Fantasy Football Part 1

Revis and I are up to our old/new tricks. Go check it out and then watch this space for the next segment.

33 Grams of Blog

Hey everyone! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (yet still kinda close), Matticus and I did a story called Revis and Matticus Save the Kingdom. We both wrote on each part and then rotated on whose blog the next part would be published on. Well, we’re doing a new one. This is just the first part of our new blog hopping story. The next part will be published over at The Matticus Kingdom

We hope you’ll enjoy it.

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The ball felt good leaving his hand. He watched as it flew through the air in a nice, tight spiral. Accuracy was the only question now. It was aimed correctly, but did he judge the distance correctly?

His receiver’s hands wrapped around the ball mid-flight. It was placed perfectly. Two feet touched down, in bounds, as the receiver fell out of the back of the…

View original post 1,753 more words

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Echo, Part 10

His surprised curse turned into a scream as the reversing car spun in a half circle, shuttering slightly from the strain, and then sped higher into the mountains.  He wanted to ask where they were going but wasn’t sure the system would answer and was busy trying to keep his stomach from purging what little was left in there, if anything was left at all.  The trees and rocks lining the narrow road blurred as the car picked up speed and began maneuvering the turns at what seemed like impossible speeds.

He screamed again as the tires sang around a corner.

“Could you please calm down.  Your yells are very distracting and we need our full concentration right now.”

It was another hint that perhaps a human was behind the controls of the system rather than the system itself but he was too shaken to ponder more than that.

He managed, “Sorry,” through clenched teeth and then decided it was best to close his eyes.

A moment later, realizing he was wrong, he forced his eyes open again.  The inertia of the turns was worse when he couldn’t brace for them.  Despite the unfolding terror visible through the windshield, seeing what was coming was better than experiencing it with eyes closed.

The trees thinned and the road topped out with an expansive view of the mountain range.  He had just enough time to think it was beautiful before the car picked up even more speed and the road dropped back below treeline.  Somehow, though, the drive downhill wasn’t as terrifying as the way up had been.  That seemed counterintuitive but he was loathe to second guess it.  Whatever physics were at play, he didn’t care.  His stomach settled and his nerves calmed.  Despite the increased pace, the drive became less stressful, less terrifying.

When he felt he was up for it, he hazarded a glance in the rearview mirror, expecting to see dark cars on their tail.  The road kept twisting as it wound down the mountainside but he didn’t see anything.  “Are they close?”

The system didn’t immediately respond and he frowned.  He knew they were trying to get him quickly away but it was a simple yes or no question that they could have answered if they felt like it.  They were choosing not to respond.  And that wasn’t the first time he had asked something they had intentionally not replied to.  It left him in a frustrating position.  They were going above and beyond to keep him out of the hands of the federal agents, the thought police, who were after him for one reason or another but they weren’t being completely transparent on why they were helping him or everything they were doing to help.  He didn’t want to be ungrateful or disrespectful.  It was his life, his safety, his future on the line, though.

Sighing, he let it drop and went back to watching the mountain slide by his windows.  Now that terror no longer gripped his heart, he could really appreciate the beauty of the landscape, from the folding layers of the mountains to the tiniest wildflowers growing beneath the towering trees.  It was beautiful.  That wasn’t surprising.  He had always loved the mountains.

Eventually the car slowed and the system used its voice again.  “We should have a safe distance now.  Though, that will only be true until the chip in your head pings against another home unit.  Your chip seems more inclined to do that than the others we kept out of federal hands.  We aren’t sure why yours is different and wouldn’t be able to tell for certain without getting you into a lab anyway.  So, unfortunately, we are going to have to destroy it.”

“Wait, what?”

“Don’t worry.  You won’t be hurt in the process.  We still haven’t figured out the best way to do it but it should only take a small magnetic surge to scramble the chip.”

“Wouldn’t I run the risk of destroying the chip anytime I got near a magnet if it were that easy?”

A bit of the humor he had heard off and on returned to the voice when it answered, “It isn’t quite as simple as all that, we were just trying to alleviate your concerns about destroying something in your head.”

He wasn’t sure if he should be comforted by that or not.  He decided to change the subject.  “Where are we going?”

“Once again we must apologize for not having this all play out a bit easier for you.  Honestly, we aren’t entirely sure yet.  We need to find a place to destroy the chip and then find a new place for you to safely receive your new credentials before heading to the home we have set up.  That alone could take some time.  However, we are also trying to determine if destroying the chip will somehow make you stand out as well.  The saturation of the system across society means that those who aren’t chipped are oddities and could raise suspicion.  Before we destroy the chip in your head we need to make sure there will be no consequences of that nature.”

He was taken a back.  It was alarming enough to know that the federal agents were tracking him because of the chip in his head randomly sending out a homing signal of sorts but to also have to worry about the absence of a chip also drawing attention to him…  He closed his eyes again.  His head began to swim and for the first time since they had started downhill he felt like he might throw up again.

Echo, Part 9

He sort of dozed as the car continued to carry him on.  He knew he should be paying attention to where they were, in case he needed to find his way back and just because it was generally a good idea to know where one was, but it was too easy to get distracted with the system in full control.  So, he watched the world passing by and his mind drifted until his eyes closed and slumber came in and out in waves, never fully falling asleep and yet not fully awake.

The road began to climb into the higher elevations and the car effortlessly followed the twists and turns.  One of the perks of the machinery being in full control was they knew the exact speeds and spots with which to take to ensure the smoothest ride.  No human could match it.  Perhaps with more familiarity they could come close but certainly not on a first attempt.

The car turned off the road and climbed a narrow driveway.  The house became visible for a second before the car slid into the garage.  The door had been opened for his arrival and shut once the car was safely tucked inside.  A small amount of light filtered through a window on one wall but, otherwise, the garage was dark.

“We’ve found a car for you and it is already on its way.  Unfortunately, as suspected, it won’t be here for several hours and so we fear that you will find the wait uncomfortable.  We are very sorry for this inconvenience.”

After a moment of thought, deciding whether or not to ask, he posed the question, “Do you have any suggestions on how I should deal with my discomfort?”

“We do not have full schematics on the garage but perhaps you could find something to use?  Then take it with you when your new car arrives and properly dispose of it at the home that is being prepared for you.”

There seemed to be a hint of humor behind the voice and he once again wondered who was behind the system, who was actually helping him.  Was it a person who worked behind the scenes or was the system itself?

“I can get out of the car then?”

“Yes.  Please do not venture out of the garage though.  We need you to be where you can hear us should then plans need to be changed swiftly.  Plus, while we have overridden the controls on the garage, we have not taken over the whole home and do not wish you to trip any of the security measures we can see in place.”

“Okay.  I’ll get out, stretch my legs and see if I can find an empty paint can or something.”

“Good luck.”

“Thank you.”

He stepped out of the car and into the semi-darkness, pausing to let his legs get used to his weight again and to allow his eyes time to adjust.  He considered asking if they could turn on the headlights to give him a bit more to explore by but opted against it.  Given the position of the car, the headlights would probably make it harder for him to see the sides of the garage because the contrast would be higher.

He took a few tentative steps and then made a circle once around the car.  Nothing obvious jumped out at him.  He hadn’t done a thorough job of looking, though.  On that first lap he was mostly trying to get the blood flowing in his legs normally again.  He slowed down for the second lap and then slowed further for the third.

On the fourth lap he actually took the time to move things around on the shelves that lined the wall opposite the window.  He was surprised by the lack of cans.  He figured most houses in the mountains required a lot of maintenance and would have some paint cans or some hardwood finishers or stains or something of the like readily available.  There didn’t appear to be anything of the sort, though.

He was just about to take a fifth lap, mostly as an excuse to not get back into the car yet because he doubted he had missed anything, when the voice called out to him.

“Please get back in the car.”

He moved quickly and as soon as he was in, the engine came back to full power, and the voice continued.  “We have discovered two problems.  This location isn’t going to work.  Please fasten your seatbelt as we will be moving very fast now.”

He strapped in and asked, “What are the problems?”

“The federal agents are headed here and are only a few minutes away.”

The system answered his next question before he could get the words out.

“They’ve been tracking the chip in your head.  We disconnected you from your home unit but every time you’ve passed another registered unit, the chip has sent off a ping, like a radio beacon.  That’s how they keep finding you.”

“How do we shut off that feature?”

“We’re working on that.  In the meantime, please hang on.  We fear this will not be a smooth ride.”

Rather than the steering wheel, he gripped the handle over the door.  The garage door went up and, as soon as there was enough clearance, the car reversed at full speed.

romance

The rigging sang as the evening breeze whipped through the docked boats.  The sun was plunging below the western horizon.  The harbor water shined like glass despite the wind wake.  It was not romantic, though.

The song was more howl than anything else, adding a haunting quality to the mostly abandoned dock.  Only the odd light here and there lit up the darkening docks and gave proof that life was there among the empty vessels.  Soon those would be extinguished as the owners went below deck to seek refuge from the coming chill of night.  Soon only the howl would remain with the ghosts among the boats, the creaking, the groans, the lapping of the water on the hulls, and the splashing of animals navigating the channels out of sight, hopefully out of reach, and certainly not out of mind.

No, it was not romantic.

Yet the scene still called out for attention.  It demanded it.

Don’t look away.  Don’t hide.  Don’t cover your ears.  This desolate dock could become something amazing at any moment, even as the rigging howled and the unseen horrors of the deep snuck ever closer, even as the dim lights winked out one by one to leave only darkness.

A quick look skyward hinted of the possibilities to come.  The stars, no longer competing with the hustle and bustle of normal life, flared into a dance all there own.  The boat swayed in time, enchanted.  The rigging sang.

Perhaps it was romantic, after all, in its own way.

safe 5

Here is the fifth installment in the safe series.  I know it’s been a bit since the last post about our homeless heroine.  Inspiration can be funny like that sometimes. This LINK will take you to the first post.

…..

He walked by, glancing her way only long enough to smile.  She knew what it meant, of course.  He wasn’t sure what to make of her so he smiled to let her know that he saw her and wasn’t going to make trouble for her.  That was good.  Most people who lived in these types of associations weren’t interested in causing trouble but every once in a while she would come across somebody who liked to make a scene.  They would call the cops and yell at her until the officers arrived.

She watched the man walk away.  It looked like he was headed for a different dumpster.  She would check it next to see if there was anything worthwhile in there as well but first she needed to finish the one she was at.  Carefully, she lowered herself into the messy depths and began to pick through the spoiled bags for the items of value.  Plastic, glass, and aluminum all held worth.

They would only bring her cents when traded in.  That was still cents she didn’t have, cents that would add up to a meal, cents that were worth more to her than the people who tossed them rather than trade them in.  She wasn’t complaining, though.  These recyclables that most considered trash, gave her the means for a bit more security.

She slung her bag full of bottles and cans over and out and then pulled herself out after it.  The young man who had walked by before was nowhere to be seen.  She looked towards the dumpster he had walked to and then down to her own lengthening shadow.  She didn’t have much more time before the plant would close and she wanted to turn in her haul today.  She had worked hard and didn’t want to worry about losing anything during the night.  Things had a way of wandering off in the dark even from her most secluded locations.

Her mind made up, she shouldered her bags and left the complex.  It was more important that she get the funds for what she had already gathered than risk losing it all for the little bit more she might find in the next trash can.  Besides, the afternoon breeze was bringing a chill in from the coast and she wanted to make the long trek while the sun was still warm on her back.  The seasons were changing and the warm nights were coming but, for now, it still wouldn’t be smart to head into the night already cold.

She left the association behind and made her way through the alleys and quiet streets she had come to know in recent years.  They were as familiar to her now as her home had once been.  The bags were heavy and she grinned at the thought of the food she would buy to fill her belly that night.  She would head to bed full and warm.  It wasn’t often she got to do that.