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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

BLACK HEARTS FOR THE DEAR LADY copyright m.s. 2012



 I found myself lost in the currents of the black sea, the waves pushing my body here and there. I remembered the vessel that had brought me out here, roasting in the burning sun. The ship called Dear Lady. I should have never entered the dark portals, bunked in it 's  nether regions. I was hired on as all other men, deckhands, standing in front of the town court, listening to the Captain and his First mate spout off an advertisement looking for all that would work hard and receive as many shillings as pocket could carry.

 I had nothing to loose. I had no family to speak of. Both parents had died of the plague. The only woman I ever loved married a tavern owner and a worse criminal of the soul, selling children off to the textile plants for nothing less than slavery. I had just been released from town jail for robbing a poor sod and cracking his skull in.

Little did I know the Captain had no intention of paying his shipmates. He was no worse than the Devil himself. Rations were a crumb of bread that fell from the man who lay next to you stealing crust from the other poor sod that had a fourth of a piece of bread.

The ship itself was exporting barrels of whiskey to the coast of France. Who of course, the Queen and all the British isles were at war with  at the time. The Captain, he near gave a damn for allegiance except to himself. He ate well, if you the pigeon is tasty. Well, it was better than crumbs.

It was just a few hours ago when all of us heard the most angelic voice praising the sea. We all heard it. It was to say the least, hypnotizing. We all felt a calm and those black hearts around me had become a shade brighter. It was like a mirage...this vision of a dark haired beauty, naked, walking on the same waters that carried us closer to to the shores of destination.  we were all stunned.

The Captain himself walked off the side of the ship to meet her. More of us were willing to wallow in a deep wet grave to touch this woman who seemed to appear out of nowhere. Alas, a storm brewed and engulfed us. We fought this dark hard storm to a standstill. We lost the battle.

As you can see, I am here, fighting the currents, trying hard to keep my head above it all, surrounded by what used to be The Dear Lady and many bodies of my shipmates.If you must know, really know, I only ask for one last song from that mistress of the sea as I give the sea my last gasp.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

LITTLE STORIES VOLUME 5 copyright m.s. 2012



                                   NOEL FIELDING

              One half of the comic dynamic duo The Mighty Boosh, was born in London in 1973. Along with partner Julian Bartlett, they created the surrealist ingenius comedy sketch show where they played several characters which have come into the English pop culture such as Old Gregg(a merman obsessed with funk music) and his main character Vince Noir(always looking to become a famous pop singer and obsessed over his hair) and of course the hilarious psychotic Hitcher(a green witch with an over sized thumb)

               For Fielding,  it seems, life is imitating art. Every time you turn around he has changed his face, his hair, and often into KISS style makeup that has led many to call him the David Bowie of comedy

              While still apart of the English game show, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, he has appeared on the sitcom IT CROWD as Richmond the Goth that is ever so depressed

               His brand of surrealistic-childish comedy isn't for everyone. His new show, minus Bartlett, is Noel Fielding 's Luxury Comedy , feels like a demented Saturday morning kids show for adults, where he plays over 50 different characters. When it first appeared it had very low ratings. After a few episodes those who tuned in has stayed with it. Possibly,this outing for Fielding could turn into a cult hit as it did with THE MIGHTY BOOSH.

Monday, February 27, 2012

LITTLE STORIES VOLME 4 copyright m.s.2012



                                     JOE COLEMAN

         Joe Coleman is a painter living in Brooklyn, New york, was born in 1955. His intricate work of unusual subjects including famous and no so famous outlaws, movie stars, serial killers, artists, and family and friends. He uses a jewelers loupe. A great deal of detail is not visible to the naked eye, painting with a single hairbrush.

          His style can be considered comic book illustration. The painting of Henry lee Lucas was purchased for the movie poster for the movie Henry: portrait of a serial killer, but not used, as the studio was nervous that it would be controversial. Never mind the subject matter, eh?

            Among those who own Coleman's paintings are Leonardo Dicaprio,Iggy Pop, johnny Depp. Here are the subjects he's painted:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

LITTLE STORIES VOLUME 3 copyright m.s. 2012



                             JESCO WHITE

           Jesco White was born in Bandytown, a small area in the Appalachian mountains West Va. Known as the "Dancing Outlaw", he was the subject of three documentaries. The documentaries detail his struggle with drug addiction, poverty and depression as tries to follow in the footsteps of his famous father D-ray White, who was also a dancing outlaw.

           Jessco's style is a subtle mix of tap and clog.

           As the subject of the documentary Wild And Wonderful Whites Of West Va, he has stated his behavior was an act. A week after the film was released, Jessco and his sister Sue Ann, were arrested on suspicion of drug-related charges. While in jail, he stated he is good person and is hurt by the arrest.A month later the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. He has said he has been clean for thirty years.

           Dancing Outlaw showed a bit of jessco 's troubled life
            Dancing outlaw II showed Jessco on a trip to Hollywood to film an appearance on Rosane sitcom.
             Wild And Wonderful Whites depicted Jessco along with his family in situations not in common with everyday life according to how society works.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

LITTLE STORIES VOLUME 2 copyright m.s.2012


        Brian Carrol was born in May 1969, is virtuoso guitarist working in several genres. A Multi instrumentalist that has 35 albums to his name. His music spans such diverse categories as Jazz, Funk, Blue grass, Ambient, Avant- garde and Blues, Progressive Metal.

        Buckethead is famously known for wearing  a KFC bucket on his head  with the bumper sticker FUNERAL while performing tremendous guitar music known for great finger picking and dense heartbreaking solos. He has been listed as one of 50 fastest guitarists of all time

       Among his guitar instrumentals, he performs Av ant-garde dance with a display of his nun chuck  abilities.

        He has performed with a variety of performers such as Les Claypool, Bootsy Collins, Iggy Pop, Viggo Mortensen and was a brief member of Guns n Roses.

        In 1990 he and his parents gave a demo tape to an editor at Guitar player. Buckethead cites many influence including Bruce Lee, Eddie Van Halen, Angus Young, Japanese culture, Sci-fi, and Michael Jackson.

         regarding his costume on stage apparently comes from his stage fright  and unbearable shyness also has resulted in a reclusive nature. but his talent in making music is what has kept interest in BUCKETHEAD the performer.

Friday, February 24, 2012

LITTLE STORIES VOLUME 1 copyright m.s. 2012



                    JACK T,. CHICK

         Chick was born in Boyle Heights, Ca. in 1924. For years he was what you wouldn't consider religious and his first choice of vocation was Drama. After serving in WWII as a Private, Chick returned to California  to work on a Production at the Pasadena Playhouse where he met his wife, Lola Priddle, a Canadian immigrant.

          It was Lola who introduced chick to Christianity. While listening to Charles E. fuller Radio hour, Chick had his meeting with Jesus.

          Little else is known of Chick's personal life, except he had a daughter and it was in 1960 he self-published his first comic book, Why no revival? Also there is no photographs of Chick, which leads to some to believe he is a pen name for different artists and writers.

          These comic books are small digest sized and they were popular with Fundamental Christian  Churches, the books were also left in phone booths, restaurants, and of course airports or public restrooms.

            The content mostly deals with Christian view of the world and tons of  conspiracy theories, such as blaming the Catholic Church for the Holocaust and introducing young people to Rock n Roll. Exorcism was also the subject of one of books.

             In spite of the material or message of one of his books, it is the artwork that draws people to his books, including Daniele Clowes. There is even websites and collectors clubs dedicated to him. The mind-blowing thing about Chick is he has been able to self publish these books on his own since 1960. I'm not endorsing the man's views, but he is definitely an outcast in which he has never floundered on those views no matter how fashion or political views change. His art remained consistently on par with some of the best cartoonist over the years.


END OF THE WORLDcopyright m.s. 2012

Matilda Vess awoke to a drumming inside her head. With one eye open, she rolled over to see the clock and saw it was 5:45 in the morning. The pain was right between her eyes. A throbbing pain that extended to the bridge of her nose. That was bad enough, but that horrible drumming noise was intolerable.

She saw the sun barely rising. But there were no birds singing. Yesterday there were birds singing. Two days ago there were birds singing. She knew it was spring---

Something was wrong.

Matilda sniffed the air. Something was burning. She leaped out of bed and threw her robe over her gown, still smelling the air. She slipped into the furry slippers, the ones her sister Jenny gave her for Christmas, still smelling the air.

Something is definitely burning, Matilda thought as she ran her bedroom to the kitchen, to the living room, to the bathroom, back to the kitchen. Nothing in her house was on fire.

“Then what the hell is that burning smell?” Matilda asked herself. She put up her curly blond hair in a bun and closed her eyes. She smelled the air again.

She heard a loud crash. She jumped, looked around, then ran to the window. She heard sirens. Out the window she could see a row of houses across the street burning. Smolder and ash filled the sky. Large orange and red flames were consuming her neighbors houses, one by one. Mrs. Tolkas was out on her lawn screaming in horrible pain. She fell to the her nicely cut green lawn and rolled to end the flames torment. An ETM stopped along the curb of her driveway and two men jumped out of their vehicle with a blanket to cover Mrs. Tolkas.

“What in God 's name is going on?” Matilda flung open her front door.

A powerful wind uprooted a tree from the Blackwells yard, flying past Matilda in a funnel and carried it in the dark sky. Matilda found herself being blown back inside her house. She watched her front door open and close several times by another gust of wind before she pushed the shut and even turned the bolt on the top lock for safety sake.

“That's why the birds weren't singing,” She sighed, rested on the floor for a few minutes.

There was a buzzing sound. Her phone was lying on the coffee table next to the latest Dan brown novel. Matilda crawled across the thin layered shag carpet, the fibers pinching her legs. It reminded her of the time she had sex with jenny's date at a friends wedding. Jenny thinks to this day the guy left with a bridesmaid. He wasn't even attractive or interesting, with his bald head and fat red nose. She always thought she did it with W.C. Fields. Sometimes she was turned on by that idea, but mostly it made her wretch.

Matilda didn't get to her phone in time. She pressed the alotted buttons to listen to the voice mail. It was Jenny.

“I don't know what is happening,” Jenny sounded hurried, nervous. “Everything is being destroyed. Matilda...I want you to know I---” That's where the message ended.

Matilda hit the callback button. No cell phone signal. She tried for five minutes before frustration caused her to throw the phone across the room, slamming against a wall and splintering in several parts.

Matilda felt the house shake. The furniture moved to the left, walls expanded. All the knickknacks she had on a shelf seemed to leap forward, collaborating on pile of broken ceramics. She saw the floor to her kitchen sink in.

Matilda fought her balance to get to her feet. She ran to the front door, flung it open. In the middle of her street was a wide crack, swallowing people and their houses and cars.

“It's a dream,” Matilda mumbled. She felt the ground under her bubble up. Matilda screamed, ran the opposite direction.

She ran down her street, past debris and the dead lying in that debris. She looked up and saw the skies clearing up. The sun showed a few rays of light through passing black clouds. The earth was still. Matilda was too tired to run anymore.

She found herself in front of a bank with windows shattered and the ceiling had caved in. She sat on the edge of a curb, placed her head in her hands. Matilda wept. Sobbing loudly, she had not noticed the footsteps on the pavement in front of her.

The man had fallen to his knees, blood dribbling from the corners of his mouth. Matilda raised her head up. She was face to face with a dying man, a large chunk of glass piercing his chest. He fell on his face, at her feet. Matilda squealed, sprung from the curb.

A circle of light appeared, nearly blinding Matilda. She held a hand in front of her eyes. Out of the light a glowing woman with red eyes and in robes materialized. The woman placed both hands inside the dead man and took from him a warm blue rotating particles. The glowing woman hovered above the dead man, stared at Matilda. Then she was gone.

Matilda staggered backwards, eyes wide, mouth gaping open. “What the hell...” She said.

“Don't be afraid...” Matilda heard a familiar voice.

She looked behind her. She saw Reverend Michaels. The gray, ashen man looked as if he was in a daze. He held out one hand to her, holding the other behind his back. His eyes were tired, empty. He was wearing his collar. His black short sleeve shirt had burn marks and holes in it.

“Reverend, What is going on?” She asked him.

He motioned for her to come him. He had this fixated grin on his face. “Don't be afraid. My child...” Matilda walked to him quickly, nervously.

“I don't understand...everything was fine when I went to sleep last I see these...beings taking this...this energy...I don't know---”

“Don't be afraid, my is God 's work. Take my hand.” He showed Matilda the .45 he was hiding behind his back.

“No,” She backed away from him.

“It is alright, my child. Take my hand...we will see god together---”

“No!” She screamed at Reverend Michaels.

He put the barrel of the gun in his mouth, pulled the trigger. The top of his head exploded in a cloud of thick red. Matilda screamed until her voice gave out. Reverend Michaels body fell limp on the hard pavement.

She closed her eyes, tried to control her breathing. She opened them again, saw the glowing women surrounding the Reverend 's body, caressing he blue particles in their hands.

Matilda ran. She was running to the apartment complex where her sister lived.

Matilda never made it to the apartments. A line of cars on the bridge leading to the four lane were ravaged. She walked through broken glass, avoiding cars just barely hanging on the side of the bridge. Matilda tried in vain not to look at broken bodies either inside the vehicles, or scattered on the bridge.

She saw the glowing women extracting the blue particles from the dead. They held the particles ever so gentle in their hands, then slip into nothingness.

Matilda recognized Jenny 's Escort, entangled with a Ram pick up. The front end of the car was like an accordion folded together with truck 's back end. She hesitated, knowing it was best to know if Jenny was alive. She rounded the rider 's side, peeked in through shattered window.

Jenny was no longer with the living. Her head was tilted back, lower part of her body had become part of the interior of the car.

Matilda felt the car become warmer, as if it had become a human with blood flowing through the body of the car. She removed her hand from the door handle, backed away. She examined her hand, seeing there was large red circle on her palm. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a glowing woman taking blue particles from Jenny.

“No!” Matilda screamed, rushing around the back end of the car to the driver 's side.”Get away from her! Don't touch Jenny!” She waived her hands angrily at the glowing woman hovering over the vehicles.

The glowing woman looked confused at first, then fierce. The eyes had grown bigger, the pupils smaller, blacker. The glowing woman opened her mouth and bared long sharpened teeth that opened like a Venus flytrap. Matilda heard a growl from the glowing woman and felt a gush of ice cold force of some kind knock her on her backside.

Before Matilda could regain her balance, the glowing woman was gone.

A deep sea of sadness consumed Matilda. She understood Reverend Michaels despair. She climbed the rail of the bridge, looked down, decided to jump. Everything went black.

Matilda regained something of a consciousness, but it was all fuzzy—dreamlike. She felt hands enter her. It was warm— a nice warm calm, bath running over body. She saw a glowing woman hovering over her, holding blue particles in her hands.

She heard the glowing woman speak with her mouth closed. “I am Talos,” She said. “I am here with other Talos, to gather essence from you, so your kind can continue. It is the nature of the cycle. I shall carry this to a distant place where humanity with thrive, hopefully fulfilled and in peace.”

Matilda smiled at that notion. Then she was no more.

Monday, February 20, 2012

BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME copyright m.s.2012

Jimmy Martz was not the smartest guy in the world, but he ran one of hottest companies in the Electronic trade. He didn't even come up with the idea. He just read an article in a magazine he couldn't remember on a flight headed to San Antonio to deal with a divorce. Some guy in Atlanta had built a touch screen tablet that ran both Apple components and Microsoft. That wasn't even the kicker. He had a chip in it to make cell phone calls from any company for free. Martz only had to pay a small fee to the cell phone companies.

Martz had met the Holland Wilkes in Atlanta at a hotel room where Wilkes resided. It was there that Martz had his team of lawyers work up a contract that virtually cut Wilkes out of any royalties and the only money he was to receive was a one time amount of five thousand dollars to be paid out over ten years. It turned out Wilkes was bat-shit crazy and money was not a concern. He was worried about little green men with their black gloves removing his soulwas his testicles.

Martz couldn't be happier as he boarded his plane back to Miami with the plans to a new Tablet.

Gladys was extremely happy to have money again. His divorce from his third wife was messy and expensive, working for a toy company executive that made playdoh knockoffs did not keep them in good company at the club.

Once STELLAR Tablets took off, Martz was on everyone's list to play croquet. Money was not a problem. So he and Gladys invested in real estate. Buying up several buildings along the Fourth and Hebasa street to knock down for a mini mall.

There was a problem on the third building. This building had been an apartment complex for low income. Then it was condemned. Nearly abandoned. The Foreman tearing the buildings down had gotten rid of almost all who was there.

Except one.

This old man was cunning. He'd somehow gotten past all the construction crew to the bulldozers and stolen the keys from the ignition. A thug the Foreman had hired to take the old man out anyway he could had fallen out of the three story building window, breaking both legs.

Martz decided to handle this himself.

Years ago on the streets of L.A. Martz had kept some tough company. Even participated in some gang activity until an incident of three dead rival gang members were executed before his eyes. Martz felt it was good time to get out of town. So he felt as though he could take on an old man, no problems.

“Hey, you have to get out of here! I own this place now,” Martz banged on the door of the apartment with both fists. The door fell the hinges, disturbing a vast amount of dirt on the floor. “What the—and they couldn't get inside the place? Somebody was bullshittin' me.”

Martz stepped inside, looked around. “ least the old man has decorated.” It looked like a junkyard. TVs scattered throughout, toliets set up like furniture and old advertisements from billboards were used for wallpaper.

In the middle of other junk and empty food containers were shopping carts with missing wheels fastened together with a blades from lawnmowers. An extension cord connected to ten computer towers, which were linked together with hundreds of wires. The craziest thing was all the lights on the computer towers were blinking blue lights. And an old printer from the early nineties was printing out on teletype paper.

Martz looked at the print and it was all nonsense. Symbols and math equations. He followed the trail that led to a bedroom piled with more junk. Busted microwaves and stereo parts. Books were stacked above his head reminded him of the ruins in Rome.

Martz was ready to give up on talking to the old man when he heard movement from a corner of the bedroom near chairs stacked on top of each other. He walked over and discovered nothing was holding them together. He touched the chairs, they wobbled, but stayed in place. He heard heavy breathing, then saw a man laying on a bed made of magazines.

“ know you can't stay here,” Martz said, shuffling to the old man who barely moved except for his rolling around in a powder-white head with several sores located at different points. Martz kicked at the old man's leg and a hand took hold of his pants leg. Martz shook the hand away, cursing loudly. “Listen you old fucker! No tricks, get out now!” The hand grabbed Martz again by the pants leg and brought him hard to the floor. There was a stream of pain from his back to his neck.

Before Martz could say anything the old man pulled him closer to him by his jacket lapel and placed both hands on his forehead.

In a rush of visions, Martz saw the old man as a young man building the contraption that was in the other room. He saw the young man reading data from the printouts, stating a report that in fifty years time a colossal explosion will end humanity. A threat from an alien species millions of light years from earth called the Torgias. The old man finally contacting the Torgias with the terms of forgoing the attack. The old man explained he was from a distant planet in an alternate wormhole that protected smaller planets from that viscous alien species destroyed planets unless payment was received.

“Here,” The old man handed Martz a gold coin the size of his palm. “Go to 54th street, where the Solar clock stands in the park. At exactly noon today, place it in the upper right corner where it looks like a crack, it isn't. It has always been there for that reason. A beam of sunlight will send the message back to the Torgias. Your planet will survive.”

“I-I don't think I can--” Martz tried to tell the old man, but he ceased to exist.

The old man's eyes were still, and now his hands fell from Martz jacket. His mouth became slack. There was a low sounding gurgle.

Martz held the coin in his hand, swallowed hard. He had to do it. He had no other option. He jumped to his feet and ran out of the apartment, kicking empty containers out of his way. He looked at his gold watch and saw it was eleven forty -five. 54th street was across the street. He ran out of the building and down the sidewalk. Across the street and avoided several cars from taking him out of commission. He pushed open the gate to the park where a guard screamed at him to pay up. He ran past barking dogs and their concerned owners, past ducks trying find pieces bread in the grass.

He'd made it to the solar clock. It towered over him by at least six feet and just as he was feeling the bricks that held the contraption together, he heard voices behind him.

Ten men in gang related garb had surrounded him. Martz swallowed, looked up at the solar clock. Two minutes to noon.

“We just want your wallet, asshole,” A smaller gang member said and stepped forward. He showed Martz his nine milometer.

“Look,” Martz held up his hands. The gold coin caught their eyes. “You don't understand.”

The gun went off just as the clock struck twelve, a bullet caught Martz in the chest and went right through. He fell to the ground under the solar clock. The coin rolled to the one holding the gun. He bent down and picked up the coin. They heard sirens and scattered.

“You...don't don't understand....” Martz said as he slipped into unconsciousness.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

FAIRY ASSASSIN copyright m.s. 2012

In all of his 544 years of being, Harek had never killed a human. Being a Fairy assassin has it's perks, it's disappointments. Even great glory and legend can from it. But failure brings you even greater fame and the worst kind of grief imaginable. He was given the wrong name by a Specter, and he knew he should not have trusted this creature.

His wife, Uria, twenty children, and servants are protected under the Sideworld laws. But not everyone honors the laws.

Harek realized something was terribly wrong when the Troll in Human form did not change to reveal it's real identity, or turn to dust. The Human lay on the floor of his cottage with a huge hole in his chest, blood flowing like rapid currents of a river. Harek looked at his glowing hands that spawned the golden beam of sunlight that had cut through the man like a hot coal through snowy ground.

He took a few steps back from the body to avoid blood on his boots. He turned to the mirror which was his entrance into this world and tried to return to the Sideworld, but the portal had closed up. That was that, Harek thought. I am here until the Guild of Assassins have killed me.

No trial. The Guild did not believe in innocence or reason behind crime. Only guilt, and the guilty shall be punished by death.

Harek heard the echo of boot heels in the next room. He drew his blade from it's sheath. He tied his long blond locks into a bundle on top of his head. The symbols on the hilt of his sword told the story of his coming of age and all that had happened since the war with the Troll Alliance. He positioned himself at the door, but no one came through.

The first strike was across the back. Harek screamed, nearly fell to his knees. He turned instead to face his enemy. It was a Guk. Guks were were tall, spider-like creatures. Defending yourself against eight arms are not easy. Guks can walk through walls, an advantage Harek had forgotten about.

Harek struck to the head just as the Guk second left arm sliced through Harek's midsection. Harek touched sword of the Guk, the Guk felt a jolt to his body, fell on it's large hump on it's back. Harek swung, his blade separated two of the Guk's arms from it's body. A loud shrill cry came from it's slit of a mouth. It's large black eyes were loosing color. A white film formed around it's mouth. Harek stepped back as a long spool of venom shot past him.

Harek came down with one swift blow, the head of the Guk fell to the floor and rolled a few times before Harek stopped it with his boot. Harek reached into the dead Guk 's robes and produced a small silver case containing a mirror. Now he can get home. But not without others following him to the Fairy city of Stridle.

For killing a Human, his free roam of any mirror has been revoked. So to get back and forth between this world and the Sideworld, he'd have to use stolen mirrors. He wasn't sure where this mirror would take him, since Guks don't have an actual land or homes of their own. They find weak victims and kill them so they can move in with ease.

Harek said a prayer to the cloud Gods before he took to a new journey through the mirror. He bowed his head, both hands on the hilt of his sword, blade to the floor of the cottage. A few words in Fairy. He felt the twinge in his heart, the Human world became a swirl of blurriness. Harek felt his body transitioned between the human world and the cleft of nothing, deposited to the Sideworld.

When he opened his eyes, Harek found himself on the green hills Lyceria, the heart of Fairy country. Lyceria is wheat industry of all of Sideworld. Harek's family made their fortune on the wheat beer they produced for all the taverns in Sideworld. Harek looked around the three uneven hills and saw his beloved city below, the capitol of Lyceria. In the heart of Stridel was a castle looming over top of thousands of smaller houses with circular rooftops. In the castle was where his family were safely harbored.

The dark gray castle was bestowed upon Harek's Father, Archduke Zara, for services above and beyond to his people. In the third war between the Fairy and Troll, Zara burned down a forest of dreaming trees that the Troll wizard Kherin had bedazzled into giving off terrible nightmares to the those who lived in Stridel, paralyzing the city, opening her up to it's enemies. On his way back home for Rand R, Zara saw what was happening. He set flame to the beautiful dreaming trees outside Stridel. Thus the guards of the city defended her.

A pivotal victory for the Fairy alliance in that war.

Harek opened a pouch from his belt and swallowed three Grousen berries to heal his wounds. A Grousen, a snake like bird , lives underground and only appears above ground three times a year to lay the berries.

“You aren't going down there are you?” Harek heard a voice from above.

Harek looked up and saw a cloaked man perched in a tree limb like a bird, his head bowed. It was Specter, creatures whose magic is not significant, but has great foresight.

“What of it, Specter?” Harek untied his long blond hair, then retied it in a ponytail with the sash of his wife Uria.

“As soon as you start down that hill, another Assassin is lurking in the shadows to take your head...sell it in the markets to the highest collector. Make an example of murderer of Humans.”

“I did not mean to kill that Human,” Harek shook his fist at the Specter.

“ I'm afraid that matters little to the Assassin Guild.” The creature stirred very little in his perch, the limb bowed underneath his weight.

Harek knew very well what the Specter spoke of. Although he never participated in the hunt of Fruel the Troll that murdered three humans last moon cycle, he was hunted down in twenty-six hours and of course his head was on display for all Market Barons and Hierarchy to purchase.

“Specter, I think you should take great care for what lies next for you,” With that said, Harek laughed moments later when the Specter fell to the ground as the limb previously held him snapped in two.

The Specter dusted himself off. “I know things that can help you,” He said.

“As always, Specter, your word can be trusted, eh?” Harek began down the hill.

“Please, stop,” The Specter placed a hand on Harek's shoulder. Harek stopped. He turned to the Specter curiously. The job in the scheme of things is for the Specter not to involve themselves in the affairs of others, only advise. Something was different about this Specter. There are cases when a Specter is hired by a person to lie, stall or advise wrongly for profit. But never to physically intervene. “I beg of you, Harek, do not go down that hill. Death awaits...”

“And what of it to you, Specter? Who has passed silver to your bone-white hands?” Harek touched the hilt of his blade, drummed his fingers across it, waiting for answer.

“I am not to speak of a name...only this person needs your services. I am to take you to him. Secrecy is of the utmost importance.” The Specter let his words trail off.

Harek drew his blade and pressed it to the Specter's throat. “You will tell me his name!”

The Specter dissolved into thin air. Harek heard boots upon the ground, several in fact. He turned to meet his adversaries when he was struck across the brow with a morning glory. Six Trolls stood over top of the unconscious Fairy. The Specter reappeared

“Take him away,” The Specter said. “Kherin the Great awaits you.”

“Shut your gap, ghost man!” Fok, the General in command of the National Troll Front said. His tusks from under his upper lip lost a dribble of spit. “We don't take orders from a ghost!”

When Harek came to, he was in the court of the Troll Legion. It's King, now a fugitive from his own country for Crimes against his own kind, was the leader or chief of the rebel group National Troll Front.

Kherin was ugly, no doubt. But he was now even stranger looking than Harek remembered when he did recon for the Fairy 1st army. This small creature was now showing it's true side. A sight nearly no one knew of the Troll king. Kherin was a fat, bloated Troll, and he was an astonishingly beautiful Troll. His right side was a bug- eyed thing with jowls and a tusk from his bottom lip.

Kherin' s left side was voluptuous, albeit somewhat disproportional raven-haired beauty with a pug nose and large juicy red lips. Her long lashes seemed to be prison bars over that blotchy pale blue eye that has been said could put a Fairy in a haze long enough to subdue it.

All in all, Harek was sickened by Kherin's appearance.

“Why have you brought me here?” Harek struggled against the leather that bound his hands.

“Harek, the legendary Fairy assassin. Before my eyes,” Kherin's female and male voices intertwine, battle for control. “You are good at killing, not very smart. Isn't it obvious why you are here?”

Fok stepped forward on the crystal floor of the Troll castle. He brought the end of his morning glory across the Fairy's back. Harek fell to his knees. “Respect his Majesty, Fairy scum.”

Harek shook off the pain. He got to his feet, cleared his throat. “Please, Kherin the Great, inform me of my reasons for troubling your presence,” Harek said with a malicious smile on his face.

Kherin rose from his throne made of simple wood, a far cry from the chair that had been fashioned from pure gold. “We, as Trolls have been at war with your people for a long time, Harek. This is the third war between us.”

“A war you began thirty years time by raiding the villages to the east--”
Once again Fok took Harek down, this time by the heel of his boot in the back of the leg.

“Respect the Majesty, scum!” Fok spit a long yellow glob on Harek, landing on his cheek.

“That's enough, Fok. We are in engaged, back to your shadows.” Kherin commanded. Fok did as he was told, retired to the corner of the near bare room with four of his guards.

“What do you want from me?” Harek picked himself up.

“I want you to help me end this war, Harek. I want peace. The one that ousted me, the Troll Senate and their weasel Prime Minister Colif, want to continue shedding the blood of innocents.”

“It was YOU--”

“That goes without saying, Fairy! I want to end it! Politics and differences aside, you do wish an end to suffering of your people, do you not?”

“We are not suffering, Kherin. You Trolls are. Our land and our people will go on as they always have. We farm, we continue to pray to the Cloud Gods. We thrive.”

“Enough of this insolence! I was not going to tell you. But all of this is a great plot to have you in my services. My Specter sold you the wrong name of the Sage I wish to kill. It was on purpose. That was a real human you murdered.”

“I will avenge my good name with your blood, Troll!” Harek said through flared nostrils.

Kherin laughed, tossed his raven hair from his shoulder. “So you say, Fairy. Guards, please retrieve the prisoner. I believe Harek would like to speak to his son.”

Harek was stunned. The only member of his family not protected was his oldest son, Gilmore. He was protected by the Fairy Clergy he had joined some years back.

The Guards brought a scarred trembling Fairy dressed only in a loin cloth. He'd obviously been starved and burned multiple times. Gilmore fell to his knees, reached up to Harek. “Father,” Gilmore managed a bleak smile.

“We will kill him, if you do not do as I say. I love saying that. Almost as much as doing the deed. If your hands are not soiled by the blood of innocents, then you have failed yourself.”

Harek bowed before the Kherin. “I am in your services, Troll King.”

“Oh, happy days!” Kherin clapped his hands. “You are to take this mirror,” He handed Fok a silver case containing a mirror. Enter the Human world and kill the Sage who drew the tea leaves and persimmon that caused my outcast. Your son will be released. Back to his Temple, and worship of those silly Cloud Gods.”

“And my name?” Harek offered his hands to another guard to untie.

“I'm afraid it's the same standing with the Assassin's Guild. You killed a Human..naughty, naughty. But achieve this and your beloved son will live. Now, off you go.”

Harek was whisked away in the silver stream from the mirror. He found himself back in the same room as before, the Human he'd already killed. Harek was baffled. The old man was standing over a desk, rifling through papers. He turned to the strangely dressed small man that had his sword drawn. The old man smiled, took a puff from his pipe.

“I assume you are not here for an autograph or my latest book, are you lad?” The old man said.

“I already killed you...” Harek said.

The old man shook his head. “You killed a version of me. I am a Sage, lad. You're here on behalf of King Kherin.”

Harek nodded. He thought a second. Then said, “ Then why am I wanted for murdering a Human if I did not kill you?'

The old man sighed. “Alas, for the sake of innocents being killed, you had to be sacrificed.”

“I do not do favors for Trolls!” Harek took a step toward the old man.

The old man held up his hands. “Hold it, lad. I'm no Troll. I'm a Henning. Have you ever known a Troll to be smart enough to be a Sage? I arranged all of this to bring Kherin's downfall. In the tea leaves, I saw everything work out. Even for you, my friend.”

“If I don't bring a box containing your Lifesource, Kherin will kill my son.”

“I know. I saw that in the tea leaves.” The old man handed Harek a wooden box with the Fairy symbols for a safe passage to the land of smiles. “Give him this, it is the Lifesource of an old friend recently deceased.”

“Why should I help you and your cause?” Harek waved his blade in front of the old man's face.

“For the great good of all..Harek. It will be a long and terrible road for you...a lot to ask...I know..but in the long run, it will end this war with the Trolls and eventually Sideworld will be united.”

“For this---I will have to play the game as a wanted criminal?” Harek sighed, snatched the box from the old man.

The old man bowed his head. “Thank you, Harek, Fairy Assassin. You will be rewarded.

Harek was carried through the mirror by the silver stream. He entered the Sideworld at Kherin's castle. Only the castle was at siege by the Troll army. Troll's lay dead every turn in the castle, and Harek's son was nowhere to be found, nor King Kherin.

Harek slipped out of the castle through the kitchen, where Kherin's servants also lay dead. Outside the castle, Harek saw Fok running from three other Trolls, bleeding from the wrist where a hand once had been attached. “Serves him right,” Harek spat.

He saw the Specter at the gates of the castle, watching the skirmish. He approached him. “You said you had information for me, what was it?”

The Specter kept his eyes on the action around them. “A message from your wife.”

“She paid you to deliver a message?”

“That she did.”

“Then tell me, ghost man.”

“She assures you the family is safe, but your eldest could not be found to help with protection. You now understand why she could not find him.”

“Is he safe, ghost man?”

“That I do not know. There is more. She says, 'Travel safe, my love. I will be waiting for you when you arrive home.”

Harek wiped tears from his eyes. He missed his family, his neighbors, the Fairy festival of Life they hold every spring.

“Thank you,” He said, but then realized the Specter was gone. He was alone as a weary traveler.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

THE VENETIAN BRIDE copyright m.s. 2012


It was here on the Beach that Dave and Hilda found the plush colored stone. Gary was visiting, actually living at the cottage just below Dave and Hilda, who owned not only the cottage and beach house on the cliff above, but the beach front as well. After Gary's bad turn at marriage, only two years of screaming and uncontrollable jealousy, he'd sought solace in his oldest and dearest friends. He'd known Hilda from Sherwood college. She studied English and Drama, Gary was a History major. The two of them met during a terrible double date.

Dave was holding the stone between two fingers and Hilda was picking the seaweed from his hand. Gary laughed, shook his head.

“It seems every time I'm here, you two find something extraordinary on the beach. What was that..? five years ago?”

“Finding a pair of boots washed up on the beach is hardly extraordinary, Gary,” Hilda said.

“Unless those boots bring an abundance of good luck to a poor soul without any shoes to start with,” Dave quipped.

“There he goes again,” Hilda stole the tiny stone from Dave's hands. “Trying to be witty.”

There was a struggle between the two which, as usual, ended with Dave on top of Hilda tickling her. For Dave, it was something to be envious and glad to see still going on in a marriage that has lasted twenty-one years. When Dave kissed Hilda, Gary had to look away. Hilda noticed Gary being awkward, she whispered to Dave to let her up.

“Would you like to come over later for dinner?” Hilda pulled herself up from the beach, wiping sand from her brown shorts. She took Gary's arm. They walked on. Dave trotted to catch up.

“Maybe he's busy, Hilda,” Dave said.

“I don't want to trouble anyone. You guy's have already given me a place to stay.”

“'re no trouble. Is he, honey?” Hilda turned to Dave.

Dave shook his head. “No trouble at all, Gary. We like having you here.”

Gary stopped, took the stone from Hilda. “This stone...” He looked at it in the sunlight. The plush color had changed to a green now. Swirls of green overtook red particles in it's crevices. “I've seen this before...I just can't remember where.”

“You can stop being a Professor, Gary,” Hilda smacked him on the arm. “You're with friends who care for YOU, not what you know.”

Gary laughed. “I know that. I can't turn this off,” He pointed to his head. “It's who I am, Hilda. I have this need to know.”

“Know what?” Dave laughed.

“Everything, my friend. Everything.”

Later at their house, after going out to Andre's for drinks, Dave and Hilda found their front door wide open. They stood in the doorway. Hilda reached in and turned the lights on, but remained with Dave outside the house. Nothing seemed out of place. It was as they had left it.

Hilda sighed. She looked at Dave. “You think anyone took anything ?”

Dave shook his head. “So far, no. I don't think anyone is still here or we would have heard them...”

Hilda walked in, Dave followed. “Would've seen them as well. Only other door beside this one is the backdoor in the kitchen.” She checked in there, Dave went upstairs. Hilda heard a knock at the front door. The door was now shut. Dave rushed downstairs. They stared at each other. “Did you shut the door?”

“No,” Dave said. “I was going to ask you?” He opened the door cautiously. Gary was standing there.

“Okay, guys. I've got the board games. You got the wine, right?” He walked in with three boxes under his arms. No one answered him. “What's going on?” Gary looked worried.

Hilda grabbed his arm, showed him to the couch by the fireplace. “The front door was wide open?”

“Somebody broke in?” Gary's eyes sought glances from both of them.

“As far as I can see, no one took anything,” Dave placed a bottle of wine on the coffee table. Then he took three wine glasses from the bar that was under the staircase.

“That's strange,” Gary said. “Why would anybody break into a house and not take anything? You have enemies here?”

Hilda laughed. “Not enough people in the town to have enemies.”

“I'm retired from the insurance business. I don't have any enemies anymore.”

Gary was solemn. He rubbed his eyes with a hand.

“What?” Hilda asked him.

“Jessica,” He said. “Jessica came back here looking for me.”

“She couldn't,” Dave poured a glass of wine. “You said two hours ago she called you  from LAX airport telephone.”

“Yeah,” Gary smiled. “Paranoia set in, I guess.”

“Let's...just chalk it up to a weird incident....nothing more.” Hilda took drink of wine.”

Dave nodded. “How about that game of Clue, then?”

“Can I have that stone you found on the beach?” Gary glanced at both of them.

Hilda looked at Dave. He nodded. “Yeah,” She shrugged. “Sure.”

“Just for the night. I want to look something up on the internet.” Gary opened up the box for Clue, placed the board on the coffee table.

The door to his cottage was wide open. Gary stood in the doorway, in the half-light of the moon, he saw a woman with hand toward him, beckoning him. She was in a black gown that exposed the olive skin of her shoulders and frills that hung past her heels. Her long dark hair was like waves in a black sea. But her face was for the most part covered by a Venetian Moretta Mask, which was a black oval shaped mask, usually held in place by the wearer biting a button or a bit.

The woman did not walk toward Gary, she floated. She was inches off the floor and swayed slightly as she came at him in a slow minute flight. She spoke to him. Or rather, he heard a deep voice as if it were coming from under water.

Vieni, il mio amante,” She said. “Ho bisogno di possederti .... si tiene fino a quando non siamo più.”

Gary ran, tripping over his feet. He fell over backwards, landing hard on the ground. He picked himself up, sand that had gathered in his shirt and trousers rolled down his back and legs. He ran. Looking over his shoulder he saw the woman floating above the beach and was right on his heels.

He lost his footing again, falling face first. Gary blacked out.

He awoke and the sun was rising. Two pair of hands were shaking him. He heard Dave and Hilda's voices. Slowly, Gary rose to a sitting position. A blurry vision of his friends apeared, Hilda dabbing at the large bloody gash on his forehead with a her blouse.

“What happened to you,” Hilda said. She was in her black lacy brassiere and once Gary's eyes could focus, he couldn't stop staring. Dave noticed, feeling his blood boil slightly. His eyes were two daggers aimed at Gary.

“I had something strange happen to me,” Gary said.

“Looks like someone attacked you,” Hilda kept dabbing, then blowing on the cut.

“Someone did. A woman.” Gary looked up at Dave. He saw him looking at indignantly. Gary's eyes moved slowly back to Hilda.

“A woman..? You don't think it was--”

“Jessica?” He finished Hilda's sentence. “No. It wasn't her. This woman you could practically see through her. She spoke in Italian, wore a black gown and a carnival mask. Oh, by yhe way, did I mention she floated in mid-air?”

“The hell you say,” Dave said through flared nostrils.

'What?” Gary stood, his body language was the attack style of a gorrilla.

“Okay you two, stand down,” Hilda rushed to get in the middle of the two of them.

“You're saying a ghost—excuse me—a woman in white attacked you? Bullshit.”

“No. I said a woman in black. You think I'm lying?” Gary stepped forward. Hilda pushed him back.

“Not saying, I know you are. You did it for more attention.”

“More specifically Hilda's?”

“You got it. I want two things from you, Gary. 1) Get out of my cottage by tomorrow. 2) Give me the stone.”

“Please, Dave, no, please,” Hilda begged. Tears had formed in her eyes and cheeks were stained by mascara.
“I don't want this bum drooling over you anymore, Hilda!” Dave screamed in her face.

Gary tossed the stone at Dave's sandaled feet. “Have it your way,” He said, walked away.

“I always do,” Dave fired back.

They argued. Dave and Hilda, argued all day, kept silent in between arguements. She mostly stayed upstairs in the bedroom, he stayed in the living room, watching TV with the sound off. Neither cared about food, both drank heavily as they did in the past. Throughout the string of arguements, Carol 's name was brought up. Hilda never forgave Dave for that month long affair fifteen years ago.

Carol never wanted to give Dave up, even after Hilda knew about everything. So Carol gave up her life for Dave. They lived apart from each other for three months, when Hilda gave up and came back to him. Dave cut his buisness schedule in half. Ten years later he retired, bougt the beach, house, and cottage.

Eventually Hilda let things slide by, Dave let things slide by. Arguements were fewer, not as constant, as well as the drinking. Neither was in charege, both agreed to live in the moment.

Dave realized that jelousy monster never left him, it was just well hidden.

Hours later, both had fallen asleep. He rose from the couch to find a blanket draped over him. She still cared. He rubbed his eyes, noticed it was dark outside. He looked at his cell phone, it was well after midnight. He had slept that long? He felt hunger pains and wondered if any chinese left overs were still in the fridge.

Dave stood, walked around the coffee table and rum bottles on the floor. He was startled to see a woman in a black gown standing in front of him. She wore a moretta carnival mask. Her flowing dark hair rested on her olive-skin shoulders.

Vieni, mio amante,” She said.

Dave went to her. She touched his chest with a hand. Dave sighed.

Si sarà mio ... sarò tua ... per sempre.” She removed her mask. The right side of her face had been destroyed somehow, and the skin had grown over her eye and part of her blood red lips. The skin had turned a sick gray, sores embedded over the spongey exterior.

“Ci deve essere uno,” She drew him close to her, pull him by the shoulders, and kissed him.

The longer she held Dave 's lips in place with hers, the more it burned. The right side of his face taking on her damaged skin. Dave tried to pull away. He tried to scream. The flesh seered over his right eye, cheek, and bottom lip.

Hilda appeared at the top of the stairs. “Dave!” She screamed. Hilda saw the steam rising from his face. She ran down the stairs to him.

The woman in the black gown let go of Dave. He fell in Hilda's arms. He was wimpering, hid his face in Hilda 's nightgown. The woman floated up in the air high above them, inches from the ceiling. She hovered a few seconds, disappeared.

They heard a voice say, “Lui è mio ... la mia vendetta ti distruggerà.”

Hilda held Dave close, kissing the top of his head, as they both wept.

In the morning, Gary had everything packed except his laptop. He searched for hours for any information about that stone. Finally he found a website regarding fameous jewls and trinkits that were cursed throughout history. The Hope diamond was among them. The story that caught his eye was The Venetian Bride.

Born in Milan in 1756, Maria Christina, daughter of Maria Theresa, ruler of the city. She was wed to French Duke Antoine Louix in 1775. He'd given her the Lui è mio ... la mia vendetta ti distruggerà, Ring of Eternal Love. A red stone set in a solid gold band with enrgavings of the Alpine Swift, a bird in his native France. On their third year of marriage, during a carnival in venice, the ballroom that hosted a party, caught fire. The Duke Antoine, died in the fire along with several hundred. Maria was one of the few that survived, but not without damage to the right side of her face. It is said that she lived on another six years roaming the streets of venice in a black gown and a Moretta mask. She'd drowned herself in a canal on western side of venice. It was said she was wearing the Ring of Eternal love when they found her body, the stone was missing.

Years later, stories were told of The Venetian Bride haunting those who found the stone--

Gary turned off his laptop. He sat there a few moments, lost in thought. He lept from his chair and rushed out the door.

He ran across the beach just as the sun was rising, up the hill where Dave and Hilda's house was. He found their door wide open. Inside, he saw Dave curled up in a fetal position sobbing at the bottom of the stairs. Gary rushed to him. He pulled Dave's arms away from his face. He saw Dave's face and recoiled.

“Where is Hilda?” Gary asked with immediacy.

Dave didn't answer. He just crawled away from Gary to a dark corner and continued to weep.

Gary stood back, looked at the top of the stairs. Something told him to check the bedroom. He dashed up those stairs, nearly tripping over the well-worn steps. The door to the bedroom was ajared. He saw a shadow on the wall near the canopy bed. The shadow was hunched over another shadow laying in the shadowy bed.

He ran in. The woman in a black gown and moretta mask was overtop Hilda, holding Hilda by the shoulders in the bed. Hilda struggled, her arms flailing in the air. She was gasping for air. On the nightstand by the bed, Gary saw the stone next to a lamp laying on it's side.

Gary grabbed the stone. The woman immediately removed her hands from Hilda. Hilda sat up, her body dripping wet, she spat out water and tried desperately to catch her breath.

The woman turned to Gary. She spoke to him, easing toward him.

Amore mio, sei tornato da me,” The woman said.

Gary held the stone just enough from her, backed out of the bedroom, into the hall.He led her down the stairs, past a weeping Dave, and out the house. They went down the hill, and out to the tides rolling in, recreating the edge of the beach.

Voglio solo stringerti ... un ultimo bacio ...”

With a great wind up, Gary threw the stone into the ocean. The woman in the black gown walked into the coming tide, disappearing under the currents.

Gary sighed. He closed his eyes and bowed his head for a moment. Then he turned to the beach house on top of the hill. He watched for Dave or hilda to appear. No one came out.

Gary turned from the beach house on the hill that looked down him. He walked away, feeling drained.