Saturday, February 27, 2016

Atrox Animi

As in every Danian military building, pictures of President Scrub Thicket, Vice President Bonnie Peters, and the five regional CEOs adorned the wall opposite the main entrance. Commander Randle Dante, Sr. sat in the waiting room of Sanctuary City Medical Center. He wore his civilian clothes—a pressed grey polo tucked into starched black slacks with a thin black leather belt and polished steel-toed boots—as stiffly as he sat in the sea foam green chair. Draped in the seat next to him was a black trench coat, also in the seat was a grey canvas messenger bag topped with a plain black cap. He read through a stack of papers brought from Camp Polkner. Just because he’d been ordered for evaluation did not mean his work was done. The papers contained reports from every soldier involved in the incarceration and search efforts regarding escapee Kent Wheelock, AKA Prisoner 318.
     A wide-eyed young man, with a high-and-tight so high it was nearly a Mohawk, sat a few seats away drumming his fingers on the arms of his chair and alternating the bounce in both his legs. He watched a mute TV perched in the corner of the waiting room above a motivational picture of an enormous oak tree being struck by lightning, its caption read: POWER – With great power comes great responsibility.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Caput Mortuum

     “ARHHH!” Cassie screamed until her throat ached. In a bright green flash she was whisked out of the Heart of the Seven Faeries. She wobbled when she landed in front of Archel who was transforming in Patrick Field’s living room.
     “WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME?” Archel bellowed. Tears streamed down the boy’s feathery cheeks. Blonde fur rose from his pores. Scrawny pubescent muscles filled out, elongated, and bent in abnormal directions. Archel bucked as a python tail ripped out of his lower back. He fell onto four paws, stared at the ground a moment, and then let out a terrifying eagle’s screech.
     The groundskeeper, Patrick Field, stood in the doorway between his living room and kitchen. His bottom jaw hung open, his eyes were wide, and arms had gone limp. Although he had managed to maintain his grip on the two lunch plates he’d been carrying, the sandwiches and granola lay in heaps on the floor beside him. A small part of him wanted to back out of the doorway, to pretend he’d never seen the girl appear and the boy change. The rest of him was frozen in place gawking.
     “A—a—” Patrick stammered, lifted one plated hand and pointed it at Archel, “a griffin.”

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cadit Quaesito

The Bard’s Quarters, located in the west wing of the Templus de Ambros, were the furthest quarters from the kitchens and closest to the Forum Publicos in Ambrosia. During the daytime, the sounds of citizens and street vendors haggling in the Forum echoed off the walls, whereas night brought forth catcalls and drunks from the nearby bars. For Fintan, the noise was a reassurance that all was well in Ambrosia. He hoped that Kent would acclimate, after all, the young man was the next bard and one day these quarters and a couple others spread across the kingdom would belong to him.
     When the two falcons, Fulco and Aeolus, brought Kent through Sentinel Cemetery beyond the Pissing Puppy Statue and into the Forum Publicos, Fintan was ecstatic. That excitement faded the moment Kent saw Fintan and let loose a string of curses that would have shamed the heartiest of sailors. Fintan had kept his temper in check, saying nothing while attempting to remember how he’d felt when his father had forced the bardship upon him. The rest of the night had passed slowly as Kent refused to hear anything Fintan said. The elder bard had hoped that sleeping in and brunch would change Kent’s mind, but that had been wishful thinking. Mid-morning they had walked in silence through the Gryphon Gardens, near but not close to the armed guard pacing in front of the Phoenix Rose, to the kitchens. While the bards were eating breakfast, the two falcons took the opportunity to fly through the gardens.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ex Curia

     Kaiser Rudolph Imler sat in the passenger seat of Colonel Dagon’s Iago Comet while 1st Lieutenant Santos drove. The three youths – Archel, Cassie, and Kent – were seated in the bed of the truck with their backs to the toolbox. Santos took the direct route on Gryphus Via 17 (GV17) which connected Markt, Morley, Avalona, and a series of tiny villages to the City of Ambrosia. Two hours after leaving Avalona, at the Kaiser’s behest, Santos pulled off GV17 onto Faith Gryphus Lane, where he took a series of small side streets that ran close to the Templus de Ambros. When they reached Sentinel Cemetery which abutted the southern wall of the temple compound, Santos was instructed to park.
     “Sir, I understand the cloak and dagger stuff. But, I don’t understand why we’re parking here,” Santos said. What he left unsaid was that graveyards creeped him out.
     “Lieutenant, have patience,” Kaiser Imler replied.