Fifth Week Fiction – As Sporadic As Special Item Drops

Yes, my consistency on blog posts hasn’t been stellar lately…but! Can you think of a better way to ring in the new year than with a little fanfiction?

(Don’t answer that.)

In keeping with the theme earlier this month, I decided to share a Shovel Knight snippet. Let’s see how I do expressing mannerisms and movement!

Plague Knight edged onto the docks and peered cautiously into the water. A perfect reflection of his mask rippled back. Troupple Pond lie still and quiet but for a scattered few cicadas trilling in the bushes. Plague Knight looked up and around, into the trees, but saw nothing. No living creatures – fish, fruit, or otherwise.

So he took the chalice out and held it aloft.

There was a rumble; the pond began to churn. Plague Knight took two steps back as troupple fish sprang from the water. Just small ones with bare stems and a greenish hue to their bellies. They leapt higher, gaining altitude, until they hooked by their stems in the overhanging tree branches.

The water continued to swirl, a huge eddy right in its center. The Troupple King breached in regal form, with his eyes closed and whale-ish mouth pulled taut. His breast slammed into the pond and sprayed water for yards.

Plague Knight stood, chalice still held high, drenched through.

“Who has awakened me?” the Troupple King boomed. “Mortal! Hast thou come seeking – Wait a tic! …Alchemist!”

Plague Knight lowered the chalice and made a halting bow. “Uh, heh, my liege.”

“News of your wicked deeds has reached our ears,” the Troupple King said. “How dare you tarnish us with your presence? Begone from this sacred grotto.”

“Uh…but, Your Grace, you see, I actually came to learn how to…d-dance.” Plague Knight cleared his throat. “Right now, I can only sort of…twitch.”

“Is this so?” the Troupple King inquired. His hostility had vanished nearly instantly, and he’d begun to preen. “ ‘Tis true we possess keen rhythmic insight. But first, Alchemist, let us see what we have to work with. Demonstrate your ability to us now.”

Plague Knight fiddled. He stuck an arm out, then a foot, and jerked through what he hoped were the first few steps to a waltz. Or a tango. Or something.

“CEASE!” the Troupple King cried, and Plague Knight nearly toppled into the water. “What is this monstrosity? Where is the rhythm? Where is the passion? Alchemist, thou art in need of a miracle.”

“It…it really can’t be that, uh, bad,” said Plague Knight. “…Can it?”

He was met with the silent stares of every troupple fish present.

“It is fortunate for you,” the Troupple King continued, “that we are miracle workers. Behold, and take this lesson to heart, for there is only so much I can teach you. Let us begin!”

From up in the trees, the hanging troupples began to sing. The Troupple King closed his magnificent bulbous eyes and bobbed gracefully through the water. He went in perfect sync with the music, even as the smaller troupples dodged about him in a dance of their own.

Plague Knight tried to study, but the dance of a fish wasn’t quite similar to the dance of a person. Fins lifted, dorsals shimmied, and the Troupple King threw his great big mass all over the pond until everything was properly soaked. Perhaps, Plague Knight thought, it was time to go.

A small troupple fish bounded from the pond and nudged Plague Knight in the knee. Before he could regain balance, another fish leapt from the other side and bopped him in the shoulder. Plague Knight swayed and flailed.

“H-hey! What are you – Stop that!” As another caught him on his backside.

The assault continued until Plague Knight began to get the feel for dodging. He lifted his arms, spun, side-stepped, back-stepped, and dipped past each attack. After a while he noticed they came in an expected pattern, and – what with the musical accompaniment – he evaded with more flair. A troupple fish dove at him from behind, but he’d predicted the move and swept to the right just as the fish flew through.

“Ha HA!” Plague Knight exclaimed in triumph.

The troupple assault had finished. And so had the music. Plague Knight looked about him; the troupple fish had all gone back to their places in the pond and trees. The Troupple King himself rested magnificently in the middle of the water. He regarded Plague Knight with a knowing smirk.

“And that, Alchemist, is how it’s done.”

Plague Knight’s arms were still outstretched; his feet stood at angles in a sort of bow. You could have said the pose was almost…graceful.

“I…uh…hee hee…I danced?” he said.

“Well, more or less,” the Troupple King grimaced. “But do not become cocksure in your talents, oh wicked one. A true dancer must practice his art if he hopes to become a master. Remember what you have learned here.”


Writing Shenanigans – An Update

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reassess one’s goals. Since I’ve founded this blog and gotten involved with Geeks Under Grace, writing has pretty much consumed my life.

…I mean, however much of a life I had to begin with. #bachelorlifestyle

The writing bug has bitten so deeply, I want to jot down ALL THE THINGS – but there’s only so many hours to a day, and much of my fiction writing goes by the wayside in favor of meeting post deadlines. Hnnnnngh…

Something had to give, so I went back to my planner – just kidding, I don’t have a planner – I went deep inside the dark recesses of my mind and looked at what REALLY mattered to me.

So, day job, food, and sleep still being complete necessities, I decided to give up…the Grab-Bag post. Meaning there will only be three updates on this blog per month, giving me a little more breathing room to work on GuG and fiction. Considering the bevy of ideas I have for video game and faith posts, it was the practical solution. (I’m gonna run out of plant babies to talk about eventually, people. Come on.)

I’ve got one more Grab-Bag scheduled for February, so I’ll let that one play out. I’m sure none of this really changes your life, but I want to keep my twelve loyal readers in the loop.

And perhaps…maybe…you can expect to see a little fiction snippet now and then. 🙂

Freebie Fiction – Dragon Quest IV


As previously promised in my last post, here’s a special treat related to Dragon Quest IV.

When I want to practice a writing style or technique, I like to do so through fanfiction (when there’s other, more important things I should be doing with my time). This is a rewrite/interpretation of one scene in the game.

In case you’re wondering, Meena and Maya are the most fun to write. Torneko is the most difficult. Who knew an Irish lilt would be so hard to accurately portray?

Solo stood before the room door, knuckles poised to knock. He tilted his head to look at Maya and Meena waiting expectantly behind him.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Should we really bother someone in their own room? I mean, even if he is a Chosen.”

“If it is truly fate, he will not be annoyed by our visit,” Meena said. “You must trust the prophecy’s guidance.”

“Yes, but does the prophecy say specifically that we should knock on strangers’ doors?” Solo persisted.

“Oh, for pity’s sake!” Maya bustled forward. “What is the worst he could do? Smack you with his walking cane? Just be letting me handle this.”

She bumped him roughly to the side and rapped three times on the door. From inside the sound of shuffling feet neared; the door swung open, and there stood the old man, leaning on his staff. He looked Maya over and squinted.

“You are not chambermaid,” he stated. “But perhaps they send you with cloths?”

“Arey? Why would I be sent with your dirty dirty cloths?” Maya said. “We are here to be talking to you about destiny and other such nonsense.”

“Sis!” Meena protested from behind.

The old man looked from Maya to Meena and then to Solo, who attempted his best ingratiating smile.

“I am not interesting in such prattle,” he said. “Please to leave without further pesterings.”

He began to shut the door, but Maya quickly wedged her wrist in the gap.

“Wait! Just be listening for two seconds. The world is going kaput in so many ways, no? What if you could be stopping all the mess and bringing back peace? That is being worth your time, surely.”

Meena couldn’t help gaping as Maya finished. “You…you have said such a beautiful thing, sis. I am stunned speechless! Maybe you are able to be serious after all.”

Just as she gave her praise, Maya wiggled her hips coquettishly. “Besides,” she said to the old man, “Such selflessness is bound to make you famous and rich, which is reason enough, no?”

Meena groaned and glanced heavenward in a silent plea, maybe asking for a new sibling. The old man, for his part, was unmoved.

“I am regretful,” he said, “as you are appearing sincere with desire for to change world. But request is currently inconvenience for me. I am waiting only for cloths, which hotel staff seems tarrying to supply.”

A clatter of bagged merchandise announced Torneko’s ascent up the stairs. As he came round the corner toward Solo and the others, he held out a tray clasped in his hands.

“Sure an’ it’s odd, but when the concierge gave me the key to our room he asked would I bring up these damp cloths fer your man stayin’ next door. Figured I might as well do a good turn as ‘twas on my way.” He took in the scene: Meena and Solo standing to the side, Maya’s hand still barring the doorway, the old man peering through the gap. “Aye, ye’ve gone an’ had a craic without me, have ye? I get the feeling this’ll be common fare in our travels.”

“Unnnngh…” came a groan from within the room.

The old man looked over his shoulder and turned brusquely away, leaving the door to swing wide open. Inside, a young fellow lay doubled up in one of the beds. His face was ashen and blotched with green, like mold on white bread. His brow shone with perspiration and kept furrowing in distress.

He swallowed between belabored gasps and seemed to be trying to speak. The old man rested a hand on his shoulder and mumbled some words to him, which seemed to calm him down, at least somewhat. He kept clenching the bedsheets near his stomach.

Torneko peered into the room and whistled.

“Japers, that fella’s sick as a small hospital, so he is. Reminds me of the time my own Tipper went down with the measles. Had a right go of it for weeks against the disease, he did.”

“The man is doing poorly?” Meena said. “Sis, Don’t be standing so close to the doorway! You will catch his awful awful sickness!”

“Ugh, it is not like he is breathing on me, silly-billy,” Maya retorted. “Besides, things are now just getting juicy!”

Meanwhile, as though he completely understood what needed doing Torneko sauntered in toward the bedridden fellow and set the damp cloths on a stand close by. He cheerfully handed one cloth to the old man, who took it, bemused.

“I am marveled at kindness of pure strangers,” he remarked. “It is no use to hide more longer, I judge: As you are seeing, my compatriot is severely ill. We are arriving at town in hopes to procure medicines, but…”

He tapped on the rounded top of his staff, seeming to mull over how much more he should reveal. “I am Borya, esteemed court magician,” he continued. “My hapless compatriot Kiryl is priest-in-training. We are residents of most excellent castle Zamoksva, in the country of Maestrel.”

Solo edged inside the doorway and finally spoke up.

“Zamoksva? Isn’t that the kingdom whose inhabitants mysteriously disappeared some time ago? But you somehow escaped.”

Borya nodded. “We are final remnants of once-glorious castle: Kiryl and I…and our Tsarevna Alena, whom we have responsibility to escort.”

He laid a cloth across Kiryl’s fevered brow and patted it in place. “I am concerning for her safety also,” he said more to himself. “Yoy… Such trouble Kiryl has caused by his infirmity. I am sure to give him sharp reprimand for this inconvenience when he is again healthful.”

“Listen,” Solo hedged, “could we help you in any way? We’ve had our own share of…troubles, so we understand the value of a hand in hard times.”

“Tch! Solo, you are so very confused, no?” Maya said. “I am personally only understanding the value of a nice gold co- Yowch! Why do you pinch me on the arm, sis?”

Borya studied Solo and then glanced around at the rest of the party. “This is exceeding kindness. I cannot to impose own problems upon you. But…you say I am meant to join your band of travelers?”

“Yes,” said Meena. She lifted her glass ball and gazed into it. “You, and the sickly sickly priest, and also the Alena girl, who is not here.”

Borya still seemed to hesitate. He looked down at Kiryl, who moaned and flopped over in bed.

“I am of mind to trust you,” he finally said, “as other options are few. Very well.” He turned sternly toward the group. “Tsarevna Alena is gone to procure feverfew root, which local commoners say is cure for Kiryl’s condition. It is said to be grown in neighboring village, but Alena has been gone so many days without word. She is like stubborn and reckless goat, and I fear she has come into some peril. I cannot depart Kiryl’s side else he expire from improper care. You see how I am jammed by current circumstance.”

“Well, since there are four of us and only one of you, we’d likely be better help in searching for your…ehm…Tsarevna.” Solo tried to cover his unfamiliarity with the title by slurring it quickly. “We’re seasoned travelers and would be able to rescue her should she be beset by monsters.”

“Agya, she will more likely need rescuing from own self, I mind,” Borya grumbled. “But is no matter. You have my complete gratitude for this offer.”

He bowed shortly over his cane, then turned to change the cloth on Kiryl’s forehead. Solo and the others took it as a cue to take their leave.

“I am hoping we can assist them quickly quickly, so our band of Chosen can become more complete,” Meena said as they exited the room.

“I am hoping this Zamoksvan princess will reward us with great riches since we are being such excellent help!” Maya added (to her sister’s consternation).

Torneko brought up the rear. “Don’t suppose I might sit this one out, fellas? Give an old man some rest? …Aye, I thought not.”

Fifth Week Fiction: Setting the Scene


With all the focus on villainy this month, you’d think my Fifth Week Fiction would follow suit. But, uh, to be honest…I don’t have any great antagonist material. It’s something I, too, need to work on.

Instead, I’ve been given the request to present a scene focused on building the setting and making it feel real to the reader. I’m not sure how well I do with all of that, either, but I’m willing to share what I’ve practiced.

In our previous Fifth Week Fictions we got to know Tainock and Jazz (oh, whoops, gave away her name). In this snippet, I’m switching gears and looking at characters from another series in the works. Enjoy these darling little kiddos and all their mental illness quirks.

(I’m sorry, I have no picture this time. You’ll just have to use your imaaaaaginatiiiiiooooon…)

Past the harbor and into the town proper, covered by its grand trees: Xavier was gawking up to try to find their tops. The trees towered higher than Frenlang’s walls, higher than its clock. They shielded Manara like umbrellas, with branches fanning and interlocking. Their leaves almost completely obstructed moonlight, so paper lanterns guided the way—strung in rows between Manara’s buildings and splashing the streets in paint-like pink, orange, and purple.

The roads branched much like the trees did: abruptly and tangled. When several forks in the road had confused Jaitoph’s already feeble sense of direction, Rahrei and Lau stopped before a squat building with oblong windows boiling out candle glow. Rahrei reached into the pockets of her bag and retrieved the folded check. She tapped her nose twice with the paper.

“I won’t take long,” she said.

When the bank’s double doors had closed behind her, Lau reached into her bag and retrieved the book he’d stuffed in there earlier. He turned to a page marked by a ribbon and began to read under the lamplight.

Xavier hadn’t stopped staring at the trees, his head tilted at the most extreme angle to study them. “En’t none of ‘em fallen?” he gawped.

Lau looked up from his book. “Not in my lifetime,” he replied.

Xavier snapped his head forward. “You very old?”

“Thirty-two,” Lau said.

Xavier pondered the age a moment. “Guess ’at’s long enough.” When he saw the book in Lau’s hand, the trees no longer seemed to interest him. “You like those?” he asked.

Lau’s reply was bemused. “You mean books? Well, this one’s a little dry and self-absorbed. History can be touch and go.”

“History? En’t that for learnin’? We used to trade stories on the street an’ try to tell the toppest one. I heard some books’re made that way, too.”

“Yes, there are also those kinds of books,” Lau answered. He replaced his bookmark and tucked the book back in Rahrei’s bag. Then, reaching over to rub his horse’s neck, he said, in a sudden change,

“Are you making a friend?”

His eyes were on Wren; she had, due to an itching curiosity, crept out from behind Jaitoph to watch the horse. Lau gently tugged the reigns to bring the animal’s head down, but he made no other move. Wren shrank back at first, but the longer she studied the horse, the more she edged forward.

Jaitoph was surprised at her bravery. Maybe she liked the horse the same as she liked birds or the crippled goat on the road to Frenlang. The horse was colored pale as her, dappled in gray. It watched her approach with black eyes. Wren stretched out a hand and let her fingers wait just centimeters from the horse’s nose. The horse nudged her arm. Wren started back and clutched her hand to her chest.

“She’s inquisitive about you,” Lau said. “Her name is Pear, after her preferred treat.”

Wren reached again for the horse’s face and this time made contact. Tentatively she stroked the velvet muzzle. Pear answered with a satisfied huff.

“What…what happened to her leg?” Wren asked, staring anywhere but at Lau.

“Just a stumble. She’s old, and her muscles aren’t so strong anymore.”

“Did she break it?”

“No, it’s a sprain. Nothing serious,” Lau said. He nodded toward Jaitoph. “How did your friend break his arm?”

Jaitoph reflexively cradled his splint.

“I-in the ship wreck,” Wren replied, still caressing the horse’s lowered head.

“I see,” the man said. “He looks pretty tough. Does he look after you?”

Wren glanced at Jaitoph and seemed to realize she wasn’t as close by her friend as she’d thought. When she turned back toward Lau, her answer was a bashful shrug.

“That’s all right,” Lau said. “Not everything has to be my business. Jaitoph…is it?”

Jaitoph startled at hearing his name and momentarily forgot his surly attitude.

“Ah. Not to surprise you. Rahrei let me know your names at the dock. But you aren’t the one whose ribs were injured, I think.”

“That was me!” Xavier offered, for once relieving Jaitoph for cutting in. “Xavier. That’s my name. I got bit by the Murkie. Did Rahrei say it was me?”

“She did,” Lau said. He might have been smirking, except his scar made it look more like a wince. “It’s…unusual for anyone to survive a Murkie attack.”

“Well, I did ‘cause…” Xavier’s boast diminished as he looked at Wren. He ended with, “I’m just that good.”

“Mhm, really,” the man said. “Someone as puissant as you shouldn’t have even worried about the trees falling.”

While Xavier mumbled and mangled the word “puissant,” Lau continued, “So we have Jaitoph, Xavier…” He peered down. “And Pear’s friend.”

Wren blushed madly and stared hard at the horse. Then, to Jaitoph’s great surprise, she squeaked out, “Wren.”

Lau nodded and spoke solemnly: “Be sure to remember her name, Pear; she’s trusted you with it.”

Pear tossed her mane and kept her face right where Wren could reach.

(Kinda dropped you into the middle there, didn’t I?)

Release Date: August 27, 1994

Earthbound logo

Happy anniversary, you crazy game, you!

I didn’t play Earthbound all the way through until probably five years ago. The main reason for that, I can tell you right now, is because it was too. Frickin’. HARD.

But now, more than twenty years after its release, it’s on my list of games I play at least once a year. It taught me the power of humor in a story, and how to evoke emotion through simplicity. It captures my imagination and brings back childhood wonder like very few stories can.

So take THAT, all you naysayers who think video games turn your brain to mush. This game has reshaped the way I view writing, and that is something not even some of my favorite BOOKS have accomplished. “Video games only teach violence” indeed.

Now let’s go beat up some New Age Retro Hippies!

Earthbound Hippie

A Practice in Dedication


My worst sin as a writer is perfectionism. I’ll delay and delay and delay writing a piece just because I know I’m not going to create the exact scene or feeling that plays so perfectly in my mind. Not to mention the trouble I have creating bridges between my perfected scenes – those gaps where I have NO idea how to get from point A to point B.

Do all artists suffer this? I’d like to think only the really excellent ones do. *preens shamelessly*

It’s time, though, to break this bad habit and foster a new good habit of writing despite anything – mood, worries, frustration, WHATEVER. And the way I plan to commit to this exercise…

…is by finishing a fan fiction.

(I have a feeling some of my family – and possibly friends – are groaning in dismay right about now.)

The beauty of fan fiction is that the setting and characters are already prepared for you, which relieves some of the creative strain. That way, you can focus more on improving dialogue, description, action: the more observed parts of the writing process. With the background work already done for me, the hope is that this exercise will not only train me to stay focused on a project – even if perfectionism rears its ugly head – but will perhaps also teach me to loosen up and allow the creative process some breathing room to be less stiff, which is what perfectionism ultimately breeds.

If you are somehow intrigued and want details on this project – the game on which my fan fiction is based, the type of story it’ll be – then I’m going to leave you (mostly) disappointed. I plan to keep this hush-hush until finished, although I may allow an update or even a sneak peek over the next few months.

But…hey! Hopefully by next year I’ll have the FULL project available for y’all to read. I mean, it might not be that exciting for those of you uninterested in video game fan work…but on the plus side, I can’t copyright it to sell, so at least it’ll be free entertainment.

Wish me luck, everyone!


(The above picture is courtesy of the Professor Layton series, playable on Nintendo DS and 3DS.)

Fifth Week Fiction: Dynamic Introductions


As you may have noticed, we’ve got another fifth Friday this month. Which means…it’s time for our second installment of “Fifth Week Fiction”!

Since we’re spending the summer studying dynamic introductions, I thought I’d show some of my own practice in the art. I typically feel confident with character development, but I seem to lack the skill for punchy scenes.

So here’s me having a little fun while (hopefully) practicing what I preach. For this exercise, I present these two characters:

Tainock & Jazz
Art courtesy of Carla Ceballos. Behold the anime intensity.

The boy you already met in my previous Fifth Week Fiction. Here he is meeting the girl:

“Important Person,” a voice monotoned nearby.

Tainock looked up from his book. There was no one on the walkway near enough to speak with him, but Amadeus had also lifted his head and perked his ears like he’d heard something.

Tainock warily lowered his eyes back to the book. He read an intro concerning the establishment of tachs, the law force instigated by Guardian Bemdin when –

“Important Person, if I could please have a word with you.”

Tainock heard Amadeus rumble. There was still no one around.

“Ye-es?” he mumbled.

The short tree next to him shivered, and Tainock caught a glint of shiny green between the waxy leaves. He heard a branch snap, and whatever was in the tree tumbled into the bushes underneath. Amadeus leaped up and snarled, which began to draw the attention of people nearby.

Tainock put a hand on Amadeus’s neck, hoping to subdue him before too many started staring. He peered into the brush and watched, amazed, as a metallic reptile wriggled on its back, swinging stubby claw feet to right itself. As soon as it had rolled over and turned to face Tainock it continued as though nothing had happened:

“Important Person, I wish to make you aware of a pressing matter – ”

“You’re an iguana,” Tainock interrupted.

“Correct. That is my build. Now, if you give me a moment – ”

“But you’re mechanical,” Tainock said.

“Please, Important Person, focus on the matter at hand. I must caution you on the interaction you will have with a cohort of mine.”

“Matter at hand?” Tainock said. “Cohort?”

Passers-by were definitely gawking now, none being close enough to see the little robot iguana.

“You will meet her shortly. She has a question to ask that is of great importance to her. But I want to clarify matters on two points. One: her question has no validity whatsoever. Two: she has poor social skills.”

“Poor social skills,” Tainock repeated. “What, do you mean she’s shy?”

“Shy?” said the iguana. “I wish that was her problem.”

Tainock heard something like metal striking metal up above, but didn’t have a chance to look up before torrential water gushed over him, knocking him onto the walkway. Water flooded everywhere, even pushing Amadeus back.

Tainock was aware of a cut on his cheek and the sting in his palms and wrists when he’d tried to break his fall. The passers-by who had been gawking he now heard shrieking as they fled the disaster.

Over where he’d been sitting the water had slowed to a spray as emergency shut-off valves began to kick in. And in the mess of flood-flattened and uprooted plants there crouched a girl – dark-skinned with darker freckles, orange hair shaved close on one side and braided down to her waist on the other. She steadied herself by clutching the bench with an odd, bright metal hand.

She grinned at Tainock.

“You have to be the Guardian, with that star pinned to your chest. But I didn’t expect you to look so much like a Dawnian.”

The robotic iguana sidled up onto the girl’s shoulder and studied Tainock from that perch.

“I apologize, Important Person,” he said. “The warning never comes soon enough.”

Tainock, stunned speechless, had the sense to command a hackled Amadeus down and check to see if anyone else would be in harm’s way should this girl be volatile. A hundred lessons on crisis mitigation scrambled through his head.

What had Uncle taught him? Find the reason before taking action (not that they’d ever applied it in their own interactions). The iguana had said the girl had a question. Maybe in answering it he’d get a chance to hold her in custody –

“You’re quiet,” the girl said. “You think I’m strange. I know. But I hear it’s hard to get your attention, so I had to be drastic.”

Tainock ventured, “The…uh…robot on your shoulder said you had a question.” Oh, yes, THAT sounded authoritative. He tried again: “I’ll give you permission to ask, but then you must come with me for the damage you’ve caused here.”

The girl let free a catastrophic laugh.

“No, that’s not the way it works. If you answer my question, you have to come with me.”

Tainock fumbled. “I…what?” he said. This discussion wasn’t going like the lessons said it should.

“Where’s my family?” the girl asked.

“Family?” Tainock could hear how stupid he sounded. “That’s it? That’s your question?”

“Yes. Where’s my family?” the girl repeated, like suddenly Tainock would understand.

“Wh – Look, I don’t even know who you are.” Tainock’s eyes went from her face to her metal arm. Both arms were metal, he realized. And her feet and legs. “I can’t be expected to tell you where your family is.”

The girl tilted her head, as though resigned. “Huh. Yeah, I was told you wouldn’t let me know. But that’s not going to work on me!”

And then she sprang and threw Tainock to the ground.

A Brief Bit of Prose


What, oh what to do with an extra week in the month? Well, I WAS going to post about a trip I’d planned to take to Bruneau Sand Dunes last weekend, but Idaho weather saw fit to rain us out. And I wasn’t all that interested in exploring Bruneau “Mud” Dunes.

Then I figured – Hey, a fifth week doesn’t come around all that often. I should do something completely different! So now, I present to you: “Fifth Week Fiction” (I totally just made up that title, like, right this second), during which I’ll share a short snippet from some of my personal story writing.

I’ll post material from my original fiction and maybe even occasionally a bit of fan fiction. (Hey, writing practice is writing practice, right?) And if it turns out my writing bores you…well…I guess you can be thankful there’s only 4 fifth Fridays this year.

(But I really hope my writing doesn’t bore you. That kind of defeats the point.)

And now, without further ado – an excerpt from an original story, taken wildly out of context:

Tainock saw the bright neon tape first, the dead body second.

It appeared to be another homeless person. A man, Tainock thought. He was wearing a garbage bag, but it had been torn down the back, and the man’s buttocks stuck straight up due to his prone position.

“Couldn’t you…cover him up?” Tainock asked, troubled by the scene.

“Master Guardian,” The tach who answered was either being respectful, or he’d perfected the flat response when asked a stupid question. “We would, except his wound is on his back. You can look for yourself.”

He retracted the tape and ushered Tainock through. Other hobos lingered as close as possible to the crime scene, craning to catch a glimpse of their dead compatriot. They didn’t even have the modesty to look away when Tainock caught them rubber-necking.

Tainock circled around the dead body. He saw only the profile of the man’s face, smushed against the pavement. Other than the grotesque expression, it had typical – if haggard – features. No signs of physical trauma. As the tach had said, the killing blows had been dealt to the man’s back.

There were deep, bloody gashes across the shoulder blades and down around the abdomen. They were oddly jagged, like something blunter than a knife had torn them open. They also seemed to form a strange sort of pattern. Tainock walked to the back of the corpse and read the cuts.

Read them?

They said “Al-Fāȧn”: Dawn script. “He doesn’t know.” Tainock thought sleep deprivation had finally started to take its toll. Writing in a man’s back? He tilted his head; maybe a different angle would show he’d only imagined the word.

“Al-Fāȧn”, the gashes said, clear as Tainock had ever studied the language.

“He doesn’t know” what?


Tainock met back with the tachs at the edge of the crime scene.

“Sir” one of them greeted.

“The wounds on that hobo are a word. I mean, they spell something in – in…Dawnian.”

Tainock immediately regretted sharing the information. Now the crime might be considered a racial murder, and with things being what they were between Dawn and Dusk…

“Master Guardian, with the girl roaming free, I think it’s our priority to find and hold her for interrogation,” said one of the tachs. “She’s likely behind the killing.”

Tainock couldn’t picture her as a murderer. At least, not a calculated one who cut obscure phrases into someone’s skin.

“We’ll continue searching,” Tainock said. “But, uh, if you find her, don’t do anything until I get to talk to her.”

The tachs looked at him like he’d said to give her more human backs to scrawl on. “Of course, you’ll be contacted right away,” said one.

There was the “stupidity tolerance” voice again. Tainock assumed it’d be a constant for the rest of this career.

(Thank you all for indulging me.) 🙂