Blue Victory VS Doctor D.U.M.B.

“You have besmirched my good name!” The man in a long purple lab coat bellowed as he took a step closer to the edge of the building.

“What name is that?” I asked, trying to sound calm. I had no idea who this person was or why he’d taken my date hostage.

Waving the weird contraption in my direction as he spoke he said, “Doctor Umberto Michael Berman! World’s premier interdimensional scientist.”

Laura squeaked as he pointed the device back at her head.

“Oh… Doctor D.U.M.B. You were running dangerous experiments on runaway teens. You smirched your own name.”

“Not helping, Verity…” growled Laura. Even held captive by a crazed scientist she still had time to glare at me. She looked good, even captured by a mad scientist. I should have asked her out earlier. Her long orange curly hair flew in the wind, and there was a lot of wind on the roof of an 80 storey building.

“Your article destroyed my credibility. You and that blasted Blue Victory!”

“Okay Doc… You’re really close to the edge of the building, you have my date hostage, what do you want?” I took a small step forward, trying to look harmless by spreading my arms out.

“I want you to pay for what you’ve done. I want you to suffer as I have suffered. I lost everything, my wife left me, my company disowned me, and I’m wanted by the police… I want you to suffer.”

“You realize that you’re holding my boss and editor hostage, right? She tortures me on a regular basis.”

“I’m not an idiot. I can tell this is a date. No one shows that much cleavage for a business meeting.” He gestured at me with the device again. Looking down at myself, I had to agree I’d never wear this to the office. Laura was my boss and editor and had I worn this to work she’d have given me a sweater.

“So you want to make me suffer. How can I make that happen without anyone getting thrown off the roof?” I took another step forward, if I could get close enough I could grab her and blame my speed on adrenaline.

I shouldn’t have mentioned the roof, he looked behind him, startled, and still holding Laura, fell backwards.

A quick spin helped me telepathically change into my Blue Victory costume and I ran and leapt off the building. I ran down the building for a little trying to spot the Doctor and Laura. They were both falling fast, as one does without the ability to fly.

As quickly as I could, I flew towards Laura and gently grabbed her by the waist. I did the same with the Doc and slowed our decent until we landed gently on the pavement.

The Doc’s eyes were wide with terror as he said, “Thank you Blue Victory. I thought I was going to die.”

In contrast, Laura’s eyes were equally as wide, but in surprise and recognition, “You’re…” she started and reached out, taking off my glasses. I had forgotten to take them off.

“Where did my Dimensional-Tunneller go?” The Doctor asked and I saw the device fall a few feet away from Laura. A beam of yellow energy shot out from it towards her and I rushed to push her out of the way. For the first time in my life I was too slow and we were both caught by the ray.

Time for a Contest

A Dinosaur onesie with butterfly pants.

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My daughter feel asleep on my lap and I can’t reach my computer to finish the Word of the Day story I had planned for today. It’ll be on Thursdays post.

A Dinosaur onesie with butterfly pants.
A Dinosaur onesie with butterfly pants.

The first five people who can guess what classic Science Fiction story this outfit is inspired by will be featured in one of the next chapters of this year’s serial story.

Send your answers as a private message to @ericdesmarais on Twitter or EricDesmaraisAuthor on Facebook.

 

Good Luck!

Éric

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 2

Part 1

Part 2: An Emu in SPACE!

“What you’ve done is launch us into hyperspace with no exit coordinates.” The Prince sat up from his glass coffin and shook his head. “Now who the hell are you and what are you doing on my ship?”

Sophia just stared at him. He was just as handsome as the stories had described. His black hair contrasted with his pale skin and he had a lopsided grin that made her feel weak. His words made sense to her, but he spoke much faster than the computer had when she’d been learning his language.

“I Sophia. You Prince. Me fix ship.”

“You speak galactic standard? But I landed on Sol-oh-three. There’s never been contact with that disturbing branch of humanity.” He looked scared and angry, and he awkwardly hopped out of the coffin almost falling on his face. “Who the hell are you and where are you taking me?”

There was an arm lengths distance between them but somehow Hagrid managed to stuff his girth between them. He squawked at the Prince, his head bobbing in every possible direction, like a helium balloon in a storm.

Jumping back, the Prince said a string of words that she didn’t understand but were obviously curses. “What is that thing?” His hands raised up in an awkward defensive posture.

“Hagrid. Down boy,” she told her Emu sternly. To her great surprise, he listened to her. Possibly for the first time. “This Hagrid, he’s an Emu.”

Apparently happy that she was safe, Hagrid, the picture of poise, bobbed towards the exit and slipped, falling to his side, and then jumping back up with a low, “Wark!”

“Is he your protector? I’ve never encountered an Emu but he looks a lot like a Manu.” When she didn’t say anything, he added, “Large flightless bird body guards. Hyper intelligent and ridiculously graceful.”

Laughing she replied, “Hyper? Yes. Intelligent; graceful? No.”

“Yeah.” He joined in with the laughter before adding, “Sorry for coming off so harshly. Before I went into cryosleep I was being chased by someone bent on killing me.”

Blushing despite herself, she said, “It’s okay. How long you sleep?”

Shrugging he walked over to a computer terminal and looked at the screen. She was about to interrupt him when he turned and said, “Twenty of your years.” He paused and asked, “Where are you taking me?”

“I accidentally pressed buttons. You tell me.” She was doing her best to match his wording and structure. The language was simple but had a few quirks that confused her. She was proud at the progress she was already making.

“How would I know? I just press where I want to go. This is only giving me coordinates and that means nothing to me.”

She shook her head; he sounded just like her father. He couldn’t figure out where he was without the GPS on his phone. “Coordinates are based off galaxy centre and the galaxy as seen from above. Using four digits representing; Quadrant, Depth, Horizontal axis, and Vertical axis.” She said it exactly the way the computer had pronounced it. Going to the navigation computer she added, “Combine with the map, we go to planet called Centuras Prime.”

“Oh thank goodness. We’re going home. Centuras Prime is the seat of the Galactic Queen. My sister.”

Nodding was the only thing Sophia could think of doing. The two looked at each other in an awkward silence that was thankfully interrupted by the ship’s alarm.

“Warning! Explosives detected on outer hull,” the voice of the computer said with the calm of someone who stopped caring a long time ago.

The Prince’s face went paler then normal and he slumped in the chair he was sitting in.

“Prince. Stay here. I go fix.” She knew this ship back and forth. She knew that in case of something getting stuck to the hull, the ship had small drones that could clear it off.

Part way to the engineering room, Sophia noticed that the Prince was following her. When she turned to him he shrugged and said, “I’d rather not be alone right now.”

“You the Prince,” She replied without turning.

“Please stop calling me that. My name is Phillip. Call me Phil.”

The ship was right and there was a bomb placed on the outside of the hull. It was just over the nacelles of the ship. If the bomb went off, it would create a reaction in the nacelles and then the engine that would not only blow up the ship, but cause an explosion that half the quadrant would see.

“Do you know anything about bombs?” Sophia asked.

“They explode?” Phil replied. This was the suave heartthrob from the stories she’d read so much about? He wasn’t living up to her expectations.

Picking up a drone that looked like it had a large shovel on the front of it she put it on a work table and started making changes. After twenty minutes of work, Phil asked, “What are you doing?”

“Changing drone.”

“Is it really a great time to be tinkering?”

Picking up the drone, she brought it to the airlock and prepared to open the outer doors. When she was comfortably sitting at the control panel she explained, “Drone is going to take bomb off ship.”

“But–”

She cut him off with a hand gesture. “Ship is inside Hyperspace bubble. Inside bubble ship moving slow. Outside bubble moving fast. If we can take bomb off ship and out of bubble, it blow up too far to hurt us.”

“What if it blow up right after you touch it with that thing?”

“We use drone like spatula. It have thrusters that push away from ship and scoop bomb. At worst it might redirect blast.”

“Isn’t that dangerous?” He asked his eyes wide in either fear or admiration. Sophia wasn’t sure. She gave him a look that she hoped was universal in saying, “Duh!” and continued to maneuver the drone.

Both of them held their breath as her hands flew over the controls. A small screen on the panel showed a video from the drone. Her plan worked perfectly and she lost contact with the drone.

They both waited, and after a few seconds sighed as the ship said, “Detonation at eight light years aft of the ship.”

“That was brilliant,” Phil said, his hands shaking.

She was debating giving him a victory hug when a loud boom echoed through the room. Running to the porthole, they looked out to see Hagrid flapping his useless wings inside the floppy arms of a humanoid shaped space suit.

“How did he get out there?” Sophia asked.

“How did he get into a spacesuit?” asked Phil.


If you’re enjoying this years serial story why not check out those from past years?

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 1

Part 1: An Emu in the Cold

“For the last time, no! You’re not going away to any fancy school. You’re staying here!” Sophia’s father’s words rang in her ears as she chased Hagrid through the snow-covered fields.

“Emus are supposed to hate the cold!” she yelled at the idiot bird. The snow was up to her knees and was falling fast enough that the emu’s tracks were getting harder and harder to follow.

Of course, her father was right. Without her, who would fix the farm’s equipment and computers? They’d have to start paying for replacements and the new school, and that was ridiculous.

She was so concentrated on Hagrid’s tracks and her own thoughts that she had gotten completely lost. It wasn’t hard getting lost in a snowstorm when you couldn’t see your hands in front of your face. I wasn’t snowing that hard but the wind was strong, blowing the snow everywhere and biting through her coat.

“Fine! Freeze out here, you stupid bird!” she yelled and turned to head back the way she’d come. At least, she hoped it was the way she’d come; her tracks were gone. The world was a constantly shifting curtain of white in every direction.

She’d take two steps when she heard the tell tale grunting of Hagrid. She didn’t have many choices and decided to follow him. She caught up to him and he bobbed side to side, his head going in the opposite direction of his body. He gave another grunt and pecked at her playfully before turning around and running away again.

When she lost sight of him again he would grunt and come back to her, like he was leading her somewhere. “It better be home,” she mumbled.

It wasn’t home; it was a small cave entrance that barely fit a full-grown emu and a twelve year old girl. The cave itself wasn’t much bigger and offered so little protection from the wind that she tried to leave. Hagrid wouldn’t have any of it and pecked.

In trying to avoid another emu bruise, she fell back and hit the wall. She landed with a thump but it was followed by an odd swishing noise and a smell like old books.

Looking at the wall, Sophia found that it had opened into a doorway. There was no inner struggle; her curiosity pushed her through the door metaphorically, while Hagrid pushed her literally.

Dim lights turned on and the door closed. The smell of dust being heated came with blissfully warm air. “Where are we?” she asked Hagrid. He responded by bobbing his head excitedly and shaking his feathers.

The walls seemed to glow on their own and several colours flashed over another door. The flashes were accompanied by weird symbols. Sounds came from all around them and Hagrid ducked his head looking around.

The voice was calm and monotone, reminding Sophia of the pre-recorded voices on the subway in Toronto. She assumed the voice was giving her some sort of information and she walked towards the door. It slid into the wall with a hiss the way doors in Star Trek, or at the Timmins Square, did.

One door led to another and she walked for a good twenty minutes following the lights and unknown language. She tried a few times to enter doors that didn’t have the lights and they never opened for her. She saw plenty of corridors, but she knew she was at her destination when she walked into a room that had all sorts of knobs, buttons, and a computer screen.

The screen showed symbols, colours, and patterns she didn’t recognize. One of the screens had the solar system, another had dots that looked like her math homework, and another had shapes.

When the storm cleared, she brought Hagrid home, but every day she found her way back to the cave. Slowly over time, with the help of the computer, she learned its language. When she’d mastered the basics, she found a folder of stories. Slowly she learned to read them. They were all stories about a Prince. They described him as tall, strong, handsome, and a little awkward. Each story was different and often they contradicted themselves. Some had the Prince in intimate situations.

When she graduated high school, she was fluent in the language and had re-read the stories multiple times. She also used it to teach herself about the ship, because that’s what it was; a starship from a distant world.

As she attended the local college for automotive and computer repair, she learned about star drives and how to repair the ship. By the time she was twenty-two she was certain she’d repaired the ship to almost new. She’d had to invent or manufacture several parts, but she’d managed to fix it.

Despite her ten years of work and exploration, there was one room the ship had never let her see; the bridge. When she was confident she’d finished repairs, she forced the computer to open the door.

The bridge looked like the cockpit of a plane but was the size of a small meeting room. There were four workstations and lots of computer screens, including a view screen. She’d studied the plans before going in but there was something extra that hadn’t been in the plans.

A flat table was at the back of the room. The tablecloth on it had the Prince’s seal which made her heart beat a little faster. She went over to the table to get a better look and saw that it wasn’t a table at all, but some sort of coffin. Inside, the beautiful face of the prince looked like it was sleeping.

Putting a hand on the coffin, she wondered what had happened. A grunt and squawk from behind her made her jump, pushing on the coffin.

“Hagrid, what are you doing here?” she asked the now old, but still troublesome, emu.

Recovering from her shock, she turned back to the coffin and found the cover open and the prince sitting up. He stared at her with unseeing eyes and she did the only sensible thing and screamed. As she fell backwards onto one of the workstations, she heard the engines start.

“Oh no,” she said in the alien language she’d taught herself, “what have I done?”

Results: 2017 Serial Story – You Vote, I Write

2017-serial-story

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last month I announced that this year’s serial story would be decided by your votes. I received 14 different voters and this year’s serial story will be:

A Science-Fiction Romance combined with a Comedy Fantasy. It will be told in the third person, will have 2 or 3 main characters who are human, must overcome some sort of Person VS Nature conflict, and there will be no time travel.

2017-serial-story

Database of the Ageless Kings

On a small emu farm in Northern-Ontario, Sophia, a twelve year old emu farmer, dreams of seeing the world. When she chases the escaped Hagrid (a particularly bad tempered emu) through a snowstorm, she gets lost and must seek shelter in a cave. However, this isn’t a normal cave but the crashed starship of the last Prince of the Galaxy.

She spends the next ten years visiting the ship, reading the royal fanfictions about the Prince, and slowly repairing the ship.

Things get interesting when, startled from finding the Prince in cryostasis, she accidentally launches the ship into hyperspace.

Look for Part 1: An Emu in the Cold, on January 17th.

Thank you for all your help,
Éric

Five Things Kubo and the Two Strings Did Right

kubo

I saw Kubo and the Two Strings and it was magical! A solid 4.5 out of 5.

The wonderful thing about Laika is their attention to detail, both in the animation and the story.

The story is well crafted and beautiful but not perfect. If you enjoy fantasy, animated movies, or a good cry, this movie is for you. Go see it and help its box-office totals.

*Warning Spoilers*

kubo

5. Not Afraid of Sadness

From the first scene of the movie, you know this isn’t going to be a light hearted comedy. It’s dark, magical, and ends with a baby who’s missing an eye.

Throughout the movie there are scenes where the writers could have avoided sadness or pain, both for the audience and for the main character. They don’t avoid it at all, and I cried a few times during the movie.

It’s not just cheap tricks, but genuinely heart hurting moments. Watching Kubo take care of his mother who seems to be losing her mind or watching him pray to his father were cry-worthy.

4. Balance

The movie balances the sadness with humour while avoiding useless slapstick. (Although there is a part with a fire breathing chicken that is slapstick-ish but hilarious.)

The humour flows from the characters, not from the jokes. It means each joke has a reason and helps balance the intensity of the rest of the story.

I laughed a lot.

3. Nuanced Characters

When I saw the trailers I assumed the Beetle Samurai would be a cross between Kronk from Emperor’s New Groove and Donkey from Shrek. I was wrong. He, like the rest of the characters, was well balanced and so very human.

It’s important for a writer to understand why their characters exist and what pushes them. In a lot of comedies, the only answer is humour. At no point could Kubo and the Two Strings be considered a traditional comedy.

2. No Useless Information

There is a lot that happens in the movie and at the beginning you’re given a lot of information. Some of that information is purely visual and easy to ignore. Every detail, from the stories to the landscape is important. It’s a tightness that is hard to do in writing without giving too much away.

Everything is important; every line has a double meaning. It’s beautiful.

1. Strong Ending

The ending threatens to undermine the entire message(s) in the movie and for a split second I was ready to be extremely angry. After the fake out, the story ended the best way it could and made me extremely happy. Like the humour, the ending was driven from the characters.

Throughout the movie, despite terrible things happening, there is a strong message of love and hope; both for the character and humanity.

There was joy, even in death, and that’s something that we don’t see very often.

Caveat

If you haven’t guessed, I loved this movie but it wasn’t perfect. The end of the second act dragged a little and there were a few parts that luxuriated in the animation (which is spectacular).

The biggest issue I had was that none of the main cast, or writers, were Japanese, or even Asian. There were some of the extras that were played by Asian characters and George Takei does have a few lines, but overall it’s all white people.

You can argue, as the producers have, that it doesn’t matter as much in animation because the voice is the important part and not the look. I think that’s taking the easy defense. There are plenty of great Japanese actors that could have done the voices.

 

Despite my minor reservations, this was a spectacular movie that I look forward to owning and watching again and again. Solid 4.5 out of 5.

What did you think of Kubo and the Two Strings?

Éric

Proud of my Award Winning Writer!

We're pleased to announce that the following participants won the writing scholarships!

Science-fiction: Agnes Cadieux ("Mikey")
Horror: Adriana Wiszniewska ("Salvation")
Fantasy: Jennifer Desmarais ("The Painting")... See more — with Marie Victoria Robertson and Jen Desmarais.

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My amazingly talented wife had a great weekend. First Blush was fully funded. (We’ll let you know when the pre-orders start.)

She also entered and won the Fantasy short story Scholarship from Geek Market.

We're pleased to announce that the following participants won the writing scholarships! Science-fiction: Agnes Cadieux ("Mikey") Horror: Adriana Wiszniewska ("Salvation") Fantasy: Jennifer Desmarais ("The Painting")... See more — with Marie Victoria Robertson and Jen Desmarais.
We’re pleased to announce that the following participants won the writing scholarships!
Science-fiction: Agnes Cadieux (“Mikey”)
Horror: Adriana Wiszniewska (“Salvation”)
Fantasy: Jennifer Desmarais (“The Painting”)… See more — with Marie Victoria Robertson and Jen Desmarais.

I’m extremely proud of my wife and she wrote a fantastic story.

Hopefully you will get to read it. When and if Geek Market posts it, I’ll let you know.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Serial Story 2016 Battle Royal – Round 2 – First Paragraphs

Hello,

In the previous round The Cosmic Cuckoos was eliminated. This poll will last until Wednesday the 27th, at 11:59 pm. Vote quickly if you want your favorite story.

What story should move on to the last round?

  • Wargrave Island (38%, 3 Votes)
  • The Ruby Child (38%, 3 Votes)
  • Faeries Vs Robots Vs Aliens (25%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 8

Loading ... Loading ...

The remaining competitors are listed below with their first paragraphs.

Faeries Vs Robots Vs Aliens

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Scifi
Inspiration: Neverwhere

The café was full. Sandra had placed her backpack on the chair next to her pretending that she was saving it for someone. She had her headphones on, she had her phone on the arm of the plush chair and she had a paperback book in her hand. She wanted to be left alone to drink her overpriced and unpronounceable coffee. Her headphones were wireless and she wasn’t listening to music.

Read More

Wargrave Island

Genre: Murder Mystery
Inspiration: And Then There Were None

“Best Party Ever!” yelled Jonathan. His hair was thinning and starting to go grey, but he was unmistakable.

“Remind me why I came?” Riko asked her partner Ethan.

“Because this is your ten year high school reunion and you’re the youngest person to make Inspector in Ottawa police history.” Ethan smiled proudly, looking at the quickly approaching island.

Read More

The Ruby Child

Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Inspiration: Firefly

It was the middle of the night and darker than Mac was used too. When the clouds covered the stars in the rural islands there were no magical or electric lamps. It wasn’t the first time he’d wished he could use a magical torch or those fancy darkvision glasses but magic didn’t work on or around him. He just kept following the speck of light ahead.

Read More

Who will win? Murder Mystery, Urban Fantasy/Scifi, or Fantasy Adventure?

Éric

The Ruby Child – 2016 Serial Story – Option 1

It was the middle of the night and darker than Mac was used too. When the clouds covered the stars in the rural islands there were no magical or electric lamps. It wasn’t the first time he’d wished he could use a magical torch or those fancy darkvision glasses but magic didn’t work on or around him. He just kept following the speck of light ahead.

“You almost at the cabin, Captain?” Anita’s voice echoed in his ear. The electric radio crackled as she spoke.

“I think so. Hard to see with these clouds but I think I see their porch light.”

“Idiots.” Was the only reply from Anita. She was right, too. These poor folks didn’t have money for electric or magical lamps. At best they’d have candles and a hearth.

Hiding behind trees, Mac could see the small shack that passed for a cabin. I looked like it was ready to fall over in the next wind. The only incongruities were the magical light on the porch and the clean shaven, military haircut wearing, man sitting in a rocking chair. He was desperately trying to look like he was asleep.

Mac felt the first drops of rain and swore softly. He took out his handgun and aimed at the man’s chest. Poor sod was probably fresh from the academy. Mac thought of those days and shuddered at memories.

Taking a deep breath, he fired the gun and it went off with a hiss and nowhere near the kickback he was used to. The sleep dart didn’t fly straight, but arced down a little and hit the man in the leg instead of the chest. The effect was the same, and the man’s impression of someone sleeping became more believable.

“Guard’s down. Tell Maddie her gun arcs downwards.”

Maddie must have been listening. “I’ll fix it. For now aim higher.” Mac couldn’t tell if she was being sarcastic or genuine; the girl’s accent always made her sound sarcastic. Anita snickered.

“Radio silence. I’m going in.”

He reloaded the dart gun and approached the porch. No alarms went off and no one shot at him. It was a refreshing change in luck. It hopefully meant the guard was alone or only one of two.

It’s not like many people knew about this place. They’d only discovered it existed from the files he and Anita stole when they defected. The file had said this placed housed something important and anything important to the Empire was something they shouldn’t have.

As he walked by the lamp, it flickered and went out. Magic really didn’t like him. The old wooden door creaked as he opened it slowly.

The entire cabin was one room and it was bathed in crimson light coming from a ruby the size of Mac’s head. The spindly elaborate pedestal the ruby sat on was spelled to kill anyone who touched it without the proper counter spell.

Mac walked slowly towards the ruby ignoring the rest of the room. His mind was screaming at him to check the rest of the room but he couldn’t pry his eyes off the ruby.

A hard and strong fist connecting with his jaw helped distract him from the ruby. There were two guards in the room and it looked like they’d been asleep. The one that hit him was made like a stone golem. Mac dodged the man’s second punch and shot at the second guard’s bellybutton. The dart arced down a little and the man let out a whimper as he fell to the ground.

“Ouch, sorry,” Mac said while the larger guard laughed. The big slab of guard feinted to the right and kicked the gun out of Mac’s left hand.

“I guess we’re doing this the old fashioned way,” quipped Mac.

“Killing you will get me a promotion, traitor!” The man swung at Mac again. Each hit was like being kicked by a horse; a large horse with metal shoes and a grudge.

Mac gave as good as he got, he hoped, but he was starting to feel it and get tired. The bigger man lunged and Mac punched him in a kidney, hard. Both men retreated to a corner of the tiny shack, and Mac said, “Come on, there’s got to be a way to compromise.”

“What’s wrong old man? Getting tired?”

“Yes. And I’m not that old.” Mac saw his pistol not near the big man’s foot and started circling the cabin. He hoped the man would mirror him like a boxer and give him the chance to grab the gun. “Do you know what I did when I was in the military?”

“Betray it?” asked the big man, who wasn’t as dumb as he looked. The man walked straight for Mac and swung at him, almost connecting.

“Nope. I was their specialist in magical artifacts.” He reached out and grabbed the stone pedestal and held it like a club. The ruby fell to the cabin ground and Mac rushed the man with the pedestal. The mountain of meat moved back too quickly and tripped on his feet, falling backwards.

Mac ran to the gun; switching the club to his right hand, he picked up the gun and walked over the guard.

“Tell General Lanthier that Captain MacDonnell sends his regards.” He shot the guard in the leg and walked towards the ruby mumbling, ”Forty-two isn’t old.” He passed his hand through his salt and pepper hair self-consciously.

The moment his eyes looked into the ruby he was entranced. He had no idea what it was, or what it was for, but stealing it would tweak the Empires nose and that was enough.

He reached out and gently touched the ruby, and it cut him. A drop of blood fell onto its crimson surface and he heard a sizzling noise. The ruby’s light became brighter and started to pulsate at the same rhythm as his heart. Its edges got softer and it elongated, starting to look more like a red egg than a gem.

He felt vibrations on the wooden floor of the cabin and knew he wasn’t alone. Turning to the doorway, he saw a line of soldiers walk through the door, wearing full body armour and carrying large crossbows.

“Oh boy!” he said.

There was only one other exit, the small square window in the back of the shack. He was considering if he could make it before they shot him when movement near his hand caught his attention.

The ruby had continued its transformation, elongating and separating. It had gotten paler, more of a pink and had grown arms and legs.

As he watched, in complete amazement, the ruby transformed into a baby with glowing crimson hair. The infant gave a tiny giggle and opened its eyes. He expected red eyes, but was surprised to see little clones of his own dark green eyes staring back at him.

“Oh Boy,” he repeated.

Only Human (Serial Story) Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

“Dreamy,” sighed Ginny with a faraway look.

“I’m guessing you know him then?” asked Rachel sarcastically.

“Everyone knows him,” added Tim. “And I agree with Ginny, he’s dreamy.” The two girls turned and looked at the gnome in his wheelchair with surprise in their eyes. “What? I have a thing for tricksters.” Tim blushed and did his best not to meet Ginny’s eyes. “So what happened next?”

“The teacher said that anyone who hadn’t lifted their hand in the first wave should find another class, those that lifted their hands in the middle group had potential and should stay in the class, while the two of us would be bumped up to the next level since we either had training or talent.”

“It’s probably cause you’re a demi-god,” said Tim. They were all in the cafeteria avoiding studying for various subjects. No matter what time of day she’d been there, Rachel had never seen the cafeteria be anything but busy.

“Probably,” replied Rachel.

“Right, absolutely,” replied Ginny.

“Wait, what am I missing?”

“Nothing.” Ginny’s voice cracked. Her perfect hair and flawless skin were the perfect frame for her large worried eyes.

“You may be supernaturally pretty, but you’re a terrible liar,” laughed Tim.

Ginny actually blushed her cheeks turning almost as red as her hair. “You think I’m pretty?”

“The only parts of me that don’t work properly are my legs. My eyes are perfectly fine.”

Unsure if she’d been outed, or used for the most adorable flirting, Rachel cleared her throat and said, “What are you getting at Tim?”

“Huh? Oh, Yeah. You two are hiding something and I want in.”

“Two nights ago you were begging me not to kill you and now you want in on a secret?”

“What, you’re an efficient killing machine and absolutely terrifying but you’re growing on me.”

Rachel laughed awkwardly. She hadn’t told Ginny about the details, “Coming from the guy who’s flirting with a vampire.”

“Just tell him,” Ginny ignored her.

“I’m not a demi-god. I’m human. I have no idea why I’m here.” It wasn’t easy keeping this lie straight but it was better than avoiding talking in front of one of her new friends.

“Shit, you are a Huntress?”

“No, just human with training.”

“So if you’re human, than why could you see through Dowan’s illusions?” Tim asked.

“Some Humans have divinatory powers.” Ginny shrugged, seeming over her earlier bout of blushing.

Nodding Tim said, “It would explain your speed and fighting ability.”

When Rachel chose a spot to sit, she always tried to have a wall at her back. It meant she couldn’t be surprised by someone sneaking up behind her. When she felt hands placed over her eyes and a warm breath on the back of her neck, she panicked. She threw her head back into the nose of the person behind her and reached up to grab the quickly retreating hand. She used her shoulder and back to lever the person and toss them over the table. Jumping out of her seat she ran to her attacker and placed her foot on his neck.

Staring up at her with a look of terror was Dowan, looking more the frightened child than the usual cocky trickster. He gurgled at her and she took her foot away from his throat.

“I normally avoid the rough stuff until the third date,” he tried to sound glib as blood flowed from his nose. The cafeteria patrons giggled awkwardly.

“I’m sorry. Why’d you sneak up on me?” She ran and got some paper towels. When she came back he was sitting in her chair at the table.

“Some girls like it when a handsome man tries to surprise them.” He nudged a small bouquet of crushed flowers with his foot.

“Not a fan of surprises.”

“I’m starting to get that.” He laughed and took the paper towels. After a little while, the blood stopped and he managed to clean himself up a little. She could already see the bruises turning dark blue on his brown skin. “So would it be stupid of me to ask you out anyways?” he asked with a small smirk and eyebrow raise.

“Suicidal maybe,” suggested Ginny, which made everyone laugh.

“Well…” Rachel trailed off. He wasn’t likely to be a killer monster, so maybe it wouldn’t be that bad. He was handsome. She seemed to have trouble taking her eyes off his lips. She really wanted to taste them.

“Yo! Rachel. How’s it hanging?” yelled Ronnie from across the cafeteria. Somehow he still managed to make it look cool; strutting in flanked by two other boys, all in the same football jackets. When he came closer he asked, “So how’s my favourite demi-god?”

Standing up in a fury, Ginny said, “She’s fine and off limits jackass.”

“Let the girl talk for herself, sis. She’s old enough, and certainly hot enough.” That’s when he saw Dowan and growled. He actually growled, and it sounded like a something that should have come from a large wolf.

Standing, Dowan was still half a head shorter than Ronnie, but he had a natural presence that made him seem more intimidating. “Do you really want to do this?”

“I’m a sixth generation vampire and a fourth generation all-star athlete, your little tricks don’t scare me.”

“I’m descended from the raven himself, white-boy. Or should I call you dead-boy?”

The cafeteria hadn’t reacted much when Rachel had thrown Dowan across the room, but now the entire room grew silent and more than half of the patrons suddenly remembered they had other things to do. Even Ginny looked cowed.

The lights flickered and darkness swirled around the two men despite the daylight coming through the windows.

Pulling two of her longer knives Rachel jumped forward and placed herself between the two men. Part of her enjoyed that they were ready to fight for her; it was thrilling to be wanted. It didn’t mean she was going to allow them to act like idiots.

“Gentlemen. I understand that you want to prove which of you has the biggest… you know what…” she blushed, feeling that she had just lost all her intimidation. She tried to think of something witty to say and decided on tapping each of their inner thighs with one of the knives, “Go away.”

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