ZIGZAG Chapter Two

ZIGZAG COVER (no titles)

*This is a sample chapter from the revised Home Run Edition. Cover by IMbeta.

A video played on a phone’s small screen. Even if the camera’s view hid the identity of the person it was attached to, the height and heavy footsteps down the castle’s hallway betrayed an imposing stature. A Diamond Knight walked briskly just behind. At the pair of large oak doors, a sleek black gauntlet grabbed the thick handle from below the lens and threw it open. Intense purple light inundated the screen, an ethereal humming in the background. The throne room was busy with activity.

The neon beamed from the thick glass flooring through the large skylight above, a clear square throne installed proudly in the center. A long steel column was suspended over the seat, dual monitors displaying city maps and streams from the chaotic streets. Blue jeans and brown work boots extended from under the monitors’ pair of keyboards.

Two sentries stood on duty beside the throne, wearing white gear and red capes over their right shoulders. They were the King’s Royal Guards. The Diamond Knight took a place beside the closest.

A lanky man stood beside the throne, wearing a dark brown blazer over a grey shirt, charcoal slacks, and red leather loafers.

“Don’t worry, Sire,” he said. “We have men searching as we speak.” He looked to the arrival standing in the threshold, the lenses on his horn-rimmed glasses enlarging his grey eyes under a well-groomed cut of amber hair.

“The Dragon has arrived,” said the city’s celebrated educator, Professor Magnus Zwei.

A hand tapped a digital display on the throne’s armrest. The monitors folded into the column and all retracted into the ceiling. The king had a disheveled cut of platinum white hair held down by a modest gold crown. Quentin Diamond stood strongly in his red robe and stepped from his seat towards Drake, getting close enough that the video caught the bags under his eyes from days of nonstop military intervention. “Drake, what do you have to report?” he asked the cameraman.

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ZIGZAG Chapter One

ZIGZAG COVER

*This is the first of five sample chapters from the revised Home Run Edition. Cover by IMbeta.

A game as old as humanity was starting in the peaceful Diamond Kingdom, its lines drawing around the unsuspecting citizens. Going on a quick offensive, darkness fell over the beautiful agricultural land and spread across the streets. Chaos erupted throughout the city as fire engulfed abandoned cars and glass shards sparkled down the asphalt. Everywhere there was confusion. Only in the kingdom’s center was the dark repelled, intense neon purple light its final line of defense. There, a massive purple pillar shot from the Earth, connecting the Diamond Castle to the heaven’s above. Some believed the Electron Gods looked down on the game as it played out, waiting to record the first point on the scoreboard.

And then the all-knowing Chatter, the streaming voice of thousands of people from across the city, broadcast its play-by-play into the purple tinted air.

“The protests have turned violent,” said the commentary, “a mob has marched on the castle. It’s all over the net.”

The next voice replied with concern. “I’m reading up on all the news but am really lost. Can somebody explain what’s going on? Who’s fighting?”

At the southern tip of the city, footsteps echoed off the baseball stadium’s concrete walls, the massive structure home to The Diamond Cutters. The sound burst from the entrance onto the streets and a shadow hit the sides of the shops along them, the flat image of a person running at full speed. The silhouette expertly navigated the city, taking a shortcut to the train station on Stadium Way. The shadow disappeared into a dark alley, its presence reduced to footsteps again.

Continue reading “ZIGZAG Chapter One”

The Bebop Sessions 03: Ballad of Fallen Angels

I would have given up on Bebop if it weren’t for Ballad of Fallen Angels. I changed my mind the moment the church organ blared across the purple sunset above a crumbling gothic cathedral. The beginning of the third act finds Spike, hands stuffed in his large overcoats pockets, walking up the cobblestone street to the lyrics of Yoko Kanno’s ‘Rain’. A woman sings.

I don’t feel a thing
and I stopped remembering.
The days are just like moments turned to hours.

Rain’s vocals are provided by Kanno-collaborator Mai Yamane. Yamane’s voice fills the air over a scene intercut with the silhouette of a silver-haired figure resting on one of the cathedrals broken stone pillars, a katana leaning against his shoulder. Continue reading “The Bebop Sessions 03: Ballad of Fallen Angels”

The Chromatic Graft Part 2

a continuing Ariel Moxie EP

Ariel Moxie jolted awake in a fit of rage. Her heart jackhammered against her rib cage and her nails dug into her palms. It had been months since her last attack and she wasn’t expecting one now, not with the peace she’d felt the last few days.

Desperation shot her hand to her right ear lobe. She clicked in the back of the speaker in her plug and ‘Rumble’ blasted in the small room. After spinning the dial on the underside to turn down the volume, she held her left lobe for three seconds until the harps played. Salvation was close because ‘Maelstrom’s Lullaby’ played. Her thumb found the right volume.

The two channels of the song played separately at the outer edges of her mind. Deep breaths, she told herself. She filled her diaphragm and slowly blew it out her nose, focusing on the music and trying to calm herself. Deep breaths. Too bad she couldn’t deal with the rage like she dealt with pain. It held on, wouldn’t let her just shake it off. The sounds moved in space, came together at the center of her brain and brought her mind into focus. Now that she had regained control, Ariel’s heartbeat slowed, harmonizing to the music. She released her mind, let it search deeper for the calm in the storm on its own. It brought her down further, thankfully to a happy thought. The Bassline had been drifting on the open water, the waves lightly bobbing the stern up and down. They had stopped to catch lunch. A fish was on the onboard grill sprinkled with capers. Ariel and Nick danced in the warm sunlight.

‘Freestyle’ played. They were several feet apart. Nick was shuffling his feet but soon he was hop-steppin’ to the left and to the right. Ariel opened her large mouth and laughed, clapping her hands to spur him on. He bopped his head forwards and back, pivoted around in circles, making his way towards her. She wrapped her hands around his neck, her fingers interlocking at the scruff of his hair. His hands went to her hips. They shimmied back and forth, their eyes smiling into the others. He pulled her close and raspberry’d her cheek.

Ariel giggled at the time and heard it echo in her room now.

She pushed off his chest. Nick grabbed her hand, held it over her head and pirouetted her away. She turned on her music and found her selection. The transmitters in their plugs shook hands, sending data back and forth. The two sets of speakers pulsed and the tracks fused together. The composition combined into ‘Freestyle Rumble’. The electronic system Ariel had created combined with Nick’s musical compositions allowed them to anticipate the other; that was a crucial product of its design. Nick knew Ariel’s moves and Ariel knew Nick’s. They were in sync. Ariel weaved in and out, moving her arms to the rhythm. Nick skated backwards, opening his palm to her in acknowledgement. Ariel danced. Nick grooved. The sun shone. The fish burned.

Gradually, the memory and then the melody receded from Ariel’s mind. She fell asleep with Lullaby hanging in the room and didn’t notice the slight constricting sensation running down her arms.

Continue reading “The Chromatic Graft Part 2”