November 2018 Archives

Since the most recent Grace novel is now with the beta readers and editor, I'm working on something else while I wait for the feedback. This is a crossover urban fantasy work. It has nothing to do with any of my published works.

I woke up the worst kind of alone.

The alarm went off, same as usual. My arm was across her as I woke up, my befuddled mind thinking Wow, guess that wasn't just a dream. I managed to reach over and hit snooze in order to cuddle up, just the way we used to before getting up to start our day, just a few minutes with each other, before I realized something was very wrong.

What I'd woken up with wasn't a living, breathing woman.

I bellowed an inarticulate cry of panic and scrambled backwards out of bed, stumbling over the blankets on my way out of bed, but also ripping them off what was in bed with me.

Once I was free of their entangling grasp, I looked at what was there on the bed: a dried, dessicated corpse, long dead, eyes shrunken in, skin sagging, pitted. Intact as far as I could tell, but dead for years. Only the honey-blonde hair was unchanged, still the young, wavy style it had been the previous evening.

I wasn't going to pretend I understood, but it was clear I had to do something, and once I got over my initial panic, I knew who to call.

"Hello, Larry!"

"Mark, what are you calling about at such an early hour? I don't get to the office before eight-thirty! You know that!"

"Yes, Larry, but this is different, and I need your help now. I woke up with a corpse in my bed this morning!"

"Mark, I must not be awake yet. I could have sworn you just told me you woke up with a corpse in your bed, and I know that can't be true!" I started to tell him it was true, and he talked over me, "I know it can't be true because you wouldn't have called a securities lawyer over a criminal matter that didn't happen. Are you understanding me, Mark?"

Home seems like an excellent idea. I've had as much of a break from being Mom as I needed, and now it seems like something I want to do again. Suiting actions to words, I headed for the portal just outside where Goronos' office had been - most viceroys wanted their offices as conveniently accessible as they could. It was a walk of less than two ifourths. You coming? I asked Ghost Uncle.

When we popped out of the portal serving the parking garage, I was well inside my 'public' energy limits, so I teleported straight to where I'd left my Starbird earlier.

Which was where Paulos was waiting for me.

I'd gotten sloppy. I realized in retrospect, I'd let myself be predictable. I'd kept using the same parking garage for my Starbird every time. It really wasn't difficult to track vessels travelling from Sondergard to Sumabad.

But recriminations would have to wait until later. After I survived his blitz.

The first thing I felt was the weird multiple sensation of him holding spak open and duplicating himself. If I hadn't encountered it already in analyzing the two murder scenes, he would have had me before I even realized what he was doing. Instead, I had an instant to harden my shields and start drawing power while grabbing my sword out of its pocket.

Just in time, as two strong mindbolts hit me, one from each of the duplicate Pauloses. Either one alone would have been difficult for me to handle a few years previous and the two together would have put me down immediately, but Fourth Order me had no issues absorbing them and returning fire. I noticed that Paulos number one was the one holding the Temporal Anchor, so he had less spare capacity. I hit him with a mindbolt I couldn't have absorbed as a Second Order Guardian, and it killed him - just like that.
Since the Temporal Anchor was no longer being held open, Paulos number two simply vanished. He became nothing, as the events leading to his creation had never happened, and he was dead earlier in his personal Event Line than his current point in time. It was no longer possible for the second version of Paulos to exist, and so he didn't. Anticlimactic, yes, and it illustrated why duplicating yourself with a Temporal Anchor was leaving yourself vulnerable to an opponent who recognized the gambit.

Shields! The warning from Ghost Uncle gave me just enough time to harden myself again before another mindbolt hit me.

Over the Climactic Scene Hump

| | Comments (0)

Just finished the climactic scene of WIP. Still have to do the denouement, but this scene was the hard one to do right. Should have the novel finished within a few more days.

Question: I've been using "The Price of Power" as the working title, but lately I've been thinking about changing it to "The Price of Prominence". I know the argument against long words when a short one will do, but Feedback back on how well each title would grab you would be welcome.

 



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