100 Word Challenge: Lost

LOST

All semblance of my humanity is gone, lost to the dark, icy waters of the lagoon. From a towering height I glare down upon the feeble defenses of the city as I cut a swath of destruction through their ranks. Wickedly taloned feet the size of tanks smash their barricades and emergency response vehicles. I care little for lives lost as a result.

Bullhorn enhanced shouts to “Halt!” are lost in the din created as I slam elephantine fists into buildings lining the streets. A hail of debris rains down as they retreat, realizing their resistance futile, the battle lost.

 

Using “lost” for inspiration, write 100 Words – 100 exactly – no more, no less. You can either use the word – or any form of the word – as one of your 100, or it can be implied. Include a link in your post back to Thin Spiral Notebook, and add your story to the Mister Linky list there. If you don’t have a blog, you can leave your submission in the comment section, or as a Facebook status post. Remember to keep spreading the love with supportive comments for your fellow Wordsters.

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This Just Stinks

Standing now, shaking flecks of plaster and brick from his hair, Max walked tentatively toward the gaping hole where once the elevator doors stood, mindful of the rubble strewn across the hallway. There was no sign of Ralphie, or the cop, or the dark, hooded figures…

Did he remember that correctly? Had there truly been dark, hooded figures in the hallway? The last day or so melted in his memory like so much rainwater streaming down the windowpanes of his friend’s apartment building. A ringing persisted in his left ear, bothersome that.

A crowd of startled faces appeared from Ralphie’s open doorway behind Max. Various neighbors on the floor began filing out, a quiet rumble of questions and exclamations emanating from them as they gathered, transfixed by the aftermath of what seemingly was some kind of explosion. Was it terrorists? A gas leak?

Though Max hadn’t invited him, the elderly gentleman from 9A was suddenly at his elbow, peering down the ruined shaft. The scent of oil and burning electrical wires assaulted their senses. The old man muttered, “how positively noisome.”

Max looked at him, blinking.

(This excerpt was prompted by Studio30 Plus. Click through and join us!)

Studio30 Plus

Cardinals

The traveler trod a tree-lined trail, macadam cracked and worn much like the boots on his feet. A menacing hedgerow loomed on his left, branches and brambles waving in the wind, willowy and weeping witches’ heads creaking and crackling in the bitter wind. What he believed to be trees to his right instead were a forest of gnarled, twisted hag hands, reaching pitifully for the cold, gray sky.

Beast and bird scuffled through the undergrowth unseen, but for a few feathered fiends, glinting like jet among thorns and thistle. The traveler trekked on, heedless of how his path proceeded. A step at a time, bracing himself against angry aerial avian gusts, gangs of obsidian obscuring the way.

Above in filigree fingers a shrieking, screeching scornful sound followed our fellow, frightening and frustrating him as he fought free, bleeding from the bedeviling battering of wings, a choking cloud of drowning darkness. The horrible howl of a Jay, jeweled in sapphire, diving dangerously down upon the poor retch’s hatless head.

Painfully pursued, plodding perilously as twilight descended, the wonderer wondered wearily whether weather would win, wearing him out til too tired to traverse the remaining distance. When suddenly a cheerful chirping chimed through the wood.

He hearkened, halted hopefully as the hateful Jay circled once again. Seeing the source of such satisfying song, a smile broke across the man’s mug. The Jay cried once more in defeat, dashing away into darkness as a pair of garnet-breasted Cardinals settled onto our hero’s heaving shoulders.

Barbed Wire

Your plastic exterior never fit

and neither yarn nor filament will leave the impression of a fossil

in the baked mud.

Flexible, the current flinches

while hydraulic power plants pump fluid

through seals of oil & bolts.

Ornamental pain worn like a spray of jealousy from a hose,

painting a halo over the bust of Michelangelo.

Reel it in, it takes too long to run,

dragged by an anchor low through iron railings.

The guards skin figures by the gate.

WWW Wednesdays: November 19, 2014

Another fun, weekly prompt from Should Be Reading. Follow along through the link or click the image.

To play, simply answer the following 3 questions in your post and be sure to add a link in the comments over at the original page.

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 I’m currently reading and just about to finish The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson. Pick it up and get to know the Fangs, you’ll enjoy the ride.

 I just finished The Long War, by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter, the second book in the “Long Earth” series. If you’re familiar with Pratchett’s “Discworld” series you’ll recognize a few of his nuances, but this is something completely different. You don’t need to know anything about his other work to enjoy it but read The Long Earth first.

 Next up will be Happy Hour in Hell, by Tad Williams, the second Bobby Dollar book. It’s got everything you’d expect in a book set in the underworld, plus some characters you wouldn’t. Dollar being one of them. Buckle up, because Bobby doesn’t really use the brakes. Again, I’d suggest reading the previous book before jumping into this one. Not for the faint of heart, just sayin’.

Teaser Tuesday Nov. 18, 2014

This is a fun, weekly prompt that I lucked onto some time ago and I’m trying to be more consistent in my posting so I wanted to include it again, and hopefully will continue to do so moving forward. You can click the image above to get to the original site or use the following link:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I’m currently reading The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson. This excerpt is from page 120:

“Okay,” Mr. Fang said, sweeping the tray off the table, dumping it into the trash. “This little experiment is over. Let’s go home.”

The Family Fang

 

 

Neuromancer

Thought I’d share another book review- maybe I’ll follow some Blogging 101 advice and make this a Weekly Feature. Tough for me to commit to something like that though, it makes the blog feel too much like work. Or maybe I’m too lazy? Hrm.

Anyway, I’m a big fan of the Star Wars universe and to a much lesser extent the world of Star Trek, but I’ve never been much of a Sci-Fi reader. I’ve tried on numerous occasions but I always tend to prefer Fantasy. You might think with my technology background and enjoyment of computers the opposite would be true, or perhaps I’m not reading the right Sci-Fi.

I can say this for sure: William Gibons’s Neuromancer hooked me in the first few pages and I could barely put it down. I’m especially drawn to characters when reading fiction and Case, Molly, and Co. pop out of the pages of this book. I see now why it’s considered a classic of the Science Fiction genre and highly recommend it.

Neuromancer won numerous awards upon its publication in 1984. Gibson’s portrayal of advanced artificial intelligence, computer hacking and cyber-security were probably outlandish but are eerily familiar today. I wont give away too much, but I know advances have been made in the development of AI by entities in both private and government sectors to the point where his ideas no longer seem so far-fetched.

Another topic Gibson touches on in Neuromancer is that of genetic alteration and physical enhancement through technology. It’s another area in which our future may not be different (and soon!) from the picture of society he painted in 1984. He followed up with two more novels in the “Sprawl” series, and I’m sure I’ll tackle them next, at least to see if any familiar faces remain throughout the story.

Have you seen that Hollywood hit starring Keanu Reaves, Johnny Mnemonic? Gibson wrote the original. Yes, I know, not exactly awe-inspiring, but Neuromancer from ten years prior is worth the read.

The Prisoner of Heaven

I had to share my review of this book, being about as enjoyable a novel as I’ve ever read. The Prisoner of Heaven, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, is the third in a set of books, all connected but each a jewel in its own right.

This is one of those books you wish you could give more than 5 stars. Zafón is one of those rare artists who creates in a multitude of media all at once, his words like diffused watercolors, bold, bright oils, soft, blended pastels and hard, cutting lines of darkest ink, all swirling and dancing across the pages, mesmerizing, yet simultaneously solid. A firmament of reason and familiarity that leaves you with a smile on your face. Comforting while at the same time able to shake you to the core, leave you grinding your teeth.

“Prisoner” is the third novel of Zafón’s I’ve read and is quite possibly the best of the three. If you’ve read any of his work you’ll know that’s a tall order. It meandered at a point, in a slightly drunken way, but sobered quickly and left me turning pages, unable to stop reading until I saw what ends his characters were moving toward. Even in its completion “Prisoner” leaves some questions unanswered, but not in a terribly frustrating way. You find yourself transported, standing on a wrought iron balcony looking out over a Spanish city at sunrise, the colors both muted and sharp, and smiling to yourself, knowing it could only be that way.

WWW Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Should be Reading’s weekly prompt encourages us to share the books we’re experiencing. It’s become a fun way for me to find new things for my shelf.

WWW_Wednesdays4

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Wolf in White Van Right now I’m thoroughly enjoying Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle. Survival, fantasy, sometimes dark and uncomfortable. I highly recommend it.

Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings I just finished Fluke, by Christopher Moore. I thought I’d read all his novels but found this one by chance, thank goodness. He’s hysterically funny, and with the kind of edge I like in my laughs.

The City & the City The City & The City, by China Mièville is what I’m planning to dive into once I finish Wolf. It’s been on my list for over a year now, and I think that’s long enough. I can’t remember why I added this, but it was probably suggested by a reader friend. He’s a “fantastic fiction” author from the UK, and I’m pretty sure that’s in the “fantasy” sense of the word.

Happy reading to you!

The Sorceress, A Beginning.

this is somewhat of an experiment for me, I appreciate any and all feedback!

 

The bandits were arguing too loudly to hear their doom approaching through the mist. The sorceress wasn’t particularly stealthy, but caution is seldom needed when facing stupidity. A cold, dense mist further muffled sound from travelling more than a few yards in any direction.

“It was my skills what fell these scrags, I should be first to loot them!” hissed the first as he knelt, dirty hands rifling the pockets of some unlucky merchant’s corpse. The man and his horse-drawn cart had wandered too far from the main road.

His robed partner spat into the dust disdainfully. “You couldn’t fell a shrubbery if you held Wuthrun Itself. I’ve burnt them to crisps, s’obvious by looking.”

The stench of blackened flesh hung cloying in the air surrounding the still burning, overturned cart, flames guttering in the not-quite-rain that permeated the entire forest, if you could call it that. Trees endured here among the rocks and bracken, roots exposed and tangled, branches mostly bare and skeletal. A sallow moon could just be seen through the webbing of their sparse cover. The cold and damp night seemed to be winning the battle over any light, shadows concealing the glowing hands of the hooded form stalking their position from the cover of darkness.

Lightning suddenly exploded from the ground at the pair’s feet, sending villains and corpses alike flying as the sorceress finished quietly murmuring her spell. She leapt soundlessly forth, daggers whirling before her in a deadly fan. The first thief’s gasp of shock was inaudible over the roar of electricity drawn up from the earth by the incantation, his skull briefly illuminated from within as his brain fried, sending sparks from his eyes and mouth.

Blades flashed through a tangle of dull, linen robes as the sorceress  somersaulted through the clearing, coming to rest lightly on the balls of her feet with a snarl, staring fiercely at the remaining ruffian who was attempting to raise a crudely carved length of maple in defense as she struggled to her knees.

“Too slow,” whispered the sorceress as she flung a wicked looking knife at the mage’s face.

The bandit spell-caster was fast enough with her staff to deflect the missle, simultaneously sobbing out a choked, “No-ooooow!” as she realized the damage was done, ribbons of red blooming from her raiment, life draining from her as she struggled to stand.

The sorceress stepped forward, plunged a dagger to the hilt in the mage’s chest and shoved the limp body away with a leather-clad boot, a look of surprise still on the dead woman’s weathered face. The scent of ozone mixed with copper tickled the sorceress’s nose as she wiped away traces of blood from her steel.