Moonrise CH45 – Neon Camouflage

[1100 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, Terrible Minds, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader, #SoCS]

The American flag pin came off his lapel and he left it on the glass table. It wasn’t needed anymore. He loosened his tie with his hands in his pockets. The elevator took him down to the truer world he inhabited, the right one in the making. Two months ago, Globe had entertained the idea of killing Doctor Lee, or having one of his lackeys do it. But, he had to consider the lost data, the fatal error that cost him a setback had been accounted for, courtesy of Lee. The progress was still slower and Globe wished that he had Joaquin in a glass jar too. He was not fully satisfied with the progress but content enough. A super the “Nightprowlers” had brought after one of their raids was a close enough match to the existing assets to boost the system, add to the flow. The children comatose on their beds in their blue room were finally resonating on the level Globe needed them to, harvesting the DNA within their cells with Lee extrapolating it, adding it to the batch. A piece of Bree or so Globe hoped. He would know soon enough, the first trials had already begun. Little butterflies they were hatching pure data in beautiful colors. Globe chuckled. Who knew supers had colors running inside of them? Sindi made sure they stayed colorful on the news too.

Globe busied his lower lip staring up at Kristoff in his glass casket. The power juice would do wonders Kristoff would never see and if he fell asleep thinking he was superior, Globe was half sorry he wouldn’t wake up to a world controlled by Gods and Goddesses greater than him. Globe smiled at the notion of allowing Kristof to behold the divine.

Someone, however, was stealing his toys from him, hindering much needed experiments. Bree was full of riddles about that, riddles that chilled his nights and invaded his dreams. She told him she went to play with the kids from the blue room. The exploration of that dream world was a much wanted side task for him. Globe had to wonder what other dreams she barged into. One thing at a time, he had to remind himself.

Playtime was over. Globe returned to the elevator his mind full of promises and threats. Whoever was whisking away supers from him was soon going to find themselves in a deep, dark hole. Tonight, however, was all about appearances; he was about to go wine and dine with the rich and powerful, charming them into submission. Tomorrow he would play his part. He would go watch Miles Jensen take the needle, a seal to his conquest against supers. It felt good to be mayor.

* * *

The frame in his house, a proud young man with a shiny badge was a frame lodged into his skull, a constant blur in his tired vision. He was jealous of the face in the picture and the face was disappointed in him; the past judging the present. What he saw in the rear-view didn’t fit his vision of the past.
Continue reading


Moonrise CH44 – Street Sophistication

[1020 words – prompts: Inspiration Monday, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader]Her food merely decorated her plate, untouched, untasted. The coffee was too bleak for her taste. Perhaps the bitterness existed perpetually in her throat, rising like bile. Betty pulled the baseball cap down low to conceal herself. Her eyes were too revealing right now in the presence of her brother, walking away with a bus ticket in his hand. She bent over her wretched coffee and relived the words she uttered only moments before.

I came to give you this. I need you to be safe, Sam. I need you to get away from the city until everything blows over. Go to the house on the lake, it’s basically a dead zone there.

Betty looked at the booth in the corner locating Joaquin staring back on her. His eyes were telling, no time, be quick, you’ve said your goodbye. The rest of his posse clocked her too, one hovering at the counter, one stalling by the restrooms, one exploring by the exit, one waiting in line. She didn’t even know their names even after months together. Even after finding Joaquin in the dead of night on Whitbey Island among the beating of the restless waters, she didn’t remember their names. They dubbed themselves with silly pseudonyms made up from the mouths of people admiring or fearing them – Nightwave, Quake, Cosma, Kid Vision. It had been such a relief seeing Joaquin’s face but their roles had switched. She flinched at the thought of taking orders from him. The kid was damned stubborn. If he was a bit younger, she’d have called him precocious.

The shine in Joaquin’s eyes was tension mixed with excitement. He relished being out in the open like this, with “regular” customers sitting at a diner. They had to go. She knew that all faces were recognizable if one lingered too long, looked too closely. But for the life of her, Betty couldn’t stand up right now, vigilantes be damned. Her hand rested against the cold of her gun. Her pocket felt heavy.

“Look I know you’re in some kind of trouble, I mean I saw the news, I’ve seen the news, but it’ll all blow off right? You should come and stay with me until its safe.”

Poor Sam, little did he know. It was blowing out of proportion and she had crossed every line possible. Was it worth it? To keep Joaquin safe, to aid him in his crusade, if that was a good word for it, Betty didn’t know. After all she was still following Massey’s instructions even indirectly. Trailing like a ghost after people with extraordinary abilities, watching them strike down, urging herself to not point her gun, scream “Police,” and intervene as she was taught.

Betty’s eyes caught a fast-moving shadow outside. She traced the figure of a hooded man rushing outside the window. It happened in a split second. He neared a young woman leaning in as if for a kiss, for a whisper but she shoved him back, the connection broken there. He turned to run, emotions changing fast, his hood slipping back revealing just some boy, but she was quicker, she was prepared and tripped him. He fell flat on his face. The customers jumped to their feet watching the scenario unfold. Betty remained seated it was all too familiar. Joaquin however was outside. They were all outside.
Continue reading


The Judas Cypher, by Greg Dragon

In a war between man and machine, he must find a way to protect them all… After a devastating war forced humans to rely on synths for survival, the two have learned to coexist peacefully. Until now… When detective Dhata Mays is called in to investigate a homicide, what he uncovers threatens the serenity of this futuristic society. The gruesome murder means only one thing: someone is ready to incite another war. Now, it’s up to Dhata to ensure that the truth stays hidden—to protect both sides of the battle. But can he be unbiased in a black and white world that forces him to take sides?

I have yet to read a book by Greg Dragon that I haven’t liked. From his space opera to his futuristic world of androids and self-drive cars, you can’t go wrong with Greg Dragon. I know that The Judas Cypher, Single Wired Female and Re-Wired aren’t all part of the same universe, they sure feel like they could be. I’m not sure if the author intended to write a story that parallels today’s societal trend of divisiveness, but it’s definitely there contained within a science fiction mystery. Rich versus poor. Immigrant versus native. Synthetic versus flesh and bone. Like today’s society, people have drawn a line in the sand, based on seemingly arbitrary characteristics and fear. And that’s one of the greatest things about Science Fiction: We can tackle complex social issues and we can leave our preconceived notions away since we don’t specifically identify with the characters. No preaching. No politicking. Just good sci-fi. The Judas Cypher is easily a five-star read.

Greg-Dragon-2

Greg Dragon has been a creative writer for several years, and has authored on topics of relationship, finance, physical fitness and more through different sources of media. In particular, his online magazine has been a source of much pragmatic information, which has been helpful to many. As a result, his work continues to grow with a large and loyal fan base.

Amazon
Goodreads
http://gregdragon.com/
Twitter


Logan – No Post Credit Scene (No Spoilers)

When the superhero genre is filled with over the top special effects and relies on the powers of its cast, Logan is a quiet movie focusing instead on the story of a man out-of-place and past his pr…

Source: Logan – No Post Credit Scene (No Spoilers)


Mansions of Karma, by Ruth White

Twelve children tragically left alone to run the world – their world being a pristine Goldilocks planet far, far from Earth. Without guidance, without technology, without a blueprint, they grow into teens living by their wits, and wait for a promised starship to rescue them. Lily, the oldest in the group, cooks meals and performs other parental duties, thus becoming something of a mother figure to the younger ones. Their greatest comfort is a spiritual vision – the legendary Mansions of Karma – which appears in the sky periodically to remind them they are not alone, but forever a part of the great, universal life force. They also have a gift left to them by their parents – the memory of the disintegration of their home planet, Earth. Will they allow the same fate to befall this new Eden?

At its core, Mansions of Karma is a YA sci-fi story with slight elements of romance. It’s suitable for all ages, and there isn’t any strong peril to scare younger readers. The story is engaging so that you want to keep reading to see how it all pans out. There are a few necessary time jumps and they’re handled nicely.

The story is pretty straightforward: A colony on a distant planet suffers a catastrophic illness that kills all the adults. The titular eleven-year-old Lily is the oldest, and she has to keep the younger children and herself alive long enough for help to arrive … if it arrives at all.

The story has an ending that works. It’s not a cliffhanger, but a few plot points are left unanswered. I didn’t feel cheated with the ending, and I’m glad that there’s a sequel coming, although even without a sequel, this self-contained story can easily be read in a single evening. A four-star read. Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read it for free, and the 99-cent price is worth it.

Ruth White was born in the Appalachian hills of Virginia. She lived there until she graduated from high school and went away to college. Though she left the hills, they never left her. Ruth started writing at a very young age. She remembers trying to write stories before she was even able to put long sentences together. Eventually Ruth became a teacher and then a school librarian. Working in the public schools among adolescents fueled her desire to write. When not writing, Ruth likes to walk in the park with her golden retriever, listen to books on tape, and watch movies. Away from home, She likes to visit schools and talk to young people about books and writing. Her daughter usually travels with her, and they have a great time together.

Amazon
Goodreads
Twitter


Moonrise CH43 – Three Months Later

moonrise-standard

[1048 words]Three Months Later

The twitch in his left eye was the result of a slowly creeping headache. Andy rubbed at the throbbing spot, long finger progressively tapping, and absentmindedly drawing circles on his skin. His eyes scanned the screen, a multitude of tabs opened forming a sense of today that was senseless and non-linear. He listened to those who had the loudest voice and he listened to those who shared snippets, hashtag after hashtag, a niche gathering sensitive information, filtered just for him to find, to absorb, to locate a familiar figure out on the streets. But aside from the screen, he was a ghost, a myth that belonged to the streets; name unspoken, face unseen but actions present. Joaquin. The vigilante of tomorrow. The fool who started it all.

“Last month’s marches were topped as thousands of people reached the streets yesterday to signal their protest against the harsh measures approved by Mayor Globe in the superhuman crisis. The enforcement squad dubbed as “Nightprowlers” by civilians has been rounding up potential superhuman threats to national security since Jacob Globe’s election as Mayor of Seattle…”

– 7 PM news, Channel Q13

“These peace marches are ridiculous, there is no war happening out there. But if you want to talk numbers, I mean let’s talk numbers and look at how many people came out in support of Mayor Jacob Globe’s new law. Thousands! Thousands! There is a general fear out there but it’s not directed toward Mayor Globe. These people, these supers aren’t good willing citizens, they are trouble and he has had the balls, pardon me, to take them up. His measures may seem barbaric to some but I say thank God for them. I sleep safe at night! And besides, if his intentions were vile why tell me would he open a clinic to cure them?”

– Congressman Burton on the morning news, Channel 7 as quoted by The Herald

“I: Would you say that the people who came out in support of your kind were out there yesterday because they believe you are some Messiah, like many tweets say, #NewMessiah? Are we looking at the formation of a new religion?

A: I think they came because they believe we too are people like them deserving of our rights as humans. It has nothing to do with religion or politics. It has everything to do with morals and ethics and compassion. We didn’t fall from the sky, we were born on the same street as you, went to the same school unbeknownst to these abilities. We are no different and I have advocated that on many occasions in the past three months.

I: But you are different. And this is not a difference we’ve advocated toward in the past, it’s not the LGBTQ community out there, it’s not the Women’s March. You genuinely have superpowers.

A: Yes, we do. They are simply an extension of who we are. They don’t prevent us from paying our taxes, raising our children…

I: I bet the parents of the Madison Seven would disagree with that, with what Miles Jensen did.

A: And that’s the reason why the Movement of Tomorrow exists so it would prevent accidents like that one. I speak safely for all of our members, we do not condone vandalism, we do not wield our powers as weapons. I truly believe that we have grown enough to accept difference. I believe people understand what we’re trying to do and that’s why they came to support us. We don’t want war. I want to be able to go to the supermarket and buy a carton of eggs and a bottle of milk. I want to be able to go to work like I used to.
Continue reading


19 – Negotiations

Cover-RM

It’s been 16 months since I’ve written anything for Victorious Maiden. The recent art by my daughter necessitated I at least try to continue the story. These 1042 words incorporate prompts from Chuck Wendig, The Writing Reader & #SoCS.

* * *

Kamaria sat across from Talib and pushed bread around her earthen flatware. The olive oil had soaked into the rough bread a while ago and it left shiny trails on her plate. Well, she thought, not her plate. She looked across the table at Talib and each child at her side. Her eyes shifted first to the child to her right, then to another child to her left. These last four children now shared a bond with her. Their parents had fallen in the battle against the bandit horde. The pair next to Talib was brother and sister, but the children on the bench next to her were orphans with no one to comfort them.

Talib pushed his plate away and cracked the bones in his neck. First to the left, and then to the right. “I must look for Jezebel,” he declared and rose to his feet.

Kamaria met his gaze. “You’d abandon us?” she asked, a lilt in her voice betraying her disbelief.

Talib sighed. “I have to rescue Jezebel,” he insisted.

The feeling of betrayal from only days before washed over her. She clenched her jaw, her mind replaying the scene of Talib and Jezebel together in front of the fire. “I’m shocked that evil lurks in your soul, Talib,” she scoffed. “Only someone with evil is his heart would abandon five orphans and go chasing after that-“ Kamaria closed her eyes and tried to focus her rage. “Girl,” she continued.

Talib’s lips quirked into a crooked smile. “Evil?” he asked. “Then I guess doing a good thing sometimes means being evil.”

Kamaria slammed her palm against the table hard enough to make the plate jump. The flush that crept up her cheeks matched the pain that flowed along her arm. The orphans to either side of her flinched at her outburst. Talib returned to a sitting position and reached across the table, placing his callused hand over hers. She felt the heat from his body traverse the same synapses as the pain from only a moment ago. She blinked and slid her hand out from under his. She ignored the splinter she picked up in her palm, and clasped her hands below the table.

Her mind again wandered to the time in the Dawn Forest. Talib’s words hung like an albatross around her neck. She knew that Talib was not evil. In her heart of hearts, she also admitted that Jezebel was not evil either. A harlot, maybe, but not evil.

She sighed. “I’ve heard that the Marquis and the Denizens of Dawn are in our tiny village. Maybe you should leave the rescuing to the professionals.”

Talib opened his mouth to protest, but was interrupted by the shifting of their rough-hewn bench. Two women Kamaria’s age sat on each side of the increasingly crowded table. One seized the bread from Kamaria’s plate and popped the whole piece in her mouth.

The other tilted her head to the side, and admonished her companion. “Asis,” she hissed, “manners.”

Asis brushed crumbs from her tunic. She let out a loud belch, stood, stepped away from the table, and offered an insincere curtsy. Her eyes darted from one empty glass to another. She shrugged, grabbed the bowl of olive oil, and slurped loudly. The orphaned children snickered and even a scowl from Kamaria did nothing to prevent the chorus of giggles. Talib even allowed a smile to transform his stern features. Asis’s companion rolled her eyes.
Continue reading