Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Long Road into Night #31 – Halloween

It has been 31 days since you first stepped onto the dark road.  Even at your journey’s end, it still seems like the beginning.  Once again you exit the woods, and stand beside the road.  You look both ways, and it seems to stretch on forever in each direction.

“You do realize, that on the stupid scale, this ranks pretty high,” Ellie commented, as she stepped up beside you.

“Yeah, I guess it kind of does,” you muttered. 

You had been only half listening to her complaints over the last hour.  The points she made were good but not what you wanted to hear.  You did give some consideration, to her argument, on not dying.  That was at least one thing you didn’t plan on doing this night.  Again you glanced down the road in each direction again.  Frustratingly, they had looked the same. 

Ellie saw what you were doing.

“Do you even know which way you are going?” she asked in an exasperated tone.

“Nope,” you flatly replied.  “Do you?”

“Meek don’t usually travel the road,” Ellie stated.  “It’s a good way to get you killed, and trust me… Here it usually sticks.”

“Then I would be open to a suggestion,” you turned to her.  “Which way looks better to you?”

“My suggestion is the same as it was before.  Go home,” she snapped.  Then with a sigh, Ellie added, “There’s no such thing as a better way here.  If you stay, you’re only going to die.  It’s that simple.”

You give her a wry crooked smile that seems to annoy her.

“I don’t believe that’s going to happen,” you said with some confidence.

“Then which way, are we going to go?” she asked.  A bit of sarcasm was entering her tone.  “I don’t have any coins for you to flip.”

“I thought we might ask him,” you nod toward the other side of the road.

Ellie gasped at what she saw.

Right across the road from them a hooded, dark robed figure stood.  It was the ‘One’.

“Did you think I was finished with you?”  The ‘One’ asked, in that echoing deep voice of his, or then again it could be a ‘hers’.  It was sort of hard to see beneath that hood, and so far you only got a glimpse of it bony, fleshless hand.  “Our business this night is not done.”

You stare into the shadowy hood for a moment.

“A matter of settling accounts, I recall you saying,” you replied cautiously.  Memories of your last meeting with him were not pleasant.  It was then that you decided the ‘One’ was definitely a ‘him’.  A woman with that voice would just be downright scary.

“That is correct,” the ‘One’ answered.  “No debt to me ever goes unpaid.”

“See now…” you winced slightly.  “There’s the problem… My debt was not to you.”

There was a rustling in the woods behind you.  Then from the trees’ shadows walked a large black wolf.  The Hunter of the long night stepped to the edge of the road.  Ellie nearly jumped out of her skin, but you wave for her to be calm. 

“I don’t remember you being so jumpy,” You whispered jokingly to her.

“Well, I used to be alive back then too, and taller,” She retorted.  “Things change, especially in this place.”

You turned back to face the ‘One’.

“The debt you spoke of… was owed to him,” you explained.  A smile of satisfaction curled your lips.  “I learned a few things in the last few days.  For one… this is not your world Dark One.  It is his.”  You nod to the wolf.

A low growl echoed on the wind, and it did not come from the wolf.

“I know it’s a touchy subject.  If my master was a dog,” you paused and looked to the wolf.  It had growled this time.  It was also looking at you hungrily. 

“Sorry about the dog remark,” you quickly apologized.

The Hunter nodded and pointed its snout toward the ‘One’.

“Well, as I was saying,” you continued.  “I’d probably not want that sort of thing spread around either.  Still, we have a problem,” you point a thumb toward the wolf.  “As you can tell, he really wasn’t happy that you tried to replace him, with me.”

The shadowed hood of the ‘One’ swung from you to the wolf and back again.

“So long story short,” you pause for a quick breath.  “He doesn’t like me being here anymore than you do.  He also seems to like me a little more than you right now.”

“What is it you want?” the ‘One’ grudgingly asked.

“Oh… I think you already know that answer,” you shot back.  “I just need to know which way.”

You point left and then you point right.  Then you waited for an answer.

Another low growl came from beneath the hood. 

The ‘One’ pointed right. 

You looked to the wolf and it nodded.  You waved Ellie to follow, and you walked over to the ‘One’.

“I just have another question,” you paused. 

“Ask it,” the grating deep voice replied.

“Did the Russian end up here?”


“Okay… then I have another,” you shifted uneasily and your voice went cold. “Did he suffer?”


“Good,” you smiled.  “By the way… she’s coming with me.” You motion to Ellie.  “If there is a problem, then take it up with the wolf.”

The ‘One’ only growled.

“I must say, it’s been a pleasure,” you gave a saluting nod to the ‘One’.  Then you and Ellie turned and walked away.

Ellie glanced back a few times as you both go.  The wolf and the ‘One’ seemed to be having a bit of a discussion.

“Is that it?”  Ellie asked.

“Maybe,” you simply said, “Maybe not.”

For awhile you both walked in silence, as the road stretched on. 

31 days on the long road into night, and you are still alive.

The End.

Happy Halloween!!!!!!!

One last warning – In the coming months, beware the old man in the red suit.  He knows things.
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"Kings and Dragons" series coming this winter

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Long Road into Night #30

On the 30th day, it is like your mind has been set on fire.  Memories and thoughts slowly claw their way back in.  You realize that you have been lost, from the very moment you set foot in this world.  This place was not where you belonged.  It was however, where you needed to be.

The darkness that had surrounded was broken.  It shied away from you, and fled the beacon of light that appeared before you.  Hands that seemed to hold you back were suddenly released.  Though still plagued by the feelings of being drained and exhausted, you now stagger toward the light.

The goblins have released you.  Your bindings snapped as you twisted and thrashed about on the ground.  Something was wrong.  Something was right.  Things beneath your skin that should not move began to do so.  In your ears you heard the snapping bones.  The sound of each break reverberated through your body.  The flesh of your back began to tear. 

You writhed in agony.  You screamed.  You howled.  The night echoed every moment of pain, as your soul was torn in two. 

At least it happened quicker this time.  Also no one here was savoring your pain.  When it finally ended, you stood.  Once again, you were human, and the body of the wolf fell to the ground like an old suit.  Then disturbingly, it began to move.  You quickly stepped away from the mass of black fur.

Right before you, the flesh of the beast stood on its own, and began to mend.  Soon its shape returned, as new bones and meat slid into place.  You simply watched as the wolf was suddenly reborn, from the skin you had just cast off.  Somehow this seemed right to you.  The long night needed its hunter.

In only a few moments, the wolf once more stood in front of you, but this time you did not run.  It looked from you to the others.  You shake your head.  It understands and nods in return.  Then the wolf turned from you and headed off into the woods.  It was gone.

“That was unexpected,” the young girl with the glowing eyes said.  She had walked up beside you.  “Are we feeling better?”

You look at her, as if for the first time.

“Ellie?” you asked in disbelief.

She smiled, and nodded.

“Eleanor Casteel… is that really you?”  You can’t keep the shock from your voice.  “You look so…”

“Young… beautiful… Somewhat more alive than the last time you saw me?” Ellie mocked.  “The second, I have always been, the first though has been awhile.  This world is funny that way.  The last of course as you know, was more recent.”

“Ellie… I’m…” you begin but she cuts you off.

“Sorry, is the word I believe you’re looking for,” she grimaced, and then sighed.  “Don’t be.  If you hadn’t shot first, then I would have.”  Her glowing eye bore into you.  “My gun was already drawn beneath the table.”

That did not make you feel any better, and she must have seen that.

“Nikolai wasn’t going to let us both, walk out of that room.  You knew that,” Ellie stated.  “Actually, I don’t think either of us was supposed to.”

You nod.

“The Russian always did hate to lose,” you replied, taking a long breath, and added, “At least he didn’t leave that room.”

“Good to know.  Now the real question, which you haven’t answered, or at least I haven’t asked,” Ellie started in that by-the-way tone, which you remembered you liked about her.  “What are you doing here?  Anyone can see that you don’t belong here, at least not yet.”  She tapped the side of her glowing eye. 

“I lost something,” you replied.

“I can see that,” Ellie said.  A sly smile crossed her lips, as she slowly looked you up and down.

“You might want to cover yourself,” the goblin, Sic said.  “A little modesty is still appreciated, even in this world.”

Then he shoved some clothes into your hands.

“Humans have no shame,” Hic, the other goblin huffed.  Both turned toward the giant troll Mongo, who no longer paid attention to any of them.

Quickly you dressed and Ellie never looked away, and that smile never left her lips.

“So now what…?” Ellie asked.  “Home for you I would hope.  I will say it again.  You don’t belong here.”

You look at her for a moment, considering a lie.  That would never work though.  This girl… woman, always could tell when you were lying.

“I have to reach the end of the road,” you flatly said.

“Again…Why…?”  Ellie shot back, not bothering to hide her anger. 

Your mouth opened and closed with a sigh.

“I told you.  I lost something,” you responded, “I also had to call in a lot of favors, and cut more deals than I should have, to get here.  I can’t just turn back.”

 “In that case, I am going with you,” she stated, and nodded to your left.  “The road is that way.”

 In just 1 day, it will be Halloween.

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This Winter look for Kings and Dragons from Hydra Publications -

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Long Road into Night #29

It is your 29th day on the dark road.  Where you were before, you do not know.  Why you originally came here, you do not know.  Why you stayed and why you still remained, was because somewhere inside of you, there was a need to be here.  Once it had been something else, but now it was to hunt.

You were the hunter of the long night, and these pitiful creatures were your prey.  Their flesh was yours to tear.  Their bones were meant to be broken between your teeth.  Their final scream in your ears, would be like finest music.  In a howl you shout your desires, and normally they would all cower in fear.

The retched goblin however had tied your jaw shut, and quite well at that.  The howl that should have chilled the dead, instead sounded like a sad little whimper.  This did not please you, as again you struggled helplessly against your bindings.  Those damn goblins could really tie a knot.

“Please hold him,” the young Meek girl asked the goblins.  “I don’t him hurting himself.”

“Mongo can hold him,” the giant troll said, from above the gathering. “Mongo make sure he never moves again.”

“Thank you, Mongo,” the girl politely said. “You did very well before, but I believe Sic and Hic will manage okay this time.”

Mongo grumbled something and from your view, he did not look happy.  Now those disgusting little imps had their hands on you again.

“I like Mongo’s idea better,” Hic said sourly.  “This is not how things are done here.  I never had a problem with the rules before this one came along.  You are supposed to let things be in this world, not get involved.”  He glared at Sic.  “I blame you for this.”

“I’m sorry, Hic,” Sic sighed.  “It just didn’t seem right to leave this one to that witch, Gelda.”

“Right…?” Hic scoffed.  “There is no ‘right’ in this world.  Just a lot of ‘wrong’, which smarter individuals than us, know better than to interfere with.”

“Not this time,” the young girl interjected.  “This one is different.  I told you, it has a purpose.”  She looked down at you.  “This one is not Meek, not goblin, and not like any other who walks this world.”

She slowly knelt down beside you.  If the bindings were the least bit loose, you would have had her throat.  She laid a hand on your side, and you flinched at pain that did not come. 

What is this girl’s game?

“Do you remember me?” she looked at you pleadingly.

Your whimpered growl is the best ‘no’ she’d get from you.

“Ellie,” Sic, the other goblin cautiously said.  “Maybe Hic is right.  Maybe we should let Mongo have him.”

“No,” Ellie said firmly.  Her voice was rising.  “He is not like us.  He does not belong here, nor does he deserve to be here.  I know that I do… but not him.” She shook her head.  “The ‘One’ doesn’t get to keep him,” she added sharply.

The goblins looked at each other skeptically.  They continued to hold you through the long silence filled the clearing.  Ellie brushed the fur away from your eye that faced her, and looked deeply into it.

“I know that you are in there,” she whispered softly.  “It is like you have fallen in a well, and have landed deep in the darkness.  You’re just simply waiting to be tossed a rope.”  Ellie smiled but sadly.  “That, I can do.”

She closed her glowing eyes.  After a moment, a small crystal tear flowed down her right cheek.  Her eyes opened.  With her finger, she dabbed the tear from her cheek and looked at it.

“This will be your rope,” she said.  “You are lost with no memories of your own.  So I give you one of mine… a human memory, from a time when I was.  I give it freely.  Please use it to pull yourself from the well.”

Panic fills you, and you try to struggle, but again those damn goblins and their knots.

Ellie touched the crystal tear to the side of your head, and this time the pain comes, like a red-hot poker being stabbed into your brain.

There was a blinding light, and then there was nothing.

In 2 days - Halloween.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Long Road into Night #28

It is the 28th day.  You are still alive, and the world is still spinning.  Rather quickly, but still spinning none the less.  Your lungs struggle for every scrap of air they can get.  Firmly to the ground you are pinned, and a wiggle of the toe or nose, is all you can manage.

“Mongo has him,” the troll grunted.  “Should Mongo kill him?”

“No, Mongo,” a goblin you hadn’t seen before said.  “We were told to hold him.”

“Are you serious, Sic?  He nearly got me,” the goblin you were chasing responded.  “I say, yes to the killing.”

“Nearly…?” Sic said mockingly. “You were the one boasting that he’d never catch you, right before you volunteered.”

“I only volunteered because I knew for certain, that he would definitely catch you,” Hic said indignantly.  “You’re welcome, by the way.”  He waved a hand toward Mongo.  “Now are we going to let the troll make jelly out of him, or not?”

“That is not what we were told to do,” Sic firmly replied.

Hic sighed. 

“We are goblins, Sic,” Hic stated.  “When do we ever do what were told?  I still say wolf jelly sounds good.”

The pointy chins of each goblin went stiff, and with arms crossed, they stared each other down.

“No,” a firm little voice called out.  It came from somewhere in the trees.

Both goblins turned in surprise, and so did Mongo.  His massive hand twisted your body as he did, so much for air.

A young girl stepped out from the behind a tree.  Her clothes were tattered and grey and her eyes glowed unnaturally.  She was a Meek, and oddly she seemed familiar to you.

“Thank you for your help,” the girl said to the trio, “but we can’t let him die here.”

She looked down at you with sadness in her eyes, and also something that looked like sympathy.

“He has a purpose,” she simply added.

There are only 3 more days until Halloween.
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Later this year, look for the start of my Kings and Dragons Series.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Long Road into Night #27

It has been 27 days since you first stepped onto the dark road.  What you were before has been all but forgotten, and only a single memory of blood remained.  Your hands… your paws where coated with it.  It was a remnant of your first hunt, and your first kill in this world.  It marked you, and in the moment that followed, you were reborn.  You became the Hunter, and no prey would ever escape you.

All of that was so clear to you, and yet one would have to wonder.  Why were you still pursuing the little goblin, instead of already feasting on its greasy flesh?  With such short legs and awkward gate, how could he still be outrunning you?  Your stride was longer, your turns sharper, and the scent that filled your nose, prevented him from hiding.  So why wasn’t he pinned to the ground, begging to be more than your next meal?

“Maybe you don’t want to catch him,” that odd voice whispered in your ear again.

That was ridiculous, you thought in return.  You were the Hunter.  He was the prey.  His life was destined to end between your biting teeth.

“He helped you once,” the voice admonished.  “Is this how you would repay him?”

A growl rumbled in your throat.  Your paws dig deep into the soft ground, as you hastened your speed.  This was not a time for chatter with nonexistent voices.  This was a time for dinner.

You start to close the distance, and the goblin glanced back over its shoulder.

Was he smiling at you?

Then a tree fell across your path, as something big to your left charged into view.  You see the troll for only a moment, before its massive hand smacked you into the ground.

There are only 4 more days until Halloween.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

The Long Road into Night #26

On the 26th day traveling the dark road, you’ve already forgotten the 25th.  It’s almost like it never happened.  Then again, maybe some things should be forgotten.  The trivial thoughts of lost days quickly pass from your mind, for your focus had turned to more important things, like the hunt.

“That is not why you are here,” a distant voice whispered in your ear.

You ignore it, and focus on the scent that your nose has caught.  That delicious smell drives you on.  Hints of it are on every tree, every fallen leaf, and every broken twig.  Such an easy trail, left for you.  It’s almost like he wasn’t even trying.

They always believed that they could run.  That was a good thing.  When prey had hope, it made the chase that much more exhilarating.  At times, it was almost as delightful as the kill itself.  

That was how the game was played. 

Eventually, you would run them into the ground, but not until you tore every last shred of hope from them.  Then you would do the same with their flesh. 

Your ears perk when somewhere ahead, a twig snapped.  A wicked smile curls along your snout.  You howl into the night, and you sense another layer of hope being stripped away.

This is what you lived for.  This was your purpose.

“No it isn’t,” the voice whispered.  “Do you not remember who you are?”

Your smile turned into a growl of annoyance.  It was time to finish this.

“Do you not remember why you are here?” The voice asked.

You’ve had enough of this, and steeled your thoughts toward your purpose.

You tear off into the woods, pursuing the noise you heard.  Soon you see him.  His clothes tattered, and glowing eyes that lock with yours.  It was one of the Meek.  It was dinner.

Lips part and teeth are bared.  Your mouth opened as you lunged.  This was so easy. 

The world went dark for a moment, as pain exploded the side of your head.  You land short of your prey, and the world is spinning.

“Get away from him, Fur Face,” a scratchy high pitched voice called out.

You turn as your vision began to clear.  There was a small, grey skinned creature standing a little ways off.  It had a triangular face, with pointy ears and chin… a goblin.  You sneered at it, and it oddly winked in return.  He held a small stone like the one that just hit you.

In your distraction the Meek managed to get away.   No matter really… you had new meal.

The goblin threw the rock at you, as he turned and ran. 

You ducked the rock and gave chase.  Goblins were a little greasy, but still a good eat. 

The game continued.

There are only 5 more days until Halloween.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Long Road into Night #24

It is the 24th day on the dark road, and you are not dead. 

After a moment, you think about how odd that thought was.  Of course you weren’t dead.   On the contrary, you were very much alive.  How could you be anything else?

Your heart pounded like a drum.  The blood rushed through your veins.  Your padded feet thumped the ground with each step.  The night wind blew through your fur, as you raced the length of the road, on legs that never tired. 

Finally you skid to a halt, as the pale moon slides from behind the clouds.  Its light is like water on a dry tongue.  Your lungs fill with the night air, and from your throat, you let loose a howl that carried on the wind.  You feel at one with this world.  The road, the forest, the night itself is your domain. 

Then the nose at the end of your long snout, twitched.

What was that? 

You smelled something.  The night air was so full of wondrous scents, but this one was different… familiar even.  You sniff the air once more.  It was almost like you could taste it on your tongue, and it made your mouth water.

What could it be?

You have to savor this for a bit, but soon, it instantly became clear.

The taste...  The smell...  It was fear.  You could smell your prey’s fear. 

This amazed you to no end, and so delightful, you couldn't help but smile.  You show little restraint after that, and you howl your charge.  It was time for the long night’s hunt, to begin anew.

There are only 7 more days until Halloween.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Long Road into Night #23

On the 23rd day, you learned about pain.  You could have avoided this unfortunate outcome.  This one gave you every chance, and showed you more than enough patience.

“You have taken something from this world,” the One said to you.  “The balance must be restored.”

Under your left arm, Ellie struggled to support your weight.  She was frightened.  You could feel her shiver. 

“Please,” she whispered in your ear.  “We must run.”

Something inside of you wished that you could, but in reality, it was Ellie’s own strength that was even keeping you standing.  Even so… this guy didn’t look so tough.  Sure, the black hooded robe looked somewhat intimidating at first, but were you really going to run from some guy in basically a bathrobe.

Then after a second hazy look you wonder, “Is that a scythe?”

“Your time is up,” the One flatly stated.  His arm raised an arm, extending a long bony finger toward you.  Honestly, it did look like bone.


Your chest exploded in pain, and you cried out. 

“No!” Ellie screamed.  She tried to get you moving toward the forest, but you didn’t make it.

‘Pop’  ‘Pop’ ‘Pop’

More pain stabbed your chest and you fall forward.  Ellie can no longer hold on.


You hit the ground.  It feels like something jagged is digging through your insides.

‘Pop’ ‘Pop’

How many ribs was that now?  You know somewhere along the way that you’d lost count.

“Don’t worry, only two more now,” the One said.  ‘Pop’ ‘Pop’

You can hear someone crying.  That is, you hear someone other than yourself, crying.  You open your eyes, and look up at a sad little girl with glowing eyes.  You want to say something, but her name has oddly slipped from your mind.  The One sees her too.

“You should run along little Meek,” the One suggested in a snide tone.  “What happens next… will not be pleasant.”

The girl looked down into your eyes.  Her own seemed full of regret.

“I’m sorry,” she sobbed, and bolted for the tree line.

She can still hear your screams, right as your legs start to bend forward––at the knees.

Long into the night, every bone in your body is shattered, and slowly reshaped.  Your fingernails extend into points, as do your teeth.  Your clothing is shredded in the change, but you are given a coat of fur, though modesty no longer concerned you.

It is on this fixed point of fate that you finally die.

There are only 8 more days until Halloween.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Long Road into Night #22

On the 22nd day, you realize that you are running out of time.  This place has almost taken everything from you.  It all started with that one thing, whatever that thing was.  Now you feel empty, like there’s barely anything left of you now.

You have to keep moving.

The road….

You have to get to the end of the road.

“Are you sure you don’t want to rest,” grunted a little voice.

You look down at the young girl with the glowing eyes.  You find that you are leaning heavily on her shoulders, as she helps you along.

Her name is…Ellie.  Ellie… you say it again in your head.  You have to remember her.  Her name is the last of your memories.  You have to hang on to at least that.  It was something.

You shake your head, and gave her a weak smile.  To prove to Ellie that you can go on, you shift your weight from her shoulders, to your own legs.  Ellie seems to accept this with a little skepticism.  It was earned, for when you take your next step, you nearly fall on her.

“The fool was warned and he did not listen,” booming deep voice echoed in your ears.

Ellie squeaked in fear.

You look up.  A tall figure, in a long black hooded cloak, stood in the road before you.

“The One,” Ellie said in a hushed tone.

The ‘One’…?  Then you remember again, that something was taken from you.

“You have cost me something,” the ‘One’ stated.  “Now accounts must be settled.”

There are only 9 more days until Halloween.
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