So you can read my books

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


{“He who lives more lives than one …

More deaths than one must die."

- Oscar Wilde.}

The dying man and I were in a glade so beautiful it seemed wrong somehow that death was soon to come here. I bent by him. He looked to have been stabbed at least six times.

"Is there a doctor close-by here?," I asked.

His glazed eyes worked to focus on me. "Y-You speak French with a German accent."

"I what?"

Marlene's voice murmured inside my mind. "You will go nowhere that I will not follow, Liebchen. I know French so you speak it ... but you speak it as I do."

Mark Twain's voice snapped right after hers. "Dang it, woman. He needs to know that you linked our minds together with that little trick back at Meilori's."

The dying man clutched my right wrist. "Leave me to the death my whole life has earned. Just save my wife and daughter. Please."

"I won't leave you to die."

His face grew ugly. "Then, you leave my wife and daughter to be raped and murdered. Go, damn you!"

I gnawed my lower lip, then sighed, "Well, since you asked so nice."

I rose slow and reluctant. "Which way?"

Marlene whispered to me :"The right, the path away from your heart."

"Of course."

The man called out, "Wait! You'll need this."

He tossed me his sword. As it sailed through the air, I felt the spirit of Marlene take me at the sight of it.

Without thought, I snatched it fluid and quick, slashing it through the air in a figure eight pattern as I had seen her do so many times.

The man sagged his back against the side of a tree. "So you have some skill with a blade? You will need it. The cardinal's men are dogs, but they are also the best swordsmen in France."

That explained the six wounds. They had jumped him all at once. Cowards.

"France must be hard up," I muttered.

I had a sword in each hand, and I still felt naked. I looked to the path to my right, then back to the man. I went cold. He was already dead. I sighed. I seemed to always fall short.

Mark Twain's words were like a hand on the shoulder :"He died with hope, son."

I nodded. "Now, it's up to me to make sure it wasn't a false one."

I headed off down the narrow path to my right. I smiled bitterly. For one of the few times in my life I knew where I was going. But as with most of my life, I hadn't a clue what would happen when I got there.

The trees were thick on either side of me. I flicked my eyes left, then right. Ambushes seemed to be in my blood. But for once, they weren't in the cards.

I walked under a lush canopy of heavy oak branches. Golden shafts of light, seemingly shot from Apollo’s bow, pierced the beautiful mock twilight of the place.
A lance of burning gold light suddenly speared to my left as a branch above me shifted in the breeze.

I was entranced. Never had I seen such a lovely sight, the specks of dust floating magically in it, doing their slow dance of awakening. The whole glade seemed to fade into oblivion as I stared at this lone spear of bright light, for I was not seeing by the light, I was only seeing the light itself.

Echoes of Plato whispered to my mind. Mark Twain started to growl something, but Marlene hushed him with a sharp hiss. No fool he, Mark Twain swallowed his words.

Marlene murmured in my head, “Clemens, can you not see the miracle here? Death is all about Roland, yet still he possesses the curiosity of an innocent child.”

I both heard and did not hear my friends. I walked closer to the sunbeam. I put my face right up to the shimmering light, stepping fluidly into it, and turned so that the beam fell across my eyes.

I looked up and hushed in a breath. Now, the beam had disappeared. Through the crack at the top of the oak canopy, I saw a sky washed clear and bright blue by recent rains.

"Of course," I smiled. "Seeing the light is one thing, while seeing by the light is something else entirely. I’ve been a fool."

“You’re still being one, son,” snapped Mark Twain.

“No, you don’t understand, sir. I’ve been looking at this situation from the wrong angle all along.”

Marlene whispered, “You know who killed Papa?”

I shook my head. “No, but I think I know part of the reason why.”

Both Marlene and Mark spoke as one, “Why?”

Just then a little girl screamed.

I shook my head. “No time. Like Sam said – fight now, fuss later.”

An idea hit me. I stopped, stabbing the man's sword into the grass to free my left hand, and tore out the mangled notepad I always carried in my jeans at night to write down a meaningful dream.

Mark Twain snapped, "This is no time for reminiscences, boy!"

Marlene urged, "What he said, Liebling."

“I think I know who that man’s daughter is.”

Mark Twain snapped, “Act or trump, son. But get on the stick!”

“That haunted woman dressed like Marie Antoinette back at Meilori’s. I believe that little girl over there is her when things went terribly wrong for her.”

Mark Twain spoke as if ill. “Then, write what you got to write, son, if you think it will help her.”

"Marlene, you told me what I wrote took on flesh, right?"

I wrote on the wrinkled page : "Marlene's saber was magic. Whatever it cut suffered the ailment uttered by the wielder."

Marlene sighed, "What pestilence would your soft heart have it inflict? Athlete's foot?"

As the screaming got more frenzied, I smiled mean. "Funny, you should mention feet. I want it to inflict them with 'both left feet' and 'all thumbs.' Literally."

A woman began to scream, and Mark Twain said, "Some rabid dogs are better off put down."

I got up and shook my head as I headed towards the sounds of struggling. "I have to make a little girl learn to laugh again."

Mark Twain chuckled, "I like the way you think, Roland. Save the girl and her spirit at the same time."

Marlene groaned, "Men! You are hopeless romantics."

From the sound of the scuffling, I was just a few feet from the cardinal's men.

I sucked in a breath. After Marlowe, I had sworn never to kill again. I handled a blade like a slippery butter knife. And I was about to go up against men who would kill a mother, then rape her daughter.

I was long on trouble and short on any clue of how to get out of it. In other words, things were as they always had been.

I pulled back my shoulders. I felt my face become the stone my heart felt. Time to teach a little girl how to laugh again.


  1. this is such an interesting story. your characters are so filled with emotion. it's really griping!

  2. You always convey so much character in every sentence. You never waste a word do you?

    Gripping and fascinating as always.

  3. Cool. Way to grasp a scene with both hands! (=

  4. I've always wanted to travel in time and see if the world really does look younger and fresher. I loved that moment with the sunbeam and dust motes....and now, one of my other, all time favs-a sword fight! Woohoo, bring it on!

    When I was a little child, I saw the movie The Three Musketeers with Oliver Reed, and fell in love with swords. No surprise, it's a major thing in my WIP! You've made my day :)

  5. Whoa...Marlene Dietrich, Mark Twain, and Oscar Wilde all in one post? Cleverly done. And who doesn't love a sword fight?

  6. Sword fights are one of my favorite types of combat. :)

  7.'s all in the dialogue. Like King spoke of in "On Writing," if it's believable, it can change the dynamics of a story two-fold. There are best-selling writers out there who can't write dialogue to save their backside. Reading your conversation feels natural,which means that it rolls onto the monitor naturally for you. Allows us the readers to have no choice but to believe every spoken word.
    Well done...and I'm still partial to Marlene:)

  8. Marlene Dietrich is a swordfighter?? Awesome.

  9. As Elliot mentioned, it's amazing how you pull me in and make me believe the unbelievable:) Good show!I'm so hooked!

  10. Keep up the awesomeness!

  11. My first visit here and I am intrigued. But, of course, you had me with the fabulous Dietrich photo!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leading me here...

    Southern City Mysteries

  12. I love that you're in another time and place, yet Mark and Marlene are right there with you. There's so much to love about this story. I agree with Elliot, your dialogue is very well done and believable.

    ~that rebel, Olivia

  13. "He died with hope," is a great line. I'm glad you gave it to Twain.

  14. Its hard to break writing rules when your making them up as you go along!! I like how you're crafting the world around you as you go.

    And it appears you're going to "write" yourself out of this. On to the next. .


  15. Ooooh who is this little girl???

    Take care

  16. Kitty : The little girl is she who will grow up to become the hollow, tragic woman in chapter seven :

    What Toya planned for evil becomes a way for good to be done in the past.

  17. I do love a good cliffhanger. And I still like how you have his 'friends' talking to him from his head.

    AND in your world, the pen is mightier!!!!