Monday, March 31, 2014

Accidental Demon Slayers: Daughter of Darkness pt. 7

A beat up brown Cadillac pulled up the drive towards the front gate of Fantasy Land.  Clare glared at Max. 

“More people?” She kept her voice low. 

“He’s the caretaker.  Without him, we don’t get it in.”  Max turned to her, his TV ready smile beaming.  “I doubt he’ll stay long.  The guy is terrified of this place.”

“I have a bad feeling about this.”  She glanced back towards the locked gate.  Even that beaten up sign made her stomach knot up.  There was something not right about Fantasy Land.  She had felt it as a child, and it felt even stronger now. 

“Well, at least it will make for interesting TV.” Max shrugged, but Clare could see him flinch.  He was scared.  She knew it.  He was putting on a brave front for his crew, but deep down he was terrified. 

The car came to a complete, screeching stop, and a few moments later the driver’s side door opened.  A man stepped out.  He was short, balding, and most likely in his mid to late forties.  He had a small build, slender shoulders and slim hips.  He was frail. 

“Jean!  Right on time!”  Max’s voice boomed, echoing off the trees that surrounded the drive.  He raised his arms, making a big show of walking over to the caretaker. 

“Mr. West.”  Jean gave Max a half smile.  Clare could sense that he was nervous.  The man was practically shaking.  “I brought the key. “ 

Max turned, motioning towards his camera guy.  It was show time, and Clare wanted to get out of the camera lens’s crossfire.  She ducked to the front of the van, and Brittany followed her over. 

“I’ve never been on a TV show before.”  Brittany was watching, eyes wide as Max and his crew played out their little drama with Jean.  “I have shown up in a few, secret Vatican tapes, though.” 

“Tell me you feel it, too.”  Clare leaned against the front of the van.  “Tell me that you can sense how dangerous this place is.” 

Brittany nodded.  “Most of these people aren’t going to make it out of this park by the time it’s all over.” 

“That’s exactly what I don’t want to have happen.”  Clare could feel her stomach tightening. 

“They know what they are getting into.”  Brittany gave her a light nudge with her shoulder.  “You can warn them all you want, but in the end, whatever happens is because of their own choices.” 

It sounded cold, but Clare knew Brittany was right. 

“Okay, time to get this party started.”  Max, with his crew in tow, started towards the front gate.  In his hand he held the key that Jean had given him. 

Jean hung back, but he followed the crowd, his head down.  He didn’t look very happy at the prospect of passing through those gates, but he was going anyways.  A totally broken and defeated man passed them, looking like he was about to walk into his own grave. 

“You ready?”  Brittany gave Clare another nudge. 

“I guess so.”  Clare took a deep breath, and the both of them joined Max’s crew as they passed through the gate, and entered Fantasy Land.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Accidental Demon Slayers: Daughter of Darkness pt. 6

Ashtyn nearly fell out of her chair when the door opened, and Bobby and Kurt walked into the office. 

“Holy hell, you’re still alive!”  Ashtyn stood up, rushing over to her friend, wrapping her arms around him. 

“Yep.”  Bobby’s voice had a flat quality to it.  “I finally decided to return to the land of the living.” 

When she finally released him, she was shocked to see that her friend was giving her an odd look. 

“There’s something different about you.”  He narrowed his eyes. 

She suddenly felt panicked.  What if he could sense Tabitha?  I mean, her goddess’s mother did kind of, sort of live in her best friend’s brain.  What if Juktha was telling him right now all about her long lost daughter that had just taken up residence in Ashtyn. 

“You just haven’t seen her for a while.”  Kurt gave Bobby’s shoulder a squeeze. “Don’t go getting all weird on everyone, okay?” 

She could see Bobby relax.  “Yeah, of course.” 

“So,” Ashtyn sighed, relieved, “what brings you in today?” 

“I just wanted to see if I was needed for anything.” 

“Not right now.”  Ashtyn glanced around the empty office.  “Clare and Brittany are out in the field, and I’m almost done with the paperwork on our…” She stopped herself.  The last thing she wanted to do was bring up their last job.  “Everything is pretty much handled.”

“Have you found anymore info on Grath?”  He flinched when he said the god’s name. 

“Don’t.”  Kurt frowned.  “We need to put that behind us.  Far behind us.  I’m talking full on, mental repression.” 

“There isn’t a lot about him.”  Ashtyn glanced at Kurt, unsure if she should be saying anything.  “Not much is known about the culture that worshiped Grath and Juktha.” 

“What about Elizabeth and Steven?”  Bobby ignored the worried look on Kurt’s face. 

“Well…” Ashtyn really didn’t know what to do.  Should she tell him that Steven’s body had been found in a ditch just south of the Wisconsin border?  Should she mention that Elizabeth had pretty much vanished off the face of the earth? 

“Ashtyn, if there is anything going on, I have a right to know.” He was starting to get agitated, and he was visibly grinding his teeth. 

She told him.  She couldn’t keep it from him.  He would probably have found out everything on his own, anyways, and then he would be even more upset because she had kept something from him. 

As long as the two of them had been friends they had never kept secrets from one another.   She wasn’t going to start now. 

But she was keeping a secret from him.  She was keeping a big secret.  Should she tell him about Tabitha? 

“Please, don’t.”  Tabitha’s voice was soft.  “Not yet.  I’m not ready yet.” 

Ashtyn hated being put in this position, but what could she do?  She had to admit that Bobby was in no shape to handle a big shock, and who knew what would happen if Tabitha freaked out. 

“So, is there anything else going on?”  Bobby was still grinding his teeth.

“Nope.”  She plastered on a smile, and lied.  “Nothing else.” 

“We should probably get going.”  Kurt gave Bobby’s shoulder a gentle squeeze.  “It was good seeing you Ashtyn.” 

“When do you think you’ll be coming back?”  Ashtyn followed her friends to the office door. 

“I… I don’t really know.”  He gave her a half smile.  “I’ll be around though, don’t worry.” 

They said their goodbyes, and then Ashtyn was alone again. 

“Thank you.”  Tabitha chimed in again. 

“Why don’t you want me to tell them?”  Ashtyn plopped down in her chair, the tension in her shoulders growing.  “What is the point of all of this if they don’t know you’re here?” 

“ Just trust me on this,” Tabitha’s voice seemed to shed its innocent edge, replaced by a calm, collected tone.  “We need to be careful who knows about me.” 

Ashtyn didn’t like that answer. 

As Kurt made his way towards the car he did his best to fight back his frustration.  He knew it was a bad idea to stop by the office.  He could already sense Bobby shutting down again, and the last thing he wanted was to see the man he loved go back to being an immobile lump. 

“I needed to know, Kurt.”  Bobby didn’t look at him as he spoke.  Instead he focused on the city that surrounded them.  Kurt noticed that his eyes darted towards the steps leading up to Lilac Park every couple of seconds. 

“I thought we both agreed that distance is what you needed.”  Kurt pulled his car key out, and used the remote to unlock the doors.  “You need to heal, and deal with what happened.  You don’t, however, need to jump head first right back into the crazy.” 

Bobby paused, his hand on the passenger side door handle.  “What I need is to ensure that nothing like that can happen again.  What I need is to take out Grath, and his psychotic followers.”  He was getting so angry that he was starting to shake.  “That son of a bitch needs to pay for what he did.”

Kurt watched, stunned, as the tears started to roll down Bobby’s cheeks. 


“He made me feel powerless, Kurt. Then he…” Bobby choked back a sob, gritting his teeth in an attempt to control himself.  “ The next time I see that son of a bitch, I will end him.” 

Without another word, Bobby slipped into the car.  Kurt got in, settling in behind the wheel.  He reached out, but Bobby pulled away.  Again Kurt noticed his boyfriend’s eyes glancing over towards Lilac Park. 

“Someone is watching the office.”  Bobby didn’t look up as he spoke.  

Kurt glanced out the passenger side window, towards the stairs leading up to Lilac Park.  There, standing at the top of the stairs, was a woman.  She almost blended in, but there was something, something that Kurt couldn't put his finger on, that told him that she was watching them.  There was something else, too.  

She looked familiar. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Switching Perspective: The Ramblings of a Frustrated Writer

So far, in Daughter of Darkness, I have yet to go into Bobby's head.  There is plenty of reasons for this, but the biggest one is because of the way I was trained in college to write.  One thing I had repeated to me over and over again was that I should never change the perspective of my writing.  As in, if I write in first person, I should keep it in first person.  If I write in third person, I should keep it in third person.

When I am writing the serials, I find myself unable to write any of the Bobby material in the third person perspective.  Bobby, in some odd way, is an extension of myself in the world of Accidental Demon Slayers.  We do share a name after all. (In reality, almost all the core characters are named after friends or former co-workers of mine.)  I find it uncomfortable writing for that character, my character, in the third person, because when I see the story, I see it through him.  He is my avatar in the world of the story.  When I see the story playing out with the other characters, my experience is different.  I see it playing as a movie, with the characters on the outside, and myself as the director.  With Bobby, though, I see through his eyes.  I feel his emotions, because he is expressing my emotions on the page.  

Now, I will switch to Bobby's perspective at some point.  His perspective is vital to the story, at least as far as I see it.  I just realize that if I am going to make the switch in perspective, I am going to have to do it for a good reason.  

So, please forgive me for breaking one of the cardinal rules of writing, but I can only tell this story the best way I know how.

And yes, I understand that I am just writing silly stories about demon slayers and tentacles, but they are still my stories, and I take them very seriously.  Too seriously, some might say... 

Accidental Demon Slayers: Daughter of Darkness pt. 5

Brittany couldn’t wait to get out of the car.  She hated being cooped up for that long, and it felt great to stretch her legs.  She stretched, her baby blue tank top lifting just enough to expose her flat, tanned stomach.   She yawned, and turned to Clare, who was already making her way towards the van. 

“Hey, wait up!”  Brittany broke into a lazy jog to catch up to Clare.  “So, which one is he?” 

Clare pointed to the tall guy in the dark purple button up shirt, and black pants.  He was handsome, with a lean build and broad shoulders.  He looked good, but his choice of wardrobe made him stand out in the sea of shorts and T-shirts.

“I told him no cameras, and what does he do?  He brings his entire crew along.”  When Clare spoke, she kept her voice low so that only Brittany could hear her. 

She never really did understand why people were so careful about what they said to each other.  Max had lied, and therefor he was an asshole.  Clare should feel free to call him an asshole.  Did Clare call him an asshole?  No, she just mumbled stuff under her breath, and faked a smile when she had to deal with Max face to face. 

Being polite seemed to take up so much energy, and Brittany didn’t really see the point.  According to Clare and Bobby, that was the big problem. 

“So… what do we do, then?’  Brittany did her best to keep up with Clare, whose pace quickened as her anger increased. 

“We find out what happened to those kids, deal with whatever is responsible, and get the hell out of here.”  Clare kept her eyes focused forward. 

“If you say so.”  Brittany could only shrug. 

She really didn’t mind the idea of being on camera.  She actually kind of liked it.  Maybe being on TV would be a good thing.  She had watched plenty of people do far stupider things then hunt ghosts on TV. 

“Glad you two could make it!”  Max was all smiles, arms held wide as if he was expecting a hug.

“This isn’t what we had talked about.”  Clare glanced over at the small crew that was still huddled around the van. 

“You won’t even know they’re here.”  Max dismissed Clare’s comment with a wave. 

Brittany hung back a bit, watching the two as they talked.  As much as she didn’t understand human interaction, she did find it interesting.  There were so many little tricks and rules.  It was nothing like demon society.  In demon society, if someone pissed you of, you ripped out their heart, or slaughtered their loved ones.  Apparently in human society, reactions like that were frowned upon. 

“Max, if this is real then you are putting a lot of people in very real danger.”  Clare locked eyes with Max.  “Or did you forget about your little run in during the conference?” 

“That’s why you and your friend are here!” When Max spoke he glanced over at Brittany. 

She could see him giving her a once over.  She wasn’t sure if she minded or not.  Max was cute, sure, but Clare was right about one thing, he had a major dash of sleaze in him.  She had ripped the souls out of plenty of guys just like him.  Most of them had made a contract for fame, money, wealth, sex or some combination of the three.  She half wondered if there was some contract in some netherworld with Max’s name on it. 

“Fine,” Clare looked away from Max, “but if anything happens to any of your crew, that is on you, not me.” 

“Of course, of course.”  He placed a hand on her shoulder, and Clare didn’t pull away.

It was obvious, at least to Brittany that Clare was at least interested in Max.  She had only been kidding when she had mentioned wanting to sleep with him, and she for sure wouldn’t get anywhere near the guy if Clare was interested.  That was one universal social norm.  Only assholes moved in on their friend’s crushes. 

“So, are we going to stand here all day and watch you two fight/flirt, or are we going to kick some demon ass?”  Brittany finally chimed in, and she had to suppress a laugh when both Max and Clare’s faces turned beet red.

“Of course not.”  Max cleared his throat.  “Come on guys, time is money!”  He waved towards his crew, and they all started walking to the still locked gate. 
As she stepped closer to the park she felt her body temperature drop.  She shivered.  It had been a long time since anything had made her react that way. 

There was something in that park.  Something dangerous.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Accidental Demon Slayers: Daughter of Darkness pt. 4

The ride up to Fantasy Land with Brittany had been peaceful until the subject of Max came up. 

“So, how did you meet him?”  Brittany was looking out the window, watching, as the city seemed to melt away, replaced by a sea of green. 

“At the conference.”  Clare kept her answer short.  She didn’t really feel like getting into all the dirty details. 

“Max West.”  Brittany glanced at her.  “He doesn’t really strike me as someone you would hang out with.  I mean, a TV “ghost hunter” doesn’t strike me as someone you would befriend.” 

“He got attacked by a succubus, I saved him.”  Clare left out the part where she had actually used Max as bait for the succubus. 

“He is cute, though.”  A sly smile spread across Brittany’s face.  “Did you screw him?” 

Clare nearly slammed on the brakes.  She could feel her face turning bright red at the very sound of Brittany’s question. 

“You so did!”  Brittany was laughing now.  “Was he any good?  What was it like?  Come on, tell me!  Don’t leave out any details.  Human sex is something I haven’t tried yet, so I need you to paint a really vivid picture for me.” 

“That stuff is private!”  Clare’s voice was choked with embarrassment. 

“Oh come on.  I’ve ripped the souls out of men, and watched them burn for eternity.  I’m hardly in a position to judge anyone for getting off.”  She had calmed down, but that smile was still plastered on her face. 

Clare took a deep breath.  She had never really been one for “girl talk.”  It didn’t come up much when you spent ninety percent of your time training to battle the demonic legions that plagued the world.  Still… she had to admit that it would feel nice to act normal for a little while. 

“Fine.”  She sighed.  “He was… pretty good.” 

“Pretty good?  Define pretty good.”  Brittany was leaning in closer.  Close enough where she was almost a distraction from driving.  “Did he make you scream?  Pull your hair?” 

“No.”  Clare had to laugh.  She suddenly realized that Brittany’s view of human sexuality was most likely shaped by free porn clips on the Internet.  “It was pretty normal, I guess.” 

“Does he have a big…” 

The sign for the turn off to Fantasy Land suddenly came into view. 

“Oh look, we’re here!”  Clare was hoping Brittany would get the hint and drop the subject. 

“Fine.”  Brittany sat back in her seat, crossing her arms over her chest.  “If you won’t tell me, then I guess I’ll just have to find out for myself.” 

As she turned up the drive towards the theme park Clare’s face started growing hot again.  She didn’t even really understand why.  Why should she care if Brittany slept with Max.  I mean, she had hooked up with him a few times over a weekend.  Outside of  the physical she had no real connection with him.  Still, she couldn’t help but feel a little protective. 

Brittany caught the look on Clare’s face.  “Do you like him?” 

“I… no… I just…” Clare gripped the steering wheel tight.  “Listen, if you want to sleep with Max, that’s your deal.  I could care less.” 

“If you say so.”  Brittany turned her attention out the window, but she still had that stupid smirk on her face. 

Clare did her best to refocus.  She could see the faded, chipped sign for Fantasy Land at the end of the driveway.  It looked like no one had bothered to repaint it since her last visit, which was almost twenty years ago.  She could only imagine what the rest of the park looked like. 

As the got closer, Clare could see a large, white van parked in front of the rusted gate.  Standing next to the van was a small cluster of people, and in the middle of that cluster was Max. 

She suddenly felt her heart jump. 

“Damn it,” she muttered to herself.  This was not going to be an easy case.