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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 They’re raw, unedited, unproofread, unpublished.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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Unfinished Business

I think I’m nuts.

I mean, I know I am. Or maybe just a tad ADHD? Either way, I’ve got all of these stories bouncing around in my head and some of them just SCREAM to be released. Others just repeat on a loop until I either use it somewhere or find a way to burn it out of my grey matter. Like a lot of writers, I have more ideas than I have time to actually write them. I could probably fill a library if I could write them as fast as I think them up.

Some ideas, I start…then lose interest. They’ll sit on my hard drive and wait…sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently. Hence the Hunter trilogy. That was an idea that refused to go away until I started it. Then it took on a life of it’s own and went a completely different direction than I intended. The three people who read it really seem to have enjoyed it.

Some of those ideas are just scenes and they sit around and eventually get used in one of my series stories or sometimes I can figure out a neat little ending and make it a short. One of my favorites is Gangsters. That idea bounced around in my noodle for a VERY long time until I penned it.

Others…just sit. Unfinished.
And they sit.
And sit.
And…sit.

So I had this thunk. How about if I share some of them on my blog. It would give me something to write about other than, ‘hey, this new book is coming out’ or ‘hey, this book is now available as an audible’ or worse….’hey, I really need reviews’ (I really hate asking for those).

So, what are your thoughts? Would you be interested in reading the unfinished thoughts and ideas that I’ve had? What if I start you off with a short that I really enjoyed finally getting out of my noodle? It’s one of my favorites and I’ve even placed it in an anthology or two.

Let me introduce you to the world of Gangsters…

GANGSTERS

The torrential downpour had petered out and was now nothing more than a fine drizzle.  Anyplace else and the rain would have brought a cleansing, a freshness – that clean smell that only a good hard rain can bring.  But here, deep in the city, the rain left the sewers near capacity, the trash steeping in a cold stew of filth and rot and alleyways overflowing with the detritus from a thousand unnamed origins that can only be found deep in the heart of a true metropolis.
The door above the small diner dinged as the two men entered and shook off their rain overcoats.  They hung their matching fedoras on the hat rack and carefully hung the lamb’s wool coats under them.  Looking about the near empty diner, the two men turned to their right and took the nearest booth to the door.
“It’s been so long since we’ve been down here.” The slightly taller, blonde man said as he reached for the greasy menu. “Do you think they have pie?”
“They always have pie.  Even at this hour.” The darker haired man waved to the waitress and she slipped out from behind the counter, coffee pot in hand.
“It was pouring cats and dogs just a minute ago.  I bet you boys are chilled to the bone.” She flipped over their coffee cups and placed them back on the saucers, pouring the hot coffee as she spoke. “You boys hungry or just come in to warm yourselves?”
The blonde man looked up, his face childlike.  “I could eat three of everything.  I’m so hungry.”
The darker haired man gave her a wan smile and shook his head.  “I’ll just have coffee.  He probably could eat three of everything.  He’s a bottomless pit.”
The waitress popped her gum as she pulled the pad from her apron.  “So what’ll it be, sweetie?”
The blonde haired man looked to his partner.  “May I?”
The other man glanced at his watch then peered out the window.  “Nothing too heavy. Lou will be here any minute and you know how he gets.”
The blonde man beamed as he pointed to the different pictures on the menu.  “This one, and this one…and this one.  Oh, and pie.  Lots of pie.”
The waitress looked at him as though he might have a screw loose.  She glanced at the darker haired man.  “Is your friend all there?”
He chuckled lightly and nodded.  “Yes, ma’am.  Don’t worry.  He’ll eat it all.  And probably want more.”
She shrugged and wrote the orders down on her pad.  “Your funeral honey. You want your toast buttered?”
“Please!” The blonde man nodded enthusiastically.
“Of course you do.” She made note then turned and slipped the order to the cook.
“Gabe, I know you’re excited to be here, but seriously, you act like it’s your first time.  You know the food’s better at the Penthouse. The boss has it catered in all the time and…”
“Mike, this is real food.  Not that fancy stuff.  This is…home.” Gabe picked up his cup of coffee and inhaled deeply.  “Ahh.  See what I mean?  This is just coffee.  Nothing fancy, nothing else added.  Just coffee.” He took a sip and let the liquid roll around on his tongue.  “And good heavens, it’s nasty.  I love this stuff!”
Mike laughed at his friend as he sucked down another drink and grimaced.  “Just stay on your toes, okay?  The boss doesn’t know we’re here and…well, I want to keep it that way.”
“I know.  I’m not stupid.” Gabe carefully set the cup down and gazed at his partner.  “This is dangerous, Mike.  If Lou rats us out to the boss…”
“Or to Junior.  He may not be completely in charge yet, but the boss is grooming him to take his place.  It won’t be too much longer now.” Mike sat back in the booth and shook his head.  “The kid is good, don’t get me wrong.  Sometimes a little too good.  But he’s not the boss.  He’s got a long way to go before he can run an operation like ours.”
Gabe hooked his chin toward the window.  “We’re about to have company.”
Mike twisted in his seat and saw three men head toward the door of the diner.  “Damn it.  I told him to come alone.  If they were followed…”
The door chimed and the three stepped inside, shaking off their umbrellas.  The two henchmen immediately turned and took a seat at the counter leaving their boss at the door.
Lou considered hanging his coat but truly didn’t think that this meeting would take long. He peered at the two men who were once like brothers to him, but now were nearly mortal enemies. He sighed heavily and heaved the heavy coat from his shoulders.  “In for a penny…” he mumbled.
Gabe brightened considerably when Lou slipped in next to Mike.  “It’s so good to see you again.  I was afraid you wouldn’t show.”
“Believe me, I thought about it.” He cast a knowing glance toward Mike.
“I told you to come alone.” Mike’s voice was low but even.
“Why?  So you two could shank me and drag me to the boss as a prize? Hardly.” Lou snorted and shifted in his seat.  “What the hell do you two want, anyway?”
“We want to…” Gabe began.
“Were you followed?” Mike interrupted.
Lou gave him a dumbfounded stare.  “Do you think I’m new to this game, Michael?  Do you think I just fell off the frickin’ turnip truck?  Nothing happens in this city without my knowing it.  And I don’t get followed without my knowing it.  That’s what those two knuckleheads are for.”
Mike inhaled deeply and calmed himself.  “Very well.” He glanced out the window of the diner once more then turned slightly in the booth so that he could see Lou better.  Slowly a smile crossed his face.  “Gabe’s right.  It is good to see you again.”
Lou softened somewhat and allowed himself a brief warm, fuzzy.  “Yeah, yeah.  So, let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?  What did you two risk everything for?  You know the old man is going to have a coronary when he finds out that you broke ranks and came knocking.”
Mike nodded knowingly.  “That’s what we wanted to talk to you about.” He glanced at Gabe who nodded him on. “We want you to come back, Lou.  Come back with us.”
“You know I can’t go back.  The old man banned me from the Penthouse.  If I go anywhere near that place, Security would be on me like ugly on an ape.”
“Not if you took your old job back.” Mike looked at him expectantly.  “If you’d just apologize to the boss.  Tell him you were sorry.  That you were wrong…”
“Oh, hell no!” Lou’s voice rose and his body guards turned to see what was wrong.  Gabe raised his hands to them and got them to settle down.  “I’m not apologizing for something I didn’t do.”
“But Lou, you did do it.  You went against the old man.  Nobody goes against the boss.  You know that.” Mike met his eyes and pleaded.  “Please, Lou.  Junior doesn’t have what it takes to run this place and…”
“And that’s another damned thing.  As soon as I’m booted, he promotes Junior to come in and take my job?  That’s bullshit and you know it.  That kid couldn’t run a popsicle stand in the desert and now he’s going to be in charge of the whole operation?  The import/export?  The security?  The defense contracts?  The protection rackets?” Lou huffed and crossed his arms.  “That’s a fuckin’ insult. I’m better off running my own businesses.”
“But the war, Lou.  It has to stop.  Too many of our friends…they were your friends too.  Once.” Gabe looked to the man and was about to say something else when the waitress returned carrying a stack of large plates.
“Okay sweetie.  Here’s enough food to choke a platoon of soldiers.” She started stacking the plates around Gabe.
“Holy smokes, Marge.  Is all this for us?” Lou gave her a wolfish grin.
“Lou, you sly devil.” She gave him a wink and bumped him with her hip.  “No, this is all for that skinny little fella.  Apparently he has a hollow leg.”
Gabe smiled as he poured hot syrup over the stack of flapjacks.  “I’ve waited so long for this.”
“Lou, you hardly come around anymore.  What? Our cooking ain’t good enough for ya anymore?”
“Sorry, babe.  I’ve been busy with some stuff on the docks.  I’ll be back by soon.  I promise.”  He gave her a wink and a squeeze before she slipped away from the booth.
Mike tried to ignore Gabe as he all but inhaled the different foods.  “Look, Lou, now that the war is over overseas, we need to end the war between you and the boss.  The only way to do that is if you two make up.  And you know what that’s going to take.”
Lou shook his head.  “Sorry buddy.  That just ain’t gonna happen.  I happen to like our current setup.” Lou leaned back in the booth and stared at the dark haired man.  “Besides, the old man?  He’d never believe a word I said.  Even if I came back and told him what he wanted to hear, he’d never…”
“You’re right.  You’d have to mean it.  He’d know it if you meant it.” Mike picked up the coffee and took a swig.  “Look, Lou, it’s 1946.  This isn’t the stone age.  Things are changing. The war is over, the boys are still streaming home.  Things are really about to start changing.”
“You’re telling me!” Lou grabbed his coffee and took a large drink.  “Do you really think I’d rather be a little fish in the organization, or the big fish in my own? Pfft. Easy decision, Mike. What’s the old expression?  I’d rather rule in hell then be a streetsweeper in heaven?”
“But that’s just it, Lou, you wouldn’t be the bottom of the barrel.  You’d have your old job back. You’d be his right hand man.  If he’s grooming Junior, then surely he’d groom you to take over.  I mean, come on, everybody knows you’re more capable. You’re a leader for cryin’ out loud.”
“But I ain’t his kid.” Lou’s steady gaze pierced him.
“No, but you’re his favorite.  Always was and always will be.  Damn it, Lou.  You broke his heart when you turned against him.  Against…all of us.  We all looked up to you.”
“That’s your problem Mike, not mine.” Lou sipped his coffee again and watched absently as Gabe continued to eat.  “Where the hell are you putting all of that?  Don’t you ever feed him?”
“Ignore him.” Mike grabbed Lou’s sleeve.  “Listen to me, please.  Lou, bad things are coming your way. I’ve seen it.” He paused and turned away.  “I mean, I’ve seen the plans.”
“I know what you meant.” Lou continued to watch Gabe.  “I’m sure the old man has some big bounty on my head and is about to hire…”
“No.” Mike’s voice was barely a whisper, but it was enough to interrupt him.  “He’s planning to take out you and all of your guys.  Lou…it’s going to be a blood bath.”
Lou smiled at Mike and shook his head.  “A regular apocalypse, eh, Mikey?”
Mike’s eyes grew wide.  “You know?”
“Know?  For crying out loud, Mike.  Any asshole with a Bible knows what the old man has in store for me.  I can read as well as these hairless apes.”
“Then…why won’t you just come back to the Penthouse and…”
“Because my future is already laid out, Michael.  I can’t, remember?  It is written.”
“That’s not…no.  No. I refuse to believe that.  It may be written, but it isn’t etched in stone.  The future has yet to happen.  You can change it.” He turned to Gabe.  “Tell him.”
Gabe looked up and cracked a grin, a sausage link hanging from his mouth.  “He’s right.” He said with muffled words.  “I looked it up.”
“See, Gabe looked it up.  Until the die is cast, you can change your lot.”
Lou shook his head.  “Mike, I could no more apologize to Him for choosing the hairless apes over us than I could unfall from Grace.”
“But you can.  He can forgive all things.  That, too, is written.”
Lou sighed and sucked down the rest of his coffee.  “I’m afraid you boys are barking up the wrong tree.  I just can’t do it.”
Lou slid from the booth and started to stand but Mike reached out and grabbed his arm.  “Wait.  I need to show you something.”
Lou sat back down, but his face registered the resignation he felt.  “You’re not going to change my mind.”
“But what if one of the casualties in this war ends up being you, brother?” Michael’s eyes pleaded with him.
“Then so be it. It’s the price I’ll pay for not bowing to the hairless apes.” Satan calmed himself by blowing out a long breath then leaned in closer. “Besides, I couldn’t get back in the Penthouse to apologize to him even if I wanted to.”
“We can escort you there!” Gabe interjected excitedly.  “That’s why we both came. With an archangel at each side, we can slip you right through the gates.”
Satan stared at him and then Michael, who nodded, verifying Gabe’s story. He pushed back and leaned hard in his seat. “Sorry fellas. I just don’t have it in me to go back and scrabble at the old man’s feet.  Can you imagine me begging?” He snorted a laugh and shook his head. “It just ain’t gonna happen.”
Michael reached inside his coat and pulled out a folder.  “I took this.  I thought you might want to see it.”
Lou took it and broke the seal across the sides.  Top Secret-Angelic Eyes Only was stamped across the front. He browsed through the pages and a smile slowly formed on his face.  Mike shook his head. “What?  Why are you smiling?  Lou…they’re going to give them their own land.  In just a few short months, they’ll have their homeland back.”
Lou leaned his head back and laughed.  A deep, dark, throaty laugh.  Mike looked to Gabe who only shrugged.  Lou wiped at his eyes and closed the folder, sliding it back across the table to his brother.  “You don’t get it do you?”
Mike shook his head. “No.  I thought that this would upset you.  You went to such pains to have them killed during the war.  Trying to annihilate them all.”
“This is a sign, brother.  One of the seals.  The ‘chosen people’ will get their homeland back.” Lucifer laughed again and tapped his coffee cup for a refill.  Marge slipped in and refilled all of their cups, then slipped back out.
“Please explain to me what you mean.” Mike gripped the folder tightly in his hands.
“This is one of the seals.  A sign of the end times.  In less than a hundred years, the old man and I will have it out for good.  The Apocalypse.” He smiled at the two angels sitting across from him.
Mike shook his head again.  “But that’s a bad thing, Lou.  You lose, remember?”
“Bullshit.  That’s all a propaganda campaign.” He waved off his concern as he sipped his coffee.  “The old man knows he can’t win so he ‘wrote the ending’ himself and called it prophecy.”
“Wait…how can you believe in all of the other prophecy but not that one?” Gabe asked, pushing his plate away.
“Because, I have my own prophets.  And they see a different outcome.  Instead of Junior running the show for a thousand years, I get both the rock, the Penthouse and dominion over the hairless apes for a millennia.” Lou gave them a wicked smile.  “Now do you see why I’d never go back?”
“But, Lou…that’s not how it works.” Gabe pleaded, his eyes on the verge of tears.
“That’s what the boss told you.  But I know better.”
“You really think you can win this war?” Mike asked, his hand slipping into his jacket and brushing the hilt of his sword.
Lucifer’s eyes narrowed as he stared at his brother.  “Remember who you’re speaking to.  I trained you, Michael.  Archangel. Warrior messenger of the Most High.  Remember who taught you how to wield that weapon.”
Mike stared at him a moment longer before Gabe’s foot shot out and connected with his shin.  “This isn’t why we’re here, remember?”
Mike blew out the breath he had been holding and released the handle.  “We only wanted to bring you home.”
“Of course you did.” Lou scooted to the edge again and stood.  He pulled a wallet from his jacket and dropped a pile of bills on the table. He paused for a moment then leaned across the table.  “Just for the record boys, this is how things are going to go.  You two are going to return home and keep your mouths shut.  I’m going to go about my business and the boss is going to let the hairless apes give the Jews back their homeland.  Then I’m going to turn everybody in the world against them.  Not just the Nazis, but every stinking body.
Their neighbors will constantly attack them and attempt to drive them into the sea.  The rest of the world will blame them for being attacked.  Even this road-bump-in-the-history-books country will eventually turn her back on them.  The ‘chosen’ ones…will vanish.  And the boss will have no more reason to choose the hairless apes over his most divine creations.” Lou turned and reached for his coat.  “Thanks for the coffee.” He slipped his coat on and snapped his fingers, alerting the two body guards it was time to go back to work.  “And guys? It was good seeing you again, too.”
Gabe continued to sit at the booth, picking at the remains of the food.  Although he had eaten most of the food delivered, he had lost his appetite when Lou revealed to them the future.  When Marge delivered the pies, he sent all of them back.  Well, except the pecan.  He forced himself to enjoy some of that one.
Mike sat across from him and sipped at the bitter liquid that the hairless apes seemed to love so much.  Watching Gabe devour the human food made his own stomach curdle.  “I’m feeling angry.”
“That’s totally understandable.” Gabe shoved another piece of pie into his mouth.  “Considering the circumstances, I think it would be expected.”
“Why wouldn’t he listen?”
“I think he did listen, he just didn’t care.” Gabe hung his fork over the pie and let it drop, sinking the tines halfway into the ooey-gooey center. “Face it, brother.  He’s too far gone.”
Mike’s eyes shot up and stared at him.  “Do not say that.”
“Why not?  It’s obviously true.  Satan no longer cares.  He’s no longer the Lucifer.  He’s not the light bearer any longer and he doesn’t want to be.”
“But he could be.” Michael sighed and slowly turned his coffee cup absently, his mind racing.  “He just needs to remember what it was like.”
Gabriel leaned back in his seat and shook his head. “He’s been away from the grace too long. I fear the glory would kill him.”
“He’s just bitter.” Michael pushed his coffee away and stared out the window. “Father chose Man over us and Satan can’t forgive that.”
“He had a point though.” Gabriel kept his voice low, his eyes averted. “Father should have chosen us first. We were His first creation. We were His long before He ever experimented with these humans.”
“He gave them free will for a reason.” Michael’s voice took on an edge that caused Gabriel to shrink. “That’s something we were never given.”
Gabriel finally sat up and glared at Michael. “Truly? Then why are we here now? Defying Father’s order and speaking to him, trying to get him to come home?”
“That’s for his own good and for the good of all of mankind. Nobody wants what is coming.”
“But you chose to come here Michael. And I chose to come with you. If that isn’t free will, I don’t know what is.”
Michael waved him off. “It’s not the same. They can choose to live their lives however they wish. We do not have that luxury.”
Gabriel crossed his arms and stared at his brother. “Satan chose. Nearly a third of our brothers chose with him. They all chose to go against Father’s order.”
“And look at what that got them!”
“Yes, exactly! But they had the ability to choose! Do you not see? With choice comes consequence. You have to be willing to pay the price for your decisions.”
“And the humans?”
“They pay the price all the time.  Wrong choices ruins lives daily.  Sometimes they cause death. Sometimes they cause tragedy. Sometimes…sometimes even Father turns them over to a reprobate mind. They’ll never know His grace.” Gabriel sighed as he reached out and grasped Michael’s arm. “We all have choices, brother.”
Michael wiped at his cheek and looked at his tear stained hand. “My heart breaks for him.”
“For who? Father?”
“No. For Satan. He’ll never know true love again.” He wiped his hand on his coat then pushed out of the booth. “It is time. We should return. Father will be angry if He discovers we were gone.”
Gabriel laughed as he pulled his overcoat from the hook. “Do you really think that He doesn’t already know?”
Michael paused and stared up into the clouds. “Then I hope He understands why we did it.”
“He’s a Father, Michael. Of course He does.” Gabriel pulled the door open and the two stepped out into the chill breeze. The drizzling rain had stopped and the clouds broke as the two stepped away from the diner. As a ray of light shown down through the breaking weather Michael pulled his collar up. “I think He knows where we are.”
Gabriel looked up and smiled. “Yes. And He knows why.”
Michael smiled as he patted Gabe’s shoulder. “At least He isn’t angry.” He pulled his brother up close and snapped his fingers. Both men effectively disappeared, having traveled at the speed of thought back home.

As Marge returned to the table to clear the dishes, she shoved the wad of bills that Lou had left on the table into her apron and began stacking the plates into the metal tub to take back to the kitchen.  The bell  above the door rang and Lou stepped back into the diner.  He glanced rapidly around the narrow eatery and his eyes fell on Marge. “Where did the other guys go? Are they still here?”
“You just missed them Sweetie. They left just a few minutes ago.” She pointed her finger down the street to the corner in the direction she had seen them walking. “They went that away.”
Lou turned and practically ran down the sidewalk looking for his brothers.  He slowed as he approached the corner and the smell of ozone hit him.  He knew it was too late.  They had returned home.
He stopped and stared up into the sky.  Clouds had shifted and were closing the small hole that had opened just moments before, the last rays of sunlight evaporating as the rain began to fall once more.  Lou stared up into the sky, turning slow circles as he watched the opening seal back up. “I changed my mind!” he screamed. He waited a moment, his hope building that perchance his brothers could hear his cry. He continued to stare upwards, his hope slowly fading. “Do you hear me? I said I changed my mind!”
Lou felt the despair of being trapped in the role he was doomed to play as his reality came crashing back in on him.  He dropped to his knees on the wet sidewalk and crumpled to his elbows. “Please, Michael…Gabriel…I-I’m sorry.” He turned reddened eyes back to the sky and roared with anguish. “I want to go HOME!”
A passing truck sent a spray of water from the roadside up onto the sidewalk and soaked the figure on all fours. He didn’t even lift his head as he fell to his side and curled into the fetal position. “Damn my vanity, I just want to go home…”

If you were able to force yourself to read all the way through that, then you’re tougher than most. That particular scene bounced around in my head for years…Satan and the two archangels sitting down at a diner…and was supposed to be the opening to a second angelic war story. I ended up deleting the next chapter and closing the story as a short with Lou changing his mind.

And like this story, there have been dozens over the years, most of which were deleted when I cleaned out my hard drive. But a few still remain. If you think you’d like to see them offered here from time to time, drop me a line and let me know. Let me just say that most don’t have endings. They were ideas that never really took root.

Anywho…thanks for dropping by again and I hope you enjoyed Gangsters.

Oh, and if you are an audible fan…Hunter should be approved by ACX any day now.
Just saying.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Hunter II Coming Soon!

Yes, I know I suck at keeping up this blog. Trust me, every year when I renew it I ask myself if I should. But, like the road to hell, I have tons of good intentions.

Anywho…yes! For those of you who have asked, I am carrying on with the Hunter story line. Hunter II is currently in line waiting for the editor to take a look at it and tell me how horrible I am at putting words to paper. Luckily she enjoyed the story, but she made it painfully obvious that I still have a LOT to learn when it comes to sentence structure and everything else that makes writing important. At least I’m a decent story teller.

Hunter III

Once again, Jeffrey Kosh stepped up and created an awesome cover for me.

I can’t be like other authors and keep everything a secret until the day before publishing. Or wait and have a big cover release party or whatever it is they do these days. Oh no. As soon as he created it I plastered it all over Facebook.
I think three people saw it.

Anyway, we’re expecting this continuation to release sometime around the end of May. My birthday is mid June so worst case scenario, it could be my birthday present to you, the readers.

It’s funny. I had about seven different projects sitting around half finished. I had pretty much given up on writing. The only reason I finished Hunter was because Tracy wanted me to put something out. It was the only one that I was far enough along in to even remotely be able to finish within her timeline. The few who read it strongly suggested I continue the story. So I did. By the time I finished Hunter II, I was ready to go back and finish some of the other projects that were wasting space on my hard drive.

But lo…Hunter continued to call to me. So, I’m actually in the middle of Hunter III. Hopefully I can wrap this story up and leave it as a trilogy. At least that’s the plan. I know I don’t want to get so tied up in continuing the story that it sucks the joy out of writing again. It’s slowly found its way back to me and I want to ride this wave of momentum as long as it will let me.

So, there you have it. Hunter II should be out soon. Well, relatively soon. A lot can happen in a month, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

‘Til next time!

Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Busy Weeks Ahead

Yes, I know. I haven’t been keeping up the old blog…but it’s been a bit busy around here.

I’m sure most of you have seen that Mind Trip has recently been released. It’s a collection of short stories that I’ve collected over the years. Hopefully they’ve been well received.

However, tonight I just pressed the button (so to speak) on the audio version of Wayward Son. Max Zener did another knockout job of continuing the Monster Squad series. As soon as Audible gives it the once over and approves it, it will be available for your listening pleasure.

wayward-audible

But wait, there’s more!

Expected around Turkey Day, you can enjoy Hunter!

Born of Viking stock, careered into the Swedish Navy, Sven Ericsson finds himself in the fabled New World. Away from the restraints of society, the young Northman is dragged into long nights of debauchery; nights that lead him into the waiting arms of a dark beauty who will change his very nature forever.
Fighting his new unnatural status, Sven steers clear of humanity, skulking along the fringe of society, and filling his inhuman need with the blood of the outcasts or the easily forgotten. A shadow among the shadows…until extraordinary events, centuries later, force him to emerge from the dark. A mishap of his own making pits Sven Ericsson into a moral quandary that will remind him what it means to be a warrior.
He is a killer.
A fighter.
A Hunter of his own kind.”

hunter-cover

Due Thanksgiving.

Now, for those who keep asking…yes. I do plan to continue the MS series. I’ve broken ground on MS9 but didn’t really like the direction it was going. That was why I decided to ‘clean my plate’ a bit and get finished some of the projects that languished by the wayside.

I have a pseudo political thriller called Flags of the Forgotten that I want to wrap up. It stars Bobby Bridger from Whispers.  There’s also Sinful, a King-ish style story where a young man can see the sins of others and decides to take action to try and prevent some of the evil that he sees from happening. I’ve also broke ground on Caldera II. I won’t say much at this point other than it is only in the first few chapters and focuses more on the survivors. Corson II has been abandoned at this point. Maybe some time in the future I’ll return to it, but as for right now, it doesn’t look good.

Anyway, back to the grind stone. I hope that you enjoy Mind Trip and should you decide to test drive Hunter, I hope that you enjoy it as much as the betas and the editor did.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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