Hunger in the Veins: Flash Fiction #Monday’sMuse #SciFi #Thriller

Vein City. That wasn’t its true name, but that’s how he felt about it. From there the very lifeblood of the world seemed to flow. He flexed his hands and watched his own veins pulse. It had cost him nearly everything within him to get there. 

Flipping open his wallet he stared at the nearly faded photograph of his family. So much had happened in so little time, but it was enough to wipe his mind clean. He couldn’t even remember their names. All he remembered were their faces.

That would have to be enough.

Truth be told, few men ever came back from the grave in the way that he had and those that did were only shells of themselves.

That was what Embryous was all about. Taking fully grown men and women, developed in every form of the word but not in their hearts, not in their emotions. Emotions were fickle. They got in the way. They kept the underdeveloped, the embryous, from doing what they were designed to do.

He flexed his hands again. They still burned from the crushing grip they’d held on…what was his name? He glanced back at the dead man’s face. Daryl, his name was Daryl. Daryl’s eyes were cold, lifeless, the product of Embryous, meaning dead.

In fairness, the Daryl had asked for it. They all had. Anyone who looked him in the eye saw his hunger. For anyone who tried to stop him from feeding his appetite, that look was the last thing they saw. Nothing would keep him from his former life. Nothing would keep him from his family.

That was why he was in Vein City. His family was his lifeblood and he was determined to live again.

THE BEGINNING…

*I don’t know if I will ever get around to fleshing out this tale, but I am curious about the nameless main character and Embryous. I have an inkling that things for him are not what they seem and finding that out will be like kicking a hornet’s nest. Anyhow, these are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt August 21st, 2017.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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Battle of the Books is Here!: Which will be Published First? You Decide!

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Go to www.candicecoates.wordpress.com for more details!

The official kickoff of the Battle of the Books, a competition between two of my novels where you the reader get to vote and decide which book will be indie published first has begun! 
WARDEN vs NEXUS GATE 

Read sample chapters of and cast your vote for the novel you think should be the first published.

Click HERE for more details!

NOVEL 1: WARDEN

 


warden-coverBook Flap: 
Ever since the bizarre death of her grandmother, Maeve Grandie has made it her sole purpose to be reliable, even if that means living a dreadfully predictable life. The only sense of adventure Maeve experiences is in her dreams. The only problem is her peculiar hereditary condition that gives her rashes on her hands and arms, turning the veins of her arms a screaming azurite blue, not only gives her weird dreams but causes her to sleepwalk as well.

But what would happen if those dreams that carry her into a bizarre land where people can cause their arms to ignite with blue flames and tear open the sky with their bare hands is not really a dream at all?

What if the dream world, Maeve finds herself suddenly trapped in, is actually a true world of wonder but one she is somehow destroying just by being there?

Senior Warden Vincent Jasper of Trident finds himself facing that very real and immeasurable danger when a young woman in the ugly pink nightgown interferes with an arrest right before disappearing through an Unzoned Door in the Universe causing the very threads of the Cluster and Realms to ripple and stretch, putting it and the lives of all who live within it in grave danger. Not only is the woman unknown but she keeps opening Doors and is somehow hiding right underneath his nose.

Can Jasper and his team along with the rest of Trident, apprehend this villainous threat clad in garish pink flannel and ruffles? Or will they find out that she is not the threat at all but the weapon of someone else, all before their side of the universe collapses?

nexus-gate-4037-the-animal-coverNOVEL 2: NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL

 

Book Flap: Most important rules of time surveillance; never disrupt your host timeline and never step into the future. Decorated Surveillance Specialist Vivian Leona of 6037 has broken both.

Losing her husband, John Joseph Spruce, in the Nexus of time past, Vivian mistakenly pulls the wrong man into the future, a man recorded by history as having died on that very day in 1837. The consequences for keeping him alive in the future could prove far worse than Vivian bargains for, especially in the American South’s New Golden Age, 4037, where any overt emotion or cause of such, like racism, is seen as a deadly contingent—‘conditions’ cured only by euthanasia.

Slave foreman and bounty hunter ‘Tucker’ John Josephus Spruce of 1837 is called ‘The Animal’ by those he hunts, and a ‘necessary evil’ by those who enlist his skills, but are his ‘talents’ enough to keep him alive when he steps into a deadly snare set twenty-two hundred years in the future where he is now pawn and prey?

Will Tucker John’s instincts lead him towards retribution for his abduction, or will they make Vivian his only ally while setting him on an unexpected hunt for the one not only out for his blood, but the very woman’s he’s purposed to destroy?

RULES FOR THE READER:

  • Read teaser chapters of both books. (NEXUS GATE  and WARDEN)
  • Follow the link at the end of the Chapter Teaser back to the Voting Polls here and cast your vote for which story YOU think should be indie Published first
  • Leave your constructive criticism for both stories
  • Follow www.candicecoates.wordpress.com!

See you at the battle!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

What are you up to Today?: Why not attend a Party!

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WHAT: The Official Author page of your’s truly, goes live TODAY! Stop by, browse around, find out what’s happening in my indie publishing world, bring your favorite quote, and sign my guestbook blog post!

WHEN: Today and every day!

WHERE: http://www.candicecoates.wordpress.com

WHAT ELSE: Take a read of the full First 3 Chapters of my 365-WIP also read the BOOK FLAP teasers to the novels competing to be published first in 2017.

warden

VS

nexus-gate-4037-use-banner-picture-image

 

Be sure to spread the love by spreading the word! Follow my Author page and get connected. You will be in the know for all things that I’ve got planned for my literary future.

WWW.CANDICECOATES.WORDPRESS.COM

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Chapter 29: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 29

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

ECT: Did you know that the word “Kangaroo” actual means “I don’t understand your question.” In the tongue of the aboriginal people of Australia? When the Europeans first laid eyes on the hopping creature they asked what it was, and the Aborigines answered “Kangaroo.” The Europeans thought that was its name, and it has been called Kangaroo ever since.

To call this a miscommunication would be an understatement.

I feel like this when talking to the Council or other people who are actual against the ascensions. They all have so many questions and yet they cannot handle the simplest answer. They’re just a bunch of broken dolls or so fogged out that they can’t add things up.

Me: “This is a mission to save the world from the T.O.W.E.S.”

     Them: “What are you doing?”

     Me: “Kangaroo.”

HL: Sorry, I don’t understand your meaning?

ECT: I’m not surprised.

HL: I’m kidding. (laughter)

*          *          *

Etta fought off the urge to bang her head against the table. She’d been at the meeting with the Council for three hours, three dreadfully long, meaningless hours. The only thing of value that she’d gleaned from being there was the fact that the Pulse was scared enough of her to call in twelve other Seat holders from around the world.

Etta didn’t know what good that would do. Ironically enough, the Pulse hadn’t even shown up. Clive Meeks had not shown up.

Chapter 28: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 28

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

HL: I have to tell you that, meeting you, having this interview has changed my perspective of things so much. I admit, I was very uncomfortable at first.

ECT: In order to survive, all creatures must learn to adapt…change. Change is often a very painful experience. But bless it all if it isn’t worth it.

*          *          *

Wesley cupped the man’s hand before pulling him into a tight embrace. “It’s been too long, Uncle Arnie.” He smiled, leading the man beyond the front entryway of his home. Stepping into the front room he said, “Did you leave your bag in the car? I can go and get it.”

Arnold waved him off as he scanned the room with his eyes. It was a force of habit. Too many years on the force had ingrained it into him. “No, son, I rented a room outside of town.” He finally brought his steely eyes in line with his nephews. “Fewer distractions the better. If I stay here, I’ll get to thinking about your folks or worse, find myself fishing until the lakes are empty. Neither are good ideas, though the later is beyond tempting.” He cupped Wesley’s shoulder and nudged him towards the sofa. Wesley didn’t resist.

They spent a few minutes on catching up. Arnold Anderson had always been like a second father to Wesley. When Wesley’s father died of a heart attack several years ago, Arnold had made it a point to fill in the gap that his brother-in-law had left in the boy’s life. It wasn’t easy living out of state or working the crazy hours that he was required to work. But he did the best he could. Felons didn’t keep nine to five shifts.

Chapter 22: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 22

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

HL: Oh that is a tricky play on things, saying because a person doesn’t ask the right question gives you the right to omit certain aspects of your answer. You could be doing that right now, being tricky.

ECT: My reality is tricky. That’s why I have an absolute grey area when it comes to lies or the afore mentioned “lie by omission.” Telling all is never a wise thing, not in my experience, not when you are fighting an invisible enemy who can inhabit your closest of kin just on a whim. But the truth, the truth is always the truth. Some say “Truth hurts.” I don’t care for this statement either. The reality is that the truth only hurts when it follows a blatant lie…thinking about it, I suppose omitting the big things in the face of the truth can feel like a lie. Grey is not my favorite color, if that means anything.

*          *          *

Jørn felt like he’d been hit by a Mack truck. He sat in Doris’ front room staring forward as he inwardly gnawed on every word that she’d said. Never mind the fact it was past midnight. Doris had been talking for hours and had only recently slowed her pace. Andrea, her niece, had even given her perspective on things.

Jørn had all but completely tuned them out, their voices falling into the background of his pounding thoughts. Etta, his Etta, his wife had stopped the ascension.

How in the world had she done it? The whole idea seemed utterly impossible. What hit him even harder was hearing his cousin’s name. Baldwin Falk was a part of it. Where the hell had he been all of this time?! Hiding somewhere only Etta could find him, that’s where! Etta knew all along! All those phone calls from Nobody….

His jaw clenched beneath his beard.

“You want some more coffee, Jørn?” Jørn snapped out of his thoughts, his eyes glanced down into the dark liquid. It had been neglected the same way the Sheppard’s Pie Doris insisted he eat for dinner had been, a few bites here and there, a few sips, but otherwise, his appetite was completely gone.

Doris’ held the coffee pot in hand, tilted at the ready. Jørn shook his head. “No. No, thank you, Doris.”

Chapter 5: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 5

Jørn’s brow came together. That was certainly not the response he was looking for, You should cut your hair, but he’d begun to understand its meaning. At first he thought it was just her way of diversion, shifting the conversation, but try as he may, he couldn’t deny what he knew.

For at least five years she had been telling him to cut his hair. He initially thought it had to do with her preference, so he willingly obliged her, shaving his hair down to a tapered fade, the same as it was the first time he laid eyes on her. But each time the hairs grew back, she would repeat the statement.

He learned a year ago that the statement wasn’t really a matter of preference, but a form to make him look less like the man she had somehow misplaced—Baldwin. Jørn had found a photo of him at the store she and Albert owned. He had not seen Baldwin since he had moved to Greenwich Pass. When Baldwin moved away from the family, he was a clean faced, blond kid, with short cut hair. In the photo Jørn found, he looked like Jørn; chin length, wavy hair, and like his cousin, the start of a beard.

It was around that time that the calls from Nobody had also begun to come in.

You should cut your hair.  The words pinged back to the front of his mind. Pushing down the frustration brewing in his gut, he rolled away from Etta and sat up, his feet on the ground. He chewed on the thought of broaching the subject of Baldwin. He would have to eventually, but he opted out of it at that moment.

Just like the conversation about a family of their own or Albert, Etta evaded giving straight answers, especially when it came to Baldwin and even Nobody. What wasn’t she telling him?

Before he would ask her with an edge of guilty fear, “What are we going to tell Baldwin about us?” Guilt had ridden him for taking his only cousin’s fiancée as his own. Now it was anger, not at what he had done, but the thought of Baldwin, and what Etta might do if the man returned.

Jørn didn’t care what Etta told Baldwin about them now. The man had gone and had not made contact as far as he knew—suspicions aside—and Etta was Jørn’s wife now. If or when Baldwin returned he would have a fight on his hands if he tried to take her back.

Nobody. For all he knew that was Baldwin on the phone. How many times had Etta taken Nobody’s calls in private? He had found the picture around the same time they started calling.

A Simple Promise: Part 7 of Man of Grace Short Story #Blog Battle

Blogbattle Tuesday, Folks: One more installment of Man Of Grace. The Word of the Week is: Lurk and our Genre:Science Fiction. To read more tales by other battlers, please follow this link.To read the previous installment of Man of Grace, or to catch a link that leads to the other chapters, please click here.

A Simple Promise

Walter lurked in the darkness of the trees and shrubbery of Gracie’s home. He tried to stay down wind as best he could, prayed that his scent didn’t catch on the wind and tickle Mog’s animal nose. He had even taken safety measures and doused himself with a heavy spray of Doe urine.

Whatever was necessary he’d convinced himself to get things done. He’d only just made to the property line right as Gracie eased out of Mog’s grasp. She solemnly entered her house and Mog followed closing the door behind them.

He cursed. This was not what he’d planned! Mog was supposed to rip her head off for what she had done to him, how she had used him. Walter had done a bang-up job with his weaving of words, convincing the over-sized pack animal that Gracie had been using him all this time, that he was nothing but a means to an end.

He was able to be so convincing because for Walter that was all Mog was, a means to an end. The fury that had radiated from Mog’s stone-like muscles with each stabbing lie that poured from Walter’s lips was like red cloth to the eyes of a bull. Mog was supposed to have gone in for the kill. But three days had passed and Gracie was still drawing breath.

He cursed again. He only had this one card to play in his hand; Mog would kill Grace. Walter would help him ‘hide’ her remains, tell him it wasn’t his fault. They would go and kill the last alpha and the last of his kind, and then Walter would let the world know what Mog had done and what he really was.

Even now people only believed Mog to be an over grown man. There were basketball players who were as tall or taller than Mog. Even his odd features had been credited to a pituitary gland imbalance. People stared, but no one questioned, not really. Mog had been the perfect pet since he had been in Walter’s secret care. He’d disposed of all but a handful of his giant kin and his fame had begun to spread faster than a brush fire in the midst of drought.

Mog had done well, very well if Walter were honest, but at the end of the day he was still one of them. He needed him to kill Gracie, he needed him to give Walter the ammunition he needed for the world to turn its back on the rogue. He cursed again. They were running out of time! If Mog didn’t go through with it, he would kill Gracie himself and make it look as if Mog had done it.

He did have a convincing way about him.

~   ~   ~

“He’s out there. I caught his scent.” Mog whispered, keeping his distance from his mother even though he felt like a child and wanted nothing more than to be in her arms. He wouldn’t draw near to her again. Walter was watching.

A deadly shadow draped itself across Grace’s bloodshot eyes. Her head tilted towards the butcher knives that were magnetized to her wall.

“No, Mom.” Grace’s eyes met his again. “I told you I would deal with him,” He turned towards the window. A crack in the curtains allowed him a visual outside. “But it has to be done just right. And I promise you it will be. I promise.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Sorry for the abrupt close here. Dealing with a slight battle with my inner ear being a bit off balance due to the tail end of a cold. Blah. Hopefully next week will bring us the end of the tale! Until then…

Cheers!

Right In The Heart: Short Story Monday’s Muse Results From July 20th

“It’s a simple room, but it will be perfect for what you need.” Their warm hand rested upon my shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. I painted on a relieved smile and shrugged out a deep sigh, as if peace had oiled me straight to my bones.

1385875726l6pyy“Its more than perfect,” I said, adjusting my bags on my shoulder and in my hand. He, Mr. Caldwell, got the message and freed me from his grasp.

“Oh, I am sorry! Let my help you with your bags.” He reached for my carpet bag but a I kept it out of his reach, setting it at my feet.

“Oh no thank you. You have helped me enough. I can take care of things from here.” I smiled again, taking the few strides I needed towards the window, pushing the bags into the corner.

With a quick but thorough glance I searched outside. I could hear his voice. He was out there. I check my watch. He would be in position in less than seven minutes.

“Well I don’t want to keep you, Mr. Caldwell. The cabin is just what I need.” I pulled off my coat and made like I was a curious child taking in my surroundings. I was neither curious, nor a child, though I am often mistaken for one.

Good genes. Bad when it comes to finding a stable man my age…who has time for romance anyway? I keep glancing around the room. I had been here before, staking this place out for months, mapping out the perfect location for my shot-

“Right in the heart of it all!” Mr. Caldwell said. “This cabin was built right in the heart of the resort.”

I smiled again, hoping Mr. Caldwell got the message. He was such a nice man, but time was of the essence. “I am going to go ahead and get settled then. The dinning hall is open at 5pm, correct?” I walked towards the door. He needed to leave, now.

“Sure is, kiddo. If you need anything else,”

“Nope, I have everything I need. Thanks again.”

He stepped out of the door but poked his head in right when I was about to seal it closed. “Good luck with that article. Make sure to put me in it if you can.” He winked.

I giggled. “Sure will.” With that Mr. Caldwell was gone. The sound of his golf cart pulling away was a very welcome thing, even more so the fact that he went in the proper direction.

Taking purposed strides I placed my carpet bag on the desk near the window. Three minutes and he would be right in the line of fire. With graceful hands I dismantled the bag, pulling out what seemed as boning and reinforcements and constructed my fire arm, setting it upon its tripod.

I rolled my shoulders, forcing my mind into the zone and brought through the waves of my memory the tune of Moon Light Sonata. It calmed me further, steadying my hands.

Thirty seconds and the target would be in view. I breathe in and exhale, my finger gently stroking the trigger as if it were the ivory keys of a Baby Grand Piano.

Ten seconds…five…four…three, two…

He falls.

Mission accomplished.

My bullet ran straight through his heart. Smiling again, I reassemble my carpet bag, break out my laptop and begin to type more words to the article that was already in place. The words there aren’t mine and the words I tack on are like gibberish by comparison. I am not a writer, obviously.

Twenty minutes and Mr. Caldwell is back at my door. He doesn’t even knock, but burst right in. I feign a startle, leap to my feet and let my laptop crash to the floor.

Hysterics spring forth, first with a rant about my article and computer being ruined and then when Mr. Caldwell tells me someone has been shot and I need to leave. now.

Trembling with the nerves that a college age woman I am pretending to be, I grab my things, grip tightly to my carpet bag and ride out of the heart of it all in the passenger’s side of Mr. Caldwell’s golf cart.

Everything was perfect and no one is the wiser.

THE END.

I think I made it within 20 minutes…it seems I send out a single to the people in my life right as I set myself to do some timed writing. Sigh. I am loved and so I should not complain. I hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers!

The Scent: Part 4 of The Sickle #Blogbattle

Tuesday is ready to go with another beautiful blog battle. I have to admit this week's word has given me inspiration for two stories verses the one. Nevertheless I begin with what is below. For more entries by other players, please visit the blog of Rachael Ritchey. You can also find rules for participation as all are welcome! This week's word: Musk. To read parts 1 through 3 of the Sickle click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

The Scent

“Beta Aleem?” Clovis readjusted the Sickle in his grasp. He had no desire to cut the woman again, but he didn’t want to lose hold of the Sickle. The vibrating tick that had jolted it to life at the first taste of her blood was still resonating within it. The adrenaline that had forced him into fight had trickled from his veins, like the moisture upon the slick rock faces around him.

The sickness of nausea, fed by the concussion was making him week again, his vision wavering.

“How, how do you know my name?” Beta eased even closer. She bit down into her lip, the pain from the Sickle’s cutting burn evident on her ashen face.

There was very little light down below, but there was enough for Clovis to see he had frightened her.

He extended his hand only to withdraw it as she tensed. Fight flickered in her eyes. He had caught her off guard with the thrust from the Sickle. He would not do so again. Her stance made that clear.

Clovis swallowed and felt his throat stick and pull from dryness. He needed a drink but he also needed answers. He coughed and then sheathed the Sickle locking it back in place at his hip, making himself appear as neutral as possible. “So you are her. Doctor Beta Aleem. We, Empire, thought you were dead when all this time…”

Beta scowled, pure disgust stitched its way across her face in ugly threads. “Empire hoped I was dead. Obviously.” She stepped away from him and pulled off the dark suit she had been wearing, her eyes never leaving Clovis’ face.

Blushing at the sudden sight of her nakedness, thrown back by the musty odor of her flesh masked by the synthetic fabrics of her cloak, Clovis stepped back.

In his periphery he saw her smile and size him up before speaking again. “Clearly that was their plan for you as well, to be dead. They got what they wanted. So they are no longer in need of their pawns. What is your name?”

Clovis straightened clenching his jaw. Being left on Hydra, alone with XX’s  for all this time, must have made Beta all but feral. She had no care for prudence. Why would she? Prudence had little place when survival was king.  “Clovis, Clovis Rantoring. I was sent to-”

“I know why you were sent. Heads up, Clovis.” Clovis’ hands fumbled as he tried to catch the water sack that had been chucked at him.

He let out a breathless thank you, and without considering its purity, he greedily devoured every, sweet drop. He allowed himself to sit down again, back pressed against a mossy rock, mind settling into a less tense pace, one where he could reason. He figured, prayed, he had at least a few hours to catch his breath.

Beta kept her head down but her body turned towards him. Carefully she soaked up the blood from her wound before setting the cloth to blaze. Not a drop on the ground. Clovis thought. Good. Then she began to stitch herself closed, slowly, methodically.

“Sorry about that,” He whispered, his eyes on her, his body too tired to care about seeing so much of her.

Beta paused, curiously meeting his gaze. “You almost made a very bad problem much worse, you know?” She finished her stitching and pulled another jumper over her head.

“Not going to wash that wound?” He really meant the rest of her. The fabrics they wore had been woven to mask the scent of skin, the spilling of body fluids. It kept the wearer neutral while observing colonies. For that Clovis was grateful. Beta’s odor still lingered even after she had dressed again.

She smiled catching his meaning. “Its only been eight days.  I bathe on the tenth. Water is precious. Besides, it keeps the XX’s away. They don’t like my smell. Its offensive to them.” She pointed upwards. “My funk will have this mountain clear of XX’s before the next hour.”

Clovis nodded with relief. “Then we have some time here,” His expression turned grave. “Thank for what you did up there, saving my life.”

This time Beta laughed, pointing to her stomach. “Yeah, well now you owe me double.”

Clovis shook his head. He needed to fight sleep but it was such a hard fall. He touched the back of his head. “I think my concussion makes us even. Nevertheless, if you still feel like I am in your debt, we can work out the payment once you tell me how you ended up here.”

Beta pressed her eyes. “Where to begin?” She spoke the words to herself, still Clovis responded.

“The beginning.”

“Right. Genesis. Before we go there, thought, why don’t you tell me about that beast that is on your heels?”

* * *

Gagging and growling, packs of XX’s pulled themselves away from the mountain. The scent of the woman burned at their noses, her pheromones sending them into aggressive frenzies and brawls.

Another growl, fiercer, deeper than theirs, drew them into still silence. He, who had caused them to multiply, and made himself their ruler, lifted his nose to the air and caught the distinct feminine musk in his nostrils, the scent stirring him with the hunger for chase.

THE END OF PART 4