A Morning Without Coffee

Originally posted at http://the-drabbler.com/a-morning-without-coffee/

Images of the night before flitted through Zack’s mind. Running, fire, blood. Zombies had attacked his hometown.

A dream? Zack thought. Apparently I need some coffee.

He poured himself his morning salvation and drank. The liquid trickled out of his mouth before he could swallow it. Wow. I really am tired.

He raised his other hand to wipe his face. But it wasn’t there. He looked down at a stump of an arm.

Huh. Interesting.

Zack looked into the mirror to a lopsided, zombie’d visage.

Well then. I suppose I should go grab some breakfast.

“Brrraaaaaiiins,” he grunted. “And coooffffeeeee.”

Artwork by my friend at http://4rioch.deviantart.com/

I’m like Zack the Zombie when I don’t get my morning dose of caffeine.  I’m tired, irritable, and hungry for brains. Or at least a brain.

Check out more stories at The Drabbler.

I think I’m going to wind this blog down now, since I’m too busy with the other one to do anything but re-post stories on here. We’ll see : )

Thanks for reading!

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The Drabbler

The Drabbler is now online.

If you like short fiction, especially very short fiction, you should definitely go visit it. And subscribe. And probably insist that I absolutely must accept your monetary donations.

Here–a sample of the great content you’ll discover at the Drabbler:

A Dream Postponed

The amphitheater erupted around him.

“Jimmy! Jimmy!”

He devoured the moment, his fingers dancing electric across the strings. The crowd, lights, music. They belonged to him—the rock star. The band faded and Jimmy launched into his signature, thunderous solo.

But—something was wrong.

Jimmy slumped down onto the stage. He thumbed the frets, frowning.

“Oh Jimmy.” A soft voice.

He looked up from twiddling the little joystick on his wheelchair. Nurse Julie.

“I wonder what you think about, humming to yourself like that.”

Jimmy smiled as she wheeled him to the nurses’ station. Nurse Julie was his biggest fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it. A drabble–a fiction story off exactly 100 words.
The Drabbler features plenty more where that came from, as well as some longer fiction and an “On Writing” section for educational articles on the craft of writing.

Thank you for reading. Go forth and drabble.

Shared Stories: C-C-C-C-Combo Post! # 2!

*No cats were harmed in the making of this post. (They were long dead by the time I got around to writing this thing.)*

Now… an encore to the last post. This was the other collaborative story my friends and I wrote that night in the car.

This time around, we decided to go Xtreme Edition: No Rules. Although I remember getting quite feisty with my scribe-companions when  the plot wandered too much. You might catch where I went all Chuck Norris on the Plot Realignment in the story.

Enjoy!

Vampire Hunted – By Rogue Element Publications

Fe’lier rested her palm on the cold iron gate of the graveyard and realized the chirping of insects had faded. In her years of experience as a vampire hunter, she found that this tended to be a very bad thing. The mists swirled and eddied about her, licking at her unsheathed rapier.

Her nerves were calmed when she felt the reassuring hand on her shoulder of Barek, her longtime friend and companion.

“We’re ready for this, El. All the signs lead to this place. I for one am ready for the closure of this terrible ordeal.”

Barek was a tall, broad shouldered man, bald headed and bearded. He held a baton of polished oak in each hand.

Fe’lier nodded her head against the gate. The cool metal helped clear her mind. With a heavy shove she shouldered the iron gate open. Bodily. It was time to rid herself of forced servitude.

She stepped into the mists, Barek following her. He touched her shoulder and nodded for her to get behind him. He was the tank after all.

The eerie quiet hung like a blanket over this place of the dead. Through the hazy mist, they could just barely see over the top of the hill the mausoleum where their quarry would most likely reside. Fe’lier stepped through the fog, a shadow of her past but a silhouette of her future.

Suddenly, the ground erupted all around them. Hands, decayed with the weight of years, burst from the soil of the graves. They reached out for them, desperate in their undeath to grasp the lives of the two adventurers. The first head to emerge exploded in a scattering of bone chips and moss as an oaken club collided with its face. Fe’lier followed up his brutal attack by executing a perfectly timed double front kick to the rib cage of a second assailant.

Quickly realizing the uselessness of her rapier, she sheathed it. And in a flowing motion of her cape, she drew a ruby-tipped wand. Its Crimson Magic stood out in great contrast to the clime. Calling upon the gods of anti-clime-atic wands, she waved it in front of her to create a great sparkling shield. Any bone that touched it would be obliterated into a thousand little chips before it could touch her.

Barek took up a flanking position so as to not get de-boned himself. In a flurry of explosive motion, he charged forward into the horde of undead, leaving behind him a wake of broken skeletons. Every movement brought a swift end to an animated monstrosity as he fought to clear an area around Fe’lier.

Slowly, they carved a path through the mass of cackling skeletons towards the mausoleum. Fe’lier could feel her wand heat up as the astral shield took on the field of bone. Finally, she was forced to sheath it again when it became burning to the touch.

They were now at the threshold of the mausoleum. There was no turning back. Barek slammed his shoulder into the iron-bound door with all of his might but bounced off with a mighty grunt. He snarled, set his feet and tried again to no greater effect. Sensing this approach was futile, he closed his eyes and looked down. Within a few seconds, white swirling tattoos became visible all over his body. Opening his eyes to reveal two shining pale orbs, he slammed his fist into the door and it exploded into iron shards and wooden splinters.

“I see the School was well worth your time,” Fe’lier said. “I hope they taught you a thing or two about vampires. I’m going to need your help against this foe.”

Barek’s complexion returned to its normal tone. He proceeded down the solitary stone staircase, steepening into the subterranean sanctuary. As the glow in his eyes faded completely, he smiled sheepishly and said “it’s still very difficult to control but a useful skill nonetheless. I will do my best to be of use to you in the coming battle.”

“A battle? Blah!” The voice startled the pair and they froze in place. It seemed to come from all around them. “A battle suggests that one side stands a chance of winning. No. This will be a massacre. Blah!”

They turned around just to be sure nothing was behind them. When they turned back, a genie was blocking their way.

“What battle can be fought by two opposing sides and won by both?” The genie asked of them.

“A civil war?” Barek asked treble-ously.

“That is correct, sir! Allow me to make like a tree and head out of here so you can get massacred by my master.” The genie did indeed make like a tree and dissipated into the musty atmosphere.

“That was awkward,” Fe’lier quipped.

They continued down the passage and presently they entered into a massive chamber. Load-bearing columns flanked the smooth stone walkway that was lined with skull-shaped candles. Several of the candles winked at them as they walked. One tried to flirt with Fe’lier until Barek smashed its waxy visage with an offended fist.

Fe’lier tore a sconce from a crumbling stone wall and lit it afire for the opposite side of the chamber was masked in darkness. Fe’lier seemed about to say something when Barek raised up a hand and dropped to a low crouch. His instincts proving true, dark shapes that seemed to consume the light from her newly lit torch swarmed from pillars upon the two heroes.

“Darklings! Barek, get behind me! This foe is beyond you.” Fe’lier drew her ruby-topped wand again and prepared to fight off the new assailants.

Fe’lier drew a handful of powder from within a pouch and tossed it into the air and then thrust her wand forward, muttering some foreign language. A bright burst of light emitted from it, causing the dust to burn brightly in its almost weightless descent to floor.

“There is much that is new about me, my Heart,” said Barek as he stepped in front of her. He began to glow anew as the first darkling entered his range and attacked with a shadowy clawed hand. With a shout defiance, Barek locked his grip on the wrist of his opponent with his left hand. And with his right, he grabbed its neck. The darkling began to emit a high-pitched scream as its points of contact began to smoke and dissipate under his vice-like grip.

“The lesson of this story, class,” the teacher told us as we sat in our chairs with bated breaths, “is that bone-chips are worth a lot of plat if you collect a lot of them.”

We all wanted to know what the ending was, but satisfied ourselves with knowing that our story ended with a lame and confusing twist.

End

The rushed ending was either a result of us arriving at the house at the end of the drive or space aliens abducting us  and wiping our memories. I don’t remember.

In any case, I apologize for the…ahem… quality of these stories. I know they probably blinded some of you with their awesomeness. I’ll be sure to make a braille  version of my blog sometime for those of you so afflicted.

Until then…I present to you The Lord of the Rings: In Facebook Chat form:

gollum-lord-of-the-rings-facebook-status-profile-picture

*Not made by me: I would’ve included a random Ringwraith scream somewhere in there.*

Shared Stories: C-C-C-C-Combo Post!

A scene:

You’re driving down a long stretch of highway. It is the dead of night (like 7:00 PM). You’re alone in the car. Except for two of your best friends and Avril Lavigne.

Unfortunately, Miss Lavigne is there only in CD-form, so the 7-hour drive is getting to be a tad boring.

The question: What do you do for fun?

If you answered “Have a contest to see how slowly and provocatively each of you can peel a banana, creating a scoring system based on the Food Guide Pyramid and the color ‘Enchanted Forest Green’ instead of numbers and letters”, you’re wrong. So wrong.

If you answered “Write a collaborative-fiction story”, you’re absolutely write!

This is what my friends and I came up with in the car on a laptop. The rules were: take turns contributing only one sentence at a time, try to have some kind of cohesive plot going, and don’t feed the Mogwai after midnight. We broke all of these rules.

Enjoy!

 

Jack flipped open the lid on his coffee maker and looked up at the clock with a defeated sigh. He thought maybe the batteries had died again, but it turns out he had overslept for 12 hours. Jill would have a laugh at him later today. With another glance at the clock, he grabbed his particle beam pistol from the top drawer of his dresser along with his keys and wallet and headed out the door. As he turned around to lock the deadbolt, a tumbleweed blew in between his legs and into the living room.

Jack felt a cold sweat coming on as he stared at the tumbleweed; the war had begun anew. He sent a telepathic message to his partner Cady, a powerful scion with the ability to teleport, that it had begun. He ran into the street, brandishing the particle beam pistol yelling “clear the road!”

Humans and crazy cat ladies alike scattered to the four winds as he hopped into his particle beam cannon armed forklift. He had barely gotten the thing to turn on when Cady materialized in the passenger seat of his oversized industrial forklift. Jack turned to face his soliloquy camera: “Tumbleweeds ain’t what they used to be.”

Cady hit the button to turn on the sirens and the forklift shot off into the Tumblesphere. Jack tore the radio receiver from his hip and hit the button, “this is agent 719. I’ve got a code 9000: unregistered tumbleweed home invasion on the west side of the city. Requesting immediate orders. Over.”

Cady flipped the charge weapon switch with a satisfying beeewoooawwow and looked at Jack with grim determination, “We’re ready.”

“Fire up the shields. We don’t want the space tumbleweeds to tumble us into the tumblesphere.”

Jack and Cady reached the headquarters where the Interstellar Agency for the Suppression of Overactive Tumbleweeds (or IASOT). Captain Mctumness, accompanied by Mcgreggor da Beggar, met them the door.

“What brings you here, Jack? Did you tumble off another hill and break another crown forklift?”

“You know, captain? That gets funnier every time you say it, but I gotta get over to decontamination and make sure I wasn’t exposed to any tumbleweed spores.”

He replied with a smirk, “We’re all professionals here.”

“I hope so. The last tumbleweed war resulted in the deaths of 2 people and 16 kittens so your men better be prepared for anything.”

Cady spoke up and said, “We got any leads on how these things are getting inside city limits?”

Just then another call came over the radio: “This is detective Gruff Mcgruff on the outskirts of city 17! We have a breach in the tumbleweed containment field!” The static from the comm system made it almost incomprehensible.

Cady teleported.

———- (generic section-break) ———-

Down on earth, Gruff Mcgruff stared at the ground where the tumbleweed containment field, a cow fence, stood with a gaping hole in it. He turned around and was relieved to see the dust cloud heralding the arrival of Bobby Joe on his repair wagon.

Bobby Joe rolled up, launching into one of his characteristic monologues, “Goddamn holes are getting bigger every year and the prices of zipties keep going up. I might just hafta open up my own ziptie shop at this rate.”

A tremor shook the ground and they turned to look across the fence to see Cady smashing a tumbleweed with her giant hammer. Jack ripped into the atmosphere in his Pulse Cruiser 9001, flame cannons blazing the way.

Bobby Joe took the piece of straw out of his mouth and exclaimed, “Daggum!”

The triumphant moment didn’t last long as Jack’s Pulse Cruiser was quickly covered by surface-to-air tumbleweeds. Jack screamed “Code Yellow!” into the radio receiver. It was what Suppressors called the Snowball Effect.

Bobby Joe took the piece of straw out of his mouth and exclaimed, “Daggum!”

Jack quickly executed a number of invasive (yes, invasive) maneuvers, designed to shake the tumbleweeds off of his already deteriorated hull. Cady, having experience with such situations, began constructing “the Reaper”.

Bobby Joe helped her out. The Reaper was almost exactly like a lawnmower and he had a lot of experience with them. At the sight of his distraction, Gruff Mcgruff yelled at Bobby Joe: “Get to work on that fence! Those two agents risking their necks out there will be for nothing if we don’t get this fence mended double quick!”

By virtue of Gruff’s assertiveness, the fence was repaired double quick.

The ground began to shake and the air in the distance became filled with dust. Bobby Joe pumped his fist in the air and said “George Warshington’s left testicle! Them idiots down there finally got the Great Tumbleweed Eater online! Yeehee!” It was a triumphant moment for mankind.

End

 

He's my hero.

Thank you kindly for perusing this masterpiece of American literature, surely destined to go down in history as the foremost example of smarmy intellect and anti-tumbleweed stratagem.

I know you’re thinking that it probably took us years to polish it. But you’re wrong. In fact, we wrote another one during that very same drive! I’ll post it tonight.

Italicized gasp!

Groove Writing

“Get into the groove boy

You’ve got to prove

Your love to me, yeah

Get up on your feet, yeah

Step to the beat

Boy what will it be?”

– Madonna: Into the Groove

I am truly sorry if you’re the type of person who gets songs stuck in your head purely from reading lyrics.

But I had a point to make.

I love to write. Many people do. So what is it that prevents aspiring writers from writing? Why does everyone and their pet squirrel know the term “writer’s block?”  I would suggest, in a purely sarcastic, please-don’t-take-me-seriously-or-it-may-lead-to-chronic-brain-disorders kind of way that writers have a hard time actually putting words to the page because

Okay… this post was getting excruciatingly boring. Like the mid-point of a sappy romance novel. Or a monkey running and screeching straight for you only to stop and not start up a discourse on hot-wheel collections.

A common method that authors use is to write the same sentence over and over and over until it finally clicks that they should probably go get a little sun.

So I’m just going to post my latest ten-minute story and listen to some 80’s music. Thank you for reading and remember: stay on target! Stay on target!

The Wayfarers

“Nobody’s ever been that interested in the ferry before,” the ferryman observed aloud, his fingers lightly resting on his mustache. “Most people want to know all about the island. Which is understandable of course. There are not many islands in the world made entirely from the shell of a long-dead gigaturtle.”

“Right,” Samuel said. “But everybody knows of the island’s history. The Wayfarers are not interested in well-known, established history. We know that there are things in this world that Man has not yet discovered, and these are the very things that we endeavor to find.” Samuel took a long draw from his electric cigar. “After all, it was a fellow wayfarer of mine, my mentor in fact, that discovered the first gigaturtle skeleton.”

“Jackson Killion is your mentor?” the ferryman said with surprise in his voice.

“Yes. And if I’m ever to achieve the fame that he has, I need you to stop delaying your answers. Now, tell me about this ferry.”

Samuel Kyteslayer held a long, slender vibro-knife against the ferryman’s throat.

“Damn! Alright! I’m just the driver of the thing, so I don’t know the specifics. But I can tell you that you can find more information from Jillian Clide.”

203 words in 10 minutes at 10:03 AM on Dec 17, 2011

Awww! It's so little!

10 Minute Short Stories

I have recently discovered this imperfect but nifty little site called http://writeforten.com . It’s a great tool to use to get your mental and physical writing fingers warmed up for a paper, short story, novel, 20-book epic, or what have you. Personally, I plan to write on it and post nearly every day with a short 10-minute story. I’ve written in it twice  so far (under the name of Shpob) and I’m rather proud of what I can write in ten minutes given the right amount of focus.

Below are my first two examples. Keep in mind that I wrote these in 10 minutes or less, without any editing or revision afterwards. (The page on the site actually freezes and doesn’t allow you to change things after 10 minutes is up). This 10 minutes includes plot and character development as well as the writing itself, so don’t expect masterpieces by any means. But I (biased as I may be) think these are decently entertaining : )

First Story:

Kitar, the most powerful magician the kingdoms had ever known, looked across the white expanse from his high perch. The Kingdom of Kitchen was in dire straits, under siege from a menace heretofore unseen in all of the 3 house kingdoms, and he would not break his vigil. The enemies that threatened the very way of life in Kitchen were many and Kitar was the land’s first and last line of defense.

Kitar’s fur stood on end when he thought about his hated enemies.

Mice. A menace so evil and terrible to behold that it put even the Roaches of Riftwall to shame. They regularly ransacked the provinces and cupboards of Kitchen, stealing away all of the Kingdom’s hope. But the lords and ladies of the land were ready to stand up to the Mice Menace. They had hired Kitar to seek peace in the land through the spilling of the blood of their enemies.

Grinning mischievously, the magician retrieved some magical liquid from a bowl. It was a concoction that made Kitar even more powerful than in his normal state. Cat-nip. The lady of Kitchen had granted him permission to do whatever it took to see the Mice destroyed. Kitar the kitten was only too happy to oblige.

209 words in 10 minutes at 06:00 PM on Dec 07, 2011

“You’re a wizard, Hairy.” Rubeus Catrid.

Second Story:

James squinted his eyes as he hobbled into his apartment. He didn’t remember leaving the light on, but he supposed he shouldn’t be surprised given his memory problems in his old age.

James was an old man, but he liked to think of himself as “seasoned and well aged, like a good scotch”. His past life had been full of adventures and traveling around the world, but he had long since given up that life for an easy retirement. Now, he liked to kick back and watch old television shows he not had much of a chance to experience in his younger years. He also enjoyed the occasional game of bingo down the street.

On this night, however, he would be quickly reminded of what an old mentor used to say to him.
“This kind of life we live, James, never really ends. You can try to escape it, but it always comes back to haunt you. We have changed too much and destroyed too many lives to be forgotten.”

James walked into his bedroom and sighed when he saw what was written on the wall in blood-red paint. His mentor had been right. He never could escape his past.

The wall’s words shone crimson.
“Bingo.”

A moment later, a bullet struck the back of James’ head from the man hiding in the corner.

224 words in 10 minutes at 11:43 AM on Dec 09, 2011

I’ll publish more of these every so often. Probably.

Thank you for reading and have a great, bacon-flavored day!

And on my free time I…

Hello!

I just finished my latest “flavor text” for the game I’m making and I feel like sharing it.

First, some background:

Together with a couple of friends, I’ve been working on making a browser-based video game. Its current title is Throne of Caelum: Pillarfall.

To make an extraordinarily long story short (which I will go into more detail in a later post) this is a fantasy warfare strategy game that you can play in your browser without downloading it. There are quite a few of these already online, so it is a crowded market. Some good examples are Tribal Wars and Grepolis by the company Innogames, if you’re curious.

We’re trying to make our game better than the competition. One of the ways we hope to do this is by making an immersive game world with a story on par with the best role-playing video games out there (some of which have better plots than the best novels, in my opinion). Even though Pillarfall is not an RPG, we think it would add a lot to the game by making a good story to go along with the actual gameplay. As the head of content creation, this is one of my jobs.

In our game, you can train units of warriors to send out in armies to battle other players. There are a number of Kingdoms (teams) to choose from and each of these has 25 unique military units. I’m making a “flavor text” to accompany the description of each of these units. A flavor text is basically an entertaining description or short story that gives background information to the players instead of useful game statistics.

My latest flavor text belongs to the Outcast Lowborn, the weakest unit of the Planar Kingdom. In short, the Planar are a race of magical, power-hungry people bent on world domination. They are evil, have blue-green flames as eyes, and are generally badass. Here ya go:

Outcast Lowborn

“Novanis tuen’ Vaneas, Flame of Ren, enter into the runes and prove your Birth.” The voice of the Gatekeeper rumbled down the Proving Hall and crashed into Novanis’ mind. Compelled as surely as if he had been shoved, he stepped into the circle of runes.

He tried to stop shaking. This was the culminating event of his fifteen years. This trial of magical power, this Proving, would decide his place in Planar society. If he did well, he would be allowed to advance in the Planar pursuit of power. If he did poorly, he would be cast out.

Novanis knelt into the runic circle, his quivering hands held outward from his body, palms up. Then he began. The air shimmered about him in waves of magical heat. Blue-green flames erupted from his palms at his voiced command. The runes around him glowed a bright white. The floor trembled. Seconds later, it was over. Sweating and breathing heavily, Novanis felt weak. Weak from his Proving, and weak from despair. He knew that it was not enough.

The Gatekeeper shifted slightly on his crystal throne as he pointed a long finger at the young Planar. “By the Authority of the Ring, the Gatekeepers deem your Birth to be Low. You are stripped of Name and Flame. Begone.”

The flames of his eyes dimmed as the nameless Lowborn was escorted from the Proving Hall. He was to be sent out to the front lines at the next deployment. He would not last long.