Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lawful Encounters

It takes less time than it should have, but still longer than I expected. We’re packed and about to leave the town of Hoop’s Creek, which naturally has no creek at all. I’m having Jay shove the last of clothing our into a duffel bag in the hotel room when there is a knock on the door. We’ve got an hour before we need to be out of the motel and all I did in the town was chat to some local gods so I figure it’s only housekeeping.
        The man on the other side is a police officer. You just have to look at him to know that. Tall, blond, ex-soldier solid with cool grey eyes that miss nothing. I figured the police would end up after Jay and I for one thing or another, but not this soon. I open my mouth to try a bluff when Jay lets out an ear-piercing scream of terror behind me. I feel the kid’s weight slam into my back and
        the world becomes dead colours i am breathing brain broken ram clusters firing off bits of old songs i’m hemorrhaging self-memories into place-space P solved for NP hot is cold neither is
        “Charlie?” Jay is pressed tight against my body. I am cold, he is warm. I am Charlie. Body, here. Charlie. I open my eyes, everything at once too bright and dead like an old tv oscillating between failure states. The thought shakes me a little back to myself. We’re in a small grove in the middle of trees, still mid-day, the snow around us melted as Jay shakes me urgently.
        Somehow our duffel bags are beside us still along with his white cane, his dark glasses still on his face as he keeps shaking me frantically.
        “Jay. What?” My mouth tastes like something small and furry pissed in it then curled up to die and rot for days, but I can still make words. I’m cold, and it’s not the snow.
        He lets go. “Bindingth almost broke and I thought I lost you,” he says, words stumbling over each other.
        “What happened?”
        “It was bad and we had to run and I pulled you away from there and I went to the place where I hide when I don’t want to be theen but it hurt you a lot and we’re out and you’re cold and I’m scared and –.”
        “Breathe.” He breathes as I sit up slowly. The god inside me is small, quivering and spasming in fear. It was the monster under my bed when I was a child, bound to me by a magician. It can be scared, because there are always bigger monsters, but right now I can’t call on its strength, can’t even touch its power at all. It’s not hiding from me, but something hurt it so badly that all its strength is being devoted to not shattering into raw energy and being destroyed. I’m a god-eater: I didn’t think a god inside one could be destroyed until now.
        I try a few breaths, then wrap my arms about Jay and hug him close. He’s warm and making soft keening sounds of desperation. His eyes were damaged and he can’t cry at all anymore, but his terrified sounds is close to that.
        “Hey,” I say, over and over for a good minute before he calms down a little bit. He’s from far Outside the universe, tougher than anything human and unique in that he can hide that he isn’t a normal human kid from most everything. He’s also really good at sensing, making and unmaking bindings.
        “What happened, Jay?”
        “The – the creature wath bad,” he whispers, still shoving his body tight into my hug, no doubt repairing bindings between us. His lisp is slowly going away but still surfaces in fear and excitement, and Jay is generally excited a lot.
        “I did get that when you screamed. What happened next?”
        “I hid with you and ran, but you didn’t – the god inside you fell apart and it was too – it wath bad,” he finishes, shaking all over. “I got us out but you were hurt and and –.”
        “Jay.” I say it as sharply as I can and he wraps his arms tight and makes more terrible keening sounds that human throats shouldn’t make. I’ve never seen him like this before. This time I just hug until he finally stops making the sound. “I’m okay, Jay. I’m alive. It worked.”
        “But – it almotht – I almotht lottht you,” he gets out, the lisp thick and heavy in his terror.
        “But you didn’t,” I say as gently as I can, trying to ignore the small voice in the back of my head screaming in terror. Whatever that place Jay goes when he hides from the world, being lost in it would mean things I don’t want to try and think of.
        “Fascinating.” The police officer is simply there, in front of us, as if imprinting on the world. “Few people actually manage to escape me even for a moment.”
        Jay shudders all over and scrambles to his feet, standing between me and the police officer. He doesn’t vanish from the world with me; I’m certain I couldn’t survive that again. Whatever the police officer is, it’s no god I can eat; I can eat other things than gods, but instinct tells me I can’t eat the police officer at all. Which means he’s bigger and more dangerous than I want to think about.
        “I’m not letting you hurt Charlie. We’re friends,” Jay yells. “And Charlie is my friend, and I won’t let you hurt you so you’re going to go away,” he says. His lisp doesn’t touch his voice at all, and the last two words are deep, impossibly solid and I don’t think spoken in any human language even though I hear them just fine.
The police officer has gone still, hand on his gun, and is no longer smiling at all.
“I won’t – I won’t let you hurt my friend,” Jay pants. “So, so you’re going to go away now!” he screams and the world around us seems to warp, as if buckling under the force of the words and the police officer is simply gone as if he was never there at all.
        Jay collapses to the ground. I manage to stands and walk over. He feels boneless when I pick him up, breathing shallow and erratic, his body clammy to the touch as he sweats and shudders all over. I have no idea what he did. I pull off his glasses gently. His eyes are damaged from seeing something too big even for him to see, bindings that almost destroyed him. They’re filled with thousands of colours flicking out like dead stars, the eyeballs themselves rolling about frantically like dead animals in cages. Right now they’re barely rolling at all and there are almost no sparks in his unseeing eyes.
        I say his name and hold him until he manages to grip my fingers. It takes perhaps a minute but feels a lot longer.
        “My throat hurtth,” he whispers.
        “What did you do?”
        “I got mad.” He looks up, eyes widening. “I got real mad and I don’t think I’m suppothed to do that, Charlie. It hurt me all over and I feel really hungry.” He shudders, then lets out small happy sighs as I hold him.
        “Shhh,” I say, and am not sure what else to say, what else to even do except try and get my breath back and us out of here when something cold presses against the back of my head.
        “My name is Lance Christensen in this world,” the police officer says, and his voice is colder than the gun barrel. “And you are under arrest.”
        Jay freezes. If he was human enough to have a bladder, I think he would have emptied it out.
        “May we stand?”
        The gun is removed. I stand slowly, pulling Jay up. He’s trembling violently, barely keeping on his feet, both hands gripping my right arm as I turn.
        The police officer is standing ten feet from us, gun holstered but right hand on it, and there is a tightness to his eyes and mouth that is gone between one moment as he next as he lets go off the gun and stares at us for a moment that stretches too long.
        “I – oh. Oh,” Jay says. “I didn’t know!”
        I have no idea what passed between them, but the police officer smiles slightly. “I guessed as much. You do know that was technically impossible, don’t you?”
        Jay bites into his lower lip and nods, not letting go of me.
        “Explain. Please,” I add when Jay grips my hand as tightly as he can in warning.
        “You met time itself once, wearing human flesh and called into the world by the wandering magician.”
        I shudder slightly and nod. There are forces in the universe even magicians are reluctant to invoke, entities gods are too terrified to worship. “You serve that – that thing?”
        Lance smiles slightly. “No. As the one that calls itself Winter is to time, so am I to justice; I am what enforces of the laws of reality.”
        “If you’re here to arrest us for that, it’s either way too early or too late, isn’t it?” I ask. Jay giggles weakly at that.
        “Hardly that; you have need of identification for the boy. I was going to provide it. I cannot be in all places at once.”
        “You want us to work for you?”
        “Merely to owe me a favour, at Winter’s request. He did not explain why it was necessary. I did not expect the reaction I received to my visit.”
        “We’re safe now, though?” Lance nods. “You can rest,” I say to Jay.
        Jay considers that for a few seconds, then nods in turn and lets go of my arm, lettting out a huge yawn and then curling up to sleep in the snow.
        “I hadn’t actually thought that would work. You know where our van is?”
        Lance nods; I pick Jay up and carry him easily through the snow after Lance. Jay looks to be ten, and he’s definitely lighter than he was a couple of days ago; at a guess, he burned off at least twenty pounds in the last hour. That he did that and needed rest more than food worries me, but it’s not as high up on the list as other things right now.
        “The wandering magician told me that creatures like you are basically tangible expressions of intangible forces. You’re basically a GUI for the universe proper, yes?”
        “I would not put it that crudely, but yes,” Lance says.
        “And Jay did – what?”
        “Removed me from the universe for a moment, which is akin to kicking the driver out of a speeding car and expecting the car to continue onward. Conceptually, imagine what the universe would be like if no hydrogen existed even for a brief period of time.”
        “Oh.”
        “Fortunately, he was acting out of pure terror rather than knowing what I was. That he also hid you briefly where I could not follow or sense is deeply troubling.”
        “Which is why you want him – us – to owe you a favour?”
        “In part, yes.”
        “And if I say no?”
        “I could raise my power against you; I doubt Jay would survive trying to protect you in his current condition.”
        I look over, but Lance’s face gives nothing away at all. “We’ll need credit cards. Also identification for Jay.”
        He nods and hands over a small credit card a moment later. It is silver-red all over, the edges of it white, the entire thing devoid of writing.
        “And this is?”
        “A card. It cannot be removed from you once you take it and will procure money as needed and offer up any identification you desire.” He holds up a smaller one in his other hand. “For Jay, but it will not include access to money.”
        “The more we use them, the greater the favour you can call in?”
        “It will allow me to call in smaller ones as well, yes.”
        “Deal.”
        “I assume this will be enough for Jay to forgive the harm I have done to the both of you today?”
        I snort. “He would have anyway. There are few things more terrible than knowing you can do anything to someone and they will forgive you for it.” I sigh. “I think I’m starting to understand better why the magician couldn’t stay with us. Unconditional love is one thing, but forgiveness? That is too much, too much to bear by far. And Jay may never understand how deeply he destroys us with that. Anything that promotes bindings is good. He’s learning, but I don’t think either of us are good teachers.”
        “He risked his life to protect you; what higher friendship could you ask for?” Lance says.
        “I don’t mean it like that. There are things that should not be forgiven.”
        “Perhaps not.”
        He says nothing else; we reach the road to find our vehicle is there waiting.
“There is gas in it,” Lance says. “It was the least I could do for the harm I caused,” and then is gone as if he was never there at all.
        I make my way to the van, get Jay in the passenger seat. He doesn’t wake up, but just rest his head against my shoulder the moment I’m driving. I reach the nearest motel slowly, use the card from Lance to pay for a room and get Jay into it, shaking him once one he’s on the bed.
        “Charlie?” he whispers weakly.
        “We’re in a motel. Lance left. You okay?”
        “Nope. Tired. Hurt-thore.”
        “Okay.” I pull off his shoes and get him into the bed. The room has one cheap armchair and I get into that, half-asleep when Jay crawls into my lap like a cat, making sleepy noises.
        I give in and go to the bed, sitting up in a nest of pillows as Jay curls up beside and into me, making happy sounds of relief as he goes back to sleep. I ruffle his hair and wrap my right arm about him, which causes a shuddering sigh of relief as he goes boneless against me. Feeling protected, feeling bindings solidify again. I sleep sooner than I expect to, only half-wondering what we’ll do for food when he wakes up.

Friday, November 28, 2014

All about BINDINGS!

Hi! I like saying hi because it’s nice and not a binding and – oh, right! I’m Jay. But if you’re reading this (or hearing it, like I do with text-to-speech) then you probably know all that. Charlie says essays don’t start like this but I’m ‘splaining and not essaying – it’s more a saying, see? :) – and I’ve never done this before at all. Charlie is editing it so this won’t have my lisp in it that might confuse people a little bit. I – oh, right. She says I don’t need to thank her in this too. Man. This is hard, but I’m doing it because of a binding and friendship so it’s fun, too.

Okay. First stuff: I’m not human. I’m from far Outside the universe where things are scary and I don’t like to talk about it much. So I won’t. I ended up in it by running away from things that wanted to eat me by becoming friends with a magician I call Honcho and Charlie, who is my friend too and said I can leave it that when describing her or this might get way too long. Right now my eyes don’t work, and that’s a way-too-long story too but I’m going to use the word ‘see’ for bindings anyway even if it involves a lot more than eyes. Did you know that humans smell before they see and don’t describe smells well because smelling is more primal and humans use vision to describe lots of things? (That was me being all kinda smart!)

I see everything as bindings. Magicians do, too, but I see way down into the core of things and maybe below that; it’s hard to be sure, since I can share what I see but humans can’t process it all according to Honcho. Charlie said this will go bad if I use words like ‘quantum’ or say ‘everything is connected’, but I don’t get the latter because if everything was, bindings wouldn’t hold things together. I’m not sure what a quantum even is. Anyway! Everything is itself. You are you (you could even be the randomgirl who asked me this :)) and I am me and we’re made up of the what make us us instead of being anyone else.

Charlie and I talked it over with words, and she said I have to now explain it better than those words. Also that I didn’t need to tell you we did that. (Or say this, I bet :)) Everything is itself, complete, whole in what it is. You are you, we are now. The word is. We are. Humans have trouble getting that part, but I’m not sure why. Everything that isn’t you is everything else – sometimes a someone else – and bindings are what hold it all together, how you decide what is important to you is based on what you bind to you. Like good memories and bad ones and friends and enemies and humans break bindings a lot because they can only have so many at once. Like there’s only so much attention or so much of you to go around? Like that. Not like that, a little bit like that.

So! Friendship is a binding. It can be small or big or huge and it’s where you expand who you are to include other people and they do the same to you. So you’re you, your self, changes. I mean, it doesn’t, because you don’t stop being you – that would be silly! – but your understand of who you are changes, I guess? It’s not always easy and sometimes people don’t want bindings, even with me :( (I had Charlie put that bold because it’s a really sad face.) Oh. Charlie said I can explain it like the idea of a ‘true name’. That if you know someone’s true name, you can control them, only that’s not real at all. It’s more than connection, because it’s a binding. You connect part of you to someone, and they can do the same if they want to and – and – and you can be friends :) Like we are!

(Charlie said I couldn’t end that with more than one exclamation mark.)

If you’re me, you can make bindings Do Things: like I could bind a door to me so it opens without touching it, or snow to someone so that a snow ball hits them really hard but humans mostly don’t do that. Even magicians don’t; their bindings to the world are more asking it to do things and the world saying yes, but I don’t need to do that since my bindings work on deeper levels. Charlie said it’s like everyone else uses computer languages while I speak in machine code, but I don’t know what that even means. I’ve never even tried to talk to a coffee pot except that once and the explosion wasn’t that big. (It turns out coffee pots can work really fast like microwaves if you ask them to, but it’s pretty smelly and explodey a lot.)

So, to me, friendship is an Important Binding because it means you make someone part of your life and they make you part of theirs in turn. It’s not easy-peasy as some bindings are, but that’s part of what makes it important? And to humans, if something is hard, that’s what gives it power so they use bindings badly sometimes. You make hope into a weapon and friendship into a wound and I don’t really have words for what you to do love, but it can be pretty mean and not-nice in many not-nice ways but you can be really good too. You can make bindings without even wanting bindings back at all and that’s really huge and special and I get all happy inside like a warm burp. Charlie says that’s not the best word to use, but humans don’t really have a word for that. Kitten or puppy maybe? I dunno. I just know bindings are what I am and humans can do them and I try and help humans to do them better so we can all be awesome!

Because, because being Jay can be a bit scary and sometimes even boring and being able to share with others is important, so we tell stories and learn from stories and stories make the world a better place by being shared, because they can be like a free binding that the reader shapes into whatever they need the story to tell. It’s like that. Is that okay? Charlie says I should say bye now, so bye!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pigeon Day

Charlie puts food on the table of the hotel suite. I feel her look over at me and turn the radio off, pulling the buds out of my ears as I wave hello. I have a really good wave.

"You’ve been quiet all morning: you didn’t even call me once when I was out."

"I wath listening to the radio," I say, because I was. I grab my white cane from beside the couch and go over to the table. I’m getting tons better at figuring out where one binding ends and another begins, trying to only sense the surface bindings of things rather than the depths.

"And?" she says.

"Huh?"

"The radio, and —?"

"And I went for a walk around the block."

Charlie pulls out food and says nothing.

"And maybe made friendth with a pigeon and got hit by a car. But only a little bit!"

"You got hit by a car."

"I’m fine; I’m tough, and! I pulled the world around me and left before I was theen. It wasn’t on the news or nothing; I was listening," I grumble.

"Uh-huh. In the future, kiddo, try not to end sentences like ‘I was listening to the radio’ with a comma."

"You heard that?"

I can’t see Charlie’s face anymore but I feel as much as hear her grin. “I might not be a magician, but I do know a few tricks.”

"Oh! Thorry," I say.

"It’s okay, Jay. Just don’t do that again next time. Tell me when things happen, all right?"

I let out a huge sigh. “We have bread, right? I kind of invited the pigeon for food?”

Charlie pauses. I can hear cawing and the beating of wings in the distance. “How many did you invite, Jay?”

"I did thay it could bring friends."

She turns to the window and says some really rude words that don’t make her friends with the pigeons at all. I feel the bindings between us shift and duck the first loaf of bread she throws at my head.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Making Family

It’s cold, winter biting at the roads, snow blowing in front of our van. I’m following major roads, heading toward the town of Baygrove and keeping an eye out for police cars behind us. It’s not too often you attempt an exorcism and collapse an entire house. Turns out the ghost was haunting the house and keeping it together, the sounds in pipes and walls telling the owners what needed to be fixed. I eat gods. I can get rid of ghosts, but I’m not that good at it. Certainly not good enough to realize what was going on until the entire house collapsed and some very official people who don’t believe in ghosts wanted to ask some very official questions.

Some of which would have included the kid sitting in the passenger seat beside me listening the radio on his tablet. Jay is from far Outside the universe, not human at all and definitely has no identification. When you travel with a magician, you generally don’t need to worrk about that: he’s travelling with me now, and we’re going to need to at some point. Between doing duties as a god-eater, which includes figuring out how to migrate gods, and favours for fae in hunting down rogue critters and Outsiders for them I’m not sure when we’ll have time to get Jay proper ID, or even how or where we’ll get it.

I flick Jay lightly in the arm. “Kiddo?”

“Charlie?” He turns out the tablet and pulls out the earphones, turning his head toward me. I’m used to how his eyes look now: flecks of colours dance throughout them like falling stars in a thousand colours while his eyes proper roll about like dead hamsters in wheels. The kid has almost no vision in his eyes anymore, though we’ve been told that will heal. He can still sense bindings, though he was so used to seeing them with his eyes that he’s still getting used to everything now. We both are.

“Police?”

He frowns, head cocking to the left, then grins and shakes his head. “They stopped a whole mile back becauthe they had to help someone stuck in a ditch. Which meanth we can stop, too!”

I pause. His lisp comes and goes, slowing going away. Compensation for his eyes? I’ve no idea. The magician who would know isn’t travelling with us right now. We don’t talk about that. “Do I want to know why you want to stop?”

He nods, and shoves his tablet into my lap. I slow the car and look down, then over at him. “You can take it back.”

He does, waiting.

“You want to stop at a homeless shelter?”

“And! a grocery store,” he says firmly.

I wait, but Jay adds nothing else. I have him ask his tablet for directions. We’ve got the vocal interface down pat and Jay is only too happy to show off that he can offer directions just fine. The grocery store isn’t busy, most people waiting until later in the week to stock up for thanksgiving or having done so already before the storms hit the region.

Jay grabs the white cane a fae gave him, puts on his dark glasses and hurries inside; I get a shopping cart and follow in bemusement. “Please tell me you’re not going to try cooking food again?”

“I bound the foods together just fine,” he says crossly.

“Jello isn’t actually meant to explode. And that was when you could see just fine.” I pause. “Come to think of it, you might do a better job now.”

He sticks his tongue out in my direction at that. He’s getting better at figuring out where bindings are and what is just one person or simply part of them, learning to see the surface bindings rather than depths that probably go far deeper than I’d want to know. “We do this,” he says, grabbing my hand and pulling me to cooked meats, and then through the rest of the store. Two cooked turkeys, rolls, instant coffee, salad, paper plates, cups, cutlery, veggies and a small cake fill the cart. “How much ith that?”

I give him a total and he nods, pulling a small wad of bills from his right pocket and handing them to me. I look at the money, then at him. “Let’s just say I’m going to ask where you got this? Hypothetically, do I want to know the answer?”

“Of courthe,” he says proudly. “I told the fae I needed extra money for gameth! I played a lot of them, but there are less I can play without eyeth that work so we can spend it on this.”

“Okay.” I buy the food and take it out to the van with Jay carrying one bag and beaming happily the entire way. I wait until we’re in the van before looking over. “Not to be nasty, but you care about humans you’re bound with. Me. The magician. People you claim to be bound to on tumblr. So, why?”

“Becauthe I was listening to thtuff about thanksgiving on the radio, and it’th about bindings and how they break down and humans should help each other with bindingth all the time and if we give it in secret we help even more!”

“You want to help them?”

“You help, with exorcisms thometimes and Honcho does all the time with magic and I thought I could too? Please?”

“You don’t have to ask to help people, Jay.”

“That’s not what you thaid when I bound wings to that cat last week,” he mutters.

“All right, you do have to ask.” I reach over and poke his nose gently, moving slow enough that he senses the binding and doesn’t start.

“That means I did good?”

“You did well, yes.”

“That, too!”

I drive to the shelter, having Jay give directions again, and insist he brings the food in with me even though he doesn’t want to. Jay hides his true nature from almost anything, and people staring at him is still freaking him out even if they’re just seeing a human kid. Jay is quiet and not quite himself until someone thanks him and he offers up his huge, happy grin and hugs a homeless man tightly.

“We’re friendth,” he says. The man stares down in astonishment and returns the hug.

Jay pulls back after, looking a little puzzled, then hurries over to me and slips his left hand into mine. “We’re okay to go?”

People are getting plates and food, and I nod and head back to the van, waiting until we’re outside Baygrove proper before asking: “You okay?”

“He didn’t want to be friendth,” Jay says softly, “Or for a binding at all. So – so I didn’t do one. Ith that okay? We helped and that was it and they’re happy and – and –.”

I pull the van over, flick on the four-ways. “Jay.”

He sniffs and turns his head toward me. His eyes don’t cry anyone, but the hurt look on his face says everything. “It feelth wrong not to not make a friend.”

I pull his glasses off, undo his seatbelt and pull him over against me, hugging him with both arms. He lets out a yelp, then relaxes into it with a deep, shuddering sigh. “You don’t always need to make a binding to make friends, Jay. They’re going to remember you.”

“They will?”

I wait until he’s hugged out and push him back gently into his seat. “You are hard to forget. And that has nothing to do with your eyes, or lisp. That’s you.” I give him another gently poke in the nose.

“Really?” Her breaks into a grin at that.

“That doesn’t mean we’re doing this every week, but we can when you get more money from the fae than we need, okay?”

He nods to that and pokes his tablet. “We need to find a motel, right?”

“We do.”

“Charlie?”

“Kiddo?”

“Honcho won’t be with us for – for thankthgiving, but we could call him? And eat turkey?” He hesitates, then adds in a whisper: “Becauthe we’re a family right, even with just us?”

“We can, yes.” I pull back onto the road.

“Charlie? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, Jay.”

“But – but you thound like you are crying?”

“I am, but I’m okay.”

“Oh. Okay,” he says, and pokes his tablet, asking it for motels near the town and not a single question at all.

“Jay, you know you’re going to be awesome when you grow up, right?”

“I’m awethome already!”

“Yes, but you’re going to be even more awesome. We’ll need to invent a word for it,” I say.

He begins offering suggestions happily for the next five minutes. I veto jaysome.   

Saturday, November 22, 2014

One Night

So. Yeah. this story is Literature. Which means, given me, it's going to start dark and get worse.

Which it does, and has. It starts at the ending and works back from there, scattering across time as a series of notes/diary entries written by the MC to a court-mandated psychiatrist. The amount of profanity is impressive thus far. I have some idea of the events leading up to the 'one night' but nothing specific yet. Hell, I don't know much about the characters yet.

The sheer amount of angst is going to be staggering I think.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Coffee Bombs

Jay.”

Charlie has that careful tone she does when I probably haven’t done anything bad yet but I might have done before.

I made coffee!”

Yes.” She gets out of the other bed. The motel room is small and smelly, but it does have two begs and a counter with a coffee pot and water and coffee in a container and everything.

I bound the water into the machine and the coffee into the paper cup so nothing spilled at all,” I say, because I did and I’m pretty proud of me.

She walks over, pours herself coffee. It makes the motel room a lot less smelly. “It’s – definitely coffee. I’m adding some milk, okay?”

I hear coffee being poured down the sink, which probably makes the sink smell nice, too. “You don’t like it, do you?”

It’s stronger than Starbucks coffee. how much water dud you use?”

I put some in the pot. That’s where the water goes.”

And how much coffee in the basket?”

Some. I didn’t keep track,” I mumble. “Thould I have?”

There is a scoop,” she says, definitely trying not to laugh.

But it was really small, so I figured it wath for baby coffee and not adult coffee? Right?”

Not right. As it turns out. The magician never had you make coffee for him, did he?”

Honcho didn’t truttht me around things that could explode. Not that I blew up much! And I can bind them back togetgher and fix them anyway. Sort of. Sometimeth.”

Charlie bursts out laughing at that and sits down on the one bed. “Here, kiddo.”

I move over and sit beside her on the bed.

I see you got a white cane and dark glasses.” Her pause is a lot like Honcho’s. “Do I want to know where?”

I talked to a fae, and they thaid I should but humans will see me now,” I whisper.

Jay. You can hide your nature well, but humans will still see a human kid.” Charlie ruffles my hair gently; I try not to jump at it, busy smelling the coffee instead. “They won’t see you, though.”

Huh? I’m thtill Jay,” I snap.

Yes, but they’re going to see a blind kid instead.”

But I’m still named Jay. I’m still me!”

I know that. Hug?” She wraps one arm around me gently. I relax a little into that. “People are funny, Jay.”

I know you are.” Her hand raps me lightly on the top of the head. “Nope!”

Nope to what?”

I can’t see you hit me, tho you can’t hit me. That’s fairer, right?”

And that is my point. People are going to see ‘kid-who-can’t-see’ before anything else, Jay.”

But I wath joking when I said that!”

So if I was to put my coffee down and suggest a tickle war, you wouldn’t run into the hallway to get help and wave that cane at people?”

I might not.” I grin, and Charlie laughs and pokes me gently on the nose. This time I feel the binding before she does it, so it isn’t a surprise at all. “Okay. Uhm. Can you teach me how to make coffee?”

You don’t even drink it.”

But I’ll make it for you and! I’ll be helping you and that’s important and then I tell you what I might have promithed the fae would be do to help them and if you’re drinking coffee you can only hit me with one hand.”

Charlie is quiet a moment, then just says: “I marvel at your logic,” and heads to the coffee machine. I walk after and wait. “How many cups can this pot hold?”

Ten. There are numbers bound intothe glass,” I say, definitely proud I picked that out.

Okay. But you’re going to have to touch glass and things when you do that, feel it as if you can’t see it.”

But I can thee bindings just fine.”

Humans can’t. If anyone asks, you just say you were in an accident – because you were – and then distract them from more questions by becoming their friend.”

Being friendth with someone ith a distraction?”

It is the way you do,” she says, and then tells me how many grinds go into the other pot and we make a whole pot of coffee coffee. I even drink some, but it tastes a lot worse than it smells and Charlie doesn’t hit me at all when I explain we’ll be helping the fae with problems for money which means I have to make her a lot more coffee everytime I do something bad.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Payphones

Dana is pouring herself expensive scotch when I arrive at the bar. The payphone beside it is a pile of melted plastic and metal bubbling gently in the floor without eating through it. The only bar in ther town of Waverstoke is empty aside from her even though the local hockey team is playing their arch-rivals. Dana looks to be a human female in her early thirties wearing dark jeans and a heavy leather jacket. Her ID identifies her as a member of CSIS. Her other ID claims she is part of their Boder Patrol, which would make her one of the most dangerous humans in Canada.

Neither of those are actually true. She nods to me. “Magician.”

“You shut down the Pig & Porker for a health code violation on a night like this?”

“The owner, and cook, wasn’t human.” She pours me a rum and coke and slides it across the bar toward me.

“Most things in the world aren’t human.” I sip the drink and smile, or at least bare my teeth. “Fine. What was it?”

“A bunglebear.”

“Pardon me?”

“They are humans who kill bears on sites that are holy to bears. The curse often kills them, those it doesn’t become bungles, able to drive bears insane with a single thought and looking like a human in a bear costume when not under a fae glamour. As part of accepting a fae glamour, they do nothing to harm bears again. Six humans have died in the past eight months here, all bear attacks, all caued by one Carl Wilkins, the owner of this bar.”

“He broke the compact he made with the fae, then.”

“Oh, yes.”

“And it took you this long to realize it and find him?”

“Those are the only ones I know of. The fae have been – remiss in our duties to keep up with those we glamour. They are bound into our service if we have need of an army against creatures from Outside the universe. We seldom do, do it is a win for them. Most do not even consider breaking their agreements with us.” She gulps back half her drink in one swallow.

I have no idea if fae can even get drunk. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to find out.

“I know that, and I have agreed to help you because your power isn’t – what it was, at present.” I try not to think of what happened to Dana, of what it must look like under the glamour at present. Until Joey’s anti-magic ripped into her, I wouldn’t have believed anything could skin a fae alive. That she was still alive after that was more than impressive, even to me. “But closing an entire bar like this will be noticed by people in CSIS. Your cover is good, but we really don’t want the real border patrol thinking you are some invasion from Outside and attempting to kill us both. I could have done the same thing with a ward.”

“A ward that would hold out against the need of people wanting to watch a game here?” She raises her eyebrows.

“Probably, yes.” I have no idea if I am bluffing; she doesn’t call it either way. “What happened to the bunglebear?”

“I destroyed him in the cellars.”

“And the payhone?”

“The creature you call Jay was trying to call for you. It was remarkably persistent.”

I wince at that. Fae can make illusions so powerful they fool reality; Jay can do bindings to a degree I’ve never heard of. I’d rather not see what would happen if he truly hurled his power against a fae. “He did stop.”

“Eventually, yes. I had to alter the frequency of the air to stop a phone call from happening where the payphone used to be.” Dana sips her drink and offers up another smile. “I could allow the payphone to exist again.”

I return the grin. “No one has ever threatened me with a payphone before.”

She pours us each another drink, moving easily as though she has spent much time behind bars. “You are a wandering magician: few with any sense would threaten you at all.”

“And few creatures would break their agreements with the fae.”

“Touché.” She clinks her glass to mine. “You did not have to agree to aid me.”

“I know. But if Jay is going to heal from the damage I caused to his vision, I will need your aid in time.”

She nods slowly to that. “You will. You were almost a fae, to use him as you did to stop Joey and the Emissary from the Far Reaches. Very well: in the future, I will ask you before acting in this world as I did tonight.”

“Thank you.” I finish my drink as she pours herself another, then head down into the cellars. There is no body, because fae don’t leave such things behind, but I let the magic out, repairing broken casks, cracked walls and shattered ceiling beams. Whatever a bunglebear was, defeating it had taken more time and effort than it ever should have for a fae.

I don’t point that out as I come back upstairs, just pour myself some sparkling water and drink that slowly. “Did he have a partner?”

“Pardon?”

“Man or woman, adopted children?” I ask.

“I have no idea.” I say nothing. “I assume so, however.”

“You can’t leave this community worse-off than when we found it.” I add nothing else.

Dana pours herself another drink, gulps half of it. Her fingers shake only slightly. “There will be consequences for this you won’t desire, magician. I cannot make a glamour to be Carl Wilkins and hold the other ones at the same time.”

I wince but not. Dana closes her eyes, opens them, and where a man is beside her, coming into existence through her will. “The glamour will last for a time. He will pass the bar onto another, make peace with those in Carl’s life and depart the town,” she says, looking tired.

I nod to that and wince as the payphone exists again; she couldn’t make the glamour of a new Carl and keep the payphone in whatever state she had it in. I walk over and answer it. “Jay.”

“Honcho? Honcho!” I can feel his grin through the phone. “You’re okay.”

“Jay. We are bound together. You know I’m okay.”

“I’m fine too.”

“I know. You’ll be fine.”

“I am,” he says, shouting it.

“Jay.”

“You can’t ‘Jay’ me if you’re not here to do it,” he says, then: “I didn’t mean to –.”

“It’s okay. You have to stay with Charlie, kiddo.”

“I know.” He sniffs loudly. “I mith you.”

“I miss you. Sometimes. A little.” That wins a giggle. “But I can’t have you calling me like this, and Dana doesn’t have the energy to deal with it either. I’ll call you at least once a week, okay?”

“Really?” he says slowly, and for the first time I think, maybe, there is a true hint he’s not quite trusting me in his voice.

“Really,” I say, and it takes everything I am, everything of me that isn’t a magician at all, to keep my voice steady.”

“Okay! We’ll talk soon and lotth,” he says happily, and hangs up.

I run a hand over my face and walk outside. Dana doesn’t follow. The air is cool and sharp and I feel so small under the sky and stars as magicians are never small. “I’m sorry,” I say, and I couldn’t have said for the life of me who I am talking to or even why.

There is no response. It’s best that way. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

making FRIENDS

Charlie has two different laughs. There’s her happy laugh (which is sometimes her mean laugh, but Honcho always said I could file that under ‘Charlie’ so I do!) and her not-laugh, which isn’t a sad-laugh but it’s when she’s trying to laugh and not laughing and it’s not a broken binding but it’s close. Her laugh has been like that for three days now as we drive about. Charlie eats gods, and she does exorcisms, but there isn’t much money in either of those things. She doesn’t talk about it, but I’m not stupid! Charlie calls me stupid a Lot but Jay isn’t the same word as that at all!

Jay is me. I’m Jay. Sometimes. I’m figuring that out, because I’m not the Jay I used to be but I’m still called Jay and it’s weird in a lot of ways. I think that’s why Honcho left us, but I don’t know and it makes me sad because he is my friend and I don’t like being sad. Being sad isn’t fun. Fun isn’t sad because fun is fun! I used to lisp. I don’t as much anymore. I even used to suck my thumb in stress evne thought I look like I’m ten (I have a secret: I’m not ten. I’m Jay.). That doesn’t do anything for me anymore but the lisp was always part of being Jay ever since I same into the universe and bound myself to Honcho.

He’s gone away, because he hurt me a lot and he can’t deal with it even if I can and that makes no sense. Not at all. But it must make sense to humans. Anyway, Charlie is broke and Honcho always had money because magicians find money when they need it and I am very good with bindings and I could unbind an ATM for money but then the Bank would yell at us and maybe try and kill us and Charlie might get mad at me. I don’t want that, so I’m looking for help while she sleeps.

I’m scared. I’m scared all the time about being eaten, but this is different-scared. This is I-Don’t-Know-If-I’m-Jay scared, which isn’t like other scareds I’ve been. It’s late and the city is dark but I’m not scared of that because I’m tough. And I’m fast, but fast doesn’t work right now because my eyes don’t work right anymore. I can see blurry things really close but that’s it and I get headaches if I try and see more than blurs. I had to see something really big, the bindings that made it up, to help Honcho, and it hurt so much it changed me.

So I go walking in the dark, because it’s kind of always dark to me and there’s not much that can really hurt me lots anyway right now and I can sneak through cracks in walls and fences and I can be really quiet and I seem human to anything I meet because I’m awesome like that. My eyes don’t look human anymore, so I’m wearing dark glasses or people do notice me. I can’t wait until my eyes stop looking weird and I’m thinking about that when I find the biggest binding I could sense in the entire city.

It is in a human-shape, big and strong and at least twice as big as me in a smelly place under the city. I can see bindings just fine, but not other things. So I can see the bindings that something is, but not what it looks like. I’m learning to not look as deep as I can – which is really silly deep, according to Honcho – so I can tell what is just a wall, and a floor, and things on walls. I’m getting better at it, which is why I stop before the huge binding things lands on me.

“Hi!”

It stops in turn. It is really smelly, like Charlie’s socks after four days but worse with dead meat in its breath and I think maybe between teeth and it squelches as it walks. I’m kind of glas I can’t see it like humans do right now, but I hope it can’t tell because that would be all kinds of rude.

“Hello.” It has a deep, rumbling voice like broken things inside washing machines and cars grinding together in computer games.

“My name ith Jay,” I say, and my lisp comes out. I still lisp a little, but not that much. My tongue is still figuring out who I am, I think, and that’s okay too!

The next moment is not okay at all because the big thing moves down almost as fast as me and clamps its mouth right over my head!

“Eeww!” I unbind its jaws and it jerks up and away as I make it let go.

“You smell human. You look human, boy.”

“Duh! I’m good at hiding,” I snap. “You try and eat humans all the time? That ith very mean!”

“Mean.” The creature sits back. I’m pretty sure it is checking out teeth because a few bindings in it loosened. I am tough, after all. “You are from Outside the universe, then.”

“Yup! I’m Jay!”

“You said that. I am afraid I do not know what that it.”

“Of courthe not; it’s me and we just met.” I grin, because I like making friends, and it seems to be confused. A lot of people get confused by me, but lots of humans and monsters don’t seem to like making friends at all.

“Oh.” It lets out a low rumble of a laugh. “I see. You came looking for me, then?”

“Uh-huh. I have a friend named Charlie and we need money and I thought you could help and! we could be friends.”

“You – want to be my friend.”

“If you don’t try and eat me again because you ruined my shirt.”

It falls silent at that. Lots of people I talk to get quiet sometimes. But it’s OK since I can talk for both of us.

“I don’t mind the shirt but Charlie wants money for us to travel and I thought a monster who is big – and you’re really big going by bindingth – would have money or know where I can get some and be my friend.”

Feet scrape along cement in the sewers. “And if I say no?”

“Then I find someone elthe and ask them.” I don’t say ‘duh’ because friends but really big monsters tend to be kind of stupid because they never need to be smart or make friends at all. I’m glad I’m not big at all.

The monster is silent for a long moment, staring down at me. I grin again, and the grin works because I want to be its friend but Charlie would say it probably just wants me to go away because it tells me where to go in the city, and I make a binding to that place and walk sewers and a few streets for almost ten minutes before I find myself at the spot the monster told me to go, which is behind some fast food place that smells really yummy but I don’t have any money right now and Charlie refuses to let me eat out of dumpters even though there is food in them.

Humans are weird like that.

The monster that the monster knew turns out not be a monster at all but a fae hiding as a human. Fae do that, because they help monsters hide in the human world and bind them with magic as a result. I don’t know much about it because they keep it really hush-quiet and I think they might get really mad if I find out about it all so I don’t. Well. Until Honcho or Charlie ask, and they haven’t yet.

“Hi!”

“Hello.” The fae sounds like a human woman and probably looks like one. “It is not ofer the albino shark-man contacts me for anything, let alone aid. You require help, child?”

“If you could?” I explain about Charlie and money and how Honcho went away and that he’s a magician and my friend and he’s travelling with another fae so fae can be my friends, too.

“Oh,” the fae says once I finish. “I can give you some money, but it wil not be free. There are few of us fae in the world keeping an eye on monsters who break their bindings with us; you could fix those bindings in monsters you find, yes?”

“Of courthe,” I say. “Bindings are important!”

“Indeed they are.” The fae offers food, and I’m not going to say no so we eat KFC and the fae is mostly quiet as I finish my pop and make sure my face and fingers are all clean by binding grease to napkins. “Will you accept that offer of food as a binding?” the fae says after.

I blink at that. “What kind? Becauthe I am bound to Charlie and Honcho and lots of friends on tumblr too.”

“Merely conversation, if you would. How many fingers am I holding up.”

“Huh?”

The fae reaches over, removes my glasses, then puts them back on. “We see more than even magicians do. The damage is extensive, but it will heal in time. You will need to find ways to manage until it does.” The fae is silent a moment. “You know what those are.”

I squirm a bit because that’s a mean binding but a true one and nod. “Humans will notice me,” I say, and I’m definitely whining and I can’t not.

“You are hurt, and the magician who caused it had to go away. You will heal faster if you begin to heal yourself. This will be part of that.”

I gulp loudly. I’m out of food and drink and the fae is really good. “Okay.”

The fae nods and there hands me a stick and new glasses as we leave the restaurant, binding them into the universe as real without even trying, because fae can do really scary things like that. “A white stick and dark glasses. You will need these.”

I bite my lip hard, but I’m too tough to break my skin with teeth. “I don’t want to – to be theen,” I mumble.

“This will hide you as well from many humans in its own way.” The fae presses the stick into my hand. “You need to learn how to use it. The healing will be faster if you close off the bindings you can sense. But you knew this already.”

“Yeth.”

“I will arrange for money for you with others of my kind. Do what you can for us with your friends, and we will aid you in this small way.”

“You need lots of help?”

The fae hesitates, then: “We do. We have shirked our duties for some time.”

And the fae is gone, folding the world and going to some fae place as I head back to the motel we’re sleeping in. Charlie is asleep in the other bed and I crawl into mine and set the white stick and glasses beside the bed. My eyes don’t work right for crying but I feel really sad and I don’t know why.

I think I know why Honcho left a little bit. I still don’t have words for it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Huzzah and Hooray!


7K written today, at 103K in total at present. ~62K was the first draft of Drowning Magics (as ever, the ending came too quick and was too rushed, but that is always me and first draft endings. It's a framework, with things to fix and alter.) ~8K is the Too Many Murders draft piece, which was set aside. I could have finished it, or finished something, but it would have been just words for the sake of words, which I find to be a waste of time.

(We will pause for the irony of that, given how much I sometimes write in November, but it is true.)

Generally I use nanowrimo for one real draft, one get-this-out-of-my-head draft and generally, depending on time and desire, something that comes up entirely during the month of brainstorming crazy-fun. It all depends on time, energy and inclination. If it stops being fun and feels forced, I stop doing it.

Also working out plans in my head for Dec/Jan writing, and figure to spend Feb-? doing the second draft of Curdled Magics and then look into collecting the first year of the magician series stories for a print version (via lulu and/or create space, I think). After that I get to figure out how to fix what was going wrong with Boy & Fox, damn it. Sadly, the actual plot-thread the evil Elm Street house) is something that fits the magician series far better than Boy & Fox, so I'll probably scrap 10K of words as I clear it out and fix it up. Shall be fun :)

Depending on how things go, I might alter the plan for the Boy/Fox and magician series stuff. Nothing set in stone in the order of them, but I do want to get them all done.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Damage Deposit

I have done many years in almost two years of travelling with magicians and ghosts and creatures from Outside the universe: until this morning I’ve never woke up to the sound of crumpling bricks and found myself sailing four stories toward the road outside a hotel on a bed. Fun fact: it’s actally a loess less fun than it sounds before coffee. But probably safer before breakfast as the landing was bumpy and ugly.

I’m not most people. My name is Charlie, and I eat gods. It’s a living. I can do other things, and one of those is call up the god inside me for aid. A creature of shadows and the places under beds and in children’s closets that rose to flow over my body with a darkness akin to dusy bunnies in the early morning light. The armour made the landing barely bumpy but I could hear breaking windows and got to actually watch an entire cheap motel lean to the side before righting itself as I got off the bed. I sleep clothed these days. Travel with a magician teaches you that, if only to escape from pissed-off people.

I shake my head, thank the god in the silence of my own head and walk back to the hotel. The hotel front door opens, possibly because it has more sense than not to, but also because of the people running out screaming. I flex the god inside me. Eyes the colour of a nightmare, claws as red as blood and blood and the smell of forbidden things makes even terrified hotel guests break around me and give me space. That, and I’m in a foul mood. I take the stairs up to the fourth floor two at a time and peole flee my path like pins in a bowling alley from a pissed-off ball. Bad image, but I am trying to catch my breath at the top and that that doesn’t help at all.

A few ugly coughs keep everyone still on the fourth floor inside their rooms as I walk back to what had been room 414 with a view of the road and the harbour. Walls are cracked, plaster shattered apart, ceiling fixtures hanging dead to dangle in the air like the worst oxygen masks a cheap airliner would offer. The power has been killed to the entire floor, possibly a couple of others as well, the carpet is covered in dust and the destruction actually ebbs as I get closer to the centre.

I let the god inside me slip back inside, mostly because barging in with the god about me will terrify what is in 414. The door is standing, as though to try and claim nothing that happened was caused by this room. I push it open, enter, close it behind me. Jay is standing wide-eyed in the middle of the what had been a hotel room. He looks to be a normal human kid of about ten, if human kids could walk through broken glass without hurting their feet. His glasses are missing, and his eyes under them aren’t human at all. Pale and filled with fragments of broken colours like a shattered disco ball or falling stars. They don’t track right at all, rolling about in his head like dead mice being thrown about a washing machine.

“Jay.”

He snaps his head toward me and moves in an inhuman blur, slamming into my stomach and bursting into sobs. He can’t cry properly anymore, but that doesn’t stop him from being scared. I wrap my arms about him until he stops making scared sounds, and shake him a little for good measure.

“What. Happened?” I’m not a magician; I can’t put power in my voice like the wandering magician who used to travel with us did, but I manage enough of my own mood that his falls dead silent, staring up at me. “Talk to me.”

He gulps, then looks down at his feet. “I wath calling Honcho and he wouldn’t answer any phone he passed.”

I take a deep breath. I take a second. Jay is (was?) bound to the wandering magician of his era. He’s done some nasty things, but the last involved using Jay’s talent for bindings to unmake something really nasty. The resulting actions removed most of a lisp Jay has had since he came into the universe and destroyed most of his vision. He can still see bindings just fine: see every connection that makes up people and the world, but translating that into ‘this is just the wall’ or apple or me or anything else is taking time. And the magician looked at what he had done, and left. He couldn’t travel with Jay after hurting him like that, even if he says Jay will heal.

To say Jay cannot understand that is stating it mildly. To say he’s taking it badly seems to be an understatement. “And?” I say when he adds nothing else.

“I got mad and threw my cell phone throgh the wall and thish guy came to yell and I thaid he should go away real loud and you went flying out the wall and everything broke and I fixed the bindings as fast as I could but I broke a lot of them,” he says, hunched over and miserable.

“You did, yes. Do you feel any better?”

He shakes his head, refusing to look up at me.

“The magician isn’t here to fix this.”

“I know.” Jay looks up, eyes wide. It’s hard to look into his eyes sometimes, but I don’t look away. I’m not sure he can actually see him physically yet, but he senses a lot through bindings, more than even magicians can. “I got mad. He alwayth told me not to and I got mad and I can’t fix that except by doing bindings he wouldn’t want me to do to people.”

“And?”

“And there has to be a payment. Balanceth?” he offers, and colour slowly drains from his face.

“You destroyed an entire floor of a hotel, Jay. What counts as an acceptable balance for that?”

“We won’t get the damage deposit back?”

I remind myself he’s not human, keep hold of my temper. “No. No, we won’t. What cost?”

“I don’t get my phone back for a while,” he says firmly.

I bury my face in my hands. “Jay.”

“I like my phone; I get lots of high scoreth and I can check my tumblr all the time and play games even when my eyes don’t look right and it’s going to be hard to not have it,” he says, not quite yelling the last bit, then clamps his hands over his mouth.

“It’s okay to yell, Jay. It’s even okay to be mad. It’s not okay to take it out on others like this. No phone, and you fix the walls, and floor and ceilings and lights as best you can.”

Jay bites into his lower lip at that, looking scared.

“Kiddo?”

“I don’t know if I can. I can’t – I can’t see right. Real things. It’th hard,” he whispers, his voice cracking a little, and he means far more than the magician leaving now.

“I know. I’m not the magician. I can’t be him. We’re friends,” I say, “but not the same kind. We’ll start here: I’ll talk you through it.”

He sniffs. “R-really?”

“You think I’d leave you to this alone?”

“Honcho did,” he says, so small I barely catch it.

“Jay. He didn’t leave you. He hurt you, and he can’t heal himself from that if he’s around you. You can. But magicians are human: he has to heal in his own way.Calling him to inform him you are entirely fine is not going to help.”

Jay blushes at that; I don’t know whether to laugh or cry that I guess what he’s been trying to do that easily. In some ways he is a very simple creature.

I reach over and raise his chin. “Ready?”

He offers a small nod and grabs my right hand tight in his left before walking over to the hole that had been a window and wall and holds up his left hand, scowling intently. “What thould be here?”

“Wall. Window.” I begin describing things and he begins binding the shattered bricks and stones on the ground back together, binding everything back in place as we move from wall to wall and then room to room, getting into a rhythm of questions and response for a good hour until he is done. We find his glasses halfway through fixing things and he relaxes visibly once they’re on. Jay is very good at hiding what he is, but his eyes make that harder now. There are still cracks in walls and broken lights and people who will have strange memories of his morning but he does the best he can and we head out to the van I’ve bought after all that.

He thumps int the passenger seat, exhausted and panting for air.

“So,” I say as I turn the van on. “You fixed it.”

Jay blinks, then looks over and nods. “I – I did. I broke it and I fixed it.”

“You did good.” I ruffle his hair gently and he relaxes at that, resting his head against my shoulder as I pull into traffic and consider where we can grab breakfast.

“Charlie?”

“Jay.”

“How long won’t I have my phone for?”

“How long do you think?”

“That long?” he says in a small voice, twisting his head up to stare at me in horror.

“You did break a hotel in a fit of pique, Jay.”

“But a whole day without a phone?!” he says in a tone of horror, then breaks into a huge grin as I stare at him. It’s been days since I’ve seen an honest grin from him.

I cuff him alongside the head, which wins a fit of giggles and he presses tight against my side with a huge and happy sigh. “I was thinking a week,” I say. “Seven days.”

“Okay.” He doesn’t even protest or make a counter-offer, but does keep his hand in mine as I drive. Being close to be must be helping him cope with all this; I don’t protest in turn, just turn on a country station and we spend a few minutes fighting over what music to listen to.

It’s not healing, but I can see the way to it from here.

Jay has a tumblr

After months of mentioning tumblr in the series, and the tumblr meta posts being a fun running joke on tumblr, sleep deprivation and nanowrimo conspired to create

http://randomlyjay.tumblr.com/tagged/this-is-jay/chrono

This may be the single worst idea I've ever had.

It is also sucking time away FROM nano. And anything else.

Otoh, I am using it to help figure out where the stories GO from the events in the last novel. But even so :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

...

So. Uhm. I don’t wanna write this. But Charlie thaid I have to. To explain, and things.
Last week was bad. I’d been having nightmareth for months, sucking my thumb raw and Honcho was pretending he didn’t notithe because friends do that even if we were bound together and it ended up in this town up in Canada which wasn’t real. I mean, the town wasn’t real.

Canada is real. I’ve googled it. (Charlie wants me to thay that googling doesn’t equal real, but I knew that.) The town was a trap made by an ex-magician Honcho had me strip the magic from and he’d become some anti-magic and evil and called an Emissary from the Far Reacheth which ….
It’th a really bad place. Plathes. Bad ones. The Emissaries undo bindings in the univerthe just by existing, by being present like a wound, like something too real and it hurts to thee them even. And Joey called one, and Honcho asked me to see every binding of it to stop it and it hurt and

my eyes smoked. Eyes don’t do that, not even mine. And there wath smoke and it hurt a lot and Joey was gone and I wathn’t unmade. I could have been, but I survived and my lisp thomehow is mostly gone before you don’t survive that and not be changed and I don’t need to suck my thumb at all anymore. I can, but it doesn’t do anything for me binding myself.
Tho I don’t, becuase Charlie doesn’t like it and I’m just delaying now because I don’t want to talk about thith at all but my vision is all weird and blurred and bad, but I can still see bindings just fine! I’m fine! I AM! But Honcho didn’t think so and it hurt him and

he said he had to leave me with Charlie
and left with a fae named Dana
and he’s gone but he’s my friend
and bindings are breaking
and it hurts all the time.

I can’t cry right anymore, but I make sounds and I guess that made line breakth in the speech-to-text program on my phone. I don’t know. I like Charlie, but Charlie ithn’t Honcho and it hurts that he won’t come back and everything hurts too much and I’m trying to be happy so I don’t hurt Charlie but I think that hurts her too and I don’t know and

Charlie just gave me a huge hug.

It helps. I’ll be OK tomorrow. I’ll be better then.

I’m thorry if I made you sad:(

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Loss & Stations

I don’t have a will, or even a testament. I’m not big on testaments or commandments and won’t leave anything behind when I die. Not by choice; I just won’t. It’s entirely possible what when I die, no one will ever remember I existed, which isn’t a trick most people can pull off in an age of social media and internet feeds hungering for data like cats ravaging catnip. There are a lot of tricks in the world. Some big, some small, some useless and some flat-out terrifying. Mine falls somewhere in the range of wth.

My name’s Parker, and I lose things.

I have vague memories of being married once. That’s really all anyone needs to know about that.

Right now I’m in an actual nest of vampires under the disused Cooper Line subway station. Built in the 1960s and then never connected to the subway at all for reasons involving politics and possibly bribes just to piss off the architect, who drank himself into oblivion a couple of years later. It’s likely he did something to this place when dying: concentrated bitterness can do amazing things at times.

All I know is that vampires are solitary creatures, as far as tulpas go. And this place of stone and earth lit only by the city workers hats and safety vests we are wearing, is showing us at least six vampires. Human-form, vast, moving along ceiling and walls in blurs too quick for most of the gunshots to reach them. I’m here with Brodie Tavish; she asked the oldest ghoul in the city for directions to this place because the city wants to reopen it and all the maps had been burned or lost.

That should have been our first clue something wasn’t at all kosher. I also should have wondered of Brodie had pissed off Utlk recently. For a two-hundred year old tulpa, Utlk can be a remarkably petty creature at times according to some stories I’ve heard. I made Brodie tell me everything she knew about him, just in case. First rule of dealing with tulpas: remember they’re not human. Some of them can play a very long game.

Or murder a small expedition funded by the city because – oh, hell.

Gunshots fill the air from the other ten people with us, few hitting the vampires at all. “Brodie.”

She turns to me, speaking between the sound of gunshots keeping the vampires at bay. “Parker. You have a plan?”

“Not as such. You do work for the city: does the mayor’s office have any plans in the pipeline involving Stateview Waters?”

“They are limiting tourist buses in the oldest parts of the city because of stress on cobblestone,” she says after a short pause. It’s why I like Brodie: no question about why I’m asking it, no ‘what the hell are you talking about?’, just what she knows, fast and quick. “Do I want to know why you’re asking this when we have six vampires who are going to kill us?”

Not trying to: we have weapons, we’ll run out of ammunition long before er manage to kill enough vampires to matter.

“Utlk lives in Stateview Waters; if the city does that, it will limit tourism to the cemetery and he does so love showing off the mausoleums.”

She blinks. “He does know more about the underground of the city than anyone else. You really think he didn’t warn us because of a fit of pique over something else?”

“You met him: do you?”

She swears, soft and ugly, fires off another shot with her pistol and wings a vampire. She’s good. Everyone she’s brought with her is calm, collected, and we don’t have a hope at all. “Go. Tell someone important.” She hands me her ID. “This might help.”

“I could make them lose us; we could get out,” I say between another burst of gunfire.

“There is at least six vampires. And a dozen humans to hide. You really think you can do that?”

We’ve known each other a week; she knew she’d end up forgetting me, because my trick does that. Didn’t mean a damned thing to her at all. “I don’t know.”

“Go.”

I step to the side. The vampires lose sight of me, lose my trail, lose the very thought I was here at all. I walk, until I can’t hear anymore gunfire, and I keep walking. I’m smiling and the smile doesn’t feel nice at all.

My name is Parker, and I lose things. Often when I can’t afford to. But sometimes, just sometimes, I can make sure that what is lost matters.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The death of a draft

And Too Many Murders is being set aside. Too much research is going to be needed and way, way too many people were dying. I need to rethink the MC a bit (he needs to work instead of be a perpetual loafer; probably fix/sel UnWaves for his dads company) so there is more logic in how he funds/runs across the bodies. I like the characters and the setting, just can't get the story to work as pure pantsing. I was spending as much time writing notes on on who died, who killed them, how they died etc. as I was writing the story, which slowed it down to a crawl.


So I'm working on a story idea that popped into my head just before nano. Urban fantasy, of the noir/grimdark sort. Thus far the MC has possible agreed to murder someone and also effectively fed one kid to a vampire. Need to sleep; thoughts on draft and tenses tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

From nano #2.

“Did you want to get arrested?” I snapped once she was driving down the road.  “You don’t go about telling the police you believe aliens killed over three people!”

“What I wanted was for the police to not lock you up, Dennis.” Mel said.

“Lock me up? I haven’t done anything.”

“You think that matters to the police? Just because you’re a white male doesn’t mean you’re immune to being jailed for crimes you didn’t commit.”

“I don’t think that’s how it works.” Mel snorted. “Well, not all the time and definitely not in the way you mean.”

“Point is: something damned weird is going on in Kennebec. We need to find out what.”

“We what?”

“Murders? Solving then? Try and keep up,” she snapped in turn as she twisted the wheel, tires skidding as the car rounded a corner.

“We have a police force. They’ll be calling in state troopers and the FBI, Mel.”

“So? They don’t know this town: we do. Fact: it can’t be just one person. Fact: they know our police force isn’t equipped to deal with this. Fact: they are getting away with murder. Fact: they knew who they killed and are trying to distract the authorities so it isn’t just about murder.”

“They tried to make it look like Alex and Emily killed themselves,” I said in spite of myself.

“And killed animals for the same reason. Amanda was an accident, presumably, unless they killed her first and then the animals as an attempted cover for that. There is at least a plan to this.”

“So we are assuming it’s humans rather than aliens that did these killings?”

“Without proof otherwise, yes. It probably isn’t the seven foot tall lizards in human skinsuits since they are busy being the British royal family.”

“You’re joking, aren’t you?”