Archive for December, 2014


The Door Part 1: Down the Alley

Summer was good.  Late spring, okay.  So was early fall.  But winter was dying time for the homeless.

Sammy followed the two boys through the snow and stopped on the sidewalk peeking around the corner and down the alley they’d entered.  He watched as they stopped at an oddly shaped door, opened it and disappeared into the lighted interior.

He ran down the alley wanting to see.  The door was closing but what he glimpsed caused his mouth to drop open.

He raced back to the shallow doorway where his little sister, Maddie, huddled.

Perhaps they wouldn’t die after all.

 

The Door Part 2: Leaving

“Where we goin’?”

“It’s a su’prise.”

“We goin’ to th’ mall to git warm?”

“Uh-uh.  Told ya, it’s a su’prise.  Wait ‘n see.”

“’Kay, Sammy.”

He hurried his little sister into the alley halting in front of the strange, wooden door.  He twisted the knob and pushed.  A brilliant light swept into the alley.

“C’mon,” he said, smiling.

They stepped into a warm, sunlit landscape filled with wondrous things.  Maddie squealed with delight, eyes wide, as the door slowly swung shut on the frozen world behind.

Outside, only small footprints in the deep snow ending at a blank wall remained.

 

The Door Part 3: Otherland

A small, smiling elf greeted them as the door closed.  “Welcome, Sammy and Maddie!” it exclaimed.  “I’m Tony.”

“Where we at?” asked Sammy.

“A great place!  Always warm, plenty of food, lots of toys.  It’s called Otherland.  Look around, check it out!”

“How long kin we stay?”

“Forever, Maddie.”

It was wonderful.  All manners of delicious food grew on trees, incredible toys waited for them.

They were hungry so they ate first then played happily.  Until the fiery monster came.

Maddie screamed, Sammy grabbed her hand and raced back the way they’d come.

The door was gone.  Flames licked out.

 

The Door Part 4: The Monster

Fire washed over them.  Sammy held Maddie close, sorry he’d brought them here.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” came a voice from above them.

“Huh?” Amazed, Sammy realized they weren’t burned.

He looked at Maddie and saw she was clean and sparkling.  So was he.  He looked up at the white haired, red monster.

“Whut’d you do?” he asked, puzzled.

“Gave you a bath, what else? You were dirty. Didn’t Tony tell you?”

“No.”

“Darn that elf!  Well, come on, it’s time for bed.”

Taking them both by the hand, Santa lead the children off into their new life.

 

*Note: This was written as a drabble series.  Each part is exactly one hundred words long (not counting the titles).

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First, let me say that it has been a while since I read a vampire story, but of course I’ve heard of, and read the synopses and samples of several popular such books, including the ones that were made into a series of movies.

To my pleasant surprise, this one is not like those.  It has a much different (and, in my opinion, much better) plot, and while I generally don’t care for prologs, the one for this book was really good.  It gives the prehistory that explains the circumstances in the story without over-telling, or getting too long and convoluted.

This is not your usual vampire story and I’d like to thank the author, and ebook Miner at Goodreads, for giving it to me for free in return for an honest review.

I’m not much for reading romance and this book does have that element, which is great for those who love romance with their paranormal.  This story, in fact, has a fair amount of elements common to paranormal/fantasy, but the author has managed to present them in such a manner that makes for quite a different and interesting read.

My only criticism is I felt the book would have benefited from at least one more edit as I noticed a few inconsistencies and errors, and some repetitions, that I think would have been caught with another one.

However, for the most part, it is pretty well written and the author seems to have a touch for this kind of tale.  This was an enjoyable read and a great beginning to the series.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has a liking for paranormal/vampire/fantasy.

Second Coming: It’s all just a game by Andrew Smith

 

This is a very well written mystery/ thriller/supernatural/horror story which also dips into metaphysics.  I know that’s a mouthful, but that’s how I see it.  Not to mention the very interesting historical component involving the Crusades.  This story has a lot of twists, and I’m going to be as general as possible as I don’t want to introduce any spoilers, but it’s definitely not for children or the faint of heart.   There is no fluff involved here.   This is deep and dark with lots of violent action, and a lot of the horror is not of the supernatural variety.

The book starts a little slow, in Jerusalem, with the very pregnant wife of the protagonist, Charles, stopping on a lark to see a fortune teller, or oracle, and immediately getting into a situation that went terribly wrong.  The plot builds up from there, and  I must admit that at first I thought it wasn’t going to be my kind of story or to my tastes at all because of the violence, or the political/religious aspects, and I’m not much into either of those.  If you feel that way, I would advise you to keep reading.  I did, and am extremely glad I did.

The author is so descriptive with his characters that in short order, the reader gets to know them well and they become real people with personalities that are likeable (or not, such as the priest Estevez).  One can get pissed at them for doing something thoughtless, such as Charles’ seeming obliviousness in certain areas of his life which, among other things, strains his relationship with his son, Marcus.

There are plots and subplots, and things are not all black or white; the reader gets a sense of people doing the things they do because they believe it’s their duty or is the right thing to do (even if they’re wrong).  These are not cardboard characters; even the bad guys have layers (though some are what I, or anybody else, would consider to be just plain bad).    We learn a great deal about the revenant, Izz al-Din, and to my shock, there came a point where I found myself actually sympathizing with him, and believe me, I can’t remember a time when I’ve done that before!  And, he’s a truly bad, bad guy.  Trust me: this bad guy’s story has a real twist, in more ways than one.   The author sure knows how to surprise you and how to use words to paint images so you actually see a particular scene, some of which get pretty graphic.

This is a full-length, standalone novel but did leave what can only be construed as some “loose ends”, so I’m sincerely hoping there’s a sequel in the works.  In the meantime, this book is a highly intriguing, thrilling and enjoyable read.

christmas-wallpaper-Blue Demon

“You look great, Max.  Thanks, I owe you one.” Leaning on a crutch, he favored his broken leg.

I felt ridiculous.

“What if I am seen?”

“Don’t worry about it.  Just be careful and you’ll be fine.  I’ve been doing this for years and I’ve always gotten clean away.”  He explained how I was to get in and out.

“Why that way?” I asked.  “Why can I not just –”

“It’s traditional,” he replied.  He patted me on my back and sent me on my way.

I was dubious, but I climbed into the vehicle and took off.  I was somewhat worried, I mean, a lot of people kept firearms.  What if I were seen and someone was to fire upon me?  Or called 911? After all, it was breaking and entering.

I did not care for the outfit he had given me to wear, either, even though he insisted it was what he always wore for this particular activity.  He said it was wonderful at helping keep him concealed in the dark.  And it was traditional.

As I worked through the night, things were going well, so I began to relax.  I arrived at my last assignment, finished up and stooped to get my bag and leave.  Then, I heard soft footsteps.  I did not have time to go back out the way in which I had come, and there was nowhere to hide.  I was discovered.  I hoped they did not have a firearm.

Two small pairs of eyes peered up at me.

“It’s him!” squealed a small voice.

“No it’s not!” cried the other.

A man entering the door behind the children stopped and stared at me wide-eyed, his mouth agape.  The cup in his hand clattered to the floor.  He shoved the small ones behind him and out the door, backed slowly away from me, then turned and ran.

A woman’s voice sang out.  “What is it, Honey?”

I heard him shout,  “Get the door, I got the kids!  Let’s go!”

“What?”

Get the door!  And call 911!”

She glanced in as he hustled them away, saw me and emitted a piercing shriek.

It appeared the clothing I was wearing were not such good camouflage after all.  Of course, the bright, unblinking tree lights were somewhat revealing.

They rushed off and I felt it was time I also left.  As I passed the window, I saw them dashing frantically down the driveway dragging the children with them.  I could hear a siren in the distance.  I did not have time to hold to tradition.  I needed a quicker way out.  The chimney was not going to be fast enough.  I teleported to the roof, leaped into the sleigh, grabbed the  reins and gave a whistle to the deer.  We took off expeditiously.

I suppose seeing a big blue, horned demon dressed in a red velvet suit putting gifts under their Christmas tree was a bit surprising, but, gracious, I was merely aiding a friend.

 

End

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