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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CHAPTER THREE : DEATH TAKES NO SIDES

{"... the time of life is short;
To spend that shortness basely were
too long."
- Shakespeare (HENRY IV)}

A tall Valkyrie held me in a crushing embrace. I went cold. She looked just like the Angelus of Death of whom I wrote in my novels.

"Rind?," I squeaked.

Long, platinum hair hid a long face already masked by living shadows. One eye of winter frost burned out at me from the darkness. The head shook. My heart sank.

"Not Rind," I managed to get out.

Words of living ice whispered, "No, son of Adam. I take this form only because of the pathetic limits of your imagination."

Her head tilted, the club's gas lights skating along the sheen of her ice hair.

"The life you seek

cannot be found but

endless paths exist."

She gestured with too long fingers, and a tiny globe of an cloud-splattered earth spun slowly in front of me.

"What if all Creation is but a dream inside the mind of God?"

I smiled sadly. "It's gonna be a real shock to all of us when He wakes up."

"Have a care, Roland. I am not Rind. But - I - am - Death."

I heard the capitol letter. "Not too surprising. Every creature in the Shadowlands thinks I can kill ghosts. The ghosts want me dead. The others want the secret ... then they want me dead."

I shook my head. "So of course you're Death."

The words were like lashes of sound. "You did not kill Hemingway."

"You believe me?"

She shook me like a dog would a wet sock. "I am Death, moron. Of course I know you did not kill Hemingway."

"Never figured Death for a coward," drawled a low, angry voice.

I looked around. I was in the front section of Meilori's, its dim Victorian furnishings off-set by its supernatural customers. And then I saw who had spoken.

Sam. He was glaring at Death. Marlene had her saber pointed at her. Death laughed, and it was the sound of breaking bones.

"I am threatened by echoes. How frightening."

I clamped my fingers around her frigid wrists. "You have to go through me first."

She leaned in close to my ear. "You will fold like a cheap paper bag."

"Ever hear of paper cuts?"

The laughter again, but it seemed warmer. "I like you, Little Lakota. Your time is not just yet. And when I do come for you, I think it will be as a ... friend."

"So you're going to help me?"

The laughter stopped abruptly. "No. And yes ... in a way. All here in Meilori's have seen me talk to you. When I walk away, there will be worrisome mutterings. Why did I not take you? Am I on your side? It will stop the more overt attacks on your person."

"What about the covert ones?," murmured Marlene.

Death wrapped the shadows around herself. "You were always greedy, Magdalene."

And she was gone.

A woman with the skin the color of cream coffee struted up to us. She was dressed as a buccaneer in a skirt so short it qualified as a wide belt. I smiled wide. The manager of Meilori's. She was my friend.

"You! You always bring us trouble," she snapped.

Or maybe not.

"Sam," she said, as she rushed to his side. "Victor's in trouble. Some undead gal's about to have him for dinner."

He nodded grimly and turned to me. "I have to go help him. He's just a boy."

Marlene protested, "You cannot leave us!"

Sam jerked a thumb at me. "Blame Roland. He's already written this chapter of CAPTAIN OUTRAGEOUS. I'm compelled to go."

"No," sobbed Marlene.

But she was protesting to empty air. Samuel McCord, our protector, was gone.

We were alone. Alone in his club of the damned.
*************

9 comments:

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  2. Oh, I love 'what if' questions...I'm chewing a lot here-why did Death call Marlene 'Magdalene?' And while all this is happening, the stories you've written are playing out...hmmm. I don't have a clue, but you manage to come up with the most amazing characters and plots and atmospheres...wow. I may send that email after work, thanks for the offer...hope your day is peaceful!

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  3. I love the way other stories are integrated into it.

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  4. Oh Marlene!! You mustn't fret - you're the best and got the cheekbones to prove it!
    :-)

    Take care
    x

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  5. Words Crafter : "Marlene" was the name Marie Magdelene gave herself when eleven. Her step-father was an aristocratic Prussian calvary officer and imbued her with a military outlook on life.

    Marlene was known in school for her "bedroom eyes" and her first affairs were at this stage in her life - a professor at the school was terminated.

    Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself.

    Kitty : (You will never be old to me) - Marlene throws ghost kisses at you. You're right - In 1999 the American Film Institute named Dietrich the ninth greatest female star of all time.

    Golden Eagle : Thanks for noticing and appreciating my intermingling of my past stories into the mix. Hope your new school semester is going well.

    Imola : That you like my writing means a lot to me. Thanks.

    Roberto : Thanks for the invitation. I will look into the contest.

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  6. Love how you inject description with dialogue here!

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  7. The plot thickens and another cliff-hanger! Wonderful writing, as always. Keep it coming:)

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  8. And the writer falls victim to one of his own fiendish plot manuevers . .

    I think Pierse Anthony also brought up the question: "What if all Creation is but a dream inside the mind of God?" One of his Xanth novels; its been a while since I read them. Bink squares off with the computer in the Demon's cave as he lay dreaming his next move.

    Don't want up yet Roland, I'm enjoying your plight.

    ......dhole

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