Sunday, October 26, 2014

My weekly weekend short story - 10/26 edition

Yes, I know I usually post on Saturday's, but this weekend has been nuts and I'm considering myself lucky that I got a chance to get the writing prompt down this week. This week the challenge was to write a story where a character second-guesses an important decision. Now that I've spent an hour or so cranking the story out, I'm off to make spooky Halloween decorations for trick or treating at my work.

I make new homemade decorations each year, and it'll be interesting to see how things turn out. I used to have a large space where I could make giant caves and castles out of my cubicle, which I loved. This year I'm going to be searching for a spot just to set up since someone took the spot I claimed last year. First I have to make the decorations though, so I'm off to do that while you enjoy the quick story below.

Night Awaits

The battle draws near

“How long have you been watching me?” Nyx asked the second she felt Gabe appear.

She was standing alone on top of a building, overlooking Night Owl City below her. Her home had moved to the edge of town, but she still felt a deep connection to the city itself and it was easier for her to think while looking down at the place she called home.

“Let’s just say it’s a favorite pastime of mine. They won’t let you do what you’re thinking. I know it seems like it’d be the easy way out, but the battle is going to happen whether you like it or not.”

Nyx hated that the angel could read her mind so easily. She was well aware turning herself in to the Collective wouldn’t do a lot of good, and would be downright impossible with the six men she had following her every move.

“I’m aware of my limitations. In the grand scheme of things, this war was never meant to be about me, and yet it feels like that’s what it’s turned into.”

Gabe didn’t say anything in response immediately. Nyx had never been really clear where he stood on things, other than he wanted to help keep her on the side of good, and away from her mother’s influence. The task had to have been a relatively easy one for him, since Nyx wanted nothing to do with her mother.

“I know you’re well aware that there are things in life worth fighting for. I also know you don’t understand it, but you are one of those things. People will get hurt during this fight. There’s no way to prevent that. Just like there’s no way to stop the fight to begin with. Let things play out as they should.”

“Can you at least tell me who I should spend the most time with in the limited hours we have left? If you can see any part of the future, you can at least give me a hint about who might not make it.”

Nyx felt a large pit form in her stomach. Just the thought of someone close to her dying hurt, and she almost wished she could turn back time so she didn’t learn to use her heart. The dang thing made her feel more alive, but it also brought pain.

“You make your own future, Nyx, even the most gifted with the sight wouldn’t be able to accurately predict the outcome. I have to go, but I wanted to tell you not to doubt yourself. You are a strong woman and no matter what happens, you’ll be okay.”

Nyx didn’t share Gabe’s conviction, but she knew standing around trying to find ways stop the fight wouldn’t do her any good. She turned back to the three people who shared the roof with her and led them down to meet the other half, guarding the entrances of the building. It was time for her to get her battle face on.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My weekly weekend short story - 10/18 edition

Before I get into this week's story, just wanted to note that I finished up the major remix of Not in My Job Description - also known as the first book I ever wrote - and posted it for free on Smashwords (pretty little link here). I'm planning on moving on to book two and will make each book in the series available for free on Smashwords when I get done with them. Thank you for allowing that little interruption, now on to my weekly weekend short story.

The writing prompt for this weekend tried to kill me. That's what I'm claiming anyway. It was "pick a classic holiday story—for example: The Nutcracker, The Polar Express, “Frosty the Snowman,” A Christmas Carol—and turn it into a scary Halloween tale." Ack! Won't go into details about how my head exploded reading that. Thankfully, I read it before I went to sleep, and, well, those who know me can just imagine the fun dreams I had.

Nyx the Knife-Wielding Assassin

A different kind of 'Reindeer Games'

“Come on, Mom, it’s Christmas,” Clyde pleaded. He even started humming a Christmas tune he’d picked up somewhere.

“Just because we celebrated Halloween doesn’t mean we’re going to start celebrating all the human holidays.”

Nyx had been hearing about Christmas from everyone she lived with, but Clyde and Phee were pushing the most for some kind of celebration. They didn’t understand that for Nyx, not only was it a human holiday, but it was a day to forget.

“Please,” Clyde said, drawing out the word to make it eight syllables long.

“You want to know why I don’t like this time of year, Clyde? Fine, I’ll tell you. It’s no secret I was an outcast growing up. Pretty much everyone around me was a werewolf and had a real family that they could spend the ‘Holiday Season’ with.”

Nyx hated bringing up those particular memories, but for once Clyde didn’t look like he was going to interrupt, so she continued.

“You’ve heard about how they were mean to me and that I had to prove myself, much like that dang reindeer with the red nose did in that stupid story. Every year around this time the Collective would throw their own version of ‘Reindeer Games’. For years, I’d get my ass handed to me, but there’s one year in particular where I went up against an opponent who I can’t believe I’m even talking about again.”

Nyx hated reliving certain things, but that particular fight had its ups and downs. It was against her worst nightmare, a werewolf who had the hots for her and liked to take it out on her with knives.

They’d been fighting in the ring for ten minutes before she’d relieved him of both of the knives he started the fight with. It was the best she’d done and she was feeling pretty proud of herself. As she got a few licks of her own in, she made one of the biggest mistakes of her life.

The crowd around them had been cheering, so she took a moment to relish people actually rooting for her. She didn’t realize that they were cheering because her opponent had found another form of weapon, one Nyx couldn’t counter. The claws ripping down her back reminded her that she’d never be like the others around her.

When her opponent switched over to full-wolf mode, the fight was pretty much through for her. If she’d had more years of training, that wouldn’t have been the case, but she was still young.

“What happened to the guy?” Clyde asked, after Nyx had relayed as much of the story as she felt comfortable dishing out.

“What do you think happened, Clyde? Eventually, I killed him.”

Nyx walked away, hoping her story would put an end to all the Christmas talk. She knew the idea of presents would keep Clyde on his quest to bring Christmas to their home, but it bought her a little time to find the perfect gift for everyone.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My weekly weekend short story - 10/11 edition

This week's challenge was to imagine a scenario in which a character wrestles with a difficult moral choice. The story that unfolded contains some pretty big spoilers from the Nyx world, so read at your own risk. In other writing news, rewriting Avery is taking longer than I thought it would. I was sure I'd be able to cruise through the first books and be on to writing the last one, but I've already added over 10K words to the first one and still have ten chapters left.

Hopefully my work schedule will allow me a little more time on them and things get better as I go along, but I think I'll be spending the next two months in Avery's world. Once it's done, I'll be moving back on to the third books in my current three series. I'm already trying to decide which series to pick back up. What do you think?

survey solutions

I'm leaning one way and I'm curious to see if anyone else is too. Anyway, without further rambling from yours truly, here's this weekend's story.

A Changed Woman

To kill or not to kill

When you were raised as an assassin and had the devil for a mother, your moral compass didn’t always point in the right direction. For Nyx, the compass barely existed. She’d only recently learned the details about the maternal side of her DNA. It explained a lot when it came to how little she felt when she killed someone.

Finding and creating a family of her own had changed Nyx, and she wasn’t sure it was a good thing. A month prior, she wouldn’t stand around deciding whether it felt right to kill the sniveling weasel in front of her. She insisted it was the hormonal chaos that came along with being pregnant causing the dilemma, but at the same time, Nyx was still denying she was even pregnant.

“You’re going to be missed soon. I’d suggest making your decision quickly.”

Her mother’s voice wasn’t the one Nyx expected to hear. She knew it wouldn’t be long before Sebastian and Alex sent out everyone they could find to search for her, but Lucy wasn’t part of a search party.

“Please don’t kill me.” The werewolf Nyx had tracked down had made the plea a few times, so Nyx ignored him as she tried to figure out why her mother had decided to grace them with her presence.

“I’m not sure if I made this clear the first time we met, but I really don’t want to see you.”

Nyx didn’t bother turning around. She remembered the petite blonde with pale skin clearly. It was hard to forget the way it looked like you could watch her blood flow through her veins.

“I know, but I wouldn’t be who I am if I let other people tell me what to do. What are you going to do with him?”

The guy in front of Nyx rose up into the air. His legs and arms moved around frantically as he tried to fight off the force lifting him.

“I don’t know. He was sent after Alex and no one else has decided he’s a big threat, but anyone following around someone I care about is a threat in my book.”

“Then why isn’t he dead? You’ve been in this cute little alley for twenty minutes now and all you’ve done is point your gun at him.”

“He’s just following orders. Does that mean he deserves to die?” Nyx remembered when she thought killing the people the Collective wanted dead was a good thing. After her father and Alex made the list, she’d decided they were wrong.

“I’m not the person to answer that question. I think you’ve made up your mind, so why don’t you get back to your family. I’ll take care of making sure Lionel here is no longer a threat, and manages to live to see tomorrow.”

Having a solution that didn’t involve death, Nyx put her gun away. It wasn’t what she’d expected, but the excursion had made her hungry and somewhere there was a steak calling her.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

My weekly weekend short story - 10/4 edition

This week's challenge was to imagine a scenario in which we discover what goes bump in the night. Not a hard task in the world I usually create, but still a fun one to start off the weekend. I have to run off to a day full of errands - otherwise known as me chopping off all my hair - but I wanted to get my post in before things got busy. Have a great weekend!

Night Revenge

Say hello to my little friends

“Should I ask where we’re going? Walking through the woods wasn’t how I thought we’d be spending the night.”

Nyx waved off Phee’s question. Marcus and Smitty knew where they were going, and what they were doing. Telling Phee would only send the teenager into hysterics. Nyx was already regretting allowing her to come along.

Developing a soft spot wasn’t something Nyx did often, and if anyone asked, she didn’t have one for Phee. That didn’t change the fact that Nyx let the junior werewolf get her way more often than not. In a way, Nyx hoped the plans for the night would wake Phee up a little.

Nyx couldn’t remember a time when she was as carefree and ditzy, for lack of a better word. Being raised as an assassin had always skewed the way Nyx saw the world.

“Do you happen to have any weapons on you?” Nyx asked.

In the world Nyx lived, most of the people used their own unique talents to protect themselves, but Nyx hadn’t always had the ability to change into a wolf or grow fangs, so she still relied on blades and bullets.

“I have the knife you bought me. You taught me not to leave home without it, and since I hope to be like you when I grow up, I’m trying to put everything you say into action. I haven’t had any reason to use the knife, though.”

A simple yes would’ve been fine as far as Nyx was concerned. Nyx had asked her question in a hushed tone, but Phee didn’t bother keeping the conversation muted. The loud response had alerted the people Nyx was hunting and she heard them start to spread out around her group of four.

“Stay close to me. Marcus, Smitty, you know what to do. No one survives. Maybe that will send the message that killing three of our people won’t be tolerated.”

Nyx slipped her trusty knives, Helen and Clytemnestra, from their sheaths. Pulling out her Colt would’ve been more efficient, but Nyx felt the fight needed to be personal.

The first werewolf who broke through the woods was in full wolf form. Nyx preferred fighting humanoids, but had no problem taking on any version of scum that attacked her. The fight lasted twenty minutes, with Nyx battling five guys before the reinforcements stopped.

“Holy crap. You’re scary when you fight.” Phee stared down at one of the bodies Nyx left behind. Phee had her knife out, but Nyx and the guys had made sure none of the Collective forces made it to Phee.

“Yeah, well, when the humans tell their children about the scary things that go bump in the night, they’re talking about me.”

Nyx wiped the blood off her blades and walked away from the carnage. She caught the look of adoration on Phee’s face and considered it better than the fear most people would’ve had after seeing Nyx in action. At least there was some hope for the girl.

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