“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Thirteen, Part Two

“Oh look at that,” Bella sneered, her voice cold and awful.

I pried my eyes open, knowing in the pit of my stomach that something bad was happening. Then the pillow under me moved. Kuryo. Oh shit. We were still snuggled up together – except now there was Bella looming over us like a dark storm cloud. An angry storm cloud.

I sat up guiltily, but Kuryo spoke first. “Look at what?”

Bella tilted her head to the side, arms crossed and sour all over. Kuryo sat up, his gaze challenging her.

“You’re just so cute together,” Bella hissed.

“Jealous?” Kuryo asked sharply, wrapping his arms around his knees, apparently not caring that he was at her kicking height.

“Whatever,” I muttered, rising so I was blocking them from each other. “Just-”

“Get ready!” Bella barked. “I don’t have time to sit around waiting for you two! Get up!” and she very nearly did kick Kuryo. I felt it in the air – but she turned and marched away, slamming the door to her bedroom and leaving us alone.

Oh gods, I let out such an exhale. That was stressful.

Later, as we were leaving the room, both dressed in fresh clothes and presentable, I tried to coax some sense into Kuryo. “Just try not to set her off, would you?”

He gave me a look like I was the weird one here. “You’re placating her,” he said softly. “And I’m not going to do that.”

“Could you try just – not to get yourself beat up?” I hissed. “I’m watching out for you here!”

“You’re just scared of her,” he muttered as we reached the bottom of the stairs.

“Maybe you should be!” I snapped angrily. She had successfully cornered the both of us! Sneaked and bullied her way into the top of the deity realm! Maybe, just maybe, we should be careful around her?

But Kuryo snorted as if that was ridiculous. We entered the living room with him in a cold mood and me being fidgety.

“You’re late,” said Bella angrily, as if she had given us a time to show up for. She set her mug of cocoa down on the hand table.“Am I supposed to stick around all day waiting on you two?”

Kuryo made a face and I sharply elbowed him. I just didn’t want to see him getting hurt. But Bella must have picked up on that. A sneer curled her lip. She chuckled.

“Interesting,” she said snidely. Then she caught up her coat from the side of her chair and marched to the door. I scurried after her, Kuryo in tow.

There was an army-load of vampires out of the house. They were ready for war, armed to the teeth and looking as aggressive as anyone can with a winter coat on. Or with fluffy mittens. It was just – hard on the mind to register them as a threat when they looked so fuzzy and cold. But I mean, they got points for trying, right? They were all wearing their most badass expressions, complete with stoic frowns and victory poses (legs planted, chests puffed out). Which was a whole lot of expression for a vampire, mind you.

Bella seized me by the arm and dragged me towards where everyone was facing – a massive portal ready to swallow us all up. It smelt of treetops and happy times (at least for me). It led to the air realm, certainly.

“Your job, along with your sweetie little boy-toy,” Bella said sneeringly, “Is to protect me. You’re not allowed to stray more than ten feet from me, the either of you. Got that?” She turned to smirk at Kuryo, who scowled in response.

“I’m not a fighter,” he objected.

“Be useful,” she snapped. “Or should I recycle you?”

Kuryo blanched just enough. Bella chuckled. Then, patting me on the arm like I really was her sweetheart, she dragged me after her into the portal.

Ick. Yuck. I was just too sleepy for this so early in the morning. The world swirled and my stomach churned, and we reappeared in a soft, fluffy feeling. It was a world full of light, breezes whipping up nearby treetops, and a land that was covered in gentle grasses.

It was heaven, I realized. The sanctuary of the Trinity. The holy land for millions of souls. And uh, there was their god, and several others besides, including the Thunderbird. They were all looking so angry.

And was it me or were their eyes zeroing in on me? No? Really? Especially Thunderbird?

“Oh, it’s so good to see you all,” Bella cooed, interlacing her fingers in mine. “What a lovely opportunity this is for all of us.”

Now’s your chance, the voice intoned in my head. I almost fainted from shock. This was my chance for what? Huh?

I looked at yhwh pleadingly. What did he want? I couldn’t murder Bella! Not with all her thralls appearing through the portal behind us. I’d be eviscerated!

No, no, the voice said steadily. You need to open the battlefield. Trust me.

“What?” I muttered under my breath, so silently that no one noticed.

Except the God. He stepped forward, carrying the grace and nobility of one who had once held the hearts of millions. “I would like to speak to Chaos, alone,” he said coldly. “I trust you understand.”

Bella laughed softly. “Of course,” and she let my hand go.

Yhwh guided me aside. Bella stepped to mingle with the other gods, grinning like a maniac. Lucifer appeared, along with Bella’s other council members. God placed a hand on my shoulder.

“Child,” he said in that deep voice.

Jittery, I looked all around, then tried to focus on those deep eyes.

You need to attack me, the voice said, full of conviction and strength. Do it now. Do it! This is our chance!

I took a good look at God. He was giving me such a patronizing, caring, and heavy gaze. Suddenly, I felt a surge of respect for him, as well as guilt for having fought him before. He wasn’t a bad guy.

“Okay,” I said softly. I’d do this for him. To get rid of Bella.

God inhaled deeply, drawing himself up as if to say something. There was a smile on his lips.

Strike in the heart, the voice said so clearly. It won’t hurt me.

I obeyed.

God’s eyes as I flicked my weapons out and attacked – I’ll never forget them. It was shock and – betrayal?

I struck him in the heart, just as the voice said.

Except there was a piercing shriek. Two other voices shrieking in tandem. The trinity- I felt it die more than I saw it.

It was as if I saw them from three different views, the dove and woman standing before Bella, suddenly collapsing and disintegrating into white dust –

There was screams. Shrieks of anger. Hatred. I was frozen, staring at the disappearing god at the end of my swords.

I’d killed him.

There was a clash of the battle beginning, but I couldn’t move. I was just watching the white dust dissipate, taking away the god who had been loved and adored by millions.

A hand snatched me and I was yanked sideways just as an arrow whizzed past. A clap of lightning struck where I had just been. Over Kuryo’s shoulder I saw the Thunderbird with his bow and arrows across the fray, aiming at me.

Kuryo yanked me again, and we toppled into the portal.

That’s It! It’s the End!

I’m not sure how to call this. The end of an ‘era’? Starting with a clean slate? Beginning the new year with a fresh book? Because, y’all, I just finished typing out the very last words to Chaos’s story.

I’m not joking! Today I went to a family brunch, came home, and wrote. I thought ‘hey, maybe I’ll get close to the ending’ but here it is. On the first day of the New Year, I finished Chaos’s novel. Which, for the record, I started last June (I think?). Less than a year ago, just after a massive move. Wow! Less than a year of growth, challenges, and so much writing! So much drawing, too!

What started out as just a dream has now become a full novel that ties in with another of my full novels (Dreaming of Lights) and has totally changed me. Chaos has grown so much, and with them I’ve become even more dedicated to my craft. I’ve started to really ‘feel’ myself as an author. I’m starting to connect with people via my stories (gasp! my dream is coming true!) and I’ve gotten my writing anxiety largely under control. I even started drawing out my story as a comic!

I feel so lucky to live where I live. Every day or so I tell my wife how happy I am to live out here, in the countryside. It’s done me wonders, as well as having a social worker and getting on testosterone. My anxiety and organizational skills are truly getting under control and my gender changes are happening. My mood is so balanced. I feel great. I haven’t been this happy for most of my life. Just truly happy to be here and alive, and so lucky to have what I have. I cherish everything and everyone (including all of you, dear readers one and all!) and feel like this is as good as it gets. Everything more from here on is just whipped cream on top of it a drink. Nice, but not the meat of it all.

So tonight, on the first day of this New Year, I will be opening up a document from another dream story (and creating a playlist for it, because I can’t write without music). I will probably be working on and posting that one, as well as working on Ranger’s on the sly (without posting). Y’all, I just can’t wait to start this year now. I’m so excited to see how you all feel about Chaos’s ending (to see all the treachery come to surface!) and to then share another of my weird, wacky, stories with you all. There is just so much to look forward to in this new decade.

Much love to you all, and a great year!

“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Thirteen, Part One

I’d like to say that a board was produced and, medieval style, they began playing around with little pawns on a map. That would have made things so much easier to understand. Instead, well, they began a long list of the heavenly realms that were resisting appointing Bella as their head, or at least as their champion. Some were even doubling down on visitations to the incarnate realm to try and maintain worshiper loyalties!

“That’s just cheap,” sighed one demon. “They’ve lost and they know it. Their era is over.”

The goddess who had brought up the topic had more to say though. “They’ve invited you for a peace talk. I’m afraid they might have something up their sleeve though.”

“Why?” Bella frowned. “It’s scheduled to happen on their holiest lands. They would never fight there.”

My stomach lurched, and I felt a cold shiver run through me. Or would they?

“Yhwh is desperate, and his pantheon is reeling. They are losing power, and fast. They are desperate and may act out rashly!”

But Bella shook her head. “They won’t dare attack me.”

Lucifer smirked for just a second, then covered his lips with his fingers to hide it.

“The whole trinity will be there, and all the angels. The entire rebellions’ forces will be together,” the goddess insisted.

“We could use this opportunity to wipe them out,” Lucifer drawled, lounging back in his chair. “That would be the smartest. We just have to execute the godheads, and the rest will fall into line. It would be a good lesson for anyone trying to oppose us.”

Bella frowned. “No,” she said crossly. “We can’t be the first to attack. I don’t want to do that.”

I almost laughed out loud. No better reason, Bella? Just ‘I don’t want to’? Really? It was childish and probably a show of strength over Lucifer’s idea, which frankly sounded smarter.

The council hesitated. Eyes flickered to Lucifer as if for leadership. Murmurs arose, one goddess faintly saying “But if we could kill them all,” only to let her own voice peter out when Bella looked at her.

Wow. What a council. Such debate. Such – toe licking on their part. Everyone seemed intent to stay on Bella’s good side. Normally, I would have expected Lucifer to put up a stink and demand his idea go forth and conquer, but no. He slunk back in his chair and watched the scene quite smugly. I was in awe.

Even Lucifer was in Bella’s pocket? Really? Wow.

The council lasted the whole day, and we returned to Bella’s home in the incarnate realm after that. She promptly passed out in bed, snuggling against me like I was her favorite pillow. My mind reeled. Everything today just felt like too much. The entire world was changing. Kingdoms were crumbling and I – was being used by a pillow by the most powerful person in this universe. It felt ridiculous, it felt stupid. I’d brought all this about, just by being me. By being reckless with her. My thought crowded and reeled, and the room darkened with the night.

Then, as the moonlight shone into the curtains, the voice returned to me.

“Are you ready, Chaos?”

I slowly sat up. Disentangled myself from Bella’s grasp. She didn’t even move. Then I crept to the window and looked out.

“Yes?” I whispered so softly I barely heard it myself.

“Tomorrow is the day. Are you ready to fight?”

“Yes,” I thought as hard as I could, mouthing it to the moon. Out in the courtyard, a murder of crows were sitting, watching me. There was about a dozen of them, and they all looked grouchy.

“Tomorrow, we need you to be our inner hand,” the voice intoned. “Be -”

I jumped so hard as Kuryo’s hand landed on my shoulder. I stifled my own yelp. He tilted his head to the side, a tense smile on his face.

“What are you doing?” he whispered.

I didn’t answer, not sure what to say.

He shook his head, amused but scolding. “Who are you talking to?” Then he glanced around. “There’s no spirit here.”

Well, uh, good point. How was anyone talking to me then? But I brushed that part aside. Maybe getting Yhwh’s blood all over me had made some sort of link between us. “Look,” I whispered. “Tomorrow is going to be a blood bath. Will you be safe?”

He nodded, his hand stroking my shoulder soothingly. “I’ll just perch somewhere and wait it out. It’ll be okay. Relax.”

I tried to smile but it was a terrible failure. Out through the window, those crows were still there, watching from all across the backyard. “Those your friends?” I asked, trying to change topic.

He chuckled. “Maybe. Are you my friend?”

I looked at him, jarred by the light-hearted question. “Maybe,” I muttered, those eyes looking straight through me.

He smiled, and it was so different than Bella’s. Precious. True. Intense a little. My heart did a silly flip-flop in my stomach. His fingers ran down my chin.

“Would you like a kiss?” he asked under his breath.

“Yeah,” I said weakly, not really believing I’d get one. But I did, and it was sweet. Our arms wrapped around the other – and he abruptly drew back.

“Just,” and he drew the curtain beside us shut, shutting out the night – and the crows. There were disappointed caws and cackles from outside.

I chuckled awkwardly. Heh heh. Look, him and I were alone now. I was half expecting him to suddenly morph or change personality. But he didn’t.

Instead he took my hand and led me to the blanket where he had been sleeping. It was as far away from Bella as we could be without leaving the room. There, we nestled down together with the blanket around us. I closed my eyes and pressed against him, focusing on his warmth and steady breathing and forgetting about the world.

The End of Chaos as We Know It! \O.O/

So, I was laying in bed last night, daydreaming about my novels (as authors do when they’re bored and/or insomniac) and  I was all “Yes, hmmm this and that happens next” and then I was all “Oh yeah, that too, which means X and Y, which then… means Bla.” “Bla”, in this case, being the end of Chaos’s story. Which HOLY SHIT -> means the end of the story is nigh if it all unfolds that way!

Now, brace yourself. Things do not usually unfold the way I dream them up (otherwise there would be much more porn in this story and much less random shenanigans. It would be boring, really!). But if they DO -> it’s the end of Chaos’s story. Which, by the way, there were no signposts or warnings telling me that it was about to happen. I was as shocked as you probably are. I mean, I thought I had a whole other novel to crank out with Chaos, but – no? Maybe not? This might be the end in the next few writing sessions!

Why am I telling you this? Well, because if it shocked me, as the writer, I was worried that too abrupt of an ending might shock you, the readers. After all, I usually gauge my tension level in a book by how far in I am to the ending, and take the last few pages left as a sort of warning. But here there is no last few pages, there is just your trust in me not dropping the ball and leaving you all hanging. And to be honest, I found it hard to face the ending of this novel. It was quite the shock in the middle of the night to realize the story might actually almost be over! So, I worried that it might be a bigger shock to anyone out there who was in a fragile state while reading.

Don’t worry, it’s not a horrendous ending. I actually kind of think of it as a happy, albeit twisted, kind of ending. That is, if everything goes as it plans in my head. Which it may very well not, by the way.

So, consider this a fair warning! The story may or may not be nearing its end. Chaos and Kuryo are very much in charge of that, as well as one other character who has been very active behind the scenes (oh, who is it? Suspense!)!

And, really, don’t worry. I have another  very strange story that I really want all of your feedback on, so I’d be posting that here if Chaos’s story does end. I should also be editing Kuryo’s but eh, editing is so boring and I just never get around to posting it unless I’ve just written it! Anyways, there will be plenty of stories either way 🙂

Finally, my wife just taught me that you can scan your sketches in ‘black and white’ mode, which completely gets rid of two problems I was having with my drawings and thereby blew my mind. So, behold! Another sketch of Kuryo for your pleasure.

While drawing this, I thought that if I was to give my characters passive-aggressive  names, I’d definitely call Kuryo ‘not as stupid as he seems’. The dude is wiser than Chaos (whose name might me ‘more clueless than they seem’) by miles, that’s for sure, and I really like how his character has matured from the beginning of “Dreaming of Lights”. Anyways, I will hopefully be posting another chapter of Chaos’ story tonight, so look forward to that!

kuryo bw1.jpeg

“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Twelve Part Two

The next morning, just as the vampires got dozy and started complaining about wanting to nap, the sun rose. Crack!, went the dawn. Moo, went the cows somewhere on the horizon (I guess?) and ba-dang! Someone dropped something in the kitchen.

Bella sat up in her bed, startled awake. Kuryo woke too, but barely moved. He was watching Bella with dark eyes as if gauging what to do next.

I, innocent as could be, was sitting in the windowsill and pretending to be, you know, just sitting. Which I really was doing. But I was also thinking. And wondering. And thinking. But also realizing that I was part of the hive (maybe?) and so I shouldn’t think too loudly.

“What are you up to?” Bella asked, sweeping from bed to just sit on the edge of it, facing me.

I looked around and shrugged. “Sitting. Thinking.”

“I can hear that,” she said nastily.

Oh, ouch. uh-

“Stop thinking, and come here,” she said, reaching out a hand and beckoning me.

My heart did a stupid flip-flop. Aww, she wanted to see me. I slid from the window and padded over. Our fingers twined together and she looked happily up at me. “I’m happy you’re here,” she murmured, tugging me closer. “I missed you.”

Giddy butterflies rose in my stomach. Yayyy my Queen loved me, I couldn’t help but think. She twisted my hand a little and nodded to the floor. “Kneel for me,” she whispered.

I did, because I was happy and she was being kind and hey, wasn’t I supposed to just do what she wanted? It was surprisingly easy right then.

Bella tousled my hair with a grin, then cupped my chin and kissed me. I was happy. For a moment I liked to think that everything would be okay.

But of course it wouldn’t be. Bella grinned and pushed me aside with a foot, enjoying seeing me as disposable. As a plaything. I can’t say it wasn’t fun, but… it stung too, because it wasn’t just a game. It was real to her.

She left for a shower, and I stayed sitting on the floor. I didn’t see a point in moving, not until Kuryo appeared by my side.

“Hey,” he said, crouching down beside me. “You okay?”

I nodded, looking down at my lap. I mean, I wasn’t hurt, was I? It’s not like I’d been punched in the face or anything. But Kuryo put an arm around me. “It’s going to be alright,” he murmured. “I’ll find something.”

I looked at him from the corner of my eye. Should I tell him? Probably not. Bella’s hive – was he part of it? Was I? I wasn’t sure. Death messed around with connections like that.

“Come on, get up,” he said, pulling on my arm. “Don’t stay on the floor.”

I let him tell me what to do. Come to think of it, everyone was telling me what to do… I guess I felt spineless. I guess I just – wanted some direction to life?

I was sitting listlessly on the bed when Bella surfaced from the bathroom, all clean and fresh for the day. Kuryo was sitting beside me, rubbing my arms and trying to cheer me up. I just felt blah.

“Hey lovebirds,” she sneered. “Come along.”

And we followed her. Downstairs and out the front door, to where a portal was waiting. It filled the air with the stench of sulfur and sparkles emanated from it. So it went to Lucifer’s part of hell, I supposed.

Bella seized a hand of both Kuryo and me, and, with a curt nod to the overseeing vampires, dragged us after her into the portal. Whoopee.

For a second I was terrified that she was bringing us somewhere humiliating. That was my first fear, before realizing that I should be more worried about getting myself tortured for havign sneezed in her direction or something dumb like that.

On the other side of the portal, we were unceremoniously shoved forward. I stumbled as the ground rose up to me, and Kuryo caught me. How come he was always on his feet? I briefly wondered if he had psychic wings or something that held him up.

Then Bella called out, her voice just a pitch shrill. “Look what I found!”

And we looked up. And around. There was a whole council. Demon overlords, one wind god whose name I couldn’t remember, several goddesses who looked out for vengeance, and, of course, Lucifer.

Lucifer who, like a drama queen seeing her favourite dish come forward, applauded slowly. Bella strutted forward to take her space at the head of the table. “I also found a jade dragon and a golden one.”

The council oohed and ahhed. Some even applauded for real. I stood, mind reeling. Yeah, okay, so she had a war council. That was to be expected. So – she’d decided to come parade us like little trophies. Also to be expected.

“You know, they’re not just going to do what you ask of them. They’re not yours,” Kuryo snapped sharply.

Bella smirked his way. “You’re really naive.”

Kuryo’s face darkened. And uh, naive wasn’t a word I’d apply to him. Just – for some reason.

“Well, congrats darling,” cooed Lucifer. “You’re doing fabulously.”

Bella beamed, truly proud of herself.

Conversation struck up. Kuryo and I were shooed to a corner near Bella by servants who rushed around serving preferred beverages. Details were ranted about and I pretended not to be paying any attention while trying to soak it all in. Just in case I could relay any and all of it to the rebellion.

As things stood, Bella had nearly captured all of North America. South America had already fallen. Some heathen parts of Europe were still resisting – but her religion was spreading fast as an official religion.

“Even the penguins are worshiping you,” Lucifer added snidely – and I couldn’t tell if he was serious or not.

Then, the topic came up. “We need to speak of the rebellion,” one goddess announced.

“Dreaming of Lights” Chapter Two Part Three and Four

Onwards, always onwards. Yet now- the walls were awake. The doors held shimmering shapes that laughed and danced to a thrumming that was not unlike music yet quite wasn’t. And once we had passed them- they swooped down to attack our backs.

I whirled to face them, lifting my arms and transforming as I leapt into the air.

It was a perfect shielding pose. My arms turned to stone that writhed toghether in a peiced disk. One foot remained balanced on the floor and the rest of me was suspended between, mid-way stone and mid-way person.

The first attack landed square on my disk. Before the second blow could land a familiar hand snatched at my handle in the middle of my back. As I was lifted I was flicked to whirl fully into a shield that could cover master from head to toe. In a dull thud-thud-thud, the ethereal blows rained down on me senselessly.

In this state, I could not see but I had come to sense what was happening about me. That whirring of ehtereal that slid around me from behind? That was master’s sword doing its dance. The bursts before me were the strange beings being slain and dismembered, bursting like glittering fireworks.

Then, in a toss, I was thrown in a backwards spin. It dismembered me piece by piece so I landed on my four feet in cat form.

I must admit, the first few times I’d seen myself as this I’d sat and adored myself. A pitch little black cat, I had magnificent fur three inches long and glowing green eyes. I was beautiful.

But now, I ran at master’s side as we dashed forward. We moved as one, our shadows mingling as we darted between swooping creatures that dashed for our backs. Again I was forced to leap up to cover him, smashing another ethereal monster from stabbing him through the back. Again, our dance repeated. I was twirled, used, and thrown again to his side. This time, I was in human form with my dagger in hands to help him. Proud, I defended his side as best I could. It was very good. He left me his entire back and right side, not even looking there so much he trusted me.

But we were not here to clean house, metaphorically speaking. Only once the monsters (‘beings of alternative ethereal form’, he would have scolded me) thinned, I was snatched up again by the handle that appeared to his touch, and we darted forward. He left me in human-with-feline-abilities form, running with my daggers at his side. And that was when he repeated the old adage. For my master, every moment was a teaching moment. I loved it.

Do you remember why we hold each other?” he asked as we skidded into another turn. Here the orange abruptly ended, and with it all the creatures that lived within its light.

It doubles our power,” I said like a dutiful student, proud as could be.

Yes,” he said with the faintest of smiles.

And now, we drew to a stop. Our feet were on a fine line, the smallest area of respite possible. It was the blissful dark, the area between one light’s conquered land and another’s. It was about a foot long. Before us was another triple choice. Yellow, red, and blue. Immediately within the blue’s corridor was another giant painting on the walls. This one was clearly already awake and thriving, throbbing with wet desire.

Master heaved a sigh. “We take blue,” he said firmly. It surprised me. Blue was master’s skill, his best color to fight. Why was he already choosing it? It was then I saw the slightest hint of worry creases around his eyes. The slightest furrow was visible in his brow.

But I was not worried. Flush with confidence in him I reminded myself of times I’d seen those worry creases on him before. We had survived, hadn’t we? It had been difficult, but it had been won. So when he stepped forward, I followed with head high and confidence.

The blue light was so pure it seemed white. The walls thrived like a bee’s nest, waves crashing alongside their inked supple lines- and the spirit jumped at us.

It was a whirling battle. I was lifted, dashed against a head, then tossed to land on its back with all claws out. Here, in this realm, cat claws tore the ethereal better than any dagger. With screaming howls the monster thrashed. Master sliced at its head, then its other head and other. I distracted like needles in the back, jumping and clawing- and very nearly being eaten by another head.

Jump! Shield!” Master ordered and I did without knowing why. In a leap I whirled into full shield form in the air. The head dashed against me so swiftly it almost entered through my transformation. But I had been fast enough and it smashed into my flat side. I was sent whirled- then was caught by strong hands.

Set on my two feet, I jumped for action- but was pulled forward by the shoulder. Glittering water lay around us, inked and drooling across the floor. “Hurry,” master snapped. We rushed on.

On and on we plunged. The blue swiftly faded from view, its doors not daring to attack us after defeating its living master. Slowly, as it died, the blue faded. The light now glowed from bulbs that blinked and watched- white and seemingly harmless.

Up and up we went up stairs that reminded me of apartment buildings in worlds gone by. We exited into a hallway that was once again lit by white- and master took my shoulder. Why did he want our powers doubled? I never had the chance to ask.

He lifted his sword in a deflection, and a spirit crashed against it. “They’re invisible!” he barked, and I saw with horror that he was true. A glimmer here- a gaunt shape there- I shielded with one foot on the ground just in time to save myself from a stab through the gut. The moment that blade crashed off me I saw another glimpse behind master’s back as he was parrying to the front. I leaped behind him to shield, shield, shield- that seemed to be all I could do. Dance and shield as invisible blows rained around us, one even dashing against my granite back and tingling up my spine. Then I was snatched up. “Run!” Master barked as he threw me before him. I landed on all fours and darted, too small to be caught. There was a slicing hiss of master cutting his way forward, and a corner rounded to me. Beyond was blissful darkness.

In a bolt and a leap that felt like three heartbeats of eternity, I was landing and skidding through pitch black. My heart pounded in my throat. Crashes and hissing of ‘alternative monsters ‘, or whatever they were called, resounded as they struck the darkness in pursuit and died. Master’s thick silver-plated boots stepped next to me. He crouched down next to me. Now his armor gleamed all over him.

Don’t ask me how he does that. The armor, much like the sword, was magic to my eyes. It was just there one minute and gone the next. He’d tried to explain it once, but I had groaned and buried my head in a pillow. He’d laughed and said “alright, it’s magic” just that once.

And just this once, he crouched down to scratch my head. “Well done,” he said softly. I purred loudly and rubbed against his hand, as content as could be. As I opened my eyes I saw his smile, his glowing blue eyes, and I couldn’t have been happier or more proud. He too, seemed so happy. Then he looked up to what was waiting before us.

Do you remember what happens if I let go of you during a transformation?” he asked softly, almost absent-mindedly while peering ahead.

I rolled my eyes and transformed into two-legged form. His hand slid from my head to rest on my shoulder. “I get sent home,” I said dully.

M-hm,” he said, making me wonder if he was even listening. I smiled, taking the moment as a chance to admire his features. His sharp nose. His full lips. Then I looked ahead to see what he saw.

To my eyes, there was nothing. Not even light. Just- an absence of darkness. One could see beyond, but it was as if by starlight I supposed. Or moonlight, that soft glow that illuminates but isn’t quite there. That’s what it was, but wasn’t quite. What it was, was our final goal.

Come,” he said as he straightened and strode forward. I followed, silent and (I hoped) lethal.

As we stepped into the non-visible light, it took a breath around us. The air rushed away from us, sucked into unseeable lungs- then was exhaled in a seething hiss.

God morning,” it cooed.

It’s night,” master said flatly, reaching to pick me up. I whirled int a shield, and was tossed before him. With a dash I crashed against someone’s head. A scream burst as I was snatched by claws and torn apart, my shield self being forced to dismember and reverse transform into limbs and then furry limbs that could slip through their grasp.

Shrieking, I landed on all four paws and, well, ‘regrouped’ to say it gracefully. I dashed between master’s legs and braced myself behind him. “What is this?” I asked over his shoulder as I braced with shields up- and winced at the pain. I could hardly shield now.

It’s it,” he said calmly.

Well, ‘it’, was slavering and shrieking softly, hissing and clambering over walls with nails scraping- a metallic thud could be heard. Then another. Was that it’s feet? I thought I saw a claw- but then I didn’t see it.

Do you remember what I said?” master asked so calmly.

About not letting go?” I asked nervously. Why was he bringing that up now?

Yes, good.” he said, and as I glanced over my shoulder I saw him looking back with the slightest of smiles. “Now come here. You’re wounded, aren’t you?”

Y-yes?” I said, stepping backwards then turning with my arms out. Between the stone creases there was blood. Our eyes met again. A silent understanding passed, a sort of recognition of our bond. “You’ve done well,” he said gently. Then, abruptly, “Shield!”

I leapt into the air, spinning to follow his eyes. A claw gouged against me, scraping against my surface and catching in the crack it had created. With a rip I was torn open, forcing to un-shield again.

Shield!” Master shouted, snatching me up from behind. Again I regrouped, again I was dashed against a head. A claw snagged around me rim and flipped me from his grasp and I twirled freely in the air- and was snatched up again. “Cat!”

I transformed just in time to see him leaping up into the air, sword striking- and his hand leaving me mid-way.

It is common knowledge that cats travel the easiest through the realms. No matter the wounds, no matter the distance, cats do it best. It was also common knowledge that no master would let their shields get seriously harmed. It was a pact between worlds that the shields would always be returned- even if that left the master to die alone.

With that thought in mind, I sat up in a bed with heart pounding. Master’s name was on my lips – but the world here would not recognize it. Around me was four plain walls, flat and adorned with posters. My bed was a mat that unrolled, a green comforter spread across my legs. A fluffy pillow had been under my head. The scent was sickeningly familiar. Home.

No, no, no,” I muttered as I took in my old room. “Why did you send me back?” Standing, I looked down at myself. I was wearing a checkered sleep shirt and baggy pants. The floor boards were cool under my bare feet as I stepped to my desk in search of some note.

It was filled with memorabilia that had once meant so much to me. Notes from the day before I was taken. ‘you can do this!’ a cheery cat waved at me from a large post-it I’d stuck on a board beside my lamp. Now, I didn’t care for them. What had my master done?

I sccrambled through my desk but found nothing. Jerked open drawers filled with old school assignments and found them layered with dust. Searched my pockets and found I had no pockets. Turning back to the bed I rummaged through it, shakign out the comforter and lifting the pillows- nothing.

Finally, I turned to the door. Gulping, I slowly walked to it. My breath drew short as I closed in on it. What would be on the other side? This whole world that I had once called home, still unchanged like the rest of this room? Or was master sitting downstairs with mother, calmly retelling our adventures to soothe her nerves? I paused, the very air feeling suspended as my fingertips brushed the door’s handle.

It opened on its own, revealing mother. Mother who had aged, grown almost ten years’ worth of wrinkles and grey hairs and a strained smile. “Darkling,” she said, and even her voice bore the strain of these years.

Mother,” I said, shocked and terrified by these changes in her. It made her seem stiff, awkward, and unwholesome. Then the words just blurted out of me. “Why am I here? Where is my master?”

Mother’s smile kept that stiffness. She hated speaking of the pacts. “You are home now,” she said softly.

Why? When am I going back? My time is not over!” I had another five years before master and I unbound and chose our ways! Then- then I was bringing him home! I had promised to show him our golden gates that mirrored his! We- we had so many plans!

But mother’s smile shattered all that. “You are home now. It’s over.”

My hand fell from the door’s handle. “He’s dead?” I heard myself saying.

Mother smiled and her eyes twinkled eerily. “You’re home, safe.”

Like any good master would do. The shield returns home, always.

I sat down on my bed and cried. Mother shut the door.

A Request for Help?

No, no, I don’t need your money! My problem is that I’m not really well organized, and lack the motivation to keep myself consistent. And, thanks to someone’s perky attention, I realized that, yeah, I let “Dreaming of Lights” fall to the wayside, along with other stories (Ranger, cough cough!).

So, while reading Olivia’s lovely encouraging comments, a thought struck me. I wanted to reach out to her about this, then, but decided I would make a blog post about it to give everyone a chance to participate.

You see, writing is a solitary thing, but I love the social aspect of sharing my story with y’all. That, I think, is why ‘My Name is Chaos’ has been so successful and actually gotten itself written! It’s because of my lovely readers who give me input and motivation!

So, does anyone out there feel like helping me out? I would need help editing ‘Dreaming of Lights’, as well as setting myself up realistic publishing goals and steps (like, do the book cover when for which book). If someone is trying to establish themselves as a writer, looking to build each other up through our social media and sharing of mutual skills, or just wants to pitch in to help, that’d be great! If you happen to know someone trustworthy too, feel free to pass the message along. 🙂 This would be a great opportunity for anyone trying to get their feet wet in the writing world.

I especially need people who are: understanding of mental health issues (as I can cave in to anxiety quite often!),patient, quite flexible, and would work well in a group (hopefully we’ll be more than two brainstorming this together!). Artists of all sort and fellow writers welcome!

So say you or someone is interested, what do you do next? Well, start by emailing me at mdaoust245@gmail.com with a list of what you are skilled at, and how you would like to pitch in (including how much time you’d like to devote to the project, as well as what you’d like in return [more social media visibility? Featured blog posts?]). If possible, I will then make us a facebook group to chat and pitch ideas around in. If that doesn’t work I will try… something else? I’m sure y’all will have fabulous ideas if facebook doesn’t work out 🙂

I’m really looking forward to your thoughts and ideas ❤

“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Twelve, Part One

That night when we returned to the house, Aaliyah and Jade were nowhere to be seen. But, as promised, digging began nearly immediately for my body in the backyard. Bella kept our hands entwined as if she was afraid I’d run off somewhere. The moon was high, thin clouds wisping across the sky and blotting out stars here and there, and the temperatures were dropping what felt like ‘pretty far’, but which everyone assured me was actually ‘not so bad’.

Fuckin’ cold, I thought to myself as we shivered and stood around as my body was being dug up. Bella was insisting that it would be therapeutic for me to see my body dug up. “Jung would approve,” she said as if that solved it.

I bit my tongue and tried to keep silent.

Because, for the life of me, I still had no plan. Was I going to pitch myself dedicatedly to Bella’s side like a piece of used chewing gum? Was I going to bide my time and wait for a good opportunity? Was I going to try and flee pronto?

It was only when the body was being lifted up out of the ground by several disgruntled vampires when I got the feeling something was wrong. Maybe it was me picking up on Kuryo’s unease. Maybe it was me picking up on Bella’s trademarked nasty smile. Or maybe it was me thinking more than a step ahead.

“Bella,” I said cautiously, turning to look at the smug bug in a rug beside me.

“you should call me mistress,” she said, lifting her chin just enough. I bit back on a savage comment.

“Mistress,” I muttered under my breath, trying to remember to be polite. This could be important. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

She lifted her mug of hot cocoa to her lips. A sip later, she looked me up and down. “You should be on your knees. I don’t like to see you standing so much.”

Oh, come on. I pretended I didn’t hear that. “If I go back into my body, what will happen to Kuryo’s body? Won’t it die?”

Bella’s eyebrows shot up exaggeratedly. Was she actually that shocked, or was she making fun of me? Making fun of me. “Oh my,” she said tartly. “Why didn’t I ever think of that?”

I looked down at the squishy mud mixed with snow between our boots.

“Did you really think I was going to believe that whole ‘voice of god’ shit?” she asked savagely. “I know he’s there. So don’t worry, unless he runs away like a little chicken, he’ll be just fine.”

So my body wasn’t a gift. It was her way of forcing Kuryo to show himself again.

“Did you just cue into that?” sighed the voice in my head of said person. I wanted to punch someone.

An icy wind whipped up, as if on cue. Bella huddled into her jacket and I hugged myself. It was so cold. She had mittens and a cute woolen hat on, and I had neither. Bugger it all, I wished to go home. For once, I was wishing.

“There we go!” A cry went up from the vampires and, ugh, there I was.

Bella shoved her mug at a vampire that was in the way and marched over. I followed gingerly. I guessed I would be needed. I was wrong.

First, three vampires slit their wrists and practically gushed blood all over the corpse. Which, yeah, I just tried not to look at it. Then, as magical vampires power did its thing, Bella just turned to me and said “Hop in.”

I looked at her like she was a dunce. No ritual? No preparation of the body and blessing and cleansing? No? Just – hop in?

Bella scowled. “Get, your soul, back in there! You can shower afterwards!”

I looked down. I mean, really looked down at the body. The light of the moon is softer, they say. Makes things look romantic, they say. Well fuck ’em. My body was chewed up, blood-splattered, and stinking. Could I take a hard pass?

“I don’t know how,” I fibbed, which wasn’t entirely untrue. Kuryo was the body-surfer. Not me. I just – no.

One look around, and the vampires looked totally fed up. Bella was, uh, extra unamused. Like, if the vampires were ten on a scale of unimpressed, Bella was a twenty.

“Conan,” she ordered sharply. “Put Chaos back in her body.”

I pressed my lips together. There was no answer from the back of my mind. Bella continued, not waiting. “If you don’t, I’ll kill this body and you’ll both die.”

I gulped. O-kay. Kuryo?

There was a pause. I looked around, desperate.

“Fine,” Kuryo sighed in the back of my mind. “Just – fine.”

With a pulse I popped out of the body. Just like -that- and I was out in the cold and open, then – Squish! Stuck in my yucky body.

And did it every feel yucky. Despite the vampire blood that had been doused over it, my body was stiff, cold, full of dried-up blood, and really, really, dirty. Imagine going from a nicely showered moment, and having to plunge into that.

Also I was out of air, and there was still a stake through me.

I gagged, gasped, limbs moving in jerky movements as I tried something, anything, to get air into me and pain out of me. It hurt like hell and I was freshly on my way to dying again when Bella stooped over me. There was a cruel smile to her, and she yanked the stake out of me.

Instead of blood gushing out, magic poured out like ripples of hot air → and I healed. In a rush of warmth my blood coursed, air got into me, and my hinges were greased. I jerked to a sitting position, choking on a clump of dirt in the back of my throat, blinking at the scene around me.

There was the vampires, a smirking Bella, but my eyes went to beyond, where there was Kuryo. His arms were crossed over his chest and he had on such a fed-up expression. I want to say ‘me too man, me too’. But I was too busy breathing air. Too busy looking around. Too busy being in the mess I created.

Bella offered me a hand. I took it, knuckles cracking and popping as I gripped her hand. Then I was on my feet. The world was fresh, the world was cool to the heat of my freshly awakened skin. Again, I couldn’t help but look to Kuryo. Something, something, was clicking in my mind. But I didn’t know what. Maybe that we were both in this mess together? Trapped, and we were the only things we had left? Or maybe the air hadn’t gotten to my brain fast enough.

Whatever. The magical ritual was over, I was alive and breathing, and that was that. We all trooped back inside, me tagging silently along after Bella like a little puppy dog. Kuryo came in last, grudgingly following everyone else in.

That night was when shit got screwy. I showered, plucked the worms from my hair, bla bla bla, and went to bed. Bella was already asleep like a rock, Kuryo was curled up with a blanket on the floor, and I found my side of the bed in the dark.

I tried my hardest to fall asleep. Counted flaming sheep, thought of nothing, did the whole deep breathing thing. Nothing. Guess my body didn’t need the rest. Whatever. I got up. And that’s when it happened.

“Chaos,” said a voice.

I spun around. No one. Spun again. No one. Was I losing it?

“Chaos, it’s the Lord. The god you defeated dishonorably, and so spilt the blood of the heavens upon the earth.”

Okay, that dramatic? Certainly him.

“What do you want?” I hissed, looking around. I stalked to the window and drew back the thick curtain just a crack. It seemed to make the transmission clearer.

“I want to tell you something,” the voice intoned.

I looked around again, nervous. What if Bella heard? Was I going to be in trouble, again?

“Don’t worry, she is fast asleep,” said the voice calmly. “Chaos, an uprising is being staged. Balance needs to be returned to the realms. This cannot go on. The spirit realms are not meant to be merged with the incarnate ones. Worse, she is about to launch an attack on the Pure Lands – she must be stopped!”

Gee, wonder who thought of that? Uhm, everyone? But still, I fidgeted and watched the bed for movement. My heart was beginning to sledgehammer in my throat. What if I was caught?

“We need your help,” said the voice steadily. “Are you ready to help?” and there was a dramatic pause. My ears were ringing and my heart was doing somersaults in my chest.

I took one final look at the figure in the bed. My first true love, my torturer. I turned my back on her and whispered to the moon “Yes.”

“Excellent,” said the voice after the slightest of pauses. “Be prepared. We will send you signals when the time comes for your actions. Until then, do nothing to rouse her suspicions. Nothing at all.”

“How long will this be?” I hissed, one eye on the bed behind me.

“Not long,” the voice crooned. “Not long at all.”

And that was that.

I really couldn’t sleep after that.

“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Nine Part Two

It was magic like I had never seen before. There were no sparks flying, no magic rippling through the air like heatwaves. In fact, there was – nothing? They were just sitting there before the table, meditating and breathing deeply.

I coughed. Aaliyah glared at me from the corner of an eye.

“Done yet?” I asked sourly. This was boring as all hell.

Jade opened her eyes with a sigh. Aaliyah opened both her eyes and met Jade’s gaze. “I know what to do,” Aaliyah said flatly. “We have all the ingredients.”

“Ritual magic?” I asked hopefully. I missed the sparks and fun of magic, okay? I wanted to see… something other than two people meditating for half an hour.

Jade nodded. Then they both looked at me.

“Come here,” said Aaliyah, gesturing to the space between her and Jade. Jade offered a sympathetic smile. “We’re going to do a basic return spell.”

“You guys, Bella is going to be squealing for me back in no time. Just wait and I’ll be out of your hair.”

Aaliyah’s dark eyes narrowed dangerously. “Get here,” she ordered, pointing to the floor beside her.

Rolling my eyes I made my way over. Which was pretty painful, come to think of it. Getting up and down from the chair was pretty hard.

Once I was plopped down onto the floor, wishing for something to rest my back on for the life of me, the two of them took a hand of mine each. Instantly I felt magic course through me. The energy was nearly overwhelming.

In a rush, I realized two things. One: I had seriously underestimated these two. Two: Kuryo had badass friends who were willing to go get him back, and I was insanely jealous of this fact.

The world slipped away from us. We were floating through stars and wisp-like worlds that were like layers around us. But who was holding on to me?

I would have screamed if I could. There was an asian-styled dragon that was completely golden, and a jade colored western beefy dragon.

Two! Dragons! Two!

They seemed to know where they were going, flying together in sync as they soared past stars, through realms and – poof. We entered a world. The hot scent of beach filled my lungs as we crunched down in an all too familiar place.

“Oh hey!” said the orange-eyed woman who was standing on the sand in her sparkling suit. “So soon?”

I was thrust forward between the two women who were no longer dragons. “We’ve come to return this,” said Aaliyah tartly. “And we want Kuryo back.”

The orange eyed… goddess? Deity? Mega-important-spirit? Anyways, she grinned and looked to her partner, who was watching it all with an amused air. “All this traveling,” she said. “Something might get unbalanced somewhere.”

“We’re trying to fix it,” said Aaliyah, hand gripping my shoulder tightly. “We want Kuryo back home, where he belongs. Not this.”

There was a shadow of a smirk on the man, and a glowing smirk on the woman. She just couldn’t hide her glee, could she?

“Well, many happy returns then,” she said cheerfully with a clap of the hands. “Tell the loose one I say hi.”

“Lucifer?” I said.

“Yes, that one. Hi,” and she clapped her hands again. “Go now. You have our permission. But be careful. You never know what happens when you travel this much!”

There was a pause. Everyone waited on someone else to do something. Finally, looking around, Aaliyah spoke again. “You need to send us. We don’t have the powers to go there.”

“Oh!” and the woman laughed. “Yes, yes. Do go now. Ta-ta!” and she waved again.

The world lurched. I felt the sand rise up and bite me in the face – and the world turned black.

It was a slippery, different, kind of darkness. It felt – alive?

But then it was gone. Poof.

Wham! I landed on snow. Wind bit into me. Hands seized me and held me up and away from the snow as it careened around me.

When I felt my head settle, I realized that Aaliyah and Jade were standing still like boards, not at all affected by the transfer. Was that… because they were dragons?

Then I took a look around. This setting was becoming way, way, wayyyyyy too familiar.

This shitty victorian house must have been planted upon a portal or something. It was seeing more action now than it probably ever had in its whole life.

One by one, vampires came out of the house. At first one startled, and darted back in. Then the whole herd came out, sniffing and snarling like they were on their periods and had no chocolate. Behind them, bow in hand and scowl firmly on her face – Bella. The one and only.

Her face brightened at the sight of me. “Oh,” she crooned, walking forward. The vampires had formed a circle around us now. A werewolf was scuttling out of the house – Munch? – and those had guns.

Jade and Aaliyah gripped my shoulders. I cradled my stomach, still feeling like the victim in all of this.

Bella came to a stop before me. “Hello,” she said sweetly, chucking me under the chin. “Are you okay?”

I glared at her. Thankfully Aaliyah spoke, completely blowing everythign out of the water. “We’re here for Kuryo. The real one. Take this guy back and give us Kuryo. That is all.”

Bella looked at Aaliyah, then Jade, and she sniffed. It was very light, delicate, and I even wondered if she’d actually done it. But then she grinned widely.

“You must be his friends? Family?” she asked, looking from Aaliyah to Jade. “I’m really sorry about Kuryo. Why don’t-” and she looked around at her vampires. “Let’s take them in. It’s so cold out here. And you have no jackets, poor things.” And she waved for us to follow her.

“No!” I blurted, bracing my feet in the snow. I mean, yes it was cold. Yes I was freezing. But no to Bella being suddenly nice. This was a trap.

Bella gave me a petulant look. “Chaos, can you just -” and she sighed, looking to Aaliyah and Jade. “I’m sorry, but Chaos and I have backstory.” and she gave me a nasty look. “He’s my ex.”

“Oh?” Aaliyah asked, and I felt a tide turning somewhere.

“He was stalking me, and I had to have a guard in my bedroom to keep him out. Eventually he did break in and my guard, well, got angry and staked him.” Bella sighed and gestured at me. “So that’s why he’s mad at me. My bodyguard killed him. But,” she gave me a pointed look. “that wouldn’t have happened if you’d just left me alone. Instead of coming back three times!”

I gaped. Uh-oh, as the saying goes. It dawned on me that nothing I said would really help right then – but that didn’t stop me from trying. “You’re the freaky cult leader!” I burst. “You wouldn’t be where you are right now if I hadn’t helped you!” And then, before I could stop myself “I killed for you!” Those vampires hadn’t deserved to die, and Bella set me up for it!

Bella looked at me like I was a rabid wolf. She actually looked frightened, and took a step back. She shook her head, visibly upset. “They were my friends! You were just jealous – you know what, maybe you should just stay out here.” Then, to Aaliyah and Jade she said “You two can come in but, I’m sorry, he’s going to have to stay outside.”

I gaped, feeling I’d just fallen through a trapdoor in the floor -> onto a pile of stakes.