December 20, 2015

Pure Human - Eating

[Posted by Ted H]

Woah, I NaNoWriMo'd so hard, I had a 3 week hangover...

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[Pure Human - Eating]

            It took some driving, and they passed several diners and an I-Hop on the way, but the group eventually found a Dennys. Anin made comment at how ludicrous this was, and John complained that Blake should see a doctor or something similar first, but Blake was having none of it. He needed a Grand Slam and a coffee. The coffee usually was crap, but it was his kind of crap that he developed a fond taste for, and nothing else would do. John always went for the hash browns.
            "You should be dead," Anin said as Blake waited impatiently for a waitress while adjusting his sunglasses he had put on once John dragged him to the car before. "I'll be fine," Blake said "I put some stuff in there that fights off poison. Also the Time Ball reacts with the gas so it burns up harmlessly...well, relatively harmlessly." He then held up the ball in his hand and played with it a little. "Thank God I puked this up," he said "This wouldn't digest so getting it out of me the other way wouldn't been excruciatingly painful."
            "How much gas was leftover?" John asked.
            "Like I said initially," Blake responded "I added a little too much."
            "How about this tooth?" Anin asked, holding up the clue "It's not from any animal I've ever seen."
            "That's whatever did all the killing," Blake said as the waitress finally arrived with a pot of coffee and other drinks. John got an orange juice and Anin received a cup of tea. The waitress placed a cup in front of Blake and poured, then started to walk away with the pot. "Hey, leave that," Blake called. "Why would I do that?" the waitress asked. "I'm gonna drink more than one," Blake responded "The waitresses where I'm from usually just leaves the pot with me."
            "Just ask for a refill and I'll bring this back," the waitress said with a look on her face. "The service here is not what I'm used to," Blake said as he picked up his undersized cup and took a drink. "So, what's the origin of this tooth's owner?" Anin asked, putting the conversation back on track "And aren't the cops gonna want to see this?"
            "If this is supernatural in origin," Blake said "Then cops will be useless."
            "Whatever this is, it chewed the head off of someone," Anin said "This might be more than you can handle." Blake and John looked at each other. "We'll find a way to deal," Blake said. "Or we could call the cavalry," Anin said "There are people trained to deal with situations like these." Blake rolled his eyes. "I've met a few of those people," he said "They're intolerable."
            "You're intolerable," Anin said.
            "Exactly," Blake responded "So there's no point in everyone annoying each other."
            "We need a next move," John said, breaking the argument up "How do we go from here?"
            "Head back to the house when it's empty," Blake said "Get a read on what this is. Maybe we can narrow it down once we know the origin."
            "No one's been able to narrow anything down," Anin said.
            "That house is the first confirmed location of whatever is going on. We can get a very specific read. A lot better than dreaming about it."
            "Don't know what you know is effective," Anin quipped.
            "That could take a while," John complained "Take it from me, gruesome scenes attract attention. Even after the bodies are removed, cops'll hang out at the house."
            "Then we chill for now," Blake said as the waitress returned for orders.
            "Nothing for me," Anin said "I'm not very hungry."
            "Coffee," Blake said holding up an empty cup "Leave the pot this time. Also a Grand Slam, don't skimp on the bacon. And a glass of water."
            "Put hash browns on that," John added "And pancakes for me."
            "What kind of eggs?" the waitress asked, eyeing the empty cup "Surprise me," Blake said, prompting the waitress to roll her eyes and walk away. "You're being a jerk," Anin said "You'd better tip her." Blake stroked his chin with a smile. "Her attention to my coffee will determine her fate in that regard."
            "It's assholes like you that make that job so unappealing."
            "Dually noted," Blake said "You should eat something though. Unhealthy to skip the most important meal of the day."
            "This coming from the man whose most recent diet has consisted of German liquor followed by pure gasoline as a chaser."
            "Probably enjoyed some raw meat in between," John said with a shake of his head, causing Blake to wink at him.
            "I like to be lean for my important case moments," Blake said.
            "Whatever," Anin said as she stood up. "If this day is just a standstill until the house clears up, you wouldn't mind if I check in with Joey."
            "Who?" Blake asked.
            "Boyfriend," John corrected.
            "Oh," Blake said before looking out for the waitress and his refill.
            "I'll drive you," John announced "Shouldn't take long. Blake, save some hash and don't hide the syrup."
            "Should've ordered what I did then. Comes with pancakes anyway."
            "I'm sick of eggs. It's the only thing you can actually make and you make it all the damn time. Pardon me for wanting some variety," John said as he and Anin got up to leave. "Have fun," Blake said with a wave before searching again for the waitress. "This is why you leave the pot!" he yelled out, frustrated at the lack of service.

November 30, 2015

Pure Human - Time Stop (NaNoWriMo update #8)

[Posted by Ted H]



Greetings once again to a little place I'd like to call: THE WINNERS CIRCLE!!!!!

Another year, another title! 3 in a row, 4 overall!

In all seriousness though, I'm tired, and I have work early tomorrow...good night! In lieu of more commentary from my win, I'll give you all a sizeable update from one of my favorite parts of the story to write this year. Enjoy!

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[Pure Human - Time Stop]

            They drove into a suburb nearby, led by John's GPS. Police cars lined the street with a paramedic parked in a driveway with another one in the street with the row of cop cars. "This is what we're looking for?" Blake asked. "A lot of chatter all talking about the same family murder," John said as he drove by the scene and kept going "Probably a sure bet."
            "Murders happen all the time," Blake reasoned.
            "They're not exactly sure what could have done it. And apparently the murders are pretty grotesque."
            "Sold," Blake said.
            At the corner near a major road was a drug store where they parked. "Guess your dream sense was spot on," Blake said to Anin "Something definitely went down last night." Anin hummed but said nothing. "So how do we plan to find out what's going on in there?" John asked. "I take it walking straight inside is out of the question?" Blake asked back.
            "Sure," John mocked "Hello officers, we just have a morbid curiosity and just gotta see what all the fuss is about!"
            "We'll just say we're also cops," Blake said "You still got your badge, right?"
            "Because Chicago police jurisdiction covers all the way out to upstate New York."
            "Hmm," Blake pondered "I know a guy who can forge us something."
            "Who would you know that does that?"
            "Met him a long time ago. Associate of Sully."
            "And he can make us fakes?"
            "Not fast enough to get in there."
            "So, what makes you think anything of interest is still inside?"
            "M.E. is still here. Saw her mingling with some cops. Also the paramedics wouldn't still be here unless they've already collected a body."

November 29, 2015

Pure Human - To Albany (NaNoWriMo update #7)

[Posted by Ted H]

Just over a day remains and I am knocking on the door to my 3rd strait win, 4th in 5 years. This must be what the 2000 Yankees felt like!

Current status of my 2015 NaNoWriMo: 49,110 / 50,000 (890 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50,000th word o: November 30th

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/reted/novels/pure-human-817618/stats

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[Pure Human - To Albany]

            Blake did sleep some on the trip, but not very long or often. Anin insisted she wasn't going to sleep during the trip and that Blake could lay out in the back seat while John drove, but Blake insisted otherwise. Lack of comfort or otherwise, Blake reclined in the front passenger seat of John's car and did his best to sleep. "It's his seat. He's weird about it, it's not you," he often heard John explain.
            Occasionally, Blake could feel himself slip into a state not unlike sleep, but then John would hit a pothole or pass under a lamp post emitting a seemingly insane level of wattage, and Blake would be aware and conscious. It was hell. Anin and John weren't helping by making light conversation. John stopped for gas once, but otherwise had made a straight path for the state capital.
            The early morning sunlight ultimately caused Blake to give up his foolish quest for sleep, and he sat himself up and rubbed his face. "Morning," John mumbled as he drove. "It was morning when we left," Blake said as John shook his head and gestured to a styrofoam gas station cup without looking away from the road. "Cold as fuck by now, but I doubt you'll care."
            Blake picked up the drink and greedily choked its contents down. "Only time I can chug coffee," he said as dropped the empty cup back and patted himself down for his cigarettes. "Sleep well?" Anin asked from behind, having waited until Blake was defiantly finished with his coffee before attempting to engage him in conversation, as previously advised by John.
            "No, I didn't," Blake said, to which Anin shrugged "But I take it neither did you."
            "I don't really wanna talk about it," Anin said.
            "It was so bad, you tried breaking down my front door and insisted we leave immediately. It was important. You will talk about it."
            "She doesn't have to," John assured.
            "It's okay," Anin said "I'm sorry about before. It's just, dreams don't usually effect me in the real world."
            "This one did I take it?" Blake asked as he pulled out his cigarettes and peered into the case, not pleased by what he saw.
            "Ripped right down my arm."
            "So you saw what the cause of the situation is? You saw it?"
            "No, that isn't how dreams work. You're thinking of a vision. This was more of a representation. How closely or loosely the dream is to the actual situation varies. But whatever is happening, last night is just ramped up in intensity, either because it knows we're coming, it did something drastic, or both, I'm not really sure."
            "How much...worse is it?"
            "Enough for me to go from casual observer to active participant in a dream and then injure me in the real world."
            "Fun times," Blake said as he eyed a gas station coming up. "Pull in there," he told John.
            "Why?" John asked "I've got plenty of gas."
            "I need coffee, stretch my legs, more smokes, then a bathroom trip," Blake said "In that order." John shrugged as he changed lanes. "Your police scanner still work?" Blake asked as he tapped the object installed below the radio. "Yeah, why?" John asked. "If something indeed got ramped up," Blake reasoned "Maybe someone thought it smart to involve the cops or something."
            John pulled into the gas station and before he even put it into park, Blake was out and heading for the coffee. Anin climbed out as well but didn't bother following, instead taking a deep breath of air and looking out to the sunrise. Blake power walked into the station, where a middle aged, overweight woman with a front tooth missing picked her head up and attempted a greeting. "Good mor-"
            "Coffee," Blake said plainly as he took a moment to survey the area and immediately found and made his way to a fresh pot. After procuring his fresh cup, he headed for the counter to pay and get cigarettes. "Pack of Salem," he asked, but the woman didn't budge. After waiting a moment, Blake asked again but to no avail.
            "Do you not have that kind?" he asked as the woman took a moment to look outside, then back to Blake. "I need IDs," she said plainly. "Sure," Blake said as he reached for his wallet. "All IDs," the woman stated. Blake took a moment to stare at her. "Fine," he said as he went outside. "John, license!" he called, but John didn't move, intently listening to something on his scanner. Without looking, he pulled his license out and tossed it aside for Blake to grab.
            "Anin," Blake said with an outstretched hand "I need smokes, so I need to do what the ugly woman inside wants." Anin flashed a worried look on her face. "I don't have a license." she said. It took a moment in Blake's state to comprehend what he heard and the potential implications it held. "What do you mean you don't have one?" he asked after a particularly long blink at her.
            "I just don't," she said "I don't drive."
            "Anything, really," Blake said "With your picture and age."
            Anin shrugged. "Sorry."
            Blake took a deep breath, placed his coffee down on the roof of the car, then made his way back into the station. The woman was waiting for him, but he quickly diverted to the bathroom, just to spite her. After tending to business, he returned and approached the counter. "My purple haired friend doesn't have it on her, but I assure you, she's old enough," he said as he brandished his and John's IDs "I'm pretty sure it's a law where you need to be at least 20 to even have purple hair, so we at least know she's good."
            "Sorry," the woman said with an unflinching look. "Smell me," Blake said, in desperate need of an aspirin "I smell like one of the world's top smokers. My teeth are yellowed by years of wonton smoke abuse. I will probably die a long and painful death of lung and/or throat cancer and my diseased organs will be subject to an anti-smoking ad. I am the poster child of bad people who smoke and a CEO of big tobacco would probably know me on sight and possibly thank me for helping fund his newest yacht from the years and years of regular purchases. These cigarettes are for ME!"
            The woman folded her arms and refused to concede. "It's against the law without an ID," she said, Blake figuring she was probably reading from a script behind the counter at this point. "Fine," Blake spat as he turned and left, throwing the door open as hard as he could with a delusion that it would slam against the store and shatter the glass.
            "I don't like you," Blake said to Anin as they climbed back into the car, Blake taking a moment to grab the coffee he didn't pay for off the roof. "I thought you already had cigarettes," John mumbled as he started the engine. "Not as many as I thought," Blake said as he pulled one out "Plus Antonia smoked more than I cared to let her last night."
            "Who's Antonia?" Anin asked.
            "Antonia Sallome," John said "The one woman on the planet Blake shouldn't be allowed near."
            "Shut up and drive," Blake said as he lit up and blew smoke out the window.

November 26, 2015

Pure Human - Ninja (NaNoWriMo update #6)

[Posted by Ted H]

Home stretch, baby! Despite working overtime most weeks and having next to no free time, I've remained on track for a 3-peat. So close, I can almost taste it, can't slow down now!

Current status of my 2015 NaNoWriMo: 44,279 / 50,000 (5,721 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50,000th word on: November 30th

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/reted/novels/pure-human-817618/stats

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[Pure Human - Ninja]

            Blake didn't bother checking the time. It was three in the morning last time he looked and he knew he was going to be in a mood the next morning when the trip to Albany would happen. Despite the future being irritating, he deemed the nights events worthwhile. "I am a ninja," he said to himself as he stumbled into his kitchen, referring to the fact that no one knew of his nights events except himself and Antonia.
            He was at that point where sleep was ready to overtake him, but he had a couple things he wanted to do first. First thing was a drink. He checked the fridge to find nothing suitable, so he ducked his head under the sink faucet and turned on the water. After chugging the lukewarm liquid, he headed to the bathroom so he could look himself over.
            There was neither time nor desire to shower, but Blake figured he should clean up a little before bed. He knew once he awakes, it would be right into the car for the Albany drive. The reflection in his mirror was one of accomplishment; a drunk grin on a face lined to one side in bright red lipstick kisses. His hair was a mess, but that was usually the case, and he looked a little overdue for a shave. He turned on the bathroom sink and shrugged off his trench coat, then proceeded to wash his face as best he could.
            He ran his wet hands through his hair as he looked at himself yet again in the mirror, the kisses on his face gone but the memories still heavy on his mind. A sudden pounding on his front door broke him from his mental rewind, causing him to fear someone saw him before and followed him home. "Impossible," he said "I'm a ninja!" He had expertly utilized his basic illusions and general misdirection to slip unnoticed into his tryst with Antonia, so the prospect that he indeed went noticed was an impossible thought.
            A light turned on nearby and John emerged, a 9mm pistol loaded and ready in his hands as he stopped at the open doorway and saw Blake in the bathroom. "If it's Sallome's goons, I'm letting them take your dumb ass," he stated. "Ninja," Blake said, unable to process much as he felt the early onset effects of a hangover. John shook his head as he made his way barefoot down the hall towards the front door where the pounding continued. "Relax!" Blake shouted, after composing himself a little "Sallome is a bit more subtle...I think."
            John approached the door, pistol ready to fire. He shiftet himself to the side and yelled "Who are you!" no one responded but as he got closer, John could hear someone sobbing outside. John approached the peephole on the door and looked out to see someone laying against the door face down and slamming on it with their fists.
            "Shit," John said as he cautiously unlocked the door and opened it. Anin shoved a bloodstained hand through the opening and gripped the door a she cried out for help. "Oh my God!" John yelled as he helped Anin inside and closed the door "What happened?"
            "We have to go now!" Anin cried "Something happened. I don't know what, but something's been set in motion! We have to go now!"
            "Calm down," John said as he helped her to a chair, then went looking for Blake, who had wandered into the kitchen to see what was happening."Did something attack you?" Blake asked, noticing the fresh injury to her arm.
            "It was the dream again," Anin stated "But it was more than that. Whatever is happening, it's getting worse. Please, we need to do something now. We need to go NOW!" John and Blake exchanged a look before Blake looked back to Anin. "Just calm down," he said, trying his best to sound reassuring "We're going tomorrow and fixing whatever it is that's happening. Just relax and try to sleep until then-"
            "NO!" Anin screamed "We go now. Whatever this is, it's only going to get worse!"
            Blake sighed as he walked over to John. "I can be dressed and ready to rock in five minutes," John said. "Whoa whoa whoa!" Blake said "What about sleep?"
            "Suck it up," John said as he walked away. Blake just sighed and threw his arms in the air before returning to the bathroom to retrieve his trench coat.

November 23, 2015

Pure Human - Dream (NaNoWriMo update #5)

[Posted by Ted H]

I'm on pace to finish with a week to go. Not too bad when you consider I've been working overtime for over a month. Working retail through Halloween and into Black Friday, no big deal, right?

Current status of my 2015 NaNoWriMo: 39,086 / 50,000 (10,914 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50,000th word on: November 30th

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/reted/novels/pure-human-817618/stats

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[Pure Human - Dream]

            Anin was having the dream again. It had become routine at this point, but she didn't mind this time at first because something was being done about it. Something felt different though. The scene of the park was always so vivid before, but this time she had a different perspective. After a moment of looking about, she realized that this time, she wasn't just observing, she was actively participating in the dream.
            The sight, smell and feel of the park remained the same, but this time Anin was free to walk about as she pleased, able to take in the sight of the environment and people in it. She watched and smiled at the sight of children playing carelessly and small dogs happily chasing after them. She looked over to see a young couple on a bench, snuggled close and whispering into each other's ears.
            It was such a surreal scene that Anin almost forgot the star of her reoccurring dream. Perhaps it was taking the chance to take in the positives that allowed her to momentarily ignore the looming negative. But just as Anin allowed herself to remember what waited in the middle of the park, a thought struck her. The heartbreaking fact of the dying man was, before, no one even noticing him as he faded away. This time, Anin planned to change that. Maybe she could save the dying man or at least give him comfort as he passes.
            With that thought, Anin took off running through the park. She wasn't far from the center and wanted to make it in time to try an alter the usual ending to this dream. No one paid interest as she jogged by, going about their own business in oblivious fashion. There was several yards of sidewalk to traverse before hitting a small clearing, at the center of which was the dying man. As she approached the end, she could already see the man, sitting back on his knees with a sad look on his face as he slowly started to fade from view.
            "Wait!" Anin pleaded as she ran faster and waved her arm at him "I see you! I'm coming!" The man took no notice of her as he continued to fade and act the same way she had observed him dozens of times before. Anin hit the grass and started to slow down as she came up on the man who, if memory served correctly, was on the verge of fading away completely to end the dream in its usual somber feel.
            "I'm here!" Anin cried "I see you!" She approached the man, whose head hung low as it continued to fade. The was the point in all her dreams that he faded for good. The dream would end and she would awaken. This time though she was still asleep and able to interact. She reached out to where the man was and touched what turned out to be his arm, causing him to reappear slightly and pick his head up a bit. "It's okay now," she said. The man then snapped his hand onto his arm and grabbed hold as he slowly picked his head up more. Anin pulled back, but could not break the grasp.
            The man's sad face gave way to an uneasy smile as he seemed barely able to contain a deep laugh. His eyes, brown in color before, were now a deep black. He dug his fingers deeper into Anin's arm as he stopped fading and slowly came back into view. He let out an excited, deep gasp as he looked at Anin with his black eyes. He then reached for her arm with his other hand and tried pulling her down to him.
            "Stop!" Anin pleaded as she pulled back and tried to free her arm from his grasp. The man gave off a deep, rasped laugh as Anin frantically pulled at her arm. The man began to fade away again, but this time Anin started fading as well, causing more panic in her actions as she desperately tried to free herself. With one final try, she jerked her entire body back, dragging her arm out of the man's hands as she fell back-
            -and toppled out of her bad onto the ground below, bringing her blanket and pillow down with her. She gasped for breath as she tried to calm herself down, wet with sweat and fear. She laid awkwardly on the ground as she waited to stop shaking. Her arm hurt, and in the darkness she felt blood drip down onto her hand. Where the man dragged his dug in fingers had left the same injury in reality.
            She grasped her free hand over the injury as blood seeped through her fingers and she propped herself against the wall near her bed. She glanced up to see light emanating from a nearby desk where she had put her stones from the night prior. Last night they were barely able to light up, now each one of them shone brightly despite being so far away from her when she slept. Anin shut her eyes tight as she turned away from the stones, and finally cried out as loud as she could.

November 15, 2015

Pure Human - Day Drinking (NaNoWriMo update #4)

[Posted by Ted H]

We are at the halfway point of NaNoWriMo 2015...I'm still on pace to finish on time, which is amazing when you consider I've had only 2 days off all month so far. Sundays seems to be the only guarantee from here on out, so it looks to be from now on: 6 days of trying to keep my head above water (1500ish words a day) just to get to 1 day of furious writing. This might work since day 29 is a sunday.

Current status of my 2015 NaNoWriMo: 25,285 / 50,000 (24,715 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50.000th word on: November 30th

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/reted/novels/pure-human-817618

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[Pure Human - Day Drinking]

            They drove home, and waiting for them there, sitting on the front steps was a woman with dark purple hair and a hand sewn black dress. "Ho boy," Blake said under his breath as they walked towards her. "What's up, Anin?" he said aloud. "Hi Blake," the woman said with a lackluster tone and half wave but a genuine smile. "At least Matthew and I have house phones," Blake said to John. "Then why is she here?" John asked.
            "Good question," Blake said as they reached the steps "What can I do ya for, Anin?"
            "I was hoping you could tell me," she said in a timid voice with a half smile.
            "Come again?"
            "Long story short, I was guided here," Anin said without pause. Blake waited for a crack in her face to suggest she was joking, but one never came. He turned to John who shrugged, then he turned back to Anin and announced "I need to be drinking before you start explaining. He walked passed her and fished out his keys.

November 11, 2015

Pure Human - Look Into It (NaNoWriMo update #3)

[Posted by Ted H]

Fell a bit behind, but rallied big time to catch up and stay on track. Go me! Now to update real quick while my stats say I'm still on track...

Current status if my 2015 NaNoWriMo: 18,601 / 50,000 (31,399 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50,000th word on: November 30th


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[Pure Human - Look Into It]

            Some time later, they arrived in a familiar apartment complex in the projects. "Why doesn't Matthew have a cell phone?" John asked as he parked. "Don't get me started on his paranoia with cell phones," Blake said with a grin. "I can understand you," John said "You're a cheap bastard and you're usually with me anyway so you just use my phone. Just wish you could chip in on my bill."
            "I do."
            "One time! One time, and you didn't even pay half! Anyway, Matthew lives alone and barely leaves his house. He afraid of something out here?"
            "Probably. He thinks so at least. He overplays it, I'm sure."
            They got out of the car and made their way into the complex. The courtyard was just as uncared for as ever. Some might mistake the dead grass and shoddy walkways as a result of another brutal upstate New York winter, but residents knew better. Blake and John entered a building and John pressed a button for an elevator. They waited a few minutes as the elevator slowly made their way down.
            "Why don't we take the stairs?" John asked.
            "It's a dozen flights," Blake said "Do I look like I exercise enough for that?"
            The elevator arrived and the two men took a cramped ride up to the 14th floor and walked to room 13. Blake began knocking as John took notice of some of the carvings on the doorframe. "Some of these are new," he said as Blake shrugged. "Apparently spells and protections can ware off," Blake said as he knocked again louder.
            "I heard you the first time!" someone inside called. Several locks and chains were undone before the door cracked open to reveal Matthew peeking out. "Oh goodie," he said sarcastically "Blake is here." He opened the door and invited the two inside. John attempted an awkward greeting to which Matthew replied in kind. "Anyone want tea?" he asked, referring to a tray with several cups and a kettle. Before John could say anything, Blake immediately advised him otherwise on it.
            "So, what pleasure brings you to my humble abode today?" Matthew asked.
            "Need a little help on a case," Blake said "Something's messing with a little girl. John's got all the details for you."
            "And you think I'd be able to assist you, because...?" Matthew asked.
            "You know all about things like this," Blake quipped "The obscure creatures most people ever hear about, and the others people try to forget. You get off on knowing."
            "Knowing of certain things and being able to recall exactly what you need to know about at the drop of a dime are two entirely different concepts."
            "I said John has the details."
            "Why would I even want to help? This is your case, what am I getting out of it?"
            "There's a little girl whose life may hang in the balance."   
            "You mentioned the girl. Too bad that won't sway me like you hope."
            "Because I don't think it's a unique situation. And I know you love crazy stuff like that no one else seems to catch in time."
            "Pardon?"
            "Something about the family history on the mother's side smells funny. It's not exact to what's happening now, but it might fit. Some supernatural force plaguing the family maybe, but I've no idea what, and I figure we'd save time by going right to you to start."
            "Interesting," Matthew said while stroking his goatee.
            "Peaked your interest, didn't I?"
            "Maybe," Matthew admitted "But I can't just drop everything to help you. Not for free."
            "Well...money has been tight lately."
            "With you, Blake, it always seems to be. But no, money isn't an issue. I'm doing you this favor, so you can do one for me."
            "That depends on the favor."
            "I need someone to look into a situation."
            John, despite what Blake said, wandered over near the tea tray and had helped himself to a glass. After a short sip, he coughed it up, causing Matthew and Blake to look over at him. "What, uh, what situation are you referring to?" he asked, trying to get the men back on track, and back to ignoring him.
            "Out near Albany, there's been a huge influx of abnormal energies," Matthew stated "Espers are feeling things all over the map and psychics in the area say something terrible is happening."
            "So what is it?" Blake asked.
            "That's the tricky thing," Matthew said "Anyone looking close into it come up empty. No foreign or supernatural powers are at work, just energy generated by humans. It's queer to say the least."
            "So no one has actually investigated?"
            "What's to investigate. The circles we operate in don't deal with incidents of the normal kind. There's no demons, angels, or creatures of any particular realms or supernatural origin at work. Just people emitting a strange vibe."
            "Maybe it's a cover to something more sinister."
            "No. Even the most subtle outside influence can't hide itself from a energy surge we're experiencing."
            "Are you sure it's just human energy?"
            "Let me put it this way. During the Holocaust, the energy output generated by the levels of human misery were so high and concentrated (no pun intended) that espers all over Europe and some in the Americas were convinced that the devil himself was tearing his way into our world."
            "I didn't know regular humans can make that kind of unique energy, or whatever it is they do," Blake said, barely able to grasp the conversation.
            "That's why I'd like you to at least look into Albany. At best, it's some sort of terrible murderer, probably torturing his victims or something equally horrendous. That sort of thing is best left to police, but I know how much you love to meddle."
            "I do," Blake admitted "That's the best case scenario? What's the worst?"
            "Worst case?" Matthew said "Worst case is this turns out to be something we've never seen before, probably with world altering consequences."
            "You seem so optimistic about that one."
            "Chicago turned out to be something like that. So you can understand why I'm so keen to have someone look into it for me, just to be safe."
            "Whatever," Blake said waving his hand in the air to disregard the idea of a Chicago situation happening again "Deal. We'll look into it while you find the boogeyman in our case."
            Blake and Matthew shook hands on the matter as a mock sealant to their agreement. Details were exchanged and soon Blake and John were on their way home to prepare for their trip to Albany. Once they were back in the car, John had a question that had been bugging him.
            "If espers can detect energy or whatever, wouldn't they be able to detect what's attacking Lizzie?" he asked "That might save us some hassle."
            "Nah," Blake responded as he pulled out a cigarette and contemplated it "They only detect large scale energy or some crap like that."
            "We going right over to Albany?"
            "We'll go tomorrow. It's a favor, not a case. The end of the world isn't at stake."
            "You don't wanna prepare? Even a little?"
            "I'll make a couple calls. I also wanna go out, get drunk and make some questionable decisions before I take this little trip."
            "Getting drunk? Sold. Saving the world can wait."

November 5, 2015

Pure Human - Illusion Breaker (NaNoWriMo update #2)

[Posted by Ted H]

I get one off day this week, and by God did I use it. Each day so far I've managed to barely keep ahead of par for the month, after today I'm comfortable with a nice lead. Time to keep pushing...

Current status of my 2015 NaNoWriMo: 10,007 / 50,000 (39,993 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50,000th word on: November 25th

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/reted

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[Pure Human - Illusion Breaker]

            "This is going well," John quipped as Blake approached the trunk of the car and opened it. John waited patiently as Blake rummaged around for a bit before finally asking "So what's on your mind?" Blake didn't turn to John. "It's not a demon," he said "At least I don't think it is. Most possessions are demonic. Something's definitely wrong with the kid though."
            "What do you think it is?" John asked.
            "Possession is easiest to prove. Demonic kinds are the most obvious, but other forces are more subtle."
            "Lizzie isn't subtle so much as a complete personality overhaul, according to her father."
            "Subtle or not," Blake said as he retrieved a bag and opened it "There are ways to expose any kind of hostile takeover." He pulled out a few vials of varied powders and an empty vial. He shook a little from each vial into the empty and put a lid on it. "The wife seems nice though."
            "The client said she isn't normally like this either. She's just stressed out." John said.
            "If my kid was possessed or my husband was telling everyone he met on the street as much, yeah, I'd be a little stressed, too." Blake said as he returned everything but his concoction to the bag carefully.

November 1, 2015

Pure Human - Ungodly Hour (NaNoWriMo update #1)

[Posted by Ted H]

Todays update is NaNoWriMo fresh! Like, straight out of the over and onto the table fresh! Written several hours ago fresh! I have no time to edit so this is as raw as it gets fresh!
At midnight, NaNoWriMo 2015 began and with it, began the furious writing of thousands, including myself. And with this being Sunday, I figured I'd update today and give immediate progress on my 2015 run. Did I mention todays update is fresh?

Does anyone else notice I'm starting to utilize the page break feature to keep the main page fron being gigantic?

Current Status of my 2015 NaNoWriMo: 1,703 / 50,000 (48,297 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50,000th words on: November 30th)

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/reted

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[Pure Human - Ungodly Hour]

            The early spring air still had a chill to it; Even inside of a car it couldn't be escaped. Blake leaned against the window from his passenger side seat feeling the cold bite his skin as he kept his eyes tight while trying to trick himself into thinking he was still asleep despite spending the last couple hours dragging himself about. A nearby door being closed signaled that his faux nap was definitely over as he slowly opened his eyes and let out a long sigh that fogged up his window.
            As John ultimately entered the car, Blake watched the fog slowly fade away as he forced another sigh to fog the window back up. This momentarily entertained him as John said something he ignored and breathed onto the window one more time, this time to see how cloudy he could make the window in one breath. It was petty, and completely pointless, but Blake milked what enjoyment from it that he could before he had to go out into the world and be an adult.
            "Whatever," John said as he fired up the engine and Blake finally picked his head off of the window. "Alright, let's do this," Blake said as he felt about his trench coat for his cigarettes. Most mornings for Blake was a process to waking up so that by noon he was naturally ready to face the day, which for him meant the night. For days like today, where he was out at the ungodly hour of 10am, he needed a three step combo of a cigarette, a coffee and then another cigarette. He had smoked a cigarette earlier before stumbling into John's car and trying to sleep again, but that one didn't count.

October 26, 2015

Poems

A collection of posted poems...
by: Ted H.

Don't (2011)

Dry Erase (2008)

Fat Lady Rolling Down a Steep Hill (2004)

Fly (2006)

Grave (2009)

I Need a Smoke (2008)

Party (2008)

Red Dot Martyrs (2007)

Twenty Days (2006)

Weed From a Can (2011)

October 25, 2015

Witches Shadow

[Posted by Ted H]

Happy Halloween. Now, enjoy the triumphant return of James Blake and John Praque! This time next week I'll embark on my quest for 50,000 as I begin the 2nd Blake novel. Enjoy this short that if anything, shows that Blake is no longer just an average guy trying to make sense of the supernatural.

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[Witches Shadow]

"I am so mad at you now," Blake said as the car drove passed the dark and empty gas station. "Christ, my bad," John complained from the driver side "I'll never hear the end of this, will I?" Blake shook his head as he looked to his pack of cigarettes, only three remained inside to last him through the night. He'd smoke one before bed, and had a hard craving to smoke one right now, meaning he had only one left for some unknown point in the night, and he felt it was going to be a long night.
            "Next time you think you know of an 24-hour gas station on Bear..." Blake began as he lit up his cigarette "...Make sure you know which one; Bear Road? Or Bear Street? Because the difference is paramount!"
            "I stand by my choice," John defended himself "I wasn't driving out of the way just so you could pick up a pack. Next time remember to pick your cancer sticks up during normal business hours." Blake rolled his eyes as he returned his lighter to his trench coat and took a drag. They were on a case. More specifically, Blake was on a case. John was around because he owned a car and a former cop can find other ways to be useful.
            "Which house is it?" John asked as Blake flicked ash out the open window. "Towards the end of the street. Red cedar house. Should be the only one without lights on." Blake then looked to his cigarette and frowned at how much had already burned away. "Remind me why we're here?" John asked.
            "Our client, Kaylyn, wants us to find her older sister, preferably before their parents come home in two nights."
            "Sounds like a job for the police and Missing Persons."
            "Kaylyn says her sister had been dabbling in certain things."
            "What kind of things?"
            "She didn't know. Probably Wiccan."
            "Damn sluts."
            "I know, right?"
            "Where's the younger sister now?"
            "Friends house."
            "Dare I ask why it's us and not her searching the home?"
            "Because the last thing Kaylyn remembers before running from the house was her sister screaming followed by something demonic crying out."
            "Wiccans can summon?"
            "Occasionally."
            "So the job is to find the sister and figure what happened?"
            "Pretty much. So you'll understand why I'm so miffed over not having an adequate supply of smokes for this evenings activities."
            "You could have a carton of those things and still not think you have an adequate supply for an evening."
            "...Touché....But c'mon, just three?"
            "Those things will kill ya anyway."
            "No. Dealing with another crazy Wiccan girl in my life will kill me."
            Both men continued to quip back and forth until John spotted the right house and slowed to a stop in front of it. "So what's the plan?" John asked as he killed the engine. Blake laughed as he got out, amused at the notion that he would deviate from his usual MO of figuring things out as the situation happens. "First we need to see what we're up against," he said as he flicked his spent cigarette away and walked towards the house.

October 18, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

[Posted by Ted H]

We're so freakin close! I changed my mind about what I was gonna write about about 876564678 times in the last month. For a stretch of time, I was sure it was gonna be a story involving vampires (you know, REAL vampires, not the faggot Twilight vampires) but I never felt 100% sure about it. Naturally it would be a James Blake sequel where the universe he inhabits gets expanded, but would it be interesting? Sure, I got the supernatural shit all squared away with this guy, but usually supernatural and horror go hand in hand. There are some weird shit out there than can truly terrify, and vampires don't really do that right now.
Then one night, an idea struck me for a completely different story, one that would actually be scary and uncomfortable if done right. Once it struck me, it didn't let go, and I knew I just HAD to run with it in November. The vampire story still exists in my head, but right now James Blake needs to do something closer to horror than supernatural.

So, for 2015 I will be writing another James Blake novel, getting a much needed break from Safe Haven. SH has become something of an on again off again romance. When we're clicking, it's magical...when we're not, I gotta hear from her bitch mother.

The Blake story will be titled "Pure Human" and of course I'm not giving any hints as to what the story is about. Part of the fun of reading/writing these is starting off normal and slowly cranking up the crazy.

Follow along or even go so far as to join me this November by following the link below. Next week is my Halloween story (which is also a James Blake tale, just to pregame)and then we're off to the races!

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/reted

October 11, 2015

The 2015 MLB Turtle-Wax Awards

[Posted by Ted H]

And now for the yearly digression of writing into the completely unrelated world of sports.

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[The 2015 MLB Turtle-Wax Awards]

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

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The following award has been retired:

The "Joe West Level Of Incompetence" Award
Awarded to the umpire who made the biggest BS call(s) of the year
[Previous winners: 2011 Jerry Meals, 2012 Sam Holbrook, 2013 Fieldin Culbreth, 2014 Joe West]

I figure with instant replay, the worst of the worst replay decisions are moot, and thus singling out the remaining blown calls seems not as fun. And even if a blown call gets upheld by instant replay, then it's more than just the umpire at fault. So, away goes another award, and I figure it's fitting that Joe West, the worst umpire who ever lived, should go out as his own award namesakes champion.
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...And now onto the awards that still exist...

October 4, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Two Bullets

[Posted by Ted H]

End of act 1....not too thrilled at how it turned out, but this was me just trying to wrap it all up, long ago losing all my momentum I had through last years NaNoWriMo...one day I'll probably go back and fix it, like many things I've written here...

Anyway, October means we begin our final countdown to NaNoWriMo 2015!

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[Race for Save Haven - Two Bullets]

            "Holy shit, that might be them," Jason said as the sounds of an approaching truck grew louder. "Great," Laura said "Now we can get out of this dump." Williams was in back, looking over Jenny when he emerged to see what the sudden commotion was about. "They made it," he said aloud with a relieving sigh, recognizing the sound of that truck that he listened to so many times before, always as an annoyance, but this time a welcoming sound.
            "Now you kids can head to Safe Haven and possibly make it through this apocalypse," he said as Jason looked back to him and nodded. Williams then gazed up, apparently lost in thought. Jason looked at him and wondered what he was thinking about. Laura paid no heed and made for the stairs to greet the group on their return.
            "No sense in putting it off," Williams said finally. "What do you mean?" Jason asked as Williams reached for a handgun and ejected the bullets one at a time onto a table. "Your friend is very sick now, near the end. It's quite painful, I've seen it firsthand more times than my soul can bare." He picked up two individual bullets and left the rest on the table. "It would be torturous to try and move her at this point. She made a request," he said as he reinserted the two bullets into the gun.
            "You can't..." Jason started, but couldn't place any words after that.
            "Can't what? End a terminal suffering. I have no drugs to treat her with. No way of lessening the pain. All she wants is for the nightmare to end, and for her to not be able to rise again."
            "Why two bullets?"
            Williams closed his eyes. "No one should have to face death alone," he said "And I'm not that far behind her anyway. Why not now myself? I have no interest in cataloguing my own demise to this infection."
            "But before-"
            "Reality is a cruel wakeup."
            "You're a doctor, a scientist," Jason pleaded "We could use someone like you."
            "I've caused nothing but suffering since this all began," Williams said "Brandon seems to be able to live with what we did...What we did so others can survive...But my conscience can't bear the weight. Maybe it's because I'm dying, I don't know. But just like that poor girl inside, I just want it to end.
            "What do I tell the others?"
            "Tell them the truth. Tell them also to never lose hope, to not be weak like me. I've done terrible things I've rationalized away. And now that I've reached the end of my usefulness in this world, in this apocalypse, it's time I answered for my sins. I'm locking the door behind me. My last act on this earth will be of mercy, before I turn the gun around and prevent my own turning."
            Jason said nothing as Williams nodded and made for the back room where Jenny was. The door closed and the lock made a loud click sound. Jason closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable sound of a gunshot. Then another shot soon rang out, followed by the sound of a body falling to the ground like a ragdoll would, and there was silence.

September 27, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Mostly Not About the Girl

[Posted by Ted H]

So, the climactic end battle of the 1st act of my latest attempt at a zombie epic. The part I'm posting here was written long after NaNoWriMo 2014, so the majority of my momentum was ancient history at that point. Still, compared to previous zombie novel attempts, this one looks more promising. 4 October updates stand between now and NaNoWriMo 2015; 1 to wrap up act 1, 1 to do my yearly baseball awards sham, 1 to announce my 2015 NaNoWriMo (even if it shouldn't be much of a surprise, and my Halloween update.

----------------------------------------------------------------

[Race for Safe Haven - Mostly Not About the Girl]

            Brandon and Rhett didn't speak as they reached the necessary lab and found the vials of inoculations. Brandon transferred them into a metal carrying case and slid it into a backpack to wear. Afterwards they snaked their way around the complex to where Brandon said the weapons storage was. "Gotta say," Rhett said as they approached the door "When we restored the generator, I half expected all the doors in here to unlock and open wide to let out any contained zombie." Brandon made a face. "That isn't how shit like that works," he said as he swiped the keycard and unlocked the weapons door.
            The sight inside was one to behold. Brandon laughed with relief while Rhett swore a few times with a giant grin on his face. Weapons were clearly missing, but for the most part there were plenty of guns and ammunition inside. "This is fantastic!" Brandon exclaimed as the men entered and closed the door behind them. "Load up?" Rhett asked with a smile. Brandon nodded with a smile of his own as the two went to work raiding the contents of the room.
            In the corner was a duffle bag with a rifle laying on top of it. Rhett opened it to find it filled with rifle cartridges and canned food. In the front he found a map and a set of keys. "Someone was coming back for this stuff," Rhett commented. "Makhew," Brandon said as he picked up the rifle and checked it before discarding his own "Probably not just him, but I guess shit deteriorated here too fast. Damn shame."
            "Those zombies that are already inside when we got here," Rhett said "They didn't come from outside, did they?" Brandon sighed. "Some infected person died suddenly. We made sure no one too heavily infected got ignored, but the guy must've had a heart attack or something, we'll never know. We had our inoculation formula, we just needed to contain the deadheads while we set up our exit."
            "These keys?" Rhett asked.
            "They're tagged, so they go to one of the trucks in the vehicle depot. That must have been Makhew's exit plan."
            "What's ours?"
            Brandon opened his mouth but made no sound. He never gave too much thought into it. "I guess," he finally said "We sneak out when it's dark. Figure it out from there. Make for Safe Haven."
            "On foot?" Rhett asked "Starting from the wrong end of the country?"
            "We have more than enough weapons!" Brandon said "As long as we avoid any large hoards. We'll find a car eventually. Find a group or some shit. We have the drugs that'll save lives, people will fight over us joining their groups!"
            "What about our current group?"
            "They're dead! I told you!"
            "Laura and Jason? And your boy? What about them?"
            "Williams is a dead man, he knows it too. He told me not to stress about making it back if it isn't feasible. As for the other idiots you left behind; fuck em!"
            "So...We just abandon everybody?"
            "You said it yourself, they want to ditch you. Well, now is as sure a shit a time as ever to begin ditching! We got the guns, we got the drugs, we got some food and supplies. We can make it on our own, Rhett."
            "We need a car," Rhett said plainly "We don't last ten miles outside this complex day or night without transportation. I'm making a play for the vehicles. And if the rest of my group is dead, at least I'll make sure of it."
            "Why are you making such a big deal about those assholes?"
            "They want me out, that's whatever. I just can't do the same to others though, not if I can help it. You can either help me, or try to survive alone out there."
            Brandon did not respond but instead stood with an angry look on his face. Rhett meanwhile collected handguns and ammo into a bag and slung it over his shoulder. He tracked down every shotgun shell that looked the same as the ones he was already using and loaded them up. There was spare riot gear lying around, but he deemed the stuff he took from the cop car to be sufficient enough and had no room to carry a spare set. He loaded up two assault rifles and slung them opposing to his back while he picked up a third.
            "Just tell me," Brandon finally said as he secured the duffle bag of rifle ammo "This isn't about rescuing the girl." Rhett looked to him and smiled. "Mostly not about her," he said as Brandon shook his head. "A lot of pussy out there still alive," Brandon mocked as he prepared his own weapons set "Hell, there's the one chick you left behind."
            "No thanks," Rhett said "I saw you eyeing Laura, you can have her." Brandon made a fake vomiting gesture and both men laughed. "Thanks for helping out, "Rhett said as they prepared to leave. "All alone neither of us make it," Brandon said "And your suicidal plan has a sliiiiightly better chance for success."
            "Works for me," Rhett said "Let's rock."

-------------


            The two men marched their way to the back exit, already feeling the weight of the bags they carried, not to mention the guns. They were only getting one chance to escape and couldn't afford multiple trips. "We open that door, all hell breaks loose," Rhett said as Brandon adjusted the helmet on his head that he found in the weapons storage. "Sure we can't just sneak out?" Brandon asked. "I'm too fat and you're too stupid," Rhett said as he opened the door and Brandon unloaded into any nearby zombie.
            "Take point!" Brandon shouted as Rhett stepped outside with Brandon sticking close "And remember to keep those rifles on semi-auto so you don't burn through an entire magazine in seconds without killing anything!"
            "Whatever!" Rhett called as he aimed and fired as he inched his way forward. The sun was already setting behind some buildings, sending shadows across the yard. "Stop worrying about my flank and help me carve a path!" Rhett yelled "Or we'll never get through!" Brandon paused to reload while stepping alongside.
            Rhett's rifle clipped empty and he simply tossed is aside, reaching for a ready loaded gun from his back, and began shooting again. "There's too many!" Brandon cried as he quickly tried picking off multiple zombies in one sweep but missed half his shots. "Too late to turn back!" Rhett shouted over the near deafening moans.
            The second rifle went dry on Rhett and he used it to bash a nearby zombie back before dropping it. He reached behind himself, but instead of pulling out the last rifle, he brought out his shotgun and blasted a small path. Their advance through the mass of zombies had slowed and Rhett questioned how much longer it could take to get to the garage, or if they would have much ammo remaining to even get that far. He lost track of time as all of his senses were focused on his current task of killing anything near him. The shine of the setting sun in the corner of his eye kept him going in the same direction, but he dared not look above the horde to see if they ever ended, lest he lost focus for even a moment on the ones right in his face.
            Just as Rhett thought there would be no end to the sea of zombies, he and Brandon shot their way through and emerged in a small clearing near the vehicle depot. The shooting spectacle they provided drew enough zombies away, allowing them easy access. "C'mon!" Rhett called as he smacked Brandon's shoulder, unsure if the man could hear him anymore.
            Rhett turned to the front door to see Mike and Tara emerge, guns drawn. Tara wore a look of vindication while Mike seemed like he was trying to decide if he was hallucinating. Rhett quickly slung the last rifle off of his shoulder and tossed Mike the gun. Then he quickly dug into his pocket and pulled out the keys to toss to Tara. "Look at the ID tag! Find that truck and get it out here!" Rhett yelled. Tara looked to the keys, nodded, and raced back inside.
            Brandon backed up to the line of garage doors and reloaded as Rhett and Mike joined him to cover. "Which of these doors?" Rhett asked. "No idea!" Brandon said without turning as he kept firing into the crowd. It was an interminable wait as the three men fired at the crowd. "Where are the drugs?" Mike asked as Brandon took off the bag containing the container. "Shit is heavy," Brandon said as he also took the duffle bag off of him to make the rifle ammo more easily available for him and Mike. Rhett continued to shoot his shotgun before he put it back around him and switched to a couple of the handguns he'd obtained earlier, taking carefully aimed shots at the approaching zombies before tossing aside an empty gun and shooting a fresh one.
            The sound of an engine roaring to life sent a wave of excitement through Rhett. A nearby garage door was sent upward to reveal Matt with one arm pointing a gun while the other was pulling a chain for the door. Immediately after the door was up, a large truck barreled through into the horde before quickly reversing. "Move!" Mike yelled as he grabbed the inoculants bag and sprinted for the truck. Rhett was right behind him, taking pot shots as he ran.
            Brandon hastily tried to get the ammo bag back onto him as he stumbled behind everyone. A zombie reached in and grabbed him by the bag, causing him to fall over. "No! Shit!" he cried as he tried to fight the zombie off of him as more moved in. The zombie on top of him tried to fight through his flailing arms to bite him until it was suddenly shot in the head and fell over. Brandon tried to stumble up as another arm grabbed him and steadied him. "Rhett?" he asked as the man pulled him forward and towards the truck. "You...came back for me?" he asked after they climbed into the back of the truck. "What I tell you earlier?" Rhett responded "I won't ditch anyone, as long as I can help it."
            Tara drove the truck through where the horde seemed thinner as she made for the exit, plowing through a hastily made barricade in the process. She came to a stop when things were clear so Brandon could get into the front passenger seat and direct he back to the others, leaving Rhett, Mike and Matt in back. "Thank you," Mike said to Rhett as Rhett shrugged. Matt said nothing but slowly nodded. "You pulled my ass out of a fire once, so I figured..." Rhett finally said.
            They rode in silence for a while after that. The cool night air was setting in and blowing passed as the truck drove on. Matt mumbled something about the truck being loud enough to attract the dead to wherever they were heading, but no one seemed to care at this point. "Maybe we were a bit hasty," Mike said after a while "About sending you off alone. Maybe you're not as big an asshole as we first thought." Rhett said nothing, but tilted his head back to laugh.

September 20, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Beyond FUBAR

[Posted by Ted H]

I know what NaNoWriMo will be for 2015....stay tuned...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Beyond FUBAR]

            "Everyone....Everyone just keep calm!" Mike shouted with his arms raised. Through the chaos he tried to lead the group into the vehicle depot and just now had a chance to get his bearings. "This is beyond FUBAR, Tara said as Mike attempted to account for everyone. Matt was pushing a crate into the entrance. "What happened to Steve?" Mike asked. Matt didn't bother answering. Tara shook her head.
            "We can't leave him," Mike said as he made for the door. "No!" Tara cried out "He was bit, or he thought he was. He held those things off enough for us to duck in here." Mike wore a distressed look as he sighed. "What about Brandon and Rhett?" he asked. "They made it," Matt answered "They got the generator running and made a bee line for the labs. I saw them enter while you two were firing at the last few zombies."
            "Okay," Mike said as he paced "They made it, so they'll get the drugs. All we really need to do now is figure a way out of this."
            "How?" Matt asked "Any vehicle in here has no keys. None of us know how to hotwire."
            "They'll come back for us," Mike said confidently.
            "Why would they?" Matt asked, a grim expression on his face "Brandon was here to pick up the drugs and Rhett was told time and again by the most of us that once we were done in Albany, he would be out of the group. There is no incentive for either of them to risk their necks for us."
            "They'll come back," Tara said, eyeing Mike who stopped pacing and stared off into space "Rhett won't leave us, not after everything we've been through so far."
            "Well I'm glad you think so," Matt said sarcastically "And you think Brandon will also be a hero because...?"
            "He's too scared to go off on his own. His little doctor buddy won't last much longer. Guy like him wants as many people around him as possible."
            "Even if that's true," Matt said as he folded his arms and leans against a wall "Even if they think we weren't all slaughtered and they indeed feel the urge to save us...What rational person would want to deal with the small army of the dead out there? There were four of us and we were overwhelmed almost immediately. What makes you think the two of them could possibly make it through to us and have a way to get us all out alive?"
            "They'll find a way...They have to..." Tara said as Matt ignored her and walked away from the door. The vehicles inside varied in style and were lined up neatly, each facing a garage door to the outside. "Maybe one of these trucks have keys inside," Matt said as he approached the first one "Gonna start hoping maybe the whole 'keys under the visor' cliché plays out." Tara ignored him as she looked to Mike, who was still only blindly looking off into space.
            "They have to..." she repeated as she walked to a nearby office. The door was locked but the window on it was easy enough to break through to get the latch. She still wanted to believe the others would come back for them, but just in case, perhaps the vehicle keys would be stored inside this office.

September 13, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Labs pt3

[Posted by Ted H]

Ya know what The Walking Dead needed more of? Actual zombie action where the protagonists were in danger against zombies, and not just against other fucking humans...

----------------------------------------------------

[Race for Safe Haven - Labs pt3]

            They returned to the lab door where the panel was no longer flashing red. Brandon pressed a few buttons and the metal door unlocked and slid open. A potent smell of death washed out and caused Rhett to retreat a few steps. "Christ," he said as he put a hand to his face "What the hell happened in there?" Brandon made a face, but marched forth. "Let's not linger," Brandon said as he cut a path through the lab, the majority of it covered in plastic covers, all stained red with blood.
            "What went on in here?" Rhett asked. "They attempted a cure," Brandon said as they reached the opposite end of the lab. Brandon paused before opening the door. "Listen," he said "We gotta cross an in-between area before we hit the other lab...If you thought the smell here was bad...just try to ignore what you see."  Rhett was taken aback. "I've been watching dead people get up and try to eat me all day. How much more disturbing could this next room be?" Brandon sighed and opened the door.
            The smell of death was more pungent when they stepped out of the lab. Rhett threw his hand over his mouth an tried to breath as little as possible as he walked. The lights were dimmed and at first Rhett couldn't place what the large piles to the sides of the room were. "Are you shitting me?" he asked as he began to notice the limbs and pale faces of the bodies packed in the room like sardines.
            "This really feels like the end, right?" Brandon said as he tried to avoid looking at the bodies "All these people, dead...and it's only a tiny fraction of the overall carnage." Rhett ignored him as he looked closer at some of the bodies. "You're...a little morbid, aren't you?" Brandon commented. "None of these people were zombies," Rhett said. "How would you even know?" Brandon said as he made his way through for the other lab.
            "They're all executed the same way," Rhett said "Something poked through their ear and into their brain. These people were killed before they turned." Rhett looked more at some of the bodies to see various incisions and injuries. "You wouldn't understand," Brandon said. "Try me," Rhett said as he folded his arms and faced Brandon.
            "What we did here..." Brandon began as he struggled for the words "We were trying to save the world."
            "A lot of bodies here suggest otherwise," Rhett quipped.
            "They were already doomed. Infected, no cure ready. They died knowing they were serving a greater purpose."
            "You didn't even come up with anything!"
            "Our job wasn't to do that."
            "Earlier, Williams said-"
            "Williams sugarcoated it. Our job here was to research the infected. See if we could study how it was spreading. You couldn't imagine the time crunch we were under, the world already falling apart. We had to forgo certain procedures to expedite the results needed."
            "Ethics too?"
            "Whatever it took."
            "So you lied about this purpose so foolish people would flock to you to be experimented on."
            "Just the infected ones. The healthy we ushered to Safe Haven."
            "What about healthy people with infected family?"
            "I don't know. There were so many."
            "Don't fucking lie to me Brandon!" Rhett screamed, his arms now at his sides with his fist balled up.
            "How many? Our morgue is overflowing with bodies! This hallway is just where the scientists began dumping corpses to save time!"
            "How many people did you kill for this inoculant?"
            "I didn't kill anyone."
            "Liar!"
            "I wasn't part of the science team. My job was to keep the infected people contained and to usher as many to the lab as the scientists needed."
            "On par with a train conductor to Auschuwitz."
            "I'm sorry, the fact that you alive right now, able to not get sick just by breathing, is that because of the efforts here? Because men like me were willing to do the things needed to get the research needed to make this miracle concoction?"
            "Too high a price," Rhett said "How many people died for this research?"
            "All over the world? To get the necessary data? It would keep you up at night."
            "And you're okay with the blood that's on your hands?"
            "They were dead either way. They died so some of us won't have to. So humanity can survive this."

September 6, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Labs pt2

[Posted by Ted H]

Not many updates to go until November. Anyone else excited?

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[Race for Safe Haven - Labs pt2]

            "I thought this place would've been zombie central?" Tara said as Brandon impatiently paced around the room, waiting for the spontaneous cigarette break to end. "It was," he said after a moment "I was hoping at least a few of the Guard people successfully cleared it out. They were trying to contain it when Williams and I fled. It didn't look good at the time but maybe they were successful."
            "Then where are they?" Tara asked. Brandon shrugged. "Maybe in one of the labs," he suggested. "You aren't the National Guard," Steve said suddenly "And it's obvious you aren't a scientist. So who the hell were you and why were you even here originally?" Everyone but Mike looked to Brandon for an answer. "Let's not worry about that right now," Mike said as he flicked his spent cigarette away. "I want to know," Steve said.
            "It's not important," Mike quickly responded "All I care about is that he knows where the inoculations are." Steve made a face as everyone gathered near the other door. Brandon opened it and reeled at the smell that hit him. "Holy crap," he said as he coughed and put a hand to his face. He slowly made his way into the hall as everyone followed. The hall was lined with blood and dead bodies. A battle had taken place with bullet holes and limbs everywhere. All the bodies had bullet holes in their heads.
            "Jesus," Brandon said as he looked to each corpse as he made his way down the hall. "These things were inside?" Rhett asked. "Yeah," Brandon responded "They tore through before we realized what was happening. Williams and I grabbed what we could and ran when we could."Rhett looked about at the blood and bodies, half expecting one to get up and attack. "How'd they get in?" he asked "The front entryway was practically pristine when we entered."
            "So?" Brandon asked, trying to ignore him. "So," Rhett said "In case you didn't notice, these things make a huge ass mess, especially when they're in a group. There wasn't even a bloody footprint back there. And not a single one wandered off down a different hallway?" Brandon motioned towards Mike, who turned to Rhett and said "Not important. At least right now it isn't."
            Rhett made an obscene gesture as Brandon caught sight of a familiar body and walked over to it. Sitting against a wall near a pile of bodies was a man. His head was down and a handgun was in hand after being used against himself. The other arm had bites all over. "Damn, Makhew," Brandon said as he began searching the body for something. He took the handgun but couldn't find any other ammo. "Friend of yours?" Mike asked.
            "Here we go," Brandon said as he pulled out a keycard and held it up. "He always had this on him," he said. "And what is it?" Mike asked. "The end of hallway number three is a weapons stock," Brandon said "The only way to access it is this card. I guarantee you Makhew here never had a chance to get inside and load up, meaning no one has had a chance to raid the guns."
            "That...actually sounds promising," Rhett said. "After we get the drugs," Mike said, ushering Brandon to get up and continue on. "Really?" Tara asked "Later?" Mike sighed. "The weapons room is on the ass end of this complex," Brandon said "The quickest way there now is through the main lab. Might as well get the inoculations first, then hit up guns on the way out."
            "Besides," Mike assured "We haven't run into trouble yet. Best to get what we came for before embarking on any side quests." The group pushed their way down to the end of the hallway where a large door stood; the entrance to the lab. The door had no handle and the panel next to it was flashing red.
            "Brandon?" Mike asked as Brandon was already looking over the panel. "That would be the main lab," Brandon muttered as he slapped buttons on the panel and turned back to Mike. "So auxiliary power is keeping the building lit up, but main power is needed to work the lab doors. Not just this one but the one we're trying to get into as well. Emergency protocol bull shit."
            "...And the generator you mentioned before?," Rhett asked. "Right, there's a generator that should suffice," Brandon quickly said "But the generator shack isn't inside the complex, and the fence protecting it from the outside was torn down in effort to fortify the fence for the main complex."
            "Christ almighty," Steve said with an annoyed look. "It won't be that bad," Brandon assured "It's not like the dead are just waiting for up back there. This isn't a video game." Everyone looked to Mike, but all he could do was shrug. "Not like we have a choice," he said as he nodded to Brandon, "Lead the way."
            Brandon took them down a side hallway leading to a metal door. "Okay, get ready," he said as he unlocked the door and slowly pulled it open. Rhett stood ready with his shotgun as the outside was slowly revealed, but nothing was waiting on the other side. "Clear," he said as he stepped outside, followed by Tara and Steve. Brandon crept out next with Matt and Mike shut the door behind him as he followed.
            "Which way?" Tara asked as Brandon wordlessly walked forward, constantly checking around for any threats. The back area was mostly wide open pavement. The perimeter of the yard was lined by the tattered remains of a fence hastily torn down. Brandon was making a straight line for a wooden shack on the far side. A large building to the far right of the yard caught Mike's attention. "What's in there?" he asked. "Vehicle depot," Brandon responded.
            "We could use a ride out," Steve said. "The keys aren't in there," Brandon responded "They moved the keys inside the main complex when we tore down the fence. I don't know where they are. If I did, Williams and I would have driven out of here...and a lot more people would have survived..."
            "Heads up," Steve said as he pointed to a zombie that spotted them. "Pick it up," Mike said as they ran to the shack, a lone moan behind them soon joined by others. "Do they lock that shack?" Tara asked as they approached. "Let's hope not," Brandon said as he reached the door and tried the knob. "Shit," he said as he fruitlessly tried turning, but the locked door would not budge. "Out of the way!" Steve yelled as he rushed by and threw his full weight into the wood door.
            Inside was a large metal box that extended passed the ceiling with a small panel on the side with a flashing screen. "I just gotta fire it up," Brandon said "Cover me." Mike ushered everyone inside the shack. "How fast can you work?" Rhett asked. "Shouldn't take long," Brandon said while biting his lip "Just shut up and leave me alone." Rhett looked back to Mike, who was nervously watching the dead outside as they slowly made their approach. "They know," he mumbled to Matt who was standing next to him "They all know we're here."
            Steve had wandered to a far corner of the shack and Tara followed. "Are you okay?" she asked as Steve sat down against the wall, a stressed and miserable look on his face. He checked to see if anyone else was looking and motioned Tara closer. Tara sat down next to him and Steve turned his left arm to reveal his bloodied sleeve. "Oh no," Tara said as she covered her mouth and looked to Steve as he pulled his sleeve up to reveal the injury. "Those things were clawing at us when we were trying to escape the car," he said as he covered the injury back up "I wasn't sure if it's infected or not. I'm trying to wait and see."
            "How do you feel?" Tara asked. Steve shrugged. "I don't know," he said "I feel a bit warm, but maybe it's all in my head. Maybe I got only a little infected, but the drug can keep me alive. I don't know, and it's killing me not knowing." Tara put a hand on Steve's shoulder. "We gotta move!" Mike said. "Almost there!" Brandon shouted "Just shoot them!"
            "We start shooting, we'll attract the rest," Mike said.
            "I start this generator, every corpse within a mile will come anyway. Just shoot them!"
            Mike bit his lip and contemplated for a moment with his gun ready. Rhett looked to him and Brandon waiting for one of them to make a move. "Keep him safe," Mike said as he yelled for Tara and Steve to join him. "What are you doing?" Rhett asked. "Just keep him alive. We'll meet up back at the building," Mike said as he jumped out and started shooting. "Oh fuck!" Steve yelled as he ran after him.
            Tara and Matt hesitated a moment. "Go," Rhett said as they looked to him "We'll be right behind you. Matt nodded and left while Tara lingered a moment longer. "Don't do anything stupid," she said and was off. "Feel free to move your ass!" Rhett yelled at Brandon. "You're not helping," he responded.
            Rhett heard gunshots and turned to try and look outside. The rest of the group had successfully diverted the dead away from the shack. "They better not be leading those things back the way we came," Brandon complained. "Just shut up and work," Rhett snapped "How long does it even take?"
            "This is a fucking process," Brandon yelled. "Well you suck at it!" Rhett yelled back, impatiently waiting to join the others. The shooting outside continued as the chorus of moans approaching only seemed to increase. "There," Brandon announced "That should do it."
            "I don't hear anything," Rhett said as he strained to hear signs of life from the generator over the moaning nearby. Three metallic clicks sounded before the generator began to power up. "Let's go," Brandon said as he jogged to the door "It's about to get really loud." The generator began to make a low buzzing sound that quickly grew louder. "How loud?" Rhett asked as Brandon pushed passed him and out the door. The buzzing grew even louder and Rhett covered his ears as he followed Brandon.
            "Holy shit!" Brandon screamed as Rhett took stock of the mob of zombies outside. "I don't hear shooting," Rhett said as Brandon broke for the complex. Most of the zombies were ganged up by the vehicle depot, but many were taking notice of the generator buzz and now the two fresh meals that ran into the open. "They gotta be in that garage!" Rhett yelled as he fired at the closest zombie.
            "We'll never make it!" Brandon shouted as he motioned Rhett to follow him "You don't even know they're there, or if they're alive! C'mon!" Rhett contemplated the wall of corpses between him and the vehicle depot, more dead constantly on the way. There was no way he could get through, and even if he did, there'd be no way out. "Fuck!" he said through his teeth as he sprinted to catch Brandon as he shot his way back to the complex.
            "They're too many!" Brandon announced as he tossed an empty magazine from his rifle and frantically searched for a new one to load. Rhett came up behind and fired a path with his shotgun. "Just shoulder passed," he said as he went forward and fired again. The dead were closing in from behind and they couldn't afford to get bogged down. "Hope that door didn't lock us out," Rhett said as he reached the complex and grabbed the handle.
            "Open the fucking door!" Brandon screamed as Rhett pulled and threw open the door, allowing Brandon to race through. He paused before entering, hearing a couple nearby gunshots. "Son of a-" he said as he grabbed the inside handle and swung it closed behind him as he entered the complex. "Lock it," Brandon said as he tried to catch his breath. "What if the others try to follow?" Rhett asked. "They're not going to follow us," Brandon said as he reached over and locked the door "They're dead. We're all that's left."
            "I heard shooting," Rhett said.
            "There is no going back!" Brandon shouted with a frightened look on his face, the sound of banging hands on the door echoing in the hallway "Let's just get to the lab and figure things out from there." Rhett paused a moment and shook his head. He wasn't stupid enough to go back outside, but he didn't like leaving everyone behind like this. "Let's go," he finally said as Brandon reached over and locked the door.