AFTERMATH AVAILABLE NOW!

Hey everyone! My first novella is out and available to read on amazon.com

If you enjoyed reading each part of Aftermath that I posted on here, man are you gonna love that it’s edited now!

The ebook is $3 and the physical copy is $10. I reccomend the ebook because Aftermath was born on the internet and the cover is designed by me. The link to take you directly to it is down below.

Aftermath Part 10

The day went by without Jareth having to use force at all. He came to the last house and knocked on the door. He waited out in the snow for what seemed like an eternity until it opened and he was greeted by the face of an old man walking with a cane. Looking at him it was obvious that this man did not have the physical ability to grow enough food to support anyone but himself, and the small garden beside his home left little to the imagination of the life this man lead during from spring to autumn. 

“I’m here to collect the tribute you owe the Blood Skulls for keeping you safe.” Jareth said trying to sound as authoritative as possible even though his upbringing had taught him to be respectful of everyone older than him.

“I know son,” The old man started. “Saw you coming a ways back and knew your purpose, but I gotta say you don’t look like the last one they sent ‘round here to get my tribute.” The old man studied him and placed the can in front of him to brace against the weight of standing.

“What do you mean I don’t look like the last one they sent here?” Jareth was confused and felt uncomfortable in the old man’s gaze.

“Well the last one they sent over was a giant of a man and had these big hammer like hands that I not sure I ever saw him open the entire time he spoke to me. “But, enough about the last time. Come inside you’ll catch your death out there.” The old man turned around and ushered him inside with a wave of his hand.

Jareth followed and was greeted with a strange sight as when his eyes adjusted to the odd darkness of the home. It was full of pre-conflict artifacts. Some were hung on the walls while some were laying on shelves that were overcrowded. Everything he had in the house would be worth a fortune if the world revolved around money and not power and survival.

As Jareth looked around at them a singular number kept popping up over and over. 45, he didn’t know what it meant but in every framed piece of paper 45 appeared on it over and over again.

“Where did you get all of these artifacts?” Jareth asked still looking around trying to see them all.

“They were given to me. You see before the conflict my grand-father kept all the records of the things that led up to it. All of the things that the leader of the country was doing to provoke it and he also kept things he thought would make a difference later. Things that if the world was destroyed or reset would help people remember what the world was like before any of the happened. My father taught me all about them.” He smiled as he watched Jareth look around and study the framed pieces of paper. “Those were called newspapers, back before the conflict they had almost died out of the paper form but my grand-father was more old school and wanted to hold it in his hand. That one talks about Old 45 and what he was doing to provoke the other countries into starting the conflict. He was sure that the united States would win.”

Jareth was confused. His family hadn’t taught him much about the world before the conflict, only how to survive in the aftermath of it. He didn’t understand the concepts of countries or what the United States was, but putting the pieces together he assumed it had something to do with the area they were in. He moved closer and started to skim the articles. He saw the number 45 a lot and saw posturing and chest pounding. It was no wonder that having a man like that in charge would cause something like the conflict to happen.

“I see you are reading about a year before the conflict. 45 did a lot to instigate other countries and make them want to attack the US. I will tell you though I have nothing to give you other than knowledge as far as tribute.” The old man looked down at the ground and sighed, “I do assume that will not be enough for your leader.”

“I was told to kill anyone that refused to give tribute to the Blood Skulls.” As he said this his left arm instinctively fell to his knife and he had to catch himself. The state was not all the way gone from that side of his body for whatever reason.

“I figured as much. Well, do what you will. I’d like for you to stay and learn about what happened, but I know you have your orders.” The old man walked to Jareth and looked at him.

It was the first good look at the man that Jareth had since he’d arrived. The man was short but that was because of the hump in his back. He was dressed warm in a gray coat and black pants with boots still on. His eyes were ice blue, a lighter version of Jareth’s own. His hair, or what he had left of it, was white and gathered around the side of his head. The old man seemed thin and frail, but the look in his eyes seemed to teem with knowledge that the part of Jareth that was not in the state desperately wanted.

Jareth stuck out his open hand and said, “My name is, Jareth. Unfortunately in the excitement I never got yours.”

The old man took his hand shook it and smiled, “My name is Paul. It was my father’s name and his father’s before him. It was supposed to be my son’s name, but I never got around to having any children.” Paul went into another room and beckoned Jareth, “Come further in and have a seat we have much to discuss.”

Jareth sat there in Paul’s living room listening to him talk just like he Logan, his own son’s age. The time came and went that he was supposed to get back to Red and hurriedly Jareth stood and collected his long brown leather coat to put over his navy blue t-shirt and bid Paul a farewell.

“Paul, it was a pleasure to sit and listen to you, but I have to get back the the headquarters. Red will already be furious that I am late and I haven’t even begun to think of what to tell her about leaving you empty handed.” He rushed to the door fearing that Red would take his tardiness out on his family. As he was halfway out the door he called behind him, “Thank you again! I’ll see you soon!” Then he was out the door with it closing behind him and running towards the rundown hotel.

Aftermath Pt 7

He flung the body of the Father down onto the ground in front of Red. It flopped unceremoniously at the base of her throne and she stared at it intently, taking in everything about the being on the ground in front of her and the fact that Jareth’s eyes were a bright white. So bright that they nearly shone like flashlights. She tried to look directly into them but it burned her eyes.

“How was it?” She asked her tone more sing-songy than ever, “I trust they weren’t too much trouble for you and all your news toys.” Her grin widened and she giggled. Not a cute giggle that would have been heard from a woman her age before the conflict, she had the sort of giggle that a killer had after a kill.

“There were more than I expected but this one was the only one that gave me any trouble.” Jareth said pointing down to the body of the Father. “He was powered. Seemed more like a snake than a man.”

“I can see that.” Red said walking around the body inspecting it. “His skin is greener than it should be and if you look close enough you can see scales instead of skin.” She squat down next to the body and pulled the collar down to reveal textured skin with the pattern of scales.

“If that is all you needed I am heading back home.” Jareth said and began to turn around to leave.

“Actually, I have something for you.” Red said and stood up raising her bottom first and rolling her spin until she was upright. She approached Jareth and handed him a knife. “For the work you have done.”

Jareth inspected it and saw that it was a Bowie knife not unlike his own but more suited for combat. Its handle was at an angle to the blade and the guard curved down at the fingers and up at the back where the hand would go. The pommel curved up at the fingers as well creating a faux hang guard. The blade had a deeper fuller ground into it and made it lighter than his own. He took it and attached it to his belt on the opposite side of his family knife. He moved the axe to the back of his belt and then met gazes with Red.

She had been eyeing him hungrily as he maneuvered the weapons around his belt, and had moved closer than he would like even in the state he was in now.

“I’ll be taking my leave now. I will return tomorrow, let me know what I need to do then.” Jareth said staring into Red’s eyes with his glowing white ones.

“Very well.” Red said and moved in swiftly and placed a kiss on his cheek and letting her hands linger around his groin for longer than she should have. “I will see you tomorrow.”

Jareth turned and left with haste. He felt like he had been violated but knew if he brought it up to his wife, Maria, or Red, his boss, then he would have more to deal with than he wanted to.

On the walk home he inspected his surroundings. The air had started to get warmer and it would soon be the end of winter and the beginnings of spring. Planting would have to start soon which meant raids on farming homes. He saw the old paths of the raiders and the ashen look of the worn dirt. They led in criss-cross directions but led to one singular point, home and the other farms. Now that he felt he had more control over himself in this state he thought he could repel the raiders on his own should they try.

he arrived home and opened the worn wooden door to his small cabin. His children were asleep, as they should be for how late it was. Maria was in a chair in the front room and book on her lap and a blanket covering her. She had fallen asleep waiting on him to return. Jareth moved over quietly as not to disturb hr and kissed her on the forehead and made his way to the back and the room where he and his wife slept together on nights he was not out as late as he had been.

His head hit he pillow and he fell asleep fast. It was not a restful sleep. He was plagued by nightmares the entire night…

Looking at the Spider-Man “Back to Basics” Story

Wow, I’ve been gone a while. Let’s get back into it talking about something that I have loved in my time away from the blog. Spider-Man specifically the new comic run that started after the events of “Going Down Swinging” and the fight with the Red Goblin.

“Back to Basics” is a great Spider-Man story line. While it is only in it’s beginning stage on the 4th issues of a twice monthly release comic. It started the story by undoing what I have called the “Peter Parker Success Story”. Without getting too spoil-y, Peter has left Parker Industries and is the science editor for the Bugle. An AI finds out the Doctor Octopus wrote his Doctoral thesis(during the events of the Superior Spider-Man comic) and Peter is subsequently fired from the Bugle after being accused of plagiarism and has his doctorate taken from him because the work was not his own. This sets the ground work for Peter being more of an average guy than being a baby Tony Stark.

The story plays with the idea of Parker not being able to be in two places at once and the age old situation of can he have a girlfriend, job, go to school to re-earn his degree, and be the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man. The writer introduces a fresh take on the concept by having the classroom in the basement of the University. As the story progresses Peter and Spider-Man are split because of a lab accident and that is where the meat of the story is taking place. The reader gets to see how Peter’s life is without the Spider-Man part of it and what Spider-Man would be like if he was a full time superhero. In all honesty this irks me a little. It is written well and works with story elements but for my personal taste Spidey is written a bit too much like a G/PG-13 rated Deadpool. In movie terms take Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man. It serves a purpose but the Spider-Man is a bit too over the top for me.

Since issue 5 and later are not out it is impossible to know where the story is headed but I am very excited to read it and find out.

I’m going to try and get back the weekly posts about fantasy and story structure and should soon be posting the rest of the Aftermath parts. I hope you enjoyed the review!

The MCU and the Ever Present Power Struggle Between Spider-Man and Captain America

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photo credit

I love the MCU and I love comics, but recently I re-watched Civil War and with Infinity War out as well I feel like this needs t be touched on. The MCU is trying to make Captain America the strongest hero in the MCU when that unfortunately is not true.

I understand that for Marvel, at least in the movies, Cap is their Superman. This is all well and good except for the fact that if it’s broken down Spider-Man is really more the Superman mirror in the comics. Let me explain, Superman and Spidey both work for a Newspaper, they both have a multitude of super powers, and probably the biggest is that they both wear the iconic red and blue outfit. Captain America is like Superman in the fact that they both stand for “truth, justice, and the American way.” But, more to my point Spider-Man is more powerful than Captain America.

I will back up these claims with facts. Captain America has super strength there is no doubt about it. He is on the same level as Black Panther and Bucky. Spider-Man is much stronger than him. The only members of the Avenger that is truly stronger than him are Thor and Hulk(I’m not counting Iron Man because his strength is not form him or an accident but a suit). They have the abilities of a god and a giant green rage monster that only gets stronger the angrier he gets. Spider-Man has the proportionate strength of a spider but for a human. His base strength is approximately 10 tons, his muscles are dense not large making him quick and strong.

Cap is another animal all together. The best way his power can be described is that he has the strength of 10 men. His base strength with a bench press is around 1200 pounds. Still a lot, but not close to Spidey. He is the cream of the crop compared to other humans, but as far as super strong he is not.

Why did I go on a tangent about this? Because the MCU has a problem where Captain America is the strongest possible when it helps the narrative, and I get that I really do. All I want is a little more continuity with the comics. Just make Spider-Man strong, keep Cap as the symbol, but when he over powers Sider-Man is Civil war it’s just not possible Unless, Peter’s heart wasn’t in the fight and he let himself lose just like in the comics.

Let me know your opinions, I’m sure there are going to be many. Keep it civil and I eagerly await the responses of anyone and the discussion to follow.

Aftermath Pt. 5

Out of the run down buildings, the church that Jareth walked towards had the least of the ruin. It still stood with all of its walls intact and a small bit of rot on the door. Jareth let out a heavy sigh and walked up the few stairs with the wrought iron handrail in the middle up to the door and knocked three times.

He stood there a while in the cold and the quiet. Just long enough to think he had come to the wrong church when he heard the click of the door handle turning and unlatching. The door swung open and revealed something that Jareth did not expect to see in the headquarters of a new gang, or any gang.

A man dressed in a black robe with white markings that Jareth couldn’t make out at the moment. His smile was warm if not unsettling.

“Hello there, brother!” His tone had the same unsettling feel as his smile, “Have you come to see the way of the light?”

Jareth shifted uneasily in his boots, “I am hear to speak with your leader. Would it be possible to arrange an audience?”

“The Father is always open to talking to future members.” He turned and gestured to Jareth,

“Come in and follow me. I am Brother James and I will take you to the Father.”

The walk down the pews was interesting, there were people huddled around the walls eating scraps of food that they had either found or been provided. It was odd, most gangs demand tribute from the townsfolk in the form of food to provide protection, but this one seemed to provide both food and protection. Jareth wasn’t sure how they did it because he saw no garden and there was no farm close to hear for them to maintain.

The walk was nearing its end when Jareth turned his attention away from the people on the walls to the man standing at the pulpit with the same inviting but disturbing smile on his face that Brother James had. His robes were a different color than any one else’s in the church. They were white and across the front as he opened his arms to greet Jareth was a black cross upside down. Jareth hadn’t studied the religion of his ancestors, but he knew that wasn’t a good sign.

“Welcome, welcome, welcome!” The Father exclaimed, “I see another downtrodden has come to join my flock!” His tone seemed inviting and jovial but something was there on the edge of his voice that made Jareth’s skin crawl all and want to leave him behind. “Tell me child what brings you here? How did you hear of my flock and the wondrous things I do for them?”

He was an egomaniac for sure and here Jareth was in his lair surrounded by supporters who would most likely die for him. The Fallen Priests weren’t a gang, no they were a cult and this leader would take over all the gangs territories to hear more people praise him. The reservations Jareth had about these being good people were gone, but he was unsure about how to proceed with his task.

“My name is, Jareth.” He started with no real plan of where to go from here, “I have heard things about your flock. Mostly that you are invading another gangs territory. They go by the name the Blood Skulls.” Jareth was not sure what he was doing or how things were going to go down when he told the Father about his mission.

“Ah, yes the heathens in their palace. I have heard of them and knew that we were in their territory but we are not a gang my child, we are merely a religious group here for the well being of the people and my flock.” His tone was still uneasy, but it was easier for Jareth to see the snake in this man.

“Father, if you don’t mind me asking how do you feed you flock? There are no farms nearby that are not owned by others and I did not see a garden or farm behind the church and you have plenty of mouths here. How do you manage it?” It was a question that Jareth knew the answer to but he needed to hear the man say it. He wanted the death to be justified. He played with the hand axe handle as he waited for the answer.

“That is a good observation, my child. We liberate the excess food from the farms surrounding us, not so much that they can’t feed their families but enough to feed the mouths we have accumulated here.” The Father’s smile was still there, but there was a fire in his eyes that Jareth hadn’t seen before.

“You take the food that people use to pay the Blood Skulls for protection.” This was an accusation. Jareth was angry because he knew what would happen to them if they couldn’t pay, “You steal so that you can feed yourself and those here, but say that you are here for the well being of the people. You’re vultures that want worship but don’t want anything to do with gaining the sentiment of the people.” Jareth ended his statement and as the smile fell from the Father’s face Jareth whipped the axe at his head.

Either the throw was too slow or the Father was faster than he anticipated but he caught the axe and roared.

“KILL THIS HEATHEN WHO WOULD QUESTION AND ATTACK US!” As the Father’s mouth closed Jareth swore he saw fangs dripping venom.

He had no time to think about that as he turned and ran towards the door his knife drawn and cutting down those in front of him to get cover from the crossbows that were being leveled at him.

He ducked behind one of the pews but a touch too late as he felt a bolt land into his shoulder from the back. His vision went dark, he never dealt with pain well.

Aftermath Pt. 4

Raymond’s place wasn’t too far of a walk from the Blood Skulls HQ. Truth be told, Raymond wasn’t a mechanic like the ones before the conflict. He was a mechanic in the sense that he lived in an old mechanic shop and worked on gear and the odd generator that was brought to him. Most people used solar power to have light in their homes but some swore by their bio-diesel.

To signify that he was open he raised the old garage door by hand and left it that way. He had a large fire going outside and a wood burning stove on the inside so that his guests wouldn’t feel as much of the cold.

Jareth made his way into the building and looked around, but did not find a trace of Raymond.

“Odd, Raymond is usually front and center when his door is open.” Jareth said to himself as the fires crackled. “RAYMOND, THE FUCK ARE YOU?!”He called out at the top of his lungs.

After he called out he heard a loud clang and several curse before a response.

“Keep ya shirt on!” The shout came back, “I’m working on something.”

There were more clangs followed by more curses from Raymond dropping tools and putting them in precarious positions on his work table. The door burst open as Raymond was obviously hurrying to see what Jareth wanted and why he was screaming.

Raymond walked out of the room that Jareth assumed to be his bedroom, he’d never been much further into the building than he was now. Raymond was covered in dirt and grease.

“Sorry to keep ya waiting,” Raymond started,  “Working on a bit of a passion project.” He dusted his hands off by smacking them together and leaned against the workbench near the door looking Jareth up and down. “Now, what were ya screaming about?”

“I have…been given a task,” Jareth began, “Somehow I became a lieutenant of the Blood Skulls and Red has told me to take out the new rival gang popping up in this territory or my family will die.”

Jareth finished and saw the look of confusion, concern, and fear on Raymond’s face.

“Well, that is a development from the last time I saw you. Didn’t quite peg you as an enforcer or a gang member for that matter,” Raymond said, “You going in alone or do you have any backup for this mission?” Raymond asked keeping a safe distance from Jareth just in case he had been ordered to hurt him.

Jareth shook his head and began, “Going in alone. She said with how easily I killed the Hammer Fist it would be child’s play to take out this gang.” Jareth looked down and his eyes were glued to the floor of the old shop.

“You killed that big fuck? I don’t know how, but if you’re going in alone and after the Fallen Priests you’re gonna need more than your daddy’s knife to bring you back out alive.” He turned towards the door he had just come through and motioned to Jareth, “Come on through here and we’ll get oyu set up to take them on.”

The room was impressive. Full to the brim of weapons for both close up and range. A couple of things caught Jareth’s eye as soon as he entered: a compound bow, old style with the pulleys that made drawing easier, with enough arrows that he would not have to worry about running out any time soon and a small hand axe that looked like it had been made with him in mind. Set down the beard of the axe would make it look like a “J”.

Jareth grabbed the axe off the table and tested the weight. It felt like it could be thrown easily which made the value to him go even higher. He knew it would work well with the knife he carried on his leg.

“Where’d you get this?” Jareth asked turning his head towards Raymond.

“Oh, that? I made it here in this shop. Forged er out of some scrap I found. Seemed like a good project for the forge that I designed.” Raymond said and pointed over to the half metal half stone forge that was filling the room with heat. “But, this here is what I was working on when you came in.” Raymond moved over to the table and grabbed a large gun that had a small tank of compressed air in the back.

He set it back down and opened a panel. “See I was thinking what to do with the spikes left over from the railways because ain’t none of us using them. I ripped a few out of the ground and figured they’d make great ammo and I designed this. A spike shooter.” He grinned and continued, “You load the rail spikes into here and then the compressed air will fire them out with enough force to kill, but not as fast as a bullet.” He was obviously very impressed with himself and Jareth came over to take a look.

“I think it would suit someone a bit bigger than me. Don’t know if I’d make it over to the place I need to get lugging this thing around.” He slapped his friend on the back and started again, “I am gonna take that bow and the arrows though, need something to fight from range if I’m taking on the entire gang.

“Yea I do need to consolidate it to a smaller a chassis, but this is just the prototype. If that is all you’re taking then next harvest I will need you to supply me for the winter and for your family to provide some hot meals here and there.” Raymond said switching to business.

“I can agree to that. I’m off to that run down church right? That’s where the Fallen Priests have held up?” Jareth asked making sure the vague info he was given was not to lead him astray.

“Yep, they settled in there. Best of luck old friend.” Raymond said and after Jareth had strapped the bow to his back with the quiver on the outside of his right leg gave him what felt like the last hug he was ever going to get from his friend.

Jareth left and headed in the direction of the churh where the Fallen Preists had taken up refuge.