December 2, 2018

Vampires of Pittsburgh - Crisis

[Posted by Ted H]

Well this NaNoWriMo was a dud. Lots of stuff got in the way and I'd rather tank the year rather than force progress. Still, I got the story established, so I'll close out the year with what I pounded out, the little that there was...


[Vampires of Pittsburgh - Crisis]

            James Blake was never the type to easily lose his cool, but today the desire was a bit overwhelming. He was staring almost slack jawed at the clerk in a remote part of town, struggling to make sense of what the young man just said to him. "Are you sure you looked?" he asked "Cuz you were pretty quick to say you were out of them."
            "Dude," the clerk said in a dismissive tone "We haven't had those cigarettes stocked in a long ass time. I'm pretty sure they stopped making them. I can sell you regular Salems if you like."
            "When is your shipment day?" Blake asked.
            "Dude, you're holding up my line."
            "Your line is two people long, including me."
            "Move your ass!" a cranky old lady yelled from behind.
            "What do you want from me, dude?" the clerk asked.
            "Just find my cigarettes," Blake pleaded.
            "We don't sell them, sorry dude. Perhaps some Marlboros?"
            "Do I look like an animal?!"

October 16, 2018

2018 NaNoWriMo

[Posted by Ted H]

Oh, it's that time. Time to throw my hat into the ring again and hope I can recapture the magic that once led me to regular victories.

And because I've spent the better part of 3 damn years wrapping up the last adventure of James Blake, it totally makes sense to start a fresh one up right away. That's right, coming in November will be part 3 of the James Blake saga: Vampires of Pittsburgh.

There will be some returning characters from previous novels, but since Blake tends to leave a body count behind him, new faces will always be needed. Some of these characters have been planned out in advance while others are people I'm straight up taking from Safe Haven and sticking them here, also the concept of Resevil. See you all next month!

...Also on my to do list is to collect the complete "Pure Human" series into one post and add it to the collection at the top of the page...

October 7, 2018

The 2018 MLB Turtle-Wax Awards

[Posted by Ted H]

I'll miss every update in my life except my terrible awards in October...


[The 2018 MLB Turtle-Wax Awards]

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

The "Rays And Orioles 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, 2014 NL East, 2015 NL East, 2016 AL Central, 2017 NL East]

---The American League Central: Indians, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox---

Let's face it: the AL Central was BAD this year. I know a lot of teams entered this year ready to tank, but every other division had some intriguing story lines. The AL East had two 100 win teams, the west in both leagues and the AL Central had three teams each fighting for the division down to the wire. The NL East was almost as bad, but their worst team in Miami had the same record as the AL Central's 3rd place team. The AL Central had two 100 LOSS teams and the Indians won pretty much by default.


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), 2014 Victor Martinez (DET), 2015 Nolan Arenado (COL), 2016 Brian Dozier (MIN), Justin Smoak (TOR)]

---Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers---

2018 HR total: 36
Previous Career High: 21 in 2016.

This is probably explainable by one of two things; 1: He's free of that cavernous ballpark in Miami...or 2: He's free of that perpetual shitty team in Miami. Either way, Yelich seems real happy to be free of Miami.


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, 2014 Milwaukee Brewers, 2015 Seattle Mariners, 2016 Kansas City Royals, 2017 New York Mets]

---The Washington Nationals ---

It's Bryce Harper's final season (maybe) and possibly your final chance to make a realistic run at a world championship. The whole world is watching to see if you can at least escape the first round of the playoffs this time. The only real competition was going to be the Mets, which mean there was supposed to be no threat to yet another divisional title in Washington.....And instead we got an uninspired team that wilted from a surprise push from a couple of young teams in Philly and Atlanta. Great teams are able to answer the call to such a challenge from young and inexperienced teams. The Nationals failed. No bonus points for not losing again in the LDS when you don't even get that far.


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), 2014 Keith Olberman (ESPN), 2015 Boston Red Sox, 2016 Boston Red Sox fans, 2017 Yasiel Puig (LAD)]

---The San Francisco Giants Even Year Magic---

We get it, Giants fans. we get it. Giants won it all in 2010, 12 and 14. You claimed it was some even year magic. But then 2016 came and it all ended...or so we thought. Fans and media alike claimed that the even year magic still meant that while the Giants are rancid in odd numbered years, that they'll still be a force here in an even year. But 2018 saw the Giants finish 4th and only die hard delusional fans honestly believed that these guys had a chance at the playoffs. Now next year you'll suck again too, but in 2020 please try to shut the hell up. Instead of relying on some magic or whatever, maybe try to be a good baseball team.


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, 2014 Kansas City Royals, 2015 Houston Astros, 2016 Cleveland Indians, 2017 Minnesota Twins]

---The Oakland Athletics ---

Oakland has no payroll, which is more of a management decision to be cheap along with the fact that no one watches them at home. Good players for cheap only last so long before they jump ship for teams that actually want to pay them. Oakland is incapable of fielding good teams in back to back years.


The "This Years Phillies, 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, 2014 Chicago Cubs, 2015 Detroit Tigers, 2016 New York Yankees, 2017 San Francisco Giants]

---The Philadelphia Phillies---

Call it youth, but everything should click next year for the Phillies. It'll also help that they play in the same division as the always bad Mets and Marlins and the Nationals are probably gonna start sucking too.


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, 2014 Texas Rangers, 2015 Philadelphia Phillies, 2016 Minnesota Twins, 2017 Detroit Tigers]

---The Miami Marlins ---

When the entire team gets shipped off so the team can save some cash up to start all over again and maybe build a winner in Miami, then we get what is quite literally a AAA team pretending to be major league players.

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), 2013 Mark Pagnozzi (HOU), 2014 Michael Pineda (NYY), 2015 Arte Moreno (LAA), 2016 Buster Posey (SFG), David Price (BOS)]

---Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees---

Let's just ignore that he runs down to first like Robinson Cano in a meaningless game would. Let's also forget that this year he was out done offensively by the teams backup catcher. Gary Sanzhez' biggest mental issue this year is that there are times where he literally cannot catch the ball when it is pitched to him. Catching the ball, in case you don't know, is generally an important thing to do when your position in baseball is CATCHer.
Also the fact that he sometimes allow a runner to steal 2nd, 3rd and home all in the same inning is a pretty good indicator that sometimes on defense the lights are on but nobody's home.


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, 2014 Boston Red Sox, 2015 Robinson Cano (SEA), 2016 San Diego Padres, 2017 Eric Thames (MIL)]

---Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels---

This has nothing to do with him missing a huge chunk of the year with an injury, nor the fact that his pitch AND hit approach became just hitting as a result. It has everything to do with how Ohtani swindled the Angels out of their money. Ohtani knew he was hurt when he was looking for a team to sign with. He came over early and lost out on some cash, but as a result he could come to America and take advantage of their teams' better medical staff. Now he needs Tommy John surgery and won't be able to cut loose with his pitching ability until his contract is pretty much over in LA, which means he'll be able to jump ship and find a new team, leaving the Angels in the dust again.


The "Ozzie Kind Of Crazy" Award
Awarded to the manager who had the most entertaining season to watch
[Previous winners: 2012 Bobby Valentine (BOS), 2013 Joe Girardi (NYY), 2014 Kirk Gibson (ARI), Matt Williams (WAS), Joe Girardi (NYY), Brad Ausmus (DET)]

---Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays---

Kevin Cash must be doing some serious drugs. Like, I bet he takes an analytics report, cuts it up until it's a fine powder, then snorts it. How else can you describe him deciding that closers should start games and starting pitchers should be either sent off to other teams or taken behind the barn and shot?
Next year I'm willing to bet he'll submit a lineup card that features no outfielders and 7 infielders.


The "Go Stand in the Corner!" Award
Awarded to the most standout suspension of the season
[Previous winners: 2013 Ryan Braun (MIL), 2014 Alex Rodriguez (NYY), 2015 Jonathan Papelbon (WAS), Rougned Odor (TEX), Auston Romine (NYY)]

---Ken Giles of the Houston Astros---

Crime: Punching self in the head.
Time: 2 Loss of closer role, demotion and eventually traded.

You read that right; Ken Giles punched himself in the head. Dude gets so mad over giving up a home run that he gives himself a right hook. Astros were less than impressed and the very next game had someone else pitching the 9th inning. Eventually they decided the best thing to do is to send him away entirely by trading him for a wife beater.


The "They'll Let Anybody Pitch" Award
Awarded to the pitcher who should never have been allowed near a mound
[Previous winners: 2014 Kevin Correia (LAD), Rick Porcello (BOS), James Shields (CWS), 2017 Wade Miley (BAL)]

---Dylan Bundy of the Baltimore Orioles---

8-16...5.45 ERA...171.2 innings...41 home runs allowed...and a .274 batting average against.

I'm just gonna rename this award to the Baltimore Orioles 5th starter award. Bundy was bad. No one gave up even close to as many homers as he did, and few gave up runners with such regularity.


The "Just Retire Already!" Award
Awarded to the player on the wrong side of their prime
[Previous winner: 2015 Bartolo Colon (NYM), Alex Rodriguez (FA), Bartolo Colon (MIN)]

---Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners---

Age: 32

Remember when King Felix was a feared force in baseball? I bet the Mariners are regretting the hell out if that giant contract they gave him. This season Hernandez went 8-17 with only 125Ks and an ERA of 5.55. I don't know who it is out there pitching, but it sure as hell isn't the King Felix I've come to know. I think it's time to retire, unless he's hurt. But if he's hurt in a way where he can't ever go back to being what he once was, maybe it's best to retire anyway.

September 30, 2018

Pure Human - Closure

[Posted by Ted H]

Imagine The Rock when I say...FINALLY! This sage has ended. No computer problem can stop me from finishing this shit. And now with a clean month between now and NaNoWriMo, I can sit and figure shit out. Enjoy the finale...


[Pure Human - Closure]

"This is all this guy's fault," Blake muttered as they arrived days later at the Upstate New York suburban home. Blake wore a sling supporting his arm, which he used to hold his lighter and cigarettes. "Did you even read the file Matthew gave us?" John asked, ignoring the statement. "I got the gist of it," Blake said as he used his good arm to set up a cigarette in his mouth to light up once he exits the car.
            "Does it bother you," John asked, causing Blake to freeze "That Matthew can't find any record or information on Vitaearnus?" Blake shrugged "Maybe he needs to look harder," he replied, then finally exited the car. Blake smoked outside the car for a moment while eyeing the house of his earlier client, which now had a "For Sale" sign prominently featured in the yard.
            "How you wanna do this?" John asked. Blake shrugged. "I just want to wrap this up and get drunk," Blake responded as he flicked his cigarette away and started towards the house. "Just be nice about it," John warned "The guy has had a rough week." Blake rolled his eyes "Then we can compare notes," he said as he reached the front door and knocked.
            A few moments passed before the door slowly opened, revealing the man from the beginning. He was unshaven and had the look of a man who hadn't slept in a few days. "Seems we've all had a rough week," Blake said as the man wore a stern look on his face. "I don't care anymore," the man said as he began to close the door "You got paid, just go away." Blake stuck his foot in the door to keep it open. "Hey," Blake spat out "You want closure? Cuz I've got closure for you."
            "My wife is dead," the man said.
            "I know," Blake said plainly "It's in the file." The man man pressed his lips and gave a stern look, but ultimately relented and allowed Blake in. "Where's Lizzie?" Blake asked as he entered "Never mind," he said quickly "I hear cartoons." There were a few packed boxes piled in the hallway and the pictures that lined the walls when Blake was first around were gone. The father was visibly upset with Blake, so John decided to divert the anger. "How did your wife die?" he asked. The father paused "They said it was a stroke, but...It couldn't have been," he said. "It wasn't," Blake said, then pressed ahead.
            The three made for the living room where Lizzie sat almost in a trance watching television on the couch. "How is she holding up after her mother died?" John asked. "It's like she doesn't even notice," the father responded, tears welling up in his eyes. "What if I said she's connected?" Blake asked as he pulled his fist from his coat and blew powder over Lizzie.
            "This shit again?" the father yelled as he charged at Blake and grabbed him by his collars. "Relax," Blake said. "Get out!" the man yelled. "Sir, just calm down," John tried to assure "You've seen before what Blake did was harmless."
            "It's also ineffective." he man said as he released Blake. "Watch carefully and try to stay calm about this," Blake said as he raised his hand over Lizzie and lowered it down to his side slowly. As his hand fell passed Lizzie, the outward appearance she had as a child slowly faded to reveal the form of a blurry charred black figure with deep pools of white where her eyes would go.
            "What the fuck is that?" the man whispered while his lower lip quivered.
            "It's called a mimic sprite," Blake answered as Lizzie's facade of a normal girl faded back into view, all the while she obliviously watched television. "It's a parasite grade spirit."
            "Why didn't it look like this the first time?" the father demanded. "Because it wasn't there last time," Blake said "But it was preparing her for a takeover."
            "What do you mean?"
            "When the sprite needs a new host, it first needs to vacate the soul from it. As little Lizzie was losing her soul, you took notice to it and mistook it for a possession."
            "I...I don't understand..."
            "It's a lot to take in, I get it."
            The father began to weep for a moment. Blake and John stood nearby awkwardly. Lizzie continued to watch television. "Why her?" he finally asked, wiping away tears "Why my Lizzie?"
            "It needs a blood relative," Blake said plainly "Your wife did this."
            "What?" the father said, snapping out of his grief.
            "If I used the Illusion Breaker on her before, we would have seen her for what she really was."
            "When was my wife taken?"
            "She lost her mother the same way when she was about Lizzie's age. The woman you thought you knew died as a child. What you loved, married and had a daughter with is now sitting there in your child's body. The father took a step back in disbelief. "What do I do?" he asked "What can I do?"
            "She's pretty harmless now," Blake said while looking at the oblivious child "Give it about a week or two and the parasite will adjust to its new body, she'll act like the old Lizzie. Heck, you might just decide that everything you saw and heard today was either a dream or a hallucination, and go back to a regular life."
            "A regular life?" the father asked "With that monster?"
            "Raise her to be a nun," Blake said with a shrug "Keep her celibate. End the cycle with her."
            "Wait, what?" the father asked, confused "Aren't you going to do something about her? This is your job."
            "My job," Blake corrected "Is to identify what was happening to your daughter. A Mimic Sprite is hard to stop once it has a foothold. And even if we stopped it, your daughter's soul was already draining and your wife was gonna die anyway."
            "Get that thing OUT of my daughter," the father demanded.
            "That thing IS your daughter now," Blake said "There's no getting rid of it and saving what Lizzie was. And before you get any ideas of how you can get rid of that spirit, I'd advise you watch "The Omen" and see how things ended for the father there."
            "What can I do about this?"
            Blake gave another shrug, then motioned to John that it was time to leave. "Raise it, or don't" he said as he handed John the file and began walking back down the hall for the exit "Put it up for adoption of whatever. Like I said, it's pretty harmless right now. Start panicking when it gets pregnant."
            "You have got to be kidding me," the father bellowed in anger "You just expect me to live a normal life with this thing, this monster?"
            Blake fished out his cigarettes and stopped short of the open front door. He barely looked back as he simply said "Yes."
            "That thing isn't even human!"
            Blake stifled a laugh as he walked out the door. "You'd be amazed at what passes for human nowadays."

July 25, 2018

Yay...Computer Problems

[Posted by Ted H]

Computer had some issues. Thankfully this site exists as my ultimate backup. Had some other stuff I lost but not too much, still a blow to deal with. The hardest thing to write is the stuff you already wrote though, so the final parts to PH are gonna take a minute...

July 1, 2018

Pure Human - Ethics and Morals

[Posted by Ted H]

The end is near. Writing wrap up can be a bitch sometimes...


[Pure Human - Ethics and Morals]

            Clyde explained that he would eventually be able to pull himself together, something he neglected to mention until after Blake and John put his body parts back in their right place and allowed Clyde to heal them on. After a quick trek into the house to retrieve his shiv, he gave the trio a quick middle finger and called them homos before disappearing into the night. No one was surprised.
            Whitey had followed Blake and John back to Joey's house. Blake stayed outside while the others went inside to explain what happened with Joey. Whitey made herself readily available to consol Joey and to pray for him and Anin's soul. Between his broken arm and the mental exhaustion of the night's events, Blake was ready to check out. He situated himself as comfortably as he could in the front seat and closed his eyes to sleep. He didn't mind the corpse of Bryant in the back.
            Later, John and Whitey exited and walked slowly together to their cars. "How often do you have to do that in your line of work?" John asked "Break some bad news?"
            "More than I like," Lena responded "Often times I arrive because something terrible has happened. Take Frank Anderson for example; I get to return to him and let him know the origin of this nightmare is defeated, but that doesn't bring his family back."
            "There's closure though," John commented "And his daughter may come out of her coma. There's some hope to cling to."
            "IF she wakes up, she'll never be the same."
            "But she'd be alive."
            Lena allowed a slight smile to creep across her face. "I like your optimism," she said "You and Blake are a lot alike, but you differ from him in all the important things."
            "You really don't give Blake a fair shot," John responded "Granted, you both bring out the worst in each other. I swear, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you two were getting off on your animosity."
            Lena's smile dropped to a frown. "Don't you ever suggest I get off to anything Blake related.
            "I'm just saying," John said with his hands up as defense "You and him are a lot alike as well. And you both needed each other to fight off the scary monsters at the end."
            "I feel tainted for his assistance."
            "See, that right there is unnecessary."
            "People died directly because of him."
            "He honestly wanted to save Anin. I don't know how much clearer I can be abo-"
            "What about Bryant?"
            John paused. "I'd be lying if I said I'm upset he died," he said "But from what I understand, Clyde was the one who cut him up like that."
            "He didn't bleed out," Lena corrected.
            "How would you know?"
            Lena sighed. "Human Clay is incredibly taboo, if not outright illegal in some circles," she said "It requires a human sacrifice; One life force forfeit so it can grant a physical form to a spirit." John said nothing to the revelation. "Look," she continued "I doubt I can convince you to how the rest of the world sees Blake. I just hope you'll be careful. He seems like the type who shouldn't let anyone get close to him."
            John and Lena wished each other well and were on their separate ways. Blake didn't wake up until a rest stop near Utica. He was confused at his whereabouts as he blinked sleep from his eyes until he heard the sound of pumping gas. His broken arm caused too much pain to move, so he stayed where he was until John returned to the car. "I need a coffee," Blake mumbled. "I'm not leaving this car alone with a dead body in the back seat," John responded as he began driving.
            "I know a guy," Blake said in a dismissive tone "He'll return the car good as new."
            "Did you know Bryant would die?"
            "That Human Clay trick. Did you know it would kill off Bryant?"
            "I take it Whitey gave you her biased take on my tactic."
            "Blake, a  lot of people have died in our line of work, but Bryant...that was deliberate."
            "It had to be someone," Blake said after a pause.
            "What gave you that right?"
            "Look, obviously there's no defending the ethics. I've already told you it was a desperation move."
            "As for why Bryant; Who else was there?"
            "That doesn't make it right."
            "He wouldn't ever have to answer for what he did. No way to prove those creatures were once human. No prison sentence for releasing unspeakable evils from outside our world."
            "I'm sure even in the circles we travel, there would be an authority he would have to answer to."
            "With what proof? Circumstantial testimony from the three of us who were in there? Fat chance."
            John said nothing.
            "Look at it this way," Blake said "Because of him, we were able to stop the big bad. Redemption was forced upon him."
            "Doesn't make it right."
            "Doesn't make it entirely wrong either."
            "Not a very ethical view."
            "Utilitarianism makes more sense."
            The next several miles were in silence until Blake broke in with "And don't let Whitey fool you with her holier than thou routine. Even her moral compass waivers when there's a selfish gain for her."
            "I don't get that impression from her," John defended.
            "Holy Warriors like her are meant to be a team of two."
            "So where's the partner?"
            "Which brings us back to her moral compass..."

May 26, 2018

Pure Human - Be Gone

[Posted by Ted H]

Well that was certainly a wait. Enjoy the final confrontation. After this is some loose end tying and then we can finally call this damn project done!


[Pure Human - Be Gone]

            -And was tumbling backwards onto the ground dragging a heavy body down with him. Blake kicked the figure up with his legs and continued the momentum over and away so the figure would land away from him.
            "What the hell is that?" Whitey screamed as Blake was quick to his feet. The figure he had tossed was indeed Vitaearnus, who slowly rose to his feet with a slow and methodical pace. "Take him down!" Blake shouted as John immediately opened fire.
            The physical form of Vitaearnus was different than previously observed. He was much taller than Blake remembered, and his tight bone colored skin extended over a sexless nude and bald figure. The most telling difference was the lack of a mouth and any facial features beyond his two sharp black slits where the eyes would go. John's gunshots disappeared into the figure but seemed to make no noticeable impact as he strode across the room.
            Whitey stepped forward passed the men and thrust her glowing hands outward as she screamed "Be gone!" Vitaearnus staggered as his form began to glow, but ultimately stepped towards Whitey and in one fluid motion, reached out and backhanded her across the room. "Scatter!" John yelled as Vitaearnus reached up with both fists and slammed them down into the floor as Blake and John dove away. John was up quickly and firing again as Blake scrambled over to Whitey.