Monday, October 29, 2012

Night Raider: Issue 2

It had been a week since Clarence had started his personal crusade to fight street crime. During that time he had taken down a dozen muggers, three rapists, and stopped one hold up at a convenience store. He had started out just using himself as bait, taking down anyone that was unfortunate enough to make him their mark. While he did not mind beating down thugs, he just wished there was a way to put them behind bars and get them off of the street. Killing them had occurred to him, of course, but he rejected that. There was no denying that he was a vigilante now, a criminal in his own right, but he was not going to become judge, jury and executioner.

Things changed, though, when he came across a mugging in progress. He came across an old man being held up by a young punk with a knife. A strike to the back of the head with an expandable baton was all it took to neutralize the mugger... the kick to the ribs was to remind the young man to respect his elders. After making sure the old man was alright, Clarence made a quick 911 call and told the old man to wait there till the squad showed up.

In the morning there was a small piece on the local news about what happened. The old man was being interviewed. He talked about how some mysterious stranger had appeared out of nowhere and saved him. Clarence had to laugh when the old guy compared him to the heroes from comics he read as a kid back in the forties.

The important part was that the criminal was going to be going to jail. After that, Clarence changed his strategy. He was no longer waiting for crooks to come for him, he was looking for crimes in progress, he was going back to doing what he was meant to do. After he took down a criminal, he would make a quick call for the police or have someone nearby do it then flee the scene. If he could he was grabbing pictures or video of the crime and sending it to news outlets when he got home. Spreading a little evidence around was helping to push the police to act, even the ones that did not want to.

He patrolled the rough streets of Crown City, keeping close to the shadows. He had become a hunter, a predator on the prowl. In addition to his long coat and hood, he kept a domino mask to throw on if he had time. A close call with a punk waving about a Saturday night special convinced him to wear his old bullet proof vest. He had learned to wear tactical combat gloves to protect his hands, particularly his fits. He kept an expandable baton, OC spray, and a few zip-tie cuffs on hand. He could not ignore the irony that it seemed like every night he added another tool from his old duty belt.

The last thing he carried was .357 SIG Sauer P226 loaded with fifteen jacketed hollow-point rounds. He intended to leave his prey beaten and battered, but alive. However, if it came down to it, he was making sure he was the one that went home at night. This was the one thing that had not come from his duty belt. Part of it was for the practical reason of keeping himself untraceable. A bigger part, however, was he did not want to drag his duty weapon into this mess. He was walking into the darkness, but his duty weapon, along with his badge, were suppose to be beacons of light. He did not want them soiled with what might soon happen.

As he passed under a flickering street lamp, Clarence heard someone shout. He dashed around the corner and peered intently down the street to where he saw two people struggling. Clarence pulled on his mask as he quickly crept down the sidewalk, blending in with the shadows. As he closed the distance the scene became clear. A woman, she looked to be in her mid thirties, had been bringing home groceries. The bags had been dropped, their contents strewn on the ground. A group of young men, four by his count, were dragging her back into an ally.

"No! Please stop!" the woman cried desperately.

"Shut up bitch!" one of the men shouted back before backhanding the woman hard enough to knock her to the ground.

He needed to act fast, but this situation required tactics. He would bet his last dime that they were all armed in some form and that at least one of them had a gun. They would have to be neutralized fast and by surprise if he was going to minimize fatalities. Clarence darted down an alley and pulled out his cell, making a quick 911 call. He estimated the best response time for this part of town, barring a cruiser happened to be nearby, to be at least two minutes away. That would give him just enough time to do something that most people would consider stupid and reckless.

The alley he had run down intersected with another that connected it to the one the gang had dragged the woman. He could hear the men talking while the woman pleaded. A chainlink fence cut-off the intersecting ally, but he was over it without even pausing. It had been a while since he had practiced, but he his body still remembered freerunning as a teenager. He landed as silently as he could and moved swiftly down the alley. He kept to cover provided by a few trash cans and old boxes. He crept forward till he was almost to the building's corner.

The gang had stopped just before crossing the intersection. From the cover provided by the building's corner, Clarence assessed the situation. All of the gang were facing towards the opposite building, meaning he would be attacking from the side and behind. One was standing right at the corner where Clarence could reach around and grab him from where he stood. The next two were standing in the middle of the ally, watching the fourth who had the woman pinned against the wall. Time to act was running out fast.

Clarence reached around the corner and grabbed the first thug by the hair. He pulled hard to crack the man's skull against the wall. He shoved the man to the ground as he moved out into the alley. The others had turned at the sound. One of the two in the middle started to draw a gun from his pants while the one that had pinned the woman threw her to the ground.

Before the gun could be draw, Clarence had already stepped forward with his arm extended. He pressed the button and a stream of OC spray caught the man with the gun in the face. Instantly the chemicals started to react, burning the man's eyes and setting his lungs on fire. He dropped the gun and grabbed at his face. Clarence turned the spray towards the second man as he continued forward.

The spray only glanced the second target, and he made a blind swing. Clarence blocked the punch then stepped inside the man's guard and wrapped his forearms around the man's neck. He brought his knee up in two hard blows to the abdomen then tossed the man to the ground. He then threw a hard kick to the knee of the man that he had blinded. The man went down with a scream. Clarence dropped the spent OC canister as he turned to the final assailant.

The man that had held the woman brandished a knife. He lunged forward, intent on burying his weapon deep in Clarence's gut. Clarence caught the man's forearm in both hands, then twisted the man's arm as he spun under it. The man was forced to bend forward and drop his knife. Clarence drove the palm of his hand into the back of the man's head and forced him down until his face was smashed into the pavement.

Clarence turned to survey the others. The first was starting to get up along with the one that he had only partially blinded. He leapt to partially blinded one, drawing his expandable baton in the process. He extended the baton with a flick of his arm then brought it down on the side of the man's head. The first man he had taken down was reaching for the dropped gun. As he picked it up, Clarence closed the distance and struck the man's wrist with the batton. He followed with a blow to the face that knocked out half of the man's front teeth and a second to the head that dropped him to the ground.

"Are you alright?" Clarence asked as he turned his attention to the woman.

"Y-yes, I think," the woman replied as she tried to stand up.

"Good," Clarence replied as he went from one man to the next, placing zip cuffs on their wrists. The blinded man required a punch to the side of the head. "The police will be here shortly to arrest the men and take a statement," he said in a stoic tone. To prove his point, the sound of a distant siren reached the alley. Clarence dashed down the alley, away from the approaching siren, and faded into the dark.

"Wait, but aren't you going to..." the woman stopped as she realized that he was not going to stay. "Thank you!" the woman called after him.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Character Overview: Elarr

As I was writing The Depths of Despair, I knew that I needed to add a second character. Dialogue is pretty limited if you only have one character...unless he is crazy. In my original concept I had a female aranea. For those unfamiliar, they are a type of shapeshifting spider from D&D that can cast spells. I've always been a big fan of them. However, since I am trying to avoid using things trademarked to D&D that idea had to be nixed.

I needed a character that was different from Fland, but decided I did not want something so strange that it would overshadow the intended main character. I also knew that I wanted the character to still be a spellcaster. I settled on an elf. A fantasy classic that got me something that was not human, but not completely alien either. An elf really fit the roll of spellcaster as well. In the world that I am developing and in which the story was set, one of the three races of elves is all about the arcane arts.

Because he was somewhat a spur of the moment character, I did not have a lot of personality planned out for Elarr. I did not even have a concept for him until it was time to introduce him to the story. For that reason, I started out mainly playing off his differences between him and Fland. Where Fland is reckless and direct, Elarr is cautious and methodical. In a lot of ways he is a very cliche elf wizard, aloof and arrogant.

As the story developed, though, he began to take on a life of his own. He started to take on professorial role. He was the knowledgeable one. I realized that Elarr was an academic at his core. However, later on he shows that he knows how to fight. So maybe he is a bit like Indiana Jones, though more on the professor side than the adventurer side. One of the earliest developments for him was early on when he was demanding formality from his partner. I started thinking about it and determined, this guy has to be a noble. That never really came out in the story though.

A lot of Elarr's dialogue was affected by characters I had played in a D&D game, who was in turn influenced by the characters Black Mage and Fighter from 8-bit theater. I was at Origins one year and ended up in a game where I had to play two characters, a human fighter and an elf wizard. To have fun with them, the fighter was always wanting to talk with anything they met or blunder into every situation. The whole time, his wizard friend was cursing him for getting them into trouble.

Designing his appearance was fun. I knew that he had to be wearing something that shouted, "Not a warrior!" but showed off some flair. At first I was going to do a robe, but that seemed a bit to like the usual, not to mention robes are not really the best garb for adventuring. A long tunic, however, gives the same impression. I thought it could be what elf mages wear instead of robes like a human mage. It needed color. Blue seemed to shout that Elarr was not a woodsman, while some green also was a reminder that he is an elf and is at home with nature. It was the crystalline walking staff that I considered genius. Its not the regular old wizard's staff and is very suggestive of power. At the time, I was envisioning the elves being very fond of crystal, living in castles with crystal roofs to let in sunlight.

While Elarr did not start out with much of a plan, he has grown on me. I have more than a few things to do with him still. He will be playing a big role in the novel I am hoping to get done next month. So if you are fan of Elarr, I am glad you enjoy and let me know what it is that you've liked about him.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A small update

Well, it looks like I will not be published to terribly soon. The short story I had submitted was rejected by the publisher. The specific reason mine was rejected was not given, but most likely it was because they were looking more for stories focusing on a wider range of ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identities. I guess I could have gone a bit more in some of those directions, at least so far as race or made the main character a man which would have added a bit of a different layer. I was short on time though, and some of that was just out of the area that I write. The only part that really annoys me though, is that for the kickstarter I pledged at the higher level to get the physical copy of the book encase I was in it. Seems less appealing now, but oh well. I will just post the story with some of my other erotica.

On a more hopeful note, I am working on the outline for my writing project for National Novel Writing Month in November. I have decided to make Fland and Elarr from The Depths of Despair the main characters. The plot still needs fleshed out, but I am confident I will have something come November 1st.

The last little note is that I hope to have at least one or two posts this week with a bit more interest than just news.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Night Raider: Issue 1

Clarence walked down the sidewalk with his mind focused inward. His mood was as dark as the night. He moved down a garbage strewn sidewalk with no particular destination in mind. He had been walking through one bad neighborhood after another for an hour as he tried to clear his mind. He was angry, and had a good reason to be.

Three days ago, Clarence had been a Crown City Police Officer. The department was going to Hell in a hand basket, but he felt like he was making a difference. Half of the force was on the take, while most of the rest just tried to keep their heads down. Clarence was determined to not only be an honest cop, but a good one too. That did not set well with some people though. An honest man is the biggest threat to the dishonest, so they were not going to let him stick around.

Following a drug bust, Clarence found himself being accused of cooperating with the dealers. Never mind that the two accusing him were two of the biggest dirtbags on the force. Then again, its not like the chief was any kind of a saint. So now he was stuck on permanent admenistrative leave until it could all be sorted out.

The thought of it was enough to make him grind his teeth in anger. Dirty cops like that were one of the biggest problems with the city. It was being over run with criminals, and the men that were suppose to stop them were the worst of a bad lot. Most took bribes, but it was an open secret that there were more than a few doing the dirty work themselves. He knew, even if he could not prove, that the pair that set him up were working with the West Park gang.

Clarence's sense came alive. He had been wandering and thinking, but part of his mind never lost awareness of his surroundings. Any officer that did that was a deadman for sure. His mind snapped to attention, some sound or other que alerting him to danger. He was passing by an ally that was deep in shadow. The nearest streetlight was a dozen yards away and flickering on the verge of going out. A vulnerable possition, that he should have known to avoid.

A man stepped out of the ally where he had been hidden behind a dumpster. In one hand he held a knife. A quick assessment marked him as one of the thousand young thugs that roamed the streets. The mugger barked at him, "Your wallet or your life!"

Clarence took a step back as the man stepped towards him. He did not want the mugger in too close. "Lets be calm about this, no one needs to get hurt." He knew that the odds of someone walking away uninjured during a mugging in the city were pretty low. Even if he handed his wallet over the mugger would likely cuff him for good measure. He was not just any other man on the street, and the mugger had made a poor choice for his mark.

"Only if you hand over that damn wallet. Now give it to me!" the mugger said as he advanced.

Clarence waited until the mugger was mid step and off balance. His hands shot forward. He grabbed the mugger's forearm to gain control with one hand. The other grasped the mugger's wrist. With a twist the knife was on the ground and the mugger was doubled over in an armbar. Clarence took the man hard to the ground, smashing his face against the concrete.

After pinning the man to the ground, Clarence intended to make a citizen's arrest. He put the call in. It was over half an hour before the promised cruiser arrived, and the two the officers that stepped out of the cruiser were not two that he would have hoped for. Johnson and Axelrod, the men that had framed him.

"Well, look what we have here," Johnson said with a smirk.

"Looks like we got someone pretending they're a cop," Axelrod laughed.

Clarence bitt back a sharp retort. It was not easy swallowing his rage. Instead, through gritted teeth he growl, "Just take this guy. He'll be in good company with you two."

They took the mugger, but did not bother taking a statement. They were barely putting in the effort to throw him in the back of their cruiser. Clarence knew that they would not bother taking him to lockup. As likely as not they would kick him out after a few blocks, maybe extort whatever cash he had gotten from earlier victims first.

Clarence started back towards his home with much more on his mind. He had just stopped a crime, not as an officer, but as a regular citizen. Something had to be done, someone had to take a stand.


It was two nights later and Clarence was again stalking down the streets of another crime infested neighborhood. Tonight was different. He was not trying to clear his head, walking aimlessly. He had purpose. All he needed was for a target to appear. He swept through the night in a hooded long coat, on a mission to find those that lurked in the dark.

He turned the corner and saw some shadows shift by a recessed doorway. For most people, that would be a sign to steer clear. For him, it was just what he was looking for. Clarence continued on his path. As he neared the doorway, two men stepped out. They thought they were ambushing him. The truth was the other way around.

When the first went to grab him, Clarence smashed his palm into the man's nose. The man cried out in pain as his nose was shattered. The man's partner took a swing at Clarence. A quick block wiht his forearm sent the punch wide and created an upercut to the thug's jaw. A strong knee to the abdomen followed, doubling the man over. Clarence had not forgotten about the first man. A kick to the knee brought the man to the ground as he tried to draw a gun from his sagging pants. A straight kick to the face finished the job of destroying the man's nose completely.

In a mater of seconds, Clarence had just incapacitated two robbers. What he wanted to do now was read them their rights and send them off to a lockup. Sadly, he saw that was not a real option. Instead, he stripped each of his assailants of their guns, administering further beatings as he felt necisary to keep them compliant, then unloaded their ammunition and several key parts into the sewer drain. To make sure neither was a threat for at least a little while, he smashed their hands. When it was all finished, Clarence continued on his quest, vanishing into the darkness where he knew evil lurked.