So you can read my books

Thursday, December 30, 2010


{I am the Turquoise Woman. My ways are not bound by the same chains as are yours.

To learn to swim, one must leap into the depths of the ocean, not slap at its surface from the shore.

DreamSinger was fighting echoes, when he should have been contending with the source. So I sent him to DayStar.

Now, the last Lakota will sink or swim as befits a warrior, battling his foe face to face.}

The flames were leaping up from all around me. The First Church of DayStar wasn't winning any hospitality awards. And I sure as Hell (pun intended) wasn't waiting around for them to pass the collection plate.

Turquoise Woman wanted me to go one on one with DayStar. But my arms were too short to box with someone who could wither with a glance. I was so out of here.

I headed to the steaming bronze door. Its bolt melted into place. Not that way. The stained glass window. Better cut up than burned up.

Suddenly, I heard Marlene from somewhere up on the second floor. “Liebling! Help me. Oh, God, he’s going to kill me! Please help me!”

What was she doing here? I shook my head. Like in World War II, she had come where she had felt she was needed. She had come to help me.

This was why the Turquoise Woman had sent me obviously.

I looked desperately around the blazing lobby, the shadows of the fire casting weird shadows on all the carvings. I jumped what felt a foot straight up as the stained glass window blew out in an explosion of glass.

The stupid bookworm in me looked down to the floor to see if the science textbooks had been right. They said that when glass was broken, thirty percent of the glass weirdly splashed back away from the impact. I smiled bitter. Bits of glass sparkled at me from the smoldering floor. Hurray for science.

“Help me, Liebchen. Oh, God, help me!”

The staircase was one mass of flames. I ground my teeth in helpless frustration. My face went tight. I sucked in a long, hot breath.

Helpless? I let out that breath slow. No. I was never helpless. I had a mind. I would find a way. The glimmer of the glass caught my eye. Away from the impact, away from the fire. That was it.

I turned around. There, facing the open hallway and railing to the second floor, was the ceiling-to-floor carving of Wotan hanging from the Tree of Life, his face looking much too much like DayStar’s.

I ran to the carving. It was beginning to buckle and warp away from the wall because of the terrible heat. Sucking in a superheated lungful of air, I started climbing up the carving.

The sweat on my hands and the clumsiness of my feet made it hard going, but I managed to slowly struggle up the thing. A screeching and cawing from the broken window made me look there. Watching me from the window ledge were a red hawk and a white owl, the flames reflecting odd in their glowing eyes.

Something in the back of my mind whispered that both birds were meat eaters. Maybe they liked their food cooked over a live flame. ‘Take a number,’ I thought to myself and kept on climbing.

It got tougher the further up I went. I slipped over and over again, hanging on sometimes with only two fingers. But I kept on climbing. Marlene needed me, and I wasn’t going to fail her. I wasn’t.

She hadn't hesitated a moment in going with me to Meilori's, the one place she could be killed. I would be the hero she had always been.

I could hardly breathe. The heat got worse the higher I got. My face felt like it was frying on my skull. I ignored the pain and kept climbing.

Despite the death sentence Hitler had put on her head, Marlene had entertained the troops on the front line, braving torture and death. No matter if it killed me, I would be there for her.

I glanced at the hawk and owl as I climbed. They were watching me, their faces hard as if set in stone, their feathers ruffling from the hot winds of the fire. It was weird. If I hadn’t known better, I would have sworn that they knew what was I was trying to do.

A falling timber, all ablaze, broke loose from the burning ceiling and slammed into my back. I choked back the cry of pain that struggled to get out of my throat. The force of the blow swung me off the carving.

I desperately clung to the wooden throat of Wotan with three fingers. Somehow I managed to swing myself back onto the thing. I tried to ignore the pain as Marlene had ignored the cold when she had slept on the dirt to rest for the next show for the troops.

Finally, my weight proved too much for the warping sculpture, and it broke free from the wall.

As I had hoped.

It thudded into the bannister and railing of the second floor staircase landing. A splinter from a shattered upright hissed past my left eye. I nearly lost my hold. But I kept on climbing. I looked up, the sweat burning my eyes, along with the smoke. Almost there. Almost th-

The carving broke in two. I pushed out with my trembling legs and jumped. The nail of my right forefinger broke to the quick as I hooked a grip on the bottom of the broken railing.

I hung there, dangling from one hand as the blazing lobby floor below seemed to be waiting to swallow me. I tried pulling myself up to the second floor with one arm. I almost sobbed from the effort. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t.

“Where are you, Liebling? Oh, God, DayStar is right here.”

I ground my teeth until my jaws ached.

“Roland! I thought you loved me.”

That did it. I had to get to her. I just had to. I reached deep within myself and found the strength to heave my body up enough to grab the bottom of the railing with my other hand. I bit the inside of my cheek and strained with everything I had.

For a moment, I just hung there quivering with useless effort. But then slowly, so slowly, I started to lift myself inch by agonizing inch. Two inches, then four more.

A whole foot.

My arms were quivering like the legs of a newborn colt trying to stand. Yet, I kept on pulling until my arms felt like they would tear out of their sockets. My eyes raised up to the edge of the landing.

With a final heave of screaming muscles, I pulled myself up and over onto the burning floor. Damn, but it was worse up here. I crawled a few more inches, getting my whole body onto the floor. I staggered to my feet.

The right. Marlene’s cry had come from my right. I reeled and slammed into the wall, the paper curling up from the heat and flames. I pushed off from the wall and walked as best as I could manage towards where I had last heard her.

Bits of the ceiling were falling down all around me. I threw up my arms to shield my head. I had never been pretty. And the way my face burned, I knew I would be a freak from now on. If I lived. But that didn’t matter. All that mattered was Marlene. She was all that mattered to me.

If I could save her, then any price would be all right with me.

I walked through boiling, choking clouds of smoke. The smell of it was overpowering, as if I had been dropped into a giant barbeque pit. Or Hell.

I blinked my eyes, straining to clear them so as to spot some sign of DayStar or Marlene.

I prayed it would be Marlene.

She had the prettiest hair, the color of a winter dawn. Even in the hell that was all around me, I had to be able to spot it. I just had to.

But I didn't. All I saw was a laughing DayStar standing in front of me.

Marlene was nowhere in sight.

He smiled like a wolf and cried out. But instead of his golden voice, he cried out in Marlene’s velvet one,

“Help me, Liebling. Where are you? I need you! Oh, God, he’s going to kill me. Help me! I thought you loved me.”

The shadows swallowed all but his gray eyes. "When last we met, I promised you flames."

He gestured, and the floor opened up beneath my feet, dropping me into the searing fires below.
I wrote the climb up the burning sculpture to this tune. Read the passage to the music :

{Thanks to Maddelirium for the picture }


  1. It doesn't need the music to create an atmosphere of tension - but both together sure was stimulating.

    Excellent tension, both emotional and physical. Awesome buildup to the climax, and the fall into the flames.

    For some reason, even with all the danger and pain, the imagery that sticks with me most is: "The nail of my right forefinger broke to the quick as I hooked a grip on the bottom of the broken railing."

    Totally creeped me out with that. Its hurting my fingers to type now, just thinking about the injury.

    Good work Roland.


  2. Very tense.....I loved the frying face and the owl and the hawk....all the elements...I could see it in my head and almost feel the heat. Well done.

    I hate that he didn't realize the trap. I hope he remembers that he's Dreamsinger....he has the power to create - he needs to use it!

  3. Words Crafter, that was one of my favorite parts too. I laughed in the heat of all the tragedy.


    Expertly written.... Great imagery, tension, and excitement.

    I am so glad I finally caught up... It's had keeping up with you sometimes.


  4. Donna : Yes, that happened to me once, and it was a pain beyond words. I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter of my avatar's final challenge.

    Words Crafter : DayStar isn't giving my avatar time to think, much less write. I'm glad you enjoyed this installment of GHOST OF A CHANCE.

    Michael : Yes, sometimes I get carried away in my posting. I'm glad you stayed for the last chapters. It means a lot to me that you did.