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Category: Flash Fiction Page 1 of 14

The Goblins in my Walls

Fiction Fragment Friday

I am trying to complete NaNoWriMo again this year, but on day three I have not gotten off to a good start. I have the weekend to turn things around and I know I am capable of doing so. We will just have to see if the novel I am working on flows well enough to keep it up.

This week’s fiction fragment Friday though has nothing to do with NaNoWriMo. Instead I have written a story using all NPCs from the Dresden Files Roleplaying Game Campaign I am currently running. I started writing it in the third person perspective focusing only on the goblins, but it just wasn’t working. When I switched to first person it just came out much better. I think I need the goblins to be supporting characters to a human straight man. I hope you all enjoy.

                It was a normal Friday night, and I was getting ready to raid with my MMORPG guild.  To be honest the game was starting to get kind of old and I only agreed to the raid because my girlfriend Marie was working a catering job.  So much had changed for me since meeting her and I was starting to look at the world differently.  That and learning that magic is real, and we have a goblin clan living inside the walls of the house I rent a room at. 

Speaking of the goblins, just as I was getting ready to log in three of them came crawling out of a secret passage into my room.  I was still learning their names, but these three stood out.  Gobo had written a LARP he calls Mundane the roleplaying game and keeps trying to get me to playtest it.  Bobkin had recently learned to cook and was trying to become the greatest goblin chef in history.  There apparently isn’t much competition for that title because goblins will eat anything.  The last one was Whisper, and I mostly knew her because she was the strangely quiet goblin.  She seemed to always be listening in and writing things in a notebook. 

Gobo stepped up with the other two behind him.  “Hey Mike, we need you to do a rules arbitration for us.”

Bobkin broke in, “Rules what?  Stop using big words.  Mike tell Gobo he’s wrong.”

 I have to admit the little guys amuse me far more than they probably should.  Most of the others in the house seem to get annoyed with them, but for me this is all new and they are just so much fun.  “Guys I’d be happy to help.  What do you need me to decide?”

Gobo and Bobkin immediately started talking over each other and gesturing wildly.  “Woah, one at a time.  Gobo you go first.”

“We’re playing cards, and I am totally winning.”

“Are not”

“Are too”

“Are Not”

I broke in knowing that could have gone on for a LONG time.  “Ok, I think I see where this is going.  You were playing cards and need to have some rules clarified.”

Gobo looked offended.  “No, I’m the rules master.  I know all the rules for all the games.”

Bobkin spoke up.  “I bet a spork and Gobo here tried to match my bet with a broken plastic fork.”

“Not just any broken plastic fork.  It’s clear and that makes it a special.”

                “No, No, No, a broken plastic fork is not equal to a spork.  A spork is a spoon and a fork.  It’s like two whole things in one.  Way better than some dumb fork.” 

                “Your stupid spork it thin and not as good as a fork for stabbing things.”

                “You can’t eat a soup with a fork.”

                “Who wants to eat some stupid soup?  Real goblins eat meat.”

                “Soup can have meat in it.”

                “Uhm guys.  You don’t’ use silverware.  You eat with your hands and drink right from the bowl.  In fact Bobkin you are the only goblin I’ve ever seen use a utensil and that’s just when you’re cooking.” 

                “Well maybe I wanna start using it.  A chef has to be all cultured and stuff.” 

                Whisper was just writing away in her notebook the whole conversation.  She finally spoke up.  “Well what if your decision.  Is a broken plastic fork good enough to meet a bet of a spork or does Gobo need to throw something else in too?”  She held the pencil up ready to write down my next words. 

                “As the designated arbitrator for the goblins I hereby declare that because it can be used for pick up things that a spork cannot a broken fork as long as it has at least three prongs is an acceptable match.”

                “Ha, your stupid fork only has two prongs left.  I win.”

                The goblins crawled back into the wall still bickering, but they had agreed to abide by my ruling, and they cannot go back on an agreement.  With the goblins gone I turned back to my game.  The latest patch had finished applying so I was all set to play. 

                “MIKE,” a different goblin came crawling out of the wall.  This one took me a moment to recognize.  It was Bumble the inventive goblin.  He likes to find broken things and tinker with them until they work.  The problem is that he doesn’t really know what most of the broken items are supposed to do.  Sometimes they aren’t even broken before he works on them. 

                “Hello Bumble, what can I do for you tonight?”

                “Do you have any gum?”

                “What do you need gum for?”

                “Squeeky broke Luna’s binoculars so I figured I could stick them back together with some gum.”

                I reached into my drawer where I kept my tools for model building and grabbed a tube of superglue.  “Here you go Bumble.  This is much stronger than gum and you can use it to fix other things too.”

                “Wow, Mike you are the best.  I can’t just take a gift without giving you something.  Oh, I know next time you break something I’ll fix it for free.” 

                “That sounds great.”  I made a mental note to never mention anything being broken near Bumble.  I waited for Bumble to climb back into the wall and slid my dresser over the secret panel. 

                “Finally, time to kill a boss.”  I turned back to my game and logged in to a stream of messages complaining about me being last.  I typed my apologies and got ready to connect to voice chat.  The first voice I heard when I connected was not one, I had expected.

                “This game gets goblins all wrong.  We aren’t anything like this.”

                “Dizzy is that you?”

                “MIKE, I totally joined your game, and I bought this really high-level goblin character so I can play with you.”

                “Do you even know how to play the game?”  I was starting to get private messages from my guild mates telling me that this new player was allowed in because they said I vouched for them.  I decided In that moment I would be taking a break from the game as soon as this raid was over.

                “How hard can it be?  You play it so I should be able to learn it in no time.”

                Dizzy then proceeded to aggro the boss monster and get the entire raid party killed because we weren’t ready.  After three party wipes they kicked Dizzy and I both from the guild.  With my plans for the night officially over I decided that maybe I did understand why my housemates get so frustrated with the goblins after all. 


Fiction Fragment Friday

This week’s story was inspired by a dream where people were walking around in a building as D&D characters and had to use actual weapon skills. Like most of my dreams it didn’t really make much sense, but it did inspire me to write.

                The string on my bow snapped as I took my shot.  I’m not actually sure if it snapped or just came loose since I don’t actually know how to string or shoot a bow.  I let out a loud growl of frustration before I remembered that I should be quiet if I didn’t’ want all the creatures in the catacombs to come running.  Things like that are what happens when you are sent into a dangerous situation without any kind of training.  The captain of the guard believed in on the job training and sorting through recruits by seeing which ones survived.  I did not care for his training methodology. 

                I pulled out my sword and swung it down at the furry creature below me.  The sword hit the ground with a loud clang that echoed through the stone walls.  The creature, whatever it was, moved far too fast for me to have stood any chance of hitting it with a swing like that.  I found myself wishing I was fighting bigger, more scary creatures so I might actually stand a chance of hitting something.   As it is I’m not even sure if this is the type of sword I should be trying to cut or stab with.  I’m pretty sure flailing around wildly hitting nothing isn’t the right way to use it though.

                The captain didn’t even give my arrows for the bow.  I had to find arrows in the catacombs to use them.  I figured that would be the safest way to fight though since I could do it from a distance.  I’m pretty sure it would have worked if I could have hit anything I aimed at.  The slightest bit of instruction could have made the difference, but nope he said learning as you go builds character.  Well, I would have liked to have made an effective character of myself.

                I turned the corner in my mad dash to get away from the snarling little furball monster to find a whole group of fellow recruits.  They were working together instead of being sent in alone like I was.  To make things worse, as I watched them it was obvious, they knew what they were doing.  “Uhm hey guys, decided to team up?”

                Frank, the third son of the town blacksmith turned toward me.  “Didn’t exactly decide.  We were sent in as a group.  Where’s your team?”  

                “Captain Henderson said that I needed to learn to fight on my own before I learned to fight with others.”

                “That’s weird he started us off training together from day one.  Right after teaching us to string our bows and how to properly swing our swords.”

                I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped hearing that.  “You were taught how to string your bows?  And how to swing your swords?  You were taught anything at all?”

                “Of course.  You don’t think he would just send us in here with no training at all do you?  Wait, is that what he did to you?  What did you do to piss him off?”  One of his companions leaned over and whispered in his ear.  “Oh.  Your name isn’t by chance William Parks, is it?”

                “Yeah.  Why?”

                “Do you remember hitting on a blond at the town festival a few weeks ago?”

                “Yeah, she seemed to really like me.  We had a great time.  What does that have to do with anything.”

                The whole group started laughing at me.  When Frank finally composed himself, he answered my question.  “That was Captain Henderson’s youngest daughter.  He is extremely protective of her.” 

                That was when I decided that perhaps the town guard wasn’t the right career path for me.  Maybe I should try to become a bard instead. 

A Serious Talk

Fiction Fragment Friday

I had multiple ideas for a story this week, but settled on my first sentence as an inspiration. I don’t know where I came up with that sentence, but I liked it and decided to see where it went. Imagine my surprise when I realized I was writing a Ricochet story. It was not my intent, but it made complete sense with the conversation that was happening. I thought about using another superhero I created called Cobalt, but I struggled to decide what the difficult conversation would be with him. I also find myself not wanting to return to that character because when I created him he has a terrible tragedy in his past and having written a Fiction Fragment Friday prequel to that story I just don’t want to put him through it.

                “It’s long past time we had a serious talk.”  I have faced off against some of the most terrifying supervillains Reignsborough has to offer, but none of them caused the kind of fear that hearing those words come out of a girlfriend’s mouth does.  It may not always be phrased exactly like that, but I think I’ve heard pretty much every version of that particular conversation starter there is.  None of them are ever followed by anything I would call pleasant. 

                “Uh, ok Susie what’s on your mind?”  I figured I would try to get straight to it.  Avoiding the conversation wasn’t going to make it any easier. 

                “You canceled the last three dates we were supposed to have and each time it was at the last minute with an excuse as flimsy as those cheap paper plates you buy.  I know it isn’t work keeping you out at night because you haven’t had a decent gig in months.  Stand up comedy doesn’t exactly lend itself to work emergencies.”

                “Now hon you know I do odd jobs and pick up extra work when I can get it.  Sometimes that stuff just pops up at a moment’s notice.”

                She reached over to my counter and picked up a pile of bills.  “If that were it maybe you would have the money to pay for these, but no you are just as poor as ever.” 

                “Ouch.  I know my act hasn’t really taken off, but that’s kind of harsh.”

                “You want to talk about harsh?”  At this point she was yelling and threw the pile of bills against my chest.  “How about sitting in the middle of a restaurant with my parents trying to convince them that you wouldn’t possibly stand me up when you were supposed to meet them.  Then trying to come up with reasons why I actually like you when you do just that.”

                “Oh, that was tonight wasn’t it.”  I had been dealing with a supervillain hostage situation downtown and had completely forgotten about the dinner.  When I got back to my apartment, I had to take a shower to get rid of the smoke smell from when they lit the office building on fire.  I had no idea how I was going to get the smell out of my costume.  After that I was so tired, I was just going to collapse in bed until I heard a loud banging on my front door.  That led to this rather unpleasant conversation. 

                “Yes, it was tonight.  I’ve been reminding you every day for the last two weeks.  I tried calling you all night and you didn’t answer.  I have to ask; do you care about me at all?  Are you trying to push me away or are you just so self-centered that other people never even cross your mind.”     

                “Of course, I care about you.”  I needed an excuse fast.  “Look I’m really sorry about tonight.  I promise I’ll make it up to you.”  Even I knew that line wouldn’t work.  It never had before. 

                “That’s what you always say, and you know what?  You’ve never made anything up to me.  You just keep letting me down over and over again.  This is your last chance.  I want an honest answer with none of your usual deflections.   Where were you tonight?  What was more important than meeting my parents?”  She crossed her arms over her chest and stood there waiting for my answer.  I knew that the next words out of my mouth would determine my relationship status.  The one thing I couldn’t tell her was the truth though.  I couldn’t risk giving away my secret identity. 

                “Nothing is more important than you.  I just fell asleep, and my phone battery died.” 

                When she slapped me, my powers took the kinetic energy and absorbed it to feed my strength, agility, and healing.  I knew that she put all her strength into it, but the hit barely registered.  I think my perspective might have been skewed after a night of being hit by the Bash-em brothers.  They are actual brothers with super strength.  They went into professional wrestling when they first got their powers but decided that it was too much work when they could just rob banks.  “You are a terrible liar, but you just had to try, didn’t you?  Your phone is right here on the counter with a 50% charge.  Plus, I called Mrs. Wilson and had her come over and bang on your door.” 

                “Who’s Mrs. Wilson?”

                “Your neighbor.  How have you lived here for over a year without learning any of your neighbor’s names?  No, don’t answer that.  You are just deflecting again.”  It might have looked like I was deflecting, but I’m really not that clever.  I actually don’t know any of my neighbors’ names.  To be honest I can’t remember the last time I had gone out my front door instead of out my window in costume.  It’s just so much faster to bounce around the city and change when I get there than it is to take the train.  It’s a lot more fun too. 

                For a moment I thought about opening up and telling her I was Ricochet.  It would be so nice to have someone to talk to about it and maybe get some support.  On the other hand, I wasn’t sure how serious she was about us and I didn’t want an angry ex out there knowing my identity.  Just knowing had a habit of putting people in danger.  At this point I wasn’t sure if even the truth would be enough to make up for all the missed dates and my inability to get her anything nice. 

                “I don’t know what to say.  I must have slept through it.”  Even I heard the resignation in my voice.  I knew what was going to come next.

                “Well, you’re going to have plenty of time to sleep now.  I’m done.  I deserve someone who is going to make me feel important to them.  I deserve to not have to make excused to my friends and family about why my boyfriend isn’t around.”  She punctuated her final sentence with pokes to my chest.  “I deserve better than you.” 

                I didn’t try to change her mind or beg as she headed to the door.  It had never helped in the past and I knew it wouldn’t this time.  A couple pictures fell off the wall as she slammed my front door on her way out.  I didn’t bother picking them up.  They would always be there to deal with in the morning.  Unlike my love life which was once again dead.  That left me with two choices for the night.  I could think about what had just happened and really take a look at my life.  Examine my choices and ask myself those difficult questions about my future.

                That was not going to happen, so I went with option number two.  In a few minutes I was suited up in my smoke smelling costume and climbing out my window onto the fire escape.  Sure, I could examine my life and self-evaluate, but I’m sure there were bad guys out there that needed punching.  It wouldn’t hurt that using my powers had an intoxicating effect that would keep me from focusing on much of anything.  Nope never let it be said that I was a self-aware superhero, not when I have any other option to avoid that.   


Fiction Fragment Friday

I am reposting this story due to the original post being lost to technical difficulties. I don’t remember what I said about the story to begin with so I’m just going to go ahead and let the story stand for itself.

                “That might very well be the stupidest thing I have ever heard.”  Alexandria looked at her boyfriend with an incredulous stare. 

                “Really?  Because I don’t think it’s even the stupidest thing, I’ve told you this week let alone ever.”        

                “Yeah, you’re really not selling me on why I should believe that the prop sword you bought at an anime convention is possessed.”   She shook her head in frustration before sighing and taking a deep breath.  “Ok, let’s take this slowly.  Explain to me why you think your sword is possessed.” 

                “Oh there are a bunch of reasons.  First, it’s super light even though it’s made of metal.  Second it has an actual edge and never seems to dull.  Third it reflects light like it is glowing.” 

                “You know all of that is pretty normal for a prop sword, right?  Anything else?”

                “Well, it also told me it was.  Maybe I should have led with that.”  He had a huge smile on his face with the last revelation.  Alexandria knew that he thought he had won the conversation, but in reality, she was doing the math to determine if he was cute enough to outweigh the crazy.  He was sweet and liked to spoil her.  On the other hand she really couldn’t take him out in public without being embarrassed.  She realized that her internal monologue had distracted her while he had continued talking.  Now he was looking at her expectantly holding out the sword.

                “Sorry what?” 

                “I said take the sword and see for yourself.”

                She reached out and took the sword by the hilt.  It was a beautiful blade as far as anime props go.  She also couldn’t deny that it looked more like it glowed than just reflected the light.  The sword also really did feel lighter than she would have expected it to.  “Ok, what is this supposed to prove?”

                “Oh, hey he got himself a looker.  Way to go kid.” 

                She heard the words clearly, but not with her ears.  The voice was speaking directly into her head, and she had no idea how that could work.  “What the hell?  Who said that?” 

He just smiled at her as the voice started up again.   “I did.  You know the sword you have that nice soft hand wrapped all around.  So toots what should I call you?”

“Alexandria, but most people just call me Alex.” 

“Much better, you should always know someone’s name before they start feeling you up.  Kind of rude by the way.  Course I suppose the kid did hand me over so it’s not totally your fault.  I’m Slicer by the way.”

She took a moment to get her thoughts together before replying.  “You are a sword, and your name is Slicer.  That’s kind of on the nose don’t you think?”    

Her boyfriend jumped in.  “Oh, don’t ask him that.  It’s a touchy subject.”

Neither of them realized that the sword could not hear him because she was not touching it.  All the sword’s communication and senses came through a mental link with its wielder.  Without a strong bond it could not hear outside of the wielder’s mind.  It could sense things about the body holding it though.  “Did you pick your own name?  No, I’m betting you didn’t, but you don’t see me making fun of your name?  What did Alexander the Great claim you and name you after himself?  Doesn’t feel so great does it?”

“Ok, sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“Well, you did.  It’s bad enough being a sword.  I can’t move on my own, can’t sense anything on my own, and I spend most of my time in excruciating boredom.  The one thing I do have is a name and then you come along and make fun of that.”

“So, are you a person trapped in a sword or were you always a sword?”

“If you’re asking whether I used to be a meat bag like you then no.  I’m all hilt and blade baby.  I was made like this.  Well technically the sword was made first and then I came about when the enchantments didn’t go exactly as planned.  Oh, I know let me show you.  Just open yourself up a bit and let me inside.”

Her mind was instantly flooded with images.  A castle and a wizard layering enchantments onto a heavy broadsword.  He was interrupted by an assistant rushing in and in the moment of distraction the magic exploded out of control and flooded the room.  A training sword in the corner started to glow and she recognized it as Slicer.  She saw the world through owners’ eyes over the years.  Finally, it ended up being purchased in an estate sale by the anime sword vendor.  It was asleep and unable to reach out for years until her boyfriend spent twenty minutes swinging it around in his backyard. 

“Well do you see now?  I told you it was possessed.” 

“Ok fine I’m sorry I ever doubted you.”  The sarcasm could not be missed in her voice.  She didn’t know how to tell him that when the sword showed her its history, she also saw that it was bonding with her.  As long as she was alive, he would never hear the sword’s voice again.  He had been so excited about his new sword being possessed and how special it made him feel.  Now she would have to figure out how to tell him that the sword was no longer his.        

One Last Time

Fiction Fragment Friday

As far back as I can remember I have loved professional wrestling. It has been a major part of a good portion of my life. I don’t actively watch these days, but I am still fascinated by behind the scenes stories. Especially tales from the years I watched and the history leading up to that. I have lost count of the biographies I have read and the documentaries I have watched on the subject. I have listened to three audiobooks in the last two weeks alone about the subject. That led to this weeks story. Unlike most of what I write there is no science fiction or fantasy aspect to this story at all.

            “It’s time.”

I just nodded my head in acknowledgement to the assistant whose name I never bothered to learn.  He was one of many that had come and gone over the years.  They never lasted long.  If they were any good, they would get promoted quickly and if they weren’t they wouldn’t last.  In the beginning I tried to get to know them all, but at some point, I had gotten jaded.  That mindset seemed to have permeated all aspects of my life.  

Standing up was slower than I would have liked and sent a spike of pain through my left knee.  I just stood for a moment and braced myself.  There was always some level of ache or pain.  It was an acceptable level of perpetual discomfort when sitting, but hard to get moving.  Once I was up then I had the momentum and could keep going.  It’s once you stop that all those years of injuries catch up to you.  I let out a sigh and started walking.  

I walked through the halls to the sounds of my peers giving me encouragement and wishing me luck.  I knew that some of them were looking at me and thinking of when their day would finally come.  It wasn’t the time for thoughts like that though.  I needed these last few moments to get into the zone.  When I stepped out there I had to be all in with no hesitation.  Not committing and holding yourself back is the fastest way to get yourself or someone else hurt.

Standing there behind the curtain I started bouncing back and forth between my legs and throwing a few air punches.  It is a way to limber up a bit, but it also tests my pain levels.  I needed to know what to expect.  Adrenaline can do amazing things including hiding your limits from you.  This little ritual was my way to wake my body up and tell it to prepare for much worse.  This is the final step before being on.  

My music hits and I step through the curtain for what I know is the last time.  I pause on the ramp for a moment and take it all in.  First your eyes have to adjust to the blinding light.  Then the cheers or boos hit you like a physical thing.  You can feel it deep down.  I braced myself as my pyro went off.  It was unnecessarily loud, but that was part of the image being projected.  I could feel the heat coming off of it.  

Words cannot explain what that moment feels like.  Standing there on stage to a packed arena of cheering fans.  It didn’t matter how much pain I might be feeling they were here for this, and I would not let them down.  In my younger days I might have run to the ring but now I needed to conserve my energy for when it really counted.  Being completely honest with myself I walked slower to the ring just to take in the crowd for as long as I could.  I wanted this moment to last.

Reaching the end of my walk I climbed up the stairs and entered the ring for the last time.  I knew that it was possible I might return for appearances, but it would never be the same.  It was better to assume each time I did something that night it would be the last time, so I didn’t take it for granted.  I leaned against the ropes stretching one final time before the match.  Up and coming star John Ward waited in his corner giving me all the time I needed.  The kid was good, and I knew that I was going to rely on him pretty heavily in this match.  With the ring of the bell, we were on.  

I started with a lock up in the center of the ring.  It is a basic move where I put my left hand behind my opponent’s head, and they do the same with mine.  The right hand grabs your opponent’s elbow and pulls down on it.  When done right it looks like there is a struggle and shows one wrestler to be stronger than the other.  It also serves as a great time to pass messages to each other.  I whispered, “shove, lockup, shove, flying lariat.”  Then I shoved him backwards.  He sold the move by falling to the mat and bouncing back away from me.  He oversold it a bit, but that was the style of the new guys.  We locked up again right away and I shoved him right back down.  

John ran to the far side of the ring and bounced off the ropes to gain momentum.  Halfway to me he lept into the air and wrapped his arm around my neck taking me off my feet and to the mat.  The impact itself didn’t hurt so much as shake my whole body triggering every sore muscle and joint.  He whispered as we hit, “Play to the crowd, surprise bodyslam.”  I lay there for a moment to give him time to prance around the ring playing to the crowd.  

I got to my feet to a huge roar from the crowd.  John stepped back into my chest then turned around looking up to me.  Before he had a chance to overplay his fear, I grabbed him and lifted him into the air dropping him on his back.  I slapped him twice on the chest lightly to indicate that he should dodge, then I bounced off the rope myself and tried to drop my right knee on his face.  He sat up and my very well-padded knee hit the mat.

My left knee was my bad knee so on air I had been faking an injury to my right one.  This way my opponents could focus on that, and I could protect the one that actually hurt.  It also allowed me to reasonably have extra padding on my right for that kind of drop.  I grabbed my knee and rolled around on the ring until John grabbed me and put me in a figure four leg lock.  I yelled out in exaggerated pain and slapped the mat.  I put one arm over my face to block my mouth from the crowd.  “Be vicious kid, no begging off.”  

“Give up old man,” he screamed to the crowd.  Then he whispered, “Sorry, force of habit.”  

I knew it wouldn’t be for long if this match went well.  We were making his career and he was going to get a huge push as long as we delivered.  This was my last match, but it didn’t mean I was done.  I had accepted a role backstage in creative and helping to develop the new talent.  My body wasn’t going to let me keep going, but I wasn’t ready to walk away either.  I realized that my mind was drifting and pulled myself back into the moment. I managed to pull us close enough to the ropes to reach them.  The ref called for the break, but John held on until the very last moment before breaking it.

I was proud of the kid.  He spent the next five minutes completely destroying my knee.  I gave him some offense, but he ran the match calling the moves for a while.  We told the story of the young hungry star capitalizing on the veteran’s mistake.  He played to the audience and built up the image of the arrogant youth.  Taking advantage of that, I spun him, wrapped my arm around his neck from behind and fell backwards dropping him to the mat.  The move looks devastating, but I loosen my arm as we fall so he can lift his head to protect it.  

Now is the part of the story where I dominate the youngster for a while.  It is the hardest part of the match for me as I am pushing my body to do things it doesn’t want to anymore.  I know I’m not as fast as I used to be, but I don’t want to look slow either.  I rely on the adrenaline and try not to think about the pain I will be feeling the next day.  This is the part of the match where I hit all of my signature moves.  The referee gives me the signal that it is time to wrap up the match.  I hope this is because we’ve reached the allocated time and due to the performance, we are delivering.

I gave everything I had left to give in the match.  My body was exhausted, but I knew John could have gone for a match twice as long.  I hit another bodyslam and then motioned to the audience that I was going for my finisher.  John was ready and with a surge of energy dodged in the nick of time.  I made it look like I was trying to keep the pressure on and walked right into his finisher. He had leapt into the air and wrapped his arm around my neck.  We both fell to the mat.  This move that he called the Wardener was a basic cutter is very versatile since it is quick to hit from just about any angle.  A big part of how good it looks depends on the person taking it.  I was not going to let this kid down.  He had given me a great match to go out on so I threw myself into the fall taking a much harder hit than I probably should have.  

I lay there in pain listening to the ref count to three.  My last match was over, and it was a loss.  I had enough pull it didn’t have to be that way, but I figured if I was going out, I wanted it to be putting over someone and helping to make their career.  I gave John plenty of time to get to the back before I struggled to my feet.  I was selling his finisher the best I could.  The crowd cheered for me as I rose and started chanting, “Thank you.”  In this age of the internet, they knew I was retiring, and this would be my last pay per view.  The chant hit me, and I choked up a bit.  I limped my way back up the ramp not wanting them to see any tears, but also continuing to tell the story of a hurt right knee.  

When I stepped through the curtain to the back I was met with applause.  Just about everyone was there waiting to congratulate me.  As much as I worried about how well I could perform it was such a relief to hear them praising it.  I even thought I might read the wrestling blogs in the morning.  It felt good, but the show must go on and the next match was getting ready to start.  My wrestling career was over, but the industry would go on without me.  Only time would tell what my legacy would be.   


Fiction Fragment Friday

Well I didn’t get this out on Friday, but I am very happy with the story. At the risk of spoiling an element of the story it is a return to a character that I have written about a few times in the past. I don’t really have any idea where the inspiration for this particular story came from.

                The world around me suddenly went silent.  I was standing in a crowded convention hall surrounded by vendors, cosplayers, and fellow geeks of all types.  As I glanced around, I found that conversations were still occurring I just couldn’t hear them.  It seemed obvious that I was the only one who had been affected.  That was extremely concerning, but I kept myself alert and did not panic.  Instead, I headed for an exit into the convention center hall. 

                As I walked past the row of food venders, I realized that it was getting worse.  I couldn’t smell the popcorn or pizza.  My senses were being cut off one at a time and that could only mean that I was being attacked.  If I couldn’t stop it, I would be helpless to a physical attack.  I burst through the doors and ran towards the bathroom.  Thankfully there was an open family restroom.  That way I could lock the door behind me. 

                I sat down on the floor with my legs crossed and started drawing in energy.  Magic senses would be the hardest to cut me off from so I knew they would go last.  I sent the energy out from myself in light waves just seeing what it would hit on.  I hoped to find a string of energy leading back to whoever was attacking me, but there was no string.  I had a blob of dark power around me instead.  No one was feeding the spell energy.  It was draining my own power to use against me.  That was going to complicate things considerably. 

                The tendrils of the dark energy blob were so entwined with my own energies it was hard to tell where it ended, and I started.  My vision was almost gone so my only connection to the world was my power.  I tried lashing out against the blob, but it just absorbed the energy.  I tried slicing the tendrils but felt intense pain as they were connected to me.  Nothing was working and at that point it was very hard to keep from panicking.  That has very rarely helped any situation though.

                Offense wasn’t working so I decided to switch to defense.  I pulled all my remaining energy into a ball deep inside of myself.  My body fell over onto the floor as I withdrew from myself.  Locking it all away and holding it tight there was nothing left to fuel anything else like breathing.  My essence stood there outside my body watching it die under me.  In this form I could see the dark blob on my back writhing as it didn’t have anything left to eat.  The only question was if it or I would die first. 

                Things were looking pretty bad, and I couldn’t just let things go as they were.  I created a small ball of what little energy I still had left to work with and focused it across the room.  The blob reached for the energy as I hoped it would.  Slowly it separated itself from my body and slid toward the power.  I waited until the very last moment and dissipated the energy leaving it sitting in the corner starving.

                The energy form merged back into my body.  The feeling is hard to describe as you reincorporate.  I had to direct what energy remained to my heart and lungs to ensure they started functioning first.  My consciousness moved from a state of complete awareness to nothing as it returned to an unconscious body. 

                Light poured in as my eyes struggled to open.  I hurt everywhere and have never felt as exhausted as I was in that moment.  Survival had been accomplished but was not guaranteed.  Pushing a very minute wave of energy out I examined the dark blob to make sure it wasn’t moving back towards me.  The thing was dissipating indicating that the spell had completed its work.  Whoever cast it would likely think that I was dead because for a few brief moments they were not wrong. 

                Part of me wanted to try and hunt down my attacker.  For a spell like what I had just encountered they had to have physically bumped into me in the convention hall.  I couldn’t risk a fight around so many mundane people.  Even if I was at full power there would be no way to prevent collateral damage.  As it was, I was running on empty both physically and magically.  A confrontation would probably be fatal to me at this point.

                I stepped out into the hallway only to be picked up off my feet and tossed against the wall by a wave of air.  It was in that moment that I realized that my opponent didn’t assume the spell would kill me.  They knew that if I survived, I would be too weak to fight.  I wasn’t dealing with an amateur.  I struggled against the wind but could not move out of it. 

                A man in a long black trench coat stepped forward.  I strained but couldn’t make out his face.  It might have been my eyes still recovering or a spell to prevent him from being noticed.  “As much as I was paid for this job I expected more of a challenge.”

                Through intense effort I managed to get my hand into my pants pocket.  “Lily, special delivery.”

                A tiny pixie with long blonde hair flew out of the air vents and directly to my hand.  She was so tiny that my opponent didn’t even notice her.  I knew that she would be somewhere near me because I had told her to stay home.  There was no way she would stay home when I went out to an event of any kind.  She grabbed the tiny marble sized pouch from my hand and flew out of the wind and stayed close to the ceiling.  When she was over the mysterious trench coat assailant, she opened the pouch and dumped the contents on him. 

                “Burn,” I said as I pushed a bit of energy out towards him.  His coat went up in flames as the power Lily had dumped on him ignited.  He waved his arms wildly and stumbled around until the fire alarm went off.  The sprinklers burst and water came pouring down on us.  With him distracted I dropped to the floor.  I might have been running low on power, but I did have a number of items on me.  People started to fill the halls, fleeing from the convention because of the alarms.  He disappeared into the crowd and there was nothing I could do to stop him. 

                “I’m sorry I didn’t stay at home like you told me.  It was so boring though.  I wanted to see all the costumes.  Then I thought you might need me.”  She was speaking so fast I could barely keep up with her. 

                “You did great Lily.  I’m just going to take a nap now.”  I heard someone asking if I needed help, but I passed out before I could answer.

Dungeon Diving

Fiction Fragment Friday

While this week’s story started with a single starting line popping into my head, I also have to give credit to many other sources of inspiration. I was naturally inspired by roleplaying and video games. The launch of Decked Out 2 a minigame built in Minecraft by Hermitcraft YouTuber Tango played a part in the timing as well. I also need to give credit to the many LitRPG novels I have read as well. Finally my own cynical nature deserves a nod.

                Some days I can’t help but question my life choices.  For example, the choices that led my three best friends and I into a dungeon looking for treasure.  Why in the world would people keep anything valuable in a dungeon?  Also why are dungeons in the middle of nowhere and filled with monsters?  I really think some people just don’t know what the word dungeon means.  Even if that is the case and these are not actually dungeons buried in the ground, they still seem like horrible places to keep anything valuable.  Haven’t these dungeon owners ever heard of a bank? 

                There we were as usual sneaking through halls where everything was falling apart.  Actually, not quite everything.  Traps always seem to be in complete working order no matter how old the dungeon is supposed to be or how many people have triggered them in the past.  Seriously why are they never out of arrows and how does a collapsing floor get rebuilt?   You would think one party going through one of these would trigger everything making it safe for future groups.  Maybe all the monsters reset the traps. 

                Speaking of monsters, how do they survive in dungeons?  If it has been sealed for let’s say five hundred years how is anything alive? I can understand skeletons and other undead, but mimics for example have to eat.  Sure, sometimes they get to eat adventurers, but some dungeons go long stretches between anyone going in.  If it has been sealed for generations have the monsters been breeding in there?  There certainly isn’t enough genetic variance for that to be healthy.  Just thinking about the logistics of a dungeon gives me a headache.  Nothing about it makes sense. 

                “You know we could be on a nice fishing trip, laying around on a beach, or taking in a bit of culture.  No, instead we are covered in slime and zombie guts just hoping that the next room will have a treasure chest sitting in it.”  I spun in place decapitating the zombie that was doing a very poor job of sneaking up behind me.  Moaning does not help with stealth.

                “Do you have to complain about everything?”  Gema the Bard, our party leader, was busy drawing the current room onto a map.  “There,” she said and leaned against the wall.  Of course her elbow triggered a hidden switch disguised as a brick.  The wall next to her opened up into a secret room causing her to stumble to the ground.  She has a natural skill at finding these hidden rooms.  We could search for hours without ever finding a hint that something was there, but the moment she carelessly leans against a wall she will fall through it.  At least this time there weren’t spikes or an army of monsters waiting.   

                “Again?  Seriously if anyone else had triggered something it would be a death trap, but you just stumble across epic items or hidden passages like the universe wants you to find them.”  Thorgrin, our paladin, only sounded annoyed because he was.  As someone blessed by a divine being he felt like the world should provide more for him, but our bard had all the luck and the rest of us seemed to be cursed.

                Our ranger just sighed and stepped into the hidden chamber.  The rest of us followed him not wanting to be left behind where something could wander along and attack at any moment.  The room was mostly a corridor, but at the far end was a treasure chest sitting on a raised platform.  If we were smart, we would have been checking for traps and approaching with caution.  Instead, Tiberius went right up to the chest and opened the lid.

Instead of gold or equipment the only thing inside the chest was a tongue and two rows of teeth.  The tongue wrapped around Tiberius’s wrist and dragged him half way inside.  The teeth came down biting into his back and stomach.  They punctured his leather armor and blood started soaking through.  We could hear screaming from inside the chest and his one free arm was smacking against the list of the chest.

It took me far longer to react than I would care to admit.  I blame it on shock, but this wasn’t even the first time we had run into a mimic, so I don’t actually have an excuse.  I chanted a few nonsense words while moving my hands around in a circle.  Pointing my fingers straight out in front of me a fireball hurled across the room and exploded against the mimic.  Since Tiberius was halfway inside the mimic the flames ran over him as well and I could hear him scream in pain from the burns.  The fire seemed to particularly like his cloak as well.  In my defense though the mimic opened up and let out a screech of pain himself releasing the pressure on Tiberius. 

Thorgrin grabbed our friend and pulled him away from danger.  I could see his hands glowing as he laid them on Tiberius.  Under the layers of blood his wounds knit closed and the blisters from his burnt skin cleared up.  When I could tell he was going to be fine I let out a breath I didn’t realize I had been holding in.  Another few seconds and he would have been gone and my fire certainly didn’t help his health. 

I was angry with myself, but not wanting to acknowledge that I decided to let that anger out on the mimic.  It is always easier to redirect those emotions than admit to them.  I spun around with my hands together ready to blast flames at the creature only to find it gone.  My eyes shot around the room looking for anything that could be a mimic in disguise.  That was when I noticed the platform splitting in two and moving towards us.  The walls started forming into stone golems and marching towards us too. 

“It’s gotten dangerous I have to say, perhaps it is time for us to run away,” Gema sang.  It might have seemed like an odd time to be singing, but we all felt the magic from her words flow over us.  Even though I had been a bit tired I suddenly felt not only refreshed, but ready to run.  As a group we fled from the creatures trying to retrace our steps back to the entrance of the dungeon.  “Keep an eye out for more trap, but don’t look back.”  No one verbally acknowledged her command, but we were all paying attention.  When Gema speaks it is hard not to pay attention, but when the magic flows from them we know to listen. 

The four of us came rushing out of the dungeon entrance as the doors slid shut behind us.  The creatures behind us roared in frustration at having their meal denied to them.  As I lay on the ground panting, I wheezed out.  “Someone tell me again why we do that?”

Each of my party members opened their bags and dumped out the gold and gems.  I added my own loot to the pile and Gema started dividing it evenly among us.  “Well, this should last us all for about two months.  Can you think of another way to make this much with two hours’ worth of work?  I can’t.”

I gathered up my pile refusing to admit that she had a point.  I kept my questions about why any of this worked the way it did to myself as well.  I knew if we went back into that dungeon in a few days we would find everything exactly as it had been when we went it.  Someone or thing had to be resetting all the traps and refilling all the treasure.  There had to be a reason for it, but that part of my theory still needed some work.  As much as I hated doing it I knew that there would be many more dungeons in my future until I could get the answers I was looking for.     

House Viewing

Fiction Fragment Friday

This week is a random idea that popped into my head. Another new way of presenting a story. I didn’t plan it out at all. I approached each room and decided what they would be like as they came up. Not really much to talk about with this story. Hope you enjoy.

                So, I know the last house wasn’t quite what you were looking for, but I really think you’re going to love this one.  As you can see the yard is very large.  What’s that?  Oh, don’t worry about those burnt spots.  I assure you the fires were all outside and there was no damage to the actual property.  The previous owners got a bit rowdy at times.  Once this place is yours though I’m sure your new neighbors will be so happy to have such an upstanding individual as yourself move in.  You are a quiet neighbor, right? 

                As you can see the front door is an antique.  That skull door knocker is made of real gold.  I would suggest replacing it though.  Sometimes with antiques they don’t quite meet modern safety standards.  The first time I viewed this place I cut my hand on it.  I’m not sure where the metal sliver is, but I got blood all over those very detailed fangs.  If you put an offer down, I can request that replacing the door, be a requirement for closing.  Wouldn’t want you to have to worry about that after all.

                Take a look at this beautiful entryway.  Living room on the right, dining room on the left, kitchen down the hall, and stairway up to the second level.  Where should we start?  Let’s take a look at the living room first.  Just imagine sitting in a comfy recliner with a good book in front of the magnificent fireplace.    I can’t imagine a better way to spend a cold winter’s evening.  Plus, if the power were to go out you would still be nice and cozy.  Not that the power in this neighborhood goes out often.  As I understand it though during storms you might lose it for a little while. 

                I do wish the previous owners had taken that painting over the mantle with them.  I swear it feels like the eyes are following me.  I tried to take it down last time, but it is really stuck on the wall.  Once you have it down though this will be such a wonderful room to relax in.  There are some scratches on the floor and a few stains, but a nice buff should take those right out.  Even better, that door leads to a den with inset bookshelves in the walls. 

                Let’s just quickly look through the rest of this floor.  Nothing much to see in the dining room except that candle holding chandelier.  I know the perfect electrician who can replace that with a proper electric lighting fixture.  The kitchen is huge with plenty of storage in the pantry.  There are stairs down to the basement there as well.  It might seem a bit odd that there is a walk-in freezer with a drain in the floor, but I just see that as a one-of-a-kind feature you could only get in a classic house like this one.  Also do you see the size of that oven?  Why you could almost climb in it.  I would not recommend that though as it seems to auto lock when you close it and you can only unlock from outside.

                Of course, there is a guest room and bathroom on this floor as well, but I really think we should head upstairs.  The master bedroom is where the house really shines.  Let’s head up the stairs here to the right.  Not only is this bedroom huge, but it has its own private bathroom with the largest tub I have ever seen indoors.  Those doors lead out to a balcony that looks over the backyard.  For some reason there is a podium built into the rail, but it won’t get in the way of the view if you want to put a garden or something out there.  The previous owner had a lot of parties back there so the grass was trampled fairly badly.  I know a great landscaper if you need one.  I’m sure that five-pointed star made of stones will come up very easily if you want to remove it.  I think it’s a bit of an eyesore personally.  Not even made of decorative stones.

                This is the second bedroom on the floor.  As you can see it has plenty of room.  I’m not sure what they used those hooks on the wall and floor for, but I bet you can have them all out in thirty minutes tops.  The key is how spacious it is with a walk-in closet.  If you want to store some valuables in it this lock is as secure as they come.  I have a buddy that is a locksmith and when I showed him the picture, he said it would take him a full thirty minutes to pick it.  You could even leave the hooks in the closet to secure a safe or something. 

                What’s that?  Oh no you don’t need to see the basement.  Trust me, there are no foundation issues.  Ok if you really must see it follow me.  Trust me you are not going to find a house this size for such a low price anywhere else.  It is a real steal, but the previous owners really have no choice.  See they found themselves in some legal trouble and need the money for their lawyer.   

                Here we go, the basement is right down here.  Ok, calm down.  I know a great cleaning crew that can get all this out.  Now I know it looks like blood, but the police forensics team ran tests.  They don’t know quite was it is, but they have eliminated human and all known mammalian blood.  I have been assured that it can’t be blood because it contains sulfur and still hasn’t dried after weeks of being down here.  It is not toxic though and there is no danger in it being here until cleaned.  It isn’t really that big a deal, is it?                  So, what do you say?  I can get the paperwork all drawn up for an offer in about ten minutes.  Sure, the place might need a bit of clean up, but it’s been here for over one hundred years, and you just don’t get that kind of quality workmanship anymore.  This is a house you can stay in until you die.  Uhm of natural causes many many years from now.  Ready to make an offer?       

First Contact

Fiction Fragment Friday

Cutting this story a bit close and barely getting it out while it is still Friday. I don’t really have much to say about it. I came up with the first line and the idea of what caused the commotion on the bridge and just went from there. I wrote not quite sure how to end the story until inspiration hit. Hope you enjoy.

                “Captain on the Bridge.”  My first officer announced my arrival as I stepped off the transport and into pure chaos.  The bridge was filled with crew calling out information from their stations and all talking over each other.  It was impossible to make out what any of them were saying.  I had been paged to the bridge only to find my usually disciplined crew in a panic.

                “Everyone quiet.”  Despite the chaos my voice was enough to immediately gather everyone’s attention.  “That’s better.”  I turned to my first officer.  “Mrs. Trask report.”  I could see the relief on her face at no longer being in command.  I made a mental note to have an uncomfortable discussion because I needed to be confident in her leadership when I’m not around.  This was the first time she had ever given me any reason to doubt her abilities. 

                “Captain three vessels of a completely unknown design have jumped into the far side of the solar system.  They are on an intercept trajectory.”

                I turned to my communications officer.  “Mr. Micheals any communication from the unknown vessels?”

                ‘No sir.  I’ve tried greetings in all the standard languages with no response.  I’m also not getting any transponders from those ships.  They are putting out some kind of signals, but nothing I recognize.  I’ve got the computer trying to analyze it.”

                “Good work.  Miss Cheng what do we know about these ships.”  I turned to my sensor engineer.  On a normal day sensors, communications, and basic system functions would all be handled by a generalist.  This was not a normal day though and my experts had made it to the bridge before I did.  I wasn’t happy about that and would need to figure out if I had been called late or just been slow.

                “Well Captain they don’t seem to be running any sort of stealth, but our sensors also can’t penetrate their hulls.  I have external design and am having no problem tracking them.  All three have energy shields around them and multiple mounted weapons.  Each ship is about a fourth the size of ours, but twice as well armed.  I suspect based on the energy outputs that they can outrun us as well.  No idea how they compare with jump technology.”

                “ETA to interception if we do nothing?”

                “Sixty-three hours.”

                “Ok, I want all the information we have gathered so far bundled up and sent to Mr. Micheals.  Once compiled get that sent off on a communication probe back to command central.  Astrogation, I want jump options planned for the three nearest systems with stations.  Tactical I want targeting programs ready with priority on weapons first and engines second.  Just to be clear we are not assuming they are hostile, but we need to be prepared in case they are.  Questions?”

                The ensign at the piloting terminal turned to face me.  “Captain, those designs don’t even look similar to anything I’ve ever seen.  Could they be aliens?”

                “Again, we don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but we need to be ready in case it really is a first contact.  I want options for communicating if we don’t know their language or have compatible communications technology.  We have sixty-three hours, and we are not going to waste them panicking.  Do I make myself clear?”

                “Yes sir.” The bridge crew answered in unison. 

                “Essential crew only on the bridge.  I want teams working on this not individuals so get your departments together.  Mrs. Tracks, I want department head meetings in my office at the top of every hour.  Any situational changes though I want immediate updates on.  Do not wait for a meeting to tell me anything they do.”

                “I’ll be in my office not standing over all your shoulders.  I need to prepare some speeches in case this really is a first contact situation.”  I left the bridge but made sure that I was not leaving it alone.  I couldn’t let the crowds and cross talk continue.  I needed them off the bridge and working. 

                When I reached my office, I slumped down in my chair and let out a deep breath.  The confidence I projected on the bridge was a mask.  I was just as concerned as everyone else, but it was important that my crew never saw that.  The next few days my decisions could very well get all of us killed.  Even worse if this was a first contact situation wrong actions could lead to war. 

                After about twenty minutes there was a buzz at my door.  “Come in.”  My first officer joined me in my office.  I motioned for her to sit.  “I take it there is an update.”

                “Yes sir.  One of the ships launched a shuttle.  It made an intersystem jump and will be here in about an hour.

                “Inter system?  That shouldn’t be possible.”

                “That is what our people said too.  Either way it happened, and they are almost here.”

                “Well, I’m taking that as a good sign.  They sent one lone ship that I’m assuming is not as well armed as the others.”  I sat back and thought about it.  Either they wanted to communicate and thought it would be better face to face, or the shuttle had some sort of trick up its sleeve.  “Clear one of the docking bays for it.  I plan on being there personally to greet them, but let’s not be dumb about it.  I’ll take a full complement of guards with me, and I want the bay ready to open to space if something goes wrong.  We are not taking chances here.  If something happens to me, your priority is getting this crew home.”    

                She agreed, but I could tell by her tone she was not happy about it.  I wasn’t exactly happy about any of it myself.  With time a premium I headed down to the docking bay.  I tried to prepare myself that anything could come out of the shuttle.  It is hard to prepare for anything without a frame of context though.  The best I could do was watch the shuttle come in and land in the empty bay.  Then myself and my security detail stepped into the big nearly empty room.  The door to the shuttle opened as I approached.

                The creature that stepped out was not human.  It was too tall, had too many tentacles, and simply did not move like a human.  Soon there were four of them at the bottom of the ramp.  Then the vilest most inhuman creature I have ever lain eyes on stepped from the ship. 

                “Becky,” I said with a bitterness that I could not contain. 

                “Hello Benjamin,” my ex-wife said with a tone as cold as my own.  “As much as I would rather not, I suppose we should talk.  My new friends here have much to discuss and I’m the only one they have taught their language to.”

Self Evaluation

Fiction Fragment Friday

I recently while doing some cleaning around the house found a deck of cards used for writing prompts. The deck has quite a few different types of prompts including dialog, setting, genre, starting lines, and more. I don’t remember when or where I got them, but flipping through I found a card that inspired this weeks story.

               Cooking has always been my biggest passion.  There is just something about a perfect slice with a knife through a vegetable that makes you feel accomplished.  The blending of spices and ingredients in new ways to create flavors that might have never been tasted before.  Every dish even if made in the same manor will be just slightly different.  The process is a form of art, but the real joy is seeing the expression on someone’s face when they take the first bite.  There is nothing else in the world that brings me more satisfaction. 

               It should be no surprise that the accident happened that would forever change my life happened in the kitchen.  I was chopping carrots almost on instinct since I have done it so many times.  Before I knew anything was up my cat leapt from the top of the refrigerator and landed on my dog.  He shot off running circles around the kitchen island knocking my legs out from under me.  It all happened so suddenly I hadn’t even processed it before the pain finding myself on the floor.

               I noticed a sharp pain on my left hand.  Realizing I had been holding a knife when I fell, I looked down in horror.  I had sliced the back of my hand deeply.  Instead of the massive amounts of blood I expected there was some sort of black oil.  Beneath that instead of bone I saw a layer of shiny metal.  My mind didn’t accept what my eyes were seeing.  I felt like I should be screaming, but instead I just sat there on the floor holding my hand.

               It took me a few moments to compose myself, but once I did, I got to my feet.  The pain in my hand was gone as soon as I saw the metal.  In a daze I stumbled into the living room.  My body didn’t want to respond making me extremely sluggish.  I stood there in the door holding my hand.  “Dad?  What’s wrong with me?”

               My dad jumped up from the couch and crossed the space between us in a heartbeat.  His arms were around me in a moment.  “Oh, baby girl, I’m so sorry.  I’ll make it all better.  Override code Alpha, Gamma, 723 Epsilon.”  I felt myself slumping down in his arms as I lost consciousness. 

               I woke up strapped down to a metal table.  The room was full of computers and equipment higher tech then I even knew existed.  Struggling didn’t do me any good because my body below my head was not responding.  I saw my hand and it was completely healed, but that did little to calm me down.  The terror of not feeling my body was on the verge of overwhelming me. “Help!”  I screamed out at the top of my lungs.

               “It’s ok Katelyn, please try to calm down.  Daddy’s here.”  My dad was at my side before I saw him moving.  He was stroking my hand, but I couldn’t feel it.  “Don’t worry baby everything is going to be ok, and you won’t remember a thing.”

               “This isn’t something you just forget.  What’s wrong with me?”  I remembered the metal under my skin.  “What am I?”

               “You’re my daughter.  That’s all you need to know.”

               I cut him off.  “No don’t just gloss over this.  I have metal under my skin.  What am I?”

               He sighed and looked down at me.  “Five years ago, there was an accident.”  I could see he was fighting back tears thinking about it.  “I lost you, but I brought you back even better.  I scanned your brain and made this body for you.  This way you will never get sick, never die, and never age.  You will always be my little girl.  Well, you will be again once I erase your memories of the last few hours.” 

               “You can’t do that.  You can’t just keep lying to me forever.  I deserve to know what I am.” 

               “You’re my daughter.  That’s all that matters.”  He was yelling at me now.  He went back to his keyboard and started typing. 

               I felt the tears starting.  “Please don’t do this.”  He didn’t even turn to look at me.  I realized in that moment that the only thing he cared about was himself.  He created me for himself without any consideration of what I might want.  I hadn’t quite fallen into a complete existential breakdown, but I could feel it building.  For a few moments I actually debated letting him just wipe my memories.  It would have been so easy to just forget it all and go back to being clueless about what I was.  Something deep down though wouldn’t let me give in. 

               I put all my willpower into my hands and tried to move my fingers.  Nothing happened.  I closed my eyes and thought.  I’m not human so I shouldn’t have human limitations.  I did have other limitations that I couldn’t just push through.  Instead, I thought about his computer.  I realized that if he was typing on the computer it had to be somehow connected to me.  The more I thought about the computer the more I got an impression of a command prompt.  I started typing frantically with my mind.  I didn’t know what to type so I just started poking around. 

               “Enable all systems?  y/n” The words were as clear in my mind as if I was looking at a computer monitor.  I thought yes and almost instantly could feel my body again.  It was more than that though.  I could feel things about my body and knew that limitations had been removed.  When I opened my eyes, I had an overlay giving me details about everything I looked at.  With a thought I could get further information about any of it. 

               I flexed my muscles and the straps across me snapped.  I was free, but I didn’t know what I should do.  Dad turned to look at me in a panic.  “What?  How did you do that.  Stop this, just let me fix you.” 

               “There’s nothing to fix.”  I stood and faced him. 

               “Override Code Alpha, Gamma..”

               I lunged forward and pushed him before he could finish the code.  I just wanted to stop him but didn’t understand my own strength.  He went flying backwards into his computer hitting his head on the bookshelf above it.  Everything on the wall came down on top of him.  “DAD!” I screamed and rushed to his side.  My emotions were a conflicted mess of anger, panic, and desperation.  He was dead before I reached him.  I cried and cursed him for a long time not quite sure how I should feel.  I still don’t know. 

               The three weeks since that day have gone by in a daze.  I have learned a lot about myself going through dad’s files.  This body has incredible capabilities, but they had all been locked away.  I have no idea what I should do next, and I can only keep ignoring the people knocking on the door looking for dad so long.  I’m going to have to leave the house soon, but I don’t know where to go.  Maybe I should travel for a while until I can figure out just who I really am.         

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