Mind the Shadows Scene

So, I did a little rework on a scene I wrote a while back that is meant to be part of Mind the Shadows.  I don’t think it’s completely reworked, and I know it’s NOT finished.  But I wanted to throw it up here for y’all to see.  I’d appreciate some feed back 🙂

I gestured at Vurp to get started.  He began working at the security sensor on the door.  I activated my stopwatch and took a steadying breath.  The adrenaline had started to flow.

Breathing and watching the clock was what kept me focused and level-headed in situations like that.  For Vurp, it was the work that kept him squared away.  He was all about solving the problem in front of him.  He was going to have plenty of problems to solve that night.

I glanced behind me – toward the other corner of the building, down the alley. Chance was there.  She was crouched near a line of dumpsters.  The only sign of her were the dim points of green light coming from her enhanced eyes. She had switched them to low-light mode. Tucked in the darkest recesses of the night, only by looking directly at her could anybody see that someone – or something – was hiding there.  She could have easily been mistaken for a rat, I suppose… heh… but Chance was a rat with teeth.

I started at Vurp’s grunt and turned to see the progress he had made.  He had jammed something in the crevice between the door and its frame where the security sensor was located.  It was attached to a tiny jumble of wires and a circuit board that he had stuck to the door frame with one of his crazy sticky concoctions.  I had quit asking what was in them.  Remember, it was Vurp after all.  I took that as our sign to head in, so I motioned for Chance to follow.  Vurp strained a bit more against the disabled sliding door to get the opening wide enough to slip inside.  I was the first through the door.  I moved to the left of the door, drew my gun and switched off the safety.  Chance came in next and moved right. I caught a glint of metal from one of her trusty throwing knives. She held two at the ready.  Vurp squeezed his bulk through the opening then grabbed the door’s lip and pulled it shut.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny gadget.  He licked a portion of it and stuck it to the wall near the disabled security sensor.  As he pushed on it to make sure it adhered to the wall, it began to blink like the original L.E.D. that was on the door sensor.  Only close observation would have revealed it was a fake indicator.

Mr. Smith’s building plans appeared to be accurate. We had come into the main lobby through a kind of side entrance near the front corner of the building.  It was about 10 meters from the main entrance.  According to Mr. Smith, the door was no longer used.  He had explained that the door’s only sensor picked up when it was open, and it was not covered by any other kind of surveillance.  That obviously made it a good choice for entry.

We took a moment to look around the lobby.  We were in a small alcove with four easy chairs and several potted plants. Business folks took their ease there while waiting for meetings or something.  The main portion of the lobby was an open expanse that had a circular kiosk-like desk in the middle. Receptionists and a security guard or two would spend their weekdays dealing with the comings and goings of those that had business there.  About 3 meters behind the desk – against the wall – was a large decorative piece of worked brass and carved wood. It was a giant “L” in a fancy font. It was the logo for Lyric Financial.  I could only imagine what that had cost…

I heard one of their commercials once.  Lyric Financial worked with independent business owners and investors helping them invest and manage their money for a “nominal” fee.  The building housed hundreds of accountants and financial gurus that manipulated numbers all day for their customers.  I also knew from the research Jammer had done that Lyric Financial worked with owners and investors that were… less than upstanding citizens of the community.  Rumors abound that Lyric was involved in money laundering. They apparently helped set up and maintain shell companies to make illegal activities look legitimate.  But since nothing official about illegal activities had ever surfaced, Lyric Financial was left to operate as it saw fit.  It was the “unofficial” stuff, though, that had something to do with why we were there.

“Now for the fun part…”  Vurp’s sub-vocal whisper was followed by the quiet rustle of his pack.  He rummaged through the inside pockets in his “bag of tricks” looking for the next gadget that would help us get further inside.  A few breaths later Vurp was holding a small box with some controls on one side and what looked like a shooting scope mounted on the other.  He held it up and started looking around the lobby through the scope.

“Print said there was only one camera in the lobby.  Must be one of those 360-type cameras…”

“Yepper…”  Vurp searched back and forth, panning across the lobby, changing his elevation every pass.  On his third sweep he stopped and started working the controls as he kept a steady aim on his target.  The camera was in a very inconspicuous spot on the wall.  He must have had more than night vision in that box of his to spot it.

“What’s the word, ace?” Chance was antsy.  She was shifting her weight from side to side.  Her night vision enhanced eyes danced eerily in the shadow of the alcove.  “This ain’t a real good hiding spot.  We’re a bit exposed here in the lobby.  All it’ll take is one observant bloke driving by and we’re in deep shit.”

Vurp was still fiddling with his device as he replied, “Keep your big girl panties on.  This one’s a toughie.”  He paused a second and looked over at Chance. “You are wearing panties, right?”  He chuckled quietly, and I didn’t have to see him leering at Chance to know that was exactly what he was doing.  I had to work to keep from laughing.  Leave it to Vurp to start hitting on the deadliest person in the room right in the middle of a tense situation.

“Get on it, pig!”  I could hear the growl in her sub-vocal response.  Chance was not in the mood for banter at the time.  I didn’t want to see the look on her face.

“Yeah, yeah… I got it.  Just… another… second or… two…”  Vurp manipulated the controls a little bit more and then grunted with satisfaction.  “That oughta do it.  That bugger is a ‘360-by-360’ cam.  I’m glad I installed that 3D processor last week or we’d be going right back out the door.”  He was obviously pleased with himself for being so sharp. I’d give him shit later.

“Okay, let’s move in, folks.”  I stepped into the lobby and headed straight for the central column that contained the elevators.  Vurp followed, and Chance slipped across the front of the lobby to cover us if someone saw us moving.  I could see the glint of the knives again as she skulked to the opposite side of the lobby.  Anything in her throwing range was dead.  I never saw her miss… except once…

Vurp and I got to the central column and worked our way around to the side where the elevator doors would be.  The area was cast in deep shadow.  Only the soft light from the elevator controls was easy to see.  That’s when I noticed that the middle elevator was moving down from just two floors above us.  We had seconds to find and get through the stairwell door before there would be a very surprised – and ultimately, unhappy – security guard or two stepping into the lobby.

I sub-vocalized, “Chance, we got company coming.  Hide someplace, and remember, NO killing.”  Smith had been very specific about that.  The problem I saw now was the fact that Chance was not the type to follow orders from somebody she didn’t know.  She didn’t know Mr. Smith.  She also had no scruples whatsoever about killing.  If a security guard got too close for her comfort…

Vurp hurried around the corner ahead of me and started working on the locked door that led to the stairwell.  It had a badge reader on it.  That meant it would only open for someone with the right badge.  Mr. Smith couldn’t get those for us…

I stayed at the corner waiting for the elevator to open.  I hoped to be headed upstairs before that happened, but I kind of wanted to know how many guards were in that elevator.  If it was just one or two, they might just survive the night.  If it was a squad of four, and they were serious about their jobs, then I was probably going to have to dispose of four bodies before I got to bed.  There was no way Chance would hesitate to eliminate a threat like that.


“Almost there… couple more seconds.”  I looked over my shoulder to see him working furiously at the door.




“Gimme a second…”

“We don’t have those anymore.  Elevator’s here.”  The elevator door slid open, and I could see the glow from the light inside.  Two guards stepped out of the elevator.  They were wearing Fortress Security uniforms.  I could tell by the light green shirts with the gold arm patches.  I knew then that they were well trained AND armed.  Fortress Security produced excellent night watchmen.

Fortunately, it was just two of them.  I got my head out of sight right before one of them turned to look in my direction.  I hoped their vision enhancement glasses weren’t too sensitive.  I sub-vocalized the word “Fortress” as quietly as I could to let Chance know who we were dealing with.  Then I jumped as I heard a click.  As the goose bumps washed over my skin I saw Vurp open the door and slip into the stairwell.  All I could do was hope I moved quickly and quietly enough to make it through the door unnoticed.

I slipped through the stairwell door as it began to close behind Vurp.  Vurp had the presence of mind to push me aside –jamming me against the wall, no less – and grab the door right before it clicked closed.  I felt like a complete idiot.  I had nearly gotten us caught… or worse.  Vurp’s iron grip was a bit uncomfortable, but I relaxed, so he relaxed.  He held onto the door so it was just shy of being latched closed.  We held our breath as the sound of footsteps approached the door.  All we had to do was wait until the guard walked by so Vurp could ease the door back into its latched position nice and quiet-like.

Vurp’s grip tightened again, but now to the point of being painful.  I was about to struggle a bit until I realized what was happening.  One of the security guards was testing the door.  I guess all that time Vurp spent pumping iron paid off.  He was like a rock, or rather like a solidly latched and locked stairwell door.  I could almost feel the door handle wiggle through Vurp’s body, he was so tense.  The guard must have decided the door was secure.  Vurp and I heard footsteps moving away.

I patted Vurp’s arm to remind him that he was less than a centimeter away from crushing my sternum into my heart.  He relaxed and deftly let the door settle into its latched position with almost no sound.  I patted him lightly on the shoulder and nodded to him to let him know I was very thankful for his quick wits.  Remember, I’m just a guy who knows a few tricks and can talk to folks.  The “brains” and the “brawn” came from the rest of the team.

“Headed to the fourth floor; sit tight.”

Vurp let me go up the steps first.  He paused a second or two by the door to deploy one of his mini alarms.  It was a little ball with motion sensing and transceiver electronics in it.  If the ball was disturbed after it was armed, it would transmit a signal to our com units to let us know somebody had opened the door.

“Number One is set at the stairwell door.  Let’s go.”  Vurp started up the stairs behind me.

Let me know what you think.  As always, thanks for reading 😉


An Old Attempt at Poetry

The ice cracks. No place to run

Melted just enough

Oh, curse the sun


A downward plunge into stabbing cold

Panic stricken

Not brave… not bold


A sharp inhale for a desperate breath

Icy shards

Taste liquid death


Eyes wide shut against a flash of life

Which way is up

Why not a knife


As tearing freeze begins to fade

Shame replaces fear

One less sign obeyed


Warmth replaces a need for breath

Fade to black

Walk again with the angel of Death


© 2018

An Inspired Response

So, I just read this post by @millyschmidt where she talks about dealing with being rejected by publishers.  She writes about a pretty good process for getting through rejections – something that writers live with a lot.

So, anyway, I was triggered for some reason to write this…

The ultimate sword is forged when the hammer strikes the perfect spot on the cooling blade at the perfect moment in time. Then, and only then, can this blade transcend from an ordinary tool of utility and general purpose to the artifact that can slay the beast; the beast that is working to crush you and deny you the chance to live as you see fit. A desire to create such a weapon and the will to enter the forge suggests that you may have the recipe. The real question at this point, however, is not whether you can forge the sword. Instead, the question is do you have the drive to live for the opportunity to do so?  Only those that are willing to embrace the passion for just being in the forge will be given even the slightest chance for creating that ultimate sword.

Bumpy Start to ’18


The holidays went pretty well; had some good visits with friends and family; enjoyed the gifts from Christmas.  Then December 26th happened.  Type A flu struck a big chunk of the family.  That sucked.  We were laid up for most of the holiday vacation.  We’re still recovering from it.

Then I’ve decided to change careers.  I’m getting into project management.  It was a tough decision when the choice was presented to me.  So, after giving notice to my current employer, I’m anxiously awaiting the set time to start my new career.  It’s a little scary, but I’m hopeful and looking forward to it.  Needless to say, it’s been on my mind quite a bit.

On top of that stuff, I’ve been mentally prodding myself to get back into my hobby that is iRacing.  I have been on-and-off with it for about 2 years now.  It’s not that I haven’t jumped in my rig and raced periodically.  I have even been running in the Majors League during this time, too, but I have not been heavily involved like I used to be.  I do miss the way it used to be, but I am also a little apprehensive about jumping back into it with both feet.  I guess those waters will be tested tomorrow night with the first Lone Star Sports Car Series race in around 2 years.  Gonna knock the dust off the McLaren MP4-12c.

PacMajors MP4 RidinShotgun-1

I’m going to have to get better at time management, too.  I want to put time in to my online racing, but I also want to keep in touch with my best friend, AND I want to keep writing.  These things have to be squeezed in around work and time with my family (the most important piece of this puzzle I call my life).  Wish me luck…

My Muse… Fickle Bastard


So, how the hell do you train your muse?  I’ve been suffering from writer’s block, lack of motivation, no inspiration… call it whatever.  It sucks.

Can you train your muse?  I’m not sure.  I thought it might have been possible.  But now I just don’t know.

My desire to write seems to be in my daily batch of wants and needs, but the fuel I need to do it, lately, is lacking at best – even non-existent at times.

I can’t deny having some recent distractions, but I don’t think they are the cause any kind of major block.  It’s like my muse just took a giant dump and bailed  :-/

Trying to figure it out…

Mind the Shadows… again

So, I’ve decided to put the beginning of Mind the Shadows back out here.  I’ve gotten a few more followers that I hope will give it a read and tell me what they think (hint, hint) 🙂  I just got done reading what I put on the page, and I liked it.  That said, I might be a little biased, heh, since it IS my idea.  So, please, tell me what you think.  Do you want to read more?  Does my writing suck or kick ass?

I’m undecided about putting more on the page in the future.  At one point, I thought about just adding to it until I was done and just calling it a freebie.  Instead, I have this crazy notion about letting that be a teaser for the rest of the story that I’d like to maybe publish.  I seriously doubt I’d sell it for much, but it would be very cool to me to actually sell my story.  Again, let me know what you think.  I need a little help/advice.

Mind the Shadows page.

Thanks, folks…

BTW, meet Marek and Jammer… well, concepts anyway 😉

Marek Concept

Jammer Cartoon Portrait

Want to go for a walk?

The Kingdom of Welandar has been a place in my head for quite some time now.  It’s obscured by mist that ebbs and flows over it.  Sometimes I can see the kingdom with reasonable clarity.  Oft times, however, I can’t make out the details and features that it contains.

I do know it’s been around for generations.  Many kings and queens have occupied the castle in the capital city of the same name. The side-by-side thrones that are placed on a raised dais in The Great Hall have born many souls of noble standing.  Some have been benevolent personas – kind, fair and generous.  Others… well… not so much.  Welandar is no stranger to struggle and strife.  It is also no stranger to greatness in its time.

It is a sizable kingdom given its population.  Welandar, the city, is quite large with many supporting communities within 10 or so leagues.  But there are other smaller cities, towns and villages that are up to many hundreds of leagues from the capital.  There are considerable distances between them, in some cases, with nothing but wilderness, and yet, all are considered to be within the borders of the kingdom.  In their varying histories, being part of the Kingdom of Welandar has mostly been by choice… mostly.

Want to go for a walk and find out more about this land?