Thursday, February 28, 2013


The scene from the alley plagued Ezra. He should not have been able to remember it at all, nor anything about his life prior to the moment when he relinquished the last of his Grace. He’d saved the girl, simply because she reminded him of Leah, dead several millennia. He did not suffer from sentimentality, so there must be more at play than was apparent.

She had known him for what he was, despite attempting to convince herself that Truth was a side-effect of madness. I have to safeguard the lost one had been her reason for wanting to live, though she had no idea what the words meant. The summoning curse she had believed to the center of her soul. Otherwise, Ezra would not have come to her aid at all.

“She’s all alone and believes herself mentally ill,” he said. “This is what it means to be nephilim now. How terribly she suffers for my arrogance, my sin.”

We should fix that.

Ezra’s wings unfurled, shattering the window behind him. He’d not heard a voice in his head for so very long. Too long. He could not identify the speaker.

She is meant for me.

And then he knew, without a doubt. Lucifer yet slept, but his mind reached out, and he’d found Ezra, careless, inattentive, lax.

The presence retreated, leaving Ezra to ponder whether anyone else had heard the Light-Bringer’s command. Lucifer yet slept, but not for much longer.

He had to find Sarah. And run.

Written in response to the challenge at Thursday Threads.  This is part of a much larger WIP.


 My Dearest Margaret,

Words cannot express my admiration for you. No, that’s not right. I’m rubbish at clever persuasion, so I’ll say it plainly. If you will not come away with me, I fear you shall die. Should you survive the terrible things that I can assure you are coming, you will yet be forever changed, forever saddened by memories of humanity strained beyond reason and manners, so desperate to survive that they cease to value any lives but their own. Darling Maggie, it will crush your soul. Please, let me save you.

All my love,

Frederick had burned the first few letters, symbolically drowned the next several, and considered freezing this page until it fell into crystallized shards. Instead, he set aside the ancient ink pen and went to see if the replicator could create a roast duckling even half as good as the one served to him on the evening of April 14, 1912.

Much like his attempts to coax Margaret off the doomed ship, he could not seem to make it work. No matter what, the machine produced something roughly the shape of a duck but with the consistency of rubber. And all his letters seemed woefully incapable of explaining to the lady in question why she should abandon the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic and come away with him.

He feared to tell her the truth, lest she laugh it off. Or vow never to speak to him again. If the captain caught wind of Frederick’s mad story, he might throw him overboard or have him locked away below decks. Either would be disastrous, as the cold water would ruin his time piece, and the layers of metal in the bowels of the ship would affect its locutor. He should still be able to time-jump off the ship before it crashed and sank, but without the ability to set a location, he’d still end up in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.  Providing it was there, of course. It wasn’t always. That could be even more troublesome.

It was clear he would not get any better at writing letters. Or creating a palatable duck program.

“Once more, then, and I’ll make do with what I have.”  He programmed the chronometer, inhaled deeply, and pushed the button.

Salt spray hit him in the face.  He shivered.

“Mr. Barringsford! You’ll catch your death out here.”

Not I. Frederick turned. “Mr. Mabey, isn’t it?”

“Yes, sir.” The young man smiled. “Shall I fetch your coat from your room?”

“No, I’m heading back in.”  Frederick passed Mabey a coin he’d never get to spend.

“Thank you, sir. Very kind.”

If I was kind, I’d find a way to keep this ship afloat.  He’d given up trying.  The ship was meant to sink and would resist any attempts at thwarting its fate. He could not give up on Margaret, as her fate was entirely changeable.

She was a remarkable woman, so much stronger than he’d expected, so much more driven. And older.  Too old for him, she’d said, but he could see in her eyes she didn’t mean it. They’d spent too many nights talking about possibilities and futures for him to risk hers, or his, for that matter, on chance. She’d loved once, deeply. He thought her reluctant to do so again. She was no beauty, yet the more time he spent with her, the more attractive she'd become. He’d never felt such overwhelming emotion before meeting her.  A man could do far worse than persuade such a lady to come away with him. If only he could figure out how.

“Mr. Barringsford.” Margaret tilted her head slightly toward him. “You are unforgivably late.”

He pulled out the chair beside her and sat. “I am, and I’ve no good excuse at all.”

“I like you the better for not attempting to make one.” A smile teased at the corners of her lips.

“I do beg your your forgiveness.”

“Begging is occasionally an endearing trait.”

“Is this such an occasion?”

“How very forward of you to ask.” She sniffed and returned to eating.

“That is not an answer.”

“No, indeed, it is not.” She could not hide her smile now.

He sighed. “I withdraw the question and will leave you in peace.”

“I somehow doubt the veracity of your words.”

“Alas, I am not clever enough to fool you.”

She patted his hand. “Few are, dear.”

They engaged in light and pointless conversation for the rest of the meal, and when it was done, he kissed her hand and took his leave. He convinced a stewardess to place the letter in Margaret’s room, and once he’d seen it done, he went up to the deck to await her answer.

Once again, she did not show. Distressed, he watched the iceberg approach, feeling so much colder than that terrible harbinger of death. With minutes left, he time-slipped away.

Morning found Frederick sipping tea, morose.

“This arrived for you.” His father tossed him an envelope. “I’ve not seen a real letter in ages. It’s rather quaint.”

Frederick tore it open.

My Dear Frederick,

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I am a delicate creature. I am no such thing, nor ever have been. While I did not know what was to come, I thank you for the attempted rescue, though how you expected to manage it remains in question. 

As you must know by now, I did survive. You were wrong, darling Frederick. As terrible as that night was, I saw as much grace and self-sacrifice as I did selfishness. When so many souls were lost, how could I dare to believe my own crushed? I did not find you among the survivors, but then you were not listed among the passengers, either. What a great mystery you have given me to ponder. I thank you for that, as well. 

If, in fact, I am not writing to a dead man, I ask only this: find yourself a lady, far younger than I, and let her see the fine man I know you to be. That is my fondest wish for you.

With all respect,
Mrs. Margaret Brown

“What is it?” His father asked.

“Nothing. Just a bit of history.”

He folded the letter carefully, carried it upstairs, and laid it in a box filled with newspaper clippings and one very worn photo. He’d not bother to try again. She had no desire to avoid her fate. Perhaps it was time he accepted his own.

Written for the writing challenge Game of Aspects: Redux at Terrible Minds.  The random parameters I got were: Time Travel Romance/On Board the Titanic/A Love Letter

Monday, February 25, 2013

You Break It, You Buy It

Kaia poured bourbon, sipped her own. “You taste like carrion.”

I rolled up my sleeve, displaying scars matching Nate’s new tattoo. “I come with warning labels.”

“On your hip. Sybil should’ve said.”

“No, she shouldn’t. Neither should you. Forget tonight.”

“Would that I could, son of the fallen.”

“Should I ensure your reticence to spread rumors?”

She blanched. “Unnecessary. I’m bound to you now.”

“Come again?”

“Didn’t the first time. Shame, that.”

Regan emerged, shaken.

“Or perhaps not.” Kaia slipped off the stool. “For my sin, Accords dictate I perform three tasks. Restoring her is one. Choose the others wisely.”


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nose to the Grindstone

Took a while to get used to the carrion smell, but work was scarce and honest work scarcer. The clan was growing – good for protection, hard on food resources. At thirty credits per, light thievery and freelance bot repair wasn’t enough, so Mica went to The Factory.

Some workers chatted, but Mica was naturally reticent, more so since Canan’s casual words had sent their parents to The Camp.

A scream rent the air. “I know what this is! Who it is…”

A tattooed arm hit the ground.

Mica kept stuffing ground meat into membrane-thin sleeves, glad the clan were vegetarians.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Down on the Farm

City kids should never be left to roam a farm. Daddy warned us about minding where we walked and being aware of enormous, dangerous equipment, but my sister and I pelted from one place to another, poking our noses wherever they didn't belong.

Of all the stupid things we did, nothing beat our brilliant idea to play in the grain bin. The previous day, we’d been tasked with shoveling oats into the augur. Ankle deep, there was no escaping the grasshoppers – metallic blue, brilliant crimson, and virulent green – that jumped up out of the wagon, only to be eaten by free-range chickens. When the grain got low, we helped the bugs over the side, just to watch the birds flock and squabble.

Funny how fast you can adjust to things that used to creep you out.

With everyone somewhere else, we scrambled up the augur like a twisted ladder, until we could see inside. The granary was filled with corn, oats, and wheat, the smell and texture richer than expected. Thick walls separated each section, with a framework of cross-beams above it all.

Years of gymnastics training made that series of thick wooden joists irresistible. I dared Yancy to walk from one end of the building to the other.

She grinned at me. “Piece of cake.”

And it was, for her. She was graceful, all long legs and lean muscle. I thought she was the most beautiful girl. I envied her dark auburn hair and pale green eyes, so sensitive to the light she almost never went out without sunglasses. Just made her look cooler. She was two years and a whole world older than I, and in my eyes, she could do no wrong.

In her eyes, I was the baby sister who tagged along and ruined everything.

But not when we were at the farm. We had a united front, because we were the closest thing the other had to a friend way out there in the middle of nowhere. We stole eggs and hid them under featherbeds to see if they hatched. (They didn’t.) We conspired to get farm hands to let us ride on the trailer while they bailed hay. I could pretend she wasn’t watching their muscles bulge under thinning flannel or the way that one smiled and winked at us and that I wasn’t watching the hook and pull, hook and pull, hook and pull, mesmerized by his movements.

“Come on!” Yancy stood in a near-perfect arabesque. “Unless you’re a scaredy cat.”

Nothing worse than being thought a coward by the sister I worshipped. Even if it was stupid and she was mean to me and sometimes a bitch – though I would never use that word, because she’d kick my butt and then tell on me. So out I went, less steady on my thick legs, unsure of my balance. But I made it to where she'd been. She had advanced to the other side and was egging me on.

Sometimes, the light at the end of the tunnel blinds you.

I hurried, wanting it to be over, thinking this wasn’t as fun as I’d expected it to be. The toe of my sneaker caught on a join. Flailing, I tried to regain balance, grace be damned. For a second, I almost made it. Then I was falling, my scream stuck in my throat so it came out a whistling wheeze, anticipating a pain that never came.


The grain was soft and warm and smelled like bread. Saved by wheat. I laughed. When she realized I was okay, Yancy laughed, too. I mimicked treading water, only instead of staying on top, I sank down with every stroke. Waist-deep, I finally realized I was stuck in quicksand.

Yancy said she’d go find rope. Heading back the way we came, she fell, too. That’s when we both started screaming. With a grand total of 12 people on a thousand acre farm, chances of being heard were slim, but we had to try.

Even though I tried to stay still, I kept sinking. Yancy kept my spirits up, in between bouts of yelling. She was still murmuring encouragement when I slipped under the grain and suffocated.

There was no walking toward the light, no release from whatever earthly burdens a 12-year old might have. It felt like an elephant sat on my chest, then beat me with its trunk for good measure. It hurt like hell.

I don’t know how long I was dead, but coming back was almost worse. The sun was too bright. My skin felt raw. The ache in my chest went deep. My father was pale and shaky, and Grandma was swearing in two different languages at once. Yancy was crying over me at the same time she was blaming me for the whole thing.

Three days later, when I was finally allowed to walk around on my own, I went into the barn – so enormous you can see it from miles away. I climbed up to the hay loft, where it was peaceful and I could be alone with my thoughts, and where there was nothing I could fall off of or through.

I should have stayed indoors and worked the jigsaw puzzle with Mom. Because there, at the end of the loft, stood my great grandfather, still wearing his butcher’s apron, telling me in broken English why he hanged himself and how sorry he was Grandma found him there.

“O-o-okay,” I stuttered, unsure what he wanted. And then he disappeared.

I fled the barn as fast as I could, but it didn’t change anything. No matter where I go, ghosts find me, looking for someone to hear their confessions, so they can head off to the place I didn’t get to go. After a while, I stopped trying to avoid them and made it my business.

So, that’s how it is I can do what I do. Now, tell me why you think your mother is haunting your bathroom.

This was written for the Write What You Know challenge over at Terrible Minds. Most of this happened, and the picture really is of the family barn where my great grandfather died.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Throughout my schooling, father enlisted companions – poor but articulate girls who kept me focused. Caroline was my favorite, as she had a well-developed sense of fun. During mother’s parties, we slipped away to the woods, climbed trees, whorled about in semblance of dancing, fell laughing to the grass. One night, she shared with me her darkest secret. I promised never to tell – and haven’t.

A year later, she died in a hunting accident. I was the only one who recognized her, afterward. On lonely winter nights, I remember our whispered conversations, climb into bed, and let her pelt warm me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dancing in the Dark

Warning: Here there be smut. Not particularly graphic, but smut nonetheless. Of course, if you were squeamish, chances are you'd have abandoned this series long ago. This is the extended encounter between Seth and the succubus Regan (which even he knows is not her real Name).

Bound to Happen

“You aren’t finished.” Sybil slid me a shot.

“Yes, I am.” Hand wobbly, I drank.

“Cantankerous boy. I’ll not loose you upon the world in this state. Go downstairs.”

I nodded, recognizing wisdom.

Nate’s brow furrowed as if he’d intervene, but one look from Sybil and he went back to drinking.

The cool dark welcomed me. I knelt, mouthing familiar prayer.

Regan interrupted oratory. “Thought you I would not sate? I am not so cruel.”

She needed no chains, nor whip to mar now-smooth flesh. I was as defenseless as she was hungry.

On cold stone, she set me free.


For a more detailed version of what happened, read Dancing in the Dark. Just remember, I did say detailed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I had my oratory all prepared, subtle spell included. With Regan’s touch, resistance fled.

Kaia raked talons over scars, opening windows to the horror and pain that created them. Regan’s kisses swallowed tortured howls.

Hours passed.
No release.

Marks of a hard life disappeared from flesh. Memory remained.

Kaia skirted magical motifs, then cut a fresh line. “Souvenir.”

I hadn’t bled ‘til then.

She licked the wound, fell back, wobbly. “You taste… wrong.”


Later, I found Nate drinking, cantankerous. Normal. “Seriously? I get mauled, and you have a threesome?”

I almost laughed.



Bent, not Broken

by Colleen Foley

I’d stopped screaming for a moment, only because Sunitra had stopped feeding. We were both sweating and wobbly.

“You humans are one cantankerous species. All you have to do is it let it go. I could do this without pain if…”

“Sunitra. NO.”

“Not one for oratory, are you? As you will it.”

She shrugged dismissively and sank fangs into me again, where the tumor had been.

It felt like having bits chewed out of my …everything, and the pieces left being forged into something that might, for me, resemble sanity.

Then again, I was screaming too hard to Hope.


Friday, February 08, 2013


Sybil’s was a house of oratory, a church of sorts. There, the cantankerous were gentled, the insecure bolstered, sinners shriven. Nate’s scream struck everyone silent.

Shaken, I reached for my wallet.

Sybil’s cool hand covered mine. “I’d rather barter.”

I stood. “Dungeon?”

“Enjoyable as I find that, my need lies elsewhere. I’ve two new employees with unusual appetites. Take one, Nate’s debt is paid. Take both, I’ll reward you accordingly.”

“What are they?”

“Succubus and Fury.”


She laughed. “That’ll do for one. The other’s feeding is more… creative.”

Legs already wobbly, I agreed to pay the price for Nate’s salvation.


Self-Assessment: Seth

I try not to look in mirrors, except when I’m shaving.  You might call it superstition. I call it being careful.  I’ve seen some things in mirrors that would chill your blood. Some of them have been me.

Still, it’s good to take stock once in a while, adjust my mental image – which occasionally insists I am a smallish 12-year old able to heft a large axe only because adrenaline kicks in when I’m faced with a monster that wants me dead.  I still face those, but I’m more likely to shoot them or punch them in the face – if they have one.  Axes aren’t particularly handy to carry and are harder to conceal.

I am no longer small by any measure. I stand somewhere around 6’3” – at least that’s what it says on my license – and even for my height, I’m on the heavy side. Mostly muscle with the occasional overlay of cheeseburger and beer. I tend to burn that off quickly, though, so most of the time I’m pretty ripped. I don’t stay fit for vanity. I do it for survival and sanity.  Running gives me time to think, and sometimes the ability to run away is the only thing between me and impending death.  Lifting weights or hitting the bag gives me the space to not think.  Also, there aren’t always monsters available, but I almost always want to hit things.

It might be easier to explain my propensity for violence if I wasn’t so damned smart. Again, not vanity.  I never did understand why I should pretend to be less than I am simply to make other people feel better about their own perceived shortcomings. I’m the last person to judge someone else’s worth based on socially-accepted criteria, since those same standards brand me a freak.

Right, I was supposed to be looking at myself in the mirror, not examining the inside of my head.  I don’t think either one is particularly pretty, but neither is so bad that people shy away.  I’m perfectly plain in so many areas that it sometimes surprises me that I’m just so goddamned special in others. Sure would be nice if it was the other way around, but my nose has been broken too many times, and my body is covered with scars – ritual, incidental, life-altering.  Puts some women off, and some men, too. Funny how a well-placed scar can help end a bar fight before it begins.  Not often, but often enough.

The rest? Brown hair, straight, and a bit too long. Depending on how much I’ve been in the sun, it might have hints of gold in it. Not like I pay all that much attention, but girls have said.  My eyes are a light brown with a lighter ring of gold around the edges and tiny green flecks. Again, the source of that knowledge is female. I don’t stare into my own eyes, for fear of what I might see there. It’s amazing women are willing to do so, but I’m not arguing.  My jaw is strong and usually scruffy.  I’ve been told I have a nice mouth. I just think it’s wide. 

My face looks a little blocky, but the last dude to fit me for a suit went on about my cheekbones, so I guess they might be attractive. Who the hell thinks about stuff like that? Besides that guy, obviously.  Nate says I look like a Neanderthal, with my big forehead, but I’m pretty sure he said that just to prove he knows what a supraorbital ridge is.  Granted, when I have a hangover, I drag myself around and grunt a lot, but I figure that just makes me male.

Okay, that’s about as much talking about my looks as I can stand.  They’re probably the least interesting thing about me.  Trust me, you don’t want to know about the most interesting.

Someone asked what Seth looks like. This was the best he could do for me, the blighter.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Reunion - Take Two

He entered smiling, as if I hadn’t killed him a few weeks back. Or tried to. Either he didn’t hold a grudge or was contemplating retribution. Possibly both.

“Hello, son.” The rasp in his voice was satisfying. He hadn’t escaped entirely unscathed.

“Told you last time, I’m none of yours.”

“Right before you made me choke on the blood we share. That spell would have worked on someone else.”

“But you aren’t human,” I finished for him. “Did my mother know?”

“Not sure. You want me to raise her spirit and ask?”

I shuddered. “Leave her out of it.”

“Ah, but it was she who made off with you in her womb, thus depriving me of my child and heir.”

“Whatever you want from me, I’m not interested. I have my own problems.”

“I’ve watched you rushing around, saving people from monsters. Stomping on smoldering brush does no good when the wildfire is heading your way. There’s a battle coming, and you’ve a part to play, whether you will it or not.”

“Did you start this fight?”

“In a manner of speaking. There didn’t always used to be a war. You know what began it.”

I couldn’t tell you how I knew, but I did. “My birth.”

“Good boy. Now, let’s see if we can stop it.”

“I’d rather save innocent people.”

“Perhaps you should consider what will happen if they’re caught in the crossfire. War is coming.”

I sighed, resigned. Turns out, being the half-breed prince of monsters sucks.

Written for Thurs Threads. Consider this a possible alternate universe for Seth. Boy, would that irritate him! And hey, look what happened:


By Colleen Foley

I would normally have cleansed the boy’s perceived disgrace using sex. It masks the discomfort of my feeding. This one’s mind would snap if I tried that.

Brow quirked, I studied him. I could trundle out the soothing massage I sometimes used for children and elders, but he wasn’t going to tolerate comforting. That smacked too much of “not my fault”.

He could never punish himself enough…so I did it for him. I bound him to a wall and gave Hunger free reign, lancing guilt with bared teeth.

He screamed. But he survived, and by doing so, remembered his strength.


Wednesday, February 06, 2013


Like a deep-rooted cyst, Nate’s self-loathing needed lancing. I knew just the place for it.

He balked. “A brothel? No.”

“Trust me.”

Sybil met us in the foyer. “Trundling home with your wounded?”

“He needs Sunitra.”

“I said no,” Nate spat.

“All is consensual here,” Sybil soothed. “If you and Sunny do not come to accord, first drink’s on me.”

Sunitra smiled. “No disgrace in conversation.”

Watching them leave, Sybil murmured, “He’s not the only one who needs a sin-eater.”

“I’m fine.”

“Seth, darling, you cannot lie to me. I see everything.”

“For a price.”

Sybil bared her teeth. “Indeed.”


Sunday, February 03, 2013


Trina got a nice place down the back alley, abandoned garage with windows broke out but solid brick walls. She keep a ladder hid, so folks don’t know about the loft where she sleep during daytime. Sometimes, she lets me crash there, but I gotta get out before she start working.

Only I been sick for a couple three days, so she let me rest up while she do her thing. That how I come to watch her shove that nice-looking boy against the wall, stretch him out so I can see he muscles bulging. And other things. I held my breath so I didn’t let on I was watching her rub against him as he make them sounds go right to my nethers. I could almost taste the salt she licked from he skin, flicking tongue over nipple.

One hand covered my mouth, I was panting so hard. The other covered something else, grinding like she did with he underneath her, unheeding of the dirt floor, just happy she skin touching his. He think she a painted lady, right up until she bit into his neck. He bucked, thrust, and moaned with pleasure as she nearly drunk him dry.


Written for Sinful Sunday with these prompts: back-alley & painted lady, plus
ETA: Apparently, the judge liked it!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Honor (On Her)

Her night with Sir Knight went as planned:
sweet words, strong wine, the dance of the damned.
His horse wuffled softly outside the tent.
Inside delicate fabric was rent.
Blood spilled on the field his calling card,
a fine knight in sooth, a better one hard,
stripped of armor, scars revealed,
darkness hiding wounds yet unhealed.
His imposing lance seemed hale enough
but buried inside was deadly stuff
which years untended had brought to this state
and passed there to her, sealing her fate.

Trundling, weakened, disgraced by sick blood,
goes the once-lovely girl who thought noble meant good.

My entry for the new Prediction!
Come join us.

Friday, February 01, 2013


Clothing burns. Water washes away blood. Metal protects the drain from ash and sinew and bone, sloughed off as I try and try to come clean. No amount of scrubbing or fire will expunge what was done, almost done, undone by my hands.

And yet, I cannot regret it.

I can take enormous amounts of pain – a sick skill, but useful.  Long ago, I learned to set aside feelings and do what it takes to survive, to save innocents and sometimes the world.  But I can’t not feel around Nate, can’t bear his pain.

Someday, that will get me killed.