Paladin

“Perhaps the young ladies should leave,” Ernst suggested. His own voice sounded too loud for this relatively quiet corner of the room.

“The ladies stay,” the pale man said, his eyes flicking briefly to Ernst. The acolyte felt a chill brush through his bones. The man’s pupils were gray and milky.

Marike relaxed slightly, cocking her head. “What is your name?” she asked.

“I am Lucian! Please, sit.” He held up the bottle of wine, but received no acknowledgement from the serving maids.

To Ernst’s astonishment, Marike shifted a chair away from the table slightly with her foot and sat, placing her sword on the table. The women watched the sword while Lucian kept his gaze on the Marike’s face.

“My friend is correct,” Marike said. “The ladies really should leave.”

“But they’re having a very good time,” Lucian said with a pout.

Ernst crossed his arms. Marike’s fingers danced along her sword’s hilt.

“Lucian,” she said. “We both know my sword, a simple weapon of steel, won’t hurt you. However, it will prove quite uncomfortable for these ladies.” Ernst resisted a smile—even a devout of the goddess of truth could lie.

Lucien’s face grew cold. “That would be a most unfortunate waste of good flesh.”

Ernst watched the women, but they continued to cuddle and coo over their would-be killer, only occasionally sparing a glance toward the sword or Marike. By the truth, this fiend had them under a potent thrall!

Marike’s eyes roamed over the women. “I agree. Surely you can give them a break. Let them refresh themselves.”

Lucien draped his arms over his companions’ slim shoulders and let his grin break out anew. “I think they’re quite…feisty and well rested as they are, Lady Marike of Mojca. Don’t get me wrong, though, I’ll be testing the limits of their enthusiasm later. For now, however, perhaps we can see just how committed your young friend is to the cause.”

Lucien’s eyes drifted to meet Ernst’s, and he froze. Ernst couldn’t tear his gaze free, but found himself lost in those pale depths. In a flash, a veil was lifted and Ernst saw the brutality of the past few weeks. He saw women with Lucien, heard them crying out in ecstasy and then agony. He saw blood and torn skin. He saw Lucien, standing triumphant and naked over pale corpses. By what right did Marike interrupt the natural order of things? What injustice had they brought to this town in their quest to deprive it of this glorious being? Anger bubbled up from deep within, his vision blurred and shook.

He looked to Marike, his face twisting with rage. He’d spent so many years of his life on a quest for the truth of things and it had all been a lie. Marike looked up at him, her mouth pressed into a firm line. His hand found the grip of the hammer over his shoulder.

She was faster than him, though. She scooped up her sword, sliding it from its sheath and sweeping it in an arc around the table in a single fluid movement. Ernst grimaced as it passed through his heart without slowing. The woman to Lucien’s right cried out and cringed as the blade went through one shoulder and out the other on its path. Lucien’s eyes went wide with shock as the sword sliced through his neck, and the woman to his left ducked as the blade clipped harmlessly through her skull.

Lucien’s head toppled forward to roll across the table. Marike caught it with her free hand.

Ernst’s world snapped back into focus. The anger – the righteous fury! – in which he’d felt so confident just a moment before drained away, leaving him exhausted. On the table, Lucien’s mouth gaped and worked soundlessly. His eyes jerked to look at his own body as it crumbled into ashes. The two young women screamed.

All activity in the bar ceased as the two women pitched themselves from their chairs, shaking off the remnants of the late Lucien and fleeing as fast as they could for the door. For a few silent seconds, all eyes in the tavern were on Marike and Ernst and the disembodied head on the table. Then the barkeep yelled for last call, and everyone turned back to their carousing.

Ernst eased himself, shaking, into one of the vacant chairs. “Blessed Mojca!” he swore. “So sorry about that, Lady. Don’t know what came over me.”

“I’d say this fellow came over you,” Marike said with a smirk. Her voice shook slightly, but firmed up as she spoke. She tapped the top of Lucien’s skull, which now lay still, eyes and mouth agape but mercifully no longer twitching. There was no blood, of course. A dusty grey film appeared at the finely sliced edges of the neck and began to creep upward, giving the appearance that the head was sinking into a pile of dust on the table. Soon there’d be nothing left of the creature but what the barmaid swept up in the dustbin.

Ernst studied Marike’s face. She smiled, but it was a tired, weary smile. There were a few more age lines etched around her mouth and crinkling around her eyes. Though she was only a few years older than Ernst, she looked over a decade his senior. It had been necessary in his case, as he’d been ready to attack her if the spell had not been lifted, but it was a shame the girls had been in the way. No harm to them, of course, but the blade took a toll on Marike whenever it was used on living beings.

He reflexively reached for her hand, which seemed thinner and paler than it had earlier, but she withdrew and stood to sheath her sword.

“We’ll sleep here tonight,” Marike said. “Assuming there are rooms available. Tomorrow we’ll go home.”

Ernst hesitated to stand. “Are you all right, my lady?” he asked, keeping his voice low.  A puff of smoke rose from Lucien’s crumbling eye sockets.

“I’m fine, Ernst,” she assured him, because even a devout of the goddess of truth could lie.

Paladin

Their search, led by Lady Marike’s honed, gods-tuned instincts, brought them at last to the Tender Loin, their third tavern of the evening. It was a rough, rowdy place, a bar largely appropriated by a small mercenary group that operated out of this town. The soldiers and the women who followed them were loud and rude but also generally happy, and mostly ignored the cleric and her acolyte.

Lady Marike had been sober ever since the infamous Kaleedish djinn incident, three years prior, so Ernst handled the drinking for both of them. Her ale, purchased purely for appearances, sat on the table beside her sheathed sword. He nursed his second. He’d had four at the previous taverns and though he was a stout man, or at least stoutly mannish, it took all of his concentration to keep the room from spinning.

Lady Marike’s pale eyes, bright blue points that contrasted startlingly with her nearly black skin, roamed the busy tavern and studied its occupants. She was, as usual, composed and dignified in her hauberk. From under the chain, folded crisply, rose the collar of her station, intricately detailed with the runes of the goddess Mojca, patron of truthsayers and pessimists. The sides of her undercut mohawk had accumulated a bit more dark fuzz than she usually liked on their journey from the capital.

Someone or something was stalking this village, the name of which escaped Ernst at the moment. At least half a dozen young ladies had vanished in the past few months. The local constables, at their wits end since they normally had little to do aside from break up bar fights and chase off bandits, had pleaded for help from the Order. They were no closer to tracking the villain down than when they had first ridden into this town on exhausted, mud-spattered horses under the dawning sun. His armor itched, his beard itched. Ernst was weary, and hot, and at this point didn’t give a shit if they did find the culprit.

The Lady tapped her fingers on the simple wooden crossguard of her sword, gently calling his attention and abruptly ending an hour of silence. “He is here,” she said.

Ernst squinted at the crowd jostling around them. “How can you know?”

“He is stalking this place.” She jerked her chin, and a harried barmaid swept to a stop against their table. Ernst noted how the woman’s eyes flickered over Marike’s fine cheekbones, perhaps trying to ascertain how much flirtation would help her earn a better tip from a customer who wasn’t really even drinking.

Marike leaned forward, holding the barmaid with her eyes. “Is there a man here all in black, with black hair, pale skin. Likely drinking wine, seducing very pale, dark-haired women?”

Ernst grimaced and mumbled, “Offensive stereotype, m’lady.”

The barmaid nodded. “There’s the charmer back in the corner,” she said, pointing a thumb, “Been here every night for a month or so. Takes home a couple ladies a week, seems like. Can’t say I get it. Not my type.”

“My thanks,” Marike said, and she offered a coin, which the barmaid accepted with a smile and a wink. She swayed her hips as she pushed away through the crowd, casting another look over her shoulder at Marike as she went.

“How is it that always happens?” Ernst said with a wave of his hand. “She wouldn’t talk to me with five gold in my fist.”

“To business, Ernst,” Marike said, sliding her sword off the table as she stood. “Try not to grab any ass on the way.”

They pushed their way through the crowd and found themselves in the northwest corner of the common room. The furthest spot from the bar, the crowd was thin and the light dimmer here, the noise subdued. The tables were full of cloaked figures with hidden faces and darkened weapons.

One table stood out, however. A pale young man draped in black sat between a pair of giggling young women, laughing and gesturing wildly, in the midst of some tale. His angular face and narrow eyes swept over Ernst and Marike without losing the stride of his conversation with his guests. A nearly empty bottle of cheap wine sat on the table.

Ernst cleared his throat and said quietly, for his Lady only, “See, hair’s more of a midnight blue, m’lady.”

“Duly noted, Ernst,” she said. Marike rapped the pommel of her sword on the table, startling the women. They cried out and clung to the pale man. Ernst straightened and tried to look imposing, though he felt a bit wobbly on his feet.

The pale man was unmoved by the intrusion. He seemed unconcerned by the visitors, and in fact appeared to appreciate the way the young women pressed against him in fear. “Would you like to join us?” he asked, his voice smoother and deeper than Ernst expected.

“I am Marike, a Lady of Mojca,” Marike said. “I am here as a constable under the authority of the people of this great land to investigate a series of murders plaguing this village.”

The pale man did not wither the way suspects who’d earned Marike’s attention generally did. His smile was fixed as he carefully extracted himself from his companions and leaned forward, placing his hands on the table.

“That’s very dramatic, Marike, Lady of Mojca,” the pale man said. “I imagine if I knew anything about these…murders…I would be quite terrified of you.” Marike held his gaze.

Ernst focused on the man’s words, to let the truth or untruth of them be revealed. He’d been under Marike’s tutelage for almost five years, honing the instincts granted by their patron. He could generally tell, for example, when someone was cheating at cards, or giving a false identity. He sensed nothing out of place here, so either the man was an exceptionally good liar or Marike was wrong – something Ernst had never before witnessed. Ernst also considered the possibility that he was too drunk to properly exercise his training. In any event, he wasn’t too drunk or befuddled to see subtle cues in Marike’s body language, or the tension in her shoulders. She was convinced they’d found their beast.

First Contact

The floraship passed through the outer reaches of the system unchallenged, its outermost leaves rustling nearly imperceptibly in the solar winds stretching from the local star. Jada pressed her hand against the wall and closed her eyes, smiling as she felt, through the rough wooden bark alloy, the ship’s delight in experiencing this first kiss from a new sun.

The bridge was a bustle of activity as they approached the most distant planet orbiting this star. A dark, frozen ball called Al Thalim J-2, they’d probably encountered a hundred just like it. But Jada always enjoyed these first steps in every new system. So many possibilities, and the ship loved drinking from each star they encountered.

Iro, First of Navigation, stood at the center of the bridge, deeply in his element. His gaze swept in every console even as his head was turned toward the wide window set high in the wall. Al Thalim J-2 drifted in frame, wobbling slightly as the ship made minor course corrections. Text and numbers projected on the window described various properties of the planet’s orbit and ship’s relation thereto, approach vector, and so on. To Jada these things were largely meaningless, as her skills lay in other things. But she always enjoyed watching the crew work.

As the science crew labored at their stations, reports began to coalesce in the air before Iro. His eyes dropped from the window to read them as they appeared, the lines on his wrinkled face deepening as he absorbed their collective knowledge. He nodded, as if seeing something he’d expected, and called to her.

“First of Study,” he said, and Jada cocked her head to indicate that she was listening. “Ready your team. It appears this planet is not so dead as it appears.”

Jada grinned in anticipation, felt the leaves woven through her hair shiver. “I’ll get them together,” she said with a salute. “Have the shuttle prepped.”

The Study team was a small, close-knit group of operatives. Jada was their organizer, and had worked with their biologist, Trint, for over five years. Trint was the oldest member of the crew and had threatened to retire every single one of those years. Possed, geophysicist and meteorologist, was hardly more than a sapling, but had excelled—indeed, broken records—at every test the Exploratory Service sent her way. In fact, it was her multiple specialties that kept their team small, as she could perform the work of several other specialists. Renid, a botanist, and her brother Wixt, a physicist, rounded out the team. Renid and Wixt rarely spoke to anyone other than each other, and even then it was often through unspoken twists of their eyes or subtle movements of their twigs. They were an odd, awkward branch of the crew, but they worked, and Jada wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Study team had its own specialized shuttle, equipped with sensor bundles the standard shuttles weren’t. They’d named her the Sunpod, and the twins had silently decorated the exterior with bright hues and swirling patterns that distinguished her visually from the other shuttles scattered throughout the ship’s crown, docked at various branches closest to where their crews might need them. At her signal, the team met outside the bridge and boarded the nearby pith-lift. As the lift carried them through the hollows of the ship to their destination, Possed studied their target on her handheld.

“Standard ice ball,” she muttered, scrolling through the stats.

“Hope everyone brought a coat,” Trint said. Renid cocked her head at Possed, who shrugged and looked to Jada.

“There’s an energy source,” Jada said. “It’s not large, but there’s something down there.”

Possed’s handheld pinged as it updated from the ship’s main feed, and she nodded. “There it is. It’s well beneath the surface, though.”

“It’ll be up to you guys to figure out a way to get us down there,” Jada said. As the diplomat of the group, most missions she just coordinated (or herded, as she liked to crack) the scientists as they worked. It was rare that her talents had an opportunity to shine, and she was excited. Possed, who’d joined the team only 6 months ago, had never been on a contact mission at all, and even the twins had seen her work her magic only twice.

Possed looked around at the team, her nerves showing in the way her bright white blooms opened and closed repeatedly. “What if they don’t want visitors?”

Jada checked her flechette pistol, snug in its holster in the small of her back, and patted the youngster on one shoulder. “I’m the diplomat,” she said. “It’s up to me to make sure they don’t mind.”

The Hunt for that Vicious Bastard, Kadiis O’len

My metal companion spoke, breaking hours of silently trudging through this snowy hellscape.

“The birds have gone, Miss,” said Carson-5, its voice box crackling. Icicles shivered with the echo. The machine came to a stop with a hiss of hydraulics. Steam rose from puddles of slush pooled around its oval-shaped feet. Dull and grey, Carson-5 measured ten feet to the top of its cube head, which was little more than a speaker and pair of antennae. Broad shoulders supported long arms that ended in modular stumps equipped via a backpack cargo pod. The torso narrowed sharply before flaring into wide hips and a pair of segmented legs. Carson-5 was a standard scout and exploration unit, built to withstand any environment and keep its human masters alive. It wasn’t one of the kill-and-detain Yeager-7s most bounty hunters pal around with, but I got a great deal during my last trip to Earth—this particular Carson-5 had failed two previous owners.

“What birds?” I asked, looking back at Carson-5 through the fog of my own breath. All I had kept track of for the past five hours was the crunch of my own feet plunging through snow. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. My eyes had been glued to the distant mountain, not growing larger with each stride. Miles ahead, at the base of the mountain, was a ranger’s station. Significantly fewer miles behind, the wreckage of my ship, after an orbital collision with a fugitive’s escape pod. Rock. Hard, burning place.

“This planet is home to over 3,000 species of birds, at least fifteen of which inhabit this area,” the machine explained. “I have observed regular calls from many different birds since we arrived. They have been silent for five minutes.”

I stared at Carson-5. It stared into the foliage. Cold seeped into my thermal underwear.

“This is bullshit,” I said, resuming my hike and half-hoping a frozen branch might fall and put me out of my misery. My ship—home—gone. If Kadiis O’Len’s escape pod went down, too, they might never recover any evidence that could be turned in for a reward. If it didn’t, the trail would be cold long before we got off planet. The whole situation made for a frustrating day. “We need a campsite. The finding of which is your job, by the way. Were you bird-watching when Pete Jansen was swarmed by hyperwasps on Terek Prime?”

“Observance of local wildlife is in direct support of my primary function.”

“So that’s a yes.”

“There was a very colorful specimen of Olisp bat I was trying to show Mr. Jansen.”

We marched for a few more minutes, but the silence started to get to me, too. I heard the wind, the creaking of snow-laden branches, the buzz of Carson-5’s servos, the rustling of the blankets I’d wrapped around myself. I came to a halt and peered about.

“So, what preys on the birds here?” I asked.

“There are no natural predators in this area,” Carson-5 answered. “Not since the extinction of the sabretoothed lynx a century ago. The ranger’s station ahead monitors and controls bird populations without–”

“Fascinating,” I interrupted. I eased a hand beneath my coat to grip the pistol at my belt. “I don’t suppose you’re scanning for any largish heat signatures?”

Carson-5 paused, antennae swiveling. A long whir as the robot leaned close, though its inability to control the volume of its voice made Carson-5’s feigned whisper laughable. “There is a humanoid-sized being at close range.”

“How clo–”

The snow not five feet to my left erupted. My attacker—a six-foot, 200-pound hairball—led with paws and two-inch claws fully extended. I caught a glimpse of the breastplate, emblazoned with the curved daggers of the Silvestris Piracy, over his black-brown fur. Kadiis. Then he was on me, claws sinking into my shoulders.

I collapsed under the big cat, thankful at least that thick layers of coat and blanket mostly protected me from his claws. I sacrificed my left forearm to his canines and struggled to get my pistol free, but it was a useless effort. His teeth pierced my arm, and I grunted to stifle a scream. His back claws scrambled to find purchase on my torso. In moments, my intestines would decorate the snow drifts. Where was that damned robot? Did Kadiis have compatriots keeping it busy?

I gave up on the gun and twisted my arm and hips, kicking out with my knees to hurl the Silvestris free. He twisted in mid-air and landed on all fours, already crouching for another pounce. I didn’t bother trying to get to my feet. I met his golden eyes for an instant, and we both knew one of us wouldn’t be walking away from this. He leapt. I drew and put three shots up the breastplate and into his neck. O’Len fell dead inches from my face.

I lurched to my feet, pistol at the ready for the rest of the cat’s posse. Carson-5 stood where it had, arms just now withdrawing from the cargo pod, equipped with a hammer and three-fingered hand that would have been extraordinarily useful ten seconds ago. Carson-5 raised its shoulders in a simulacrum of a shrug.

“Nice,” I said. “That’s great. Fantastic job, partner!” I pointed to the cat’s corpse with my slightly less bloody arm. “You know who this is? This is Kadiis O’Len!”

“From the most–”

“From the most wanted list,” I parroted its voice, “yes! He almost eviscerated me!”

“I could not decide between hammer and plasma chainsaw.”

I sighed. “There will never be a time when the answer to that question isn’t chainsaw.”

Carson-5’s antennae twitched. “I am detecting the return of local fauna.”

“Maybe you’re not totally useless.” I holstered my weapon. “Pick that up. We’ll need it for the reward.”

Janelle of Titan

It was in her fifteenth year that Janelle slew the great gnasher beasts of Porrow Canyon, but it would be several more years before she learned how to capitalize on her success. In those early days, she did it merely to help people.

The figure she cut now, at 23, would scarcely be recognized by the younger version of herself. Taller, leaner, a slab of muscle, her head shaved and painted after the fashion of Titan natives, she carried her head high and her blast pistol low. The curved sword on her back was mostly for show, as there were few threats she couldn’t handle with either the blaster or her cyber-enhanced muscles, but there was little its blade couldn’t cut at a molecular level.

The goggles were newer and more advanced than any the teenage Janelle could have possessed. Rustic in appearance, the lenses featured an elaborate heads-up display that kept her informed of local atmospheric conditions, zoom and enhance functions, a variety of light-spectrum options, and a recorder that kept careful track of her adventures, which the transmitter behind her ear beamed to her support team. Terraforming the moon had thinned but not eliminated the dense fog that shrouded the lower atmosphere, so a good set of goggles could be life or death on Titan.

A young Janelle would have most envied the outfit. A deceptively thin but dense layer of white wrapped tightly around her body, while a hood snaked up her neck and around the back of her head. The soft, black-webbed lining of the wrap kept her toasty in Titan’s extreme cold, but didn’t restrict her movement like typical environmental gear would. Methane rain rolled off the jacket without soaking it through, and her boots formed a gentle shell around her feet that could stomp through puddles and climb rocky outcroppings with equal ease.

Janelle crouched at the base of a jagged hill, passing a hand through a loose scattering of pebbles and rocks on the ground. The sky was mercifully quiet at the moment, so there was no rain to screw with the tracks.

“They passed through here,” she spoke into the mic sewn into the hood of her jacket. “Half an hour, maybe, based on the heat residue.”

Her producer, Wendy, spoke back, her distant voice cracking on the channel. “Looks about right, J,” she said. “Orbital still has nothing.”

Janelle stood, her gaze sweeping over the hill. “That just means they’re underground,” she said. “Unlucky for them I know these hills better than they do.”

Argh

By the Seven Pillars of Gulu, it’s already fucking June.

Whelp, this past year and a half has been a real shit show, for a variety of reasons, very few of which are about me. I’ve completely stalled out on doing any writing other than the odd bit here and there. I’ve been doing some fun freelance editing, but that’s about it. I went to a writer’s conference not long ago and really enjoyed it, but haven’t even gotten around to looking at the handouts and notes I got. I’m sad about all this!

It’s time for that to change! I’d love to get back to the long-neglected Critique Fantastique, but that’s super labor intensive and I can’t see that happening. Besides, it’s not like there’s some shortage of dudes talking about old comics.

What I’d really like to do is get back to writing regularly, even if it’s just flash fiction I publish here. There’s hardly a point to “selling” flash fiction, so I might as well. The whole point of setting up this site was to do exactly that, so I’d like to return to the original mission statement. I had a lot of fun doing things like my month of Halloween stories, so I want to get back to doing that. If through that process I can shake off my writing funk and maybe find my voice again, then hooray!

So look for this space in the future for half-formed writing exercises and prompts and the like. I may treat this like a webcomic, writing some to give myself a backlog and then doling them out in scheduled posts. Many will be bad! Apologies in advance. I hope a few will be fun. I’ll keep it mixed up with whatever genres and themes strike me at the time, and will probably have some fun with crappy drawings or photo accompaniment.

Please feel free to join me, comment, link to your own, whatever. Or don’t, and let me just howl into the void. I’ll be here either way.

Non Compliant

The worst year, in my memory at least, is wrapping up in the worst way possible. Before I head home to carry out some extremely heavy drinking with a few close friends, I just wanted to address a sentiment I’ve seen going around:

If you think people are protesting and angry because “we lost” and are being petty, you either haven’t been listening for the past year or I don’t know what.

An extreme minority of Americans (60 million is 18% of 325 million), fewer than voted for the last two losers who ran for his party and fewer than his opponent, have managed to get elected a con man whose rhetoric and campaign promises have emboldened the worst elements of the populace. Not half. Not a silent, aggrieved majority. 18%. I’m not attacking these people, or the over 90 million people who sat out this election. This is about him.

The policies that he’s promised are a direct danger to a number of our friends, family, and neighbors who happen to not be straight white men. There are already reports of suicides and hate-based attacks as a direct result of this. Regardless of why people may have voted or not voted, this is the effect. Trump hasn’t even taken office yet, but this is the effect. We can’t even hope that his festering, lie-filled heart gives out on him, because his vice president and the other ghouls he’s surrounding himself with are just as bad if not worse.

We’re protesting because some of us are likely going to lose what little health care we’ve managed to eek out over the past few years. We’re protesting because some of us stand a good chance of having our marriage dissolved. We’re protesting because some of us might have to watch our parents or children deported because they didn’t fill out the right paperwork. We’re protesting because those of us who care about the environment are about to watch even the slim chance we had of averting disaster are completely torched. We’re protesting because our choice of religion might have us put on a list of potential enemies of the state. We’re protesting because those of use who stand a decent chance of being summarily executed in the street by an officer of the state are going to have to watch those officers receive even more money, weapons, and impetus to harass us and imprison us.

I could go on. Maybe we consider these things more important than blocking a road for five minutes. Sorry for the inconvenience. Sorry if it seems like we’re overreacting by taking seriously the things this man has said and done in the past and has strenuously, repeatedly promised to do in the future.

So yeah, people are going to protest and resist, and are going to continue doing so, and ill-informed condescension isn’t going to change that.

I’ll wrap up with this, a picture my daughter made the day before the election, her own vote for president. She thinks it’s weird boys can even be president. Another kid at school suggested to her that her Hispanic teacher might get kicked out of the country. Obviously this utopia of hair bows and puppies for everyone wasn’t going to happen, but at least we wouldn’t have had a rapist for president.

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Interrogation Cupcakes Live

Old pals Every Day Fiction have had a rough go of it this year, with server crashes and a site redesign and new submission system that they’re putting through the paces. They’ve relaunched today, starting with a new story of mine, Interrogation Cupcakes. It’s mostly about the ways we talk to kids in times of distress. I see in the comments some people are already missing the point, and it’s barely noon. Good old internet.

Also, cops are awful. That seems timely for some reason.

Ultimate Dino Fighting

Excited to report that a Kickstarter I’m involved with has fully funded! It’s called Ultimate Dinosaur Fighting, a dinosaur pit-fighting board game that’s quite fun. I’m helping write/edit the rule book and whatnot as well as providing some in-universe fiction for it. I’ve written a short piece for it already and may be writing something a little longer and more complete. I enjoy sports fiction, but have never really written any, so it should be an interesting challenge to stretch myself. And hey, you can never go wrong with dinosaurs.

In other news, I also have a flash fiction piece ready for Every Day fiction for when they get their submission system back in place. At the very least I can help them test out the new system, but if they actually can use the story then you’ll get to read that sometime soon.

Terra Nullius

Wrap your year up in style with my new story, Terra Nullius! Will the people of ∞ null +1 save the unsuspecting citizens of today? Find out inside!

It’s been a crazy couple of months for the folks over at Every Day Fiction, with their server and website crashing. I was invited to write a story for them as they scrambled to put together a month of stories to close out the year.

I’m rather fond of this one, and I think it represents something I’ve been seeking out for a little while now: a voice. I’ve been struggling to come up with a reason to write, since straight white dudes aren’t exactly rare in the marketplace, and I think this story sort of puts me on a path of finding things to say while being fun at the same time. Hope you guys like it.

a writing sketchbook