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October 19, 2014

Tenants Harbor [Teaser]

[Posted by Ted H]

I've explained the process of how Demons Ascension came to be, right? An idea, left to marinate in my brain over the coarse of a few years before it can come out in the form of some coherent story.

...Well back in 2010, I put an idea into my brain to cook and until recently, nothing good came out. I took a week long trip to Maine and was struck by inspiration based on where I was staying. I wrote notes for most of my time there and attempted to pound out a story from it. Ten words in I realized this wasn't gonna work. I still wanted to write the story, but I wasn't going to force it. Fast forward to 2014 and I finally decided to try a short based on the idea from back then.

My original plan was to make "Tenants Harbor" my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel. Unsure about if I could knock 50K words out in a month for the story, I decided to write this teaser to see if the story was ready for writing. Eventually, I got this short done, but decided it took way too long to get done for the overall story to be viable for NaNoWriMo. Maybe next year.

Soon I will announce what I'll be really writing for NaNoWriMo 2014, but for now enjoy this. I figure the teaser is a perfect fit for Halloween anyway. Next week will be nothing, because the following week will be November.


[Tenants Harbor - Teaser]

Trevor slowly groped his way along the hall for the bathroom, half drunk and half awake. He still was a bit foreign on the general layout of the house but he felt he still had a good enough idea where the bathroom was suppose to be. Inside, he felt around for the light switch before closing the door. He was unsure of the hour, such concerns seem trivial when one awakens suddenly in the middle of the night needing to heed the call of nature.

            As he did his business, he wondered if anyone else in the house were awake. He was one of the last to turn in for the night, but that didn't mean everyone went right to sleep. Maybe someone was still awake and game for more drinking since Trevor knew for a fact that there was at least half a bottle of vodka left. He thought better of the idea when a growing pain surfaced in his mind and caused him to wince at the light in the room.

            "Christ, my heads about to explode," he mumbled to himself as he splashed water in his face. It did little to alleviate the pain in his head as he propped his elbows on the sides of the tiny sink and held his head by the sides as he looked at himself in the mirror. His eyes were bloodshot in the reflection and he was uncomfortably pale looking. A soft ringing began in his ears as he adjusted his hands to cover and rub his eyes.

            "Darkness," he said softly to himself, trying to wait out the pain a little before making his body move for the return trip to his bed, the promise of the quiet, pitch darkness that awaited him there already making him feel up for the task. His eyes readjusted after being rubbed and he began to turn around when something caught his eye in the mirror.

            In the reflection, standing right behind him, Trevor saw a figure; An unknown woman who looked like she had just stepped from the nearby ocean with her head tilted to the side and mouth open wide. The sheer shock of seeing someone in the bathroom with him caused Trevor to spin around quickly, momentarily disorienting his taxed mind, as he raised one arm up to defend himself by instinct. Lowering his arm, he saw no one was there. He checked the mirror and back again to confirm this and breathed a sigh of relief.

            The shock caused a bit of adrenalin to coarse through his body and Trevor's headache seemed to subside, even for just a moment, because of it. This allowed him to piece together what he saw more clearly. The woman had looked soaked, with her dark hair slicked down all around her head with her face showing through as if the hair were a curtain. She had both eyes open wide, but only one eye to see with; her left eye merely a dark void in her face.

            Her entire face had looked puffy, almost as if it was waterlogged. The most unsettling feature though was the dark marking on her neck. Trevor first thought it a necklace, but it was too strait and the marking featured so stark a contrast to her pale skin that he knew better. Trevor gave off a long and heavy sigh as he composed himself. He was tired, he knew that much. The fatigue and pain in his head alongside the dark of this house had caused him to see something. He laughed a little as he finally calmed down and his headache began to return.

            "Drunk nightmares," he said to himself dismissively as he stepped away from the sink, then stopped dead, his blood growing cold. His foot had stepped into something wet. His heart started racing again as the cold water seeped into his sock. Trevor could hear something in the hall, the sound of someone struggling to breathe, someone out there giving off short, almost gargled gasps. The light from the bathroom offered little aid as Trevor looked out into the hall but couldn't see anything, save for the reflection of light off a wet set of footprints leading away into the darkness.

            "Not going out there," Trevor decided as he reached for the door and closed it slowly. His mind grasped at the idea that someone was playing a prank, but he wasn't laughing. He wasn't able to close the door, the latch became stuck and wouldn't allow the door to remain shut. "Seriously?" he asked aloud as a cold bead of sweat began to trail down his forehead and the sound of struggled breathing became louder.

            He tried pressing the latch deeper, hoping it would pop back out but to no avail. He shook the handle, gently at first but soon it became a frantic rattle as the breathing grew louder and closer. "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon," Trevor repeated to himself as he tried in vain to free the door latch so he could lock himself in, the breathing in the darkness growing more and more close until he could swear it was right on top of him. At that moment it ceased and Trevor was alone in the bathroom, the only sound being his own stressed breaths.

            A moment passed and Trevor did nothing. The door latch then popped free and he stared at it in disbelief. He glanced back up and into the darkness, wondering if whatever was out there was still waiting for him. The light from the bathroom extended well into the hall but he never saw anything despite how close the unknown breathing had been. He then felt something drop onto his head. He reached up and felt something wet as another drop fell onto his hand. "What the..." he said as he tried to examine the water before he felt something brush right up to his ear and the gargled breathing resumed right behind him.

            Trevor sprawled out of the bathroom and into the hall. He looked back just in time to see something disappear from the light and up onto the ceiling. The struggled breathing echoing through the hall as something crawled around all over the hallway ceiling. Trevor crawled to the wall and attempted to see in the dark but to no avail. The breathing stopped again and all other noises ceased. Whatever that thing was, the woman in the mirror or otherwise, it was somewhere in the dark, waiting for Trevor. He briefly wondered if he should try the bathroom again before the light coming from it began to flicker and eventually go out, leaving everything in pitch black.

            He braced himself against the wall as he rose to his feet. His room on the far end of the hall, Trevor began his slow trek back, keeping an ear out for any hint of the woman in the mirror. What before seemed like a short trip now from his room was an unending march back, the hallway seemed to grow longer with every step forward and Trevor wondered if he'd even make it. The occasional gasped breath of something unknown causing him to occasionally freeze and wait. Somewhere behind him was the sound of falling water, dripping from the ceiling as something crawled along.

            Even in the darkness Trevor could spy the bedroom door. A sense of dread grew within him when he began to wonder if this door would have the same trouble closing as the bathroom. All thoughts ceased at the sound of something wet smacking onto the floor not far behind him followed by heavy strained breathing. Loud, wet footsteps sounded as the figure quickly approached. Trevor took off in a dead sprint to cover the last several feet to the bedroom ,a quick glance behind revealed a dark figure with outstretched arms making for him.

            Trevor barged into the bedroom then slammed the door shut behind him. The door had no lock, so he braced himself against it as the woman reached and began to bang furiously on it. Trevor laid his full weight into the door to prevent the woman from entering as she continued to pound, her gargled and strained breathing becoming wails. The door bounced under him with each furious strike and Trevor wondered if the door could even hold up.

            Suddenly, the pounding stopped and the wailing ceased, and all was quiet again. Trevor dared not look out into the hall or even move from his position blocking the door shut. He pondered how long it was until morning or at least how long until someone else in the house would be up. "As long as I stay put..." Trevor began to say, attempting to calm himself, but stopped when he felt drops of water fall onto him from the ceiling followed by the sound of strained breathing above him.

October 12, 2014

10 Books

[Posted by Ted H]

As I continue to stall until November...

So there was this thing on facebook where you list the 10 most influential books from your life. Eventually I got around to doing it, and now to help fill the gap before NaNoWriMo 2014, I'll post my 10 here as well...
Top 10 books that influenced you one way or the other through your life.
[in no particular order]

 Tales of Mystery and Imagination [Edgar Allan Poe]
-When I was a kid, most people my age would read a Goosebumps book for their thrills. I however was reading Poe tales before middle and high schools were making my peers get around to it. It's an old book, I'm honestly shocked it hasn't fallen apart yet. And not all the Poe tales are contained within, nor are any of his poems, but it was still a solid read throughout my life. I think I've read TellTale Heart to the point where I could recite most of it at one point.
In college one of my classes were tasked to read the Rue Morgue. The next day I lugged this book to class just to show off I was no amateur. Hell, I only took the class (called "Murder, Mystery and Fiction) because the description said we'd study the stories of Poe and Sherlock Holmes....we spent maybe a week on each before the professor decided to spend the rest of the semester talking about her favorite feminist authors. "Let down" was the most generous way I'd describe that class.
Like I said though, old book. 1935 makes it older than my parents and every time I open it, I'm afraid that this will be the day the front cover tears off or something equally tragic will happen. Other than being old, it's in fantastic condition and despite being something I've had all my life, every page is there and perfectly legible. Even the artwork is fine. Arthur Rackham's illustrations, by the way, are a perfect fit and tone for a collection of Poe stories.
But yeah, I practically learned to read with this book, in case you're wondering what kind of foundation I have to the fucked up shit I write about.

Green Eggs and Ham [Dr Seuss]
Speaking of books I sort of always had with me in life...I've read a few Dr Seuss books in my time. They were all disposable to me except this one, which has stood the test of time to the point that "Sam I Am" is the name I was confirmed under by my church (I'm not making a TOTAL mockery of my religion, am I?). The back and forth conversational rhyming drew me in and the fact that a coherent story was made out of it without ever deviating was the shit to me.
I've since done my own homage to the tale. The whole "Weed From a Can" thing I did was a straight up nod to the story. "Fat Lady Rolling Down a Steep Hill", arguably the greatest poem I've ever done, has Seuss to thank for its existence. While not directly based off of any Dr Seuss tale, every other poem I had been exposed to in life was either English-class approved bull shit or too short to be a tale. FLRDaSH was me telling a rhyming tale without it having to be a song.

Birth of a Dynasty [Joel Sherman]
So...I'm a Yankees fan. No shock there if you've ever met me. The book chronicles the 1996 Yankees, from the last game of their 1995 season all the way to their 1996 championship. It details how they constructed the team and the million and one ways the team could have been altered, all detailing just how impossibly hard it is to field a team that can not only win, but win for years. The 96 Yankees kick started a dynasty that lasted into the next decade and the book highlights all the people and events that did all the right things at exactly the right times to make it a reality.
History buffs eat up shit like this for their genre, and I always go back to this book.

The Lord of the Rings [J.R.R. Tolkien]
Maybe you've heard of it? I totally count The Hobbit as part of this by the way. What I love here is that it proves you can create your own sprawling universe and saga and have it span multiple novels. Plus, The Hobbit is an example of "Oh shit, lemme retcon some details from my previous story cuz I got this great idea for a new story!"

John Dies at the End [David Wong]
So after I let people read the initial version of That One Night, someone sent me a link to read a story written by an writer at Like mine, it had a supernatural situation where fucked up shit was happening. Also though, it read like an escaped mental patient was given a book deal. Still though, I made it a point to read it to the end and even to buy the damn thing when it came out in book form, then read it again. There's some shit that was changed for...reasons, though that I now get to be a hipster about and say "They sang "Sweet Child of Mine" instead of "Camel Holocaust" when I read it, loser." John lives by the way.
...Never saw the movie though...

Resident Evil: City of the Dead [S.D. Perry]
In terms of writing style, Perry is defiantly an influence for me. Writing first person perspectives for a character all alone would be a crazy daunting task if not for how Perry sets it up. Now all I wanna do most times is write a single character who is reflecting on their thoughts as they endure a hellish situation.
Also it's a book about one of my favorite games ever, Resident Evil 2.

American Gods [Neil Gaiman]
Pitched to me by a friend because of a scene featuring a man-eating vagina (seriously). Turns out the rest of the book was pretty good too. I've got one or two projects that I've shelved because I failed to pull off a setup that Gaiman pulled off in this book. Every time I pick this up I feel inspired to try again.

The Catcher in the Rye [J.D. Salinger]
For years, literature that was considered "classic" to me always translated to "boring shit with boring people written by boring writers that schools make you read for boring reasons." Then I read this and changed my opinion a little. Most of the stuff schools make you read is still boring, but sometimes a story where the protagonist haggles with a prostitute slips by.

The Bishop Grimes Incident [me]
Yes...I am cocky enough to make a book written by me as one of my most influential books ever. I'll even do it again for the final entry on this list.
BGI was my first ever stab at writing a long form story. It was birthed by boredom, written while I should have been taking notes during classes in high school, read like it was out of a Resident Evil game, and encouraged by the handfuls of people who wanted to be in it.
Being an unoriginal hack at the time, I used real life classmates as characters, and myself as the main character. When word spread that I was doing this (which I still have no idea how that happened cuz I sure as hell wasn't talking) I was worried about how people might react. The reaction was nuts; people not only wanted in this story, but they all wanted better deaths in it than everyone else. I ended up rewriting the story a year later with better writing skills and a better plot in mind. Reading the original and the remake always makes me cringe cuz back then my skills as a writer were terrible and my thought was "People actually enjoyed this?"
Every so often I'll look the story up and read through it, just to remind myself of how far I've come as a writer. Because of this story, I am what I am today, and what I'll be in the future.
But seriously though, what the hell was I thinking?

That One Night [me]
Yes, the ego stroking continues.
Original cast, coherent plot, supernatural mystery that is ambiguous and ultimately (kinda) explained, zombies.....if BGI was my foray into writing, than T1N was my thesis on everything I can do. Proof that I could write something big that total strangers (not just friends) would find enjoyable. It's a self contained story, but for me it also introduced a universe of new concepts and characters to play with in writing.
BGI proved I could write. T1N proved I could go big.

Honorable mentions: Journal of the Dead [Jason Kersten], The Natural [Bernard Malamud], The Alphabet of Manliness [Maddox], The Zen of Zim [Don Zimmer / Bill Madden], I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell [Tucker Max]

October 2, 2014

The 2014 MLB Turtle-Wax Awards

[Posted by Ted H]

Yup...Time to flex my creative muscles before November. As always, winners are encouraged to make their own trophies to commemorate their accomplishment of sucking...


[The 2014 Turtle-Wax Awards]

These are the awards you DON'T want to win.

The "Rays And Blue Jays Would Rather Play In This Division" Award
Awarded to the crappiest division in baseball
[Previous winners: 2009 AL Central, 2010 AL West, 2011 AL Central, 2012 AL Central, 2013 AL West]

---The National League East: Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies---

One team, just one, finished above .500 this year from that division. The Nationals sure kicked a lot of ass this season, but the other four were just garbage. The Phillies were old, the Braves started their late season fade earlier than usual and the Mets and Marlins were....well they were the Mets and Marlins. Then usual winners of this award, the AL Central and West, were two of the best in baseball this year meanwhile, which just shows you what an odd year it's been.


The "Steroid Accusation Rookie Of The Year" Award
Awarded to the slugger who is probably gonna get accused of steroids next, if not already
(I am NOT accusing the winner of steroids, just sayin...)
[Previous winners: 2009 Aaron Hill (TOR), 2010 Corey Hart (MIL), 2011 Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS), 2012 Edwin Encarnacion (TOR), 2013 Chris Davis (BAL)]

---Victor Martinez of the Detroit Tigers---
2014 HR total: 32
Previous high: 25

That previous high in home runs came in 2007. And before you go on about how that's because the wear and tear on his body for a whole season as a catcher held him back, may I remind you that he was in peak condition in 2007...he's 35 this year, not exactly in the prime of ones life. His 1st two season in Detroit, he couldn't even hit 15 dingers...


The "What The Hell Happened To You?" Award
Awarded to the team that fell off the map when they were supposed to be contenders
[Previous winners: 2009 New York Mets, 2010 Seattle Mariners, 2011 Cincinnati Reds, 2012 Miami Marlins, 2013 California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim]

---The Milwaukee Brewers---

So the season starts and the Brewers are flying high. Looking gooooooood. Then they stop winning all the time, but at least they're in 1st place and all the early winning built them a buffer. Then they stop winning entirely and fall out of 1st in not only their division, but also the wild card. Ultimately, they struggled to finish above .500 just so they could say they didn't completely shit the bed on the season.


The "Shut Your God Damn Mouth" Award
Awarded to whoever talked too much without backing it up
[Previous winners: 2009 Chicago Cubs, 2010 MLB Network, 2011 Carlos Zambrano (CHC), 2012 Boston Red Sox, 2013 Jordany Valdespin (NYM)]

---Keith Olbermann of ESPN---

Right before the finale of Derek Jeter's farewell extravaganza, Keith here decided to make a monologue as to why Derek Jeter isn't the greatest player ever. Understandable, Jeter was great, but not THAT great. Olbermann kept going though, attempting to point out that Jeter isn't even that good to begin with. Using cherry picked stats and (groan) sabermetrics, he details why Jeter should just shut up and go away.
...Missing from that video he made was any mention of playoffs. Never mind that Jeter is the all time playoffs hit king, the mere fact that Jeter brought his A-Game every October should be proof enough to why Yankees fans raise him to such a high pedestal. Olbermann mentions that Jeter has no MVPs but it's noted by fans all over baseball that he was robbed by voters of at least one, maybe two MVP awards (Twins fans are still as shocked as anyone from when Morneau won). He's also neglecting the 2000 World Series in which Jeter took home MVP against the Mets, no big deal right?


The "This Years Miracle, Next Years Indians" Award
Awarded to the team that made a surprise playoff run this year, and will fall short next year
[Previous winners: 2009 Colorado Rockies, 2010 Tampa Bay Rays, 2011 Tampa Bay Rays, 2012 Baltimore Orioles, 2013 Cleveland Indians]

---The Kansas City Royals---

The National League seems to be settling into a groove of only certain teams can make the playoffs lately. Meanwhile the Royals just ended the longest playoff drought by any major team in NA...and I say that with skepticism because I still kinda don't count the wild card game as a real playoff game. Royals can't make this years success last...

(I am 4-1 in making this prediction. My only mistake was only because the 2011 Red Sox choked, allowing the Rays to make the cut...)


The "This Years Mets, Next Years Miracle" Award
Awarded to a team that sucked this year, but can make a run next year
[Previous winners: 2009 Chicago White Sox, 2010 Chicago White Sox, 2011 Washington Nationals, 2012 Seattle Mariners, 2013 New York Yankees]

---The Chicago Cubs---

Holy crap, did I lose my mind? Who picks the Cubs to make a playoff run? Don't get me wrong, the Cubs will never win it all, but they're starting to showcase some of the young talent in their farm and look poised to flex their talent for a full season. If anything they seem to be an ace short of having a good looking future, which seems odd when you think of the trade they pulled earlier this season...


The "AAA Team In Disguise" Award
Awarded to a team that might have better luck in AAA
[Previous winners: 2009 Washington Nationals, 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates, 2011 Boston Red Sox, 2012 Houston Astros, 2013 Miami Marlins]

---The Texas Rangers---

Never has a team embodied this award title more than the Rangers this year. So many injuries piled up on them, I'm pretty sure they had a starting lineup of players who began the year in AAA. Plus they were bad, so bad even Ron Washington decided to hell with this.
Honorable mention goes out to the New York Yankees starting rotation, which rocked 4 out of 5 as minor leaguers at one point.


The "Dull Knife In The Drawer" Award
Awarded to the biggest mental error this year
[Previous winners: 2009 Washington Nati(o)nals, 2010 Barak Obama, 2011 Brian Sabean (SF), 2012 Derek Norris (OAK), Mark Pagnozzi (HOU)]

---Michael Pineda of the New York Yankees---

Pineda decided to use pine tar one day, kinda got caught by the Red Sox, but since the players they employ are anything but clean (and at least one of their pitchers cheated as well in the recent past) on top of pretending Ortiz was anything but juiced, they let it slide.
...Then he did it again 2 starts later, against the same team, because, well I'm not quite sure what made him think he'd get away with it twice, especially in a game where everyone was looking for if he did it again. He got 10 games to mull over his dumb choice in life, only for it to be topped off by him getting injured during the suspension, costing him the majority of 2014. Good job Michael.

...Still a good trade for the Yankees considering how much a disaster Jezus Montero turned out to be for Seattle.


The "Results May Vary" Award
Awarded to a player/team that didn't live up to the hype
[Previous winners: 2010 Stephen Strasburg (WAS), 2011 Carl Crawford (BOS), 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers, 2013 Toronto Blue Jays]

---The Boston Red Sox---

From worst to first and back to the worst. If anyone says the 2013 Red Sox wasn't just a happy coincidence of a bunch of scrubs all catching fire at the right time with all the right calls going their way, then point to this year and 2012 (and 2011 for good measure) as to why Boston sucks. Not since the 1998 Marlins have I seen a defending world champion suck this hard, and the 98 fish had the excuse of their owner sending all their players away. The 2014 Red Sox are essentially the same players. Jacoby Ellsbury didn't make THAT much a difference.


The "Joe West Level Of Incompetence" Award
Awarded to the umpire who made the biggest BS call(s) of the year
[Previous winners: 2011 Jerry Meals, 2012 Sam Holbrook, 2013 Fieldin Culbreth]

---Joe West---

The fact that this award existed for 3 years prior and West never won his namesake award seemed not right. But don't worry, Joe proved just how bad he was this year. In a game where Jonathan Papelbon proved just how classy a guy he was by grabbing his crotch at some fans, West did what most umpires would do and tossed him for it. As Papelbum got in his face and argued it though, West decided to cross a line by grabbing the player. Umpires are to never be touched in an argument and to do so is a punishable offense, so it would seem like the no touching rule also applies to the umpires as well. Joe West, in thinking he was hot shit, decided that rule didn't apply to him and was punished for it accordingly. I'll echo Hawk Harrelson by saying: Joe West needs to go away.


The "Ozzie Kind Of Crazy" Award
Awarded to the manager who had the most entertaining season to watch
[Previous winners: 2012 Bobby Valentine (BOS), Joe Girardi (NYY)]

---Kirk Gibson of the Arizona Diamondbacks---

Gibson would make a great manager for the Sandlot team...and that's it. Guy regularly wanted his pitchers to headhunt star players and enforce a bunch of rules with violence. Did it surprise anyone that once competent people showed up in management, that he'd be the first to go?


The "Go Stand in the Corner!" Award
Awarded to the most standout suspension of the season
[Previous winner: 2013 Ryan Braun (MIL)]

---Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees---
Crime: Being on Bud Selig's bad side / Being able to be mentioned in the same sentence as PEDs
Time: 162 games (He got paid for the off days)

A-Rod, aka: "Everything wrong with baseball" according to Selig, was originally suspended for all this year and whatever was left of last year, but he appealed and got to play in 2013....then went about the appeals process like a 2 year old and stormed out at one point (which I'm pretty sure the appeal goes against you on principle at that point). Pineda's suspension was pretty stupid on his part, but it's hard to overlook a suspension that covered the entire damn year, no matter how warranted/unwarranted it was.


The "They'll Let Anybody Pitch" Award
Awarded to the pitcher who should never have been allowed near a mound

---Kevin Correia of the Los Angeles Dodgers---

7-17...Guy had an ERA around 5.00 in Minnesota...the Dodgers looked at this and said "Yeah, we defiantly need this guy on roster in order to win the NL." He joined and in 9 games (3 starts) posted an ERA over 8.00. How about a K to BB ratio of 2:1?
This guy could have been easily forgettable if he stayed with the Twins, but the fact that a team favored to go to the world series picked him up and he did nothing new? That earns him shittiest pitcher honors.

September 28, 2014

Demons Ascension - Gods and Mortals

[Posted by Ted H]

Holy crap what a run. Hard to believe that that a year ago not a single word of this novel was written and now here we are at the [bitter?] end of it. But the idea had existed for longer than that.
The characters that would become James Blake and John Praque were created in 2005.
The idea of Croatoan and the general plot started back in 2006.
The universe that would host this crazy and tie things together, including some supporting characters, wouldn't kick off until 2008.
The decision to combine all this Captain Planet style wasn't until mid 2013.
November 1, 2013 was when word one was typed.
I'd love to do a definite end date for the final word being typed, but I keep catching myself tweaking here and there...especially the ending. That last conversation keeps changing, but I keep loving what I change it to each time. I'm sure one day Ill find the right dialogue that'll be too perfect to change...

News about NaNoWriMo 2014 will come soon.
James Blake isn't done here either. Prolly not doing another novel about him, but we haven't seen that last of him. We have seen the last of him as a rank amateur in the world of demons and magic though, rest assured.

Anyway, enjoy the finale.


[Demons Ascension - Gods and Mortals]

            James figured he'd wait for John to recover and check out of the hospital before he'd try to bum a ride back home to Syracuse. This meant he could only lay about and enjoy a few days and recover in John's apartment. James could use the rest too since he felt absolutely spent after all that had happened. He didn't sleep in John's bed, seeing how the one person left alive in his life deserved even a little respect. The couch was just beginning to be comfortable anyway.
            A couple days later, someone was banging on the front door, waking James from a particularly restful slumber. No one should have known he was here, but he rose up to check who it was as the knocking continued. He checked the peephole and saw Amy outside. "This outta be good," he mumbled as he opened the door.
            "Come with me," she said as he began walking down the hall.
            "Um...ok?" James said as he rubbed his eyes.
            "Leave the trench coat," Amy said.
            "No dice," James said as he reached for the coat before following "I keep my smokes there now."
            Amy led him to the elevator and they rode it up to the top floor, a floor James wasn't sure existed before despite riding this elevator numerous times before. Instead of another hallway, the doors opened to reveal a while hallway with no doors leading up to staircase heading up. A bright light radiated from above, preventing James from seeing where the stairs led.
            "This way," Amy said as she walked forward. James kept pace and followed her up the stairs, all the while feeling light headed and wondering if he were dreaming or hallucinating. "Where are we?" James asked and was surprised at how distant his voice sounded. "Woah," he said aloud, attempting to test his voice. "Echo!"
            "Stop it," Amy said as they reached the top of the stairs "We're here."
            "Where is here?" James wondered as he took in the scene. There were no walls or ceiling but he wasn't outside. All sides of the room extended forever into a soft white light. There was a warm and wonderful feeling in the air and James felt at ease in this place. Amy walked on undeterred by the surroundings and James followed while craning his neck about to see the room full of nothing. The staircase down was still there, sticking out as a hole in an otherwise untouched horizon of a cloudlike white.
            As they walked, a powerful light began to shine coming from an incline. Amy stopped and motioned James to continue up alone. James began to ascend and struggle to look towards the powerful light. He shielded his eyes and could swear there was a figure standing in the light. "Is that who I think it is?" James asked as he turned back to Amy "Could you tell him to turn down the bloom?"
            "It's not bright," Amy replied as she looked into the light without issue "You spend too much of your life in the darkness."
            "Hilarious," James said as he turned back to the light "Where's Stan? I want my favor to be sunglasses." The shining light momentarily seemed to shutter as a cold chill ran through the air.
            "This is not a time for jokes," Amy scolded "You are in the presence of the almighty, do not invoke otherwise."
            "I thought he doesn't do public appearances anymore?"
            "You clearly have proven yourself for an exception."
            James continued forward. The light was intense and almost blinding, but eventually it seemed to die down and he could clearly see the silhouette of a man. None of the features were clear, but he could at least determine it was a man. "Thank you you're a man," James said with a grin. The light quickly grew warmer for a second.
            "What did I say about the jokes?" Amy called. "I'm pretty sure God enjoyed that one!" James yelled back. He tried to make out anything about God, but it was all shadowed by the light shining behind him. Eventually, James gave up and finally asked "Alright, so, why am I here? You wanted to thank me in person?"
            "You have done a great service," Amy said "And the almighty would like to offer you the greatest gift possible."
            "And what would that be?"
            "I thought that's a given."
            "Your soul is destined for a dark place," Amy continued "But your selfless act has caught the attention of our father, and he is willing to pardon you of your mortal sins so you can earn entry into the kingdom when it is time."
            James looked at Amy, then back at God as he scratched his head. "This is all very convoluted," he said "So what do I do now? Drop to my knees?"
            "Not necessary," Amy said "All you need to do is ask for the forgiveness you deserve."
            "Is God a mute?" James wondered randomly "Why are you doing all the talking?"
            "Directly listening to the voice of God is something humans can never truly comprehend."
            "...Cuz that's not a copout excuse."
            "Read your bible. He never spoke directly, only through angels and objects."
            "I'm pretty sure that isn't true."
            "Because you've read the bible cover to cover?"
            James then turned back to God and got back on track. "Ok," he said as he rubbed his hands together "Just need to ask for forgiveness."
            "And it goes without saying that your little deal with the dark one should never come to fruition."
            "Whatever," James said without turning around "Your time for talking is over now. This is between me and God." Amy made a face and looked away.
            "Right..." James said "Forgiveness."
            James took a moment to stare at the figure in front of him, wrapped by light. He could feel that it was looking right back at him, probably judging. Always judging. He was being offered dispensation for his sins and all he had to do was ask for it, but he figured it couldn't hurt to word it the right way.
            "I knew I shouldn't have pulled that trigger," James started as he finally noticed how quiet it was "Yeah I had every justification for it. Suzan killed two people, shot me and was about to stab John. In the heat of the moment, shooting her in the head was the only option...But that wasn't why I did it. I wanted her dead. I felt such joy when her head exploded brain matter out and watching her collapse to the ground felt like it was the perfect ending. I could have stopped her another way. She thought I was dead. I could have tried grabbing her from behind, give John a chance to help me. The cops were only moments behind. So many viable options, but I wanted her dead. I didn't want to see another outcome. Just the gun on the ground and her back to me.
            "To do it all again, I'd try anything else. She ruined so many lives, I felt I had the right to end hers; to pass judgment with a gun. No one has that right. She could have been stopped without more blood. She could have had the chance to face her crimes. Yeah, there was no redeeming her, but I made the call I never should have had. Not a day goes by where I wish I did something different that day. You want me to ask for forgiveness? Forgive me for making the worst possible call that day."
            There was a silence again and James stood awkwardly for a moment before a warm feeling rushed through him. He exhaled as the feel of a weight on his shoulders began to lift away. He turned back to Amy with a smile to find she too was smiling for him. He looked back to God and thanked him before making his way back down.
            "Not quite finished," Amy said as she put her hand up.
            "What do you mean?" James asked "Am I not forgiven?"
            "Well, for that, yes," Amy said "But there was another life you unjustly took. The lord is willing to pardon you for that as well under the circumstances." James was at a loss for who until he outright asked. "Amanda," Amy said plainly "The woman you shot down not a week ago."
            "Are you serious?" James asked as he spun back to God to find him still standing in the light in wait. "If I didn't...I didn't WANT to shoot her!" James protested "How can you hold that against me? There was nothing else I could do! This world would belong to Croatoan if I didn't act!"
            "You took a life that was not your to take," Amy said "But it's ok. The lord is understanding of the plight you went through. He is willing to forgive you for the transgression. All you need to do is show remorse for it."
            "The hell I do!" James shouted as he marched back up towards God to address him. "You may not understand this, because you aren't from around here like I am, but all the same: I didn't want to hurt Amanda. I tried everything I could to prevent her dying, but ultimately there was nothing I could do. But when it came down to her and humanity, I'll take that shot again and again. You have no idea how bad I feel for killing Amanda, but if you think I'm going to stand here and ask forgiveness for saving the world, then you better not hold your breath."
            "This is no time for foolish pride, James!" Amy scolded "And you do NOT talk down like that to the lord."
            "I don't need your forgiveness in the matter just the same as I don't need Satan's approval," James said as the light behind God intensified and a powerful chill ran through the air "I saved earth, not for you or any other god, but for humanity's sake. The way I see it, all the problems happening between all you don't need to happen because you're messing around in a place you don't belong."
            James then turned and marched down and passed Amy. There was nothing more either he or God needed to communicate. He wasn't asking forgiveness and he doubt it was even being offered anymore. "Do NOT turn your back on the lord!" Amy shouted. James continued on as he pulled a cigarette out from his coat and lit up. "To hell with God," he said as he blew smoke and began down the staircase "To hell with all gods."

September 21, 2014

Demons Ascension - No Idea?

[Posted by Ted H]

Next week ends it....for serious.


[Demons Ascension - No Idea?]

            John was wrapping up a conversation on his cell phone when James entered his room at the hospital. He sat down nearby and waited patiently. Even after John put the phone down, the two men sat in silence for a moment. John had been looking good, despite initial doctors opinions saying he'd be lucky to survive the night. Around midnight the night before he suddenly started looking better and his injuries stopped being so severe.
            "You got him?" John asked after a moment.
            "Dead," James said "And never coming back."
            "So, who was that?" James asked after another moment.
            "Monroe," John said as he laid back.
            "Of all the people who died..." James began but trailed off.
            "Not gonna lie," John said "I'd have rather him bite the big one instead of a lot of friends who did."
            "What is the "official" story for last night?" James asked.
            "Random blackout, followed by a mass riot. A lot of people who don't know better would never buy the truth. Hell, a lot of people who were there would refuse to believe it."
            "That Monroe's take?"
            "I don't really care. I'm done; quit. Effective immediately."
            "You sure about that?"
            "I have nothing left in this city. I want out."
            "At least you have closure. As crappy as it is, at least it's an end."
            "Thank you."
            "Don't thank me."
            "I knew you'd figure it out."
            "No you didn't. You were hoping against all odds and I got lucky."
            "Still...thank you."
            James stayed silent a moment before finally giving in. "You're welcome."
            "What are you going to do now?" John asked as he sat up again.
            "Same as you I guess."
            "No idea?"
            "No idea."

September 14, 2014

Demons Ascension - You Mortals

[Posted by Ted H]

Man, I just realizing how much of a bitch this is gonna be to get all posted together for when I add this to the "Completed Series" section...Small one-shot sections like this one don't help either...


[Demons Ascension - You Mortals]

            The night was eerily quiet when James emerged from the apartments. The power in the area was still out, but an unchecked fire in the upper floors of the apartments lit up the area very well. The streets, which were packed moments ago, were now devoid of all life, living or dead. It was also considerably warmer, though still very cold out.
            There was no impending siren or any sign that anyone cared about the fire currently burning. James figured the apartments would burn to the ground, taking any proof of Croatoan with them. "Probably for the best," he said aloud as he fished a cigarette out of his pocket while he walked towards the street. He lit up and took a long, sweet drag which he felt he was long overdue for.
            "How did you survive the fall?" a familiar voice asked from behind. James turned to see Amy walk over while. "Of all the stuff that's gone down tonight, that's the one thing you're going to question?" James asked. Amy said nothing while he took a couple drags.
            "It wasn't that long of a drop," James said with a smile "One of those big, hulking monsters broke my fall. Plus, I'm pretty sure this coat had something to do with me surviving." Amy shook her head, but said nothing. "Still," James continued "It hurt. But when you know who came plummeting down that hole right after me, then intentionally made himself mortal, it all hurt a hell of a lot less."
            "You mortals," she mused with a small grin.
            "Yeah, we're not all that fragile...mostly."
            "I know of the deal you made with the dark one," Amy said, swiftly changing the subject.
            "Such a deal was not lost in the eyes of our father."
            "Then he must know I didn't make a request yet."
            "Yet," Amy stressed.
            "Yeah," James said as he took a long drag "Yet."
            "His power still resonates from that coat," Amy said "You should burn it."
            "Maybe," James responded before flicking his cigarette away "But I'm cold, so no."
            James then began walking without another word to Amy. It had been a very long day, and he had just about had it with angels, demons and gods. Not another soul bothered him on his long walk to John's apartment.

September 7, 2014

Demons Ascension - About That Favor

[Posted by Ted H]

The end is soon. Gonna try to have a little something ready for afterwards to bridge the gap a little to October before I disappear before NaNoWriMo.


[Demons Ascension - About That Favor]

            Watching Croatoan stumble backwards and fall into the now ankle deep pool of blood was almost satisfying enough to watch for James after the long ordeal he had endured to this point...almost. He sprang up in a fit of rage, barely able to contain himself as he got right into James' face. "Guess I only needed one shot, eh?" James said as a shit eating grin crept across his face.
            All emotion drained from Croatoan's face as he tried to comprehend what James just said. Then there was a spark in his eyes that mean he figured it all out. "You weren't aiming for me," he said through his clenched teeth as he began to shake from anger. He reached back and made a fist before punching. James easily caught it, spun Croatoan around and threw him into his own alter.
            "I kept asking myself on my way up," James said as Croatoan struggled to recover "How on earth did they manage to stop you the first time? How did they get Virginia Dare away from you? Then I realized they didn't." Croatoan screamed and rushed James, who easily sidestepped and Croatoan grasped at air as he fell to the ground again.
            "There's more than one way to spoil a ritual sacrifice," James said as Croatoan stood up. The two began circling each other, one waiting for the other to strike. "Sure it would have been nice to get Amanda out of this alive, but I realized that if she died by some other means besides your ritual, then maybe her soul would pass on and away from your clutches."
            Croatoan then quickly ran to James and swung, but James was easily able to swat the punch away, then swing his fist back around and into Croatoan's face. "You must not be used to this mortal thing," he said as he punched Croatoan in the face a few more times before dodging another punch then kicking him in the torso "You're not as strong or as fast as you think, and you're certainly not invincible." Another punch to Croatoan's face drew blood.
            Croatoan slipped and fell to the ground, splashing blood about as he scrambled away. "All the chanting and rituals and carving of symbols you know won't help you now," James said as he followed "They might hide you from demons and angels or whatever else isn't suppose to be here, but this realm is my turf. You can't hide yourself from a human." Croatoan rose to his feet and James could see him reach behind his back.
            "Go fuck yourself," Croatoan said as he pulled out his blade and swung at James. James dodged, then grabbed Croatoan's arm and spun him around as he continued to twist the arm quickly until he heard a snap. Croatoan dropped the blade and screamed as he fell over, clutching at his useless arm. James reached into the pool of blood where the blade fell and retrieved it. He then approached Croatoan.
            "I am going to kill you," Croatoan said, half delusional as he attempted to attack again. "No you won't," James said as he checked the mortal demon into his own alter. Croatoan collapsed onto the table and struggled to get up. James held him down with one arm as he held the blade overhead with the other.
            "I WILL return!" Croatoan shouted as he spit up blood.
            "," James said as he brought the blade down into Croatoan's right eye. He then pulled it out quickly and plunged the blade into the other eye. Croatoan made little noise as his arms flailed for a moment before going still.
            Satan, who had watched the whole time, began to laugh as he clapped his hands and stepped towards the altar. "That's one way to get the job done," he said with a smile as he reached into Croatoan's body and pulled out his soul. For the first time ever, James saw a look of pure terror on Croatoan as two shadowy figures moved in and without a sound took Croatoan's soul and disappeared with it into the darkness.
            "Looks like I owe you one," Stan said after all the other black figures disappeared.
            "Look like it," James said, noticing that the red glow was slowly starting to fade.
            "And here I thought I heard you say once you wouldn't kill anyone in cold blood."
            "Croatoan was different."
            "Sure," Satan said with a mocking tone. James started for the exit. It would be pitch black in a few moments, and he didn't feel like being in the dark with his current company. "So," Satan said as James turned back to look at him "A favor for a favor. What'll it be, huh? What does your heart desire?"
            James pondered it for a moment. Here was a god, albeit pure evil, ready to grant him anything he desired for stopping Croatoan. The whole situation seemed odd, but that may have been from the bias instilled on him from being told his entire life about evil.
            "This something I need to decide right now?" James mused out loud. Satan scoffed. "If you so choose," he replied "But this isn't something I'd advise waiting on. A no strings attached favor from me is quite rare."
            "Let's stick a pin in it then," James said with a smile as he made for the stairs.
            "So be it," Satan said as the red glow faded and he disappeared into darkness.
            "See you around, Stan," James said.
            "Sooner than you think," a voice from the darkness replied.