Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Story

Hey all,

I know many people were expecting my weekly poem, but as I said last week, I thought I'd try something different. I've written a little story about Santa Clause and how he does everything in one night and all the people who have helped him over the years, most importantly the children. So, if you have a minute, give it a read, and maybe consider reading it to some youngsters you might know. It's already been tested by a couple of children I know and they enjoyed.

So here's hoping you enjoy it as well.

Santa’s Wish

Once upon a time, long, long ago, Santa Clause wished that he could deliver toys to all the children of the world. Luckily, Santa Clause was being watched by a pixie named Mike, because that’s what Pixies do. Pixies, are like fairies except they are boys and they watch everyone to see who is naughty and who is nice. Mike the pixie went to tell his friends the elves, because elves love to make toys.

The elves were so excited by this wish. Now, they would finally have someone to give their toys to, for they had so many. The toys filled bright rooms, and dark caves, and mighty storehouses. The elves were so excited they sent the head elf, Shawn to grant Santa’s wish, Shawn the elf went to Santa and told him that once a year he would be able deliver toys to all the children. But magic has it’s limits and he could only do it as long as he was finished before the first light of dawn. Santa agreed and he went to live with the elves in their workshop and every year they would make toys for him to deliver.

However, the elves were very picky about who would get their toys. They wanted them to have a good home, with only the nicest, sweetest children. Santa, had an idea, and asked the pixies if they could find the nicest children to give the toys too. The pixies were happy to do it, because they had collected lists of the naughty and nice for so long and didn’t know what to do with them.

At first it was easy, because the world was a smaller place back then, and there weren’t many children. But every year there were more people and more children. Until one year Santa finished just a second before the first ray of sun rose in the morning.

Santa was afraid that next year he wouldn’t be able to carry the toys from home to home in a single night. The elves and the pixies were worried, what would happen if Santa couldn’t deliver all the toys. They would have nowhere to go, and the pixies couldn’t use their list anymore.

Santa went to his room and sat in his big comfy chair. He drank a large cup of cocoa with whipped cream on top and stared out the window. The pixies and elves gathered outside his room and watched through the door, wondering what he would do. After a long time Santa finished his cocoa and set the mug down. He waved to the door and Shawn the elf and Mike the pixie walked into the room.

“Boys,” Santa said, “I’m not sure what we can do. Maybe some of the other magical creatures can help us?”

“Who should we ask?” said Mike.

“And how can they help?” said Shawn.

“How they can help,” began Santa, “the world is to big for me to walk from house to house, and now children have moved to homes across the ocean which is to wide to swim. There are to many toys to fit in the bag. We need to make more toys, because this year we almost did not have enough. However, even if we can do all of this, the night is not long enough for me to reach every house.”

“Oh no,” Mike cried.

“What can we do?” cried Shawn.

Santa leaned in close and put a hand on their shoulders, “ask all your friends, and maybe we can keep delivering toys to everyone next year.”

Mike and Shawn gathered the pixies and elves and sent them to all the magical kingdoms, asking each if they could solve the problem.

The first to return was Stephen the gnome, a funny little gnome with a feather in his hat. Stephen brought an entire crew of gnomes to build a mighty machine to move the toys from place to place. Conveyor belts stretched from room to room. Slides would separate the toys into stacks and move them to the proper wrapping rooms, so they would look happy and fun. The elves loved the machine because it saved them time from moving the toys and they could make more.

The machine was wonderful, but it needed power. Stephen told Santa that the machine was powered by children. Every time a child helps their parents, either by setting the table or washing the dishes, the machine would move. The more children helped the more toys they could make. Santa thought this was a lovely idea and thanked Stephen.

Next came Virgil, the king of the dwarves with a great fluffy beard, a beard so great that Santa decided to grow one of his own. He brought with him a mighty sleigh pulled by eight great reindeer. The sleigh was made of thick wood and iron, painted red and cushioned with soft woolly seats. Virgil told Santa the sleigh would zip as fast as the sun and the moon. It was powered by children’s play. Every time children played together and shared the sleigh would move faster allowing Santa to get to more houses. Santa thought this was magnificent, and thanked Virgil.

Then came the leprechaun Fred, dressed all in green with a pipe that blew bubbles. Fred brought Santa a large red sack. He told Santa that leprechaun pots would hold more gold than anything else. So they built Santa a sack that would hold so many toys, but the bag would never get any heavier. They made it so that every time a child put away their toys, the inside of the bag would hold a little bit more. So the more children put away their things the more toys the bag would hold. Santa thought this was fantastic, and thanked Fred.

Next came Amber, the queen of the fairies in her shinning white dress. She told Santa she had heard of the Virgil’s gift and brought reins to hook to the sleigh. The reins were long and red and covered in bells. Each bell, made of silver and gold, rang with the laughter and love of children. Every time a child laughed and hugged their parents the bells would hold a little bit more power and let the reindeer fly over mountains and across oceans. She also told Santa that the best kind of laughter was from children as they are being tickled. Santa thought this was funny, and thanked Amber.

Finally came dryad named Ammi, a flower sprite wearing a crown made of daffodils. She brought Santa a bag of seeds and a plate of cookies. She told Santa the cookies would slow time and let him go around the entire world in a few hours. The seeds she brought would let Santa grow cookie flowers in a garden in the snow. Unfortunately the spell wouldn’t last all night. Santa would need to eat cookies at every house he went to. That way the magic would last all night long. Of course the best cookies would be those left by children, because they were filled with love. Santa thought this sounded delicious and thanked Ammi.

With all of the things given to him, and all of his new friends gathered around, Santa delivered toys to all the good girls and boys of the world. And every year since, as long as children have put away their toys, helped their parents, shared with friends, and left out cookies he has delivered toys again and again. Today he is happy and he wishes every child a merry Christmas, a longs nights sleep, and a good tickle.

Merry Christmas Everybody.

If you want to read another story about the holidays click here. Well there you go. I hope you enjoyed the story and if you got a chance to read it to some little ones I'd love to hear what they thought. So please head on over to my facebook page and tell me all about it. 

Other than that, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Festive Kwanzaa, and to any one I missed I am deeply sorry and all I can say is Happy Holidays.  Be well, sleep long, and enjoy a good tickle.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ode to Dreams

Hey all, So it's time for another poem. This time the winner was dreams and I decided to tackle a different style. Hope you enjoy it.

What Dreams are Made of.

Butterflies caught
Soaring Flight
Chicago sights
The Sun
The Clouds
The Moon
The Stars
Chocolate Bars
Second Chances
Love that’s true
The Sweetest dreams
From me to you

So what did you think? Head on over to facebook and leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ode to Monkeys

Good night monkey

On the vine the monkeys swing
Golden bananas the monkeys eat
In the treetops the monkeys play
At the schools the monkeys learn
In the library the monkeys read
In the lake the monkeys swim
At the store the monkeys shop
In the car the monkeys ride
In the band the Monkeys sing
On the rollercoaster the monkeys say weeeee
In the bed the monkeys sleep
In there dreams the monkeys smile
Good night little monkeys

Hope you all enjoyed it,  I decided to go with a bit of a bedtime story feel with this one. Tell me what you think, either leave a comment below or head on over to facebook and leave me a comment there.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Final’s and reports

Tonight those of us who haven’t yet gave our reports. I talked about the extra-life marathon which I have spoken at great length about here, so I will not go into it further. I will say only this, the Open Source power slide show maker has some features that don’t translate into Powerpoint, as a result I had a few problems with my presentation and am considering purchasing Powerpoint proper so I don’t have these issues in the future. Sigh.

I heard some very nice reports on, Voter registration, the Soda ban in New York, Human trafficking, fracking in Ohio, and  student unions. Everybody’s presentation was very fun and clever. I enjoyed them all.

We had to give notes and ask questions, I tried to come up with something everyone could use, both good and bad. I hope my feedback was useful. I got some very good feedback on my report, that I will incorporate into future projects. It’s been a great class, and now that we have reached the end, I will miss going. I’ll still be in school and have a little while left to go.

So out of curiosity what is everyone's opinion of my class topics? Let me know over on facebook and if there's a positive response I'll keep posting from a class next quarter.

Ode to Bacon

Hey all,

It's time once again for another weeks poetry we have today a little piece about the ultimate breakfast food.
Hope you enjoy.


Oh precious porcine product
In the cold languid mornings of autumn
How I love thee
Sizzling ever so gently on the glorious golden grease filled griddle
The life blood of creation
Flowing through every fiber of your tender pink porky perfection
Steadily metamorphosing into a clear crisp cluster of clarity
The saturation of salted sensation scintillating the soul
The sun rises not for love
But to bask in the beautiful bounty of breakfast bacon
Oh what you do for any and all things
Breakfast lunch dinner soups salads sandwiches and even ice cream

Well, what did you think? Post a comment below or head on over to my facebook and leave your thoughts there.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ode to the Future

Hey all, Well it's time for a Monday poem. I hope you all enjoy this look into possible futures.


What does the future hold
What mysteries does it keep
Where does the road lead
Everyday we suspect what will happen
Like an eager reader with a mystery novel
We are astonished by the twists and turns

Perhaps tomorrow on your way to work
A job you no longer love
A place you no longer wish to be

Perhaps you will stop for a cup of coffee
An overpriced cardboard cup of motivation
You meet an amazing person in line
Agree to meet
Exchange numbers
Fall in love
Perhaps not

Perhaps instead of coffee you arrive early
A desperate attempt to avoid unemployment
A dreary slog through a misty morning
When you see the gunman you react
Leaping forward to stop him
He guns you down
Life blood oozing onto the sidewalk
Alone and cold
Perhaps not

Perhaps you stay out of sight
Remembering every detail
Keeping every note
The officer you report to is an old high school friend
You decide to get drinks and catch up
Rekindle an old friendship you never knew you missed
Realize there is more you can do with your life and quite your job
Perhaps not

Perhaps nothing extraordinary happens
Your day goes as planned
Your boss is angry you were late
Your day is awful
You go home and watch TV
With a frozen dinner
But then again
Perhaps not

So What did you think? Head on over to my facebook and leave me your comments. I promise to write back.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Hey all, So I noticed that I had sort of missed posting a week of my Journal. In order to fix that I'll be making a double post today. Up first election night coverage.

Behind the Scenes

Tonight was probably the coolest thing I’ve done all year. I was at WYSO in Yellow-Springs working on the election coverage for the stations website. If you happened to go to their page and look at either the numbers for Champaign county or Greene county between 9-11, that was all me. Actually it was just a collection of people I was just the guy updating the numbers on the site.

The evening itself was really cool, I had so much fun just getting to look behind the curtain as it were. I saw how the election coverage came in, how they updated it, what news stories they got and which they decided to cover. Being from Ohio, which was a “battleground state” I’d probably had a much more uncertain evening than most. It was fascinating to hear how the election results effected not just the news but the staff. I got to watch them get excited as one candidate would pull ahead and then worried as the other began to move out in front.

There were so many amazing ideas and thoughts being bandied about. Listening to victory and concession speeches. In the end however the election was winding down and the staff was being sent home. I wasn’t there when the results were announced, which happened five minutes after I left so as not to be in the way. I heard the end on my car stereo as I drove home.

Maybe next time.

There's one down and now here's one about a couple of the reports we got to listen to.

Like Dogs and Water

Class tonight was interesting, we got to hear about two of the other students projects for class both of which were pretty fascinating.

First was replacing bottled water with filtration taps. It was interesting to see how the person running the program had to set up the information in the report and pitch to his coworkers in order to get their approval. It was a very slimmed down, bare bones pitch with more information than frills. Of course this was how he went after his audience.

Second was a much more emotional presentation about taking in rescue dogs over pet store “puppy mill” dogs. It was a very moving presentation, with a lot of very heartrending pictures of dogs in various degrees of care.

Next week, is meetings I sort of worked mine in tonight so I wouldn’t have to head back for the meeting. So I wont be going back until the 27th. But then I’m talking about Extra-Life and the awesome experience I had there

Ode to Love

Hey all, Here's this weeks poem, my aren't all my voters getting a bit romantic, this and passion nearly tied.
Hope you enjoy.

Our Summer Day

I remember a deep passionate kiss
Catching each others breaths merging souls as one
Embracing with the warm comfort of pure bliss
Lying in the grass under summer sun
Holding hands and matching you pulse to mine
Then as the sun set and the world went still
The smell of your hair wildflowers and pine
Running to our cabin atop the hill
As the night ends one final press of lips
To stare in the eyes of future and past
Take the cup of love having one final sip
Again the day ends passing us to fast
Hugging in the cold night to feel our heat
Hearing the combining of our heartbeat

So what did you all think? Leave a comment below or head on over to my facebook age and post there. You can also vote for next weeks poem topic.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ode to Jedi Master Donald

Hey all, Well here's the new poem topic for this week. I hope you enjoy it.

Master Duck

Long ago and far away
A dark force filled the land
Children feared for their lives
That no one would stay it’s hand

One day troops came to a small world
Where all would laugh and sing
They wrecked the town in anger
In search of ships with x shaped wings

The onslaught was so vicious
And many Bothans died
They moved troops to the small world
To keep it occupied

As the small world suffered
Under the troopers brutal rule
A lone figure approached the world
A glowing sword his only tool

He gave the troops a chance to go
They laughed as if a joke
He pulled his great green saber
And removed them with one stroke

He battled on across the world
With three lads just like him
Uncle was then name they used
Together would always win

One day the final battle came
So the small world be free
But the master fell from the villains ship
And crashed into the sea

The legend goes he was lost that day
But smile when you think upon him
For to quote the bard McCall
Their aint a duck that cannot swim

So what did you think? Leave a comment below or head on over to facebook and post there. and feel free to vote on the next topic.

Extra Life Memories

Hey all,

Well, I've finally gathered and compiled all the photos of my Extra Life Marathon. There were not quite as many as I had hoped. Next year I will make a more concerted effort to get some good photos. However, here's what I have for this one. Hope you enjoy.

The music is Ode to Joy by the Opera Babes.
See you all later

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ode to November 26th

Hey all, Well the vote is in and the Holiday that won is immortalized below in poem. Hope you enjoy it, it's a subject that is very near to my heart.

The Day They Fought 

The following was recovered from a journal written by a young Norwegian man named Hans Veederman. It was written the day after that tragic day when some many gave their all to stop what could easily have been the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. These are his words. Possibly his last as the final verse remains unfinished. The Journal and Hans’s remains were found trapped in the magma flow from the volcano that was set off after the encounter by the retreating forces in an attempt to destroy those who followed. Peace be to both to the defenders and Hans, who may have left the only written eye witness account of events. Mostly due to the participants remarkable modesty, and their refusal to admit they had done anything that impressive. We the heads of the National Steve Day Foundation humbly present his words. Thank You. (Translated from Hans original language which we believe to be some sort of Spanish.)

Twas a chill upon the air as they came marching up the beach.
A hundred cities lay in waste and a hundred more stood in their path.
The line was drawn deep in the rock by scores of fearless folks
Twere Steve’s, Steven’s, Stephen’s, Stephanie’s, and a dozen Estaban’s

They stood with grins upon their faces a content and happy lot
Suspecting most would not survive their voices joined in song
The words of John, Paul, George, and Ringo did waft across the field
They steeled themselves and watched as the enemy approached

The villains let the first volley fly and many Steve’s did fall
A wail of rage grew in their throats and the fight was truly on
They joined the battle now in full and met their foes every wave
The soldiers, tanks, and battle mechs, followed close by flying sharks

Guns were fired, swords were swung, and laser tripwire monkeys were unleashed
The tide was close and many fell both friend and foe alike
The enemy began to win their countless numbers on their side
The evil tide of so many names where ours were only Steve

The light of hope began to fade as the vile navy sailed ashore
Their mighty ships bristling with guns and men
And then the mighty Kracken rose to tower above it all
But light of light the tide then turned for the Krackens name was Steve

The day was won, the world was saved, our enemy did flee
And all upon the world at large the light of love will shine
For the hope and help of the selfless few
Those wonderful ones named

Sadly that is where the poem ends and we may never know how it carries on from their. But in memory of that horrible day where so many gave their lives for all of us we remember the Steve’s of the world. So please remember the ideas of National Steve Day; first in remembrance of their laidback nature the official clothing of Steve Day is a Hawaiian or Bowling shirt, second to pay homage to their need to see that those around them are joyful and happy we eat the two happiest of food nachos and hot wings, third do something nice for someone else because it’s what a Steve would do. This is Tim Jeffries reminding everyone to have a Stevetastic day.

Well there you go, hope you enjoyed it. I would also like to point out, because I have been accused of it, my birthday is in July so this is not about me it's just a happy accident that I happen to also be named Steve.

If you liked the poem leave a comment below or head on over to my facebook page and leave something there. I promise to try and comment. Until next time have a Stevetastic day or Stevetabulous your choice.

So What Are You Doing?

So What Are You Doing?

Got back from class today and been thinking back on what we did. We talked about next Tuesday where we will be live blogging for WYSO during the election. I’ll be on from 9-11 for anyone who wants to check it out. I’ll try and post an internet link on my face book before then.

After that we took a minute to go aver everyone’s project and get a small amount of their research report information. We heard about the difference between buying a rescue dog or a pet shop dog. Puppy mills are horrible things and finding a reputable breeder involves the internet and veterinarians. If I ever get a dog, and quite frankly I’m not really an animal person, I’ll go the shelter route.

We had two students discuss the formation of a student union, and give different information on how both student unions and regular unions are formed. Both very interesting, I’ve never been a real supporter of student unions growing up because high school student unions don’t do anything but prom. Which I think may be where a lot of teenagers get the idea that voting doesn’t do anything. It may actually be why they don’t vote. That is a really involved research process, perhaps for later.

We talked about fraking, which is a process to get natural gas out of the ground or turn water flammable. Since it does both, I’ve never been clear on which is the side effect. Actually to be fair, until I heard the report I had no idea what fraking was. It’s a terrible process and should just stop until they find a better way.

We talked about the attempt to get bottled water taken out of an office building. How much it costs in both cash and environmental effect. We discussed if you have to use bottled water what are the best kinds to use, 2 of the best were surprisingly; Nestle and Gerber. So if you drink bottled water, those are 2 of the best.

We heard about the prohibition on large sodas in New York. The basis of the law is that soda is so bad for you that it needs to be regulated and you can’t purchase any regular soda in a size larger than 16oz. Or drinks; diet soda, ice tea, beer and water, can be served in any size can’t hurt you. Though one could assume that Mayor Bloomberg now would accept that there is such a thing as too much water.

We talked about my project, which you may remember is the Extra Life marathon. I’ll not go into here since it’s already pretty much all over the place in this area.

Finally, we talked about getting people to vote, mostly youths. The difference in the number of people who are registered to vote and actually do is pretty awful. It was pointed out to me, and I will have to mention it to my friend Ron whose research project this is, a number of younger voters aren’t going to because they think you have to vote on every person and issue. There is at least one young man who won’t be voting because he doesn’t want either Obama or Romney as President. It was explained to him that he should vote for someone, but if he didn’t want to he should at least vote for the issues, laws, and taxes. He didn’t know that you could do that.

I kind of feel for the lad, to be honest there have been times I really wished for the Brewester’s Millions “None of the Above” option. Sadly, it does not exist. My what an interesting election it would be if it did.

So what do you think? any opinions or comments leave them below or head on over to my facebook page and leave them there.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ode to Cowboys and Knights

Hey all, Sorry for being late, I was in Chicago for a very fine wedding, congratulations Tom and Mia, and as a result I was a little late getting my poem for this week done. But here it is after a quick picture of the happy couple.

Heroes Never Change

He wore a helm of solid steel
A mithril sword upon his hip
A mighty steed his dearest friend
He rode to save the day

He wore a hat ten gallons large
A pearl handled colt upon his hip
A fine fast horse his greatest pal
He rode to save the day

He fought through bandits to save the girl
Battled furry monsters with powerful horns
He saved the village from the evil
And rode into the sunset alone

Hope you enjoyed it, once again we had a tie. I'm starting to think you've all organized and are trying for that just to make it harder on me. So how did I do, drop a comment below or head on over to facebook and post there while voting for next weeks topic.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Paranormal SWAT #4

Hey all, well what a long strange trip it has been. I've finished my final story for the month of October and my hasn't this been far more work than I expected. I intend to try this again at some point but right now I'm to embroiled in school to make this a weekly thing. If you're interested in seeing where this all began head to the Cul-De-Sac to Hell and see the teams first story. 

Anyway, here's the final story of beasts, monsters, and the supernatural in Chicago.

Paranormal S.W.A.T.
Supernatural Weapons & Arcane Tactics
Midnight in the Apocalypse Graveyard 

Mike Litman had been wandering through the graveyard for twenty minutes using a flashlight that was flickering away the last bits of battery power while looking for landmarks when he heard the screams. Damnit, he was too late. He had his school bag packed full of everything the book said he’d need; holy water, a knife, two kinds of salt (he hadn’t been sure if he should use regular table salt or sea salt so had grabbed both boxes), candles, and of course all the scans he’d made of the book on his tablet before Jay had taken the Fides Mortuus. He was holding the book bag tightly as he ran through the graveyard toward the frightened screams of what he assumed were the cheerleaders.

He ran along, his shins complaining every time he found a small concrete bench or errant tombstone. He stumbled through the darkness the flashlight having finally given up when he made out a form in the night, he moved towards it until the full moon emerged from behind a cloud to let him see memorial of the little girl. He cursed and veered off to one side his windbreaker getting caught on passing branches as it flapped behind him. His unseeing jog through the graveyard came to a halt when he bounced off the side of an unseen mausoleum and landed face first in the mud.

He cursed to himself and tried to stand when the entire world seemed to erupt in brilliant white light. The heavenly glow covered the area flowing out from the center of the graveyard near the old crypts. His heart soared, one of the people he had called must have shown, he hadn’t been sure if they’d believe him. Hell, he hadn’t been sure he believed it, and he saw his neighbors dog come back and claw its way out of the grave in the back yard. But one of them must have come, he’d dug through the internet and phonebook looking for help; a TV schlock horror host, a retired actor from old B horror movies, a paranormal SWAT team, a couple of magicians, and even a wizard. He was pretty sure most of them wouldn’t be able to help, but maybe one of them was the real thing.

He was suddenly shook from his happy feeling by something moving up behind him. He didn’t see or hear anything, but that little voice that tells you someone’s behind you was screaming like it was being murdered. Mike turned slightly from his position in the grass and saw his first human zombie. The creature was dressed in what must have once been nice clothes. The remnants of a suit and tie draped from it’s body now covered in dirt. One of it’s hands caked with grave dirt from the dig reached for him with broken fingernails.

Mike turned on the grass and pushed away from the creature, back pedaling on all fours like a crab until he hit a surface too solid to move and climbed it to his feet. He felt hard cold marble beneath his fingers, and realized he was leaning against the mausoleum he’d hit a moment ago. Mike dug into his book bag still hanging off his shoulder and pulled out his dad’s 38. He fired three shots into the zombie, two hit in the chest and the third went wide. He’d never fired the gun before despite his dads offer to take him shooting. He’d always been attracted to more academic purists and quite frankly the gun had scared him. He would change that first thing in the morning, if he lived.

He could see a second zombie past the first, this one still climbing out of its grave. He reached into his book bag and drew the tablet out and thumbed the screensaver off. As the light flared up and illuminated the area he thumbed the page until he found the part he was looking for. He quickly started reading aloud the words they had used to stop the neighbors bull dog. As the words ran past his lips he could feel the rise of warmth in his belly. He concentrated on the feeling and it moved up his body through his chest and to his shoulders. It moved down his arm towards his hand and as the warmth reached his them he felt the zombies fingers grasp the front of his jacket and looked up to see its face approaching his neck. With a final push of desperation and terror he took his right hand, all warm and tingly, and shoved against the zombies chest. Flames wrapped around the place where he touched the zombie and launched it backwards away from him.

As the flaming body hurtled backwards Mike felt his other hand begin to burn and looked down to see the flaming remains of his computer tumble to the ground. Mike swore, “not again,” trying not to think of how his dad would react when a girl’s high-pitched scream echo through the grave yard. Shaken back to the situation at hand, he took off toward the center of the graveyard, hoping to find their saviors and tell them about the
other zombies. As he ran towards the area he and Jay had picked he saw other zombies rising from their resting places and those who had already escaped were headed in the same direction as him.

He came on the oldest area in the graveyard, the section that had been set up to contain Chicago’s founders, most of the locals didn’t even know it existed. It had been perfect little area and had every thing the book had wanted. It had all been hypothetical, at least at first. Mike wasn’t sure when Jay had decided to do it for real, to destroy the bullies, the jocks, the Betties, the kids who had made there lives hell since junior high. There was a point when Mike suspected Jay wanted to do it, but he never imagined he’d do it. Not until the phone call earlier that night.

Mike jumped the two foot wrought iron fence and jogged out looking for the heroes and found only chaos.

Several cheerleaders and a couple of jocks from the football team had been surrounded by zombies and were trying to push them back. A couple of the other kids were being eaten in various places amongst the crypts. Tony Durran, the captain of the team was holding a shovel and swinging it like a club to keep the zombies at bay. Ginger Meadows was using her lighter and hair spray as a flame thrower to set the zombies that got too close on fire as Tony pushed them back.

In the center of the area standing on a giant star shaped monument was Jay, wearing his favorite trench coat, the one his grandmother had gotten him. He was laughing and walking around waving one of his hands like he was conducting an orchestra. He had lit candles sitting on the ground next to the Fides Mortuus in the exact center of the star. His black hair, greasy with sweat, kept sticking to his glasses.

As one of the zombies got a hand inside Tony’s reach and scratched his arm Jay yelled out, “Hey Tony, tell me again how you can’t learn nothing useful in books.” Jay stopped moving to scream at the circle, “Tell me again how you’re going to get the football team to kick my ass. Well here’s my team Tony. Why don’t you kick theirs.”

One of the zombies reached in a grabbed at Ginger until Tony managed to push it back. “Hey Ginger, just tell him he’s gross and your too pretty to talk to someone like him. I’ll bet that’ll make him leave you alone.”

As one of the zombies finally made it all the way through Tony’s defensive swing and started grabbing at the cheerleaders inside Ginger shrieked and pushed one of the other girls, a new one named Tina Dowling towards its outstretched hands. Jay shrieked with laughter and began skipping around the circle again.

Mike dodged over to one side and hid behind a crypt and tried to think of what to do. Tina’s cries filled the air. The gun was useless in his hands, and the tablet was gone so he couldn’t help anyone that way. Tina screamed for help. If he could remember the words he could do something. Tina let out a wrenching shriek begging to be let go. If he could get to the other book he could do something. Tina began to sob, crying, “no,” over and over again. If only he could concentrate he could do something. Tina’s voice wracked with pain called out for someone to help her and then it was gone.

Mike’s whole body filled with warmth and he walked out into the clearing, flames danced around him as he walked into the zombie horde. Some of the beasts turned to face him and he reached out balls of flame the size of softballs leapt from his hands. Each ball slammed into a zombie setting it ablaze and launching it like a shooting star across the clearing. As he moved through the crowd zombies reached out to touch him and when they did their hands burst into flames. He swatted zombies aside as he walked, pushing them back as if they were nothing more than a beaded curtain in a doorway.

He heard Jay screaming in the distance, he sounded as if he were miles away, he was calling him a traitor. He reached the small weeping ball that was Tina. Her clothes were a tattered mass of bloody material and piece of exposed flesh were covered with claw and bite marks. He bent down and picked her up, clutching her against his chest, bloody tears streamed down here face. She was too weak to speak, he held her there and for a brief moment she looked up and locked eyes with him.

His world shifted ninety degrees and he knew everything she was or had been. He knew her hopes and goals, her fears and joys. She was a decent person, she wanted to be liked and was afraid that none of the other kids would. She loved art and music, she played the piano and painted badly. Her grandmother called her bobbin and she had cried for three days when she passed away. For a brief second in time it was like they were the same person, and in that second she ceased to be. Her body went limp in his arms as her spirit left it and he felt her become no more.

Mike stood there as the warmth drained from his body, his legs wobbled beneath him and he fell to his knees. He clutched Tina to him, if only he had reacted faster. She was gone and it was all his fault. His eyes blurred as he sat there holding her against him. He could hear something far away, but he wasn’t sure it mattered. He’d thought he was going to be the big hero and now a girl had died in his arms. He could hear thunder rolling in the distance and wasn’t sure if he could do anything now but die.

Something shook his shoulder. Poor Tina. Something shook him again. He paused for a moment and listened to the thunder, it was so close. Something hit him across the face and he jerked his head back and looked up as gun fire echoed around him. He looked up into the mirrored faceplate of Dr. Griffin Wells, the teams scout and forensics expert.

“Hey Romeo, snap out of it or you’re gonna die.” Wells turned and fired his sawn-off into a zombie that was coming up behind him.

“You slapped me.” Mike was still not sure exactly what was going on.

“No, I shot you.”


Captain Albert Card, the teams leader and sorcerer fired his shotgun past Wells head towards a crowd of zombies. “It was the only way to break you out of it. You were letting off a pillar of flame high enough to reroute air traffic.”

Wells finished loading his shotgun, “Hell of a flare.”

Mike’s head started to clear, he realized that he and the other teens were ringed in by five armed men standing in between them and the zombies. He also noted the three foot burnt out crater that he knelt in the middle of.

Off to one side Rabi Adam Stein, expert in religious studies and heavy weapons operator, was finished loading another drum into his assault shotgun. He strafed the gun slowly at chest height and the upper half of several zombies explode in a mist of bone and flesh. Mike recognized the sound the gun made as it fired as what he’d thought was thunder. As he knelt there getting his bearings, Adam finished the drum and ejected it to the ground with three other empty containers.

Mike stood, strength gradually returning to his legs as he figured out what was going on around him. These men must have been one of the groups he had called that evening when he figured out what Jay was going to do. He looked around in wonder as they cut a swath of destruction through the zombie army.

Blake Lagoona, trained in aquatic operations and a gifted sniper, was firing an automatic shotgun and slamming clip after clip home as zombies burst under the weight of his fire. As he reloaded a zombie got too close and Blake pushed him back before shoving the clip home and shooting the zombie in the face.

Mike turned to see the final member of the team. Douglas Wulf, close quarters fighter and wilderness survival expert, was swinging a fire axe like a barbarian from so many of the books Mike had read. He went forward with a ferocity and almost animal like brutality. Every time a zombie got to close Wulf tore into it attacking its head again and again, until there was nothing left but a stump of a body.

A bright glow from the back of each mans armor drew Mike’s attention. The team all had rows of white runes glowing so brightly that the air shimmered around them. Wulf’s armor had similar runes, but his also contained a row of smaller green ones the ringed his chest just under the other set.

As Mike turned he saw Jay, his oldest friend, laying on his side clutching his knee and screaming in pain. “Hi Jay,” he called, “what happened to your knee?”

“Are you sure this kids not stoned?” Wells called out as he fired his last few shots.

Adam’s gun stopped firing and he propped it up on his shoulder. “Well he sort of is. That much power running through a body is going to leave a person euphoric for a little while.” Adam turned and walked to Mike, “I can take her from you if you’d like. I only ask because eventually the euphoria and adrenalin are going to wear off and I’m not entirely certain you can lift her.”

Mike looked down and hadn’t even realized he was still carrying Tina. Once he saw the poor girl memories of the evening came flooding back and he started to fall.

*  *  *

Mike regained conscious sitting on the stone star in the center of the graveyard, the whole area had taken on an otherworldly quality as it was now lit by a series of magnesium road flares scattered around concrete. Jay was mumbling just a few feet away. “Handcuff me you rotten sons-a-bitches. I’ll show you all, you don’t get to mess with me. My minions will take over the world. I don’t care if you stopped me now, I’ll be back.”
Mike leaned forward. “Shut up Jay.” He looked down at his friend whose knee was freshly bandaged.

“Oh, it’s the traitor.”

“At least I’m not a killer. Those creatures killed people, they ate people while you laughed.” Mike looked around the area at the large circle made of chalk that Jay had drawn on the concrete, there was a smudge at one point where someone had visibly broken the circle.

“Those weren’t people, they were monsters. They laughed at us everyday, made our lives a living hell. I just showed them what it was to be us. I‘m glad their dead every asshole, bitch and whore.”

Mike kicked him in the bandage before he even realized he’d done it. As Jay howled in pain one of the men from earlier came over and introduced themselves and the other team members. The one called Wells was going over the last of the teens and bandaging up some of their wounds and making sure everyone was okay. He kept assuring them that bites don’t make zombies, that’s only in the movies. Blake was standing off to one side watching through a set of binoculars carefully scanning the graveyard. Wulf paced back and forth, smoking a cigarette. Adam was performing last rites for Tina and the other teens who hadn’t made it.

“Well, allow me to welcome you to the world of professional sorcery.” Albert began leading Mike a little way off.

Mike looked at him for a moment trying to decide if Albert was serious. “What do you mean?”

“You’re a wizard Mike.”

“I don’t feel like a wizard.”

“Most wizards don’t. On the upside it looks like your going to have some serious power at your disposal when you’ve trained a bit. Admittedly a lot of that was emotional, when someone dies while your looking directly at their soul, bad things happen. Also, you’re going to want to try really hard not to tell anybody about this, most of the world isn‘t as understanding as us.”

“Was it really that big?”

“Honestly, I’m kind of surprised there haven’t been any police by now. You lit up the night sky. I‘d bet it could be seen all the way to Millennium Park. It’ll be OK though, we have a  friend who will make it look like a gas main exploded. That should explain the sixty foot pillar of flame.”

“What will happen to Jay?”

“He’ll go to the authorities.”

“Will the police be able to hold him.”

“He’s not going to the police. There are far better authorities for this sort of thing.”

“Like who?”

“Once we get out of here, I’ll buy you a coffee and answer all your questions.”

They started to walk back towards the group. Once they got there, Adam was holding Wulf back from punching Jay. “You arrogant little jerk, shut up.”

“My army of undead minions will rise up again and smite all who oppose me. Even now as we approach the foretold hour I can feel the masses waking in every corner, every grave, and every lost crevice around the world.”

Albert moved forward and grabbed Jay by the front of his shirt and lifted him off the ground. “What do you mean, your army?”

“The, the spell I cast, it creates an army of the undead for the caster. It made them my minions. It was the spell.”

“I know the spell you were casting, I’ve seen it once before. The zombies aren’t the reason you cast the spell, they’re a side effect.”

“No their not, I cast the spell for the zombies, so I could make those stupid jerks and everyone like them pay for everything they’ve ever done.”

“Of good god. Just please have followed the directions. What kind of candles did you use?”

“Beeswax, of course.”

“What order did you light them in?”

“Compass; north, south, west, east.”

“When you painted the circle?”

“I started at north and went counter-clockwise. What do you think I am some sort of simpleton?” Jay began laughing at Albert.

“When you made the paint did you include crushed onyx?”

“What, why would I make the paint?”

“Oh. Well we’re doomed. What time is it?”

Blake quickly signaled something with his hands. Albert’s entire frame sagged against the star in the center of the area. Albert looked around the clearing at the various individuals gathered around him. He took in everyone’s looks of concern and terror and then looked straight up.

He stood quickly and began pacing, “Adam I need you consecrate the area. Do it up and make it stick.”

“You certain? You’ll be significantly weakened when I’m done.”

“I’m certain, this will be more helpful than me.” Albert seemed to pause as if unsure

“On it,” Adam grabbed a satchel nearby and set to work.

“Blake you’re going to be watching our flank to make sure something doesn’t happen while we’re prepping the area. If I’m right there are going to be more zombies, lots more zombies.”

Blake made a couple of quick motions with his hands then grabbed a gun and some binoculars and climbed to the top of a nearby crypt.

“Wulf. Wells. You two need to get these kids out of here.”

Wulf shot forward, “Whoa, Albert we are not splitting up. Just because we did it once and got away with it you think we can do it every time. We are staying here.”

“Oh, trust me, if I thought we could do this with what we have here I’d be all over fighting it out, but what’s coming we’re going to need every advantage we can get. Which means the truck. We need the truck. The sound system, the lights, ammo. Titanium shells will be best. Right now we’re mostly packing rock salt…”

Mike suddenly snapped his fingers, “That makes so much more sense.” He then became acutely aware of everyone looking at him. “Sorry.”

Albert collected his thoughts and started again. “We also need Mary. And these kids have got to get out of here. We can’t be keeping them safe, they’ll just get in the way. Except you.”

Mike stood there as Albert and the rest of the team turned to stare at him, “I’m sorry I interrupted.”

“Oh, for the love of…” Wells threw his hands in the air. “We’re not keeping you because you don’t know when to shut up. We’re keeping you because you were a miniature Pompeii for ten minutes. Let’s go Wulf. Everybody saddle up.” Wells grabbed his sawn-off and started to pick up the first aid kit. “This I’ll leave. Are we taking Lex Luthor or leaving him here to die.”

Wulf helped Ginger to her feet, “leave him.” They began to start off into the darkness when he called back to Albert, “We will discuss breaking rules when this is over with.”

After the group moved into the graveyard and out of sight Albert sagged to the ground. Mike barely had time to catch him, “you okay?”

“Adam’s working much faster than I thought. It’s cutting me off from, let’s just call it a power source.”

“Do you need to rest?”

“Yes, but we don’t have time.” Albert straightened himself and moved to the book on the central platform. “I’m going to need you to redraw and focus the circle, we broke it so nothing’s going to contain the creature that comes next.”

“OK.” Mike rooted around and found Jay’s bag of supplies and pulled several jars of Happy Time children’s craft paint from inside. Most were empty, having been used to draw the first circle and what was left wouldn’t be enough to cover the ground necessary to make a circle. Mike dug through the rest of the bag for the things Jay had brought. Several unopened scented candles, a silver knife from a table setting, and a bag of chicken bones with some of the deep fry breading still sticking to the ends.

Albert, looking over Mike’s shoulder, stared at Jay who was watching them with hatred in his eyes. “How did you not get your soul sucked straight into hell?” Jay laughed. He returned his attention to Mike, “so any idea how to proceed from here?”

“Well we need more paint, but I have no idea where to get it. Well if we could add to it.” Mike looked at the book and turned a couple of pages. “I got it.” Mike quickly grabbed his book bag and dug out the vials of holy water. He unscrewed the tops of the paint jars and poured his holy water into them and began sloshing the water from one Jar to another until he had two jars of watered down paint. “This should be enough. It won’t be as large but should still circle the area.”

“Excellent, go ahead.”

Mike moved away and using the large brush Jay had brought started painting a circle. Albert spoke up, “now while making the circle focus your will on what your doing. Concentrate on the circle and imagine putting yourself, your essence, your soul into it.”

Mike could feel the warmth returning and focused it to his hand as he moved the brush. With each stroke, he felt himself go into the paint a little more and when he came full circle and connected the line he felt a small locking sensation that came from deep down inside himself. He stood and turned to see Adam and Albert standing looking at his work.

Adam spoke first, “He’s pretty good at that.” Adam was standing facing away from Albert as he prepared the last of his equipment, a great purple sash made of linen hung over his shoulders, a yamaka resting on his head, and an ancient iron Star of David dangling out of the top of his blue turtle neck sweater.

“You’re a Rabi?”

“Yes. Do you need something?”

“I was hoping to confess before everything happens.”

“I can’t technically hear your confession, but if you want to talk to me about it I’ll listen. It may be helpful.”

Two gunshots echoed off the top of one of the crypts, and the three of them turned to see Blake fire a third shot before jumping down and jogging to them. He moved his hands gesturing towards the graveyard as he approached.

Albert braced himself and pumped his shotgun, “don’t call me boss. He says more zombies have entered the graveyard from three sides, possibly all four but the castle is in the way. They’re coming at a shamble but should be here soon.” Albert turned and handed a shotgun from the ground to Mike, “today, you get to learn how to kill zombies.”

“Shoot the head, right?”

Albert nodded, “close enough. Mostly it’s destroy the eyes and destroying the head does that.”

“Why the eyes?”

Albert handed over a bag of ammunition, “they’re the windows to the soul. Traditionally if you want to control a dead body you have to go in the way the soul left. It’s why most cultures put coins over the eyes. It had nothing to do with the boatman, it was all about not letting the dead rise. Silver works best, but any coin will do unless the necromancer is really powerful. Modern culture is pretty much the necromancy all you can eat buffet, because we don’t believe in silly superstitions any more.”

They gave Mike a quick lesson on how to load and fire a shot gun until Blake started shooting again. “If you can conjure any more fire save it till midnight and the big theatrics.” Adam pumped his gun once readying the chamber and then turned as the first zombies walked into the light from the flares.

Mike focused on his side of the clearing and fired hitting a zombie in the chest and pushing it backwards. It fell and began rising again a gaping hole blown through its chest. Mike fired again, aiming higher this time and blasted the head and a portion of the shoulders off of the creature. As more zombies came Mike fired again and again, reloaded and continued. Occasionally a zombie would reach the painted line and stop, is if pushing on an unseen wall. Mike could feel the pressure against the back of his mind as the beast tried to force its way in. It would only last moments before he or more often one of the others would quickly fire and remove the threat.

Adam had his combat shotgun slung over his shoulder and a spare drum of ammo laying on the platform in the center. He wielded a standard shotgun to hold the zombies back. In between gun shots Mike could hear him crying out in Hebrew. The words flowed over him and made their way inside his soul filling him with feelings of warmth and safety.

Jay lounged in the midst of the group on top of the star shaped platform in the center. As each zombie fell he laughed and mocked the four men as they stood against the undead tide. As the seconds passed into minutes and the bag of ammo hanging off Mike’s shoulder grew lighter Jay mocked his failing resources.

Then in an odd moment of stillness the air rung as the bells of Saint Gregory the Great began to toll. As they rang on the zombies halted their movement and rocked in place. As each bell tolled the cries of the dead roared back in answer. Jay rose to his feet in the middle of the platform and roared with laughter. “You know old man, there’s an excellent question you should have asked the boy?”

Albert turned towards the center and started reloading his shotgun. “Now would be an excellent time to get the big gun and if possible catch yourself on fire.”

Jay giggled, “did he add anything to the paint? Would have been a better question, then you might have learned he…”

“Added his own blood.” Albert shoved his shotgun into Jays stomach and pulled the trigger launching him up and over Adam and out of the circle. As Jay passed over the painted ring Mike felt a sharp pressure and then felt a sudden release as the circle broke. As Jay fell down into the horde of undead their arms reached up, caught him, and then they gently lowered Jay to the ground. The rest of the zombies walked towards Jay crowding in around him.

A bright white light shone up from the spot Jay disappeared into the horde and zombies walked into the light. More crowded in, long past the number that should have fit, as if they were passing into a pit. With each zombie that crossed into the light, the air grew more and more cold. Mike saw his breath hang in the air before him and wondered if the others were being effected the same way. As he look around he only saw the effect reflected in Adam, whose breath came in steady pulses, Albert stood holding his breath, and Blake was breathing through a respirator built into his suit that made a slight gurgling sound.

A great form began to rise up in the midst of the light and while Jays laughter grew in volume it and now seemed to be coming from somewhere up off the ground. The timber of his voice had changed, now a deep bass boomed like a drum. The church bells continued to toll and finally at the stroke of midnight the light exploded outward hurling three of the four men backward. Only Albert stood his ground.

Jay now stood before them thirty feet tall glowing with a brilliant white light that almost hurt the eyes. His body was beautiful, sculpted in the finest Greek tradition of rippling muscles and squared jaw. A golden toga now hung from his shoulder perfectly accentuating his massive legs and arms. His face was like Jays but now curly blonde locks framed cold sapphire eyes. The most notable feature were the two misshapen and long healed wing stumps protruding from behind his shoulders.

Jay leaned down until his face was only a few feet above Alberts who rose into the air until they were eye to eye. “So,” Jay’s voice echoed like a harp in a cave, “Impaler, we meet again after all these years. How long has it been? We do lose track in the darkness.”

“Hello Bel. That was a different lifetime. The man you knew died that night.”

“Oh, I imagine he wished he had.” Jay laughed, “or I suppose everyone else did. Tell me, did you save your kingdom?”

“You tell me. Now Adam.” Suddenly Albert dropped to the ground as Adam fired his combat shotgun into Jay’s chest. Jay staggered back under the onslaught a look of surprise on his face. After a few steps he backed into a large marble crypt knocking pieces of masonry away.

Jay pushed off and moved forward with surprising swiftness backhanding Adam across the clearing with a massive hand hurling him into a medium sized oak which split in half. “Ah, the Many. How are all of you doing?” Jay brought his hands up forming a single fist and slammed them down onto the earth. Adam rolled to one side allowing the fists to slam into the pavement leaving a huge crater where they impacted.

Adam stood and switched out the drum replacing it with his final cylinder, “How does it feel? Do you even remember what His love feels like?” Adam opened up with the gun again the rounds cutting into Jays forearm leaving a huge gash.

“How does it feel not having a soul?” Jay launched a second backhand at Adam who ducked under it only to be caught by the uppercut that followed in its wake launching him up and over the wrought iron fence.

Warmth filled Mike, it was coming easier now. He stepped forward and hurled the flames that gathered about his fists at Jay. Red welts appeared on his sides where the blasts hit him and quickly blackened. Jay roared in frustration as Albert leapt from the shadows and fired his shot gun only to back away into the mists that now formed around him. Blake took small steps constantly moving to keep Jay’s head in view, he had discarded his shotgun in favor of an HK assault rifle. Every round found its way into the side of Jay’s head. At first welts appeared but as he continued to fire he began to draw blood.

Jay turned on Blake and as the bullets hit and then began to tear into his face. Jay bellowed an odd gurgling noise that sounded oddly mocking. As he did he slammed his fists into the earth narrowly missing Blake. The shockwave knocked him off balance enough for Jay to pull his fists sideways and hurl Blake through the closed marble doors of a nearby crypt.

Jay grabbed a limb from the fallen tree and used it as a bat to catch Albert as he moved from the shadows with his shotgun. Albert lifted up off the ground and launched up into the sky. “Be gone Impaler, you’ve had your chance.”

Mike hurled more balls of flame at his old friend. Jay turned and rushed forward. “Ah the Traitor. Tell me boy, how does it feel to betray everything you’ve ever loved. Your parent’s, your family, and now your best friend. Do you think you can stop me? You couldn’t even save Tina.” Jay crouched down and screamed into Mike’s face.

The warmth in Mike’s body flickered and faded as he locked eyes with his childhood friend. “Your mother cries every night. Has your father ever really understood what sort of man you are? You destroyed your computer and stole his gun, can you really make up for that?”

Mike stared up at his old friend, he was right of course. Mike’s father would never forgive this, not this. What would he have left once he got home. Certainly his parents would throw him out and where would he go then? He pulled the 38 from his pocket, it still had three rounds in it. It would be so easy.

And yet something played at the back of his mind. He looked away into the distance and saw a bright light. Jay followed his gaze, “that’s right Mike, it’s the Lord and he’s calling you home.” Mike stared at the light as it grew, there was something about it that made him feel warm inside. Something that filled him with familiarity. “Just pull the trigger once and it will all be over. The pain will be gone.”

Mike thumbed the safety off and looked at his fathers gun. It would be so easy now. He cocked the hammer and started to raise the pistol to his head. “I’m sorry.”

Jay rocked backwards as Adam stepped into Mikes field of vision bringing both his fist across Jay’s jaw. Jay surprised by the sudden attack staggered back trying to raise his head and regain his footing. Adam moved in quickly swinging again and again at Jay pushing him back farther and farther from Mike. “Don’t listen son, it’s all a bunch of lies.”

Suddenly the bright light washed over him and music filled the air as the teams truck slammed through the wrought iron fence metal stakes tearing into its front, shredding the tires and wrenching the grill loose. The truck bounced off the pavement and slammed into Jay as he staggered backwards. Music filled the area blasting from the trucks sound system.

With the musical battle cry, “with the swords of a thousand men,” Wulf burst from the truck a knife in each hand white hot runes blazing away.

“Ah, the beast…” was as far as Jay got before Wulf pounced forward and drove both of his blades into the small of Jays back. Wulf then pulled one knife out and embedded it higher up Jays back next to his spine and in this way began to climb Jay aiming for his neck. Jay spun trying to dislodge the madman from his back as Wulf drew himself higher and higher. When Wulf finally reached the apex of his climb he let out a howl of rage and drove his knifes one at a time into Jays neck.

The back of the truck swung open and Wells stood awkwardly trying to keep his footing under the weight of a huge Gatling cannon. “Adam, come get Mary off my hands.”

Jay had finally managed to get his hands on Wulf and flipped him over slamming him down on a wrought fence driving some of the spiked poles up through his armor. He then spun on Wells as he handed the gun to Adam, “ah, the Madman. So what does it feel like to be a failure.”

Wells leaned to Adam who had taken Mary in one hand and was feeding a chain into the weapon, “What is he?”

“Fallen Angel.”

“Thank you.” Wells cracked his neck and yelled at Jay, “all right, you wanna play. Let‘s play. Maybe if you weren’t some whiney failure of a revolutionary, whose biggest accomplishment was to get kicked out of the really good party. It’s been so long since you’ve felt God’s love you wouldn’t know it now if it bit you on the ass. The best part of this whole thing, is that the only reason you threw your little tantrum was because daddy loved us more. Looking at you and the stink of failure that wafts off of you like crap in a tornado makes me wish closing my eyes did anything. So tell me Nancy, how does it feel to be second best?”

Jay screamed in unholy rage, grabbed Wells, and slammed him into the truck again and again. The windshield buckled, glass and metal flew of in huge chunks, the headlights exploded out, and the music skipped. In a final swift burst of frustration Jay launched Wells into the night. As Jay bellowed into the darkness huge tears began streaming down his face. Mike slowly lowered the 38 and dropped it to the ground.

The mechanical whir of a small engine roared to life as Adam walked forward, his now loaded Gatling cannon braced against his hip and an ammo chain feeding into the gun from a green case slung over his other shoulder. Every bullet tore into Jay leaving huge rents as chunks of flesh, blood, and sinew were ripped free and sent spilling out behind him. Jay’s cries echoed out against the night as the bullets cut him down.

Mike felt the warmth slowly return as he watched Adam move forward and the music wash over him. He stepped forward his hands bursting into flames once more. He hurled the flames into his old friend as Jay’s body slowly fell away and his size reduced. He hurled flames at his old friend as the toga shifted into a once familiar trench coat. He hurled flames until the Gatling canon motor stopped and his friends black hair returned. He hurled flames until Adam touched him on the shoulder and moved him away from his old friend.

*  *  *

It was hours later when the a small hunched man in overalls arrived with a flatbed to take the truck away. The rest of the team had returned one by one from their various landing places through out the graveyard. Wulf had pulled himself from the wrought iron post and was doing pretty well. In fact if he hadn’t known any better Mike would swear nothing had happened to him at all. They’d had to go find Wells who’d broken a leg when he’d landed and help him back to the area. Blake had staggered out of the crypt shortly after the fight ended. He had been dazed but seemed no the worse for wear. Albert had walked back on his own and looked weak, almost exhausted. He’d climbed into the back of the truck and picked up a thermos from the back asking to be left alone for a while.

As the hunched man went about loading the truck onto the flat bed Mike stood around and talked to Adam, “so that was a fallen angel?”

“Yeah, not what you were expecting?”

“I always thought, you know forked tail and stuff.”

“Common misconception. Their punishment was to no longer bask in His love, misshapen and deformed is just something people decided had happened.”

“Why was he talking to us that way? Kept calling us, traitor, many, madman. He was talking about our failures?”

“If he can get someone to kill themselves in his name, it completes the ritual and his transformation to this world becomes permanent. They all have some sort of trigger like that. His was suicide.”

“Why did he call everybody what he called them anyway, I get why he called me traitor, but the many? The impaler?”

There was movement from the ground where the angel had been defeated. Jay stood up in the middle of the circle. He moved forward on shaky legs, his hands gripping the edge of the star shaped monument, “Mike?
Is that you?”

“Jay. You’re alive?” Mike jumped up and started to move towards his old friend when Albert stepped in-between them and plunged a wooden stake into Jay’s chest. For a long moment Jay stood there with a look of surprise on his face and then burst in to dust and separated on the wind.

“There are enough vampires in the world.” Albert turned faced Mike, “that’s why he called me impaler.”

A new voice drifted out of the darkness, “Really, because if I remember my history there was an entirely different reason for it.” A tall, lanky man in a duster walked into the clearing carrying a long wooden staff. “In the words of every English Bobbie ever, what’s all this then?”

Albert stepped away from Mike and leaned against the flatbed, “took you long enough to get here.”

“Traffic was terrible, there were zombies backing up the expressway. Thank you for your concern Mr. Bitey or do you prefer Count Bitey?”

“God, I hate you.”

Mike watched the exchange between the two men and asked, “who are you?”

Albert spoke up, “in the interest of a straight answer. He’s the man whose going to take you to the wizards for training.”

“But I thought…”

“I’m not the kind of training you need, I use a different power source than you. He’ll get you the training you need.”

“Can I still talk to you from time to time?”

“Certainly.” Albert placed his hand on Mike’s shoulder, “you’re a good kid and I’ll bet that one day you’ll do great things. Right now they need you and you need them. This’ll be the best for everyone.”

“If, if you say so.”

The hunched man approached and coughed politely, “a cab has been summoned for you and your compatriots sir, it should be at the castle out front soon. I’m ready to leave and with your permission I will take the truck back to the garage.”

“Certainly Jim, that would be fine We’ll be sending Wells with you since he won’t make it to the front on his leg. Drop him at Dr. Jack’s then bring the truck to the garage.”

“Yes sir.”

As Adam walked by carrying him Wells nodded to the new man, “stretch.”


They watched the truck drive away and the rest of the team came over to say good bye to Mike. He shook each man’s hand before they headed off. He watched them go listening to Wulf and Albert talk about tweaking the runes on the armor for a better result.

Mike reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone to call home and sparks shot out of the key pad.

“Not another one.”

“We don’t get along very well with technology.” The new man placed his arm around Mike’s shoulder and started walking him towards the street. “Let me buy you a cup of coffee and I’ll tell you all about it."


I hope you all enjoyed it. If you get a chance head on over to facebook and tell me what you thought or just leave a comment below. Until next time, happy Halloween.

A slight edit here, we've continued the story of team and if you're interested in seeing their next adventure head on over to The Sorority Snow Bunnies on Death Mountain.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ode to Superheroes and Super Villains

Right vs. Wrong

They battle every day
Through the gleaming glass towers of Metropolis
The farmers ethic vs. corporate greed

They match wits at night
In the dark twisted shadows of Gotham alleys
A child’s need for order vs. the chaos of the world

They test their strength
Across Gateway cities urban canvas of color and sound
A woman’s self reliance vs. using sex as her only asset

They face their foes
Through Coast City a testament to mans desire to rise again
Force of will vs. fear of failure

They meet in combat
Through the crowded, life teeming streets of Central City
The need of progress vs. the desire to go back

They clash like mighty armies
Through the undersea life filled plazas of Atlantis
Living with nature vs. ruling it

They have always meant more
Than people in colorful costumes
These are the heroes of my youth

Hey all, hope you enjoy the new poem a new topic vote is up on Facebook head on over and leave vote for next week or leave a comment about this poem, I'd love to hear the.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Extra-life AAR

Extra-Life after action report

Well, as promised I'm back to give a more detailed report on the events of the day. I started at exactly 8:00 a.m. playing Ocrs Must Die 2 and eating a doughnut from the dozen I had picked up from Stan the Donut Man. I had decided it would be nice to have breakfast for everyone who came.

At about 8:20 my first guest arrived, Allison Duke, and she brought a dozen doughnuts from Bill’s doughnuts. We started with Castle Panic, a game of tower defense where you are the defenders of a castle besieged by orcs, goblins, and troll. Since it’s an easy game to add people to and plays well with two players I had it set up the night before to make sure we could play right as soon as people arrived. We did this for about an hour before my third guest arrived mid-game. Joe Herbert, also entering with a dozen doughnuts from Krisp Kreme, preceded his brother Mark, who did not bring doughnuts, by about ten minutes.

After two successful games the four of us switched to Smash Up until Allison’s husband John showed bearing Wendy’s.  Smash up is a card game where you take two decks of cards representing different factions and shuffle them together and attempt to destroy bases better than the other players. The current games factions include; dinosaurs, Martians, ninjas, pirates, robots, tricksters, wizards, and zombies, so you can imagine how strange some of the combinations get. While finishing our game of Smash Up and discussing playing Risk: Legacy an old friend of mine I hadn’t seen in quite sometime, Scot Lane, arrived to great fan faire. Since there were six of us it was decided to put off playing Risk and instead play a game John had brought, Flash Point: Fire Rescue.

Flash Point is a co-operative game where you play firefighters attempting to save people from a burning building. It’s really hard, fire keeps popping up all over the board while your running in and out trying to save people. Everyone has a different roll on the squad that comes with it‘s own special rules, from the Fire Chief who can move other characters on his turn to the paramedic who can heal people in the building so they are easier to get in and out. It’s a tough, nearly impossible game where if anything goes wrong it does so in spades. Giant flaming spade that are twenty feet high. It’s a lot of fun, after we lost our first two games we still wanted to play again right away. We finally succeeded on our third game just after Joe left for work. To be fair, I’m not saying we won because Joe left, I’m just saying Joe left and we won. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Dinner was finished, I had decided to make crock-pot chili and try something a little different. Have you ever made pulled pork in the crock-pot where you leave it in there with some liquid to cook for 8-10 hours and get all tender and fall apart? When you do that in chili it’s amazing. I hope to do it again someday but will need a bigger crock-pot.

Since there were once again five of us we played Risk: Legacy. Some people have commented on how they used to play Risk and thought it was interesting that we got to play that as well. This is not that Risk, the game comes with several packets that you don’t open until things happen during the game, some of which can’t happen until you’ve opened some of the packs. Certain events cause irreparable changes be made to the board. Cities are founded, countries are destroyed, and lands are irradiated. You literally rip cards in half because you will never use them again. It is one of the most amazing games I have ever played, makes you oddly giddy. Everyone who came yesterday played at least one game and has signed the board, I will be posting a picture later, not of the front of the board, the part we signed. No spoilers here.

As the games of Risk went on, a friend of mine names Keith Tyra showed up and sat in giving us the shortest ever game of Risk in History, 6 turns. My Niece, Molly and here father Mike Mayne showed up, I am going to have to get Molly to sign the board since she was nice enough to roll dice for me. They stayed long enough to drop some stuff off and then had to run.

A woman I used to work with, Amberly Hoffman showed up next and we discovered the small world principal still in action. It turns out that she and Mark knew each other from a job they both had but had no idea the three of us knew one another. After catching up we played a quick game of Dixit. Dixit is a game of deduction on empathy where you play cards with very beautiful art on them and try and guess whose is whose. It’s very fun, but as it was a bit past midnight we we’re getting confused and having a bit of trouble thinking.

We played another game of Risk so Amberly could sign the board.

Afterwards we tried a quick game of Descent which is a semi-cooperative dungeon delving adventure game. This was also one of John’s and sadly as he had been painting some of the figures and taken the monsters stat cards out of the box we had to cobble the figures stats together from memory, and the internet. We still had fun and the heroes managed to just beat the bad guys in the last turn of the game. And alas after a hard days work Amberly had to go.

Joe returned and we broke out a game called seven wonders and played a few games of this. Seven Wonders is a game where each player is a different ancient civilization attempting to build it’s own wonder of the world while also advancing it’s civilization. Everyone gets a hand of cards selects and plays one and then passes then rest to their neighbors. This continues for three rounds making the game not only, what you need to improve your nation but keeping your neighbor from getting what he needs. We finished three games and then sadly Scot had to go and bid us all a fond farewell.

We played a final game of Risk so Joe could sign the board. They’re becoming much more vicious and hard hitting.

We got out Smash up and played some more until Keith had to leave do to time and exhaustion. With just three of us left we decided to play Castle Panic and end the day the way we had started. In the last half hour I started to get a little fuzzy and fade in and out. In the end I made it the full 24 hours and we saved the castle. Most importantly we raised $270 for children’s miracle network.

I want to thank everyone who came and played; Allison Duke, Joe Herbert, Mark Herbert, John Duke, Keith Tyra, Scot Lane, Molly Mayne, and Amberly Hoffman. I’d also like to thank everyone who sponsored me; Alex Gifford, Scot Lane, Terri Furnas, Fred Mayne, Marianne Mayne, Adam Green, and Susan Thomas. Without you this wouldn’t have happened. I would also like to thank my Grandmother whose house we used for the event. Thanks again to everyone. It was a great day.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Paranormal SWAT #3

Greetings all, we've arrived at week three and story three. Once again we're following the adventures of the Paranormal S.W.A.T. if you'd like to see them from the beginning head back to Cul-De-Sac to Hell. This week we take a look at the idea that not all monsters are supernatural or strangers. Hope you enjoy it and remember to tune in next week for a more traditional story of monsters and beasts.

Paranormal S.W.A.T.
Supernatural Weapons & Arcane Tactics
The Death Squad of Champaign County

It was an hour after sunset when the trucks headlights broke the thick fog that  clung to the ground like a wet carpet. It was particularly dense this time of year as the temperature began to drop and the dense canopy from the forest blocked the little heat provided by the sun. The truck shuddered under the weight of it’s cargo as it bounced on the lip of the bridge over the river that nearly encircled the town. The truck slowed as it approached the massive protective barrier built around the town and passed through the huge stone gate before finally entering the town of Refuge.

Before the truck had even stopped Douglas Wulf, close quarters fighter and wilderness survival expert, jumped out and jogged the last few yards to the community square. People filed out of beautiful ranch homes and called out in excitement gathering around Wulf to pat him on the back and hug him. Cheerfully he returned the hugs and greetings, stopping to pat children on the head, and smiling at the faces of long missed friends.

“Hello brother,” a tall powerfully built man with long blond hair hanging loosely down his back waved as he walked towards the gathering. “It is good to have you home.”

“Joseph,“ Wulf broke away from the crowd and moved up the slight hill towards his brother where they hugged deeply for several seconds. “It is good to see you as well, I only wish it were under happier circumstances.”

“It is what it is.” Joseph nodded toward the rest of the team as they unloaded from the truck, “and why are they here?”

“Their my team.”

Joseph stepped away not taking his eyes off the others, “This is a community matter, we should deal with it ourselves.”

“No.” Wulf shook his head, “There’s a team of heavily armed killers coming here to murder every man, woman, and child. You call me and tell me this and think I’m not gonna bring the best people I know for this sort of thing. If you wanted this handled internally then you shouldn’t have called me.”

Captain Albert Card, the teams leader and sorcerer, approached the two men stretching his arms and wiping the sleep from his eyes. “Hello, Joseph. I’m glad we could come up and help.” He reached out his hand to take Josephs.

Placing his hands in his pockets, “it was unnecessary. We can deal with this problem ourselves.”

Albert pulled his hand back, “I have no doubt of that, but we need to know where these people came from and who gave them their information. Historically, you fine people don’t leave anyone in any kind of condition to answer these questions. Do you at least know why their here?”

“Yes, We know why their here, they did in fact announce their intentions. It was awful decent of them, they gave us twenty-four hours to repent our sins and give up witchcraft.”

Wulf let out a bark of laughter, “they think you’re witches?”

“Yes, it is very amusing.” Joseph smiled and joined Wulf in his laughter.

Albert turned toward the truck and started back, “God, I hate witch hunters.”

Dr. Griffin Wells, the teams scout and forensics expert, watched as Albert approached, “so what’s the word?”

“There‘s witch hunters in the mist, on the upside I’m pretty sure their cocky and self confident.”

“What makes you think that?”

“They’re not here yet. Seriously, if we we’re going after just a coven of witches, much less an entire community, you guys would have hit it long before now. You don’t  go after witches at night? That and since their still not here I’m guessing they’re planning on hitting the community at midnight, so it’ll be more challenging or God help us honorable.”

Rabi Adam Stein, expert in religious studies and heavy weapons operator, stepped out of the back of the truck carrying an assault shotgun, “so these are just people?”

Wells looked into the back of the truck, “that means regular bullets. Do we have regular bullets?”

Adam ignored him, “Do you want to wait here and set up a perimeter?”

Albert looked around the town, “I’d rather not, there’s going to be to much collateral damage if we fight here. Ultimately, I’d like to take it to them.”

Adam began fastening his armor over his black turtleneck, “if we do in fact have to fight that makes sense, but how do we find them in between now and then?”

Albert looked over at the teams final member, who was throwing a ball with some of the local children. “I think we should send Blake.”

“Are you sure about that,” said Wells, “that’s a pretty big break of the ‘never split up’ rule. Plus if anyone was going do it, it should be me. I mean, I am the sneakiest bastard here.”

Albert sighed, “true to both, but with seventy-five percent of the terrain out there being rivers and ponds, I’m guessing it’ll be hard for you to find a path and with water it’s got to be Blake. As for splitting up, while that’s a great rule for the supernatural,  these are a bunch of guys with guns and I don’t foresee them having the same response skill set. Plus their looking for witches, not us. I seriously doubt they will have prepared for us.”

Wells chuckled, “you want to cackle maniacally and hope for lightning?”

Adam reached into one of the drawers in the truck and pulled out a flare gun, “I’d at least give him this. If he gets into trouble he can signal for help.”

Albert took the flare gun and called Blake over. Blake Lagoona, trained in aquatic operations and a gifted sniper, tossed the ball back to one of the kids, waved and jogged back to the team. Using sign language he asked, (what do you need boss).

Albert quickly laid out the plan for him and handed Blake the flare gun. Giving him an hour and no more he sent Blake off. Blake jogged away and with a barley audible splash dove into the river and was gone.

After they watched him go Adam separated from Wells and Albert to let them plan the rest of the evening. He slowly walked over to were Wulf was leaning against a house watching some children play and leaned his seven foot frame against the wall, “you OK?”

“Yeah, it’s just been to long since I was back.”

“Other than two weeks ago?”

“No, I mean, I don’t know.”

“It’s OK, I understand, you haven’t spent any real time here since we formed the team. A long weekend every three weeks or so isn’t the same as a prolonged visit. Maybe next month, when the busy season passes, you can take a bit off and spend real time here?”

“I’d like that. I just miss this place so much. And it feels weird to be here now, like I’m a stranger in my own home. There’s new faces, I used to greet everyone who came here, and help with the transition. Plus with everything on the internet lately and all the increased activity out there.” Wulf made a vague motion with his hand in the direction of Chicago. “I just want a chance to be normal again.”

“To be fair, normal set sail on the five of us a long time ago.”


 “Saying that, I’ll talk to Albert and make sure you get to spend real time here after the Halloween.”

*  *  *

Two hours later, the team was gathered in the woods just outside of a small camp full of men. With only a couple of hours till midnight Adam had convinced Albert to attempt to talk it out. “After all,” he had argued, “they think they’re hunting witches, if they find out the truth they may just leave.”

The camp itself was a small sparse affair, set up in a very military fashion with clean lines and minimal waste. As Albert approached the camp he noted no singing, which probably meant no alcohol. He had hoped for alcohol, it would have been a sign that they were armatures. There were fifteen men in the camp, at least that had been Blake’s best estimate without getting to close. They were clearly getting ready for a raid and each one moved with the precision born of routine, gathering gear, prepping weapons, and donning armor.

They had set up in what was now a fairly large clearing, maybe fifty feet across, and several recently removed trees spoke to just how they had gotten such a large perimeter. Several large halogen lights were pointed out into the new field and the hum of the generator that had led Blake to them whirred on. One side of the camp had backed up against a lake and several flat bottom fan boats stood at the ready, clearly their planned approach on Refuge.

Albert stood in the woods just outside of the light, and listened for the team to report they had arrived at their positions. Three good to go’s and a double click let him know everyone was in place. With that he gave a short count and called out, “Hey, you in the camp.”

Everyone immediately turned and began readying weapons, he could hear bolts being slammed closed and clips being driven home. The men he could make out from his hiding spot had begun focusing on the woods in all directions, though quite a few had discerned his location and were aiming weapons at his position.

“Hold your fire. I’m coming out to talk.” Albert with his hands up at his sides walked out of the woods and moved a few feet into the clearing. At this point he was an easy target, even if his armor hadn’t had the glowing white runes on it, but all he could do was wait until someone in charge said something.

Finally, a man in his mid thirties came out of a slightly larger tent in the middle of the camp. He took one last drag on a cigarette and blew out the smoke in a long slow inhale before flicking the butt off into the lake. “Stay ready men, but less not star’ shootin’ jus’ yet.” He moved to the edge of the camp and called out to Albert, “you wanna meet half way? Would tha’ be ecumenical to you?”

“That would be agreeable.”

“Very well. Now, I suppose I don’t have ta tell ya,” indicating the armed men around him, “I got a mess a guns trained on you. Just like I’m certain you got at least a couple trained on me.”

“I suppose not.”

Albert moved slowly towards his new opponent sizing him up as he went. Albert’s eyes flickered over the mans pearl handled revolver tucked loosely into a leather holster on his right hip. Military issue combat fatigues were neatly pressed and tucked fastidiously into the tops of his calf skin combat boots. Custom fit combat armor clung to his body but still allowed for a distinct swagger as he strolled easily across the field. Albert stopped short of the ten foot mark looking at the ornate iron crucifix that hung loosely from the mans neck.

With a slight bow the man said, “Colonel Darius Jacobs Winterhaven, at your service.”

“Albert Ulysses Card,” and returned the bow.

“Am I to assume ‘at this is about ‘at little town up ta rivah.?”

“Refuge. It is. I’d like to ask you to take a pass on this one and go away. Quite frankly, violence would be inconvenient tonight.”

“We gave ‘em the opportunity ta repent thay sins. Thay ‘ave chosen not to. If thay wish to keep witchcraft in thay ‘arts then I fear we ‘ave no choice but to cleanse ‘em.”

“I would accept that if it were true, hell we’d help, but they aren’t witches.”

Darius pulled a pack of cigarettes from his chest pocket, “Ya mind If’n I smoke?”

“Go ahead.”

Darius tapped a long thin European cigarette from the pack and offered one to Albert who refused. After returning the pack he removed a silver lighter with an ornate cross on the side from the same pocket that lit with a dancing green flame. “A filthy habit, I should quit, but in this line a work it’s rarely the cigarettes tha’ kill ya.”

“To often that’s the truth. Did your lighter tell you what you needed to know?”

Darius chuckled, “I see your versed in tha tools of tha trade. It says you think your tellin’ tha truth. However, yull ‘ave ta forgive my doubt at your intentions, your runes do speak a differen’ story.”

“I’ve never claimed to be good. In fact, in our line of work, I often find the opposite to be far more useful.”

“You could repent. I’d be willlin’ and capable of hearin‘ ‘ur confession.”

“I’ll give you points for persistence. Sadly, I cannot be saved. I’ve spilled far to much blood, guilty and innocent, to ever be redeemed.”

“It sounds ta me like your punishin’ yourself. It is a choice I can respect even though I don‘t necessarily agree wit‘ it.” He took a long drag on the cigarette, “As to the residents of the town, we have iron clad proof that they is what we claim.”

“I want to be perfectly clear on this. You have proof their witches?” Albert locked eyes with Darius it was his most subtle trick and something he felt the men in camp wouldn‘t notice at this range. He held Darius’s attention keeping they’re eyes locked, the lighter conversation had been just enough of a distraction form him to pull off the mesmerism.

“Proof they witches, absolutely. We don’ jus’ wipe out whole villages cause we feel like it.”

“I’d love to see your proof.”

“See our proof, absolutely.” Darius yelled over his shoulder, “Johnson. Bring me the folder from my tent.”

A young man, somewhere in his early twenties, shouldered his weapon and jogged back into the large tent, after a few moments he jogged out to the middle of the clearing holding a think manila envelope. As he approached he held the file out to their Colonel who was about to grab it from him.

“Could he give me the file?”

“You the file, absolutely. Son take it over to ‘im.”

Johnson paused a moment, “yes sir,” then he walked over and handed the file to Albert.
“I don’t think we need anymore targets out here, I wouldn’t mind pausing while Mr. Johnson gets back to camp.”

“Back ta camp, absolutely. Johnson, get yourself under some cover.”

“Yes sir.” Johnson turned and jogged back to the barricade.

“You mind if I take a moment to look at this?”

“Look at it, absolutely.”

Albert quickly opened the file and began flipping pages, “So, I‘m guessing Johnson is reporting back that something’s wrong right now isn‘t he?.”

“Something wrong, absolutely.”

“I’m guessing your all programmed to use the word absolutely at the end of every sentence when hypnotized.”

“Hypnotized, absolutely.”

“It’s a shame really, I like you and in another place and time I think we would have been friends.”

“Friends, absolutely.”

A low wumph echoed from the camp and Albert turned and ran for the woods as a tear gas canister slammed into Darius’s back, knocking him face first to the ground. Albert used the cover of the cloud to mask his movements as he ran for the lifesaving cover of the trees. Flares of light and noise exploded behind him as his own team began taking out the halogen lights illuminating the field. As he dove forward into the woods bullets ricocheting off his armor Wulf moved out of the darkness just a little way off to one side in a low crouch.

Wulf moved quickly across the field the red runes on his armor giving off little light through the cloud of teargas. When he ducked into the cloud, the Colonel was presumably back to camp with the rest of his men. Wulf sprawled on the ground listening to the shots coming from the woods on both sides easily able to recognize the HK assault rifles of Adam and Wells over the Remington’s used by the witch hunters.

After a few moments of intense fire everyone began to start reloading and waiting for someone to give up their position in the woods. Wulf took one deep breath and raised himself up on his knees and elbows. After a three count he charged into the camp and in a few short strides and one leap he was over the wall into the midst of their enemy.

He danced around, his twin knives flashing against the armor and flesh of the witch hunters. At first there was panic, how did he get there so quickly, none of them had prepared for this, they had come to fight witches, not commandos. Each of Wulf’s blades became less and less effective as the men switched from their rifles to the more personal weapons. They began to coordinate and push back, he felt a knife strike his arm and another blade dig into his leg. He began to falter and moaned into his ear piece, “anytime now.”

In answer Adam cried out, “grab dirt.”

Wulf stepped backwards away from his foes and with a quick movement dove over the barricade just as Adam began firing his automatic shotgun through the camp at waist height. Tents exploded and men screamed as the shells tore through armor and flesh. Adam slowly moved the weapon from right to left toward the lake cutting men down as he went. Under his breath he gave up a small prayer for each of their souls.

As his gun destroyed the camp Adam began walking, his dark imposing from moving slowly forward, he was death himself come on judgment day. Some men stood and tried to fire back but even as they raised their weapons he cut them down. Some men ran, and as they fled Adam watched as one lone man rifle in hand stood to defend his fallen friends.

Johnson stood readying his rifle, trying to grasp the trigger not realizing his arm was gone. Adam stepped over the barrier and took the gun from the young man.

“It’s all right son. You can rest now.”

Johnson began to cry, “I don’t want to be buried in a swamp. I wanna go home.”

“I promise, I’ll get you home.” Adam, lay the young man to the ground, closed his eyes, and waited for him to be gone.

Wells watched as two men came charging towards him in the dark, at the last minute he stepped out and prepared to fire his trusty sawn-off. As he pulled the trigger one of the men, higher ranking by the decorations on his shoulder grabbed the other and used his body as a shield. Both of Wells barrels emptied into the mans chest knocking him back into the officer.

The officer shoved the dead man forward, and drew a long thin rapier from his waist then moved towards Wells. Wells stepped to the dead body and grabbed a similar sword from it’s belt then holding his shotgun in his left hand and the sword in his right he began backing away. His feet stumbled over the roots and trees about him and the officer lunged, Wells barely deflecting the blade into his shoulder.

The officer pushed his advantage, stabbing into Wells leg forcing his to stagger off to one side. Wells swung the sword inexpertly in a wide stroke and the officer blocked the blade easily. Wells tried again and again each strike easily blocked by the officer. Wells lunged and the officer parried and brought the blade up and drove it into Wells side just under his armored vest. Wells staggered back, his breath coming in short labored gasps.

“Ah, my friend, you are pitiful.”

“Thanks, I practice.”

I have spent years training with a sword and you clearly have rarely, if ever held one. Do you really think you can beat me?”

“I don’t have to kill you. I just have to distract you long enough for my friend, the walking murder machine, to sneak up on you with his knives.”

The officer spun, his sword at the ready to block the strike from Wulf’s blades. As he turned Wells stepped forward and rammed his sword up into the mans back. As the last breath gurgled from his lips Wells laughed, “Seriously, you fell for look out behind you? God, your stupid.”

Off in the distance the last few men charged up the shore towards the airboats only to have them explode as they reached them. As they staggered backwards grasping at their heads to recover from the explosions Blake leapt up out of the lake, his assault riffle poised and ready. Several men realizing what had happened began grabbing weapons and preparing to defend themselves until Blake made it evident that he would shoot them. They each paused and, after a moment of indecision, dropped their guns.

*  *  *

In the end, sixteen men died and three were taken prisoner. As Adam and Albert searched the camp for information and ID’s they noticed a complete lack of the Colonel. Somehow in the midst of all the fighting he had managed to sneak away.

They had been searching for an hour when Joseph and a few men from the village had come up. Joseph greeted Wulf with a smile, “brother, it is good to see you have survived the evening. I see that you were successful.”

Wulf remained seated on the sandbags and looked at Joseph, “Yeah. We all did.”

“Of course, good news all around.”

Albert stepped forward holding a beat up file, “I was wondering when you’d show.”

Without taking his eyes off Joseph Wulf broke in, “if you don’t mind Al, I think I’ll handle this myself.”

Albert handed Wulf the folder and backed away slowly.

“Brother, what is the matter?”

“We found their information about the village, god bless armored foot lockers. Although, I’m guessing you’ll have a different opinion.” Wulf threw the file at Joseph. “This is all you, every piece of information is from you.”

“Brother, I don not know where you got your information, but…”

“Do you really think we’re that stupid. We’ve seen the website. You think we don’t know that exists? You think we haven’t seen the forum posts, Facebook page, and the editorials. Do you know Refuge is on a cult watch list?” Wulf jumped to his feet and began pacing. “You think I didn’t notice the two new faces?”

“I don not know…”

“The kid and the older guy who every fiber of his being screams PI. The kids depressed as hell, did you even talk to his parents, let him talk to his parents, explain what were trying to do here?”

“They would not understand.”

“Of course not, and what could possibly go wrong with that system. Oh, I know they hire a private investigator to find their son. That man looks afraid to breath out loud. I don’t think he’s slept in a week.”

“I handled it, he is in the community now, everything is going to be fine.”

“Yeah, because once the PI stops reporting in everyone’s gonna drop it. I mean it’s not like anyone’s gonna to call the cops.”

“You have been gone too long, you do not understand. You need to come home, then everything will be OK.”

“Is. Is that what this is all about? Getting me to come home?”

“Of course, now that you have seen the community is in danger you have to come home to help protect us. The outside world is no place for us, you should never have left. But that does not matter now, once we deal with these three and your team no one will bother us anymore. Even if they do we will simply handle it as we have been. They can join the community or they can die.”

Silence filled the clearing for a long moment until Wells broke it by audibly pumping his shotgun.

One of Josephs men turned to grin at Wells, “you think you can stop me little man?”

“You bet Sparky. Now you and Puddles sit before I rub your noses in it.”

Wulf stood in silence for a long time and starred at Joseph and the others. Slowly he sat back on the barrier starring at his brother. “Sixteen good men died tonight because you want me to come home?”

“They weren’t good men, they were hunters.”

“No, they were good men, they were just lied to. We’ve looked at your frame up, it’s absolute. Since their Colonel escaped I can only assume they’ll be more unless something is done about it.”

“As I said, we will handle it Brother.”

Wulf stood and in one smooth motion drew a knife from his waist, spun it upright, and drove it up under Josephs ribs into his heart. “You’ve handled enough brother.” As he slowly slid his brother to the ground he drew the blade and looked at the crimson runes dancing across the surface of the silver blade. It didn’t give him the reassurance he had hoped for.

*  *  *

Adam finished loading Johnson’s body into the coffin in the back of the truck while most of the team sat nearby and watched the mourners carry Josephs body away. The three prisoners had been locked in a small house on one side of the village for their own safety. Albert watched Wulf walk away from an excited young man and back towards the team. “What do you think he’ll do?”

Adam thought on it for a second, “what’s right.”

Wulf came to a stop a little way from the group, “Hey guys.”

Adam walked away and motioned for Wells and Blake to follow. Albert looked at Wulf, “kid looks happy.”

“Yeah, I told him to call his parents and invite them up here. They need to know what were doing and be walked through how this place works. Everybody here has the same disease, once we stop treating it as a greater than thou calling, everything should be fine.”

“So, you’re staying?”

“For a little while yeah. I looked at the books and Joseph has totally screwed this place up. There’s stuff we never found, he’s really made a mess of how this place looks from the outside.”

“What about the new guys?” Albert nodded to the house with the three witch hunters.

“I think I need to arrange a meeting with their superiors and try and figure out how to achieve a peace. I don’t want to keep going to war with these people, they‘re really good.”

“Well, if you need anything give us a call. We’re only two hours away, provided the expressway isn’t a parking lot.”

“So, your three hours away.” They laughed, longer than necessary. “There is something, the new tack armor you got worked up for me, could you send it up, I’ll try it out next week and see if it does what you say.”

“If you’re sure?”

“Next month is October and you seem to think you’re not gonna need me at full capacity plus a little extra for every night of the month?”

“Ok, we’ll send it up with the coffins and address for the men we killed. Adam is being insistent, apparently he made a promise.“

“Sound like him.”

“Anyway, I’ll see you in a couple weeks,” with that Albert climbed into the back of the truck, closed the door, and with three hours before sunrise they were gone.


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Paranormal S.W.A.T.