The young man and the sea

November 25, 2012

Footsteps sparkled in the sun, impressions in the soft wet sand filled by spray from the roaring surf.

He bent knee as a salty breeze pulled gently at a few wild strands of hair. The red plastic cup was battered but bright in his fingers, and he dipped it into the rising tide.

Triumphantly, he held aloft his glittering prize, marveling at the play of light on water. “There is nothing I do not control,” he whispered.

His words were lost in a dull roar. Behind him, the sea continued to swell, unabated.


Tsundere of Mysteries

September 10, 2008

Pastoral’s voice filtered through, strong but indistinct. “Synchronicity.”

I winced. “I don’t really want to go into it, but you deserve some explanation. I’ll know when I need to act.”

“How will you know?”

“I get certain cues. I’m sure you are not unfamiliar with the concept.”


I tapped my ear. “Yes. Be right back.”

I saw her shadow enter before I saw her. A reflective black coat, open to the summer night, framed a Victorian dress, creating a look not at all spoiled by the sleek weapon she slipped out with a gloved left hand. The DJ abruptly switched tracks and I knew that it was on.

To their credit, the guards immediately to her left and right knew something was amiss as soon as the tip of the jet-black handle started coming out of her coat. But even as they made contact and closed their hands around her arms, I knew they had made a mistake. Supernatural speed does not mean very much if you don’t think fast enough to go along with it. A split-second later, the crack of four wrists echoed off the brick wall behind me, and a split-second after that, the stutter of the submachine gun split the air.

In a sense it was a poor choice of weapon, I thought as I reached for the flask in my left pocket and flung it behind me. The liquid silver splashed out, pooling under the exit, and I automatically moved on to the next door. More than a few glasses had dropped and shattered, adding to the general confusion, so while one more might be noticed, I felt it was a reasonable risk.

The uzi continued unabated. Slugs flew, racking up property damage, gauging shallow furrows through flesh, and spraying blood through the air, but this was frankly no more than a cosmetic annoyance for the clientele. More than one of the lords paused, making irritated noises, and gestured for members of their retinue to clear out the nuisance. Guns are notoriously ineffective against the undead.

This, of course, was just what she wanted them to think. As she continued her noisy but largely ineffectual fusillade, I silvered two more exits – the other fire escape and the window. One of the elite guards, who’d been a mercenary in life, charged head-on into the cone of fire, bringing a knife down and slicing neatly through the Uzi. Calmly, as if she had not just been deprived of her only weapon, she brought her right hand around – ungloved and index finger first – and put it cleanly through his head. The fingernail came out the back of the skull, dislodging bone fragments and grey matter.

Then she opened her hand.

It got pretty messy after that.


February 4, 2008

The Princess of Eight shifted her parasol ever so slightly, exposing a portion of her face. Under the shadow cast by her pastel-pink bonnet, a single shining iris caught the light, and her eye met those of the man across the room. Raising her left hand, she crooked a finger imperceptibly.

With a lurch, the man’s body responded. Abject terror came over his features, as he jerkily lifted one foot high in the air, moved it forward, and planted it on the ground in front of him. Then his back foot moved. His neck was rigid, but his eyes rolled down, trying to confirm with his sight what he knew to be true. His mouth worked, but no sound came out. Eventually it set in a rictus grin as he stopped concentrating on speech and instead tried to stop walking.

Body spasming, fighting control and panic in equal measures, he stepped across the threshold.

In an instant the mists were upon him, and he vanished from Grell’s sight. When they dispersed, all that remained was a red puddle on the floor.