Monday, April 3, 2017

Manus Inicere

     He threw his head back, rolled his eyes, and then sharply focused on the speaker whom he asked, “what? Not interested in excuses.” Shaking his manacled wrist and pointing his finger around the room, Adonis said, “well, look around. I don’t know where the fuck we are or how the fuck I got like this,” he shook the chains holding both wrists to the hospital bed. “So tell me. How the fuck am I supposed to care?”
     “How? How? This is your fault!” the irate pock-faced man yelled from his bed. “You set us up!”
     Tapping his keys on the bars, the guard grunted, “shut up, Gorrie.”
     “Wasn’t me, boss,” Gorrie called from his rack across the room.
     “Sure,” the guard nodded, “and, I’m a rainbow butterfly unicorn kitten. Shut your trap!”
     “Didn’t know animals could talk,” Gorrie muttered.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Mala Cognitio

     Putting his shoulder to the brick wall, Jougs shoved and as he did so his boots slid across the cement. He quit shoving as he neared a 45ยบ angle to the wall. Pushing himself upright, he asked, “you sure it’s this wall?”
     Glancing from the map to Jougs, the annoyed Inquisitor replied, “use the tools,” and tapped the bag slung across Vorant’s back.    
     Shaking his head, Vorant unslung the duffle, unzipped the main compartment, and proceeded to dig around. After a moment, he held up a short handled sledge hammer. “Here,” he said before disappearing back into the bag to withdraw a rusted railroad spike.
     “Is that all you brought?” Jougs asked. “Seriously?”    
     “Nope,” Vorant said, extracting a hammer and an incredibly long screw driver, “brought this too.”
     “So, we’re just supposed to start banging on the wall?” Jougs’ doubt as to the sanity of the plan had grown exponentially since leaving the Interrogation Room. He asked, “don’t you think someone on the other side will hear us?”

Monday, March 20, 2017

Nunc Sciunt

     “What kind of beans are these?” Captain Dante, Jr. asked as he inhaled the delicious aroma wafting from his mug.
     The staff secretary adjusted her uniform shirt, straightened her shoulders, and met his curious gaze with a steely, “Donian Dark Roast.”
     Closing his eyes, Captain Dante sipped the coffee, and then said, “tastes more like Montisi Black.” He took another sip, “you may want to talk to your guy. If he can’t sort that out, let me know.”
     “You going to report me, sir?”
     “Listen carefully, Staff Sergeant: the best coffee in the world comes from just north of Baroport, Poterit Don. It’s the original Donian Dark Roast. Many knockoffs have been peddled across Dan and we, poor Danians, have been subject to every manner of black market treachery thanks to current import controls.” After taking another sip, he sighed, “our only problem is backwards law.”

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ergo Fornicationis

     After putting the Tesla-C2 Dune Rider in park, Tech Sergeant Rydel climbed out of the vehicle and walked to the back where he dropped the tailgate. He removed his service revolver from its holster and pointed it at Major Derrick Peters, saying, “sir, please get out of the vehicle.”
     “Sergeant, you don’t have to do this,” Major Peters said.
     “Get out of the vehicle, sir.”
     The major scootched to the edge of the Tesla-C2, dropped his legs off the tailgate, and stumbled down. He said, “if you do this, there’s no going back.”
     “You got that wrong, sir. Soon as I get you set up, I’m going back,” Rydel replied.
     “Why do you think we’re out here?” Peters asked.
     “Orders, sir,” Rydel answered.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Res Relinquebant

     “Oh, come on,” the bard whined as he stood up from the gaming table where a black stone had just been placed inside a square of his white stones.
     “What?” the old woman innocently asked.
     “Don’t ‘what’ me,” he scolded. Pointing at the Go board, he said, “you can’t do that.”
     “Who says?”
     “The rules.”
     “Oh? Do tell.”
     “You can’t commit suicide,” Bard Kent stated.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Bona Tempora

     Leaning her head against the arm of the small couch, Cassie kept her eyes closed. She deliberately took slow breaths, while holding on tightly to the couch cushion. Silently fighting to stay conscious as her world spun out of control, the only thought she managed, not really dignified behavior for Mercury’s Messenger, is it? As if she had any control over her sudden blackouts, ever-constant urge to blow chunks, and incredibly weakened body. Without opening her eyes, she croaked, “you here?”
     “Yes,” the novice line cook answered.
     “Water.” Cassie managed to lift her hand up a few inches off the couch.
     “Here,” she shoved the glass of sugar water into the Messenger’s wavering hand.
     Careful not to spill, Cassie got the cup to her face, but was incapable of drinking in that awkward position. “Take it,” she ordered as she attempted to push herself up onto one elbow. During the process, she forgot to keep her eyes closed, and nearly hurled for her efforts. “Oh, I can’t,” she muttered as she fell back into the couch arm.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ad Libitum

     “Where did you learn to play?” Kent ‘the Bard’ Wheelock asked the old woman sitting across from him.
She looked up slyly, a slight smile slipping along her lips. “One does not become Archeireus et Celatrix Ministrae without learning a number of strategy games.”
     “Don’t become the Bard without it neither,” he muttered.
     Sizing him up, her grin faded, “oh, I do say.” She nodded sympathetically as she pushed her queen-side bishop into play.
     “A little premature, no?” he asked as he threatened the bishop with a pawn.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Iratae Voces

     Suddenly flooded with brilliant emerald light, the kitchen staff froze. Without giving a second thought to the sudden disco, Preston the Head Cook yelled, “snap to! Hungry people waiting! Go on!” His business as usual attitude hid his shock at seeing a young woman appear out of thin air. He spun towards her with a metal whisk in one hand, saying, “I don’t care who you are. You ever just pop in here like that again, I swear to Mercury, I’ll turn you over my knee! Do you know how close you came to making Scott drop the tray he’s carrying?” For his part, Scott had chosen that moment to disappear through the swinging doors leading into the Dining Hall. Regardless, Preston continued, “damned Royals, just come and go as they please. No consideration for those who slave away making sure they have all the luxuries they need. Ridiculous,” he shook his head as he turned back to the mixing bowl, “if you’re hungry, I suggest you find a seat out there,” he waved the whisk like a magic wand.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pueris Problematis

     Standing in the foyer of the Chief Justice’s Chambers, Moira Thibodeaux once again stared at the depressing painting of the wrecked ship being pummeled on the rocks which served as its cause of destruction. “Osborne, do you think this place would make a good museum?”
     The young ensign looked at her quizzically, shrugged his shoulders and answered with, “yes ma’am, I believe it would. Might even quiet the rumors about it.” He smiled. “You do know your refusal to live here will cause an uproar. The papers will go nuts.”
     “I certainly hope so,” she said approvingly. “I’ve always been a simple, practical woman. I see nothing sensible about this,” she circled her forefinger, “palace.” She sighed. Turning away from the painting, she walked over to the door through which they’d originally entered. “When we get back to my house, I should like to speak with Colonel Dagon. Can that be quickly arranged?”

Monday, January 30, 2017

Vir Crudelissimus

     “Did you check everything out, first?” Jougs asked while perusing the refrigerator.
     “You fucking kidding?” Vorant spun toward Jougs and with vehemence continued, “when’d I have time, eh? Ain’t I been takin’ care of the mess?” He dropped the gore covered saw in the sink, turned on the hot water, and growled, “d’you?”
     “Did I what?” Jougs asked with his head inside the refrigerator.
     “Check the site. You were out. D’you?”
     He cracked open a can of Eagle’s Nest Cola, stood up, and slammed it down. After belching, Jougs said, “wasn’t on the way, now was it?” He grabbed a couple slices of lunch meat out of the package, closed the fridge door, and then pulled down a bag of bread. Quickly making a half-assed sandwich, he knotted the bag and tossed it back on top of the fridge.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sanguine Manare

     Her head ached worse than her last migraine which had kept her bed ridden for three days. Completely unaware that the oozing pool of Sparks’ final heartbeat was mingling with her own spilt life fluids, Clara “Chondee” Darin bit her lip as she yanked the uncomfortable boiler plate out from under her shirt. Though she was already on the ground, the effort sent her falling back into the shelving unit. The impact of her head knocked down wooden cooking utensils which clattered to the linoleum and splattered blood on her thigh. When she came to she was horrified to find her body incapable of obeying the simplest commands. She lay there against the shelving unit in the kitchenware aisle of Chang’s Bazaar, staring at the dead body of her ex-boyfriend’s compatriot. Come on, Chondee! Get up girl. Get up! GET UP! MOVE YOUR ASS! Not that it mattered how loudly she chastised herself, her damnable limbs had gone on strike. Sinking further into the shelving unit, she closed her eyes and began sending motor commands to various parts of her body. She was midway through her body survey, when she heard the distinct sound of multiple foot falls and Tages’ all too familiar deep laughter coming from behind her.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Momento Mori

      Her bewildered chuckle echoed in the dark. The brilliance of the bright green flash imprinted her vision with slowly fading hazel halos. Wherever she’d landed was chilly and dank like Mercury’s Cavern in the Iphigenia underground; she stood weaving in the pitch black. The absolute silence and lack of air movement unsettled her. Without moving her feet, she repeatedly clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth as she slowly moved her head from right to left. Putting her left hand out before taking a step forward, she quickly found the nearest wall. This would be so much easier, if I had some light, as the thought popped into her mind twin beams of red and green slowly grew from out of Mercury’s Bracelet. Refraining her giggles, she thought, if Ms. Darin had told me, I never would have believed. I love this stupid bracelet. She raised her left forearm and pointed the lights at the wall in front of her. Somehow she wasn’t surprised that it was just a wall. She swept the area with soft lights emanating off her bracelet. When her glowing wrist passed across the ground five feet to her right, she stopped and stared at the myriad red and green sparkles that illuminated the ground like rave glitter under a black light. What is that? she asked herself as she bent down to inspect the shimmering ground. “Glass?” the word escaped her mouth on the exhale. Once again standing, she returned her hand to the wall, but instantly removed it. Somehow, in the few feet she’d walked the wall had changed from cold and solid stone to cold and solid wood. A door, she hoped. Ignoring the glass covered ground, she used the lights to examine the wall. Though she couldn’t perceive the texture difference in the dual beams, she did see the very obvious division of wall, jamb, and door. She exhaled in relief when she found the doorknob. Where there’s a door and a wall, there should be…ah ha! clicking the light switch, she heard the low hum of an overhead light heating up.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Munere Fungor

     Ensign Osborne swung open the intricately carved oak door, revealing the mouse-like newly sworn-in Chief Justice Moira Thibodeaux who’d picked up the Fasces of the Antigone and stood holding the bundle defensively. “Whoa! Ma’am! Easy. Don’t hit me!” Ensign Osborne’s easy grin and light manner caused her to lower the fasces and relax a bit, though he could tell she still wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of entering what had—until recently—been the sole dominion of the Oathbreaker Fraunx Adonis. “I’ve checked the whole place. Don’t seem to be anyone hiding. But…you should know…” he paused searching for the right words, “…someone tore this place apart.” After once again taking the fasces from her, he stepped out of the doorway.
     She quickly walked up the three steps and entered the foyer where she was greeted with the solemn painting of a rock-wrecked ship being pummeled by fierce waves. Unable to peel her eyes from the depressing imagery, she muttered, “so typical of you, Fraunx.”

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sanguine Redundare

     Being in the middle of the Inquisitor’s workroom was like walking into a Heart of the Seven Faeries carnival – so many varieties of red splattered everywhere that it seemed no other colors existed. Knowing the sticky, brick colored drippings to be that miraculous fluid that somehow kept the body functioning was one thing; using a squeegee, an ice scrapper, and tons of alcohol to remove it from the floors, walls, and ceiling was a wholly different thing. Mr. Vorant stood in the basement stairwell staring at the crumpled carcass of the ancient justice, Levi Bayleaf. “What were you even doing there, eh, old man?” Vorant grumbled. Rolling his shoulders, one by one, Vorant prepared himself, thinking, always get the good jobs, don’t ya? He laughed, “o’course, ‘cause they’re a bunch o’silly bitches.” He set the cleaning supplies down next to the door, slipped on a pair of shoe covers, and entered the torture chamber. Quickly surveying the extent of the spatter, Vorant wondered, what does he do? Play in it? Vorant’s entire afternoon was blown. Not that he’d had other plans, just that he hadn’t woken with ‘clean up the Inquisitor’s mess’ on his agenda for the day. He lifted the dead man’s head by the chin, gave it a squeeze and a shake, and then, grabbed the forehead to make the man talk, “too bad for you,” Vorant mocked himself with a nasally West Donian accent. “Too bad for you,” he repeated in his own voice as he dropped the head.