Welcome to Circlet School ~ Chapter Two Part One

Put up wards, she said. It will be fine, she said. Well, fuck no!

I’d set up my shrine, as any good pagan will do. I then prayed to the Goddess and God and asked them to protect my room from oogie boogie activity. Then, even though I was exhausted, I sprinkled salt all around my room. So far, it seemed good. Sure, the window looked cold and menacing, but a curtain would surely fix that.

I went to bed damned and determined to be positive about this venture. Sure, the place was haunted. But we were Wiccans! That shouldn’t be a problem. Witches unite! What good were we if we constantly fled from supernatural activity?

This, I decided, was going to be a great venture. I put my head on the pillow, closed my eyes, and told myself that yes, all was going to be good.

And then the nightmares struck.

I was in a dark corridor in a school. Monsters crawled over the walls, hanging with caterpillar like bodies and moth like faces with wings for mouths. Wow, I thought, the children have grown.

I pushed a door, and entered a classroom. There, the seats were filled with monsters. Saliva drooling, axe-bearing, monsters. They watched me with fly-like eyes, their large bodies bulging from the seats.

Wow, I thought. Still not combing their hair, I see. What brats!

‘Brats’ stuck in my mind as I jolted awake.

Sitting up in bed, I looked around. What the hot fuckery was that? What the-?

My tiny room looked back at me. Suddenly, I was envious of the principal for having a service dog. Something alive to keep her company when she woke up.

I rolled out of bed and stood, stretching. What time was it? Was it too early? What had woken me up, aside from the nightmare?

Checking my cellphone, I found it to be six am. Fabulous. Just a tad bit early, but not too bad, really.

Trying not to sulk about the sleep I lost, I kneeled before my shrine for a moment of prayer. I closed my eyes and relaxed, focusing my thoughts on the God and Goddess, asking them for insight about the dream. A state of peace came over me and I felt revelations flowing to me, like a gateway was opening. I remembered the principal speaking about the residential school and-

It was brutally interrupted by a viking voice roaring “RAGNAROOOOOOK”.

Metal guitars chimed in and music began wailing from the room next to mine, then was silenced mid-riff.

“Sorry!” our residential viking’s voice called out. “Forgot to turn off my alarm!”

I wanted to slam my head against the wall. Alright, I was cranky now. Very cranky. I hated getting interrupted mid-prayer, mid-ritual, mid-sacred stuff.

Okay, okay. I tried to refocus. Ground, channel my thoughts, and focus on the God and Goddess. But my mojo was broken. I couldn’t stop thinking about Ragnarooooook. Ugh.

Giving up, I shed my sleep gear (not a onesie, normal respectable pajamas) and dressed in the first thing that touched my hand. Jeans and a plain black t-shirt. Then, in my socks, I walked out to go to the bathroom at the end of the hall.

In the hallway, I crossed paths with the principal walking away from the bathroom. She was in a long-sleeved shirt and pressed pants, and shoes. “Good morning,” we chimed in at each other, her in a steely voice and me drowsy. Then, over her shoulder, she called at me. “Shoes!”

Oh, goodness. I pinched the brow of my nose and fairly ran into the bathroom.

In the eating hall, half an hour later, I was sitting across a table from the ‘viking dude’.

“I’m so sorry about the alarm,” he said for the umpteenth time.

I chewed on that, deciding about hexing him or not. I’m joking. Of course I shouldn’t be hexing. Plus it was against the rules of this damned place.

“No problem,” I muttered before taking another bite of cereal.

“I’m really, so sorry,” he said.

“That alarm has got to go,” said Crystal as she dropped her tray down next to him. “Hi Thunder,” she said to me.

I grunted around my cereals.

The viking began apologizing again. Crystal nodded, propping her feet up on the bench beside me. Bare feet.

“You need shoes,” I said, gulping down my mouthful.

Crystal winked at me. “She won’t notice if I keep my feet up like this.”

That might have worked if the staff weren’t all congregating around the same table, being ours. Aurora arrived, the cook left the kitchen to come sit, and I found myself sitting in the middle of everyone with what looked like an empty spot beside me.

Once more, people introduced themselves. I began trying to keep track of names. Amethyst was the shawled woman – still wearing so much black and silver. Bjorn was the viking. Cheryl was the chef.

“Shoes,” announced the principal, seemingly appearing out of nowhere with her tray.

Crystal lowered her feet guiltily. The principal plopped her tray next to me, her corgi shuffling to lay down beneath her. The principal sat, straight-backed and cold of aura. Her hair was impeccable, there was a hint of eyeliner, and her lips were a sraight line.

I tried not to stare. She looked tired, but strict as ever. Butterflies did their thing in my stomach. I focused on my cereal, hoping not to spill them on myself.

Chatter resumed, somewhat quieter. Hahaha. As if.

“I had such bad dreams last night!” announced Amethyst tearfully for the whole world and the other ones beyond to hear. It would have been an excellent summoning.

The principal looked completely nonplussed as she buttered her toast.

“Those poor children! I couldn’t help but think of them all night-”

The principal opened a sachet of sugar and dumped it into her coffee.

One by one, voices chimed in. Most hadn’t slept well. All felt terrible for the ‘poor children’. The principal focused on her food, nodding as she listened.

“I dreamed I was teaching a class full of monsters,” I piped in.

“Hopefully not a prediction,” said the principal dryly, knocking twice on the wooden table.

“How can you say that?” wailed Amethyst. “Children have died and suffered here!”

I’m a teacher, I thought groggily. That’s why.

But I had to admit. Compared to everyone else’s overflowing sympathy, my dream was terribly badly placed.

“Ritual has been done,” said the principal crisply. “But if you feel more needs to be done, you are welcome to do so.” She nodded at the chef. “I’m sure there is enough salt in the kitchen for everyone to use-”

“Oh but we must use himalayan salt!” squeaked Amethyst. “And, you know, it’s supposed to sit on the altar for a moon’s cycle for it to be blessed!”

The principal’s face remained stoically neutral. “If you feel the need-”

“We should do a ritual!” Amethyst fanned her hands (and arms, and shawls) around herself as if to draw in everyone’s aura to her. “We must!”

Bjorn didn’t seem completely thrilled. We exchanged a look, but shrugged. Crystal was alert and nodding quickly. Farther down, the chef was captivated and Aurora seemed interested.

“The souls of these children need to be released!” wailed Amethyst.

The principal’s eyebrows rose, but she bit into her toast.

“Let me see, we will have to do a banishing of all negativity,” Amethyst said, looking up at the ceiling as if answers were written there. “We will have to invoke Demeter-”

“Evoke, I hope you mean,” said the principal starchly.

“Sorry?” said Amethyst, totally not sorry.

“You’re not allowed to bring a deity into yourself,” said the principal while stirring her coffee. “But you may summon, so that means evoking, not invoking.”

“Oh, yes,” said Amethyst feebly. But then she waved her arms and re-invigorated herself. “A banishing! What moon phase are we in?”

There was a rustle of phones being drawn out.

“Waxing,” someone announced.

Amethyst sighed loudly. “That will not do! We will have to wait for the waning!”

“Or you could just do it tonight,” said the principal. “The students will be arriving in three days, you don’t have much time to do this.”

“On a waxing moon?” Amethyst was gaping as if, well, as if someone had contradicted her.

“Some would say it doesn’t matter,” said the principal flatly.

“I agree,” chirped in the chef, Cheryl.

“If we raise enough energy, it should be fine,” said Crystal happily.

Amethyst was still gaping. “but the moon-”

“Or wait,” said the principal, standing. “but you all have three days before the students get here. I suggest you get your classes in order, as well as familiarize yourself with their names and faces. It’s all in the emails.”

The principal walked away, and something inside me sighed wistfully. But then she was out of the hall, and it was silent.

Amethyst was flustered. “I can’t believe she isn’t staying to help!”

“She probably still has plenty to do,” I mumbled. Like the rest of us, actually. This wasn’t going to be a cakewalk.

“But we have spirits here!” Amethyst’s eyes grew wide. “These poor children-”

“Well,” Bjorn leaned back in his chair, massive frame stretching his shirt out as he straightened. “Didn’t she say she’d already had the place cleansed? It can probably wait.”

I nodded at that.

But Amethyst did certainly not nod. “I feel like this is pressing. These children, all this pain- it is going to transfer into our school year if we are not careful!”

Crystal nodded empathetically. I sensed drama. Then came the kicker.

“I’ll write out the ritual,” said Amethyst with a haughty sniff. “I’m a high priestess, I can do that.”

I almost smacked my face with a palm. Oh, good gods. As if it took a special Goddess-given stamp to be able to write rituals. But okay, sure.

“In my coven,” began Amethyst, and my eyes wanted to glaze over.

But, as it turned out, most of us didn’t have covens. So everyone listened with rapt attention, thoroughly impressed or at least interested. I have to say, I was curious. I didn’t attend other rituals aside from those of my coven that often, and sometimes I found their going-ons to be thoroughly dramatic and binge-worthy.

Amethyst went on and on about how, in her coven this and in her coven that. “There must always be the high priest and the high priestess,” she went on so passionately. “Otherwise the whole ritual will be imbalanced and the whole energy will be just so off and-”

Okay, my eyes did glaze over for a few minutes there. Did she think we didn’t know any of this?

A foot nudged me under the table, drawing me out of my thoughts. The whole table was staring at me.

“Will you?” asked Amethyst.

I blinked, looking around. “What?”

Amethyst was leaning earnestly over the table, eyes glued to me. “Will you be the priest for the ritual?”

I looked to Bjorn, offering him with a palm. Look! Wayyyy more manly manly over there-> but he was shaking his head and leaning back with his beefy arms crossed over his chest. “I ain’t Wiccan,” he said cheekily. Then, for added victory (or to deal a death-blow to me maybe) he said “I’ve never led ritual.”

“He’s not even a first grade,” said Amethyst passionately. “You’re third grade, right? You can help me lead!”

Help her? Oh, good gods no. I looked down the table. Ah. Hah hah. Bjorn and I were the two only males here. “No one else male-identifying?” I asked hopefully, fishing out there for some trans or non-binary person to step forward and take the spot from me.

No such luck.

“We need a priest in order to bring balance to this out of balance place, so full of male toxicity-”

“Okay, I’ll do it,” I said, feeling it was my duty. Of course, I regretted it the instant I said it.

“Oh good!” Amethyst said dramatically. “We’ll have to wait for the full moon, of course, if not the waning, but I’ll write it out and get the material- and we will need to be thirteen, so she will have to be there-”

“What’s her name? By the way?” I asked suddenly.

All heads turned. “I forgot,” I said, feeling stupid. I knew her last name was on the contract somewhere, but I wanted to know her magical name.

Amethyst smiled forgivingly at me. “Sapphire. Her name is Sapphire.”

Oh, okay. Sapphire.

“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Fourteen

“So, what were you thinking?” Bella laughed as she stood before me.

I was sitting in the living room, curled on myself. Kuryo sat beside me, a hand on my shoulder. He’d brought me crackers and hot soup, but I had been puking bile and couldn’t keep anything down.

It hadn’t been god who had been speaking to me. It must have been someone from inside the hive, which explained how they could speak to me without a spirit being around. Had it been Bella? A demon spirit? Someone who just wanted the fight to break out?

Bella was spattered with blood, but seemingly fine. Her vampire horde had prevailed over the weakened forces, evidently. Without the Trinity, half the rebellions’ army had just lost its godhead. They were weakened and their power would have been draining away. Some might have even died with the Trinity.

I buried my head in my arms and squeezed my eyes shut. Bella laughed. “Good job, Chaos,” and she tousled my hair before marching away.

Snippet by snippet, news came to me. Vampires and even demon overlords came by and found it important to tell me what had happened. They seemed to think it had all been part of Bella’s plan, and they were honoring me for my… bravery? One demon even bowed to me. I could barely look up from my arms. I seemed to have lost the ability to move.

They had won. Bella was now the undisputed overlord of the sky and earth. And with that power…

“We will have our third portal tomorrow,” Bella cackled as she sat down in her comfy chair, mug in hand and cookie in the other. She propped her feet up on her pouf. “Your father will be there to open it for me.”

I looked blankly at Bella. She opened her eyes wide, making a shockingly amused face. “Tomorrow we are invading the Pure Lands.”

I buried my face in my arms. Kuryo kept massaging my arm and shoulder, but the day faded from me.

Somehow I got moved upstairs, walking dimly through the house with Kuryo guiding me. I showered, then curled up in a ball in Bella’s bed. She was busy celebrating with her buddies and vampires. I closed my eyes and wished I was dead. Tomorrow I’d even have to face my father. He’d see what a failure I’d become.

I couldn’t even find it in me to cry anymore. I was wrecked. I’d killed, again. I was such a pawn. So useless. So pointless.

I wallowed in my despair all day. I slept fitfully that night, not even noticing Bella come to bed. I did notice her waking me the next day however.

“Wake up wake up!” she cheered, bouncing over me and dragging the pillow out from under me. Then she smacked me with the pillow playfully. “Today is the day!”

I startled (understandably) but by the time I was sitting up she was already bounding away, laughing giddily into the bathroom.

Still confused, I looked around. My eyes met Kuryo’s, which were dark and grudging. I wondered why I felt so terrible. Like – and then it all came crashing back to me.

“No, no,” Kuryo said, probably seeing it in my face as I remembered everything. In a flash he was by my side, holding me up to keep me from curling into a tiny ball. “You’ve got to get up,” he hissed.

I looked tearfully up at him. I didn’t feel ready to do anything! I felt like such a wreck…

“Bella,” Kuryo glanced at the bathroom door, then back at me with warning lights in his eyes. “Wants you back on your feet.”

Bella began to sing (off-key). I looked pleadingly at Kuryo. “I can’t do this,” I whispered. “My father’s going to be there. I-”

Kuryo rattled me gently. “Come on,” he whispered. “Get up. You’ve got to.”

What did Bella say she’d do to me to get Kuryo like this? I sniffled but shook myself. I huddled myself. Then I swung my legs off the bed and got up.

Everything ached. My reflection was hunched, my eyes were puffy, and I looked like a train wreck, complete with smeared eyeliner.

A short stint in the bathroom fixed the eyeliner problem, but no amount of cold water on my face unhunched me or fixed my broken expression. I just was over.

Bella, however, was twirling and singing as she made her way through the house. Kuryo held my elbow and directed me around in her wake. Down the stairs, to the living room to a chair. Breakfast was offered to me – I ate a cracker or two and swallowed my tears – and then Bella was up on her feet. “Let’s go!” she cheered, clapping her hands and twirling on the spot like an overexcited child. I wanted to smack her. So did Kuryo, by the look on her face.

“Try another cracker,” he muttered at me.

“We don’t have time!” Bella snapped. “I want to go! Now!”

Kuryo stashed the cracker in his pocket and swallowed a comment. Again, he took me by the elbow and hefted me to my feet. Then towards the door –

“She can stand on her own,” snarled Bella as she put her coat on. “Don’t baby her!”

Kuryo wanted to stab her. Repeatedly. With something jagged and sharp. He let go of my elbow, nodding me towards my coat. I shuffled forward and got it myself.

It was okay. I could do this. I just wanted to curl up into a little ball and was fighting back tears but I could do this. Just – one step at a time. I just had to get my coat on.

I managed, though my hands were shaking and I felt like barfing all over the place. Tears swelled in my eyes, and then I thought of my father. What he’d be thinking of me.

Kuryo took me by the elbow again. Bella had turned her back and sauntered out of the house. “Come on,” he murmured.

Together, we followed in her wake.

Outside, the air was biting cold. It made my skin hurt. But it was nothing like the sickenign sight before me.

There was Bella, and there was a crowd of vampires and werewolves and even some humans, all cheering and clapping. There was even some motivational cardboard posters being waved by the humans in the lines of “go get ’em”. Everyone was ecstatic. Bella was grinning, soaking it all up. And oh yeah, there was this massive portal.

But the portal wasn’t here to send us anywhere, at least not yet. It was a portal from the underworld, and minions from it were arriving, with Lucifer at their head. Smug, celebratory, they too were all applauding Bella.

I felt really, truly, sick. Disgusted down into my bones at the adoration in everyone’s eyes. Worse, Bella was just so childishly gleeful at it all.

A portal to the sky realm was set up (with lots of magical bla bla) on the opposite side of the street. As soon as it crackled to life, minions from the demons of the sky realm began arriving, with various deities and godheads at their helm.

Armies stretched on. I mean, of course they couldn’t fit the whole two armies on this street. There was probably just the leaders and stuff. But the street was filled, the vampires were squished up together, and hey, the air stunk of the mihs-mash of various realms clashing.

Then, the scents faded. Ashes swirled on the wind. A particular scent fluttered in, faded, wistful, and impossible to grasp. Death.

He materialized somewhere, and strode in from down the street, mother at his side. They were solemn, but looking their very truest to their nature. Mother was sprouting white rays, beaming with budding leaves and with a smear of fresh, vibrant blood on her hands up to her elbows, like a midwife. Death was wearing his charred robes, ashes smeared across his bones and scythe in hand, only dried and still blood to be seen upon him.

Hand in hand, they approached. The crowd parted for them. My stomach flipped. Kuryo held my hand tighter. I didn’t realize until then that he had taken my hand, but I was grateful for it.

Bella stood her ground, head held high and arms crossed across her chest. I stood behind her and to her left side, just wanting to hide. Lucifer was to her right. Minions spread behind us.

The moment Death and Life reached us, Bella snapped “I want my portal.”

Death and Life inclined their heads respectfully. Bella did no such thing. She remained straight-backed and arrogant as my parents rose from their incline.

They didn’t say a word. Neither Life nor Death showed a shred of emotion. Instead, they faced each other solemnly and stretched out their hands. Between them, precious and sparkling, formed a third portal.

Bella giggled. My stomach was doing somersaults as I realized my parents hadn’t yet looked at me. Was that a good thing? A bad thing? Now I just wanted them to look at me. See how much I regret it? I’m not awful, I promise…

But the portal grew and grew until it was the size to fit one person. Then, Death and Life drew back. They inclined once more, and turned their backs on us all to walk away.

My heart shattered somewhere beneath my feet. I felt like this, truly, was the fated punishment of ‘hell’.

I was so striken, watching my parents walk away, that I almost didn’t notice Bella march head-first into the portal. Kuryo tugged on my hand and, like two bodyguards, we went after her in the portal.

Ahh, the Pure Lands. I was instantly soothed as we stepped into it. The softness, the purity, the gentle truth of it all. My heart felt light and it felt like all my burdens were lifted away.

Bella was there, and before her was some sort of goddess with nondescript features wearing a simple red kimono (or maybe it was a chinese hanfu? I had a hard time telling them apart, to be honest).

“Guan yin,” Bella snorted. “You’re who they sent to guard the gates?”

Guan yin didn’t move. Instead she looked us over with a patient smile.

Lucifer stepped to Bella’s side. Somehow, probably through the hive, I knew that the others were to wait outside until further orders were given. Bella wanted this moment alone, to herself. But with her bodyguards there to keep her safe of course, and Lucifer there to applaud her on.

Do it now, Yhwh’s voice echoed in my head.

I startled, turning on myself. But he was nowhere to be seen. There was just us and the stretching fields and valleys. Yet the voice continued.

Bella is at her weakest in the Pure Lands. Her army is far away. Run her through.

I gawked, my insides turning to ice. Kuryo was tugging on my arm but that felt a whole world away. I was shutting down inside myself.

Do it! This is your only chance! The voice commanded.

I can’t I can’t, I thought, pressing my palms to the side of my head. I just can’t – not her, I can’t-

Lucifer was stepping to my side. Kuryo had my shoulders but Lucifer brushed him aside. Bella was ignoring it all and sneering something to Guan Yin.

“Hey,” Lucifer pulled me to stand behind Bella. As if that would shelter me from anything. He took my hands from the side of my head and shook them out. My swords snapped out accidentally, narrowly missing his hips.

“Sorry,” I babbled as he took my wrist – and stabbed my sword right through Bella.

For good measure, he put my second through her stomach.

I gasped. There was a gurgling sound. Lucifer smiled at me. He ruffled my hair. “That’s how it’s done,” he said in Yhwh’s voice, deep and somber. Then he strutted to Bella’s side.

He bowed to Guan Yin respectfully, his voice switching back to it’s usual drag queen falsetto. “I hope you will accept this soul’s offering as a peace token. I have no intention of striking a war against your realm, and I hope this will, ah, make up for any undue stress we may have caused you.”

Guan Yin inclined her head, like one does when they are not totally sure what to make of a situation.

Lucifer turned to Bella. “Nama-stay here you bitch,” he whispered sweetly, tapping her on the nose. “You,” he pointed to Kuryo “Fuck off to your realm. I don’t want to see any of you around here. Get lost. Now. You-,” he turned to me. With a sigh he shook his head. “Do I have to do everything?”

In two strides he was at my side. Yank! He pulled my swords out of Bella. With a splutter she crashed down.

Lucifer patted me on the cheek. “Don’t worry! She’s in heaven. Her hell, but hey! They’ll purify the shit out of her. Now come along, this way baby,” and he turned me back to face the portal.

A hand seized my shoulder, yanking me out of Lucifer’s grasp. I stumbled back, swords slipping back into my wrists. Kuryo had his arm around me. “You’re not taking her,” he said sharply. “You’re going to blame Bella’s death on her.”

Lucifer chuckled. “You’re not as stupid as you look.”

Kuryo drew me back, stepping slowly away from Lucifer. “I’m taking her,” he said sharply. “And I’m taking Jade and Aaliyah as well. And Charr. We’re all leaving, and you get this realm to yourself. Deal?”

Lucifer grinned, obviously thinking some other plan. He looked far too pleased for this to be right.

But he shrugged nonchalantly. “Do what you want. I’m not stopping you.”

Kuryo hesitated. Then, the world swerved around us and darkness enclosed me.

I felt the brush of blackish blue feathers. Heard their rustle and felt the cosmos rushing around us. I may have also blacked out.

The fact was, I came to sitting on a couch with water being scrubbed on my face with a damp cloth. I spluttered, startling awake.

“Shhh,” Kuryo said. He was crouching before me. My jacket was gone and my hands were washed. A blanket was wrapped around me. “You stay here,” he said gently. “You’re safe, okay?”

I looked around. This was his apartment. His home. It was so quiet, but my mind was racing, my heart was hammering, and I could feel my mouth pasty and dry and my stomach roiling-

“I’ll be right back,” he said, squeezing my hands. “I’m just going to get everyone.”

I just stared at him. Don’t go!, my mind shrieked. Something bad is going to happen to you! Something terrible!

But he squeezed my hands and stood. “I’ll be right back,” he repeated. Then he vanished.

It felt like an eternity that he was gone. But I didn’t move. I couldn’t. I could barely think, even though my mind was rushing full of disasters – half of which had already happened. I was numb, it felt like I was dead in some way, but the icy river inside of me churned on and on.

There was a stumble and a thud who knows how long later, and Aaliyah, Jade, and Kuryo appeared all together in the hallway. Aaliyah and Jade crashed to the floor, Kuryo doing his best to let them fall gently, but not quite managing.

“Found them!” he announced with a sort of grin. Was that supposed to make me feel better?

Aaliyah moaned, not moving. Jade rolled onto her back, gasping as if she’d just died and come back to life. Then she giggled. “The ceiling!” and she burst into another fit of giggles.

“They’re drugged,” Kuryo announced. He rolled Aaliyah over and hauled her to her feet. “To the bed with you,” he said.

I just sat there, staring. This was good, I was telling myself. Things were good.

But still my mind was telling me that this was disastrous, that we were all about to die – or worse. So much so that I was shaking when Kuryo reappeared to haul Jade into the bedroom as well. That done with, he came back to me. Crouched back down, taking my hands in his as if he was pleading with me.

“I’m leaving again,” he said softly. “I’m going to find Charr.” He reached and cupped my cheek with his hand. “You just stay here, okay?”

I started to sob. I didn’t want him to go. Something so bad was about to happen.

I curled on myself, pressing my face into my knees and clutching the blanket around myself. The couch creaked and arms passed around me. Kuryo shushed me gently over and over, whispering that everything was okay.

Hiccups were ripping through me, and he was rocking me back and forth. The world turned dark, and stayed that way.

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 Eleven, Part One

Kuryo staggered, clutching at his stomach. He took one look at me and whoosh! I was back in the body to deal with the aftermath.

I cursed and swore, clutching what must be a gaping wound in my stomach right then. Kuryo had pushed the body – his body – and now I was the one soaking up all the pain.

“No that’s not it,” he said in my ear. “I can’t let Bella think I’m here. Act innocent or something. Pretend I’m not here.”

What the fuck, I thought. Your friends are right there-

“Bella has my blood! Imagine if she knew what I could really do? I’ve been hiding my power from her as much as I can! So don’t you dare let her know I’m back!”

Hnghhhh, okay? Just leave all the mess to me to deal with? Okay? I guess?

I won’t lie. For a moment I considered being a jerk and just shouting. “Kuryo’s not here! Nope! No Kuryo here! Totally NOT here!” Just to, you know, give it all away.

But then I heard the footsteps and smelt Bella’s perfume. I turned and bam! There she was, sweet frown as if she was perplexed and worried about me. But did she ask if I was okay? Hell no.

“What was that? I’ve never seen you do that before,” she said with innocent doe eyes.

In my head, I belly-flopped into the pond of wisdom. Splat. I blinked, feeling dumb and unable to think before her.

Then the voice in my head started to curse. “Get a grip! She’s just out for your power! Get-” and someth ing slammed hard inside my head. “A,” It felt like an artery was going to burst. “Grip!” I clutched at my head, seeing stars.

Well, that was the equivalent of a cold shower. “Nghhh,” I said gracelessly. “It’s just,” And I shook my head gingerly, trying to rattle Kuryo back into place. Then I clutched at my stomach, which was also hurting incredibly.

Aaliyah and Jade crunched over. “Where is kuryo?” Aaliyah asked sharply as she stepped to Bella’s side.

“Just what I was asking her,” Bella fibbed. “Well?” and she looked to me.

Friggin’ liar, I thought savagely. “I used a spell to destroy the body but,” I shook my head. “I’m not sure it released Kuryo.”

Aaliyah blanched. “You mean you killed him?”

“Yeah?” Bella was trying very hard to look like she cared.

I shrugged, trying to stand up straight. “Look, I’m not sure.” Then I took a look around at all the disapproving faces. Jade looked ready to cry. I wanted to flail my arms and tantrum. Was no one going to congratulate me? I just saved us all from the boogey monster!

In the back of my head, Kuryo was chuckling. Then there was the sound of clapping. “Applause, applause, just for you. Because you just destroyed the monster, didn’t you?”

Ouch, okay. Well, maybe Kuryo did it but to everyone else it looked like me so- … Yeah whatever. I shook my head and tried to think of what to do next.

“Well,” Bella looked around slowly. Then she focused upon Aaliyah. “I’m so sorry.” And she placed her mittened hand on Aaliyah’s shoulder.

Aaliyah looked miserable. Really miserable. Bella was spouting some nonsense about maybe finding Kuryo another way. About pleading with a deity to have his soul returned –

“But maybe, you know, it’s time to let him go,” she said gently. “Maybe he’s passed on for real and,” she shrugged sadly. “You know. Maybe it was his time.”

Aaliyah broke down in sobs.

The voice in the back of my head was surprisingly quiet.

Hey, dude, I thought nastily. Why the fuck can you destroy that thing and not Bella, huh? Like, what the hell? Your friends are here and you’re playing dead! Come on!

Not that I was getting all teary-eyed with them or something, but this was sad. Jade was hugging Aaliyah and they were sobbing like little babies.

There was no answer. Then there was a miserable sniffling sound. “I don’t know,” he said brokenly, making it all the more miserable. “I think it’s something I ate. One of the souls must have come from this realm and – somehow she has power over it. I don’t know, okay?”

I sniffled along with the rest of them. It was a tiny sniffle and maybe I was a bit misty eyed, okay? Well, no matter how tiny and discreet it was, everyone turned to glare at me.

“What have You got to cry about?” Aaliyah yelled. “You’re the reason he’s dead!”

Oh, crap. Aaliyah began stomping towards me, probably fueled by some pity-party story that Bella had fed her when I wasn’t there. Jade grabbed her by the elbow, spouting that I ‘wasn’t worth it’ and stuff like that.

“Alright, really, let’s get out of here! Where’s Charr?” kuryo asked in my head.

“I don’t know!” I snapped, angry at everyone blaming me. None of this was my fault! That’s it! I defect from responsibility! I give up! I give it all up! Some one else can deal with it!

“Who are you talking to?” Bella asked sharply, cutting into my mental rant. There was a cold glare to her eyes. “are you alright?”

I opened my jaw, probably looking like a turkey seeing the thanksgiving date approaching. Gobble, gobble.

“Say something!” Kuryo yelled at me.

“I, uh,” I babbled. But everyone was staring and there was that knowing glint to Bella’s eye-

“Hearing someone?” Bella asked nastily as she took a step closer.

“Uh,” I opened my mouth again, and the first thing to come out was the first thing that came out. “It’s the voice of god.”

Everyone just sort of stopped and did a double take. I decided to roll with it. “Yeah, you now, the whole ‘I speak to you from the heavens’ kind of thing? He’s been -I don’t know . I think – maybe he wants me to fulfill a prophecy or something. I don’t know.” Because I’m making this up as I go.

Bella just looked at me. Aaliyah and Jade seemed convinced of my cookie-ness. Even Kuryo had shut up.

“uh,” I tried again. “Doesn’t that happen to everyone? You know, you murder someone, then they start haunting you? You know, they just – attach to you and never shut up?”

“Yahweh is alive,” Bella snapped. “It was vampires you killed, not gods.”

Oh. I paused, trying to think my way out of that one. I chuckled nervously. “Could have fooled me. Guess I, uh, got that backwards. Uhm,”

There was that nasty look coming over Bella. To flee or not to flee?

“What prophecy?” Bella asked.

A wave of relief dumped itself over me. Thud. I almost grinned. “Revelations,” I burst out. See? Thank you mom for making me study the bible. Totally comes in handy. Now I can pretend that – “I think he wants me to take Jesus’ place in the second coming. You know, because, I defeated him. And that.”

Bella snorted. I wasn’t sure she was convinced, but I wasn’t sure she wasn’t either.

Definitely, Aaliyah and Jade thought I had lost it. They were looking at me as if I was a whole new shade of uncanny. Good. Maybe they could convince Bella.

“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Eight Part Two

My fav’ not-really-badguys more like pains in the ass characters

They were legions, they were a giant army of beautiful angelic soldiers with glistening armor, and their arrival made the earth tremble. I felt it in my gut, accompanied by a sense of impending doom. Oh, yeah, they were here.

“Lookit, the best thing we can do is find a spot to hide in and-”

Charr gave me a look. “I know these guys!” I protested.

“Just try,” she said angrily. “Just use your powers!” She lifted my arms by the wrists. It made my stomach wrench in pain. “Just – do it!”

“Charr,” I whined, dropping my arms to clutch my stomach. “I’m not Kuryo. I can’t do this. I don’t know how!” I could lift my arms all I wanted, I had no idea how Kuryo ate things!

Charr looked at me. Something shifted across her expression.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “But I can’t help you.”

Charr seized me by the arm. She began marching forward, dragging me after her. I wheezed and followed, not bothering to protest. That is, until a giant angel with only one wing landed in front of us. Smack!

The earth shook again. The armor gleamed. Flowing hair descended from the sides of the helmet and – yeah – we were about to get incinerated by that giant sword with flames all over it.

Until Charr held up a hand. “Wait!” she shouted. Then she held up my hand. “I’ve got something your leader will want! Take me to them!”

Oh no. No no no.

And that, ladies and gentlemen and all other peoples besides, was how we ended up back in hell’s living room.

It was an elaborate, fanciful room that was like a parody of a chapel. There was grotesquely sexual paintings all over the place, complete with torture scenes (because why not?) and even some pillars were, well, shaped.

And in this living room was cushions, servants, and oh yeah, my ex. And Lucifer. But I’d rather the Lying One over… Bella.

Bella was pacing in the middle of the room like a frantic cat. Her eyes were wild, her lip gnawed, and she was fidgeting with her hair. Lucifer was lounging in a chair like another kind of cat, with a glass of wine in hand.

“What is this?” Bella hissed the minute we entered.

The guard pushed us forward. Charr was still gripping my arm. I was woozy now and starting to bleed through my bandages, I was sure of it.

In Enochian, the guard explained curtly that apparently we were wanted. Bella snorted. Lucifer looked us up and down lazily.

“Well they don’t look like much,” Lucifer drawled. Bella huffed and crossed her arms.

“They’re rubbish!” she snapped. “Useless! Get rid of them!”

“Oh, sorry,” said Charr. “But you don’t want this?” and she yanked up the necklace from around my neck. The black box thingie.

Bella snorted. “What is that?”

But behind her, Lucifer tensed. His position shifted ever so slightly. Then, making sure to appear nonchalant, he relaxed.

“What is that thing?” asked Bella sharply. “A necklace?”

“It’s the power to travel to another dimension, if you dare,” said Charr angrily. “And,” she shoved me forward “I’m throwing him into the bargain.”

Bella laughed softly. “Your boyfriend? Why? You think I care?”

“He cheated on me, with you,” Charr said as I just stood there, wondering what the hell was going on. “But more importantly, when you shot him, Chaos’ soul fled. He stole Kuryo’s power and left.”

Lucifer shifted, no longer looking so relaxed. But he was behind Bella, so she was not seeing this at all. She just shrugged and said “So?”

Charr rolled her eyes like she was fed up with dealing with toddlers. “Look, are you daft? He’s useless! You left an imbalance between the dimensions, and Chaos used that to get away -” and she jabbed a finger at me. “With his powers! The necklace won’t work anymore. It belongs to Chaos now. But he’s not here, is he?”

Uhhhh. Wait a minute.

Lucifer unfurled from the chair and stalked over on impossibly high heels, swirling his glass of wine. “So what, exactly, are you suggesting?” he asked sweetly as he stepped to Bella’s side. He looped an arm around her waist and pressed into her side like they were best friends. Bella just looked uncomfortable, but too proud to admit it.

Charr lifted her chin. She was braced for war. “Bring back Chaos. The necklace will work for him, and you will have a new dimension to conquer. If you can get him to do what you want, that is.”

Bella was frowning but Lucifer’s eyes sparkled merrily. “And what do you get out of this?” he cooed. “Why are you bringing us this – gift?”

Charr smiled, and it was a bad sign. “I want revenge.” She pointed to me. “You were a waste of time, and Chaos screwed my life over. Bring him back here, and let me punish him!”

There was a pause. Lucifer was smirking. Bella looked completely nonplussed. “How are we supposed to do that?” she asked roughly. “Why would we do that for you?”

Charr opened her mouth, but Lucifer slipped in, leaning to speak near Bella’s ear. “Don’t you want all the dimensions to kneel before you? Think of it.”

“But,” Bella said hesitantly. Lucifer’s eyes narrowed dangerously. Again, Bella didn’t seem to notice, her gaze fixated on Charr, where she thought the danger was from.

Charr gestured to me. “You’ve got the necklace! Use it to undo the last spirit transfer! That’s it!”

uhh, I held my silence. Nope, I didn’t know what to do, and was heavily wondering if there even was anything I could do. Like, I could open my trap and say “I’m Chaos!” or I could shut my trap and pass off as Kuryo. One of those might just fix part of my life’s screw-ups so far. Might.

So I hunkered down, held my stomach that felt like it was being torn apart from the inside by a woodchipper, and pretended to be kuryo. Which, by the way, I was sure was not to be silent. The guy just had spunk. But I didn’t know what else to do minus being all ‘Me Kuryo! I Kuryo! Yes, yes, Kuryo!’. So I shut my trap while, essentially, I was being traded off.

Lucifer took the necklace from Charr. There was a ripple of magic through t he air as the gods’ fingers touched the black box. Oh yes, that thing just exuded magic now. SO much that – with a hiss of pain, Lucifer was forced to drop it.

The necklace hit the floor somewhere between his heels and Bella’s flat-heeled boots. She didn’t move to pick it up, just looking from it to Charr. The two women looked like they wanted to wrestle – the old fashioned way, with axes and chainsaws involved.

Lucifer, grimacing like this was the worst birthday party ever, nudged the black box with his shoe. Then, as if it was not doing what it was supposed to, he stomped on it – hard.

Charr shrieked as it shattered. Bits of black flew in all directions and there was a shudder that went through the air.

“Come here and talk!” Lucifer said to no one in particular. Or maybe- the shimmer in the air held. It vibrated, holding still. Then, it took shape.

There, off to the side so we formed a circle, appeared the beings in the suits that I had previously met at the weird beach. The man with long black hair looked pristine as ever, and the woman shimmered like she just couldn’t have enough rhinestones. She was grinning like this was the best day ever, but her eyes were vicious.

“Who goes around smashing other people’s tokens?” she asked, combing her too-long bangs back from her face. “Is this some declaration of war?”

Lucifer laughed like he was drunk at a party. “Of course not! I just really needed your attention. Lucifer, by the way, now,” he flicked a finger between himself and Bella. “We just really need the last spirit that passed from our realm to yours. How’s that?”

The orange eyed woman cocked her head to the side but didn’t say anything, grin firmly in place. Lucifer chatted on. “There’s a whole love story going on and I won’t bore you with the details but – we really need that one. So please?” he gestured to me. “Swap you with this one.”

Okay, she could drop that grin about now. But she didn’t. “The last spirit to cross the dimensions was a death. It would need a body.”

Charr held up a hand. “I’ll host. At least for now.”

Bella frowned, but didn’t speak up. The man beside the orange-eyed woman smiled, and the two of them smiling together was just – off. It boded no good.

With an opulent gesture the sparkling woman bowed, flipping her hands out before herself as if giving us an extravagant gift. “Well, if you feel like this is so serious – we will do the transfer. Take care now.”

The world slipped out from under me immediately.

“Just More Chaos”: Chapter Six, Part One

I stood to one side of the hallway, waiting. Not because I wanted to, but because I had been asked to. Charr had stomped into my tiny room and said “He wants to see you,” and had marched out, with her hand attached to my collar. In other words, she hauled my sorry ass all the way into the medic ward, and left me here to wait. Now my neck hurt, and I felt clutzy. It wasn’t FoxFace (she wasn’t a he), but rather Conan who supposedly wanted to see me.

So I crossed my arms and waited. If I hadn’t almost killed the guy I wouldn’t still be here. But – I guess I owed it to him?

Anyways, I was there when Charr walked him out, half supporting him and half trying to murder me with her eyes.

“Hey,” I said, holding up a hand.

He managed to lift a hand, the other arm wrapped around his stomach, which was bandaged. He was wearing jeans, but no shirt. How did he still look good despite looking so sickish? I hated him more.

Charr planted him on the wall beside me, where he leaned on it with a grimace. Then she walked away with a scowl at me.

The minute the door to the stairs closed, Conan turned his attention to me. “So,” he said.

I raised my eyebrows. He continued “We’re doing this. Right here, right now. Why do you hate me?”

“I don’t,” I mumbled unconvincingly.

He shook his head. “There was five other vampires but you attacked me. Why? What have I done to you?”

I looked away, down the hall. Then I shook my head. “I don’t have to explain to you. First of all, there was three vampires, not five. Second, you were in the way. Happy? I’m done.” and I picked myself off the wall and began walkign away.

A hand on my shoulder – but I shrugged it off and kept going without looking back.

“Hey!” he called after me.

But that was it. I didn’t owe him anything else. Nope, no, his so-good-looking ass could manage fine without me.

I had a hand on the stairwell’s door when he grabbed me with his powers. It was like a giant vice over my entire body. Slowly, I began sliding backwards.

“You asshole!” I shouted, whirling around. He had one hand lifted and a smug look on his face. I stomped over to him, lifting a fist to his face. “Want me to try again?” I yelled.

He was nonplussed. As always. Where did he get that nerve from? Especially for someone who couldn’t fight! “You don’t like me,” he said. “But why?”

I shook my hands over his shoulders, resisting rattling him but that might hurt his stitches. “I don’t like you!” I said stupidly, but that was all I could manage that would make sense.

“Keep going,” he said too calmly. I wanted to punch him. Just to get a rise out of him.

“You’re so friggin’ irritating!” I snapped, shaking my hands in the air beside my shoulders, feeling ready to snap. “Just stay out of my face!”

That smug look turned smugger. “You like me,” he said nastily. I realized in a flash that he already knew it, and was just choosing now to wave it around.

So I punched him. So he fell. Big deal.

Uhm, well, I kind of felt guilty as he groaned on the floor. I stepped to his side and crouched down.

“You’re annoying,” I said half-heartedly.

He looked up at me, propped up on an elbow with the side of his face all red. “You’re such a jerk,” he said.

I snorted. “You’re the one who pulled me on, saying all ‘oh you like me’.” I quoted him in the most annoying pitch I could manage.

“You do,” he said sharply. “I can read it in you.”

I blanked. Oh, shit. “You can read minds?” It was my feeble attempt at changing topic.

“I control energy,” he said with a grimace as he sat up. “So I can read a few general signs. Like,” He brushed his hair from his face. “You like me. A lot.”

I looked away with a huff. “Alright. Now you’re just begging to be punched,” I said but there was no (hah!) punch to it.

His hand gripped my shoulder. “Help me up.”

I scowled at him. He looked back, unflinching. Rolling my eyes and cursing under my breath, I did actually help him up. He hissed, held his stomach, but got up.

“You know, you almost cut me in half,” he said.

“Still not sorry,” I said snarkily. “You talk too much.”

He laughed. His hand stayed on my shoulder. I looked at him. “You’ve got a girlfriend,” I said, not exactly un-jealous but certainly not, well, I was upset.

“We’re open,” he said in the way people do when they’re trying not to laugh at you. I gawked at him. He chuckled and patted me on the shoulder. Then he began making his way down the hallway, a hand on the wall.

I was rooted to the spot, brain trying to digest that. If he and her- did that mean -? I whirled around. “Hey!” I shouted at his retreating back. “What do want? I mean – what’s your point? Why did you?”

He stopped and glanced over his shoulder. “Don’t I talk too much?”

I cursed and stalked over to him. He smirked at me. I reached to rattle him, but stopped myself at the last moment. I pocketed my hands. “Why are you messing with me?” I snapped, putting on my best glare.

“I’m not,” he said. “But you’re the one throwing a tantrum.”

I rolled my eyes so hard it hurt. “Get over yourself,” I muttered.

“Or you could do that,” he said cheekily.

I flushed, angry and embarrassed all at the same time. “Okay, you – what do you want? You want to get me mad? Fine! I’m mad!”

“I actually didn’t want you mad; but that’s like, your default setting?”

I snorted and looked aside. Yeah, I was always upset these days. So what? Life wasn’t a cakewalk.

He patted me on the shoulder. I scowled at him. “Be less of a jerk,” he said sweetly. “And then maybe we can date. Okay?”

My jaw fell. He looked ready to laugh at me again. I fled, turning and darting away as fast as I could walk without running.

Finally! Meet Ranger! ~ Ranger’s Story – Chapter Two part Two


Instead, let us turn an eye to Ursula. What was she doing, wandering in the gods’ realm?

Well! Ursula was no minor goddess to trifle with. Few were those who understood how deep her anger went and how powerful her love could be. If they knew, why they would certainly give her the icy prince and leave good enough alone.

But they didn’t know that, did they? And now Ursula wandered the dark, striding through the mysterious pathways of the Void like only one blessed by the Void could. For many a god tread these paths and lost themselves in the unfathomable darkness, only to waste away and die within it’s strange embrace.

But I diverge. Ursula was a goddess with a plan. She was not Hakuzo’s favorite for no reason. She did not conquer nations by merely sneezing at them. No, she was on a mission for something, something so grand that it could tear apart the gods’ realm. A fitting way to wring what she wanted from those who stood in her way.

She wanted the keys to the pillars that upheld the gods’ realm. The pathways that allowed them to travel to their devotees. She wanted these, these forbidden keys that could both lock the gods away and destroy them.

And she was certainly going to find them.

Well, how do I know that? You don’t see the future, I hear you cry. You don’t know that she will find the fearsome tools of destruction.

Well no, I don’t know about where the keys are, but I know Ursula. And that, my friend, is good enough for me. For she poured out her very blood into the Void that day, sealing her fate to it’s with a ritual. She was bound to it, giving it her heart and soul in exchange for a mere trifle- the clues to the keys.

Ah, did the Void respond? Un-adept fools observing the scene would say that no, nothing happened. No great booming voice echoed from the darkness. No great neon sign flashed out answers.

Ursula would leave that meeting drained, exhausted, with nothing to comfort her, no signs offered that the Void had accepted her blood and treaty.

Or hadn’t they?

For far, far, far away, someone opened their eyes.

Let me introduce you to this new person and good friend of mine. Her name is Ranger.

She has reddish orange hair that curls around her oval face. Brilliant blue eyes. Despite her pallor, she is healthy. And now, she awakens.

Perhaps because there is a nurse shaking her shoulder. “Good morning!” the nurse cheers.

Ranger smiles at her from the hospital bed. She is in a tiny room all to herself, a little greyish white room. There are no flowers, no cards. There seldom is in asylums.

Her eyes latch on to me, then on to you. Then back to me. The nurse wafts on out, chattering about breakfast being soon.

Ranger lies back down into the pillows. “I dreamed I left this place.”

Always that dream. I sit on the bed next to her, fluffing her pillows as best as I can. She continues, eyes staring straight up at the ceiling.

“I go down the hallway. At the intersection I pull out a sword and unlock the world with it. I travel, but I don’t remember where,” her eyes lock onto me, hazy and drugged. “It’s always at an intersection though.”

I reach out and squeeze her hand. Poor Ranger.

Breakfast happens, a slimy tray brought in the room with a few half fried potatoes on the side. A radio plays in the hall.

I pat her on the arm. I want to comfort her. But as spirits, we cannot tell her what we know. We can only sit and listen. Besides, who would come for her? The numbers she used to call were all silenced now.

She looks at me as if reading my thoughts. “I should call the radio,” she said as if this was a revelation.

Uh, what?

She nods to herself, picking at her fries. “I’d really like to hear a song, an old one they used to play.”

Ah, nostalgia. Reminiscing about her youth maybe, of freely running through grassy fields and playing with dinosaurs.

Ranger finishes her plate, humming to herself and dousing her fake eggs with cheap ketchup.

The trays are cleared up. Ranger shuffles down the hall and talks to a nurse’s aid. They laugh at her and smile. She’s gone from troublesome to ‘cooperative’ in the past years and they like that. They bring her to the nurse’s office. She uses the office’s phone, all smiles as they supervise her with the phone. She has the radio’s number memorized, and the call goes quickly.

I walk with her back to her room. She is all smiles now and happily lays in her bed. Staring up at the white ceiling she sighs again. “One day I’m getting out of here,” she whispers.

I nod and pat her on the shoulder. But ah! Will you look at the time! We must fly, scurry, crawl on our way!

For on the opposite side of this city, carried along by this current of minute things being set in motion, Mars is nearly falling off his office chair.

Nearly. It would be quite a breach of composure if he did, now wouldn’t it?

But no, he is sitting on the edge of his chair, gripping at his armrests, brilliant eyes fixated on his half-open office door. Normally it is closed to keep the most hateable radio out as well as other people. But now – did he just hear what he thought he heard?

For now, he sits frozen as the old tune warbles on, a song of memory and remembrance. But that’s not what he’s waiting for. What he waits for is the Dj to repeat the name to say at the very end as the final melody dies, “Well that was a song requested by Miss Ranger. Now on to the news-”

Mars pales under his makeup foundation. A hand lifts to cover his mouth. He feels slightly sick. His mind is racing. Could it be? Could it?

In a snap he is no longer frozen. He snatches up his disposable private phone, the one he uses for all his blackmailing. There are no numbers registered in it, he has them all memorized. He dials one.

In a military base far away, the unfortunate Stephen answers. He is in a good mood. Everything is pristine in his laboratory and all his debts are paid off. What could go wrong?

“Hello,” says Stephen jovially.

“You are going to run a search for someone by the name of Ranger,” Mars says in a clipped tone. He stands from his chair and begins to pace. First to his desk, then across to where he prays.

Stephen gulps. He knows who this is far too well. He hunkers down, glancing around the laboratory. Luckily there is no one there to see him turn a pasty shade of green. When he is sure no one can hear him, he whispers just to be sure. “I’ve paid my debt!” he hisses.

“You are going to do the search,” Mars repeats, facing the giant window, watching the sun gently beam down over the city. “For someone by the name of Ranger.”

Stephen isn’t dumb. He gets the hint. He has a wife and kids. “Okay,” he whispers. “Ranger, first name?”

Mars pauses. He tries to remember. What was a child’s preferred name? Ranger was no real name, it was a whimsical fantasy from so long ago. So what had been the other made up name?

He shakes his head, irritated and unable to remember. “Just Ranger. Find anyone with that name and send me their information.”

Stephen is boggled! “Anyone? Can you narrow this? City, age?”

Mars is losing patience. His breath mists sharply. “Find, Ranger.” Or else.

Stephen wobbles on his chair. Mars hangs up.

Meet the Narrator!/Ranger’s Prologue

Hey everyone! Are you ready to meet the narrator for the Ranger story (which still doesn’t have a title, haha)? If you are then -> beHOLD! Your incredibly non-reliable narrator. I am sharing here a few pictures of them that I have made, just to help you visualize.  After that, just a little scroll below, is the prologue to Ranger’s story.

As I have said before, this story means so much to me and I am SO EXCITED to share it, even just a little piece of it, with you all. So to one and all out there reading -> please let me know what you think! Do you like the narrator? Is there a character/deity you would like to see sketched out? What do you expect to happen next? EEEEEE!!!! I’m so excited!

sword spirit color.jpegDSCN0278.JPG


Oh, hello. There you are. Along for the ride? Just out of a body and waiting for the next? Well! Let me tell you a tale. Or rather, let me show you.

Imagine a light shining down amidst the pitchest darkness you have ever seen. It strikes an individual, but no flooring. The individual just is, floating with no wings. Like only the earliest born of the Void, they bear a mask of power. A bright pink mask. This mask has one sideways black eye tearing on the bearer’s left hand side. No smile, no frown. Beneath the pink shirt is broad shoulders, yet a slim frame. White gloves ending in black and white zigzags grace the arms that are just a little too long for the body. A short pink skirt hang down mid-thigh and boots begin at the knee in the black and white zigzags. The feet are poised as if dancing. That graceful figure would be me. And them? The first-born gods of the Void.

“You now stand before the council of the gods,” intones a voice.

Before the coerced one (me!) spreads a great marble floor. Just beyond reach. Sitting on raised stone seats all around are the earliest born of the Void and even some exalted ones. To name a few, there is the god of ice, Kosara, with his white raiments and triangular frost-like embellishments. Hakuzo, of the fire realm, complete with horns and glowing eyes over a pitch black robe. Mumboso, of the earthen realm, all round happiness and flower decorations. She is married to Kosara, but now she is frowning at his side. Even the scrolls-keeper is here, Tetiana. Oh Tetiana is a slim and frail thing, no mask at all, just a long and sad face.

It is Tetiana who speaks, bravely uprooting herself from civility. “Where is Lady Justice?”

The accused, the spirit of Justice’s sword (me!), wrings their hand. They scratch at their pink mask.

In the beginning, it all happened so innocently. Hakuzo accused Kosara of wanting to breach the marriage contract between their children. Kosara demanded Justice take his side.

And yet Justice was nowhere to be found. Her sword however (me!), was found lounging in Justice’s home, asleep. And that was days ago.

“Well now, she could be anywhere,” said I, most unhelpfully.

As usual, I was not lying, but it was hardly helpful.

Hakuzo burst to her feet, great horns aflame. “Where is she? We have important matters to settle!”

‘I am here,’ Lady Justice would usually say, entering so calmly. She would be wearing a suit of armor, one of the Void’s many luxurious gifts upon her.

And yet she was not here. A very worrisome thing to these gods who depended upon Justice to settle their petty disputes.

“I’m sure she’ll be back soon,” I squeaked, wringing my hands.

“Oh, I’m sure I know where she is,” crawled out a voice, slinking and slithering across the air like only a coward’s voice can.

This spirit bore no mask. It was deformed as only a spirit can be, dripping and oozing and licking at itself where wounds ought to have healed long ago. It slunk along between the thrones, slipping across the floor. “Lady Justice is lost within the Void,” cooed this spirit.

The gods shuddered. This spirit turned on itself, facing the gods and trying to blot out the sword-spirit’s image (me!). “It is dangerous to be too close to the Void,” sneered the spirit. “Perhaps she fell too deeply into its embrace.”

The gods gasped. No more Justice? Could that be?

“Lady Justice has been missing for seven days, if not more,” whined the spirit, twisting on itself to look left and right at the assembly. “None can live for more than three days without wasting away within the Void. Is that not true?”

The gods bowed their head in unison.

I flustered out my arms. “I’m sure she’s not dead! She’s maybe just-”

All the divines lifted their heads. They sensed the truth about to burst out.

But all I had to say was “Missing?” with a sad shrug. Who knew where Lady Justice could be?

Behind their masks, the Great ones frowned. They hummed, they hawwed. The slinking one meandered back towards Kosara’s throne. Hakuzo’s glare followed.

For this meandering spirit, a lone son of hers that she was most displeased about the existence of, had endeared himself to Kosara and Mumboso by giving away secrets of Hakuzo’s lands. Secrets that only those who weilded the powers of flame ought to now.

Now, as an insult to Hakuzo and her daughter of choice, Ursula, this snivelling spirit was vying for Kosara and Mumboso’s youngest son. A vying that seemed it would succeed, by the way he was allowed to slink directly beside Kosara’s throne.

Hakuzo shook with anger. What an insult! Why, this marriage could have been peace between their lands! Jumping to her feet, she roared “So be it!” She stamped her foot, and the whole floor shook. “Justice is dead!” she flung a finger to point at Kosara. “And my daughter shall not marry your son!”

“What a relief!” huffed Mumboso, fanning herself with her feather fan.

“What?” a softer voice demanded.

All heads turned. Just behind Hakuzo’s throne, a spirit was drawing onto the floor.

Unlikethe snivelling one, she had a form and shape. Her hair was blonde like the sun, her robe black, her eyes orange like the lava she commanded and just like her mother she bore the curling horns of a fire wielder. This was Ursula, Hakuzo’s favourite.

“You will not marry any more,” Hakuzo snorted, sitting back down in her chair with a graceless thump. “That snot over there has decided to break his word.”

“It was not a marriage that could last! Lava cannot marry snow!” Kosara barked back, his voice strong like the cracking of ice.

Ursula turned on her heel and marched away, back into the darkness. Tears stung at her eyes. She had known this was coming, had sensed it within her travels in the Void. Now she knew just what she had to do.

But Hakuzo and the others thought she had gone off to cry. And so they let Ursula vanish from their midst.

The meeting adjourned, the scroll was rolled up, and the gods split themselves between their alliances. Those who traded with Mumboso swiftly strode to her side of the platform. Fewer, yet more powerful spirits, drew to Hakuzo’s side.

Dirty looks were glanced between sides as they left, each parting different ways into the darkness of the Void.

As was often the case, no one thought of what to do with the one they had been questioning, their victim of the day.

And so I slipped away, thinking that I was lucky none could read my mind. They’d know what fools they were.

“My Name is Chaos 2”; Chapter Two, Part One

Oh, okay. I looked around again. This was definitely a bedroom. An adult bedroom, by the looks of it. There was just the bed, dresser drawers, and some paraphnelia and gadgets and piles of clothes – but nothing else. With a second glance, I realized the woman wasn’t that old. About my age, maybe a year older?

Okay, okay. I propped myself up on an elbow carefully. Time to get out of here. Where the fuck was I anyways?

I brushed the blankets off of me, swept my legs out of bed – and she stirred.

She mumbled something, flinging an arm out. I dodged it and rose to my feet. Okay, I was safe?

Sniff sniff. I swear, she sniffed the air. I turned just in time to see her bolt up, eyes flaring wide open.

She was medium height and relatively average build for a woman. She had black hair that was cut in a plain bob. Nothing exceptional except for her large, green, cat-like eyes and cat-like face..

But uh, something had to be exceptional about her, because she didn’t start screaming at the sight of me, just out of her bed. “Goryeo?” she called, or something like that.

Shit, servants? I looked at the bedroom door, but no one came. She called again. Then, looking around, she asked “Who are you? Where’s Goryeo?” and she looked around again.

“I- I’m leaving,” and I marched around the bed to get to the door.

She snatched my arm in a vice grip, yanking me to a stop. She shouted that g- something again. But there was no answer.

On her feet now (and dressed in light blue fluffy pj’s) she was at my side. “Who are you?” she demanded, glaring into my eyes. I tried to shake her off, but her grip wouldn’t go, and now she was between me and the door.

“I’m leaving!” I enunciated in her face. “Get out of my way!”

She got up in my face, as if we were taking turns yelling. “Who? Are you? Where’s? My boyfriend?”

and she held up a fist between us menacingly. Cute.

I pushed her fist away. “Don’t make me fight you. Now get the fuck out of my way. Now.”

Wham. That was one punch to the stomach that I didn’t see coming. It was perfectly aimed, knocking the breath right out of me in a most painful way.

Gasping for air, I was yanked up into her face by the shoudler.

“Don’t make me ask again,” she hissed, eyes wide and rabid. “Who are you?”

“Chaos,” I gasped as I got some air back into me. “I’m Chaos.”

“Who sent you?!” she barked, and I got the impression that she was used to this. A trained fighter? Just my fucking luck.

“Bella,” I wheezed as I could finally breathe. “I was just sent here. I’ve done nothing! I was- just sent okay?”

“By who?” she fairly yelled into my face.

“Bella!” I snapped back, shaking my shoulder to try and get free. It was pointless. She held me, eyes flaring.

“Who?” she asked, obviously clueless.

“Bella!” I repeated. “Vampire landlady? Hellion raiser? No?”

She let me go. “Have you seen Goryeo?” again with that name!

“I don’t even know what that is!” I snapped, rubbing my shoulder and wincing as I rolled it out.

She snatched up a picture from the bedside and held it up to me. “Him! My boyfriend!”

Aww, crap. It was one of those cute couple selfie pictures where their heads were together and they were smiling like idiots. And yep, it was Bella’s new lackey, looking so happy next to this woman.

“Oh,” I said flatly.

She lowered the picture. “Where is he?”

I gulped. “I uh- he’s the one who sent me here? He’s with Bella.”

“Who is this? Where is she?”

I rubbed my nose awkwardly. “Uh, they’re probably sleeping together, you know. Just so you know.”

She looked absolutely unfazed, like I’d said ‘they’re probably breathing air’. She even tilted her head to the side like i’d said something extra dumb. She pointed again to the picture. “Where is he?”

“Canada, Quebec, definitely not Nunavut – look it’s the vampire place, okay? You won’t be able to just waltz right in and -” I paused, catching a glimpse of the window. Of the open window. It had flimsy curtains over it, but there was a warm breeze coming through it, along with sunlight. “Where am I?” I asked. “Hawaii?”

“Ha- what?” her eyes narrowed. “Which world are you from?”

I just ogled her on that one. “The god realm,” I said slowly. “But isn’t this the incarnate plane?”

She just stared at me. “You’re a spirit?”

I put on a cheezy grin. “Yeah I-”

“Then what the fuck are you doing here?”

“I was sent here! By-” I gestured to the picture. “Him.”

She wrapped her arms protectively around the picture, frowning. Then, as if second guessing her thoughts, she set the picture back down on the handtable. “We need to talk,” she said flatly. “Do you drink tea?”

“Ech,” I grumbled. What was it with people and leaf-water? “No.”

She gave me a nonplussed look. “Coffee then?”

I nodded.


The apartment was ridiculously tiny, but cute. Cozy, even. Just in case you didn’t know who lived here, there were pictures of the couple up on the wall in a multi-picture frame, along with some other people.

“That’s our cube’s pictures,” she said as she set a steaming mug of freshly brewed coffee on the dinky little wooden table. She set a cup of tea for herself, then sat on one side of the table. She gestured at the other chair. “Sit. I’m Charr, by the way.”

“Chaos,” I muttered as I sat. She hadn’t asked me what I wanted in my coffee, and it was black. Meh.

I was expecting a moment of silence. But she just sipped her tea, set it down, and started. “Where are you from? Tell me everything.”

“I told you-”

But she cut me off. “Your world. What’s happening there? You say Goryeo sent you. Was it far, when he sent you? Did you,” she hesitated “cross dimensions?”

I just blinked. How did she know about that? Unless – “Does he do this often?”

“Shit,” she muttered, pressing fingertips to her forehead. Then, to me she said “no, but he’s a natural wielder – he can travel and send people and control energy and souls.”

No shit. I tried not to look impressed, but being quite secretly jealous. Bella had leveled up after me, I guess. “And you?” I asked.

She was nonplussed. “I was a shield for the academy,” at the blankness in my expression she added “a bodyguard of sorts, you could say. Magical bodyguard.”

“Cool,” I nodded, trying not to be impressed. I felt kind of lame next to these two for some reason. I was, uh, screw-up extraordinaire?

“Tell me more,” she said. “Who is this – Bella? Person?”

So I told her. I went into a long schpiel about how there had been a vampire uprising that I’d been sent to deal with, that I switched sides to help Bella, and uh, well, I glossed over a bunch of points. Mainly that I’d fallen for her, and that, you know, she’d used me like a tissue. Or a shooting target. Something of the sort.

I finished with summarizing that I’d been captured by the army, sent to Bella, who then sent me here.

Charr made a frownie face, like she was really thinking this through. “Is it me or you’re getting sent around a lot?”

I nodded. “Yeah, you could say that.”

“My Name is Chaos 2”; Chapter One, Part Two

“You don’t look so hot,” said one of the team members as she sat down next to me. I was sitting on the three steps that led into the barracks, and badly wanted a cigarette. What? Think death sticks aren’t available in hell?

“I’m cold,” I snapped, though it absolutely wasn’t the case. We’d just finished doing the days’ push-ups and running around, but I just wanted to sit and think. Alone. Which, pointedly, was not happening.

“Really? It’s not that cold today,” she said, looking around at the snow piles around the barracks. Grouchily, I had to admit that it was no longer ‘freeze in your nostrils cold’, being merely ‘freeze the toes off’ cold. Friggin’ weather.

“It was sarcastic,” I grumbled. “I’m just-” and I shrugged.

“Oh,” she said as if that was a shocker. What? Did they all think that I had a resting grouch face?

Then, to my shock, she put an arm around my shoulder. “Chipper up! It’ going to work out! What’s the problem?” and she gave me a tight squeeze.

I glared at her. Hugs were just not a thing in hell → unless you were Lucifer. But were those hugs nice? No. But she didn’t get the hint. So I heaved a sigh. “I want to go home,” I grumbled lamely, because I wasn’t sure how to explain the giant mess I was in. My girlfriend was a psycho, I’d betrayed my family, and I was trapped by the military. By FoxFace in particular.

“Oh,” and she gave me another squeeze/rattle that was supposed to be comforting. “We all do, you know. But if we don’t do this, there won ‘t be a home for anyone, you know?”

I grumbled and didn’t want to listen. Sure, whatever. Poor humans pity poo poo. I wanted my mess to be over with. At least they didn’t have to deal with all the stuff that was happening to me.

She had a genuine smile on when I glanced at her. “It can’t be that different for you,” she was saying. “Is it?”

Girl, you have NO IDEA, I wanted to yell. But something clicked in my head. Bella did want to destroy the Pure Lands. I did have to do this to take care of those Buddhas and that lovely place.

So I squared my shoulders, mustered myself together. I could mope about my seeming eternity of servitude later. Right now, I had a girlfriend to save, and the Pure Lands to keep pure. A lot of stuff to do, really!

And hey, something would probably go screwy in FoxFace’s plans regarding me. That’s just the way things seemed to be going.

So I smiled at my war-buddy. “You’re right,” I said cheerfully.

I mean shit, things couldn’t get much worse, could they?


They day we were set to captured Bella, you could feel it in the air that something was brewing. Did Bella know? Was she waiting for us with bated breath? I could imagine her, standing there with a hand on her hip and that leash in hand, just waiting for me to show up.

Of course it was a stupid vision. Bella wouldn’t stand that long if she could sit and be regal. And what would she do with the leash? Whip me? Come on, Chaos.

But still, as we all geared up I was nervous. This was Bella we were talking about! My girlfriend – and then, only then, as I was putting on a chest-piece of bullet proof armor, did I think that hey, maybe she didn’t think of us as a thing anymore.

I almost dropped the armor.

Rattling myself mentally, I went back to putting all this crap on. A fellow soldier checked me over, we all nodded at each other, and we were ready.

My heart was hammering in my throat as we entered the lab in single file, all decked out in our gear and with vizors on. I just had the feeling that something was about to go terribly wrong. Like, really, really, wrong.

As we lined up in the room with blinding lights I realized I’d forgotten to roll my new dice. Great, Chaos. Good job, dumbass.

One by one, we were given a pill.

“It’s new!” Leo was saying happily. “The pill should reduce the nausea effects and allow us for greater precision as to your transport!”

We all swallowed dutifully. Then, “Good luck,” said Leo as he flicked a switch that was attached to his tablet. The room lurched.

How the hell that tablet worked was beyond me. But the next thing I knew I was zooming through the void, and reapparating – in a living room.

“Jesus on a fucking stick,” I cursed as I spun and recognized Bella’s living room – and the dozen or so rifles pointed directly at me. Held by vampires, of course.

Look to the left- look to the right – I didn’t need to look fucking up and down to see my team was nowhere to be seen. I held my hands out. “Good job,” I congratulated both Bella and Leo under my breath.

A high pitched laugh rewarded me. Bella was at the opposite end of the living room, directly behind the line of her cronies. Safe, as usual.

“Choas, so nice of you to drop by,” she said callously. Then she burst out in laughter.

I didn’t know what to do. So I just stood there, hands out and wondering how this had gone so, so, utterly bad.

“I don’t think your new boss understands how magic works,” Bella drawled as she stepped forward. Then, with a gleeful grin from Bella, I felt a ripple through the room. She had sent a silent message.

In that split second, I could have zapped myself away with FoxFace’s sigil. But something stopped me. Bella was right there! So close!

I wanted to stay with her.

And so I was thudded full like a pincushion full of flying needles. One or two jammed in my throat, the rest (courtesy of the vampire’s poor aim) landing in my armor.

The room swerved and the floor smacked up the meet me. But hey, this time I was padded with armor and a helmet so it didn’t really hurt. But right before the darkness took over, I noticed something.

Through the mass of vampires, there was someone standing beside Bella. Someone who was tethered to her via leash. They had deep blue hair.


I came to feeling pissed off. Angry and hurt in a terrible way. Of course I remembered why the instant I opened my eyes: the problem was right there. Bella, with a new slave at her side.

Yeah, he was older than me by a fuckin’ year or two, had a pretty face, was paler than me by two shades, and had a lovely tilt to his large eyes. Probably from some east asian pantheon or something.

Oh yeah, and What the Hell? He was wearing a collar just like I used to, complete with the little bottle of blood on it. He was even wearing black, like me!

I wanted to bust his face in. He looked bored. Like he couldn’t give a crap about where he was, or what was happening. How dare he?

I, on the other hand, must have been turning all the shades of purple and pissed off. I was strapped down (Again?!) to some sort of table. This must be the laboratory in their center, because the room felt, looked, and smelt clinical.

“Hey Chaos,” Bella cooed. I melted as she stepped forward to stand by my side. Her fingers trailed down my cheek to cup my chin. Then her nails dug in. I winced, but really, I didn’t totally mind the pain. It was the look in her eye that bothered me. She looked sad, miserable even.

“You could have stayed away, you know,” she whispered.

“They sent me,” I whispered hoarsely. “I have no choice.” And she knew that!

Bella smiled softly. It broke my heart, and I was sure hers was breaking too. “I love you,” she whispered before stooping over me.

We kissed. At my side, her fingers caressed down my hand and our fingers laced together.

For an idiotic flutter of a moment, I thought everything was going to be okay. We were together now, right?

Abso-fucking-lutely wrong.

Bella drew back with a satisfied smile to her lips. “Send her away,” she said, the order not intended for me at all.

The other one, the me-replacement, stepped forward. I gave him a dirty look but he didn’t look likehe cared two bits. He just stepped to my side, then turned to Bella who was walking away. “Where to?” he asked, and damn! He even had a nice voice. Fucking not fair.

Bella whirled towards him. “Where you came from, you idiot! Do I have to tell you everything twice? Just do it!”

Version 2.0 tilted their head to the side in acceptance. They lifted their arms above me, then closed their eyes.

I was expecting a spell. Fireworks and impressive displays. I was hoping for failure of the most spectacular kind, though. For their magic to not match up to mine.

Instead, I felt my very soul being seized in a firm grip. Then, with a jolt, I was catapulted through space.

Like, really! It was full-out trippy and better yet worse than any traveling I’d ever done through a portal. I was whole, but whizzing through galaxies and dimensions and I felt immortal and timeless and –

Wham. I landed in a soft fluff.

My eyes opened and there was a ceiling. I was in a bed. And beside me, laying serenely in pillows and blankets with a small smile on, was a woman.