Thursday, October 27, 2016

Free Serial - Jack Primus Part Four - Malingering in Moab

So I had this fire fly guy eying my girl, a bucket full of Xemmoni I had unfortunately left to fester in Colorado to still deal with, and now a bunch of bikers were quite conspicuously pulling into the lonely national monument we had stopped at.

Now, being a biker of sorts myself, I had no real problem with bikers on principle, but I had a bad feeling about this group. They were roughly fourteen strong and sported red leathers that matched the color of their spiked mohawks. And that wasn’t the only thing they had that was spiked.  All sorts of fanged chucks of steal tore through their leathers and even flesh. A snarl started deep within my throat and I didn’t need Hannah to tell me, for when she whispered, “Ripperkah,” I already knew.

“Oh crap,” Ethan hissed. “We’re going to run right?” he sighed. “Oh yeah, you’re of Yig, Damn it.”

“Yeah, I think I’ve run enough for one day. Besides I have a thing about the Ripperkah” I began to swing my sledge in lazy circles. “So if you have any fancy tricks, I suggest you bust out with them now.”

He grinned. “You mean like this?” Then with a chuckle and a few mumbled words, he gestured at the approaching pack. An instant later, one of the bikes in the center of the group’s gas tank exploded. A rain of fire and shouts of panic followed with it.

Several bikers wiped out, taking those that followed down as well. However, half the Kah made it through and continued their charge.

Hannah stepped before us, her hair flowing in fluid motions like she was underwater. “My turn”, she said with a determined grin.

I remember letting out a gasp as a ray of bright golden light flowed from her.  I could sense its pour nature and strength. I knew then that Hannah was a warrior of humanity and Weal.

The Ripperkah howled and screamed as the righteous light of Heaven tore into them. More of them lost control of their bikes, spinning and cart wheeling over the rough pavement.

Damn, leave some for me,” I yelled, as I charged into them. I took to the air before one of the last ones to remain on his bike reached me. He got a boot to the face which sent him flying from the motorcycle and the motorcycle toppling. This crashed two of the last three bikes remaining upright. 
My hammer took off the jaw of the third.

I barely focused as I tore through the closer group of their fallen. I became a whirlwind of destruction. My sledge broke spike, teeth, and bone. I went mad in my fiery, until the green haze of Yig enshrouded me.  Claws and fangs erupted from their flesh and they tried their best to rend me, but between my rage and protection of Yig, they were unable to slow me.

Wet smacks and the crunches of shattered bone sounded in every direction, and even my allies stayed clear of my wrath.

I found out later that my allies had focused on the first group that had fallen, alternating between hitting them with blasts of both fire and Hannah’s holy light. The few that had survived this hurried back unto their bikes and rode away, dripping flesh as they went.

Together, the three of us finished mopping up the few that were left.

“These were fresh cuts,” Hannah scuffed.

“Why are you mad about that?” Ethan asked. “That many Rippers, with full Rapidity going, could have cut us to spreads.”

Pulling away the tattered remains of my jacket, I said, “now that we might be able to breath for a moment, I think it’s question and answer time.”

Throwing out a hip, Hannah glared at him.  “Alright, Jack, you start.  Why is every damn race of Xemmoni trying to kill you?”

“Now where were we?” I said, while burning some of my precious Ki to heal myself. It helped me feel a lot better, but it didn’t help remove any of the blood that soaked my clothes to such an extent that it was falling in large scarlet drops from my sleeves and the bottom of my jeans.

“I think we were talking about why you’re a Xemmoni magnet,” Ethan said with a lopsided grin.

“No, I think we’re talking about how we’re going to head back to Colorado and waste that damned Darcarre nest and that thrice damned Caradon lapdog of theirs, The Creeper.”
Hannah was looking through the mangled Ripperkah bodies and letting the men talk while she gathered a few stray weapons.

“What are you talking about, dude,” Ethan said with eyes gone wide. “You barely escaped from them the last time. I thought you’d be happy to have gotten out of there with your lives.”
I walked over to this younger guy. “I’m happy you got us out of there when you did, even if I still don’t know who you are and why you’re helping us. But I do know one thing. You can’t leave a Xemmoni nest. If you discover one, you have to take it out. It you don’t, it just festers and grows.”

“Then these killers aren’t only wasting everyone they can get their hands on, but when someone tries to take them out later, the job gets five times worse. I’ve learned this the hard way and I was on the way to take the first group I fought and then ran away from when I was less in the know about all this evil crap. I like to finish what I start. I didn’t know better then, but I do now. But despite all that, I won’t be heading back to my old home until I know I’m not leaving any unfinished business behind me.”

Ethan threw up his hands. “Damn Yiggos. They’re the same every flipin’ time. How about you Hannah? Can you believe this guy?”

“I’ll take the company of a follower of Yig over one of Loki, every time.”

“Oh you will huh, let me guess, you’re with, wait don’t tell me, Apollo.”

I had been listening intensely here. By that point I had figured Hannah had to be a Stalwart, but of what branch I had no clue. “Is he right?”

She brushed her long golden hair over her shoulder. “What do you think?”

“Since I have never met a follower of either Loki or Apollo, I guess it’s hard to say. But I think both of you have some explaining to do. Besides that, we still don’t even know why my bike appeared when we needed it in that battle against the Glooms. I need some answers, but I also need to eat. 
We’ll finish this discussion over dinner. Next stop Moab”

Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but we made it to Moab without so much as a flat tire. I had no problem becoming a snake and wrapping myself around Hannah’s nimble form, but I didn’t enjoy Ethan driving my ride, or how Hannah was forced to put her arms around him. I liked even less how much this Loki guy appeared to enjoy the latter. I had hoped we could have used some of the Ripperkah’s bikes, but all of their tires had been burned to slag.

Once in Moab, I gained some small respect for this guy when he pulled into the local brewery, even if he did charge my bike over four lanes of traffic to do so. The place was called the Dead Horse and was filled with paintings of mangled horses with Xs instead of eyes. Right away the place seemed like the sort of spot that a Xemmoni would run, that is, until I tried the beer. No Xemmoni could brew pale ale this good.

“I wonder if maybe a Tezcatlipoca guy runs this place,” Ethan mused over an amber ale while rarely taking his eyes off Hannah’s two inches of exposed cleavage.

Finally feeling almost half relaxed, I leaned back a little and asked, “Why would you say that?”

“Well, it doesn’t seem like a Xemmoni place and those Tez guys are into death and darkness and all that?”

After taking another long pull off my ale, I asked, “why does everything have to be something to do with either Stalwarts or Xemmoni?”

“Everything interesting does,” he said, while finally shifting his eyes away from Hannah, even if it was only to take in the young waitress’s slim form.

“Are all you Loki types such letches?” She asked.

“Only the breathing ones,” he said with a smile.

“Oh brother,” I couldn’t help but groan, but then our food arrived and for a few minutes, while I at my chicken wings,   I almost felt like a normal guy. Although when I was a normal guy, I had never dated anyone as pretty as Hannah.

But like most good things, our meal was eventually over and after ordering another pitcher, I knew we needed to get down to business.

“So I need to head back to Colorado. I can’t leave anything unfinished. It just isn’t right.”

“Or die trying, right.” Ethan said, while stirring his drink with a finger.

“I usually try to avoid that part.”

“Some people care about others and don’t want to see innocents get hurt,” Hannah said, crossing her arms and staring down Ethan.


“Does that mean you won’t be going with us?” I asked. “You fought pretty well back there. We could use you.”

A hint of a smile could be seen. “Well, I did leave my car there.”

I laughed, but Hannah looked like she was hoping the guy was going to say no. “What about tonight?” she asked. “No reason to be hunting Xemmoni in the dark least of all those Darcarre.”

“Well, I have plenty of bread, let’s just stay here.”

“You do?” Ethan said. “Say can I borrow some? I need-”

“Can it. I’ll pick up dinner and spring for a hotel room for you tonight, but that’s about as much as you can dare hope for.”

Looking at Hannah, he said, “My own room… but what about safety in numbers and all that? Wait 
 are we each getting our own room?”

“Nope just you,” Hannah answered for me.

“Oh geez. Well can I at least get a little chump change. I am sorta your employee and I think I deserve something.”

“Oh thanks for reminding me. I have wanted to ask you about why it was that you suddenly showed up like you did?” I knew I might need to ask Hannah the same question sometime, but I figured I’d start with the person I cared far less about first.

“On man, me and my big mouth.”


“Okay, okay. I ah…well, I was sent here to help, I guess.”

“By who and why?”

“Let’s just say that there are um, ‘beings’ that want to make sure nothing keeps you from returned to Idaho and taking care of what you didn’t finish there.”

“Are you supposed to help me when I get there?”

“Oh thank Loki no. I um, let’s just say I made a little mistake and making sure you get back to Idaho is my way of paying off that debt.”

“You little turd, so you had to go back to Colorado no matter what?”

His cheeks flashed as red as his jacket for a moment. “Yeah, okay, yeah I guess.”

Hannah was talking slower and sounded more uncertain that her usual self assured demeanor. “Jack, I might as well come clean too. I didn’t just meet you randomly.”

“I had figured as much by now.”

“Don’t tell me you’re in trouble too.” Ethan said smiling.

“Hardly,” she said, giving him a glare. “But I was sent to help make sure you make it to Idaho, Jack.”

“Again, I ask, by who and why?”

“These are hard times. The Xemmoni, with Vile’s help, are growing more numerous and powerful than ever before. Stalwarts are becoming rarer and the few of us that are left are being stretched quite thin.”

She paused, looked at Ethan briefly, but then her blue eyes burned into his. “The agents of Weal have been watching you, Jack. They think you might be our last hope.”

See how Jack began!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Free Serial Read - Jack Primus Part Three - Fire On The Mountain

Fire on the Mountain

We managed to make it to our hotel room and as we were grabbing our things and cramming them into our bags (mostly weapons) Hannah looked over at me and said, “Ah Jack, didn’t I drive you here?”

“Yeah, of course.”

“Well, if I drive you here, how did you get your motorcycle? I thought you said it was hidden in the woods near Ophir Pass. And it was like you remembered where you bike was, even though you didn’t drive it here.”

I was dumbfounded. “I, ah, what the hell is going on? I just talked to Loskeep. He said he would try to help me, but he isn’t even on this planet and…well Yig is the all-father snake. He has never had time to help me before.”

“Yig loves you, Jack.”

“He does?”

Suddenly we heard some shouts from below. “Get out here Primus! Or are you scared, like all the other Stalwarts we have killed. Come out here and meet the Creeper.”

“Here we go again. I’m locked and ready to C.K.A. I say we give them what they are asking for.”

“Yeah, sure, Jack, as long as we play by our rules.”

“I won’t roll any other way. Those Xemmoni bastards need to stay off my planet!”

“So are you geared up Hannah?” I asked, as I took up an axe in one hand while a sledge hammer filled the other.

Turning, I saw that she had just finished strapping a gold handled samurai sword onto her back. She reached into her duffle bag and with a wicked smile drew out a double barreled shotgun. She cocked it loudly and said. “I’m good.”

She sure was, I was thinking, but instead I said, “You aren’t really a normal gal are you?”

“We can talk about that later. Right now we need to waste these Sks.”

“I think we need to be careful. That bastard Creeper batted me with a car.”

“Primus, we have your precious bike,” a shout came from below. “I wonder how long it will burn.”

“That does it. Have you heard of the jump and stab?”

“Since I have the feeling you are making it up as we go, I doubt it.”

I made a face. This woman was no fool, no matter how blonde her hair was. “That’s when I get all of them to attack me and then you come in behind them and axe them each, one by one.”

“I’m down, but it sure seems like you getting the rough end of that deal.” She leaned in and gave me 
the best kiss of my life and whispered, “Good luck.”

A second later I was leaping out the window!

I saw a gaggle of Darcarre clustered around my bike. Half of them held torches and their flicking light danced in my eyes as I plummeted to the ground.

The Creeper was there, looming as large as an upended bus. My boots took the twisted freak in the face and it grunted, but really let out a scream when my sledge smashed him in its tattered ear. The scream only increased when my axe tore through his mangled face as I fell.

I had surprised and stunned the Creeper enough that the Darcarre got some of my special Stalwart attentions when I smacked down on the snow.

“No one touches the bike!” was hurled at them about the same time my axe was. One of the younger darklings had turned towards me and was rewarded by having my axe split his face. Then, grabbing the sledge with both hands, I waded into them. Swinging it wildly, I didn’t bother to aim, but just kept the weapon moving. Screams and the sounds of breaking bones surrounded me, but I focused on my task until a hand the size of a bookcase batted me across the parking lot.

I tumbled violently, smacking pavement, ice, and finally a stone wall.

“Primus!” the Creeper screamed through bloody torn lips as its titanic form raced at me.

“Quit talking my ear off,” I yelled, as I got to my feet. The guy was over forty flippin feet tall, I just stared for a second, and then said, “Screw this,” and began to run. Creeper growled like 20 grizzlies as he chased after me. Looking of my shoulder, I yelled,” Oh damn,” as I saw him tossing cars from his path, like they were empty beers cans.

I jumped, wild eyed and startled, when a car crashed into the pavement only seven feet to my left. 

“Oh crap,” I yelled and started to arc around the back of the hotel. The sounds of a shotgun going off could be heard and really hoped Hannah could hold out for a while, but I would be lucky to last out the minute.

As I continued around the old hotel, the Creeper took off a section of its roof and chunks of wood, plaster, and shingles rained down on me. A splintered beam connected with my shoulder, but I didn’t have time to feel it.

Yep, things were getting tricky.

I managed to make it around another corner of the hotel and that was when I came across a corpse of trees. “Oh Hail Yig,” I muttered, as I began to weave a spell. Yig had heard me, for the pines came alive clutching and tearing at the Creeper as he turned around the side of the hotel.

Now I had a terrible choice.

I could either strike against the Creeper while he was entangled or help Hannah. I could no longer hear her shotgun going off.

I chose Hannah.

So after flipping Creeper the bird, I ran off to aid to aid her.

I could only hope that I would be in time.

The mangled, angry screams of The Creeper followed me and I blazed around the side of the house.

Hannah was holding her own, but fighting the Darccare frankly just sucks. They are the only
Xemmoni race that can heal themselves and half of them are immune to bullets. I saw that her 
shotgun was gone and she was trying to hold a half dozen of the inky darklings back with frantic swings from her Samurai sword.

I still had the sledge and I was forced to use it when the two remaining Glooms, that we had faced earlier, tried to block my path. Their fingers were moving like wounded spiders and before I could reach them, their damned Flesh To Mist Bestow crashed into my chest. I couldn’t help myself and I cried out as my very body began to disperse into string of fog.

“Oh so you play like that,” I growled and before the Glooms could snatch their sickles off their belts, 
I had already dashed forward and broken one’s jaw with a snap that woke up every baby in the neighborhood. That one tumbled back. The second one moved in, but I yelled, “batter up,” and his head crumbled like he was a rotten corpse.

I wanted to finish the wounded one off, but Hannah was crying out in pain. She had been holding them back- yeah, this was no normal girl- but now they were releasing their Black Veins spells on her and I looked on in horror as corrupted threads of darkness spread over her body, tearing into her flesh.

The Darcarre forgot one thing though…me! I was in their ranks before they even knew I was there. My sledge took down two and despite how wounded Hannah was, she killed a third. You can’t heal decapitation.

We might have finished the scum off, if the Creeper hadn’t escaped the trees that held him. He roared around the corner of the hotel, like five hundred lions. I tossed my hammer into the ranks of Darccare and grabbed Hannah by the hand. We would have made it to my bike of the biggest Cell Disruption I could imagine crashed into my back. I rolled in the snow screaming as my flesh bubbled and boiled. It flowed off my bones and I thrashed in agony. Somehow, through everything, I could hear the 

Creeper chuckling.

Then I heard my bike starting. But Hannah was right there trying to help me. I think she might have even used a spell to heal me. Yep, this was not you typical blonde beauty.

“Hop on if you want to live,” I heard a man’s voice call out from off the back of my bike. I was in too much pain to make out more than the fact he was dressed in mostly scarlet and leather.

“How can we all fit?” I managed to gasp.

“Become a snake dumbass. Do I have to do your thinking for yah too!”

There was a wush of flame and suddenly a wall of fire separated us for the Xemmoni. I knew it wouldn’t hold them back for long, so I transformed myself into a servant of Yig and entwined myself around Hannah’s leg. I wasn’t too pleased that her hands went around this stranger, but sacrifices had to be made and my bike bike roared off into the night as behind us the smoke mixed with the fog and the falling snow.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Romantic Suspense Excerpt - Dead Air Collection

The light show lasted about fifteen minutes. When it ended, the crowd began to shift. The mass of people pushed them closer together and Kate turned into him, her hands resting on his chest. He looked down, her eyes lifting toward his. He could feel the heat rising in his neck, and he struggled to contain the need beginning to stir within him.

The crowd around them got aggressive and they almost lost their balance.


“Sounds like a plan.” She grabbed his margarita and he turned and squatted in front of her. She climbed on his back, wrapping her legs around his waist, and within moments, they were fighting through the crowd. He pushed, and she navigated.

It took a little time, but they managed to make their way out and hail a cab back to the hotel. Stumbling into the hotel laughing, they managed to navigate their way to the elevators. They stepped in and concurrently forgot the floor of their rooms.

“Twenty-three is sticking in my brain.” She leaned against the back of the elevator.

“Twenty-three it is.” Jack pushed the button and leaned against the wall next to her.

“You‟d think they would put it on your key or something.”

“What‟s your room number?” His brain flipped
like a coin in mid-air.


He looked at her with a smile.


She reached forward, pushed the button for twenty-five.

He laughed.

“What‟s your room number, Tucker?”

“Ah…I…well…I have no fucking idea!”

“See!” She stepped back leaning next him. “So I don‟t want to hear any sass out of you about my twenty-three!”

“My sass will remain closed.” The heat of her body made his head spin more than it already was.

“That‟s why!”

“Why what?”

“I finally understand why she calls you Sass. I didn‟t see it before, but now I definitely agree that you are…”

Abruptly the doors opened and they turned to move out of the elevator. He realized they were on the wrong floor and pulled her back.

“What are you doing?”

“Twenty-five remember, not twenty-three.”

“Oh yeah.” She turned to him with a lopsided smile. It hit him like a hammer. He realized it was the first time he had ever really seen her smile. It lit up her face, and he couldn‟t help but smile.
back. “Do you know that saying?”

“What saying?”

“The whole, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas thing.”

“Yes, I am familiar with it.” The doors of the elevator opened again and he gently turned her around, moving her forward into the hallway.

“Well you need to make sure you understand that saying because well…” She rummaged through her pockets for her key. “I am breaking so many rules right now you wouldn‟t believe it.”


She stopped at her door, leaning against it, key card in hand. Jack watched her struggle to maintain her mental and physical balance.

“Yes, rules. Many, many, rules.”

“What kind of rules?” Warmth enveloped him, and he felt himself pulled to her. Her scent and deep eyes drew him in, and he was powerless to resist.

“Important rules.”

His palms rested on the door, trapping her between his arms, and a deep sigh escaped her lips.

“Very important rules.”

“Kate…” He breathed her in, just inches away from her lips.

“Yes?” Her emerald eyes shone brightly up at him.

“Forget the rules.” He caressed her cheek with his thumb, his heart pounding against his chest. Jack let go of his fear and covered her mouth with a passionate kiss.

He expected the moment of surprise. Then she kissed him back, her arms wrapping around his neck pulling him closer. After a hesitant but passion-filled exploration of the other‟s lips, their touch parted, and he bit back a groan. He didn‟t want to stop. He wanted to keep kissing her forever.


Breathless he stared into her emerald eyes.

“I should go…”

His forehead rested against hers, keeping her trapped against the door. His left hand wrapped in her hair, while his right rested on her hip. He had no snappy response, just the need to kiss her again. It started hesitantly, his lips caressing hers, and then exploded into a passionate need. He explored her mouth, feeling her softness beneath his hands, and he thought he would go mad. Never consumed with such intense need in his entire life, he felt high within her scent, and silently protested when she pulled back.

“Jack, we can‟t—” She gasped for air.

“Why?” His pounding heart drowned out everything but the sound of her voice.

“You know why.” Her eyes smoldering, she turned her back to him, and pulled out her key.

His arms remained around her, and he pulled her against his chest. He shifted her hair off her neck, and began to nuzzle. He heard the door lock beep, his arm holding her trapped against him. She was making him crazy, her supple body sending shivers of need through him,“Katie.” 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Free Serial Read - Jack Primus Part Two - Broken Bones

By Michael D. Griffiths
Everything hurts. I can barely lift my arms to type.

They found us. The Darcarre, the Darcarre and their army of the damned. After my night with Hannah, well… I guess I was a little distracted and got a little sloppy. It’s hard to focus when you are happier than you have been in months. Head in the clouds and that whole thing.
So it went something like this. I was just getting a damn soda, when a brace of Darcarre blocked my path. How did I know they were Darcarre, the wearing black from crown to boots is always a giveaway. They said something along the lines of, “How long did you think you could hide from us Primus?”
I might have done something like flip the them bird, before a broken broom and a rusty knife filled my fists. I was about to utter one of my witty comebacks, when my world went to hell. Now you have heard about people getting hit by a car, but usually that is when someone is driving it.  Nope, that wasn’t how it went down this time, I was hit by a car, a huge SUV, that was being swung like a weapon. I barely saw the Xemmoni before my life become a tangle of broken bones and red pain.
It might have been a Caradon. The man had tattered dripping flesh pouring from him in sick matted waves and was as tall as a house. The Darcarre only laughed as the Freak moved in for the kill. I tried to get onto me feet, but it is hard with multiple compound fractures. I managed to use the healing spell Phillip had taught me, but it wasn’t enough; I had never been more wounded!
With a snarl, the Caradon raised a  sportscar over his head to finished the job and that was when Hannah drove her car through his legs! They snapped like twenty foot twigs and the car came pummeling down onto his skull.
She might have shouted something like, “get in, they are coming!” but I was barely conscious. Seeing their ally down, the Darcarre were moving in. Screaming as my severed bones ground together, I somehow made it to her now battered ride. With a tear of smoking rubber, Hannah raced from the parking lot as weapons shattered the car windows. Some type of Bestow, probably Black Veins hit me and I, well I almost passed over.
Somehow Hannah got me out of there. She is my new angel and has gone for medicine and supplies. We are safe for now, but how long will that last???
Hopefully I’ll have a chance to heal and hopefully you will hear from me again.
I’m still hurting. Even with my healing skills, broken bones take a long time to mend, especially when you have to fix all of them.
Hannah is my angel. She is the only thing that is helping me get through this hard time. Without her care, I’m not sure I would be making it. She had gotten me food and medical supplies and well, everything else a man could need.
Still, I hate to put her in danger. I don’t know what I would do if she was hurt. I just need to heal, before we can go, but we are playing a deadly game. The Darcarre can track like no other race of Xemmoni. If they find us, before I am ready, you might not see another post. Okay, Hannah is back, thank Yig she is safe.
Fight the good fight out there everyone, that’s it for now.
I was healed about the time that we began to run out of cash or at least I did and I’m not the type of guy to want to run up a lovely woman’s credit card bill. Hannah has turned out to be such an unexpected angel and without her help, I might not have been able to get through this.  Although, as I get attached to her, I feel uneasy. I’ve had bad luck mixing my Stalwart duties with the fairer sex.

That was when the blizzard hit. Heading out of Ouray was now an impossibility. Seeing as we were stuck there, the hotel owner took some pity on us and allowed me to extend our stay with the unusual currency of a few pieces of gold. We joked that we had inadvertently taken the tender back to what the mining town was like a century ago.

The snow washed over the town in white, silent waves. They kept the main streets of town clear, but the Million Dollar Highway quickly became a hopeless cause. We were snowed in, trapped. I had hoped that this would keep the Xemmoni from being able to get to us.

I was wrong.

I was sitting in one of the small pubs the high mountain town had to offer. Hannah and I were trying the hedge around the issue of whether we are going to stay together after our escape, when she suddenly went pale. I had been sitting so I could come my eyes on the street, but the villains have come in through a side door.

Turning, I was shocked by what I saw. I had been hunted by the Darcarre, almost toasted by a Caradon, but these, these were flippin Glooms!!! I grabbed Hannah’s hand and we were able to duck around a corner before they could spot us. I wanted to try to make it to her ride for more weapons, but I saw two more patrolling the street.  “They travel in packs of 6. 2 in back, to out front, that still leaves another two.”

Outside the driving snow was mixing with a rolling gray fog. I cursed. “Why didn’t I notice this before?”

“So you are saying I distract you?” she joked with a smile.
Reaching into my pocket, I grabbed a little chunk of gold. The cook quickly realized he had nothing to loose, even if the gold was a fake, and let us back through the kitchen. We are hiding back there while I type this, but I’m not going to hiding for long. These bastards want a fight? Well, they are about to get one.

Say that is a nice looking butcher knife.

The cook seemed less thrilled parting with a brace of butcher knives, but Hannah talked him into it. She is proving as useful as she is beautiful. She might even be Stalwart potential–as long as I don’t get her hurt first.
So we are making a break for it and I might not be able to write for a while, if I really have to mix it up with these freaks. I hate the flippin Glooms, but then again I guess I hate all of these damn Xemmoni. But the question remains… It was weird enough seeing a Caradon working for the Darcarre. Are these Glooms just a coincidence or could they we working with the Darcarre too? Phillip told me that Xemmoni alliances were rare at best. Something really awful could be going on. I could be at the crest of humanity’s doom right here in the snowy mountains of Colorado and not even know it.

So we still have two Glooms inside the bar, two out front and probably two out back. We need to start evening the odds before any more Xemmoni show up. I have this butcher knife, A broken, and now sharpened, mop handle, a few throwing knives, a war dagger, and my hand axe.

“Hannah, would you like the war dagger?”

How can she be smiling? “Sure Jack, I always feel safe around you. I know you won’t let them hurt me.” I love her sweet confidence in me, but I can’t help but remember that my track record says otherwise.

” Ok Hannah and I slowly crept out of the back of the Pub. Fog mixed with the falling snow to a point where visibility was only six feet. I figured the bastards could sense us, but I had a few tricks too. After enacting my Detect Darken, I sent my ability out into the storm. I was right; there were two Glooms waiting in the alley. Although they were still a good distance away, they were coming for us and from what I could tell, it appeared that they were summoning the others.

“It’s battle time,” I whispered to her. “Stay behind me. The ones from the tavern will be here first.”

So I quickly moved us behind where the door would open and put Hannah between me and a recycling dumpster.  Then, like a blast of smoke, the first of their gray tattered form was rushing out the door. He took a sharpened mop handle to the guts for his trouble. It snapped off as he tumbled down the stairs. Since it left a jagged point, the second guy got it just above the knee.

He fell as well, but as he toppled over I heard a cute grunt.  I can’t tell you how surprised I was to see Hannah on the ground, beside the first one, slicing his throat open! This surprised me more than seeing the Glooms. Something was going on. No sweet young woman starts slicing throats so quickly, no matter what has happened over the last few days. There were things she hadn’t told me, but as long as she stayed on my side, I would let it  slip for now.

Before I could let this all soak in, Hannah had elbowed the second Gloom in the face. I jerked him off of her and lifted the sucker over my head.  He was barely able to struggle before he came head first onto the side of the dumpster. Then I threw him aside. “This is one piece of trash that isn’t good enough to be recycled.” Sorry, I had to say it.

The two Glooms were now heading towards us from both sides of the alley. We each started scrambling to pick up the stray weapons. These Glooms favored odd cold iron sickles for weapons. Their sickles, what was left of the mop handles, and a few daggers went flying at the two Glooms to the west and then, just to piss them off, I headed back into the bar.

Hannah’s hand was in mine as we raced through the kitchen. We rushed by our table just in time to see the waitress about to take my pitcher. I snatched it from her hand and downed the rest with a single gulp. Hannah threw a credit card at the poor startled girl and yelled, “give yourself 20%, I pick up the card later!”

Seconds later, we were bursting through the front doors. I spied my motorcycle at once. “Hannah. I have an idea. It will be dangerous, but for some reason I think you you are up for it.”
She nodded and then asked, “what do you need me to do?”
“Okay, You ready.” She only nods. “Here goes. Time to strike back!!!”
Hannah didn’t seem extremely pleased to be used as bait, but she was willing. This was another point towards her being more than just a pretty face.  I just hoped she was a Stalwart and not some other race of Xemmoni that hated the Glooms more than I did. Wait, I’m not sure that’s possible.

Like a cloud of pestilence, the Glooms road their rancid fog towards her. She stood in the center of the street as snow danced around her slim body. The scene was half beautiful and half tainted, for as the  foul corrupted fog reached her, it turned the thick flanks a polluted gray.

Their voices began a taunting whisper and I saw Hannah clench her knife until her fingers were as white as the snow that covered her.

The Glooms drew in, their sickles held high. They had no love of her beauty or will to live.

They were fools, in more ways than one.

With a roar, my motorcycle exploded out of the alley. One of them was run down before the others even knew what was happening. The second took my knife and at the speed I was going, it passed through his head until it burst out of the back of his skull.

One thought enough of himself to attempt to run towards me. I hoped off the bike and let it ghost ride over the bastard. The last one attempted to escape, but Hannah was all over it. She tackled him from behind and for the second time, I saw her get down to business in a way no cute little blonde should, for she had slit his throat so wide his head was nearly taken off.

But someone was coming. The Glooms had alerted the Darcarre to our presence. My bike was still okay and I’m rattling off what has happened in case there are any Stalwarts in the area that can help us. We went back to our room to collect our meager supply of weapons.

But they are coming.