mother’s expression. It almost looked sorrowful. “The strength I felt hit me like a truck, but in a good way. Does that even make sense?”

She nodded and patted my hand. “Go on, Erica. You can do this.”

I closed my eyes again and saw the confusion on his face. “He didn’t know what to make of it either. We were both stunned. I gripped my sword and slowly pulled it from the sheath. He never stopped staring at my eyes. Then suddenly the air crackled with intensity and the lightning struck between us.” I opened my eyes and stared at my mother.

“I remember his eyes. He was just as stunned as I was.”

Mother nodded. “Then it most likely came from somebody else. Could there have been two demigods there?”

I shook my head. “I don’t think so. I only sensed him and he was gone when I got my feet back under me. I searched everywhere, but the pull was gone. Whatever it was that lead me to him had vanished.”

Mother finished her tea and pushed the cup aside. She seemed to consider my story for a moment before she spoke. “I can’t begin to understand your life Erica. Your strength, your agility, your powers…it’s all more than my mind can comprehend. I have to remind myself daily that you were born with these…things. They are inherent. You’ve known nothing else.” She stood and placed her cup in the sink then turned and leaned against the counter. “After years of training to be the best at what you do, you have finally met somebody who could possibly match you in strength, speed…even your ability to fight.”

I had a distinct feeling that I wouldn’t like where she was headed but I held my tongue and gave her the opportunity to go on.

She crossed her arms again and almost seemed to hug herself as she spoke. “I think that perhaps you should speak with somebody who has more knowledge of these things before you make another attempt at this mission.”

Okay, that wasn’t where I thought she was going. Her words actually caught me off guard. I shook my head slowly. “But who? Who could I possibly speak to about this?”

Mother shrugged. “Normally, I would suggest your father. But…” her words trailed off as her mind worked. “I don’t think that even he could truly help you with this.”

“Uncle Thor?”

Mother bristled slightly. She still wasn’t used to me calling him that. Considering how he nearly killed my father before sharing his power with him, I think she still holds that against him.

“No. I think you need to speak to somebody else.”

“Aunt Helen?”

Mother stiffened. “Definitely not.”

Aunt Helen isn’t really my aunt. She’s a witch that my mother was friends with before she met my father. She tried to help my father when he searched for his soul. She also tried to seduce him but he was too wrapped up in Mother to allow that to happen. I think she still resents her for trying.

“Then who could I possibly turn to?”

She bit nervously at the tip of her thumbnail while she thought. “There is somebody.” Her voice was barely a whisper. “I just don’t know if it’s a good idea to even try.”

I came to my feet, anxious to know what she spoke of. “Who, mother?”

Her eyes met mine for the briefest of moments and I saw fear. She dropped her hand from her mouth and seemed to stand taller. “An angel.”

 

*****

 

“No!” I was pacing the kitchen, my mind racing while my mouth continually repeated, “No, no, no. Not just no, but heck no.”

“I’m not saying that you need to work with one, only speak with-”

“You know how father feels about angels. It’s the one thing he drilled into my head from the time I was born. Angels are assholes.”

Mother nodded. “Yes, they are, and yes, he’s right. But they also have knowledge that could really enlighten-”

“No!” I spun and planted my hands on my hips. “Not just no, but-”

“You wanted to know who might could enlighten us. All I’m saying is that an angel could tell you what you need to know.”

I finally calmed myself and gave her that look. The one that she always uses on me and father. I had spent a long time practicing it in the mirror. “And what will father say when he finds out that we went to an angel for help?”

Her face blanched and I’m pretty sure it was what I asked, not the look I was giving her.

“Okay. You’re right.” She pulled her chair out and sat back down. “Then I have no other answers for you.”

I stood over her and stared, my mouth hanging open. Those were the last words I ever expected to hear from her. She always had the answers. She is my mother…who else could I turn to for answers besides her?

Nobody.

I pulled my chair out and sat across from her. “I’m sorry, mother.”

She shook her head and gave me a tight lipped smile. “Don’t be. You’re right. It was a bad idea. It was just the only one I could come up with.”

I felt my hand wrap around hers and I gave her a gentle squeeze. “I’ll figure it out.”

I thought I saw the glimmer of a tear in her eyes as she squeezed my hand in reply. “I know you will, sweetheart. I know you will.”

 

*****

 

The next few days had me trying to focus on Alejo and trying to transport myself to him.

I couldn’t leave the yard.

No matter how much I tried, it wouldn’t work. It was as if he no longer walked the earth.

More than once I feared that the lightning had somehow killed him. Destroyed him…burnt him to dust. But there would have been something left. A body. Ashes. Something.

I found myself lost in thought and wishing I could speak to somebody else who could enlighten me. Anybody but an angel.

I squeezed my eyes shut and screamed internally, wishing that there was somebody out there who could help.

When I opened my eyes, I found myself standing at Svartalfheim. I had transported to the land of the dark elves. I knew the realm as I had trained here with their warriors, but I stood in a wooded land that I didn’t recognize.

I turned slowly and peered deep into the shadows. I could sense somebody out there, watching me. I just couldn’t tell where they were.

I stepped from the mossy mound I stood upon and worked my way down past the hanging branches of the nearby trees. “Who is there?” I called out, hoping for a reply.

“Why are you in my forest, little demigod?”

I spun and faced an older elf. She barely came to my waist and she appeared withered. Her gnarled hand gripped a walking stick and her eyes shone with mischief.

“I came seeking guidance.”

She snorted and waved me away with her cane. “I’m no warrior. Shoo! Go away and pester those who know such things.”

I watched her turn and hobble away from me. I don’t know why but I knew I couldn’t let her leave. For whatever cause, she was the reason I was here. She had the knowledge I needed.

“Wait! Please, wait.” I tried to hurry after her but the branches seemed to reach out and grab at me, preventing me from moving. “Please!”

I watched her enter the trunk of a tree near its roots where the long tendrils gapped and bit into the soft earth below. I pulled at the branches and nearly fell at the foot of her door.

“Please wait.” I stretched a hand out to her. “I need your guidance.”

She paused in the doorway and slowly turned, her eyes narrowing. “Why should I? What’s in it for me?”

I got to my feet as best I could, wiping the damp soil and bits of moss from my clothes. I dropped to one knee and softened my voice. “Please. If I didn’t need your help, I wouldn’t have come here.”

She seemed to assess me with cautious reserve. She stepped back out from her door and sat on one of the great roots that created the entrance to her tree home. “You didn’t answer my question. What’s in it for me?”

I couldn’t think of an answer for her. What could I possibly offer her? I shrugged as I sat down. “I don’t know. I’m not sure what I can offer.”

She tilted her head and her eyes narrowed again. “You come asking for my help but offer nothing in return?” She snorted with derision and I could see her jaw working.

“What would you like?” I held my hands out to her. “I have little, but please, tell me what you desire.”

“You cannot give me what I desire.” Her eyes grew sad and for a moment I wanted nothing more than to grant her wish.

“Tell me. I might be able-”

“My son!” Her voice cracked as she yelled at me. “Bring him back from the dead. That’s what I want.”

I was stunned. I had always thought of the nine realms as the afterlife. Everybody’s afterlife. The land of the gods. I assumed that the elves here were…already dead. Wasn’t this their version of Valhalla as well?

I opened my mouth to speak but my tongue couldn’t form words. I slowly reached out and placed a hand on her shoulder. “What happened?”

She wiped at her eyes and avoided my gaze. “He went to battle for the Elf King. He never returned.”

“When was this?”

She shook her head and turned her eyes to the tree canopy above. “Who can say? Many lifetimes ago.”

I crossed my legs and sat quietly. I didn’t know what else to do but let her talk and share her feelings. I knew I had to pay homage to her pain and pay attention to her words.

“What was he like?”

She smiled gently to herself as she focused on her lost child. “He was a smith. Not a good one, mind you, but when he was home, I convinced him that his work was beyond compare.” She sniffed at an unshed tear and wiped at her eyes. “But then the king sent his men to collect all males of age. Dabner was of age and he had a skill that the warrior class could utilize. He was taken and I never heard from him again.”

I didn’t want to appear overly optimistic, but I had to ask. “Is there a chance he survived the battle?”

She shrugged. “I would think he’d return home had he been able.”

I gave her a soft smile. “Perhaps he found a woman. Made a family?”

Her eyes turned even more sad. “And he wouldn’t want to share his newfound happiness with his only mother?”

Dammit. I need to think things through before I open my mouth.

“You’re right, of course. I’m sorry. I was only…”

“You were hoping to soften the blow of his being gone.” She reached out and patted my arm with her withered hand. “I appreciate the thought.”

She spoke of Dabner’s early days. How he had only begun learning his trade from his father when he passed. Dabner had to learn on his own from there. How he was really a horrible blacksmith but he truly put his heart into everything he tried to create.

She told me how she had spied on him as he sat on their stoop and he stared at the stars through the canopy at night. How he dreamed of one day making a name for himself. I watched as her face brightened when she recalled his younger years and how it fell once again as she closed in on that fateful day that he packed his meager belongings and left with the king’s men.

Afterward we sat in silence for a very long time and I dared not speak lest I say something inappropriate again. Many times I wanted to speak a thought that wandered into my mind only to bite my tongue and keep the thoughts to myself.

Finally she sighed and turned to me. “What do you seek little demigod?”

I gave her a soft smile and shrugged. “It seems unimportant now.”

“But you’ve come all this way.” She leaned closer and lowered her voice, “Besides, I have a feeling that you have much to learn.”

The twinkle in her eye was back and I could tell that she was eager to share with me now. Perhaps speaking of her son somehow endeared her to me. I couldn’t be certain, but the air around us seemed less heavy now.

“I have no way of giving you what you want. I couldn’t dream of asking you to-”

“Shush now child. Tell me what you wish to know.” She scooted closer to me and patted my leg. “I’ll teach you what you need. You can…owe me.” I raised a brow on that one. “A favor. You can owe me a favor.”

I nodded hesitantly. “I’m not sure where to start.”

“Let’s start at the beginning.” She braced both hands on the edge of her walking stick and eyed me. “What do you know of the gods and demigods?”

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Another Audible Teaser

For you audiophiles out there, be aware that Caldera 3 could be released by Audible any day now. I pushed the button and it’s in their hands. I can also tell you that Johnny Mack is constantly honing his skills as a narrator and continues to perfect his craft. I think you’ll be pretty pleased with this one.

Since C3 is soon to be released, I’ll be running a promo for Caldera 2 on AudioBook Boom. Those of you who are interested in swapping a free audio code for a review, you might look for C2 to show up next week on their site.

That is all for now.
Carry on.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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For My Girls Chapter 2

I’m sure that if you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know what I’ve been doing. Filling these pages with the dead files from my computer. Huntress: Of Gods and Men was the closest to being finished of all of the scraps I’ve shared. I’ve received messages from faithful readers that urged me to complete the stories I shared, but I’m afraid that ship has sailed for most of them.

Regardless, I promised to share more of this story, so here’s chapter two. I hope you like it.

Chapter 2

I stood on the back porch and focused on the face Thor shared with me. I closed my eyes and transported to a place I didn’t recognize. Rocky shores with crystal blue waters. The sun was just starting to set.

This must be on the other side of the world. It was barely morning in Dallas. I turned a slow circle and took in the beauty of the place. White stucco buildings with terra cotta roofs, tightly packed buildings and beautiful rolling hills. It reminded me of pictures I had seen of Italy.

I inhaled deeply and under the saltiness of the ocean air I could smell mutton, heavily seasoned with pungent herbs and spices. Wood smoke tinted the air and although I had just eaten, my mouth watered.

I stepped away from the rocks and made my way toward the town that climbed the hills. Somewhere in this maze of streets and buildings I knew I’d find the demigod that Thor wanted dead.

I could almost ‘feel’ his presence. It’s very hard to explain. New sensations are difficult for me to put into words at times and surrounded by the ancient beauty of this place, words escaped me.

As I walked, I unstrung my bow and twisted it in the middle. It unscrewed and I tucked into a special pocket that father had sewn into the lining of my long coat. With my weaponry concealed, I felt a bit more at ease travelling in this strange new land.

I had learned a long time ago that people often fear strangers. They fear armed strangers even more. Keeping my weapons hidden from their view set them more at ease and kept me from having to transport away from threats. Oh, and people fear strangers who can disappear in the blink of an eye, too. Trust me on that.

Unlike my father, I prefer not to take the lives of an innocent simply because they react out of fear. Father would cleave their head from their neck and not think twice of it. Well, in his younger years. Since he gained the power of Thor, he’s mellowed significantly.

I was somewhat surprised that the streets seemed deserted until I realized, most were inside either eating or preparing their evening meal. The variety of aromas that greeted me made me want to savor each new dish.

I was standing in the middle of the road enjoying the succulent smells when I heard two men approach. I spun and saw them as they walked down the road, smiling and joking amongst themselves. They had yet to notice me and their gate was unhurried but determined.

Both wore plain white cotton garments and no shoes. Their short black hair and dark eyes reminded me of my prey, but neither man was him. When they finally noticed me, one nearly stopped, his arm extended out and catching his partner’s attention. He hooked his chin toward me and both men stopped in the road and stared.

I must have looked completely foreign to them. Dressed in black leather pants, black boots and a black long coat in this obviously warm climate. My reddish-yellow hair and blue eyes must have stood out as well.

They both smiled and slowly approached. The one who noticed me first held a hand in the air and yelled to me. “Are you lost, miss?”

I shook my head. They spoke a language I had never heard before but part of being a demigod is that I speak all languages. Fluently.

“No. I am where I need to be.” I returned their smile and the two seemed to shake off any suspicions they might have harbored.

“You do not look like you are from here.” The men approached and stopped just feet from me.

“I’m not.”

They both looked to me expectantly and I realized, they must wish that I explain my presence. I tried to think of a convincing lie but unlike my father, lies do not come as easily to me as they do him.

“I am looking for a boy.” I judged them to be slightly older so the word ‘boy’ seemed more appropriate. “He’s a young man, really. Younger than you, but similar features.”

The first man laughed and prodded his friend. “We all share the same features in this town. Greeks will be Greeks.”

Ah. So now I knew where I was. I might have guessed Italy, but I was close. Kind of.

I chose to change the subject of our discussion. “Where are you two headed at such a pleasant hour?”

They both gave me an odd look that I couldn’t quite read. Perhaps this hour of the day isn’t quite as pleasant as I thought it was.

“We are going to do some night fishing. Along the beach.”

I nodded but realized, neither man had a pole with them. “Without a fishing pole?”

They both laughed and the other man shook his head. “Nets. We have a small boat with nets along the shore.”

The first man smiled broadly. “You can join us if you wish. Perhaps you will see your friend, no?”

I shook my head. “Thank you, but no. I must be off.”

I was about to step away from them when the first man reached out and took my arm. “You never said your friends name. Perhaps we know him.”

I opened my mouth to tell them that I didn’t know his name, but that little voice in the back of my head screamed at me. How could my prey be my friend if I don’t know his name?

“I wouldn’t want to keep you from your fishing.” I gave them both as sweet of a smile as I could muster. “I’ll be fine. Thank you.”

I stepped away and both men watched me for a moment. As I was about to crest the small rise in the road, the first called back to me, “If you change your mind, we’ll be at the beach!”

I waved my hand at him but didn’t turn around. Something else had my attention and I could feel it pulling me further along the cobblestone roadway. An unseen force guided my steps and I could feel my prey at the other end.

With any luck, I’d complete this mission and be home before lunch.

 

*****

 

This unseen force that pulled at me grew stronger the closer I got to the other demi. I knew it was him, but I don’t know how I knew. It was as though we were connected somehow.

In the back of my mind, I feared that my prey would know I was coming. That somehow, he could feel the pull as strongly as I did. I pushed the thought from my mind but as the pull became stronger, I was nearly certain that he must know something strange was about to happen.

“You’re not from around here.”

I nearly jumped at the voice. I silently cursed myself for not having sensed his presence, or his approach, but inside, I knew it was my prey before I ever turned around.

“No. I’m not.”

I didn’t expect what I saw standing before me. The same tattered clothing as the two men I had met earlier. I assumed they wore such things for fishing and not because they lacked resources. But here he stood. Olive skin, amber eyes, jet black hair and a smile so radiant that I wanted to return it in hopes he would continue smiling.

He was leaning against the rock wall, his arms crossed as he watched me. “There’s something different about you.”

I pulled the hood back and tried to shake my hair loose. I had forgotten that mother had cinched it tight to the back of my head.

He was still smiling.

And, damned if it wasn’t contagious.

“Where are you from?”

I unhooked the top of my longcoat so that I could reach my weapons more easily and gave him my best smile. As I stared into those eyes I wondered if perhaps Thor was wrong. How could they send me to kill such a lovely creature? He didn’t seem dangerous.

“I live in the Americas. But my family hails from Sweden.” I have no idea why I told him that. I could have said, ‘Dallas’ and that answer would have sufficed. Short, honest and to the point. But no. I wanted him to know my pedigree. Perhaps I should tell him that my father and Thor shared the same powers as well.

“America. I hope to visit there one day.” He uncrossed his arms and extended a hand. “I am Alejo.”

I stared at his hand for a moment longer than I was supposed to I think. Slowly I felt my own hand reach toward his.

“It means-”

“He who protects and defends. I know.” My hand gripped his and I felt a rush of power unlike any I had ever experienced before.

It didn’t hit me in waves like when I’m near Thor, this hit me like a sledge hammer. But a warm, fuzzy sledge hammer. It felt good.

It took me a moment to regain my wits and I noticed that he had experienced something as well. He stared at me with wide eyes. I took a half step back and tried to regain my composure.

“What was that?” His face hid a thousand questions and I wasn’t prepared to address any of them. In the back of my mind I could almost hear Thor screaming at me, ‘kill him!’ and it tore at me.

I felt my hand grasp the short sword and I could feel the scabbard scrape against the metal as I pulled it from its sheath. He was staring at my eyes and never saw the silver and gold adorned blade as it cleared my long coat.

He braced his hand against the rock wall and sucked in air as though he had been punched in the chest. His eyes never left mine as I raised my blade and prepared to strike him down.

The lightning bolt that hit the ground between us knocked me back and onto my ass. I tried to roll with it, but it was a poor excuse for a defensive move. I finally regained my footing and took a tactical stance.

Alejo was nowhere to be seen.

I searched the area until I was satisfied. He was no longer there. The unseen force that had pulled me to him was completely gone. I sheathed the sword and swore to myself. Whatever had happened, it had allowed him to escape his fate.

It was time to return home.

 

*****

 

I hated the idea that I allowed my prey to escape and I’m pretty sure it was evident by my foul mood. To her credit, my mother said nothing as I stomped through the house and threw my weapons into my closet.

When I came back downstairs I flopped onto the couch and crossed my arms angrily over my chest. I glared at the TV and it suddenly came on, switching through channels rapidly, the speakers making weird, ‘ooh, eeh, ahh’ sounds as the channels flew by.

With a huff I threw my arms outward and the TV shut off. I was back on my feet and storming into the kitchen when my mother finally stepped in front of me, blocking my way.

“Nope. Not gonna happen little lady.” She crossed her arms and stared up at me, my chest still heaving from the temper tantrum. “You are not going to stomp in here and tear up my kitchen.”

“Mom! I just want to find a snack.” My eyes felt like they were bulging from their sockets and I know I must have been a fright to look at.

She squared her shoulders and shook her head. “Not gonna happen.”

She stared me down until my breathing came under control and the anger faded. I felt emotionally drained when she finally placed a gentle hand on my shoulder. “All of these years of training and they never taught you how to handle defeat.”

My head jerked up. “I was not defeated!”

Her eyes winced at the volume and I forced myself to dial it back a bit.

“He just…disappeared on me.” I threw my hands into the air again and began pacing the narrow space. I realized too late that it was nervous energy I was trying to burn off.

“You need to calm down.” She finally stepped aside and let me into the kitchen. “Have a seat. I’ll make us some tea and you can calmly tell me what happened.” She turned and began pouring water into the tea kettle. “Believe it or not Erica, your strongest ability isn’t as a warrior. It’s as a thinker.” She flipped the burner on and set the tea kettle in place.

She turned and shot me a brilliant smile. “You get it from me, you know. Your ability to reason. To think. To analyze a problem and come to a conclusion.”

I nodded. “Because women are smarter than men. I know, you’ve told me a thousand times.”

“And it’s true.” She set cups on the table and placed the cream and sugar in the middle. “So, tell me. What happened out there that has you so worked up?” She pointed her finger in my face. “And be calm about it. Getting yourself worked up isn’t going to help us solve this problem.”

I took a deep breath and tried to center myself. It was something my father taught me years ago. He said a ‘master’ taught him during a period when he was still adjusting to god powers. He wouldn’t explain further but the practice helped me to calm myself when my emotions tended to run a bit hot.

I toyed with the tea cup in front of me and avoided looking at her. I think I was afraid that her face would betray her disapproval. I know she wasn’t a fan of her only child acting as an assassin.

“So, I tracked the guy down.” I swallowed and tried to think of something to lighten the situation. “Greece is beautiful at sunset, by the way.”

“Oh, so you were in Greece? That’s nice.” She pulled the kettle from the fire a moment before it was about to whistle and poured it into the steeping pot with the tea leaves. “Tell me what happened.”

I could smell the tea once the hot water hit it and I allowed my mind to wander a bit.

“I appeared at the shore line of this small town. It was really pretty. The buildings were all whitewashed and the roofs were all covered in clay tiles.” I continued to fidget with the cup. “A couple of locals invited me to go fishing with them. I didn’t though. I knew I was there for a reason.”

She leaned across the table and pulled the cup from my hands. I watched as she poured the tea and placed it back in front of me. She wasn’t giving me the ‘eye’. She just patiently waited for me to tell my story.

“So, anyway, I could almost ‘feel’ him. It was like something was pulling me toward him.” I turned to her and her face was expressionless. “It was like we were somehow connected.”

She nodded slowly. “Perhaps because you’re both demigods?”

I shrugged. “Possibly. I don’t know what else it could be.” I took a sip of the tea and it was still hot. I continued as I spooned some sugar into it. “I did find him though. I was drawn along this roadway and suddenly he appeared behind me. I never heard him approach. He didn’t make a sound. It was as if he was already there, waiting for me.”

“Did he attack you?”

I shook my head. “No. Quite the opposite.” I sipped the tea and placed the cup down carefully. “He smiled at me. He said, ‘you’re not from around here’ and he smiled.” I know my face was twisted in confusion. I could feel it. My mother simply nodded.

“Then what happened?”

I shook my head again as I tried to replay the memories in my mind. “I was pulled into his eyes. They are so lovely. I kept thinking, surely Thor is mistaken. Nobody this beautiful should be destroyed.” I felt my eyes grow wet but I didn’t know why. “I didn’t even think about it as my hand gripped the sword. It was like it was doing it on its own while my head was preoccupied with looking at him.”

Mom sipped her tea and nodded. Her silence begged me to continue and my mind raced back to the incident.

“It was as though the sky ripped open. There was a brilliant flash and I was thrown backward. When I opened my eyes again and could see, he was gone.”

She nodded again and sipped her tea.

“Do you think he knew your intentions and attacked you first?”

I shook my head. “I wasn’t even sure of my intentions. I mean, my hand was drawing the sword and yes, I would have struck him down, but…it was like my body was working on its own and…” I turned confused eyes to her, pleading with her to explain what was wrong with me.

She set her cup down and stretched across the table, taking my hand into hers. “Tell me again what you experienced. From the time you first turned and faced him.” She held a hand up to stop me then added, “Not just what you saw, but what you felt.”

 

And, that’s where chapter two ends.
Keep coming back. There will be more. Young Erica Svensdottir made it to a little over seven chapters before I moved on to other projects.

Still…maybe one day I’ll revisit this strawberry blonde hellion again and finish her story. Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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A Story For My Girls

If you follow the blog posts, then you know that I’ve been sharing the ‘dead files’ from my computer. Stories that I lost interest in but at one point thought was a good idea. They’re raw, unedited, unproofread, unpublished.

When I penned the Hunter Trilogy, I was actually yelled at by the lady who edited it (yes, Sheila, I’m talking about you!). She thought I was nuts for not continuing Sven’s adventures. I was ready to move on to other projects…but I had the idea of possibly doing a trilogy of Sven’s child. At the end of the Hunter trilogy, he and his beloved were expecting a child and since Thor knew that it would be a demigod, he shared his power with Sven to give him a fighting chance in raising said child.

As a twist, Sven had a daughter. Every bit as brazen as her father, she was tasked with hunting demigods. The old gods couldn’t suffer a demigod to live as most demi’s powers would eventually exceed that of the gods themselves. They simply couldn’t risk it.

What follows is the first chapter of that story.
And don’t worry, there are more that I’ll share later.  I have to keep dangling the carrot or you won’t come back, right?

HUNTRESS

DEDICATION

For my twin girls. Know that emotions don’t make you weak and that young women need only do what’s right to be the hero of any story.
Keep the faith girls.

1

I am a Huntress. Like my father before me, I hunt my own kind. Not because I want to. Because I was created to. I kill with speed and efficiency.

I am quite good at what I do.

I am Erica Svensdottir.

My pedigree is…muddled.

My mother is a shapeshifter. She prefers to shift into a feline form, but she can assume other shapes as well. She comes from a long line of pureblood shifters. But that only describes her physical attributes. If I had to describe my mother in one word, it would be ‘loving’. She has the biggest, softest heart of anybody I’ve ever met.

My father on the other hand, is the Yin to her Yang. He is large, brutish, unrelenting and a natural born killer. Yet he loves my mother and me with every fiber of his being. He taught me most everything I know.

He is also a Norse god.

Before you shake your head in disbelief, understand that my father was born of Viking stock. He was taught the old ways by his grandfather. He was then conscripted to the Swedish navy and sailed to the new world before it was rightfully claimed by any other nation. It was here, in the new world, that he was transformed into a creature of the night. A vampire.

For centuries, he stuck to the shadows. He lurked along the outskirts of humanity and preyed upon those who wouldn’t be missed. He survived by killing and he was quite good at it.

As the centuries passed, he adopted new ways to survive. He also began hunting and killing his own kind. He became the lead enforcer for the ruling council of the vampires and still holds that position today. Yes, he is a god, but he uses his powers for good. And, as he says, the council has ways of doing things that he couldn’t. Things like creating a valid birth certificate for me. I was born barely five years ago, but I am physically that of an eighteen or twenty year old. That’s difficult to explain to the government.

So how does all of this play out in my pedigree? Well, my father stole Loki’s powers and impregnated my mother. Technically, he was a god when they…created me. After he surrendered his power back to Loki, Thor interceded. When Thor discovered that my parents were expecting me…he ‘shared’ his power with him.

In time, that power grew. He is now equal in power to Thor. He can travel to the nine worlds at will and has taken me many times to meet my extended ‘family’. Thor is…large. He’s also my favorite uncle. I’ve yet to meet my grandfather, Odin, the Allfather, but I hope to one day.

My father trained me from birth how to use the weapons that I now wield. When I surpassed his ability to teach, he took me to the nine worlds and I learned the fighting techniques of the dark elves, the light elves, the trolls and eventually the Valkyrie. My uncle Thor finally intervened. He tested me at the age of five and declared me ready for the tasks they expected of me.

You see, besides being part shifter, part vampire and part human…I’m a demigod. Thor confessed to me that there have been few demigods in history because their power can surpass the gods. Odin refuses to suffer a demi to survive. I think that’s why I’ve never met him. They didn’t want me killed. Or him. I’m not sure which.

Regardless, Thor tasked me with a mission. My father endorsed it so now I hunt my own kind. No, not just demigods, though I would terminate with extreme prejudice any who crossed my path. Rather, any that the gods choose has earned death.

It is not my place to question why.

I had no qualms in taking a life. If they had worshipped their gods properly they would have an eternity to relish their rewards. If they didn’t, they didn’t deserve to suffer this world any longer anyway. Either way, if the gods proclaimed them dead, they were. As efficiently as I could deliver the verdict.

I just didn’t expect what was to come. Nobody ever prepared me for…this.

*****

I had at least a half dozen kills under my belt. I always chose the most effective and most humane way to remove the offender. I sported dual battle hatchets, a short sword and a recurve bow. My father made certain that I was prepared for whatever creature I may encounter by ensuring that one of my hatchets was infused with silver, the other with gold. My arrowheads were forged with both metals. My sword was hardened silver allow with gold inlays. Quite beautiful and extremely deadly.

I loved watching the trolls smith my weapons. I was barely waist high to my father when he took me to the realms and I got to watch them be crafted. They were made specifically for me. It was the best birthday present ever.

I had learned how to sense others before I ever saw them. A vampire causes a cold chill and the hair on the back of my neck to stand on end. Were’s cause a similar reaction, but instead of a cold chill, I feel heat. Angels and Nephilim I can smell long before they are visible. But I had yet to meet another demigod.

Until him.

Thor had called me to him and I answered. I sat under an oak on the edge of Asgard while he spoke. Although I love him dearly, he still awes me when I’m in his presence. Not just his size, but his voice. I can almost feel the thunder in the air as the words escape his lips. It is both exhilarating and frightening.

“There are rumors, Small One.” I warmed at his nickname for me. There were many over the years, but Small One was one of my favorites. When I was little, I thrilled at ‘Princess’ or even ‘Melonhead’, but he first called me Small One when I nearly bested him in battle. I still think he went easy on me.

“Rumors of what, Uncle?”

“Another. Like you.” He stood over me, his piercing blue eyes searching me for comprehension.

I can’t hide my feelings. My face is as expressive as my mother’s and I know he easily read my shock. I slowly came to my feet.

“Another demi? A Norse demi?”

He shook his head and that great mane of hair flowed in the breeze. “No. Not Norse.” He turned and stared off into the sky. I don’t know if he was looking for something or reaching out with his feelings. When he turned back to me, his face was unreadable. “We cannot tell from hence he comes, but he comes.”

“He?” I gripped my bow tighter. “Do you know what he looks like?”

His massive hand rose and he touched my forehead with his finger. Instantly a face appeared in my mind and I was dumbstruck.

Although the transference only took a moment, it seemed like an eternity as I stared at the most beautiful face I had ever seen. Amber eyes framed by dark curly hair, olive skin and a smile that threatened the sun in its brilliance. The pure joy painted across his features warmed my heart and, although I hate to admit it, caused an ache in a place that I didn’t know I had.

“He is of age and his power is growing.”

Thor’s voice shook me from whatever spell I had befallen and brought me back to my reality. I stared up at him and I wanted to beg him to allow the boy to live. A creature of such beauty couldn’t possibly be evil.

I opened my mouth to speak and my throat was dry. My voice nearly cracked when I spoke. “Do you know where he may reside?”

Again he shook his head. “But be cautious Small One.” His giant hand gripped my shoulder and I felt the power flow between us. “He is a demi and whether he knows it or not, there is great power within him. He is dangerous.”

I nodded absently. “I will find him Uncle.”

I love his smile. Especially when it’s genuine. His eyes glimmered as he nodded. “You are ready. Go. Make us proud.”

He vanished and I allowed the wave of power he left behind to wash over me. It’s difficult to explain in words, but imagine being wrapped in a warm blanket and cradled by one who loves you infinitely. That is similar to the feeling I get when another’s power washes over me.

At least, here in Asgard.

*****

I arrived home and went to my room. Although I always carry my bow to Asgard with me, my battle hatchets and short sword were kept in my closet.

I quickly changed into my black hunting clothes and walked downstairs, my weapons tucked away under the long coat I wore. My mother was waiting at the bottom of the stairs.

“Where were you, young lady?”

Crap. There was that tone. Father had warned me about that tone and I chose not to heed his words when I was younger. Now I know better.

I cast my eyes downward. “Thor has another mission for me.”

I may not be as sensitive to body language as my father, but I knew mom’s all too well. Hands on her hips, foot tapping. She wasn’t happy.

“I would appreciate it if you’d let me know where you’re going to be before you just take off.” She pulled her cell phone from her pocket. “How many five year olds do you know of have these? We gave it to you for a reason.”

“Mom, I’m almost six.” I couldn’t believe we were about to have this argument again. I decided it was best to do what my father always does. I bit back what I wanted to say and instead, simply apologized. “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”

I watched as her face softened, but then her eyes narrowed.

“Why do I hear your father’s words coming from that tiny little mouth of yours?”

I shrugged. “Because he’s wise beyond his years? Some of it rubbed off on me.” I gave her my best innocent smile. It did little good.

“I made you breakfast. I don’t know what Thor has in mind for you, but you need to eat.” She practically dragged me to the kitchen and pulled the chair out.

I did what any self-respecting huntress would do. I listened to my mother. I sat. I ate. I made small talk.

Mother knows better than to ask details about my ‘missions’. The first time I returned from a successful hunt and shared my exploits, she nearly fainted. Father, on the other hand, was just as excited as I was. He urged details until my mother walked out of the room.

Apparently, in her mind, I’m still a child.

I stand nearly a foot taller than her. I can lift the Jeep they bought me for my fourth birthday with one hand and I can out-fight my father. Yet, in her mind, I’m still a child. She just can’t accept my position as a hunter of gods.

She leaned against the counter and watched while I scarfed down the huge meal she had prepared. My mother is many things, but a bad cook is not one of them. She is used to mine and my father’s appetites.

Being a demigod is hungry work.

She sipped her coffee and watched me. I felt her hand sweep an errant strand of hair behind my ear. “If you’re going out, you should really put that mess in a ponytail.”

I should have thought before answering her. “I’m thinking of cutting it short.” I swallowed and wiped my mouth on the back of my sleeve. “It falls out of a pony tail too easily and it gets in my way…” I saw her, mouth open as if in mid-scream. “Did I say something wrong?”

She shook her head adamantly. “You are not cutting your hair.”

I cocked my head to the side and studied her. “But it gets in the way.” I shoved another fork full of food into my mouth. “Father keeps his hair short. Sort of.”

Uh-oh. That eyebrow just hiked up. Here comes another, ‘you’re not your father’ speech.

“You are not your father, young lady!”

I didn’t know that hair was that important. I tried to speak, but my mouth was too full. I knew better than to spit it back onto the plate. Mother hates that. Almost as much as she hates it when we talk with our mouths full.

I chewed as quickly as I could and swallowed. “I know, mom, but…”

She thrust her hand out. She held two pony tail bands. I sighed and leaned back while she pulled my hair into a pile and strapped it in with both bands. I hate to say it, but I think she pulled so tight that it was difficult to blink.

I turned to her and smiled. “Better?”

She huffed and poured more coffee. She doesn’t know it, but I love her coffee. I’m not supposed to drink it because it might ‘stunt my growth’. If humans really grow so much more slowly than I do, you’d think she’d want my growth stunted.

“Where are you going on this ‘mission’ of yours?”

The fork hovered in front of my open mouth. I knew better than to load up when she expected an answer. “I’m not sure yet. He only gave me an image.” Insert fork.

She walked around the table and stood in front of me. “What are you hunting this time?”

I gave her that look. The one that asks, ‘are you sure you really want to know?’ and waited. She didn’t budge.

“A suspected demi.” I sat my fork down and waited for what I was sure was going to be a chastising. Instead, she surprised me.

She stepped close and wrapped her arms around my neck. “Be careful honey. If things seem…different, in any way, step away and call your father. You know he’ll back you no matter what.”

I nodded, unsure how to take her sudden reversal. “Of course.”

I stood and set my plate in the sink. The look on her face was one I couldn’t really read. Fear? Pride? Worry? All of the above?

She gripped me in an embrace. “Be careful.”

“Always.” I gave her a peck on the cheek and walked out the back door. I don’t know why, but mother doesn’t like seeing father or I vanish. She’d rather us go outside first.

Maybe it gave her a feeling of closure?

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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