This is my first time writing something in 'public', so be gentle please!
It should have been a normal day.
Of course, normal in my world is probably not your normal. Or, well, normal.
You see, ah, well, let's not get ahead of ourselves shall we?
I woke up as usual. Most people don't think my kind can sleep, but that's a load of crap. I mean, it's just stereotyping right? Anyhoo, I woke, made the bed, I'm a bit fastidious like that, and then did my, for want of a better world, toilet routine.
It was a Monday, that I know, so I chose what I like to think of as my 'good' suit. It's a natty dark grey number with a long jacket, like the westerns. I always feel like I should be wearing some kind of Stetson with it.
So, dressed and ready, I had headed out for the office.
I live in a fairly major city. It's unusual in one respect thought, because there's an unusually high concentration of... 'us' living here. I guess there's the old adage of safety in numbers right? So, I'll not tell you the real name of the place. Let's just call it... I don't know, Big City. That should be generic enough.
I took the stairs down to the underground garage, one advantage in living in a slightly posher apartment block, and climbed into my hybrid. I'm likely to be around longer than the usual person, so I like to try and take care of the planet.
Mind you, my friend, Mike, when I 'came out', was surprised I drove.
"Why not?" I asked him.
"Well, it's not what you would think," he said.
"There you go," I replied.
"The stereotypes are starting already. I knew I shouldn't have told you."
Anyway, I was cool really. Everyone has a different way of reacting, although I've not come clean to many outside of the community. Mike was pretty understanding really.
So I drove through he rush-hour traffic to my office. Yes, I know, what? Me working at an office? What's that about? Well, everyone has to eat, and my diet is no cheaper than anyone else's, probably more so actually. We have to make our way in the world somehow, and anyway, I'm not exactly poor. I probably do it for something to do as much as anything else.
Well, I parked the car in the overly-large company car park, and that's when things went a bit sidewards.
I picked up my laptop bag, slung it over my shoulder, locked the car, turned around, and that's when someone shot me in the chest.
I know. My best suit!
-So, just the introduction. I promise there's more to come, and there will be a suggestion phase next time!
Any comments welcome until then!
Nice one Pon! Is there a suggestion phase here? 'Cos I say it's a basic robbery, or maybe mistaken identity. Maybe some crime lord has it in for our hero.
Keep it coming!
I didn't even think of putting a sp in just here, but thank you Ren, I shall take any and all ideas!
I've not forgotten this, just going a bit more slowly than I thought.
No rush there Po. I'm not exactly writing super fast these days. :-\
Well the suit was a total write off, even if I could get another jacket and waistcoat to match the trousers, which was unlikely.
My assailant was standing there, the shotgun in his hands, a sawn-off one (isn't that illegal, well, then I suppose shooting someone in the chest isn't exactly legit either, so...), he had a look of bewilderment on his face, which is understandable, because I had a look of anger on mine, rather than the look of the recently deceased.
"This was my favourite suit!" I shouted at him, and grabbed the end of the shotgun, pushing it aside. Hey, I'm not invulnerable you know. He fired again anyway, and this shot hit my car.
"Bloody hell! Look at that!" I cried. That's when I lost my temper. I'm fond of material things, yes so what, everyone has a weakness, I'm just man enough to tell the truth.
Grabbing him by his collar, I threw him clean over my car. He screamed like a little girl.
Marching around, I caught up with him trying to scrabble away, one leg at a painful looking angle.
Picking him up again with one hand, I gave him my best snarl, which can be pretty terrifying when I'm full on, and I guess it was quite bad, as he promptly lost bladder control. Great, piss on my shoes, just the icing on the cake.
"What are you playing at?" I snarled.
"Th... the... they said..." he started, and then passed out.
I suddenly came to my senses. Here I was, in a car park at rush hour with a crater blasted in my chest. It was a good job I always parked in the most secluded corner of the car park, and away from the cameras. No accident. That's something that people like me do almost instinctively.
Even so, there would be employees coming in to work, and I'd have a hard time explaining why I was walking about. Thus I dropped my attacker, in the pool of his own urine, and opened my car door.
Then I stopped, stepped back, and rooted through the guy's pockets, wishing I'd not
dropped him in his own urine. Still, a quick search recovered a wallet and a set of keys. I pocketed the wallet for the information it may contain, and threw the keys into the bushes, out of spite.
Then I quickly climbed back into my car, started it, and drove back home as expediently as possible.
I made it back to my apartment, still seething. Another advantage of an underground car park is less chance of meeting people coming and going. Even so, I took the stairs. No way I wanted to meet someone in the lift.
Safely back home, I stripped off my clothes, emptied the pockets, and threw the ruined garments into a plastic bag, to be disposed of later.
Then I went into the bathroom and inspected the damage.
It wasn't the worst I'd had, but it wasn't great either. I'd have fit in a ghost train ride for sure. For this I'd need help.
Cursing, I sent a quick email to work, making some rather lame excuse about being sick (as if!) but I'd log on when I felt a bit better. Then I sent another text to another contact to say I'd be visiting, and put on some clean clothes. More casual ones this time. Black in colour, just in case there was any seepage from my chest.
Cleaned up again, I once more made my way down to my car, where I checked out the damage from the assailant. It wasn't all that bad, cosmetic, along the lower part of the rear door. It would need to be fixed soonest though, as it rather looked like someone had shot at me. Which was the truth of course, but I didn't want to be explaining that.
I took the risk though, and drove out again, going away from the centre of town, and into the... seedier parts of Big City. The wrong side of the tracks you could say, although frankly, sometimes I think I'm still more comfortable with the 'wrong' side of the tracks than the right side.
Eventually I turned into a narrow lane, and then again into a small parking space outside a dark green, dirty, unremarkable looking door.
Sliding out of my vehicle and making sure it was locked, I shuffled up to the door and knocked three times, slowly.
There was about a minutes wait, and then a hatch slid open.
"What?" a gruff voice asked, along with a cloud of cigar smoke.
"It's me," I said. "I need a fix-up."
"Okay," the voice said, and the door opened.
I stepped into a dark room, which held a dark world.
Things dangled from the ceiling from thin wires, disturbing pictures hung at crooked angles on the walls.
More terrifying still, was my host...
Very well, I've run out of time for today boys and girls, so I'll put a suggestion point in here.
What/who is our host? What do they look like? What are they? Any and all ideas entertained!
And thank you for reading, all feedback welcome.
Good stuff Poi!
Well, I'm thinking, from the gruff voice and cigar smoke, that it, obviously, has to be female.
My first thought was some kind of mage (though still unsure about what our hero is, so don't know if I'm on the right track here), but then I thought... how about a god?
An old god, a fallen and bitter god, or goddess I guess. Maybe she was thrown out of her heaven, or has lost most of her followers or somesuch, but she's still a god, and still has power, which she uses for this sort of thing.
In exchange for services of course. :o
Keep it coming, this one's right up my street.
Thanks Ren! Do I put up a vote now? Or can I choose what comes next?
You can do what you choose to do! We're not all tight up squares here man! We're cool and groovy. Yeah baby.
Er,so, yes. As you like. I do like to see a vote sometimes though!
Very well then, a quick poll. Not very exciting, but there you go!
I think this is the first non-me story I've voted on on OP! Yay! :)
Thanks Ren. I shall attempt to write another part soon. As soon as I process this new development haha.
Okay, bitter goddess it is!
You look like shit," she said, before taking a deep drag of an enormous cigar and blowing the smoke in my face.
I frowned and made futile attempts to waft it away. Not that it could give my lung cancer or anything, let's face it, even if I could get lung cancer, I didn't need to breathe, so...
"Thank you," I replied, dryly, following her down a dark corridor. "Some random idiot shot me in the chest this morning. I'm going to miss important meetings."
"You're a weird one," was all she said.
Which is something coming from here.
Shemakabob, or Shem as most people called her, was a fallen goddess. I know right? Sounds seedy. In fact it was practically normal. Well, for a deity. You see, gods, and goddesses are born through the power of belief and worship, which is where they get their energy from.
The sad thing is though, most gods these days don't have enough worshippers. There are the big few of course, the Christian god, Allah and so on, but the Old Gods are on a downward spiral. Have been for decades.
This raises other problems, because once you're a god, there's no undoing it. You're still a god, but just... less. It's the equivalent of being homeless I guess. Anyway, these gods are still hanging about, getting their worship where they can, like a kind of celestial beggar. They're still Beings of tremendous power, but most of them are, well, disillusioned would be one way of saying it. Twisted would be another, and possibly more accurate way.
"So then," Shem said, sitting on a stool in the middle of her workshop. "What are we looking at?"
I took my shirt off and showed her.
"Nasty," she said, poking at the mess of tissue that used to be a well sculpted chest. What? I like to keep in shape. Just because you're no longer alive doesn't mean that you're less vain.
"This is going to cost," she said. "Are you willing to pay the Price?"
I sighed. This was what I was afraid of. You remember I said that gods have to survive somehow? Of course you do, it was about two paragraphs ago. Anyway, this was how some of them did it. By using their powers in return for favours. And the desires of a god, or goddess in this case, meant you could never know what sort of weird shit you'd have to do. Mysterious are the ways of the gods, and all that.
"Yes," I replied. "I am willing to pay the Price."
"Excellent, because I have a doozy for you." Shem smiled, which was horrifying on her, even though you could never remember what her scarred and craggy face actually looked like afterwards. All part of the god thing.
She gestured, and I moved to stand in front of Her.
Closing her eyes, she held a hand out, holding it over my damaged tissue. There was a, well, I don't really feel temperature any more, but I'd have to say heat
. A sense of Light, a sense of Dark, a sense of Other, filled the room, and I went a bit weak at the knees. All this deity stuff is well above my pay grade, and, to be honest, freaks me the fuck out.
Anyway, the heat in my chest increased, to a burning level. I closed my eyes, not wanting to witness this, and gritted my teeth (a couple were even still my own, although most were... donations).
Pain. That was what it felt like, I'm sure. After so many years I've almost forgotten how about physical feelings, but this could certainly be categorised under that heading. I revelled in it. Once you've been like me for as long as I have, it's a miracle to feel
Without warning, it all faded, and I was left with the humdrum normality of, er, normality.
"There," Shem said, taking another deep drag of her cigar. "Good as new."
I looked down. Sure enough, the massive wound had healed, replaced by tissue that looked almost alive. Wow.
"I thank you Goddess," I said, bowing slightly.
"You can thank away, but that's not going to get you out of paying."
"Of course," I replied. It's never wise to argue with the gods. I had a friend once, a shapeshifter she was, who got into an argument in a bar with a demi-god. Last I heard, she could hold a shape for about a day, before shifting into someone, or something
, random. That sort of thing doesn't make survival, or life, easy. As if it wasn't hard enough anyway.
"What is it you required?" I asked, not without some trepidation.
Woo! Another, short, episode! Obviously the idea phase here is, what is the Price? I'm willing to entertain any and all ideas, 'cos I'm out!
Nicely done there Poi!
It's a tough Suggestion Phase for sure. The first things that pops to mind is to lure away followers from another god(dess), maybe a rival of this one somehow.
It's a bit weak I know, but I'll keep pondering it!
Thanks for the suggestion anyway Ren. Sorry for the delay in putting up new stuff, been a bit busy lately.
I'll try and throw something together tomorrow. :o
Oh, I know the feeling, trust me. I've written nothing all week.
Right, I'm almost certainly going to start to begin to sit down and write another chapter of this today. Probably.
The drive back took a fair bit longer, mainly because I stopped off at an old mechanic friend to get my car seen to. Usually I'd have dropped it off and come back another time, but I didn't fancy waiting, and I was probably going to need it if I was to complete Shem's task.
She hadn't given me a deadline, which was something, but then I had decided I'd better get on the job as soon as, especially as I had time off work just now. Plus it's best not to try the patience of Deities, or so I've heard. Mercurial they are. As well as down right twisted in their view of what is funny, which usually involves a lot of blood and pain.
"There you go," Arthur said, wiping his hands on a rag that was so oily that he probably made his hands dirtier.
"Thanks you," I said. "How much do I owe you?"
He told me, and I winced.
"Hey, times are hard," he said, seeing my expression. "Anyway, I know you can afford it, living it up, pardon the expression, over in the swanky side of town."
"Sure, sure," I replied, handing over my card.
One disadvantage of The Community is that many of us know each other. That's not an issue as a rule, but as most of the 'Otherwise challenged', as I've heard some call us, live on the seedier side of town. Just because I choose to live in a nice neighbourhood people think I'm loaded.
Okay, well, I am well off
, but still...
"There you goooooo... ahem, sorry, nearly a full moon." Arthur looked slightly embarrassed and handed my card back. Being a werewolf must be annoying at times. I thought he looked a bit hairier than usual.
"Don't worry about it," I said, "We all have our crosses to bear. Thanks mate."
The mechanic nodded and watched as I climbed back into my newly repaired vehicle. I was just about to start it when a thought struck me.
"Hey," I said, winding down the window. "You don't know where the followers of Draknor do their rituals do you?"
The old wolf frowned. "What are you getting involved in that lot for?" he asked. "They're trouble."
"Don't I just know it, but," I did a good imitation of a sigh. "However, I owe old Shem a favour and, well..."
"Say no more," he replied, holding a long-fingernailed hand up. "I think they're based in the Fireware Corporation headquarters these days. Last I heard anyway."
"Fireware? What the hell are they doing there?"
Arthur shrugged. "Heard they found a wealthy sponsor or something. They've moved up in the world."
"Great," I said. "Just what I need. Thanks bud."
He nodded and stood there as I drove out of the garage, pondering how the hell I was going to get a follower of Draknor to Shem's place without getting disembowelled.
I drove back to mine first, the day was coming to a close, and, despite what you may have heard, I want to rest at night. Yes, I can still sleep, well, sort of. I go into a kind of trance. I guess the brain's still working somehow, so it still goes through the same kind of processes that it did when it was alive. I don't know how this stuff works, there are wizards and scientists who've studied this it, but there's still a lot of research to do, not helped by the fact that us zombies aren't keen on contributing our brains to help.
Oh, did I not mention before? Yes, I'm a zombie. 'How the heck did that happen?' I hear you ask. Well, not that it's any of your fucking business, but in the usual way I guess. Raised by a necromancer. It's more common than you think, although 'independent' zombies less so. Anyway, suffice it to say you may be surprised who's undead.
So I parked my car in the usual spot and took the lift back to my apartment, where I stripped off, showered, hygiene is even more important when you're dead in some respects, and then collapsed into bed.
I guess that's Mondays for you.
Chapter 2 - Fireware
The next day I drove over to my friend Mike's house. It was a weekday I know, but I was fairly certain he'd be home, as he works remotely most of the time, when he works at all.
And let's face it, if you were as loaded as Mike, you'd work wherever the fuck you wanted too. He'd made it early in life, some IT thing that I didn't fully understand, but was bought by Microsoft or some such for a stupid amount of money, on the basis that it might be useful or popular someday.
In any case, Mike then went and started a dozen more companies, most of which went on to be successful in their own right, so he was made, as they say.
I pulled up to the gates of his large house, he refuses to call it a mansion despite having about twenty bedrooms, and pushed the bell.
A short conversation with his security guy later, and I was pulling up outside his not-mansion's main doors. His manservant, James, was waiting for me.
"S'up Jim?" I asked, as I climbed out of my car, knowing very well he hated being called that.
"I see you're still mostly alive then," James replied with a sniff. I happened to know he was some kind of faerie, not sure what kind exactly, but one that didn't like the undead apparently, as he was always snooty with me.
"The master will see you in the receiving room," James said.
"Cheers mate," I said, jovially, and strode up the steps.
I made my own way, having been to the house many times, and was greeted by His Lordship poking away at some phone-like device. A techie, was Mike, to the core.
"There he is," he exclaimed, as I entered. "What's going on man? I've not seen you for ages. Is everything okay?"
"Just been busy," I replied, slapping him on the arm and smiling. It really had been too long since I saw my old friend, old for a human friend anyway. You tend to go through people a bit when you're essentially immortal.
"Fancy a drink?" he asked, gesturing at a well stocked cabinet, just as James strolled in.
"It's a bit early isn't it?" I asked.
"Five o'clock somewhere. Besides, I've been up since about one, still on Asia time. Just come back from a trip there."
"Alright for some," I said. "Still, why not?" I nodded at James, who made his way to the drinks cabinet.
I wasn't sure if Mike knew James wasn't a normal human, not many of us reveal ourselves, but I knew he knew what to make me. He would probably slip some kind of fay thing it too, for added kick.
Now, I'm not usually a drinker, not because I don't like a bit of a tipple, but it takes a lot for a zombie to get drunk, and frankly people tend to stare when you knock back a dozen bottles of whisky in quick succession without, well, dying, so I didn't partake much.
Mike though, knowing my secret, and being stupidly rich, could afford certain special brews, when I'd told him about them. He'd offered a supply to me, but I didn't feel comfortable taking charity, so to speak, so I just imbibed every now and then.
So we relaxed in priceless armchairs as James served us. I took an innocuously named drink, called Buttercup, which would have probably killed a normal human if they'd drunk it. Me, it made a bit 'toppy' after a few. I relished the feeling of feeling.
"So what's new?" Miked asked, after we were settled and the obligatory small talk.
I sighed. I didn't like to ponce off my friends, but the situation was serious, and I knew Mike loved this kind of stuff. Every since he'd found out about the living challenged, and the rest (although I'd not told him that much), he'd been hounding me for more interactions with The Community.
Of course, he'd also asked if he could become undead. I'd, accurately, told him I didn't have a clue how to do that, he'd need a necromancer and I didn't know any. This wasn't true, but he wasn't to know. I had said they were very rare indeed, which was accurate.
Anyway, this time I fessed up and told him my story.
"So," I concluded. "I need access to this Drakor company. Any ideas?"
Mike just smiled. "As it happens, my pasty faced friend, I do. I just happen to be a major shareholder in that particular business."
"You are?" I raised my eyebrows, and also my glass for James to refill. "I didn't know this."
"Well." Mike shifted then, in his seat, and looked a little uncomfortable. "Perhaps it's something I should have come to you about before." He looked down.
Suspicious arose. "What did you do Mike?" I asked.
Finally did some writing! ;D
So, SusPhase here is: What secret does Mike have? I know there's an obvious answer, but any ideas are welcome!
Nice one Poi.
Well, the obvious thing is that he's the one who's sponsoring the group's rise in status.
Oooh, maybe, just maybe, he's actually the god himself! Or maybe a high priest of it, in which case he may or may not wish to help. Maybe even hinder him, possibly even work against him! :o
Good ideas there Ren. Didn't consider the possibility he'd work against him. Could open up a whole new plotline.
My pleasure. That's what I like about these suggestions, they give you more ideas and inspiration. 8)
Mike took another pull on his (normal) drink and smacked his lips before looking at me again.
"You know how I've been... curious about the Others, ever since you came out to me," he said. The Others is a generic term for non-humans some people use.
"Sure," I replied, narrowing my eyes.
"Well, some time ago, a representative, let's call them, came to me. Said they could introduce me to certain, ah, aspects of the Others."
"I see," I said, wondering how this person had known that Mike had known. Something to ask once the main event had been revealed. "And what did you have to do in return?"
"Nothing much," Mike said. "Just sponsor a group, supply them with... supplies and a place to meet." He shrugged.
"Well, I had to have a certain level of involvement."
"You're the High Priest are you?" I asked.
"Bugger. Mike! This is dangerous stuff!"
"I know what I'm doing," he said.
"Well, could you do me a favour do you think? It's a big one, I'll owe you."
"Go on," he said, sipping more whisky.
"I need to convert one of your followers."
He was quiet for a moment, but then he nodded. "Very well, then. I can arrange something I think. For you." He smiled. "Now, enough business. Another drink?"
I spent the rest of the day, into the evening, drinking and chewing the fat with Mike. It was a pleasant change after the last few days, and I was reluctant to leave in some ways, but I had work the next day.
So I staggered out and drove home. Yes, yes, drink driving, I know, but I don't do it often, and the roads to my place were fairly quiet, plus fuck it. Sometimes you have to be evil. It's not as if I'd blow positive if breathalysed. Not sure what would happen there actually.
So I swerved into my parking space, staggered into the lift and my apartment, and fell into my bed.
Next morning I 'woke' as usual and took extra care with my masking routine. I'd let it lapse a bit the previous day. That done, I collected my usual things and drove back to work.
Parking in my usual place, I took an extra look around before climbing out of the car, just in case. Nothing.
So I strolled into my office, nodding at various acquaintances along the way. The company that I worked in was a branch of a larger organisation, and as such was the same as every major corporation everywhere. Large offices full of cubicles, desks, meeting rooms and, for the likes of us management types, smaller offices around the walls.
"Morning Jenny," I said to my nextdoor neighbour.
"Nice of you to turn up," she replied, but in a mild enough way. Jenny wasn't exactly friendly with me, but we got along well enough. "I covered for you yesterday by the way," she added. "In the the Parker meeting. Sent you an email with the notes."
"Thanks," I replied, kicking myself. I'd forgotten about that meeting. Parker LTD was an important client, No doubt Jenny had taken the opportunity to talk 'smack' about me, I believe the term is. Ah well, office politics. Better than murdering people and eating their brains. Mostly. That reminded me, I needed to eat tonight.
Anyway, I settled in and spent the next hour catching up with my emails. Honestly, an hour wasn't enough, but I'd developed the art of binning the ones I knew weren't important without even opening them. Then I went through the ones that may have something important quickly, before paying attention to the five percent that actually needed something doing.
I was considering a break when there was a knock on my door, which I kept open for the most part.
It was Samantha. I attempted a sigh and looked at her.
Samantha was, ostensibly, our IT person. However, she was really more than that.
"Hello good looking. Took a sick day I heard," she said, sauntering in and sitting down on the opposite side of my desk. "Not very likely I think, so what really happened?"
"Come on Sam, can't a man have a day off to rest?"
"A man yes," she replied, and suddenly leaned over my desk, coming face to face with me. "An undead, no!"
As you probably guessed, Samantha knows about me. And the reason she knows is, she can tell what I am, instinctively.
That's because she's a necromancer.
Now I know what you're going to say, and no, she's not the one that raised me. That one is long dead, or so I sincerely hope any way. Necromancers have a habit of being hard to kill, or staying dead for that matter.
However, no, Samantha was just your average, everyday death mage. And she wanted me.
She wanted, and this is hard to even say, she wanted to go out with me
. On a date
. I mean, how sick and twisted is that
? She has the power over death, over the dead - which always puts the willies up me - and wants a date? There has to be something more, so I'd always kept my distance as much as possible.
"Fine," I said. "I was attacked. I need to get some work done."
"Really?" she sat back down. "Why didn't you come to me then? I'd have helped, you know that."
That actually gave me pause. I could have gone to her. I mean, for a death mage, Sam wasn't a bad person. And I'd not have had to pay such a high price.
"Sam," I said. "I truly am sorry. I didn't think..."
"Fine," she retorted, "but now you owe me one. So you're going to take me out tonight. And I know exactly the place too."
"It's not a necromancer place is it?" I asked. "I don't think I'd be comfortable..."
"Don't be silly," she said, standing up and skipping out. "Pick me up at eight."
I sighed as she skipped off. What had I let myself in for?
Odd place to stop I know, but I'd like to know details of where Samantha wants to take him later. Any ideas at all welcome. Oh, and not just a nightclub please!
Mmmm. Well, if it's going to be a date, then it has to be dinner yesno? So a diner for these Others. With specific foods. :o
Thanks Ren. I'll ponder that one.