A news update

This year seems to be flying by for me, even if I’m not particularity sure why. However, I do have some news to share with my social media followers.

The first item of news being my award for the WEP writing contest for last month. To my surprise I managed to win the award for most comments, and I would like to thank Denise, Laura, Nilanjana, and Olga for that. Along with thanking everyone who read, commented, and critiqued my entry for the contest. Which for any new followers can be read by clicking the link here: https://christopherscottauthor.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/wep-february-2018-contest-entry/

Secondly, I have been asked to submit pieces again for the Z Publishing House anthology for 2019. With the submission deadline for my state coming up in a month, it will likely be a main focus of my creative mind. Given the increased 5000 word limit for this year, I doubt I will have time to write much else. Wish me luck.

WEP February 2018 contest entry

When I first saw the theme for this month’s contest was 28 days, I wasn’t particularly certain I would enter. Thinking it over for a few days after sign-ups began. Finding unexpected inspiration in the extreme cold that seized the northeast at the end of January and the beginning of February. Inspiring me to craft an epic style poem, where entities of myth live inside the cold. Along with bringing to Earth a champion for humanity, who would fight back against the cold and the creatures that live within. A piece of flash fiction I call, “Forces Of Nature.”


Twenty-eight days have passed since the cold cast its icy hand upon the northern part of the world. It is somehow bringing with it entities both physical and ethereal in its wake. Creatures that have more of a place in mythology than in the real world. There was one strange bright spot in this frozen land, in the form of a man. Perhaps man is a bit of understatement to describe this stranger to our world. A stranger who seems to radiate an intense amount of heat from his body, almost as he can somehow focus and amplify the fiery nature of the sun. While the survivors of the cold world have given the stranger many names, I have taken to calling him Cinead. Watching this mysterious man from afar as he fights back the creatures of the cold.

Twenty-eight additional days have passed since this unnatural age of cold began. Cinead has fought back against the creatures of the winter on behalf of the human race. He was miraculously winning enough fights to bring his existence to the attention of the seldom seen Beria. Her name was only whispered in the direst of times, casting an almost mythic atmosphere around her. From what little information I could gather from both people and prose, she had a spiritual link to the cold. The cold that was beginning to take a visible tole on the survivors. Despite Cinead creating spots of warmth to shelter humanity from the dangerous and intense chill, forcing Beria to issue a hollowed challenge to Cinead. A provocation I believed that if lost, humankind would bear the ultimate consequences.

Twenty-eight days had passed since Beria announced her challenge to Cinead. Beria’s summons for combat was answered and agreed too. They are bringing about an unstable sense of peace between the creatures that took shelter in the cold and their hostile stance on the remaining survivors. Combining their incredible powers to shape and alter the landscape to create a neutral battleground. The hopes of humanity keeping an invisible watchful eye on the area, to make sure the fight would be fair.

Another twenty-eight days had passed since the challenge had been agreed to, and the arena created. Cinead and Beria stood on opposite sides of the makeshift coliseum. Each starring in silence at each other like pugilists before a championship fight. Except for this time, there was more on the line than just a shiny belt. This battle could ultimately decide the fate of humanity. From an unseen corner, I watched staying undetected by the champions of fire and ice, waiting for the fight to move past the tense staredown and commence the altercation. Greatswords of crimson fire and sapphire ice rested over their shoulders, ready to strike.

Twenty-eight minutes passed before Cinead and Beria charged at each other. Their blades forged of the elements themselves colliding. Each impact was releasing bursts of steam into the air. The steam was growing at an exponential rate until it began to obscure the two fighters. Each champion was becoming a radiant beacon of color in the dense fog. The energies emitting from them both were releasing flashes of light into the mist, giving me some idea of what was happening. Cinead and Beria were fighting with an almost inhuman pace, with neither of them appearing to tire. With a furious pace, the two continued to struggle, with each strike releasing more and more light into the fog. The colors were starting to blend into a dark shade of violet at the center of smog obscured arena.

An additional twenty-eight minutes passed before the fog began to dissipate at a steady rate. The colors that filled the air vanishing with it. An intense and radiant glow of orange light piercing the remaining, thinning fog. Cinead appeared to be victorious over Beria, who was lying impaled on the ground by Cinead’s flaming greatsword. Her sword of ice resting far outside of her reach. With both hands, Cinead reached out towards the midday sun. The air was starting to sparkle between his hands, almost as if Cinead was conjuring something from the sun’s light. Cinead’s body began to emit a pale orange glow. With what I imagine was an incredible focus, the glow radiated around his body, like a fiery aura. This aura was moving up his body at a steady pace towards his hands. Cinead somehow was shaping the energy into a long cylindrical pole of pure flame. The tip of the pole was starting to emit and produce a short curving blade. With a slow arcing two-handed swing, Cinead brought the flaming head of the ax down on Beria’s neck. Cinead repeated the precision arcing movement three more times before decapitating her fully. With its purpose now fulfilled, Cinead let the ax vanish from his grip. The champion of the cold now resting defeated and dead.

An additional twenty-eight days passed before the dangerous arctic chill released its grip on the world. With the cold vanishing, some semblance of normality and civilization returned to humanity.


Critique level: Full Word count: 854


The tease of a blank page, and unfinished ideas

I doubt I’m the only writer who feels the blank page is often a tease for the creative mind. The empty page poking, prodding, and challenging the imagination for a reaction, almost begging to write on. Yet, the responses to all that probing seem to be split between turning the creative juices on, or deeper into a state of dormancy. In some ways, the probing is the equivalent of fencing for the mind. 

For some that dormant state is one of their worsts fears. While for others, the is one often overlooked fear, that of an unfinished idea. Usually, ideas that appear and disappear with all the ease of lighting a candle. While the potential of the rough ideas could be argued at an almost indefinite length. Should one attempt to relight the inspirational candle of the concept, hoping, the original inspiration will come back or is it better to move on. I’m curious to know what my fellow creatives think about that. Is returning to the idea a worthwhile use of time, or is it better to toss the idea away?

A possible prologue to something more….?

“Remember my young apprentice we strive to keep ourselves balanced. There cannot be light without darkness, life without death. Let others close their minds and align themselves towards something they do not fully understand,” closing the polished antique silver lid on the meditative brazier, before resuming “Awaken my apprentice, it is time to end your mediation.”

Watching my apprentice slowly awaken as the mind-altering smoke faded from the room. Allowing his body to begin purging the gas’ effects from his conscious. The mediation ritual was the second part of his studies that forcibly opened the mind’s true potential. Feeling the sheer power coming from my pupil at this distance even as walked across the ancient stone chamber. The strength I had felt from him when I discovered him in a partially burned down farmer’s shack had grown.

Wide hazel eyes looked up at me as I approached, the gas still having a slight effect on him. Staring at me in silence, hopefully adjusting quick enough to begin practicing some of the more straightforward lessons I have taught him. If what I noticed on my travels through the world grows, the balance will collapse. Leading to something ancient and remembered only in myths to awaken from its forced slumber. Making my innermost fears come true, the few who recalled the forgotten truths would need all the strength they could muster.

WEP 2018 December Contest

With the contest theme being Ribbons and Candles for the final challenge of the year, I wasn’t confident about what I wanted to do.  I considered doing a Victorian-inspired holiday celebration with a steam-punk aesthetic. Upon researching some Christmas/Yuletide traditions from the time, I realized it may not have been the best idea to attempt with this particular theme. Clearing the slate so to speak, I also consider doing a small town inspired Christmas through the eyes of a time traveler.  Which I thought would work well but after six-hundred words realized ending the idea without revealing the main character’s secret was impractical. There were just too many questions left unanswered for the ending to feel complete.  Trying to find something that would work within the festive theme,  I stopped thinking about the idea for a couple of days. 

Somehow that managed to shake an idea from my head. Using the 1920’s to imagine a world where jazz filled the airwaves, and the mob ruled entire cities. With that atmosphere in mind, I considered a few ideas before settling on the idea that would become my contest entry which I present below. 


The winter chill had filled the air the snow by the time I entered the speakeasy. Mr. Domino had renovated the place since my last visit. Art Deco laminate tile ran through the entire floor, giving it a hexagonal black and white pattern that reminded me of a piano. Vaulted stone painted white decorated the ceiling. Brass chandeliers hung by silver steel chains were dropped from the ceiling. Bright red and blue ribbons hung across the bottom of every light. The strong scent of tobacco and homemade moonshine filled the air. Brass-heavy jazz was playing from some unseen musicians intertwined with the aromas. Several young flappers were dancing to the music with their fellas.

Weaving my way through the crowd of dancers, I made my way to the bar. A burly bartender in a tailored three-piece grey suit stood behind the bar. Slicked back greasy black hair stopped at the man’s ear, adding to his clean-shaven face. Deep brown eyes watched the dancers for a few moments before glancing at me.

Asking me “Watcha drinkin tonight,” while his gaze hinted a silent message; either get your drink or leave.

Glancing around at the few other patrons who were standing at the bar, before responding “A Manhattan but first a message for the owner. Tell him Mr. Keys has arrived, he will know who I am.”

The bartender nodded before going to make my drink. My suspicious nature was forcing me to glance around. Looking for associates of the man I was looking forward to seeing. The iron in my pocket was feeling heavy as several men in all black tailored suits began approaching me. A gold domino lapel pin rested on the right side of the jacket of the suit. Black fedoras were tilted just enough to obscure their faces from view. Tommy guns with wooden stocks pressed against their shoulders.

I asked, “Escorting me to see Mr. Domino gentlemen?”

The men nodded in unison before directing the black barrels of their Tommy Guns up. I have enough odd jobs to know what that meant. Giving me little time to stand up before beginning to walk away. Raising myself from the stool, I followed them ignoring the chaos of dancers moving to the music.

The music had grown steadily quieter by the time Mr. Domino’s goons led me his office. They motioned for me to enter the door before taking a watching spot by the door. Finding Mr. Domino was waiting for me, tapping a cigarette between his thumb and forefinger of his right hand. A polished silver Colt M1911A1 was resting on his antique wooden desk, within arms reach if necessary.

Mr. Domino asked, “Is the deed done Mr. Keys?”

I nodded, before producing a vanilla envelope from my pocket. Placing the container down by the gun, knowing the envelope’s contents would sway Mr. Domino’s immeasurable appreciation. Mr. Domino spilled the envelope’s content onto his desk. Ten severed ring fingers rolled onto his office, with their gold rings still attached. Each finger belonged to Mr. Domino’s competition.

Mr. Domino began to grin before commenting, “You have done well, Mr. Keys. These rings will make fantastic trophies for me to inspire fear from anyone else foolish enough to challenge me. As much as I would prefer to keep you around, I’m not foolish enough to cross my sister,” opening his desk and pulling out a small cloth bag. “Take this and my blessing to marry my sister,” standing and grabbing me the collar of my shirt. “Break her heart, and I will break you,” letting go of my collar.

“I know,” grabbing the cloth bag as I remarked.

Mr. Domino nodded once, before allowing me to leave his office. Shoving the money bag inside my pocket, trying my best to hide it from everyone. This money was my way of starting something new with my beloved Margaret. She knew the full extent of my past and didn’t care. Hoping between my reputation and her being the sister of Mr. Domino would be enough to scare any enemies away.

*****

A few hours later I arrived at Margaret’s house, the bag still hidden inside my pocket. She opened the door with a smile before I could knock. Leading me to her kitchen table, where a vibrant red unlit candle sat on a silver tray. A box of matches rested beside it, two of them poking out of it.

Margaret commented “Let’s light this candle and begin our new life together,” handing me a match with a smile spread across her face.

Smiling as I took the match, more than ready to start our new life together.


Word count: 774 Critique level: Full

Is too much creativity a good thing?

With the end of the year approaching, I’m looking back at the past year. Realizing I may have too many projects splitting my focus, without losing sight of one or another idea. Along with trying to learn the new WordPress format to create posts. It makes me wonder if an excess of creative energies is a good thing or a bad thing? 

 

Granted the excess is better than having creative blocks but can be overwhelming at times. Trying to balance the new and the old ideas without getting them muddled within each other. Even worse, losing the inspiration behind the idea in general. At a certain point, it conjures this image of a waiter carrying a tray of food. Each food representing an idea, with the waiter’s tray representing the mind. The more food you add, the heavier the load becomes until it becomes unmanageable. 

Does anyone else agree? Disagree? How do cope with both the excess and the dry spells? 

Hmm…Where to go from here?

“Remember my young apprentice we strive to keep ourselves balanced. There cannot be light without darkness, life without death. Let others close their minds and align themselves towards something they do not fully understand,” closing the polished antique silver lid on the meditative brazier, before resuming “Awaken my apprentice, it is time to end your mediation.”

Watching my apprentice slowly awaken as the mind-altering smoke faded from the room. Allowing his body to begin purging the gas’ effects from his conscious. The mediation ritual was the second part of his studies that forcibly opened the mind’s true potential. Feeling the sheer power coming from my pupil at this distance even as walked across the ancient stone chamber. The strength I had felt from him when I discovered him in a partially burned down farmer’s shack had grown.

Wide hazel eyes looked up at me as I approached, the gas still having a slight effect on him. Staring at me in silence, hopefully adjusting quick enough to begin practicing some of the more straightforward lessons I have taught him. If what I noticed on my travels through the world grows, the balance will collapse. Leading to something ancient and remembered only in myths to awaken from its forced slumber.

 


I can feel there is something here, I’m just not sure what. Granted I know the whole orphan protagonist is slightly cliche, but it is an acceptable cliche for some reason.

A start to something…

Honestly, I have no idea what inspired this story idea. Any thoughts on it would be much appreciated.


Glancing down with loving eyes, at my newborn son held precariously in my arms. Seeing him reach out to the world for the first time. His bright sapphire eyes reflecting me, while possessing a familiar but faintly glowing golden color. Doing my best to hide my surprise from my wife, I carefully handed him back to her. Knowing two things with great certainty; he was indeed my son, and his life would be more unusual than anything I wished for him because of it.

My wife, lovingly cradling our first born in a mixture of relief and exhaustion. Waiting for two doctors and nurse to leave the room before speaking. Agreeing only to tell the medical staff just what was absolutely necessary. Even though we had our guardian in the place with us, in case the medical staff turned out to be more malicious then their benign appearance suggested. Given how capable my wife and I were, our child had incredible potential brewing within him.

The one doctor pulled down his dark green face mask before commenting, “We will give you four some privacy. Press the call button if you need something, and a nurse will be here to help,” giving a quick glance to his coworkers before walking out of the room. The nurse shutting the door behind her as she left the room.

Taking a deep breath, my wife commented “He has the gift inside him,” sighing some as our son reached for her pointer finger. “I know we never wanted this for him, but apparently the choice was out of our hands for once. He will need all of us if to protect him, including you, Zero,” glancing at the ex-soldier bodyguard the Protectorates assigned us. He had been standing in the far back of the room, watching in silence while the medical staff were working. “Promise us you will keep him safe if they find us. Even if that means leaving us behind.”

Zero remarked “The Protectorates may have something to say about that, but I will try my best to follow your wishes, Evaline,” bowing his head some. His phone audibly vibrating in his back pocket. Silently pulling it out of his pocket barely glancing down at the display, before putting it back into his pocket. “The escort has arrived to take us to a more secure location. They will be entering this hospital in five minutes. Gather everything you can with haste, Jason. Your son and wife will need protection as they recover.”

Taking a quick glance at Jason, I nodded moving to gather my wife’s things. Knowing that their protection was of the utmost priority for me. Pulling the barely unpacked duffle bag from the room’s faux wooden closet. The pregnancy pants and a loose fitting shirt was resting on top of the pack. Unzipping the bag about halfway, I shoved the clothes into the dark green duffle bag. Tossing a few clean white towels that were neatly folded into the bag as well. Sealing the zipper, before looking back at my wife and son. Evaline had our son neatly wrapped in the light blue blanket the nurses had placed him in. His tiny hand still grasping my wife’s pointer finger.
Setting the bag against the bed, before helping my wife move off the bed. She had swung her legs over the lowered bedrail, waiting for the escort party to arrive. Six heavily armed Protectorates bodyguards barged into the room. Each one looking intimidating with unmarked black armor covering them. Thin black cloth masks covered the lower part of their faces, from the nose down. One of them was pushing a wheelchair in front of them, moving towards the bed. With help from Zero, we slowly lifted my wife from the bed. Lowering her and our newborn son with care into the wheelchair’s padded dark blue cloth seat. Slinging the duffle bag over my right shoulder, before gripping the pale blue foam grips at the wheelchair’s back. Zero and two of the other Protectorates forming a small guard at the front of the wheelchair. The other three guarding our backside, as we began to leave the hospital room.

Happy Halloween everyone

All Hallow’s eve had arrived, bringing a thick supernatural like fog with it.  Spectral balls of concentrated white light were flying through the mist, leaving no trail of their existence behind. Leaving the illusion of misguiding bright spots in the fog. Fortunately, the small coven I belonged too, were already gathered in the forest. An old black iron cauldron resting in the center of a circle of mature white oak trees. Intricate symbols of long forgotten magics were precisely engraved into the metal. Blue and orange flames danced under the cauldron, heating the mixture to a boil.  Bubbles popping on the liquid’s surface released bittersweet aromas of its ingredients.

My companions and I exchanged quick glances over the cauldron, knowing our window had begun to open. Nodding in unison we began to chant, “On this night of divine power, we praise your name the almighty mother of darkness Hectacte. The full moon rises as the barriers between the worlds fall. We beg for your aid on this night to grant us the power we need to protect your faithful. Keep us safe against those that wish to harm our kind. With this sacrifice of blood, we beseech you to aid us,” each one of us drawing a simple silver coated dagger. Pricking our thumbs with blades’ tips. The blood dripping steadily into the solution, making it fizzle even more. “With this sacrifice of blood, we beseech you mighty Hectacte. Protect your faithful from those that wish to do us bodily harm,” going silent, as more blood dripped into the cauldron.

The trees creaking against a mighty wind that appeared without warning. A raspy voice followed answering our pleas, “I will give you the power you seek, but be weary my precious followers’ power can be consuming to those unready to accept it. ” Bringing another mighty wind that extinguished the flames, as the voice fell silent. The supernatural wind wrapping itself under the cauldron and lifting it into the air. Spinning it with incredible speed, before raining the contents of the kettle down upon us. The mixture soaking into our bare skin, as it emptied. All of five us exchanging quick glances, as Hectacte granted us our desire.

Feeling empowered by the mixture, I commented “The time has come to strike back at this severe persecution of our kind. Let us began while the barriers are down and our power is fresh,” beginning to walk back towards the town. Knowing I was being followed without hesitation by the others of my coven.

 

 

 

WEP October 2018 Contest Entry

Struggling to create something for this month’s contest, I considered skipping and rejoining in December. Challenging myself to write something that was a fit for the themes of Deja Vu or Voodoo. Writing a few different ideas but failing to get past a couple of paragraphs with each idea. Which honestly, was incredibly frustrating and annoying for me. Yet, apparently, the pressure from an encroaching deadline was the key to turning the spigot of inspiration on. Inspiring this Tesla-punk themed atmosphere of voodoo and science. Oddly enough the title came easily enough to me, entitling the piece Mad Science.


With thunder and rain making a symphony against the cracked window, I glanced at the massive machine that constructed in the middle of my empty red brick warehouse. Spheres of pure copper rested on top of ten-foot-tall copper wrapped steel beams. The positions of the poles, even the warehouse itself was carefully determined by occultist Aleister Crowley. Ancient and powerful runes etched into the ground around the machine. Etch dusted with copper shavings and white chalk. Bringing in Nikola Tesla himself to design and construct unique Tesla Coils for this project. Making sure the two never knew the plans true aim. This project more akin to technological voodoo. Then it was to either science or the occult. If this worked, I would be reborn into out of this body riddled with a fatal sickness. It didn’t matter if it failed, death would be claiming me soon enough.

Hobbling down the iron staircase, descending with my hand tightly wrapped around the rail. Setting the bottom of my cane on the ground to aid me, before taking my last step off the stairs. Knowing how much I had come to rely on the simple device to move in the past few months. Planning each action on the cement floor with great care, knowing how fragile my ailing body was becoming. Limping to the large steel encased control panel that was parallel to the lowest stairs. Pulling down on the lever to activate the many Tesla Coils simultaneously. Hearing a slight hum as the machines started to warm up. Moments later pure white lightning crackled throughout the warehouse. Striking the ground with growing frequency making the lights glow steadily brighter.

Unsteadily walking into the middle of the machine, the few hairs I had left standing on end. The iron chair I had bolted to the floor waiting for me. Polished copper restraints were attached to the chair, waiting to secure me into the chair. Lowering myself into the chair, letting the cold metal force me entirely into the chair. Watching the lights flicker out as a storm of white lightning strengthened around the machine. Focusing itself around the runes, forcing the copper dust and chalk mixture to glow faintly. The glow was steadily getting brighter, while I watched unwilling to move from the storm’s center. Lightning was beginning to strike the chair at random. Feeling the electrical energy work its way through my chest. A sharp and intense pain started to wrap around my body. Screaming into the air, as the frequency of the lightning strikes increased. Within minutes the pain was unbearable, forcing my conscious to fade away slowly.

Looking down on my empty shell of a crippled body, somehow no longer bound to it. My spiritual form forcibly contained to the area by the mixture of science and the occult. Observing helplessly, as the lightning produced the by Tesla Coils rapidly struck at my body. Feeling a slight tremor even though I was no longer attached to my physical body. The quivers were steadily getting stronger, waiting for the machines to finish discharging their energy.

It could have been a few minutes or a couple of hours before the remaining discharge struck my body simultaneously. The final release was powerful enough to forcibly recall my spirit into my physical body in a union of technology and voodoo. My body was tingling slightly as the metal restraints opened. Being filled with a feeling of robustness that I haven’t possessed since my youth. Tossing my cane across the warehouse testing out this new body before standing. Walking out of the mechanization created by creating a union of occultism and science. My once frail body reborn strengthened with the aid of mad science. Eager to not have to deal with constant hospital visits and doctors that restrained so much of my life. With a new-found spring in my step, I was ready to take on the world.


Critque level: Full

Word Count: 653