The Morelli Bros. (Chapter II, Part IV)

Deep within the bowels of the fort, where the shadows were cast by molten rivers, and only the most fearsome guardians awaited, was imprisoned a young lady of royal importance.  The fourth child of her family, a princess to the Toadstool name, and a fighter in her own right, she came from a race of people who were very similar in appearance to the two plumbers that had come to her rescue.

She’d barely escaped the initial attack, which had begun several feet above the Royal Palace.  A flying galleon sank beneath the clouds and docked against her father’s balcony.  Rabid Chomps, a rare breed of man-eating plant, that unless chained to the heaviest weight would eat any and everything in their paths, had made short work of her parents.

* * * * * * * * * *

She awakened to the sound of panicked shouts outside of her room.  There were tortured screams coming from every direction; through her window, the walls, in the distance, beneath the hurried cries of those outside, and for a brief moment, she had been disoriented.  As she struggled to free herself from her blanket, two guards burst through the door, each looking worse the wear.

The guard on the right, whose name was Nu’iratha, was covered in blood.  His sword was drawn, but it wasn’t blood that covered the iron.  A brackish ooze, slightly green in tint, dripped from the point of his blade. 

“Your majesty,” he said with a touch of desperation in his voice.  “You must come with me!”

The other guard, whose uniform and weapon had seen less battle, and whose name she recalled as Pou’ic, was frantically glancing over his shoulder, down the hall that led to her parents chambers.  

“You must hurry,” the latter cried.  “They’re coming!”

As she sat up, she swung her legs over the edge of the bed, inserting her feet into her slippers as she’d done a countless number of previous mornings.  The difference between each of those times and this one, was that they weren’t to the sound of battle.

Screams echoed off of the walls, each originating from different points of her ancestral home.  Smoke rose into the air, outside of her window, and bestial roars preceded what could only been the death cries of her people.  Forgetting her modesty, she rose in only her night-gown and rushed to her wardrobe.

“Your majesty, ” Nu’iratha protested, “we don’t have time!”

“We’ll have to make it, then,” she grunted through her teeth.  “It’ll not do, for a princess to be seen in her night-clothes, during battle.”

She grabbed a dress and pulled it over her head, securing it to her waist with an embroidered belt.  From this, she hung a small pouch, the contents of which she always had on hand; an enlarging mushroom, a fire-flower, and a green mushroom, though never used, was supposed to reverse time a short distance, when the need was desperate.

As she was fitting her shoes, the battle came to her door. 

Pou’ic suddenly lunged forward and shoved the other guard into the room.  As he did, he shouted; “Keep her safe!  She may be surviving member of the royal family!” He pulled the door shut behind him, locked it from the outside, and slid the key under the door.  “Love live the Queen,” he shouted heroically.

“Queen,” she mouthed.  

“Worry not, your highness,” Nu’iratha had said.   The others may yet live

* * * * * * * * * *

She awoke with a start, helpless to contain the yelp that escaped her lips.  She struggled to remember where she had been taken, the memory not as fresh as the one she had just escaped.

The most unexpected sensation she felt was the heat.  Sweat beaded upon her skin, already, and the air was thick with moisture.  Her dress clung to her skin, soaked from perspiration and reeking of fear.  Beneath this was the smell of wet straw.

A single torch lit the room, though its meager light fought hard to push the darkness to the farthest side.  She saw only one door, a mighty steel portcullis, of which there was no way to open from this side.

Defeated, she slumped back into the mound of straw from which she had awoken, and cried.

 

Trespasser (Part XXIX)

At the end of Bryer Street, in the early hours of the next morning, and in the shadows of one small home, one could just make out two figures huddled close together.  The morning had brought with it the frigid promise of old Jack Frost, covering the neatly trimmed grass with his bitter cold breath.  Not a single sound interrupted the coming dawn, save the soft hum of electric lights, and maybe the occasional hushed whisper.

It had only been a few hours since they’d finished with their grim task, but neither had yet to feel the effects of their labour.  Both were worried, one for his longtime neighbor and friend, the other for his younger brother, who had snapped, only moments into what would have been a carefully thought out plan.  They’d had to improvise once he was finished, but they were still able to draw out the confession that would damn him in the end.

“So, you think that he’ll come around to it,” Donnie asked, for what must have been the sixth time since they walked over here.

“Uh-huh,” Davie muttered.  “He gonna need his rest now, don’t you worry bout dat.  In da mornin’, you’ll see.”

Donnie studied the old man with a raised eyebrow, for a moment, as he gauged whether there was enough, yet, that needed said, between the two.

“You know,” he began softly, “I’ve only ever seen one other person react the way John did down there.  It was before the Battle of Shewan.  Me and a couple of buddies were out on patrol when we came across a small group of ’em, the Taliban. Three of them stood between us and the fourth member of their group, who was laying on top of this little girl.  She was screaming for help, you know?  My buddies wanted to get out of there, but I just couldn’t.  I’d made eye contact, and even though I couldn’t understand what she was saying, I knew that I might die trying to save her.”

Donnie paused to take a long drink from his bottle, just another in a long line to pass his lips this night, before continuing.

“One of my boys, he went back for help, see?  That left me and Nick.  I told him; ‘You don’t have to stay, you know?’ but he wasn’t having any of it.  I’d saved his ass just as many times as he’d saved mine, and he knew I’d do the same if the shoes had been on the other foot.”

Donnie finished off his drink and cracked another open, downing half of it before continuing.

“It’s fuckin’ sick, how simple it was.  We took out our knives, stepped up behind two of them and slit their throats.  Before the bodies hit the ground, we turned like fuckin’ dancers, you know?  Anyway, we turned at the same time, and slammed our knives into the spine of the remaining guard.  It’s not that it would have been hard, taking them out, they died with their dicks in their hands.”

He hadn’t realized it, but during the course of his story, he had begun to cry.  Hot tears slowly burned trails down his cheeks, though he’d been hard pressed to notice.  Absently, he wiped them away with the cuff of his jacket, with one hand, while slamming back the rest of his newly open bottle, with the other.

“Now, I had been the one to make the decision to help her, you know?  But it was Nicky, it was Nicky who made the first move on him.  The remaining rag head was climbing to his feet when Nicky just, kicked him square in the face.   I remember the sound his ass made when it hit the bricks.  It was a meaty slap, and had there not been that girl at our feet, I might have giggled.  As it was, I felt as if I was moving in slow motion.  As I was pulling her to her feet, trying to cover and calm her, Nicky had laid him out with another kick to the face.”

Donnie trembled, partially from the cold, but mostly from the shock that came with his memory.  It’s not that he was cold, the meager warmth from the closeness of his friend, combined with the massive amount of alcohol he’d consumed, helped to ward off the discomfort that came with it.

“Nicky,” he sobbed.

“Donnie,” came the soothing voice of his friend.  “You in a safe place, now.”  Davie put his arm around the veteran and gave him a brief squeeze, but the other was lost in his thoughts, reliving the events of that night.

“He wouldn’t listen though.  I had the girl, wrapped in a blanket I don’t remember having, and was trying to pull out of the open, into safety, you know?  We had just murdered three of Al-qaeda’s finest, there were sure to be others nearby.  I watched in horror as Nicky bent over the one who was raping her.  He had his knife in one hand, and the guy’s junk in the other.  He cut it off in one sweep, turned, and jammed the bloody club into the guy’s mouth, which he covered until he stopped moving altogether.”

“Jesus,” Davie muttered softly.

“That’s just it,” Donnie said miserably, and when Davie looked at him with a confused look on his face, he only shook his head in sadness.  “There is no God.  No Jesus.  No Holy Fucking Ghost, you know?  Out there,” he gestured toward the street, “there is only man.  Believe what you want, but me,” he lifted his hands in display, “I’m going to stick with these.”

They sat in silence for several minutes, neither wanting to disturb the solemnity of the moment.  Donnie drained two more beers before another word was spoken.

“What about your boy, Nicky,” Davie finally asked.

“Huh?  Oh, yeah.  Moments after Nicky had choked that fucker out on his own dick, reinforcements started to show up, only it was for them, not us.  Everything was still moving in slow motion for me, you know, so I could see it happen plain as day.  Two insurgents exploded from a nearby doorway and opened fire on us.  I could feel the bullets as they passed by me.  I’ll never understand how not a single bullet hit me, but several managed to find their way into Nicky’s back.  The girl, who had been screaming at me this whole time, wrestled her way loose, only to take a bullet in the back of her head.  One second her face was there, the next, it was gone.”

“I don’t remember much of what happened afterwards, only these flashes, you know?  It’s like I was knocked out, and I was having these momentary flashes where I see this face looking down at me, or hear this voice as someone spoke to me, and it would be two days before I “woke” up.”

“So, you know, when Johnny called me up with his problem,” he said with an angry gesture towards the Marsh place, “I was all for it.  I…  I didn’t want him to-”

“-end up like Nicky.” Davie finished for him.

Donnie leaned forward and rested his forehead against that of his companion, placing one hand on the back of the other’s neck.  They stayed that way for the next several minutes, each showing deep respect for the other, until the sun crested over the eastern horizon.

Inspiration of the Day

Image

May I have a moment of your time?

 

twainquote

 

Editing is the writer’s greatest weakness.  No one person, with the exception of the OCD genius with IQ of 150, will be able to produce a masterpiece on the first attempt.

I am constantly reminding myself to pour as much attention into the finished product, as I do when creating it, lest I give you something not worth the spit on the bottom of my boot.

One of my tricks is to surround myself with inspirational quotes, books, or the occasional test reader, to remind me the error of my ways.  While I don’t surround myself with the test reader, no matter how willing he or she may be, I do appreciate their scrutiny.

fitzgeraldquote

How many times have you done this?  Writing on bated breath?  Mr. Fitzgerald believes that this is how all good writing is done.  Let me ask you this: do you fancy yourself a writer, or, do you just desire to be a writer?

Writing comes from the soul.  You either have a story, (or in some cases, stories), to tell, or, you want to tell a story.  Whichever side of the fence you are on, you desire those moments when you forget to breath.  You thirst for those brief times that you tap into your soul and the words march from your fingertips, covering the paper or screen before you.

Some would say that those who desire becoming a writer aren’t actually writers. Others argue that stringing together a body of words, and publishing them, makes one a writer.

I argue that it’s the ability to tap into those moments, which make one a writer. To write is to tell a story, but to tell a story properly, one must be able to tap into the soul.  That’s where true magic is born.

kingquote

 

There will be scars.  Any writer, worth his or her salt, already knows this truth.  You may think you have written the greatest story, or collection of words, since (insert author name here), but the final decision is not up to you.  If you are an independent writer, the choice may not even be up to the reader as well!

In today’s society, ANYBODY can publish a body or work.

This does not mean that you are going to be an instant success!   Your book is now swimming in a virtual sea of books, and chances are, you aren’t going to find what you were looking for!  Neither, for that matter, is your potential reader!

You’re hurt.  You can’t understand why it didn’t work for you, the way that it did for that young lady that wrote the books about the boy wizard.  After a few months, you throw your hands in the air, in frustration, and vow to never create another word.

Mr. King, among many others who have found success as an author, know that you must have the ability to heal from these wounds.  More importantly, in his own words, you must remember the origin of every scar!

 

These three things define me, as a writer.

  1. The ability to recognize and correct one’s mistakes.
  2. Being able to tap into the soul, and infuse it into one’s work.
  3. Knowing that it is the ability to rise from failure, which defines one’s success.

Writing isn’t a science.  Ultimately, you take what works for you, and you jump right into it.  Every writer has his or her own edicts, and in truth; what does it matter, as long as he or she writes?