Sunday, July 31, 2016

‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬

John Barrowman as ‪#Kalos‬

www.thecruxseries.com

From The Crux
Chapter 2: The Unusual Suspects

     “This Pan, whose real name is Kalos, was the last of the Shadow Masters,” she explains while floating across the room to her virtual terminals...

     “His father was Talos,” she continues reviewing the inconceivable amount of data she has just displayed, “a very dangerous entity who was the first Crux Citizen to be destroyed by the Controller. This gives his son, Kalos, more than ample motive to seek vengeance against the Repository and attempt to cause significant damage to the Construct.”

     “Well, any motive he had must be long gone,” I reply, standing and then approaching the first step. “I mean at one time, he presented himself as the big, bad, wolf using what little power he had left to make everyone believe his bite was far worse than his bark. He was always trying to convince the hapless masses that he was still a nefarious monster possessing the ability to control his shadow to do his evil bidding.”

                              She is unimpressed with my dissertation continuing to frantically search the countless files. A woman obsessed, able to flip through an unimaginable multitude of information with tireless fluidity. If I didn’t recognize the science, it would seem a grand unexplainable illusion or magical phenomenon. This place blurs those lines so effectively and thoroughly it is miraculous that we all haven’t gone unconditionally insane.

                             “Then he hops over to the Fleshworld,” I continue undaunted by her cold shoulder, “trying to pull a “Penance.” Show the mortal world who he was in an effort to expose the Crux and bring total fear into the hearts of men. The only problem is that numb nuts revealed himself to an overtly ambitious aspiring author. Who, after his brief vision of such a self-important ass, filled in the blanks with his own imagination. It gave him the unmistakable muse to create a child’s fairy tale that made him stupid rich. To add insult to injury, when the rest of the Crux denizens found out about his epic fail and the resulting consequence. He quickly became the laughing stock of the entire cosmos, hence his nickname, The Pan.”

                             “None the less, he successfully broadcasted himself to the Fleshworld!” She decisively affirms, detaching herself from her research for the moment and glaring intently at me. “It is simply a happy circumstance that the man he exposed himself to used his horrific encounter as a literary device as opposed to becoming obsessed with investigating the bizarre confrontation, possibly discovering the truth.”

                              “Even if he had, it would have been an impossibility,” I rapidly assure. “Who the hell would have believed him? What philosopher, theologian, or scientist would risk their credibility to investigate such a claim?”

                              “Enough evidence could open the doorway for discovery,” she cautions returning to her investigation.

                               I vigorously shake my head in disbelief, turning to Sasha, who returns a blank stare.

                              “Well, I visit the idiot once a week, or at least as the Crux defines a week, to check up on him,” I confidently answer. “Each time, without variance, I find him in a newer state of shame and debauchery. The guy has no juice left. His Mojo is all but spent.”

                              “He is still a concern,” she nervously replies still utterly captivated by her ceaseless fact finding.

                              “You not being worried about something, now that would truly be a concern,” I quip walking back towards my chair.

#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬

Elizabeth Gillies as ‪#‎Dolly‬

www.thecruxseries.com

From #TheCrux

From Chapter 15: Hello Dolly

             Dolly stops about ten yards away. There she stands in all of her grim glory, ax gently swaying alongside her leg, held soundly in a makeshift and stained bandaged hand with nimble ivory fingers. Two more axes, a smaller Hudson and pronounced Broad are suspended behind her, peeking over her sturdy, yet oddly feminine shoulders. She looks us over with her hollow, opal eyes, empty, and void of life. We are a curiosity for the moment, how long that takes to evolve into a threat, remains to be seen, and felt.


                    Her long, pearly opaque hair constricted into a tightly woven braid
lies like a sleeping ivory serpent over right shoulder. It stretches across her voluptuous chest contained firmly within her pastel pink, high collared Quaker-like, button up blouse. In fact, her total ensemble screams Puritan simplicity meets sinister morose. The neatness and order of her upper wear, dramatically contrasted against her tattered, torn and frayed coral colored trousers exposing both of her pale white bony knees and scarred shins. A blush sash wraps around her solid hips multiple times with the remnant dangling down her thigh. She remains motionless in
her bowed and buckled shoes.

                   Yeah, she has an affinity for pink that rivals Sasha’s crimson fetish.

                   It makes her eerie presence even more ghastly if that is at all possible.  Most evidence of the methodic stitching and sewing it took to fashion her morbid singularity is tenaciously concealed by her odd, periodic garb, except what is balefully evident on the milky flesh tightly strained over her skull. Below her vacant stare is a perfectly shaped nose and then blanched lips intricately sewn together preventing any speech. A single line of smaller, finite stitching runs from her hairline down to the right ocular socket. The only variation in the pale hue to her skin is a small diamond patch of peach dermis on her left cheek, another random fragment used to complete her macabre design.

                   She is indeed the result of the Seamstress’ fanaticism, the warped depravity of a mother desperate to satisfy and silence the ghostly wailing of her murdered child. A hellish puzzle put together from the pieces of her massacred quarry that provided the organs and appendages to compose her fiendish form. The spawn of lunacy, offspring of delirium,and a woman-child who has no past or legacy she can ever call her own.  Trapped in a stagnant casing with the tormented memories of the murdered, robbed of the ability to relieve that torture through the simplest acts of screams and tears.

Friday, July 29, 2016

#TheCrux #Sciencefiction you deserve #Dreamcast

Todd Brown as #Ronin

www.thecruxseries.com

From #TheCrux

From Chapter 14: The Preacher

“But there always has to be one…right Marshall,” Kalos chides. “One who has just enough principle, the right mix of piss and vinegar, to believe that integrity and courage will win the day. The same mantra etched on so many crumbled tombstones or grievously whispered over unmarked graves. Like a bad apple, riddled with a gnat’s offspring, they gradually rot the whole bunch, decaying common sense through the fermentation of festering bravado. A lone voice gnawing at the collective rationale as it tears away at the last bits of logic until the raw nerves of spirit are bitterly, immutably incited with delusions of hope and triumph. It is the call of death that desperate men can’t help but answer.”

“So the man of God, whose faith quickly, unknowingly became a noose, ignorantly dragging him to his destiny, became that voice, not of reason, but of bold insanity. He riled the men in secret meetings where they plotted their half ass revolution and then waited for just the right moment to rise and undoubtedly fall. He knew these outlaws loved their booze more than blood or bosom, so they set their strike to occur at the edge of night, when their libations flowed like the Mississippi River during a long autumn rain. He firmly believed in their drunken state they would be easy pickings even for the haphazard posse.”

“So as the midnight hour rode the evening air like a warm spring breeze, they arose from their hiding places and covertly but clumsily encroached upon the small saloon to invade their oppressors nocturnal celebrations.  Unfortunately, these detestable creatures of habit had opted out of their usual orgy of overflowing whiskey and stagnant bodily fluids, to figure out their exodus from the town with the gold and the most giving of gals in tow. Crisp and clear as winter’s morn, they sat at a large round table and concocted their next move with the sober but limited brain pans nature had given them. It was an unfortunate coincidence, but as you, the Marshall, and I know, there is no such thing…is there? Coincidence is yet another attempt by mankind to defraud itself into believing it has a microscopic hope of control and free will.”

“As the men crept through the back door with the few weapons they scrounged up, drawn and cocked, ready for their attack, one of the eight headed for the bar and retrieved a bottle of aged scotch to celebrate. It took him all of a minute to notice the skulking hodgepodge of teetering and twitching muzzles. Before he could call out, one of the townsfolk fired, more out of abject fear than predisposed aim, striking the bandit straight through the heart, killing him as his limp body fell to the grayed, weathered floorboards. It would be the last bit of luck that would find them throughout that brutal night. The echo of the gunshot took a nanosecond to reach his accomplices as they sprung from their rickety chairs, casting them to the ground where they shattered and splintered.  As they spun around, the unfortunate posses sprinted forward and blasted in all directions, the billowing smoke from the spent powder wrapped around their heads like white, vaporous turbans.”

“They managed to hit walls, bottles, window panes, furniture, and an assortment of vessels and bric-a-brac, at the same time missed any hint of flesh and bone. Within a few seconds, they had exhausted every round.  Now they stood, like blind sheep, before their enemies, who had patiently waited for their frantic foolishness to end. The outlaws now glared confidently at their quarry, untouched by their misguided intentions and aim.”

“Before the slowly snickering outlaws reached for their firearms, the posse’s members fell to the floor, prostrate before the vulgar crew. All but that darned old pastor who brought them to such a lowly state with all of his high talking bravery and faith. They made sure, in unison, to let the outlaws know just that. After all the chuckles, Henry stepped forth, and profanely, methodically narrated his intendment for not only these woeful do-gooders, but for the entire town. He then rounded up every man, woman, and child and brought them to the church. None resisted in the futile hope of mercy. He had them sit in the pews, line by line, with the preacher’s wife and two young daughters in the very front row.”

“Enough Kalos…Enough!” I cry out.

“Too late now, Ronin,” Kalos refuses to yield, “the cat is too far out of the bag on this one.”

I want to sprint towards him and rip his useless tongue from his worthless skull, but I am paralyzed by Sasha’s gaze. I can’t describe it; I only know it has penetrated my heart, like the edge of a jagged blade, rotating without remorse. It has been a long time, but the wounds feel as fresh as that very day! Every word is like a new set of voracious maggots viciously masticating the ravaged tissue, excruciatingly extracting every droplet of blood, setting my soul’s flesh ablaze with a hellish agony. It is that torment that has eradicated my resolve left me frozen in place, caught between the polarization of Kalos’ exposé and Sasha’s reaction.

“So, returning to my tragic tale,” Kalos arrogantly continues. “He lined them up, with the pastor kneeling and facing them on the stage.  His crusty companions then handed out hymnals, one for every member of the congregation, as he ordered them all to turn to the page containing the verses to that oldie but goodie, Amazing Grace. After he growled for them to begin, he slowly walked over to the preacher. As the trembling melody filled the air, he stopped and leaned into the kneeling minister who was held down by one of Henry’s cronies with the muzzle of a gun pressed firmly against his temple.”

“Well, Rev,” Henry began, his voice grizzled, breath tormenting the pastor’s nostrils with the smell of bourbon and steady decay. “Seems like your little plan failed but I gotta give it to you, you got some serious stones, more so than any of the other lily-livered cow pucks in this here church of yours.”

“The choir began to wane as fear filled their minds and throats.”

“You better keep singing,” Henry turned and snarled, “it’s the only thing keeping you garbage alive!”

“The chorus picked up again as it wobbled through each refrain in fragmented harmony filled with terror.”

“That’s better maggots,” Henry cackled and then returned his attention to the rector.

“Bruised and beaten, the preacher peered back at him through a swollen and blackened eye. Blood caked on both cheeks and around his neck as he favored his right shoulder with a mud-soaked hand. You see, they had already dragged him twice through town from the back of old Ed’s nag. The fact he didn’t succumb to that was impressive enough.”

“Now Rev, back to you,” Henry gruffly began again. “You got moxie, I’ll tell you that, but you ain’t’ got the good, common sense of a barn rat. You should’ve left it alone, preacher man. If you had just given it a couple more days we had been long gone and all it would have cost you was for my boys to enjoy a couple more rides on your eldest’ ass and she is a mighty fine filly at that.”

“The preacher tried to lurch forward but the pain of his broken ribs dissuaded him.”

“ Now…now,” Henry reprimanded as he placed his hand on the preacher’s bad shoulder and squeezed.

“The preacher grimaced but did not have the strength to sigh, let alone scream.”

“Let’s not get all uppity,” Henry hoarsely chastised and pushed him down further until his nose scraped the stage below. “You see where that gotcha and where it’s gonna getcha!”

“Henry released his grip and then removed his hand as the preacher groaned in agony. He turned back to the congregation who were now midway through the last chorus.”

“Ladies and gentleman, children of all ages,” Henry announced with all the fervor of a carnival hawker, but a tone and husk that bellowed like a roar through hell’s caverns. “Since the preacher man here has balls the size of boulders and the rest of you don’t have enough dignity to match a two dollar whore, me and my boys here think that he should live through this night.”

“The Bannister gang chuckled in unison and smiled widely with what was left of their rotting orthodonture.”

“But you ain’t!” He growled, as he slid his Colt smoothly out of its tattered holster and raised it in the air. “So I gave you this song, to make right what was wrong to whatever god you snivel too!”

“The rest of his gang rotated around the room, a line of three stood behind the first row of pews. The next two stood on either side of the second row. Two more did the same for the third.”

“Whether you move or not, you are still gonna die,” Henry gravelly admitted. “So better to die quick, than resist, and make my boys kill you slow and painful like! As for you preacher, you’re gonna watch each one of them take a bullet to the back or side of their worthless skulls. So you can remember the night you rose up, just like the song, and learned who god really was! The man who death himself fears, good ole Henry Bannister,the scourge of the south, wind of the west, the only one whose prayers matter. Cause he makes them happen!”

“Without hesitation or utterance of another word, he slapped the preacher square across the front of his face and grabbed him by his dirt and dust ridden hair.”

“Oh, no, you gotta watch this Rev,” Henry maniacally scoffed, “wouldn’t want you to miss this god’s work!”

“With that and a quick wink, the echo and soot of gunfire violently filled the air. The blood spewed in every possible direction and decorated the snow-white walls with crimson Rorschach patterns and grotesque crumbs of bone and brain. The few tears the preacher had left crawled from his eyes and dropped as thick as milk onto his tattered and torn knees. As horrific as the sight was, he refused to look away. Anyone else would have, and no one would have ostracized them for doing so, I guess he believed he owed them all at least that much.”

“The massacre continued among the faint sobs and ominous gasps of the victims, most with eyes closed tight before their cruel demise but few stared accusingly at their rector. Their unyielding glare filled with the flames of guilt baked his flesh and cooked his soul. It only took a matter of minutes, but it felt like a hundred lifetimes and in the end, that is exactly how many they took.”

“They murdered all but three. Three lone souls that sat in the very first row, desperately focused on the man who gave them everything and cost them the same. He could say nothing to them. Even if it was possible, what words could bring comfort in the midst of the fires of Hades.”

“And now preacher,” Henry snidely grumbled, “I have saved the best for last, but there is a catch to this one.”

“Henry’s sarcastic smile engulfed the bottom part of his face, chin and all.”

“Hell, I’ll tell you what, preacher since I am in such a good mood,” Henry unscrupulously began.

“His heinous gang chuckled and wiped the remnants of their prey from their dirt tanned faces.”

“Let’s give you a choice,” Henry continued, “this god is gonna cut you a break, how’s about them apples.”

“Suddenly three of his gang took positions behind his wife and two daughters.”

“Just a simple thing and these three fine young things will live, and so will you,” Henry sardonically explained. “Since I proved to you that I am god. All you have to do, to save these three women, those you claim to love so much, hell, were willing to risk your useless life and the lives of the entire damn town for.”

“The tortured form looks up at him as his lips trembled, the etched trails of his tears mixed with blood and sand covered his face.”

“All you have to do,” Henry bent down and leaned in, nose to nose with this broken quarry, “is deny your futile god, and give praise to me.”

“The preacher’s one good eye widened.”

“Call me god, preacher!” Henry mockingly demanded.

“Henry straightened and raised his arms, open palms to the ceiling.”

“Call me god, and every one of you lives, you have my word!” Henry laughingly reiterates.

“The preacher suddenly convulsed with anguish, not from the throes of physical pain, but from the agony that resonated in the very depths of his soul.”

“I’ll even give you to the count of ten,” Henry bellowed. “That’ll give you enough time to say goodbye to either your god or them.”

“The preacher looked over to his family, soaked in their own weeping. He knew there will be no salvation tonight. He had already mourned their deaths. To give this abomination the satisfaction of taking his last possession was never an option. It is the real price of faith, the true cost of foolishness.”

“Henry began his slow, gruff countdown as his minions reveled in the suspense. The preacher’s wife left him with one final, silent sentence, but he heard her scream it within his heart. Two simple words each formed without the presence of time.”

“But…why?”

“Then Henry reached one, and in the blink of an eye, the preacher was showered in the essence of his reasons for existence.”

“There was no pause; no second warning, just three lonely, haunting gunshots and the faces that reminded him of the graces of heaven were shattered before him in a brilliant flash of light and unimaginable carnage. Their now limp bodies’ slumped down to the floor and formed a terrifying mound only inches from the preacher’s muted lamentations, his body fiercely seized in his immeasurable sorrow. ”

“Well god wins, don’t he, on both counts,” Henry scoffed as he placed the muzzle of his pistol against the top of the preacher’s head. “They’ll meet theirs; you have already been punished by yours.”

“And with that, Henry pistol whipped the preacher and his unconscious body fell forward into the pile of death and despair.”

“That night they rode away, leaving the little, unimportant town to burn. They set every building ablaze, except for the church, the tomb of its population. When the preacher awoke, he held the corpses of his wife and children for days until the stench of decay became too much to bear, even for unconditional love. He single handily buried every man, woman, and child, and it took weeks. When he was done, he set the church on fire, and walked away into the fields, then the valley, beyond the mountains,through the desert, aimlessly, a lost soul without purpose or prayer.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬




Keke Palmer as ‪#‎Sasha‬

www.thecruxseries.com

From #TheCrux

CHAPTER 1...BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS

As I said before, Sasha should have been the Enforcer; she is far more worthy of it, with even more talent to warrant the position. Yet, she refused it and never told me or anyone else why.

She came here when she was just a child, in the Fleshworld her parents were missionaries in Japan. They were murdered only a few months after arriving because of their beliefs. She was orphaned, utterly alone, a hopeless situation but we are so narrow in our understanding of hope.

Of how the world works in general!

An old man in the village found and saved her. He lived alone, a total recluse, existing among the shadows, invisible to the remaining population of the small town. He was dismissed and ignored as a simple hermit with a mysteriously concealed past. Little did they know what an impressively epic life he had lived. But he was a ghost by choice.

Why, you might ask.

To hide his true identity so he might find some small morsel of peace while living out his remaining days. He was a hunted man, hunted for what he was, what he had done, and the unimaginable skills he possessed,the last of the Samurai, the mightiest and noblest of warriors. He was a hero of the past, reduced to a vague memory with no sense of home or family. She was weak, starving, isolated, destined to die and be forgotten. He existed only as a legend, one that no one told anymore.  She needed a savior. He needed a purpose. They found each other and hope was able to maintain its credibility, at least for the moment.

She was only eight when he came across her digging for scraps among the trash, paper thin, shivering uncontrollably. Compassion immediately possessed his soul and he rescued her from the cold invisibility of her predicament. He took her into his home, nursed her back to health. It took months to salvage her strength and spirit. Her sorrow surrounded her like a wet wool coat, weighing her down, steadily crushing any resolve.

He tried everything to soothe her tortured soul, but the damage and sadness ran too deep. She was drowning in it and he couldn’t cast a lifeline that she would trust. It all seemed such a tragic lost cause.

Yet, another unbearably harsh punch line to Fate’s ensemble of cruel and callous jokes.

Then one day, while aimlessly roaming the dark halls of his home, as she often did, she came to a room that had never been opened to her before.  She peered in with what little curiosity was left to drive her. There she saw a strange man, strong and immense, moving gracefully through the air, movements that looked more like art than mere calisthenics. His aged and wrinkled hands flowed poetically in perfect unity with his legs and torso, demonstrating perfect balance with each sway, stance, and joust. He performed perfectly choreographed, masterfully complex, routines effortlessly yet with pure prowess. She was frozen in awe, terrified that if she moved, just an inch, she would miss something.

He then retrieved a blade from its wall mount and began majestically slicing through the air with such deadly simplicity; it was if it was a natural appendage instead of shimmering katana. Each gesture was more inspired than the next. Time stopped, and so did her heart. He relinquished the blade back to its cherry wood housing surrounded by all manner of ancient armaments. There were staffs adorned with a rainbow of splendidly colored flags, javelins with sharp, biting tips whose dramatic points could be felt just by the mere sight of them. Ornate, intricately crafted bows and arrows, peculiar axes on long staffs, and many more weapons that simply baffled her as to what their purpose or use might be.

She was truly entranced, so much so, she did not realize when he noticed her shadow as it slowly inched across the wooden floor into the large room painting the bamboo wall behind him.  He stopped immediately and cautiously approached her.

“Who are you?” She whispered still mesmerized by his presence.

At first, he stood in silence. No longer did his age define him. All of the scars of time faded away in an instant, and now, standing before her was the man he used to be. He was once again an undeniable truth defining a legend, untainted and brutally sincere. He filled the room with his presence, owning every inch of it. Staring deep into her innocent eyes he bore witness to something that had abandoned him long ago. It was admiration, the unmistakable evidence of respect. He paused and breathed deeply as he carefully crafted the delicate answer to her question.

“I am Hiroyuki,” he solemnly began, “the last of the Samurai.”

Puzzled, she gently asked, “What is a Samurai?”

“They were the noble warriors of Japan, meant to protect those who could not protect themselves,” he soberly explained. “We were justice in places that justice did not dare tread before. We were the bushi, living by a code that defines all that is chivalry and honor.”

“You said you were the last,” she carefully continued. “What happened to all of the rest?”

It is in the eyes of this foreign child, an alien in a world she will never
understand, that he sees his final purpose. It is a stark and bitter revelation that invades every facet of his essence. Her questions ravage his heart, and the tears, held hostage for so many years, begin to escape without reservation or obstacle.

“They are all gone, kodomo,” he lamented. “They have become the spirits that give the stars their dominance and brilliance in the oceans of the sky. I have been tasked as the final keeper of their flame.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

#TheCrux #Sciencefiction you deserve #Dreamcast




Emily Bett Rickards as #Penance

www.thecruxseries.com

From #TheCrux

Chapter 7 VANITY, SHADOW, AND FLAME

       When the last of the Illuminaires were brutally vanquished by the Sanquine Venae, Fate was left with no choice but to act.  She searched intently the deepest caverns of humanity’s soul and found the most powerful emotion of them all…Fear! With it she discerningly crafted a master Illuminaire, forged in the fires of the most ancient sun.  She molded her into a fearsome beauty formed with ethereal flesh, stone, metal, and the darkest energies of space, an avenger with no equal. A fatal tool designed to achieve penance for her foolishly careless and arrogant experiment and she aptly named her deadly progeny as such.

              Penance was sent to the Fleshworld to eviscerate the Venae and wipe their blemish from history. She did so with great pleasure. Silver, stakes, holy water, garlic, all fabrications of frightened men in a delusional attempt to deny the imperishable nature of the Venae. They could not be killed by any mortal craft or ceremonial blessing. The only truth told was their preference for the night and they chose to be nocturnal out of their sheer detestation of all things light. A deep, unwavering hatred for the very thing they were created from.  Still, these terrifyingly mighty nocturnal beasts were unprepared for the oncoming onslaught.

              With a blade forged in the most intimate fears of life itself, she sliced, shredded, disemboweled, dismembered, and beheaded every last one. Remorseless, in frenzied elation, she massacred their entire race, soaring down from the very shadows they had used for protection and camouflage.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Dark Avenger: A Batman/Captain America amalgam

       Bruce Rogers father, a brilliant biochemist, was kidnapped by the Legion of Hydra and forced to create the Dark Knight Serum; a genetic enhancement that turns ordinary men into nearly indestructible super soldiers.  The leader of Hydra, greedy and power hungry, would not wait for the experiments to be completed and administered the serum to himself.  The effects were immediate, providing him with amplified strength, senses, speed, endurance, and healing.  However, there were some nasty side effects.  The serum's toxicity sheered the dermis away from his face exposing and then bleaching and tightening his facial muscles, leaving him with a twisted expression of horrid delight.   The accident drove him insane, and he was soon committed to a Nazi Asylum.

      Bruce's father escaped Germany with the help of a secret and elite American squadron called the Agents of Justice led by Agent Martha Carter.  Thomas Rogers perfected the formula for the Americans, but it was stored until appropriate candidates could be selected for trials.  It was not long after that Thomas, and his savior, Martha married.

        Five years later, the former and disavowed leader of the Legion of Hydra escaped from his captivity and fled to the United States to exact his revenge on Roger’s family.  Taking on the mantra of a childhood fear, he died his lips blood red to mimic the same clowns that tormented his young dreams.  Permanently affixing an emerald green wig to his head, he donned the mantle of Laughing Skull and, using his mastery of chemistry and engineering, created terrifyingly maniacal weaponry.

      He went to the Rogers home where Bruce, his young wife, and newborn child were visiting.  Bruce had already left for the evening to, again, secretly attempt to join the military and their fight against Nazi tyranny.  Cursed with a fragile form and a myriad of health problems, he had been rejected too many times to remember.  With the help of his best friend Bucky Wilson, he was able to attempt enlistment time and time again.  During his latest try, he was spotted by Jonathan Banner, one of two other scientists who worked with Bruce's father to perfect the Dark Knight serum.  Rounding out their triad was the arrogant but brilliant billionaire roboticist and entrepreneur Howard "Hal" Jordan.  

          Jonathan saw something in Bruce and believed he would be the right person to undergo the trials but knew Thomas would never approve.    After rejecting Bruce's application, Banner sent him away, notifying him that next time, the good doctor would have to involve the authorities.  Discouraged and defeated, Bruce made it home only to find the devastation the Laughing Skull had left behind.  The Roger's residence was in flames, and neither Bruce or his friend Bucky was able to traverse the inferno to save his family.   The lunatic left a joker's playing card behind so that Bruce would know, without a doubt, who had committed the brutal murders.  Afterward, the Laughing Skull began a terror spree that spread like hellfire across the country.

      With no one able to stop the madman, thanks to an intelligence equaled only by his insanity, Banner and Jordan made a drastic decision.  They pushed forward with the Dark Knight Serum trials, choosing young Bruce as their first test subject.  He agreed without hesitation.

         It was a complete success.  Bruce became the perfect specimen of a man.  He was ten times more powerful than the strongest human on the planet, able to run at remarkable speeds, heal at an impossible rate, and endure indescribable pain.  At the height of the trio’s success, however, Bruce fled, realizing his newfound abilities, if left unchecked, would corrupt him, making him a threat instead of a hero.

         Hiding out in the distant land of Nanda Parbat he was discovered by the ancient blind leader of the League of the Chaste.  Known only as Stick, the wise and skilled sensei took pity on the young man.  He agreed to train Bruce to focus his powers with the promise that his pupil would someday assist Stick in stopping Hive's Hand; an evil organization bent on world domination.  Bruce agreed, and Stick trained him completely in just two years; disciplines that would have taken the most extraordinary man a lifetime to achieve.

      Stick's final words to Bruce were to utilize the greatest weapon that the universe possessed; fear.  The man who can bring terror to those who terrorize would be unstoppable.  Bruce remembered as a child he was bitten by a bat and because of his weakly state, the wound became infected.  The resulting illness nearly took his life. Deciding to use the Laughing Skull’s own tactics against him; he faced his own phobias and built a persona around them.   The very thing that nearly killed him would become his greatest strength.

      So, Bruce became the Dark Avenger.  With the help of Bucky, he recruited his old team.  They relentlessly dismantled the Laughing Skull's burgeoning syndicate until capturing and locking him away in the Phoenix Complex; a mega prison for the most horrendous of villains.  However, the Laughing Skull did not go quietly, first murdering Bucky and then leaving one last "joke" for Bruce to find.

      The Laughing Skull had placed a bomb on a nuclear-powered test plane flying over the Antarctic.  The guidance systems had been sabotaged to ensure the flight plan would take it right over Gotham.  There it would be forced to crash, detonating its radioactive contents and killing millions.  Bruce was able to get on board the aircraft and commandeer its controls, ensuring it would never leave the icy tundra. He disarmed the nuclear reactor but wasn’t fast enough to disable the bomb.  The explosion disabled the engines, sending the craft hurtling into the frozen waters below.  Bruce could not escape in time.

      His body was discovered seventy years later by the newest leader of the Agents of Justice, Nick Gordon.  Because of the serum, he survived in the ice and never aged.

        By the same token, the Laughing Skull remained as youthful as their last encounter.  The psychopath escaped his confinement with the help of the newly reformed Legion of Hydra.

         Gordon revived Bruce and after an uncomfortable acclimation; explained all that had happened.  He then told Bruce about a new team he was forming and wanted him to lead…

                                                       …The League of Avengers.

           Bruce knew what had to be done.  The Laughing Skull had to be stopped one final time, and Bucky and his family's death avenged.  So, the Dark Avenger returned to lead the most remarkable individuals on the planet; with one mission, to ensure that truth, justice, and freedom will always reign!  



My name is Alexander Wayne.

I was a soulless warrior a lifetime ago, a man treading through fields of blood, crushing the bones and souls of my enemies beneath my boots.  My sword and bow have taken more lives than memory is able to recount.  Once a peasant farmer, I swore allegiance to a royal, a soldier for a noble king.  For years I fought his foes with a fury and skill unmatched.  In the smoke and screams of a last dreadful battle, I turned away from my life as a ranger.

I wandered in isolation, tormented with the constant guilt of the lives spent by my hand.  Just as the voices of the damned nearly devoured me, the sweet song of an angel delivered my soul.  I made her my wife, as undeserving of her love that I was.  She bore me a son, William, and we made a life together among the soil and stalk of a new realm.    Only she knew my secret, all else saw me as a simple farmer, nothing more, nothing less.  My past finally left in its proper place, remembered only in the darkest tremors of the coldest, sleepless nights.
 
But nothing good ever lasts forever.

You can never cheat fate at her own game.

It is the one truth of which there is no escape.

A horde of brutes roamed the land, sacking small villages, taking what they wanted as the shed innocent blood with each maddening whim.   Only the poverty of our hamlet protected us for a brief, precious while from their gold and blood lust.
 
A wealthy provincial prince took lordship over our lands, purchasing grain at a farthing of its true value from his newly acquired and downtrodden serfs.   Upon an excursion to survey his realm he was ambushed by marauders, thirsty for the wealth of his blood and purse.   As fate would have it, I happened along to witness the brutality, and because of an accursed instinct, I acted in his defense.  I dispatched his vulgar assailants, and as they fled, I was met with the slobbering appreciation of an entitled fool.   In his undying gratitude, he made me a bargain.  If I were to become his peasant magistrate, he would purchase our wares at full worth for as long as he ruled.  I agreed, and that sacrifice brought a prosperity never known by that dirty little shanty town.

A legend spread of an unknown savior, striking without warning out of the darkness of night.  A tale born from my boorish mistake in saving a man whose existence was a silent obscenity to his people.   In a time of unrelenting superstition and folly, fables are far stronger than any gauntlet, guard, or garrison.  A definitive, seemingly impervious peace reigned for a time.

But nothing good lasts forever.

 You can never cheat fate at her own game.

A rival lord, vicious and vile of heart, sought to take the land.  He had succeeded with his depraved army of thugs and savage ruffians, burning town after town that refused to yield to his protection and taxes.  They soon reached the borders of our small, unassuming hamlet.  Our sovereign, terrified of his own shadow, rallied the troops to protect his royal assets, leaving all others to fend for themselves.

With a feeble militia comprised of trembling farmhands, shepherds, and merchants we faced the impending horde.  The battle was short-lived as expected.  Even I succumbed to the sheer brutality of their mindless violence, despite my legacy of combat.  Left to die among the burning fields and shacks; the families of the slaughtered fled to the hills.  My angel and child followed, grievingly unaware of my labored breaths lost among the stench and howl of death.

Several long days later, a local blacksmith returned to salvage that which wasn't seized or destroyed.  He found me and brought my broken body to what remained of his shack.   There he nursed me back to health while repairing the hovel that represented a lifetime’s wasted work.    When I was well enough, he told me of what had become of my family.  They, like the rest, had become impoverished nomads, wandering the mountain treks, tracked and hunted by the brutes who had savaged our home.  I knew I needed to find them, but what good what it do; to merely die together instead of alone, amidst the shadow of the mountain under a frigid winter's sky.  

That is when the blacksmith told me the tale of a man who had come to our village long before I arrived.  During one of the darkest and dankest evenings, the stranger visited his father to commission a very special suit of armor and weapons.  His semblance was baleful, but a light of justice flickered like red ember in his eyes.  He paid the blacksmith's father in foreign gold, presenting him with a withered and aged piece of parchment containing all the designs.  Its bizarre language, unlike any he had seen, with etchings glistened when bathed in moonlight.  It took months just to decipher what he could to fulfill the foreboding request.

The blacksmith's father worked for a full year, creating a fearsome aegis of leather and hide.  Then a bow hewed from an ancient tree, tightly wrapped in snakeskin, black as a harlot's sin.   Next, a host of arrows, stained crimson as blood, frocked with the feathers of a raven.

Finally, he forged a sword of onyx steel, etched with bronze that radiated like the sun over spring waters.  It was a terrifying blade, with flame-like wings adorning its hilt and a horned head for a pommel.  The edge was so sharp, it sliced through every scabbard he fashioned until crafting a sheath of a strange membrane one that he never explained to his son.  

When completed, the blacksmith's father sent for the armament's owner, but the stranger never returned.  Instead, several months later, a letter arrived in his stead.  The only words written, in a barely discernible dialect, were the darkest night will bring evil its proper due.  The blacksmith stored the armor, too afraid to destroy it, and secretly believing he could not even if he tried.

I asked him to show it to me, and he agreed, but reluctantly so.  

As he emancipated it from its musty crate, the wind changed and a chill traveled like a slow mist, rolling through the haggard shack and our bones.   I asked him, if his father every named his creation, as many sentimental blacksmiths do.  He said yes but then paused.  

After an agonizing moment of silence, he whispered, "it is the Soul of the Bat."

The area was plagued with such vermin.  Many diseases and hardships were thoughtlessly blamed upon their gruesome presence.  They were feared throughout the region as agents of retribution, spirits haunting the sins of man.  The armor had an unmistakable appearance of these reviled creatures, so its mantle made morbid sense.

I asked if I might try it on and shockingly he conceded, but with an ominous warning.  He seemed fearful that this lot of leather and mysterious hides could somehow contain a dark power.   Ignoring his nonsense, I proceeded, eerily realizing that it was a perfect fit.  As I donned the final piece, a helmet with sharp, angled ears, black as coal, I came to understand its true purpose.  This was the wear of a man with a dire agenda.  I removed the sword from its scabbard.  It purred with a metallic glee as it was freed.  The blade was unnervingly lightweight and balanced, with each stroke, I could sense its devious bite.

“That is the armor of someone who owns the night," the blacksmith wearily remarked, “someone whose greatest weapon is the very bleakness that surrounds him."

I returned the winged blade to its home.  My heart and mind filled with an undeniable intent.   Arms and armor have weaknesses, no matter how well forged.  Soldiers are fallible, despite the veracity of training and discipline.  Those who possess devices sewn in the things that haunt our existence, however, are warriors who have found a flawless craft, aegis without weak link or vulnerable seam.   Fear is a mighty weapon.  No one is immune to its sting and stab, especially in a time when superstition and folly ruled the thoughts of even the most callous men.
 
It would be days before the monsters that descended upon our village would overrun those who wandered futility without home or hope.  It would take me less to intercede under the shroud of evening and silence.  Justice could dance on my knife's edge before dusk and dawn met for their sacred moment.

This was not merely justice, this is an ordained vengeance.  If one is to overcome men of such violence, whose souls have been stolen by corruption and brutish amorous, he must become something that those who terrify, fear.

No simple task.

Then again, survival never has been.

Within a second, with one simple glare, the blacksmith knew the determination, designation of my soul.  Without a word spoken, he provided me the only horse left amongst the ruin and rubble of dreams and heritage.  A single nod validated our agreement, birthing a dark covenant.   He gathered some crucial wares.  It would be a long night's journey, and we knew time was not our ally, but neither weather, wear, or worry would prevent us.

You see you cannot cheat fate at her own game.

But she is a curious mistress, who will bid you well if it so amuses her.

Let us see if this night she is in a jocular mood.

I am Alexander Wayne, and what I do tonight, I do so my son, and his sons, will never have to.

I am Alexander Wayne...
I am a husband.
I am a father.
I was a man of war.
I became a man of the earth.
My past has become present.
Death robbed of its claim.
I have been reborn on the cusp of oblivion.
Now, I will bring horror to the stony hearts of the wicked.
To save those who cannot save themselves.

Tonight, Alexander Wayne becomes what evil fears.

Tonight he becomes…The Batman!



#TheCrux #Sciencefiction you deserve #Dreamcast

Emma Stone ∞ as #Feast

From #TheCrux

CHAPTER 7
VANITY, SHADOW, AND FLAME

Now that we have a moment, soaring to safety, as an entire district
crumbles below us into total obliteration, let’s discuss Feast. First and foremost, she is Venae.

What you idiots call a vampire.

Not some sparkly, brooding, romantically sappy mortal concoction
that lonely housewives get all wet to. The overtly sexual vixen, barely clothed and perversely uninhibited, that pale white virgins, living in mommy dearest’s basement, get their rocks off to.
After all, I want to keep it fair and balanced.

No Feast is the real deal! She is full on, blood sucking, bone shattering, life taking, bad assing awesomeness wrapped in authentic medieval masochism. With skin as pale as newly fallen snow, sporting the attire of a feudal dominatrix, she implausibly exemplifies both savage barbarian and refined huntress. Her rigidly edged, onyx lined, crimson cape abounds from its simple and elegant collar gracefully flowing within the
currents her flight is forging. Hair as red as the blood, she amorously craves pulled back into a single twisted extension that runs half the length of her impressive cloak. It is impossible not to be solely captivated by her menacingly enticing beauty that utterly mesmerize with a single encounter.

She girds herself with the most eclectic of armament. A metal corset,its two halves fastened by a long piece of firm thread. The bladed bracers that conform to her lower arms have sliced and scarred her enemies for centuries. A rigid quiver made from mortal bone and stained with the blood of her prey hangs from the Celtic belt wrapped securely around her athletic waist. Skirt like faulds, made of unknown steel, drape from her waist, concealing her crimson-hued breeches. Her lower legs embraced by
strapped boots made from the hide of Griffin.

Yes, I said Griffin but no time for that now.

As stated long before, she is an elite archer. Her arrows are mystically blessed by a nameless Elder. They find their target wherever it may go, as long as she wills it so. Once spent, they esoterically rematerialize, giving her a limitless arsenal. Their tips can pierce and shred any manner of tangibility and construction. If they break the flesh of any entity, mortal or otherwise, death is guaranteed.  Of course, as we just learned, they don’t so well against Elemental Fire.  She is the ultimate predator, able to expertly fly, move at speeds that  rival light and attack with the ferocity of a rabid hellhound. Her hauntingly vacant yet irresistibly alluring eyes enrapture any unwilling soul in an instant. There is no exodus from her intoxicating stare. However, in battle, they violently transform, rolling over to pitch black when she inflicts her surgically horrific wrath.


www.thecruxseries.com

Monday, July 25, 2016

‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬


Ron Perlman as ‪#‎Slaughter‬

www.thecruxseries.com

The Vindicators, charged with defending the Elders and their allies,turned against their creators, choosing to be conquerors instead of subjects.  Led by a nefarious general, who took on a name pronounced in mortal tongues as Slaughter, they began a genocidal rampage. They ravaged every planet they could reach leaving none alive. Worlds became barren graveyards with blood stained terrains and atmospheres saturated with the screams and stench of death. Stars warmed desolate wastelands where even memory had been extinguished. Space became an empty place, lonely, cold, and lifeless

Sunday, July 24, 2016

#JustaQuickiePlease: The Intern Review

Acclaimed comedy director Nancy Myers, brings us her latest "Dramedy," that is full of heart and adds to the already prestigious list of De Niro's most endearing roles.   Hathaway is solid, although, a bit typecast, and the remaining cast is good but not great.  It is the script, in addition to De Niro's performance, that carries this film, entertaining and engaging its audience from beginning to end.  Myers is able to create such an authentic feel with her skilled storytelling that you get entirely sucked into this casual tale of the everyday life.  Don't look for any gut wrenching or knee-slapping moments, just well timed and place humor mixed with believable drama and dialogue.  3 out of 5 Kernels: a thoroughly enjoyable flick.      

‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬



Kylie Bunbury as ‪#‎Vanity‬

www.thecruxseries.com

The living epitome of selfishness and pride and nearly as old as The Crux itself. She was a key member of the Voyagers, a team of sovereigns meant to monitor the progress of humanity. Instead, she used her supremacy to corrupt and contaminate the religions, philosophies, and civilizations of mankind throughout its history. She fled justice to exist in the mortal realm, hiding among their expended Life Matrixes. She is the ultimate predator whose mere touch turns flesh to stone as she steals her victim’s life force. Will she become the key to saving or damning the entirety of the cosmos?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Sad Story of Holley Weane

The Sad Story of Holley Weane
An original short story by Ronald Joseph Rossmann Jr.

Holley Weane was the ultimate mean girl.

Mommy and Daddy bought her anything she wanted, mostly to keep her and her whiny voice as far away from them as possible.  By the ripe old age of eighteen, she was imbued with more silicone than the entire Kardashian clan combined.  She dated the captain of the football team, Dirk Derringer, drove a brand new Ferrari, and was the fashion guru of that little town called Eerie.  Holley’s father was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and her mother; a former beauty queen.

Shocker!

Of course, time and a hefty devotion for certain libations had taken their toll.  You see, mommy dearest had many loves above her darling daughter, but none more than her friend, Jack Daniels.  It caused a festering resentment which motivated Holley to despise anyone who could achieve a contentment in life that was void from hers.  So, to relieve a secretly broken heart, she and her troop of Stepford friends would perpetually torture anyone that didn't measure up to their Gold MasterCard standards.

Their favorite victim was Gertrude, the resident nerdette, who Holley mercilessly picked on for the past three years now, every day without relief or good reason.  You see, Gertie had the nerve to value her school work and integrity over Pandora bracelets, obscenely bejeweled iPhones and the religion of Designershoeism.  She dressed plainly because her mom worked hard for everything they had, what little that was.  She actually had to shop at Goodwill for regular attire, not to dress trashy chic like her mindless, hipster peers.
The fall dance was coming soon. It had been a crisp October.  The fallen leaves left a thick covering on the school grounds.  Holley was going to be crowned the Autumn Princess and had just purchased the most expensive frock her pre-inheritance could buy.  It was a pearl white lace dress, with green satin piping, custom made just for her.  She would be the absolute belle of the ball yet again.  While discussing all the ways she was going to run up her parent’s credit cards with her dippy disciples, Gertrude made the unfortunate mistake of walking by the stone bench where they were sitting.
 “Was the thrift store closed today?”  Holley mocked. “Did you finally resort to outright dumpster diving?”

Gertrude continued to walk by, acting as if she couldn't hear her.

“I was talking to you freak!”  Holley springs up and growls, blocking any hope of escape.  “You can’t be as deaf as you are fashion blind!"

Gertie looks down at her feet, and figures, they'll talk their crap, mock me, and get bored…I can take it.

 “Look at me, you mutant!”  Holley demands.

Now there were dozens of students in the quad that day.  Do you know not one of them stopped; despite the fact Holley's voice could strip the marble off of a tombstone.  

Gertie involuntarily looks up, staring into Holley’s soulless eyes.

“When I speak, you listen…get me, Skank!”  Holley bitterly scolds.  “Now give me your shoes!  If you want to look like a homeless person, we need to complete the ensemble!"

Gertie was dumbstruck.  Did she really just ask that?  I mean, she’s evil, but this is some next-level shit.

She frantically searches the quad hoping to make eye contact with one person who might actually care but is predictably left wanting.

“No, I won’t!” Gertie mutters, barely able to conjure the courage to resist her adversary.

“Oh really!” Holley counters, her attitude so thick you could serve it in a bowl with oyster crackers! “Girls…”

Like mindless robots, the three debutantes rise, surrounding her.

My God, they must communicate telepathically.  Gertie anxiously ponders.

“I’m going to ask one more time…give me your freaking shoes!”  Holley barks.

Gertie refuses again, stifling any hint of a tremble through sheer will.

“Fine!”  Holley sighs.  “We will do this the hard way!”

Suddenly Gertie is off her feet.  The girls quickly, in precision unison, flip her up, ripping off her shoes and socks.

What do they train for this?  Gertie's mind races.

Within a fraction of a moment, she is mercilessly thrown to the grass, landing face first.  

“That is what happens to little creeps who don’t obey the laws of my jungle!”  Holley scoffs, callously laughing.

Her girl droids quickly chime in.  They walk off, continuing their maddening giggling as they disappear from view.  

Gertie gets up, futilely attempting to dust herself off.  It is then she realizes she has had the unfortunate displeasure of being dumped in a spot where a dog had dumped earlier.

I am sure that was pure coincidence. Gertie mentally sighs.

She picks her glasses off the ground, which now have a sizable scratch on the left lens.

Well, it has to get better from here!  She muses, limping to class.

Despite her stoic exterior, she is weeping so hard inside, it shakes her essence.

Is there any justice in the world, anymore?

Do girls like Holley ever get what they deserve?

She faced the entire day barefoot.  Not a single teacher noticed because then they would have had to ask questions.  When the school day finally ended, Gertrude trudged home.  She arrived at her trailer.  Her mother was still at work, another double shift at the diner.  As for her father, well only God knows where he is.   He left to get cigarettes about twelve years ago.

However, all of that is little concern to Miss Holley; admiring herself in a mirror in the comfort of her plush, million dollar mansion accompanied by her dopey disciples.  She finds that she cannot keep focused on her beauty, something that usually comes with great ease.  No matter how she tortures Gertie, makes her the mock-fest of Eerie High, she still keeps coming back, like a roach or bad acne.  

How can she remove this thorn from her perfectly toned and tanned flesh? She silently considers.  If she can't be shamed away…maybe she can be scared away!

 But Holley must do it alone.  Her gal pals don't exactly do well with secrets.  There is no governor between their ears and mouth, much less anything else.  

But what could she do to scare such a pathetic creature?  She Mulls.  I mean her normal life is frightening enough as it is!

Then it comes to her. Only one thing has truly terrified the children of Eerie, a tale that is the last resort of discipline among the quaint cookie cutter families in this miserable little town.  As much as they try to deny it as teens, it still gives them a major case of the willies.   That horrific fable of the monster that hunts and haunts Eerie Cemetery.

Could she really, truly pull it off?

Well, if evil were dollars, Holley would be one rich, little princess. Come to think of it, Holley is one rich, little princess.

Fast forward to the night of the Fall Ball.  Holley's plan was working flawlessly.  Gertie had accepted Brad's invitation to the dance.  She was hesitant at first, even suspicious, but Brad poured it on thick and won her over.  It was the Cornerback’s best performance ever; off the field, that is.   Gertie would be clueless to Holley and her suitor's collusion.  In fact, she was so, utterly smitten with her new admirer; Gertie bought herself a dress from the Mall just for the occasion.  It was dark crimson red with spaghetti straps, hemmed up high enough to show off her stunning legs.  A visual that made Holley cringe.

Savannah, Holley’s best friend and art major had come through.  She eagerly showed Holley the illustrations of what her creature would look like carefully sculpted on Dirk.  Savannah wasn’t like the other dimwits; she actually possessed sentience, evil sentience, but sentience none the less.

Hours before the dance, Holley donned her own eloquent gown and made a quick call to her blond squad, to gather them to her side.  Soon after their arrival, Holley finally unveiled her plans.   They snickered as each gruesome detail was revealed.  Dirk arrived minutes later in his massive Hummer to escort the well manicured motley crew to their destination.

At the Cemetery, Savannah put the finishing touches on her fabricated freak with only minutes before Gertie and Brad were supposed to arrive.  Dirk looked as horrendous as Holley had conceived. Taking his spot among the tall grass and thickening fog, Holley safely concealed herself behind the Hallow's old, abandoned shed.  Waiting in absolute comfort, in Dirk’s vehicular overcompensation, she had the best seat in the house. The rest of her crew flocked to the other edge of the field, hidden by the mist but still able to see from their distance.  Savannah pulled away, quite satisfied in her craftsmanship.  All that was left is the waiting.

Brad should be here by now!  Holley annoyingly stirs.

The cold begins to make its way down Holley's spine, plaguing her skin with thousands of goosebumps.   The wind howls, battering the high grass over and over again.  The fog continues to thicken; visibility slowly decays to total darkness.

           “Now ten minutes have passed!”  She scolds her diamond encrusted watch.

Holley doesn't know what is more prevalent, the chill of the night or the ire in her gut.  The wet wind dampens her obscenely expensive gown.  She finally exits her royal chariot, standing in the grass as her pristine satin heels are mercilessly corrupted by dirt and dew.

Where the hell could they be!

Just then a slow growl swims among the gales.  Turning quickly, Holley scans her surroundings, but the line of sight is limited to mere inches.  The bulky mist has consumed her.  The growl gets louder.  She frantically looks around drenched in the aggressively dank whipping drafts.  Fear has replaced frustration, crumbling her seemingly indestructible pretentiousness.  She moves closer to the shed.  The growl is now immense, filling the atmosphere and gnawing at her resolve.  She feels her way to the entrance of the haggard structure.  Finally finding the door, she opens it, swiftly but clumsily sliding inside. The growl shakes the dilapidated building.  She can barely see inside her makeshift sanctuary but somehow identifies a shovel lying on the dirt floor.  Her breath quickens, as does her heartbeat.  She retrieves the antique spade, holding it up above her soaked and soiled mane.  The growl thunders once more.

Suddenly the shack shakes violently, and the boards begin to vibrate loose.  Rusted nails break free, raining to the ground.  The mist invades through the gaps in the derelict structure.  It drowns Holley’s feet as it carpets what little flooring there is.  The growl reverberates endlessly, assaulting her ears and infecting her mind with terror.

             Then, just as it seems the chaotic Aria will rise to a horrific crescendo, it all stops.  Silence intercedes, muting the darkness.   The world abruptly becomes motionless with air stale and stagnate.   Only her labored breathing and pounding heart can be heard.   This inappropriate peace offers no comfort as she begins to violently weep.  Her grieving callously interrupted by the growl’s return.  It is slow and subtle at first, but this time, the direction is acute.

It is coming from behind her!

She can feel an arid breath on the back of her neck.  It has been inside with her the whole time.  She didn't run from it, she ran into it.  Tightly gripping the wooden handle of the shovel, its splinters dig deep into the palms of her hands.  

“Hello, Holley, you look absolutely delicious the evening!”  The growl unbelievably mutates into a menacing voice.
How does it know her name?

A scaly hand begins to graze her arm rising to her shoulder and back down to her wrist.  Her bare skin recoils at its touch.   She can't turn around.  The sheer horror has completely paralyzed her.

“I have waited for such a long time!”  It chuckles with a laugh that would beleaguer death itself.

             She musters all of her strength, preparing to turn around until she feels a sharp pain in her wrists.  The spade slips from her feral grip.   Looking down, she beholds both her hands, laying on the ground still clenching the garden tool.   She can't scream; the pain is outweighed by numbing panic.   Blood spews onto her dress, leaving random cardinal patterns starkly contrasted against its snow white lace.

            Her neck is jaggedly pierced, flesh torn like saturated tissue.  A chunk of skin and muscle is violently pulled free.  She screams, still frozen in terror, her howls echoing throughout the neglected shed.  It only excites her attacker who drags its talons across her cheek just below her eye.  Blood and tears stream down her face, mingling with the life gushing from the wound wrapped around her neck.

           Suddenly, she is lifted off the ground.  Her battered form silhouetted against the peeking moonlight visiting through the few rotting boards that compose the ceiling.  It roars with delight as she is viciously spun around and then dropped to the musty ground.  Her stomach and face impact the hard dirt simultaneously.

Its muzzle bites down into the mid of her back, burrowing deep as rows of teeth engulf her spine.  She can feel the bone snap in its monstrous jaws.  It jerks back up as a fountain of blood, and shredded anatomy ascends into the air, glistening in the fading moonlight.   Awash in a gruesome mix of fluids, Holley lays there, unable to comprehend which has more dominance, the abject dread or inexplicable agony.  The creature roars in sanctimonious gratification.

          It bends down, hovering above her.  What little starlight is able to transcend the bleakness illuminates its abominable features.   A man with the face of a serpent, opal eyes, and tarlike hair.  Holley’s blood stains a protruding snout.  It’s long, spear-like fangs peer out and mock her.  A forked tongue blissfully runs the length of its blood-soaked muzzle, savoring every drop.  He is wearing rags for clothes, barely covering his reptilian body.  Holley gargles in her own fluids.

         “Now, you will know what it is like to be a monster!”  It snarls.  “A fate that isn’t too far from what you already are.”

         Holley fades into unconsciousness, the mixture of pain and horror are too much to bear.  It finds the shovel by Holley’s broken form.  Lifting the spade, it rams the blade into its chest with astounding force.  The rusted metal rips through, savagely exiting out the back.  The creature slumps forward collapsing onto a wall as it takes its last horrendous breath.   Holley falls into darkness, no longer breathing, or aware of anything.   The world fades to black and time stops.  

Death arrives…but not for her!

          She wakes, standing in the middle of the cemetery, with no memory of where she is or how much time has passed. All that remains is an unmistakable hunger.  Darkness flows effortlessly through her veins, a pulsating evil warming her like a soft down blanket.  She smiles with a sense of satisfaction, never experienced before, her long, sharp fangs scraping against the sides of her mouth.  Peering through the still night, the fog retreats from her presence, unveiling the remnants of her beloved beneath her.

He has been torn apart, pieces everywhere.  Holley can sense his blood in her mouth. She steps back momentarily startled but absent of any substantial fret.  Strewn all about is every one of her fembots, disemboweled and dismembered in the most gruesome of fashions.   Instead of panic, shame, or sorrow, she is filled with a great sense of horrific pleasure. She giggles in gratification and then roars loudly.  The curse amplifies evil, beyond comprehension.  It has not transformed Holley but revealed the monster she always was.  

Suddenly a truck rolls up and Holley spins around.  She hungers for Gertie.

Brad and the little geek have finally arrived!

She lurks through the tall grass, using the fog and darkness as a cloak, unaware of she has fully become. Even if she was, I don't think it would matter.   Her brittle hair flies free in the air, intertwined with mud and cobwebs.  Green eyes glow with the anticipation of her next kill.  This time, she will remember it in all of its gloriously gruesome detail.  

               Her missing appendages have returned, now covered in slimy scales leading to loathsome claws.   Skin transformed from a silky pale to a rough and leathery, emerald hide.  Her face is infected with the same reptilian pattern etched deep into her expression.
                                                                                 She is beautifully terrifying!

             Little did she know, Holley’s plan had already been revealed to Gertie.  She didn't know Brad had a crush on Gertie since the sixth grade.  He had been waiting for the moment to admit it but never had the confidence.  Holley's plan finally provided his in.  When they met at her door, he immediately confessed his admiration and then Holley's evil plan.

           They arrived ready for Holley's elaborate trick.  Brad pulls in about twenty to thirty feet from the shed.  He'll play along to throw Holley and her goon squad off.  Gertie has already slipped out of her dress into her jeans and leather jacket. She tucks a can of pepper spray into her pocket.

Nice girls can play dirty too!  She plots.

               Brad leaves the vehicle and heads toward the shed to meet his pretend demise.

               “The truck has stalled let me see if there are any tools in the shed out here!”  He calls out to Gertie, ensuring it is loud enough for all to hear.

               “I'll wait by the truck, but be quick; it’s epic-ally creepy out here!”  Gertie shouts.

               Their act is well rehearsed.  Brad quietly calls out to Holley, but there is no answer.  Then some of the ground fog clears and he sees the gory remains surrounding his feet.  Startled, he stumbles backward, tripping over a fresh corpse.

              “Oh my God!”  He gasps.

               Before he can say another word, a sharp pain encircles his neck.  He looks down as blood pours from his throat down his freshly pressed tuxedo shirt.  His head rolls off its neck, plopping onto the ground.  The rest slumps to the dirt.

He never even knew what hit him!

               Holley licks her elongated talons and giggles, stomping on his skull with full force, crushing it between her toes.

             “Ooooh, that feels nice!”  She coos.

              Gertie is still waiting by the truck becoming increasingly impatient.  She glances over the hood but doesn't see Brad.  Moving towards the front of the vehicle, she wants to call out his name, but that will ruin the payback.  Suddenly something hurtles towards her, smashing on the hood, soaking her in a warm liquid.  She steps back to realize she is drenched in blood.  Brad's severed head lies oozing on the hood of the vehicle.  Before she can scream, Holley cackles loudly, standing proudly in the middle of the field.  

              “Way to get a head, Gertie!”  She giddily mocks.

              Gertie spins around to see her nemesis only yards in front of her.  Holley jumps, sailing through the air and landing on the top of the truck.  The roof buckles under the impact, windows shattering, showering Gertie with glass.  She tries to shield the barrage with her arms, but the fragments shred her jacket, down to the flesh.  Holley jumps down.

              “Don't make 'em like they used to, huh Gert!”  She scoffs.

             Holley grabs Gertie and with one fluid movement casts her into the air.  She lands hard among the decrepit monuments.    Covered in a second skin of blood and muck, she tries to push herself up.

             “It's been one hell of a day, Gert, I gotta tell ya!” Holley chides, sprinting towards her.  “Friends have been dropping in all over the place!”

           She tackles Gertie, sitting on her chest and gingerly moving the hair from the horror of her face.

           “Well Gertie, here we are again,” Holley sighs.  “You looking up to me and me looking down on you.”

           “What the hell happened to you?” Gertie gasps, trying to break free, trapped under Holley’s weight.

          “Well, Gert, I had a bit of a makeover,” she casually explains.  “Do you like the new look?”

           “It's definitely an improvement,” Gertie mocks, trying to catch her breath!

            Holley laughs.  “Cute, I wonder if you taste as funny!”

           “Your jokes are getting worse,” Gertie struggles.

           “Funny, so is your day,” Holley chuckles.

            “Bite me, you freak!” Gertie snaps.

Probably not the best choice of words at the moment.

            “My pleasure, Pet,” Holley coos, quickly sinking her teeth into the side of Gertie's face.

She snaps back ripping off a sizable hunk of flesh and muscle.  Gertie screams as the pain shakes her to the core.

“Now, now,” Holley explains as she chews, “after all, you asked me to.”

Gertie's fear and pain mutate to anger.

“Try that again, Bitch, and you will wish you were dead!”  Gertie roars through the anguish.

“Been there, done that!”  Holley interrupts.

Holley strikes again, embedding her teeth into Gertie’s throat.   She chews on it like a cow masticating fresh grass.  

“Seconds are even better,”  Holley mumbles through her meal, winking.

            Holley pulls up, swallowing hard.  Gertie tenses in pain.  She turns her head and sees a broken piece of tombstone lying on the ground, the top half of a granite cross.  Her hand finds away to her jacket pocket, trying to desperately find the spray.

“Now, I have enjoyed our time together, Gert, but…”  Holley explains, “…I do literally have to eat and run.”

  Gertie finds the can with her fingers as Holley raises her right arm to deliver the final blow.

“This will only hurt for a second, I promise!”

Gertie pulls the mace from her pocket.  She swings it up, closing her eyes and releasing a full stream directly into Holley's face.  Holley screams, falling backward.  Gertie rolls her off with all of her remaining strength and reaches for the broken marker.  Holley falls on to her slide, clutching her head, violently rubbing her eyes.  Gertie grabs the stone, lifting and spinning it around.  Holley writhes on the ground kicking up dirt and debris.

“You are about to get stoned, Bitch!”   Gertie screams.

Holley looks up long enough to see the large piece of granite looming over her head.  Gertie drops the stone onto Holley's head, following it down.  The weight violently fractures Holley's skull.  Gertie raises the stone again exposing the vulgar mess beneath her.

“One more time!” Gertie yells; dropping the stone again until Holley's cranium crushes nearly flat.

The sound is horrific.  Blood spews from all sides.   Holley's hands jerk as the last moments of her life brutally slips away.   The air around them suddenly falls still.  Gertie collapses on top of the body, the loss of blood, relentless pain, and exhaustion have finally overwhelmed her.   She rolls onto her back and takes a deep breath.  Life is fleeing from her.  She begins to weep, not for her condition but for Brad.   She looks up into the sky. It begins to finally clear.  The moon and stars are bright, more radiant than she has ever seen.  The fogs rolls away as if being called.  

At least she's dead!  She reflects, unable to speak.

Gertie closes her eyes; a rush of peace fills her.  Her arms and legs warm and then grow very cold.

I wish I could have done more with my life!

She drifts off into oblivion, all thought, and memory cease.   The wind rolls over her body, but she is unaware of it.  The field is silent, still, as a cemetery should be.  

                                                                    And so the sad story of Holley Weane ends...

        Death arrives…but not for Gertie.

#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬



Jada Pinkett Smith as ‪#Felicity

www.thecruxseries.com

A bitter and resentful Werebeing, who can transform into a monstrous battle cat.   She constantly struggles with the animal that shares her soul resisting the increasing desire to surrender to her inner beast.   A being desperate to be a beacon of justice but will that light be eclipsed by a dark desire for vengeance.

Friday, July 22, 2016

#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬



HelenSlater as the ‪#‎Seamstress

www.thecruxseries.com

A Fleshworld surgeon who escaped into The Crux after her daughter was viciously murdered and the suspects never found.    Her mourning quickly turned to madness.  To quell her ever-growing hopelessness, and incessant hate raging within, she began to kill those she deemed evil and then dismember them to construct elaborate dolls from their flesh and bone.  Her goal was to create an unholy offspring to fill the tormenting void burrowed by her tragic loss.  Ironically, her one success seeks to destroy her, but she still yearns for the fatality of their reunion.   Hidden away in her asylum of nostalgia she holds all of the secrets to The Crux.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬


Britney Spears as ‪#‎Wilt

www.thecruxseries.com

The sister of Etheria. She possesses the power of decay, rotting the mortal remnants of her sister’s retrievals. She is utterly alone and rightfully blames her sibling for sacrificing their humanity for the curse of these horrendous abilities. Will her isolation drive her into the waiting arms of absolute evil? Or will she find a way to overcome impossible odds and escape the prison of her vile touch?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬




Winona Ryder as ‪#‎Etheria‬


www.thecruxseries.com

The current Reaper of the Fleshworld, bringing the damned through The Crux to Oblivion.  She sacrificed her mortality to take on the mantle of death and doomed her sister, Wilt, to become the chief emissary of putridity in the process.  She will allow nothing to usurp her terrifying position, willing to sacrifice even The Crux and all of it denizens to maintain it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬



Willa Holland as ‪#‎Gypsy‬

www.thecruxseries.com

A reclusive Spellcaster whose powers are far more diverse and destructive than she realizes. Held captive with the one true love of her life, it is her untapped abilities that may provide the only advantage against an evil that seeks to devour all of eternity in shadow.

Monday, July 18, 2016

#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬




Andrew Garfield as ‪#‎Clockwork‬

www.thecruxseries.com

A robotic puppet invented by a sovereign madman but now the masterful engineer and captain of The Crux’s most powerful vessel, the Triumph. Constructed of ancient mechanics, older than time, he is a machine seeking the one thing he cannot repair, the loneliness of his soul.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬




China Anne McClain as ‪#‎Flare‬

www.thecruxseries.com

The last of the Fire Masters, burning endlessly with fury and loathing. She is an outcast dwelling on one thing, and one thing only, a way to exact her revenge on the entirety of The Crux and all of its inhabitants. As a dark threat arises, one malevolent entity possesses the fuel to fan her vengeful flame.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The top ten reasons why you should be reading ‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve...

10) ‪#‎Dolly‬ is a Lizzie Borden/Frankenstein mashup...

In her "Hunger Games," she will literally eat you!

9) ‪#‎Illuminaires‬ are creatures made of pure human emotions, both good and evil. ‪#‎Illuminaries‬ are beings of light, blessed with beauty and flight. They exemplify all the wonder that humanity can possess. ‪#‎Venae‬ are #Illuminaries who were consumed by the darkness of humanity and therefore, developed an insatiable bloodlust for both their radiant kin and mortals. So, both the fairy and vampire myths were born. In the "Twilight", ‪#‎Feast‬ glistens too, but only after bathed in the blood of her victims.

8) ‪#‎Penance‬ is an ‪#‎Illuminaire‬, who is darkness incarnate; a psychotic fairy capable of horrendous power. She was created by ‪#‎Fate‬ to destroy the #Venae after they murdered all of their radiant sibs. Her mission would have been a complete success if not for a young #Venae, who refused to die; their stalemate eventually resulting in her self-imposed exile.

7) The legend of the Grim Reaper was literally the result of a practical joke committed when #Penance was in one of her more jocular moods; a rarity, and for good reason.

6) ‪#‎Etheria‬, or death, has a sister named ‪#‎Wilt‬, who she tricked into being her partner in #TheCrux. While #Etheria covets the souls of evil men, her darling sis ensures their bodies decompose, hence her title. #Wilt is an over sexualized ghoul who hates her sib, with a limitless intensity, for what she has done to her.

5) ‪#‎Time‬, ‪#‎Space‬, and ‪#‎Reality‬ are all children of the cosmos or ‪#‎Firmamentia‬, subject to their adopted mother #Fate. #Fate controls the existence of all life forms but finds humanity the most difficult to manage.

4) The most powerful force in the universe is Fear. As the ‪#‎Navigator‬ so eloquently puts it...

"Because fear is such a potent force it transcends beyond any comprehension. It was fear that birthed the universe, conceiving the concepts and tactics of war. Fear birthed the entire spectrum of emotions emerging from its own distended belly. Every feeling, desire, and compulsion we share was thrust into existence by fear; it is the singularity that spawned all humanity would mature to be. Love comes from the fear of loneliness and desolation. The fuel and fire of hate and rage burn from its incendiary existence. Jealousy is forged from the fear of inferiority and failure. Insecurity would starve without suckling its tit. Compassion’s strength comes from a determined rebellion against it. Joy springs forth after escaping its merciless undercurrent. Passion, lust, and greed placate its parasitic nature like a charlatan’s potion masking the symptoms of a greater disease and anesthetizing the torrid torment of selfish shame. As for pride, fear is its instigator, deluding the mind with grandeur to oppress the irreconcilable truth of our eventual fallacies. Fear is what expedites evolution, as it unveils the price and emptiness of mortality. It gives survival its spirit and form, providing libations that intoxicate our inhibitions allowing us to drunkenly and bravely face oblivion, foolishly believing we can avoid its claim to our souls.”

3) The ‪#‎Fleshworld‬, our dimension, is monitored and controlled by a sophisticated, four armed, alien cyclops called the #Navigator.

2) Every human fear manifests itself into an actual entity in #TheCrux. This process is a pressure valve to ensure humanity is not overwhelmed by their own phobias. Every ‪#‎Crux‬ #Citizen, as they are called, has a human twin, or #Didymus. In #TheCrux, the two look vastly different, as one can imagine. However, because humans refuse to see beyond their finite understanding, #Citizens look like their #Didymus if they were to enter the mortal realm. If a #Didymus dies, the #Citizen dies as well. This consequence affords two purposes. One, to avoid a #Citizens' attempt to invade the Fleshworld and kill his twin to take its place. Two, #Citizens are so powerful that it is far easier to kill their mortal counterpart if that is required.

1) #Ronin is a fourth wall breaking, grizzled old west lawman, #Remade in #TheCrux after he died. After centuries of watching humanity repeat the same mistakes time and time again, and immortality wearing his sanity thin, he remains a #Marshal, the policing element of #TheCrux, only because he has nothing else to do. He's the kind of hero only the villain roots for.

And that's only 10...wait until you dig in and experience the rest!

www.thecruxseries.com

‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎Sciencefiction‬ you deserve ‪#‎Dreamcast‬




Todd Brown as ‪#‎Ronin‬

www.thecruxseries.com

A tormented gunslinger turned Marshall after being plucked from death to patrol The Crux and exact its brand of warped justice. He quickly became the greatest Enforcer in a millennium. Despite all of his cunning and supernatural marksmanship, this jaded lawman will be tested beyond his limits as he faces a catastrophe of hellish proportions.