Nadec, the podcast, is here!

It is done!

After weeks of preparation and scratching my head, I still don’t know what I’m doing. Yet I managed to make a finished first episode of the podcast. I’d planned on releasing it later in the evening (because for me it’s now Saturday evening), but I couldn’t wait any longer.

Here’s a little run-through on what’s happened on the website with the podcast and everything.

The main Nadec page has been divided in three subcategories:
Nadec first draft: this is the original page where every newly written chapter will be added. These new chapters will be published on Monday evenings now, instead of Sundays.
Nadec podcast: all the podcast episode will be posted here, and you’ll find a link to the transcripts of them.
Nadec polished: the edited version of the first draft chapters can be read here. As I’ve mentioned before, especially for the earlier chapters, the chapters will be longer than the original.

As a result of all this busyness, there’ll no longer be two other flash fiction published on a regular base. The blog’s schedule will look like this now: Nadec podcast and Nadec polished changes on Saturdays. New first draft chapter of Nadec on Mondays. Occasionally a new flash fiction on Thursday.

So yeah, Nadec will be taking a lot of time and place now. It’s all prep for the Tear of the Sky, which will be awesome!

You can find Nadec the podcast on many podcast apps, incl iTunes and Spotify.

Nadec ch 16: Descending

Previously on Nadec: After talking to the zlurp, Nadec finds herself in an urgency to leave the cave. Wyny decides to go with her to help, so they, and Kitty, exit the cave Blackie’s back.
***********************
Looking down from an airplane is beautiful enough, but that high up, it doesn’t really show much. Only when the plane ascends and descends, the real beauty of what is below, shows. Close enough to see details, far enough to see a lot. Except that Nadec had never flown over an area of pure nature, stretching as far as she could see.

The opening they’d exited the cave from let out a stream of water, dropping down into a flowing waterfall cascading over multiple rocks. When Blackie turned around—perhaps circling was an easier way to descend with humans on one’s back—Nadec could see many more waterfalls next to the one, all coming from another tunnel in what appeared to be the side of a small mountain. The sight was mesmerising.

Sun rays hitting the falling water shattered into a million different colours. The main colour was a shining golden, but hidden in between were thousands small rainbows, caused by all the different levels, depths, strengths, speeds, and widths of the waterfalls. Then Blackie’s circling turned them back around. Once again, Nadec’s breath hitched before letting it out in a woaaaah.

Definitely nothing she’d ever seen before from an airplane. Perhaps people who did all the base jumping and things like that had an idea of how pretty things could be. But surely even they had never seen anything like it?

‘It is quite extraordinary, is it not?’
Wyny almost had to shout to be heard over the wind rushing past them, but he still managed to find the perfect volume. At least she didn’t have to cringe in the way it sometimes goes when someone at a loud party tries to speak and nearly breaks the other’s ear drum.

She merely nodded her head—she knew how embarrassing her voice sounded when she had to yell. There were no words to express the magnificence of the view. The magnificence of The Other Realm; this area of it anyway. She thought of perhaps a combination of New Zealand, with its lakes and large hills, a bit of Australia, with brilliant beaches along side cliff sides. She saw vast jungles, green and moist and colourful. There was such a variety of diverse landscapes, she wondered how that worked with the climate.

Best of all, she could see no sign of people anywhere. No human settlements, no human interference. Her heart warmed even more at the sight of it. She loved what technology could do, but she resented what it had done to Earth. And how much suffering and death it had brought, to both people, animals and nature. She didn’t allow her mind to wander of in that direction just yet. Enjoy the bliss for now.

Kitty didn’t care about anything around him. He appeared soundly asleep in front of Nadec, head towards her, tail fluttering besides him. Somehow he managed to look comfortable while on top of the ridges caused by the dragon’s spine. This was one of those times she wished she could take photos. Although most of Earth’s technologie somehow still worked here, taking photos never worked. Not with a mobile, not with an expensive camera, not even with a Polaroid nor old-fashioned throw-away camera.

Their flight soon came to an end. Blackie’s feet hit the ground, not landing softly at all. It was close, but neither of them fell off during the bumpy landing. Nadec slid off as soon as she could, almost before Blackie stood still. No matter how much she’d enjoyed the view, having solid ground under her feet did feel good.

Blackie had dropped them off next to a lake, formed by some of the waterfalls. The reason why became obvious immediately, as she stepped toward the lake and started drinking it with big swallows, dropping down on her belly as she did so. The flight must have exhausted her. So much for flying on a dragon to make the journey quicker, she thought, with a relief she would never admit to anyone.

‘So, do you know where we are, was there anything at all you recognised from the air?’

She turned to Wyny while asking the question. Her mouth dropped open as he stood there with his bare upper body, in the middle of removing his pants. That was not what she expected.

‘I am not certain, but… what is the matter?’ He frowned at her. She realised she’d been staring and shook out of it, making a shooing motion with her hands. She was sure she saw a small smile before he ducked his head. While removing his underpants. He was naked once again.

‘Honestly, I would think you would be used to seeing me nude by now, you have seen me more nude than dressed. I am taking a dip in the lake, it might make for an acceptable bath. As for where we are, I am not certain, like I said,’ he jumped in the water, ducked down, and appeared again with a puff, ‘but I believe I did see the spiralling spinal spine pines. If that is so, we should go that direction. Not because I know where to go from there, but because there is a small city nearby and we could possibly find a map there. And perhaps hear more about events.’

By the time he’d finished speaking, Nadec had also undressed and gone into the water. It was cold at first, but quite good after a while. With her period in full swing, being in this much water was a treat. If only she could stay there until it was over. No time for that. She thought about what he’d said but didn’t have to ruminate too long. There weren’t many options.

‘Good. We’ll go there. If you remember which direction they were?’

He gave her a look which said I am not an idiot, but nodded anyway.

‘It was where the sun sits now.’

Nadec tipped her hair back. She liked the crawling sensation on her scalp from the chill water. On the river side, Blackie had already snuggled up with Kitty. Nadec snorted at that. Those two slept whenever and wherever they could.

‘I never heard that dragons are so odd.’

Wyny sounded amused and pondering. He came to float closer to her.

‘There, I do not have to talk as loudly now. Dragons are elusive and not much is known about them. We know them most of all from stories. Their numbers appear to be dwindling.’

‘Of course they are. It’s a classic trope, the dragons-are-rare-and-almost-extinct-trope. I should call this world Troponia instead of The Other Realm.’ She chuckled at her own joke.

‘Don’t look at me like that. You don’t even know what a trope is, but believe me, this planet of yours is full of them.’

His face contorted even more in confusion. ‘What is a planet?’

She rolled her eyes at him. Almost, she swiped her hands forward to splash him, but that was one trope she didn’t want to fall in, no matter how much fun it might be.

‘If I tell you that, I’d have to tell you many other things and it would blow your mind. We have more urgent issues now beside mind-blowing. Let’s just say it has to do with the stars. I know you know what stars are, I’ve seen them here plenty of times. They might be one of my most favourite things here.’ She trailed off, stopping herself right in time from mentioning pollution and the effect it had. That would’ve also taken her down many roads if mind blows.

‘Maybe I can explain some things while we’re on the road.’ An idea struck her and she cooed. ‘Ooh, and perhaps you can teach me how to use that magic of yours. My employers have granted me with a little bit of magicness. Enough to be able to skip anyway.’

Wyny had been coming closer to her, but she’d been steadily moving away from him. No matter what his intentions were, she didn’t want to take any chance. He’s hot and a ruler, but that didn’t mean she was going to throw away her rule of not sleeping with the guys she rescued. Even if they tend to invade her dreams.

‘I apologise, I would be more than happy to teach you.’ His face scrunched up, reinforcing his apology. ‘Only descendants of the water crown are able to use the power of the Squares, so I am afraid you can not. I can of course show you how it is done and how it works, but you will not be able to practice it.’

‘I should’ve expected it. Another trope, only royalty can use magic.’ She barked a laugh. ‘Classic.’

She got back out of the water and whispered something to Blackie. The dragon winked at her in understanding. She knew she probably could’ve thought what she’d said and she would’ve understood, but that felt too uncomfortable.

About ten minutes later they set out on a walk, off towards the spiralling spinal spine pines. Not for the first time since talking to the zlurp did she wonder what her parents had been up to. Ensnaring her in her own tropes. And now, Earth might even be in danger. The biggest trope of them all.
*******************

Three days too late for this story, it’s Wednesday Instead of Sunday, but I’ve got a perfect reason for that! I’ve beenworking hard on getting the podcast up and running. The first episode is nearly done and will be out on Saturday evening (Sydney time). It is available on most podcast apps, including iTunes and Spotify. Just search for Nadec. Let me know if you can’t find it!

With that said, I can also say that I’ve changed my approach towards seeing it as a write-one-chapter-a-week thing. Instead, I’ll be focusing all my writing time now on this story, writing it like it is a novel. Yeh, things just got a but more serious hey 😉 that should mean no more missed deadlines. If you want to know more about the podcast and everything about Nadec, check this page out.

The happiness of food

You emerge. The soft touch of wind on your cheeks awakes an image in your mind; your backyard from the porch while sipping a beer. Cicadas belting out their flirting songs, shaking their booty like there is no tomorrow. Then, one day, there was no tomorrow. Not for you, not for a while.

Until you woke up. Todays and tomorrows started again.

So there you are, out of the hole. You blink, because hey, underground, the light is weak and you’ve been there a long time. You take a deep breath, but cough before your lungs fill up. So much oxygen. Despite still gasping, you smile. The sun prickles on your skin.
Contemplating the view on the ocean, you bite your apple, the one you took up with you. It’s been down there for as long as you have, so it’s wrinkled and probably doesn’t taste very good. It doesn’t matter. Everything tastes like sludge to you anyway.

Others have tried to come up before. Every time they came back gagging. Even masks can’t hold back the putrid smell. They say it’s like a thousand bodies decomposing on top of a million rotten eggs with a billion potent dog farts thrown in.

This is where your misfortune—a bad knock to the head when everyone scampered down for safety, away from the chaos of the protesting earth—turns into a good fortune. Before then, you’d never heard of anyone losing their sense of smell because of head trauma. The name of the condition—anosmia—sounds like a fancy cocktail or an exotic fruit.

A tinge of sadness squeezes your chest. It’s difficult to keep up the hopes of your taste returning someday.

You remove your backpack as you turn, putting the sound of the waves behind you. Gently pushing aside the multitude of seeds and super-concentrated, lab-made fertiliser, you take a small container, open it and close it. They reckon—with enough samples over a span of days—they’ll be able to calculate when the bad air will be tolerable. Until then, you have all of these farmlands for yourself.

You smile as you wade through the hip-high grass. Your destination is at the far end of the field. As you get closer, you notice fruit hanging from the fruit trees around the building. Tears roll along the creases your wide smile makes. Your favourite is among them. Mangos.

Fresh food might make enough people love you. Hopefully that fills up the emptiness made by the lack of happiness when eating.

You’re a farmer now.

 

Proud

My heart beats faster. I’ve written it all down.

I’m going to do it. A few more deep breaths.

Damn, they shake. Aim for control.

It’s elusive.

The longer I wait, the more my vision darkens and my throat constricts.

I tap the call button.

It rings several times. I won’t mind if he doesn’t pick up.

But then, I do; gathering up my courage takes strength.

He answers.

He immediately tells me about yet another change in my schedule.

I play along until he’s ready to hang up.

My voice shakes as I ask if he has a few more minutes.

There’s a pressure on my head.

I tell him I’m nervous.

But I need to say it.

Everyone else just sucks it up.

I go on a rant.

Except that he interrupts several times.

I still manage to say half of what I’d written down.

I need better communication.

I need more appreciation.

(didn’t say this)

I need more information.

I need a rest.

(said this jokingly like “haha, yeah, that’s the best medicine but not an option, haha”).

I need to not have new customers dumped on me.

I need to not be interrupted.

(didn’t say this, it was a thought when he did so)

I need a raise.

The sound of my heart almost overpowers his voice.

I don’t cry.

We say our goodbyes.

I hang up.

I did it.

I cry.

**************************************

Many people out here might know what it’s like. You need to talk to your boss or direct supervisor. You need to tell them that you’re not happy. If you don’t, you’ll keep going down that downward spiral. And that never ends well; you’ll get sick or you’ll quit, or something else happens.

It doesn’t help you and it doesn’t help your employer. At least if you talk to them about your concerns, they know and they can act upon it… I suppose some might, and some won’t, but at least you won’t have anything to blame on yourself. Such talks are hard though, really hard. Especially for introverts.

I had a talk like that last week. I was still shaking half an hour afterwards. But I did it. And I felt proud for having done so. I’m also pleased to be able to say that my employer has taken it into consideration, and has actively acted upon it.

 

Interludes 5

How has January passed already? Did it go as quick for you as it did for me? Granted, things have been hectic at my day job, which speeds days along. It would’ve been great if I had to spend less time doing that and had more time to focus on my writing projects. In this interludes-post I’ll go over all my current writing projects.

Nadec
The one which gets most of my attentions these days. This quirky continuing story which  started as merely one of my flash fiction, is now up to chapter 15. In its current state, it’s almost long enough to be considered a novella! Fair to say that I never expected this to happen when I wrote it first.

The published chapters are all being revised and edited as we speak. Perhaps you’ve noticed, but the latest chapters have been longer, passing by the flash fiction threshold. Because the story is getting larger, with more details and background stories finding their way in, it’s inevitable to get longer chapters. That only means more Nadec for everyone, yaay! Because of that, I decided to extend the earlier chapters as well. So those aren’t only being edited, they’re made longer too.

Last week I managed to make a trailer and publish it on Podbean. Click here to have a listen on Podbean (and subscribe while you’re there). Or you could give it a listen right here:

 

Let me know what you think! I’m super critical to myself and can’t help cringing whenever I hear it, even though I’d decided it was good enough to release to the world. I’m sure my narration will get better the more I practice. Which was the whole point of turning it into a podcast, to practice before releasing the larger podcast project (more about that further down).

I’ve played around with the blog a bit, and rearranged the menu options. Nadec has now been divided into 3 sub-pages. It almost feels like a real thing hey! I haven’t been accepted to iTunes yet because it wasn’t ready enough. I’ll try again this week, and worst case it will only get accepted after the first episode has been released. Which takes me to an important part of this blog: the first episode will be release on Saturday February 16th. How excited is that! It will be evening for Sydney time and (very) early mornings for New York time. Unfortunately, the time difference makes it a bit awkward. For now I’ll stick to that and will assess later on.

Tear of the sky
My larger podcast project has been shoved aside by all the attention Nadec has been getting. I believe I’m about halfway in writing the story. Once the beginning stages of the Nadec podcast have passed, I should get a breather and be able to resume writing this one. I feel like there are more and more “choose-your-own-adventure” type things coming out each day (damn you black mirror!), so there’s definitely a pressure to finish it asap. By the next interludes I should have made great progress.

Flash fiction
I’ll continue writing flash fiction and I’m trying to get them shorter again. I noticed they’ve been getting longer, and that’s not the point of flash fiction! Because of being busy with all the other things, I might not be able to write two every week, so there might not be a new post every Tuesday and Thursday. Please forgive me for this.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading the update, and stay tuned for the podcast! If you want to be sure not to miss the first episode, I would urge you so subscribe on the podcast on Podbean. From the moment it’s on iTunes, I’ll share the link with you all and you can subscribe there if that’s your preference. Either way, thanks for your time!

ps: Nadec artwork is still very much a work in progress. I need to add Kitty onto it!

 

Reward

Dread and unwillingness. Suffering will come.

Anticipation of the reward.

Start.

Blood pumps around. Face heats up.

Breath quickens. Legs protest.

Beep.

That was slow.

Sweat drips. Cars rush by.

Heart beats in ears.

Beep.

Quicker. Good.

Find the rhythm. Enter the bush. Senses alive.

Stop and marvel.

Calming surrounds of nature. Breathe.

Resume with vigor.

Smile.

Beep.

Slower again. Worth it.

Spiderwebs crossing the path, lizards scuttling away.

Flies buzzing curiously, cicadas overpowering all sounds.

Thankful.

Beep.

Time doesn’t matter.

Lungs fill with air. Leave the bush.

Dogs barking hello.

Beep.

Already?

Crunching of feet on footpath.

Sun burning. The hill challenges.

Beep.

Almost back. Could do more.

Breath: intens, blood: warm, heart: loud, feeling: alive.

Arrived.

Beep.

Stretch.

Shower.

Relax.

Enjoy bliss.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This was different than what I usually post, I hope you’ll forgive my little experimenting. I was running the other day, and these things popped up in my head, so I decided to write them down. I’m not a good runner and don’t do it nearly as much as I’d like. Because of that, every time before I start, I don’t really want to. I know how much it will hurt the first k’s (or mile). But then I remind myself of the reward I’ll get at the end, the blissful feeling of all the happy hormones, and the satisfaction with myself for having done it.

Nadec Ch 15: flight

Previously: Nadec recovered from her concussion by being unconscious for a week, helped by the Dragon’s White Gas. They need answers from the zlurp, so they set to interrogating him.

Read all the previous chapters here.

Disclaimer: rough version! This is as raw as it gets, almost fresh from the brain. If you’d like to read a properly edited version, the podcast will be just that (and those episodes will be posted on this blog as well, of course)

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

‘How do we get out of here?’
Nadec walked away from the room where Blackie burped the zlurp back to unconsciousness. She kept her stride firm, heart beating loud in her own ears, and looked over to Wyny, checking if he was keeping up.
‘You believe him? Do you not believe we should discuss what he said and think about it properly? You know he could have been lying.’
She shook her head, stopping briefly to allow Kitty to jump on her shoulders. What the zlurp had said… She wished she didn’t believe. It had shook her to the core. She was trying hard to hang on to calmness, but in reality she was on the brink off hysterics. She hadn’t felt like this in… in three years. No, don’t think about that as well.
‘We can’t assume he was lying, there’s too much at stake. I’ll have to let you find your own way back.’ Another thing to add to her upset state—her perfect record broken, at least from her point of view. They got to the main cave, and sadness grew on top of the other emotions. In that very short time, she’d quickly gotten attached to this place.
‘It’s too dangerous for you to come with me. My employers would kill me if I did. They probably already do. Oh.’ She stopped, stared out over the water.
‘Could they be the ones behind this? If what he said was true?’ Wyny’s face had an intensity to it—any other time it would’ve diverted her mind elsewhere.
‘No, no, that wouldn’t make sense.’ She sensed her brows drawing down. ‘Even if they aren’t happy with my uncompleted job—you, yes—they wouldn’t hurt me over it.’ She snorted at the ridiculousness, but it sounded fake to her own ears. Come on, pull it together, keep making jokes, don’t let this get to you.
‘You realise I will refuse to let you go on without me, are you not?’
‘Are you trying to be the valiant hero, the knight in the night, the man who rescues all, the prince on the white horse, rescuing the damsel in distress?’ She’d meant for it as a joke, but it came out sounding bitter and annoyed.
‘I’ll have you know, I am the one who saves people here, buddy. I am the one they’d named the red knight. I am the one whom they sen out to find missing people and do everything in my power to get them back.’ She was shouting now but didn’t even care. It felt good. Why were her lips wet and salty?
‘They gave the responsibility to me! So don’t you think you can just come marching in and take over. I’ve been doing fine these past years by myself and I will keep on doing fine. Even if there is someone out there who wants to capture me or kill me because they—wrongly!—believe I am some heir from a dead country. Bullshit! My parents were normal people. They were the best people. This is all horseshit!’
She inhaled, but couldn’t. Instead it became a broken sob. She turned away from him, keen to pick up Kitty. But Kitty was already on her shoulders.
‘It is alright, Nadec. It it alright. I will not leave you. We will figure this out together, and your employers can go eat goat dung.’
A sniffle-giggle escaped her—Wyny didn’t swear often. He enveloped her in his arms—nice strong arms—and she immediately returned the hug. It had been too long since she had any human contact like this. She allowed some tears to flow. Kitty jumped off her shoulders, but kept making an eight in between her ankles, headbutting and meowing.
‘We don’t have time for this.’
Forcing a stop to her pathetic behaviour, she pulled away from Wyny. He reluctantly let go and nodded.
‘I still am not completely convinced if we should really go, I do not trust that creature. But,’ he held his hand up to her as she was about to protest, ‘I trust your judgment. We should be going. What shall we do with the zlurp?’
‘Leave him. He won’t wake up unless Blackie wakes him, right? Right. So we leave him. Not our problem anymore. I’m not in the mood for killing.’
As Wyny opened his mouth, she glared at him.
‘We go, now.’
She had to keep busy, anything to keep the whirlwind inside her from getting out. Her little breakdown had been enough. No more of that now. Focus on the immediate threat, handle the larger issue later. Break it down in small steps, make the impossible, possible. She kept repeating those last words to herself until she believed it.
‘Clothes. I need spare ones, can’t keep walking around in these rags all the time, do you need clothes?’
Nadec didn’t wait for his reply, she walked off straight away towards the room with the abandoned clothes. Many of those were not better than rags, but she managed to select several decent looking shirts, a skirt and trousers she thought might fit her. She made a bundle out of them, and did the same for Wyny.
When she came back to the central room—after enjoying the luxury of the bathroom and its small waterfall one last time—Wyny looked ready to go. He had collected their blankets and put Kitty’s harness on te grey cat. Blackie wagged her tail, panting with split tongue out.
The sight of her companions—one human, two non-human-animals—stirred something. As a ray of sunlight banishing a dark cloud. How poet, thought of that yourself? She did not appreciate her own self-mocking… eh… self.
‘All good to go, I guess. Where’s the exit?’
‘Well, that is something I have not been able to tell you yet. There is no exit.’
‘What? How—?’
‘Please, let me finish. There is no exit we can easily navigate through. Thus, we fly.’
‘We fly.’ Her voice was flat in every way. She looked from Wyny to Blackie. The dragon winked. Oh no.
‘Can she even carry us all? She’s not matured yet, she’s still little.’
At that, Blackie puffed up, standing tall with her chest out, front legs straight but ass down. Sitting like a proud cat. Nadec had to admit that the dragon was not small. Although not as large as Nadec had imagined dragons to be, she supposed they’d fit on the animal’s back. Flying on a dragon. That would take her mind of things for the present. She also realised it would make their journey easier.
Not wanting to speak for fear of a tremble in her voice, she glanced at Wyny. The man had a grin on his face! Of course, he’d flown before, when she was unconscious. He gestured in a polite way. She shoved his bundle of clothes in his outstretched hand. She hoped he knew how much of an art it was, making a perfect and solid package out of clothes.
Blackie ducked down, positioning one of her legs so it made for a step. When Nadec settled down onto the dragon’s back, Kitty jumped up and settled in front of her. Wyny climbed up and got very cosy behind her. She supposed with the wings and all, it made things a bit awkward. The dragon was pleasantly warm underneath her—Wyny pleasantly warm behind her—and almost felt like a massive, supersized horse. Except without the hair and the smell.
Before Nadec could properly prepare herself, a jump and flap of the wings took them off the ground. They soared over the water, into a tunnel at the end of the lake. They maneuvered around the cave’s obstacles, higher and lower, fast and slow. The bioluminescence a brilliant blue against the dark rock. She noticed green and yellow as well, those hadn’t been in the other areas.
The unfamiliar yet incredible sensation of flying on a mythical winged beast was enough to make Nadec forget about everything else for the moment. Then they exited into daylight.
Nadec’s breath stopped in amazement.

Red hand

The red glow in his palm flickered whenever he made a fist. Thoughts of her invaded his mind again. He shook his head, unsure how long he’d been standing there, staring at his hand. Lost in dreams of an unattainable love.

Only inanimate objects have been the subject of his testing so far. He hadn’t wanted to try living beings. He’d killed enough already. Her smile flashed in front of his eyes, filling them with unshed tears. The longing in his chest threatened to tear him apart.

An apple had been the first victim of using the strange ability. He’d squeezed his fist once, turning the scanner on. Merely turning his palm toward the piece of fruit hadn’t done anything. But when he’d stroked it, a warmth had spread, and he’d known he had a copy of it in him. He’d slammed his flat hand down on the table. The real apple had disappeared, and a three-dimensional picture of it sat on—or in?—the table, as if part of it.

What he planned to do now was risky, but it must work. He’d played around with this enough. And who better to test it out than himself? He’ll go where his assassin skills are wanted and less frowned upon. The new environment should be enough to help him forget her.

He opened up the book. The Way Of Kings, the first one in a fantastic epic series. He’d chosen this because of the foreign world, and fore-knowledge about what was going to happen there. That should help him settle in before the unknown events started.

A few deep sighs didn’t help his nerves. He looked down at his outfit. Squeezing his fist twice to turn off the scanner, he felt in his pockets and satchel. That counted as a triple-check. Everything he thought he’d be needing was there, including all his knife-sets. His guns would be staying, they’d be too much out of place. The weight of the sword on his hips felt good, as if it had always belonged.

Time to stop stalling.

Staying here wouldn’t make a difference. She’ll never love you anyway.

He squeezed his fist. The red glow re-appeared. Not waiting for conscious thought—before the doubt came back—he let his hand glide over his body. It wasn’t necessary to cover every little area of himself. The warmth in his arm told him when it was ready. He had a copy of himself in him. Certainly a strange feeling.

He stared at the blonde-haired woman on the photo. It was staying on his desk, he didn’t want to take any reminders of her. Except for the ones he couldn’t erase—the ones in his head.

With a grim smile, he gave her an elaborate bow, the accompanying hand gesture ending on the book.

He was gone.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Based upon a prompt given to me by @ on Twitter: “lovelorn assassin, optical scanner, fantasy”. I’ve got to say, that was a difficult combination! But I managed to make something weird out of it hey 🙂

Nadec Ch 14: Talking to a drunk guy

Previously: Nadec recovered from her concussion by being unconscious for a week, helped by the Dragon’s White Gas. They need answers from the zlurp.

Read all the previous chapters here.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

‘Will he talk?’

The dubious look Nadec shot toward Wyny spoke volumes. She had quite a few questions for the zlurp. Whether or not he’d answer them and how much truth his answers would contain, remained to be seen.

‘I can not be certain of that. He might not even know many things. Perhaps he is merely a empty-headed minion.’

‘He mentioned a search warrant before. Maybe he’s a bounty hunter? Or a… You know what, it doesn’t matter, we should stop speculating and wake him up. It’s the only way to know for sure what he knows…’ She trailed off, thoughtful while looking at the purple creature. They were standing in a small cave room, the zlurp laying unconscious in front of them.

‘Hold on a second, I’ll be right back.’

She left the room to walk toward another one, where she looked around, picked something up and came back. The look on Wyny’s face made her grunt in amusement. He had no idea what she was doing. She stepped closer to the zlurp to place a cloak over his gender.

‘Much better.’

Noticing Wyny’s raised eyebrows, she added: ‘I’ve seen enough balls to last me a while, thank you very much. Anyway, don’t we need to tie him up or something first?’

Wyny chuckled. He chuckled! Was that for the balls comment or some ignorance of her? Whatever it was, he did appear much looser around her than in the beginning. He even seemed to start understanding her—sometimes sort of crude—sense of humour. She’d never expected that in any royalty, no matter which world they’re from.

‘I do not believe it would be necessary to tie him up.’ He glanced toward Blackie, whose body sat outside of the room but her head peeped in. Kitty was asleep on top of it, curled into a fluffy cat-ball. ‘I am fairly certain the dragon can wake him partially, which should make him too drowsy to get up and attack.’

‘And he might work along with us better too, being half-drowsy and such!’

The dragon started panting, just like a dog would. Although in her case it looked more like a sign of agreement instead of a need to cool herself. Nadec took it as a smile. A smiling dragon. What else will you astound me with? She asked herself that in her mind, partly because she did wonder, but partly as an experiment. Blackie looked at her, and winked. This time Nadec was certain it was a wink, aimed at her! The large animal had heard her thoughts and understood them. Well, bloody heavens take me, that’s pretty amazing.

She mentally added mind-reading to the list of ‘special things dragons do’. The Dragon’s White Gas was on that list—with expansion because there appeared to be more to it than she first thought—and the ability to relief pain. When the dragon had put her tail onto Nadec’s cramping tummy, she’d thought it was only the warmth which softened the pain. She realised this morning, when she woke up from a brilliant sleep, that it was more than that. Even now the cramps were still reduced to a soft, nearly imperceptible throbbing.

‘Ready?’ She jumped at hearing Wyny’s voice, so caught up in her thoughts about Blackie. He chuckled. Again! What was going on with that man? He’d been so uncomfortable the day before after the ‘red food is taboo’ thing. Was he trying to make up for the discomfort his discomfort had caused?

‘Yes. No, wait!’ She held out her hand to Blackie, who stood waiting eagerly to wake the zlurp. ‘One small question first. I need to know. Do you… have tomatoes?’

Wyny stared at her. His mouth even fell open, and he blinked slowly. She snorted at his expression and wished she still had her phone on her so she could take a photo. It had been blown up together with her couch though. His head shook slightly, as if he needed to make himself physically snap out of it.

‘Tomatoes? No, I don’t have tomatoes here. Oh, You mean? Yes, we have tomatoes in paralelo. What does that have to do with waking the zlurp?’

‘Oh, nothing. Just wondering. I like tomatoes.’ Their tomatoes must be yellow or other colours then. She was suddenly very much looking forward to discovering parallelogram, no, paraleo, no, eh, his kingdom.

‘Well, what are you waiting for, go ahead!’

Nadec expected Blackie to stretch out his neck and burp again, the same way she’d make the zlurp pass out. Instead, she retracted her head, turned around, and shimmied her backside in. Both Wyny and Nadec had to move aside or be pushed out of the way. Blackie held her tail to the side, so it was still mostly outside of the room. She lifted it up at the base, in the way a cat would lift their tail when someone scratches their back at the very end.

The black dragon farted onto the zlurp.

It wasn’t a silent expulsion of gas either. It was as loud a fart as she’d ever heard. It sounded more like a trumpet. No, it was like a tuba, not a sound produced by a living being. It was actually impressive. No matter how impressed she was by the sound though, Nadec wasn’t keen on getting the same extreme in her smell sense. Her hands lifted up parts of her shirt automatically, hiding her mouth and nose in an attempt to filter the air.

When the dragon’s head replaced her ass again, Nadec noticed Wyny grinning at her.

‘It is quite alright, there is no nasty odour. Oh, there we go. He stirs.’

She tentatively lowered her arms and breathed a shallow breath through her nose. The zlurp groaned. She jumped and uttered a high-pitched aah. What in Frank’s name was that? That was the second time today that something surprised her enough to make her jump.

‘OOooOOh, Princess.’ The zlurp’s speech was drawn out and thick, his accent heavier, the gravel replaced with pebbles. ‘I still got you trapped.’ He did his imitation-laugh, which surprisingly did sound more like a real laugh in his dazed state.

‘Dude, your sight must be seeing double, you’re our prisoner now.’

‘That’s not how I look at it! Welcome to my crib!’

The zlurp fell sideways, his whole body shaking with exaggerated shudders, hands slapping his thigh in too hard cracks. The movements made the cloak fall away from his sex. Nadec sighed, frowned and shared a glance with Wyny, walking over to him. The creature was trying to imitate laughter too forcibly. She nodded toward him.

‘What do you think that meant?’ Her whisper sounded a bit shaky. All of a sudden she had a bad feeling about this.

‘I do not believe it means anything. The creature is not all there, Blackie did not wake him up enough. It is alright,’ his voice softened as he grabbed her by the shoulders, ‘Come now, we will dig to the bottom of it and see if we can get anything reasonable out of this abomination.’

‘Like talking to a drunk guy hey. I can do that.’ She nodded, a short, curt nod.

‘I can definitely do that.’

Scorching days

The heat rose up from the bitumen in shimmering waves of translucent nothingness. Nothingness she couldn’t touch, but feel in every pore and surface of her body. Even below the surface it seeped, strengthening the feeling of melting. Still she kept walking.

She’d tried to cover her whole body in light linen clothes. It wasn’t pretty, but keeping the sun from touching her directly might have made a difference. She found that it did not. Instead it trapped the heat in the air between her and the fabric. Cue the feeling of being a bun in an oven.

She’d gone back to wearing cute dresses after that experiment. At least that way when there was a breeze, there was a chance of refreshment under the skirts. That big bright yellow star in the sky—the sun, yes, the sun, but she liked to think that simply referring to as a star helped—seared away and made it feel as if burning directly through her.

Gritting her teeth—no, the gritting happened in her mind. In reality she groaned a long, drawn-out moan. Almost there. She could see her house in the distant, at the end of the street. The street which looked like a molten puddle of silver.

She knew a nice cold beer waited for her in the fridge. Her feet dragged forward, her legs felt like heavy lumps of swollen water deposits. Sweat dripped—no, it cascaded—down her face, prickling in her sunglasses-shaded eyes. So close.

Step by step, slowly but surely, she got closer to her goal. Everything was too quiet on the streets. People rather stayed inside when it’s this hot. Can’t blame them, she thought, but money had to be made.

Finally, she arrived. After burning her hand on the doorknob and discovering it was as hot inside as outside, she turned on the air conditioning. Dealing with the electricity bill would come later, when she wasn’t in danger of melting all the flesh from her bones.

The fridge! There it stood, a glorious red, shining shrine in the kitchen. She absently bent down her knees to pet her cat, twirling around her. Her eyes were only on the fridge though, her steps feeling lighter. She opened it. Glorious coldness washed over her and she moaned in delight. The largest grin accompanied the greatest feeling in the world—for that day anyway. She closed her hand on the cold beer bottle.

Oopsie, copying isn't allowed