The Witch’s Memory part seventy four

She wore each mark like a badge of honor

Ready to embrace this new destiny thrust upon her

Deep into the woods she went

Onto the cave that she had been sent

A dark maw black as death

Chilled enough to steal her breath

She was ready to step in despite the lack of light 

When fire erupted voluminous and bright

Torches lined the slick onyx wall

Seeming to take life from some unheard call

With a ginger foot one after the other

The princess felt there was no reason to dither 

She let herself be free to roam

In this place that for the night would be home

The cave was made for a giant or two

Walls stretching high and deep deep blue

She was dazzled by the cave’s glory

Like walking into a captivating story

Inkslayer’s Journal Entry 2

The long trek to publication continues. This week I saw my first sketches for the cover to Beyond Here, and I’m beyond stoked.  This all wasn’t feeling real until I saw them. 

With this being the first time I’m seeing sketches I’m debating on pushing back the publication date to the first week of June. When I’m thinking of this I don’t know if it’s my own fears talking or if I’m being rational. I don’t want the cover rushed, but I want it out in the world too…Ugh! 


Oh well. Brief update today. Until mext time have a writeous day!

The Witch’s Memory part sixty seven

She let her words drift on the air

Not knowing there was someone there

There came a rustling from the grass

And the princess wondered who could be so rash

To her surprise a woman sauntered out

One beautiful but carrying no clout

With hair painted deep midnight

And a smile that was so beguiling and bright

The princess found herself unarmed by the woman

But she rose to her feet with all she could summon

“I mean you no harm” said the woman with ease

“But I heard your cries and I can appease

I have talent that cannot be denied

And deny most have as it has been tried

For I am a witch cast aside by your ilk

Although I am harmless as woven silk magic may have been denied by your kind

Out of sight and out of mind

But my time forgotten has been of great use

Allowing me to get in contact with the muse

To embrace magic long thought gone

Until I was deemed oh so strong

The Witch’s Memory part sixty four

With his equine eyes he looked around 

No sight of the witch could be found

Yet he knew with his beating heart 

That Jaspeak set this up from the start

But in his current form there was nothing to do

But wait for the inevitable pain to ensue

Day turned to night and crowd went their way

On their tongues nothing more to say

And just as Roland the Horse had feared

That beautiful princess he had reared

Stole away into the night

In an effort to avoid this plight

She had her father’s cunning, pluck, and his nerve

To not settle for a life she didn’t deserve 

The only ones to see her were the night guard

And stopping royalty proved rather hard

She took off as quick as her feet would move

Shortly finding herself in a groove

Whipping through the copse of trees

Not minding the scrapes along her knees

All while thinking her father had gone mad

What had become of dear old dad?

The Witch’s Memory part forty four

King Roland came to the very edge
He took the crown from atop his head
Placed it on the ground and said
“I plead upon the souls that are lost
Standing before you no matter the cost
I ask from you this very day
To take from me what you may
My life is but a petty thing
Taking any prick or sting
There is not much that I cannot take
However my daughter is not worth this stake
My father took from you all that did bloom
No matter the incoming doom
I ask of you to reverse
This stale and awful, awful curse
If it is my life that I must give
I will do so if my land and daughter will live
Strip from me my soul and title
But I can no longer remain idle
It is the blood which courses through my vein
Which has caused you so much pain I could have done more to prevent all this
To repay you is my only wish
Please, I beg, hear my plea
Take this debt away from me”
To his knees Roland fell
Wetness of his sorrow began to well
In his eyes he cast down low
If this was to work he did not know

The Witch’s Memory part forty three

First of the litter was strapping lad
No more charming smile was there to be had
But this young prince had a wandering eye
And a penchant to all out lie
This one would be surely no good
Princess Ree deserved to treat her as a prince should
Next came a charming brute
Who came with an array of battle scars to boot
As many brutes do he was given to ale
And the weaving of a boisterous tale
However he was also expressive with his hand
Not caring where his fist did land
More often than not his hand met the face of Ree
Leaving a difficult sight to see
After this King Roland brought her home
No longer allowing her to roam
His decision had caused his daughter pain
And a darkness upon his soul did stain
How could he keep the princess from harm?
To avoid this land’s evil charm?
With his daughter safe within the castle walls
The king ignored his advisors’ calls
And wandered to the cursed kingdom
The source from where his problems came from
Willing to lay down his life for those
Who this life thy had not chose

The Witch’s Memory part thirty eighy

While he sat and contemplated
The kingdom was kept distracted
By the goings-on of their newly crowned king
And all the drama that his royalty did bring
Before the coronation of his kingly crown
Princesses from all over began picking out their wedding gown
Vying for his clear affection
Hoping to not receive rejection
In spite of the bleating of his heart
For the love of the girl he could not part
His counselors advised him to take up a wife
To dissuade his citizens of the ongoing strife
So he did as he was told
And found himself bound with a band of gold
To a woman from a distant land
He gave her the courtesy of his hand
She was beautiful, with hair of sunlight
In spite of her looks all was not right
Roland knew he should be grateful for such a stunning bride
A ghost of his true love would not leave no matter how he tried
But he smiled true and true
For each day he saw all the way through
He muddled through each day of his life
The pain of such a thing cut like a knife
Yet he smiled and endured as well as he could
Doing all the things a kingly king should

The Orphaned Chapter Six

*After this chapter I’ll return to The Witch’s Memory once again. I hope you’ve enjoyed what’s been produced so far! 😃😃😃*

” So what happened out there?” Jones didn’t even bother to look Harmon in the eyes. Instead he tapped at his keyboard. The sound of the keys being struck made it sound like the world was shivering.
Harmon focused on where the man’s eyes should have been. It would’ve been easy to express himself simply to the glare of his eyes, but the man never gave him that pleasure.
” Everything is in my report,” Harmon groaned through clenched teeth. ” There’s nothing else to say.”
” You know as well as I that what is put to ink and paper is not really the whole story. Have someone says it is the truth. It allows you to around between the words, dig up the facts, implications, doubts, secrets you want to keep from the organization.”
” I’m not hiding anything.”
” Then you will be no problem recounting how a simple mission resulted in an Orphan being shot and paralyzed.” Now the master of the house shot a brief glance his way. Those cold ice like eyes boring through him.
They stood that way for some time, having a mental showdown before Harmon finally broke. He did so with a groan and a pang of something awful in his stomach. Harmon never broke eye contact with Jones as he recounted everything that had happened. Speaking the words that change the fact he could hardly believe what his Susanna had done. She had never moved like that before, her strength was unimaginable. She also had never broken a direct order before. He did his best not to betray any of this to Jones, keeping his voice steady as he could and keeping those gunmetal eyes locked on his target.
This interview was not about what he felt.
But what he felt like it Susanna terminated.
As he broke down every nuance he was capable of remembering he Susanna on his mind. He was her charge. He was her damn father. To him it was no different than the minimum and he had served with years ago. As this thought flittered through his mind he knew it was a lie. His Susanna was different.
Susanna never asked to be here in the situation. She never volunteered to protect their country, to have scientists treat her like a guinea pig, to have a portion of her memory wiped away. Yes he left his military family he would lay down his life for them, but for Susanna… For Susanna he’d take the fight to death to come back and protect her and die all over again. He hated the title of Father and Mother the Orphans were made to call them. Yet he had to wonder if this was how a father felt with their child. That viselike grip constricting around his heart.
Was that fatherly love? You decide he wrapped up his report with how we found her paralyzed the room, and how Romanski attempted to run. He omitted however calmly fired on an unarmed man and how in truth Romanski surrendered. Harmon also did not mention the laugh the Russian gave as he sat there bleeding from his knees. No, you don’t tell Jones things like that.
One Harmon was done he kept his eyes on Jones, barely blinking in the process. The baldheaded Jones back in the leather care, his fingers people in front of his lips. One could see the words swirling around in his eyes like a balance load of laundry. Bang bang bang bang banging around, begging for someone to take them out and make sense of them.
” So what do you think?” Jones asked finally.
” About what Sir?”
” Your Orphan. Did we misplace her? If so she should be with Honors. Honors are very hard to come by.”
” She is not an Honor sir.”
” But the way you describe her –”
” it may have been a glitch in your serum. You gave me charged over her for the past three years, I know her and have trained her myself. She is not at the level of an Honor.”
Jones sank deeper into his seat. ” Perhaps that’s the problem. It’s no secret you are… The weakest of the Fathers in the program. You’re too afraid to rough up your girl as the others do. Frankly I’m wondering if bringing you on was a mistake.”
Harmon allowed his contact to be broken as he stood up swiftly. His teeth were clenched so tight that they appear to be on the verge shattering. That tightness around his heart was even tighter now.
” You won’t touch her.”
” Excuse me? She is our property. A tool. A glorified pet. And a pet you have never successfully housebroken. I’ll give her to someone who will properly trained her.”
” No, you won’t.”
” And why wouldn’t I?”
” Because if she is an Honor then I trained her to be without all your techniques. I did it my way. If you truly believe she was misplaced thing you’re saying I was right. Besides, she’s wounded. She may never be had to do such a thing again. Training her would mean compensating for her injury. There’s no one here who would do that. I can and I will. So yes I believe you won’t be sending her anywhere.”
The subtle smile on Jones’s face fell hard. He sour grimness appeared on his face followed by flush of pink to his cheeks. Flame shot up behind his eyes. For a moment Harmon wondered if the man would actually pull out secreted gun he kept under the desk and kill him in cold blood.
But he didn’t.
” Get the hell out of my office.” The words slithered around the man’s teeth leaving a venomous trail into Harmon’s ear.
Harmon turned and headed for the door. Before his hand twisted the knob to the to leave he craned his head back to call back to Jones. “Susanna will be off-duty until she heals.” Jones remained silent. ” I’ll be taking her off premises for an extended time, she deserves it.”
He turned around to leave once again and this time Jones called to him. “Two days. You get two days. If you’re both not back by then I will send the Honors after you to wipe you off the face of the Earth. Is that understood?”
Harmon left without an answer, heading in the direction of Susanna’s dorm. Around him the hallway felt like it was closing around him. He will be so happy to finally leave the walls of this place. More so he wanted to keep riding away escape was Susanna, giving her the life she so rightfully deserved. Before long he was at her door, knocking. The door opened silently to reveal the blonde head of Veronica. Before the door and opened he registered that she was all smiles. There was something about the park that drove her to fix that smile onto her face yet she keeps her eyes on the floor like a puppy that’s ashamed of what was done.
He walked past her, giving her a cursory glances he did so. As he walked in he heard Susanna gasp. Harmon turned in her direction. Susanna sprang to her feet, meaning. Her fingers straightened out the wrinkles in the schoolgirl outfit she wore. She looked good in spite of the wounds.
The words came tumbling out of Susanna’s mouth. ” I’m so sorry. I’m never do anything like that again. I don’t usually do that. Please please forgive me.”
He waved his hand dismissively. ” Don’t worry about it. Come with me.”
She shivered. ” I’m sorry.”
” Nothing is going to happen to you.” He smiled. ” You did a great job. So great in fact that we have a couple days off.”
Her lips stretched wide as the words and on her ears. ” Yeah?”
“Yes. Meet me in the lobby in a hour.”
She nodded and he left. Just like that all was right in their shattered and fragmented world.

The Orphaned Chapter Five

There was no anesthesia. This was penance for not listening, for not paying attention to her Father. Susana felt every jolt, wiggle and slice of the surgeons’ scalpel and every other tool they decided to use. They took care care not to miss a thing. In her head she knew she should be thankful for their accuracy. Yet she had a feeling they had their orders to make sure she suffered.
This was to be her lot in life.
For the pain and trouble she undoubtedly brought to Harmon’s life she’d bear the cross happily. Every once in a while as the surgeons continued to mend and mutilate her, their eyes drifted up to hers. A pair of brown or green eyes would hold her gaze for a time. With her eyes she spoke, “I can kill you all. That scalpel you’re holding will be embedded in your forehead, and with just one arm I can bludgeon the rest of your coworkers with your useless limbs after I rip them from their sockets. So don’t make this pain any worse than it has to be.” She was positive the surgeon didn’t comprehend her message, but it helped her to focus when she imagined they did.
Her emerald gaze searched the glass periodically. Earlier Harmon stood outside the glass, leaning against the smooth surface as if it were holding him up. Never before had she seen him that way, deflated and physically exhausted. All tension left his body, he resembled a marionette chucked into a corner to await its owner’s return to make it live again.
She ached for his plight.
Surely he would have to go in front of Jones, explaining what in the hell happened. It wasn’t as if he was a favorite of the Fathers to begin with. He’d kept her from a bulk of missions claiming she wasn’t ready, instead keeping her relegated to recon and information gathering. He never said it outright but Susana knew it was because Harmon didn’t want to become like the others. Keeping her from turning into a flesh veiled machine like Veronica or Seven. He never said it. He spoke it through the way he watched them, watching how they were trained.
True they were special, gifted even. Their weapon mastery was something to behold. No matter what gun or blade was placed in front of them they had the ability to make it an extension of their being. They’d move and fire with an unnatural ease, always hitting their mark. Most Fathers wanted their Orphans the same way.
Not Harmon.
He stressed for her to be herself, to learn at her own time. Harmon felt she had enough skill to survive, enough to accomplish any sort of mission tasked to them. She always felt that he was right. Yet something went terribly wrong this last time. Susana didn’t feel in control of her body or actions. Far away feelings consumed her and she surrendered to them. The feelings made her someone else, an ancient beast clawing its way out of the ooze. As much as she hated to admit it, she enjoyed the feeling. The power, the control, how freeing it was to move so sharply. To feel like a gust of air, everywhere and nowhere at the same time. All of her senses heightened, more than they had ever been before.
The entire time she never had control, her limbs manipulated by an unseen puppeteer. That was frightening. That is what got Harmon in trouble.
She’d have to work on that.
At some point Harmon left the window while a frustrated look ghosted over his eyes. Susana was sure he was headed to see Jones. Undoubtedly he would return in a much worse mood. And it would all be her fault.
With Harmon gone, those steely eyes not fixed on her, she felt truly alone. The collection of surgeons didn’t make her feel anymore secure. They in fact made her feel more alone. She’d give anything to make her case to Jones now. There was no reason for Harmon to take claim of her faults. She’d take the blame and penalties.
Even Flunk Out.

The Orphaned Chapter Four

“About damn time,” Wilcox said with his grey eyes peering through the young Father.
“Love you too Wilcox.”
Wilcox stood there grim-faced as always, the deep lines in his face telling of his experiences in battle and in life. When his eyes fell on Harmon he had unleashed a feral groan. Even his shivered hair seemed to bristle, standing upright like ashened blades of grass. His eyes matched the hue of his hair, and they rolled back into his head as he waited for Harmon to approach.
Harmon looked through the glass partition at Romanski who was handcuffed on the other side of the interrogation room. The Russian was cuffed to a metal desk in the center of the room. He was smiling as though waiting for a party to start. Dressed in prison grays he still managed to look dapper. From the stiff way the man held his leg Harmon imagined there was some kind of cast beneath his pants. The knowledge of that brought a glimmer of a smile to his face.
Harmon pressed his fingers to the glass much like he did outside of Susana’s observation room. Unlike with Susana though he wished Romanski was dead, that he had ended him when he had the chance. Then the world would be down one less monster. And he wouldn’t be there smiling like shark before feasting.
“What does he want?” asked Harmon.
Wilcox snickered. “That’s your job to find out, isn’t it?”
“You realize I’m not a trained interrogator.”
“You realize I don’t give a damn?”
Harmon smiled. “You could’ve had a career with Hallmark with all these sweet gems Wilcox.”
Wilcox spat a heavy glob onto the floor in Harmon’s direction. It landed with a wet thunk. The old man wore a sickened grimace as Harmon met his gaze. “He only wants to talk to you. We worked him over a bit already and he’s hanging in there. Smiling that damn smile. Since he’s only willing to talk to you let me say this once: don’t screw this up.”
All semblance of arrogance left Harmon’s body as he gave Wilcox a solemn nod. He headed over to the door where he was stopped once again. “I know you shot him on purpose. You’re becoming one of us after all.”
A growl escaped Harmon’s throat as he unlatched the door. His senses were assaulted by the stench of death; the cancer was savagely eating him. Despite it all the Russian seemed to be enjoying every moment of this.
“Hello comrade!” Romanski grinned, his mouth curved as if he was savoring their encounter. “I trust you and the little one are well.”
“Hello Romanski. I trust you’ll never walk without a limp.”
The Russian howled with delight. “Very good my friend, very good indeed. This is why I like you.”
Harmon wanted to pull his gun, press it to the Russian’s head, and end him. His brains leaving a pulpy fan pattern behind him. Instead he snorted and took a seat across from him. This close the stink of the man was nearly unbearable. It made Harmon’s eyes water. At this range he felt like a minnow about to meet the end of the food chain.
There was no doubt as to who was in control. The problem would be in gaining the upper hand on a powerful foe that did not seem to care about anything.
“Why am I here?” Harmon asked folding his arms as though he was annoyed.
Again Romanski chuckled. “Would you like me to tell you? To be fed by the hand like a helpless babe? You’re not that dumb my friend. Stop playing. Tell me why you’re here.”
Harmon exhaled. “Because you want it that way.”
“Good. Now why is that?”
“Because you’re dying. Despite your vast knowledge and wealth, science betrayed you and is killing you. Yet you still yearn for some power. So you see someone like me who made the mistake of showing an iota of compassion in front of you. You took that for weakness. After seeing my supposed weakness you saw an opportunity to gain control over someone again. To feel like you actually mattered. So until you take your final breath you feel determined to make my life hell.”
Silently Romanski laughed at the man, but there was no denying the quick rise and fall of his shoulders. “Is that what you managed to come up with? Comrade you are highly deluded. You think much too highly of yourself.”
“It’s true.”
“Not in the slightest. What is it you know about me? All this technology, and you can’t do simple barebones research? Foolish.”
“Oh we know quite a bit.”
“We? I didn’t ask for we. I asked what you knew about me.”
“Enough. I know enough about you.” There was no masking the hardness in his voice. Although he couldn’t see him Harmon felt Wilcox’s gaze through the two sided mirror. The old man’s voice whispered in his head, ‘Stop falling into his traps. Don’t let him play you. Hit him for Christ sake! Break a few fingers. The cancer doesn’t mean he can’t feel pain.’
Romanski put his shackled hands on the table. He propped them up and splayed them open to make a fleshy pedestal. He sat his head in the impromptu throne and gazed at Harmon like a love struck tween. The smile on his face was wide and beaming.
“So tell me comrade. What is it you know about me?”
Harmon took a breath, lowering his eyes as he did so. His eyes searched the desk and the floor for an answer. He brought his eyes back up to Romanski’s. “I know that your father has to be ashamed of you.”
From behind the glass Harmon swore he heard every last blood vessel in Wilcox’s head burst like minuscule kegs of dynamite. The old man wouldn’t come in though. Harmon had to learn…at least that is what the older gentleman would tell himself.
Romanski meanwhile furrowed his deep brow. His face, his eyes went cold as he leaned back in the chair. He studied Harmon as if he were an alien being seated across from him.
“Tell me,” Romanski said letting his Russian accent get thicker as the anger seeped through his pores. “What is it that makes you say such a stupid thing?”
“You asked me what I knew so I told you. Everyone knows Viktor Romanski was brilliant. A genius by many standards. He created the original formula that fuels everything we do. Despite this he had a conscious. When your organization, the Strovinka, suggested he begin using babies, no, fetuses to run the formula on he refused. Standing up to them cost him his life.
“They looked to you to do it because your intelligence is comparable. While you understood your father’s work, you were far from his equal. You lacked his heart and passion. It showed in your work. The formula became unstable. Your incompetence cost the Strovinka millions, and with the Russian economy what it is they could have gone bankrupt. All because of you. Killing your father was their biggest mistakes.
“So you stole from them, knowing that your time with them was coming to an end. Bit by bit you took a small fortune, enough to live in excess a couple lives over. But the Strovinka are serious about their money. They’ll hunt you. They’ll keep hunting you until they kill you and get back their money back. That’s why you wanted to get caught. You want us to keep you safe. Because you’re a coward who never was able to move from under your father’s shadow.”
Flecks of crimson darkened the Russian’s face. There was no hiding the fact his blackened teeth were grinding together. Harmon didn’t flinch. He managed to smile. He brought his smiling face within inches of the Russian’s. It wasn’t every day the prey caught the hunter.
“They found someone,” Romanski said calmer than he appeared. “He made it work.”
Those words struck Harmon like a blow to the gut. He knew. The people he worked for were monsters but if Romanski was right then the Slovakia were not only pure evil but…
“That’s why I ran. You were right. They didn’t need me anymore. Not with that young guy there. He ruined everything. I had it easy.”
That would mean…
“They scare me. They should scare you too. Brick by brick they will tear this place down. Then they’ll so you horrors you couldn’t imagine. That is why I left.” He appeared deflated. Suddenly Harmon sat across a cancer victim who had no chance of making it. “I don’t want to die like that, not by their hands. Protect me. Protect me and I’ll do whatever you want.”