Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Omniscience For a Day (Part 1/4)

It's not best for someone in this business to give up on a story, but for my purposes, it isn't exactly giving up to post a story on my blog for free rather than continuing to send it places after it's been rejected several times.  I could put it up on QuarterReads, but it's really not lucrative anyway.  What I'm getting at is that over the next several days, I shall be posting a story I wrote titled "Omniscience For a Day," broken down into four parts.  I've done serials on this blog a few times before and have serialized short stories as well.  They shouldn't be too hard to find (though I really should change the labels on them to be more distinct).  If you're interested and don't feel like searching, leave a comment and I'll be happy to point you toward all such posts.  Anyway, without further adieu, the first part of "Omniscience For a Day":

Martha tripped down her favorite spiral staircase.  Her head struck the first landing with a resounding thud, the sound almost drowning out her piercing scream.  The world flickered and died in her blood-shrouded vision.
Through a thick haze, Martha detected three orbs of colored light.  As she blinked they gained some solidarity, but a halo of dazzling light remained.
"Lady Martha of the Cornerland?" a voice boomed.  The leftmost orb, ringed in blue, seemed to vibrate with the words.
Martha tried to speak, but fluid filled her throat.  She coughed and sputtered.  "Yes.  Where?  How?"
The rightmost, orange orb began to buzz.  "You have been granted by the Council of the Second-Life a third chance at life.  Your second-life was not pleasing to the Council of the Afterlife, yet the Council of the First-Life is adamant that you be granted Paradise."
"First-life?" Martha gurgled.
"Never mind," communicated the green, middle orb. "In any case, we, the Councilmen of the Second-Life, have sentenced you to one day of omniscience, followed by the resumption of your second-life on a trial basis.  If after this period this council deems you worthy, you shall be allowed to finish your second-life as you wish."
Martha threw herself down to the cold marble floor.  The last of the muck in her head drained away as she tottered in a cross-legged position, glaring at the three talking orbs.  She retched.  A thick clump of coagulating blood pooled before her slippered feet.  The feeling of helplessness in her lungs subsided.
The orange orb shone in a way that may have synonymized smiling.  “Now that you have refreshed your Life Court form, we shall send you on your way,” it said.
“Where am I going?”  Violent force tugged at Martha’s stomach as a phantom gale ripped her from the realm.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Just Your Average Berserking Family Man

And here it is, my new blog background, courtesy of my cousin Zachary Shenal (you can find his info at the bottom of the blog page), along with the story I have written to accompany it.  If you like the photo, please visit Zach's current Indiegogo campaign page.

            Edward stooped down to the cool, wet grass and examined the patch of fungi his elder son had run home to tell him about.  They appeared to be the correct shape: thin stalk, tall head with a moderate brim.  The regal purple of the heads looked poised against the glowing white of the stalks.  Not the most potent, Edward decided, but they would work.
            He placed the mushrooms in a sack and jogged back toward his home.  When he returned, his sons were already putting on their armor.  He smiled.
            “The water is boiling,” said Edward’s wife from inside the house.
            Edward dumped the mushrooms into the pot straight from his sack.  “How long?” he asked his daughter, who was sharpening his sword.
            “A quarter hour,” she replied.  She handed him his padded leather gloves.
            “Thank you, Mara.”  He slipped them on and flexed his fingers.
            Jonathan, the elder son, stepped through the threshold.  “Father, Michael is a little nervous.  He can’t hold his axe steady.”
            “I will talk to him, thank you.  I know you just honed it, but give your sword a few extra swipes with the whetstone.”  Edward strode out the door and put a hand on the shoulder of his shaking younger son.
            “What if they kill you, Father?”
            Edward chuckled.  “Oh, is that your worry, boy?”
            “There are ten of them and only three of us.  And you aren’t even wearing armor.”
            “You’re old enough now, I suppose.”
            “For what?”
            Edward opened his shirt to show his chest.  A dozen long, thick scars covered the surface.
            “Father…”  Michael went pale.  “Are you an Unbreakable?”
            “A more ancient Order, son.  My father wanted me to be an Unbreakable when I was a lad, but Unbreakables cannot have children.  I am an Ironheart, the last in this hill country.  That is why they have come to kill me.  The foreigners fear the Orders more than anything else.”
            “Will they fight me, father?”
            “Don’t you worry, son.  Hold your axe firm, but do not be afraid.  This battle is mine.  And if I am slain, it is your brother’s.”
            “I love you, Father.”  Michael wrapped his powerful young arms around his father’s blessed chest.
            “I love you too, son.”
            Edward’s wife handed him a wooden bowl.  “Fight hard.”
            Edward gave his wife a kiss.  Then he turned away and drank.  A party of men crested a hill near the old tree stump where he had gathered his shrooms.
            The world became blood and Edward’s heart became iron.  He growled and his sons joined him in battle.