Friday, December 21, 2012

The War Before Christmas

Okay, not the most original title, I know. But it's what stuck in my head.

This is for Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge "War on Christmas"

Now, I know this is suppose to be 1000-words but I'm slightly over, around 1060. I did the best I could to cut it down but ran out of time.

Still, enjoy.
The Captain didn't know where the Enemy had come from. Never had and didn't really care. All he cared about was they had come to destroy the beacon.

"Move it, boys..."

"And girls."

"...we don't have much time until those shaggy brutes come back," the Captain shouted. "So move those boxes. Get those walls set up. We don't have much time."

Not a rousing speech, he knew, but his men didn't have much energy to spare. All of them were worn out, their once shining armor dented, scratched, and scuffed. But they just needed to hold out through the night.

"Captain!" The lookout yelled, pointing out beyond the perimeter.

No. Not yet.

Rushing to the lookout he leapt to the top of the barricade and peered into the darkness beyond the Beacon's light.

"Where?" The Captain asked, voice no more then a whisper.

"Just there."

To any not used to it the darkness was all encompassing, a wall of mat black blocking out everything outside the light. The Captain though quickly picked out the different shades of gray, the subtle shifting of shadows. The beasts were here.

"Get those barricades up now!" The Captain snapped, eyes never leaving the seething mass of shadows. "Archers, stand ready! Get to your post, boy," he told the lookout who nodded and ran along the top of the makeshift wall to where the archers gathered.

He saw the first of the beasts emerge from the blackness, the mange ridden black fur on their rangy forms seeming to absorb the light. They stayed at the edge of the Beacon's glow, pacing back and forth, growing in numbers until the horizon was a boiling mass of black and gray.

This would not be an easy night.

Out of the darkness, a single piercing shriek rose. It cut through the night air like glass through flesh, chilling their very bones. Another voice joined it, then another, and another, until a thousand throats were screaming their hate and fury.

Gritting his teeth as the cry tore at his ears the Captain drew his sword, the light flashing along the silvery blade. This was the moment. All the battles that came before meant nothing now. All that mattered was the blade in his hand, the men at his side, and the enemy before him.

Still screaming the dark horde exploded into the light, using their arms as much as their legs to hurtle themselves across the ground.

"Archers!" The Captain shouted. Golden bows were raised, strings drawn back to pointed ears. "Fire!"

As one a score of silver arrows arched into the air, the whisper of their passage lost among the thrum of the bows. Several beasts fell under the sparkling rain, disappearing in swirls of sooty smoke before they ever hit the ground. Yet more rush forward, filling the gaps. The bows thrummed over and over until the archers' quivers finally ran dry. But they'd bought needed time. The wall was complete. The rest of the Captain's men leapt to the top of it.

Swords, spears, daggers, and shields glittering in their hands they readied themselves, counting off the paces as the beasts drew closer.

A hundred, ninety, seventy-five, fifty. At twenty they leapt.

With a savage cry the defenders met them.

The first atop the wall met the flash of the Captain's sword, disappearing in a smoky puff before it could scream. All along the line smoke filled the air as weapons slashed and stabbed, and still they came; jumping and screaming, claws tore and teeth ripped at the defiant warriors, gouging and rending their once shining armor.

Despite their resolve the defenders were pushed back, falling to the sheer numbers of the horde.

Pushed to the edge they dug in their heels and redoubled their efforts. Forming into small groups they pushed back. Weapons weaving around each other the air soon became choked with smoke as both sides shouted and snarled and screamed. The beastly horde was relentless yet the warriors would not give another inch.

They could not win such a battle. And to lose meant the loss of the Beacon.

No matter what, the Captain would not let that happen.

Snatching up the shield of a fallen comrade the Captain charged, sword dancing through the enemy ranks and shield ringing as it deflected blow upon blow. Smoke billowed in his wake and blood flowed from his rent armor, but he didn't slow. Sword flying too fast to be seen the Captain moved from one end of the wall to the other, always appearing where the defense teetered closest to breaking.

The beasts continued to scale the walls and throw themselves at the defenders, but against the Captain's assault even their numbers could not prevail, and step-by-step his warriors drove them back. Though many thought it impossible the horde began to thin, their charge faltered.

Then to the defenders disbelief a bell-like tone rang from the Beacon. All along the wall and the fields beyond, the battle ceased and a wail of rage rose from the horde. As one the dark beasts turned and fled back into the inky blackness.

None of the watching warriors could believe it. Against such odds they should not have lasted an hour yet they had made it through the night.

They had won.

Numbly they looked to their Captain, eyes asking, begging, if it was true. Staring back he hopped down from the wall and walked to the Beacon. Touching the rough, dark, surface of the Beacon and with a rumbling crack it opened into a swirling portal of gold, silver, red, and green.

"Let's go home," the Captain murmured as the darkness started to burn away. In the distance thunder rumbled.

Hurrying down the stairs after his excited daughter, Harry smiled as she skidded to stop a in front of the Christmas tree, eyes wide with wonder at the pile of presents.

"Merry Christmas, Lucy," he murmured couching down by her.

"Merry Christmas, Daddy!" the little blond shouted, spinning around and throwing her arms around his neck. "Can I open my presents?" she asked, smiling from ear to ear.

"Sure, go ahead," he said, whincing at her squeal, and smiling as she dove at the stacks of brightly wrapped packages.

Though frowned in puzzlement a moment later, wondering who had arranged the presents into a little fortress around the brightly lit tree.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Legends Unite

Ah, Christmas. There is nothing like it. The lights, the music, the smell of the tree wafting through the house (One of my personal favorites), and the holiday movies. Now this year not many holiday movies came out, at least that I'm aware of. But one that did is Rise of the Guardians.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'd been looking for to this one. And I was rewarded for my waiting. A few days ago I finally went to see it with my parents and I can tell you, I loved it.
The animation was quality great, the cast of voice actors was impressive and did a wonderful job, and while the plot was somewhat predictable it was well told and fun to watch.
While most animated movies are made for kids I think that Rise of the Guardians is good for both kids and adult and would recommend going to see it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Weight of Truth

This was written for the Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge write the last 1000 words of a non-existant novel.

First time I've tried this so hopefully it is okay.


The door closed with a soft click. Mel dragged a hand down his face, not even caring about the rasp of stubble under his fingers anymore. Hand going to his throat he loosened his tie and popped the top button on his shirt. Dropping his scarred and battered briefcase to the floor, he trudged into his apartment, pausing to stare at the suitcase by the couch.

On top of everything else his tired brain just couldn't take this in. Catching movement out of the corner of his eye he turned to find Heather standing in the doorway to the bedroom, another suitcase in hand.

"Going somewhere?" he asked after a moment, voice as bone weary as the rest of him.

"What do you think, Mel?" she said, voice dripping with bitterness as she crossed to the couch.

"I don't know what to think. Why don't you tell me."

"Oh, come on, Mel. We both knew this was coming."

That was true, he couldn't deny it, though he had in the past and probably would have continued to. But now, he truly didn't even care to try.

"So, I guess its time for the tough to get going?" he asked, a bit of bitterness entering his own voice.

"What did you expect, Mel?"

"I don't know. A little understanding? A little loyalty?" he asked, a bit of life coming back into his voice for the first time since he left the office.

"Loyalty?" Heather said incredulously. "What about loyalty to me? Did you ever think about me before you set off on this little crusade of yours?"

He held her eyes for a moment then looked away, his gaze dropping to his shoes as silence wrapped around them. That, unfortunately, was true. He hadn't thought about her, but he had thought, had hoped, that she would understand.

"You just couldn't leave well enough alone could you?" she said, voice barely above a whisper.

That would have been the smart thing, what he had done before. But...

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," the memory of his mother whispered in his ear again.

But this time he just couldn't stand aside. Even now that it was over he couldn't say why he'd done what he had, but he just couldn't look away anymore.

"No, I couldn't," he murmured.

"You know, I really don't get you anymore, Mel."

"Then I guess you didn't really know me."

"I guess not," Heather murmured before hefting her suitcases and heading for the door.

For an instant he thought about calling her back, to try and talk things out. But that time had long since passed, if it had ever existed at all. So, in silence, he listened to the door open and gently close.

Alone in his now very empty apartment Mel pulled off his tie and tossed it onto the couch before heading into the kitchen, past the island and the wine cooler to the refrigerator. Opening the door he took the last beer Harry had left, popped the top and chugged half in one pull. Letting the bottle dangle by his side he rested his head, against the door and let his eyes droop.

He was tired. He was so, so tired. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had a decent night's sleep, or a proper meal for that matter.

Knock knock

And it seemed like both would have to wait a little longer.

Setting the half empty bottle on the counter he left the kitchen. Feet dragging, as he moved to the door, wondering if he could just ignore them.

"Yes?" he asked as he opened the door and paused at sight of the Sue standing on the other side.

"Hi, Mel."

"Sue. W-What are you doing here?" he asked, almost tripping over his own tongue.

"Well, I saw Heather leaving with a couple of suitcases and wanted to come see if everything was okay," she said, not quite meeting his gaze.

At first he wanted to say everything was fine, nothing to worry about. But he just didn't have it in him to tell one more lie. After everything else he just couldn't.

"No. No, not really," he said. Slumping against the doorframe he proceeded to pour out the whole torrid affair.

"Oh, I'm so sorry. Are you all right?"

"Not yet," Mel said taking a deep breath. "But I will be. Thanks for asking, especially after ... well, after last time," he said, now unable to looking her in the eye and letting his eyes move to the safety of the floor.

"We both said things we shouldn't have, so let's just put it behind us," Sue said, her gaze moving to join his in studying the carpet.

"Still, I'd like to say sorry. You were trying to help and didn't deserve that kind of treatment," Mel said, shifting from foot to foot.

"I'll accept yours if you'll accept mine."

"Deal," he said, offering a small smile and receiving one in return.

"Listen, Mom sent me home with most of a lasagna and I can't eat nearly all of it by myself. Would you like to come over and have some?"

"That sounds ... really good," Mel said, smiling a little wider and thinking that maybe, just maybe, the future wasn't quite so dark.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bond, James Bond

Okay, first post, ever!
Just saw Skyfall and enjoyed it immensely. For those of you who haven't seen it I would recommend it. Without giving anything away ( I hope ) I found the villain diabolical and Bond his usual suave self.
Now while these last three films have definitely been different from the others, focusing more on the development of Bond and the villains themselves instead of their evil plots, I feel that they have been a good additions to the series and on that note
WOW! Fifty years of Bond.
I don't think any other movie franchise has been as run as long or been as successful as the adventures of this British spy, and really what's more fun then watching a spy saving the world while wearing a tux.