The Literary Painting
Trial by Fire part 1

I screamed yet again as I woke up from my nightmare. But nobody said anything. I looked around, I wasn’t at home! I was in a dark, cold cemetery. In front of me the head stone read; Guadalupe Lia, 1904-2008, beloved husband, father, and grandfather. Under his name read; Lala Lia, 1914-2006, beloved wife, mother, and grandmother. This was my grandparents grave. What was I doing here? How did I get here? Under her name was something someone etched in there, I read it, and then screamed awake. “Nick!” Gid yelled, “Must you always shout?”
“Sorry,” I get up.
“And you burned another hole in the wall.”
“I’ll fix it later.” I get up and start my day. I walk into the Alchemy Research Lab.

“Well,” Jeremy was looking at a chart and talking to Katie and Josh, “I think that’s quite a pickle that we’re in.”
“What should we do?” Katie asked.
“Katie,” he replied, “You’ve been my assistant for the past three years, I’d have thought that my genius had rubbed off on you at some point. You’re a smart girl, figure it out.”
“So you’re Kaitlin Deville?” I ask, “The Aqua Alchemist? The one who re-enhanced the kakugane by doubling the healing powers?”
“Yes, it’s nice to see you again,” she said shyly, “I’m very greatful for your cooperation and—”
“Oh Katie don’t be so formal!” Jeremy laughed, “If you’re not careful then Ghost Fire will push you around.”
“Yes sir!” she squeaked, “What brings you to our research lab?”
“Dunno,” I shrugged, “I just walked and my feet took me here.”
“And you assumed you could come in and see if we would entertain you?” Steven slapped the back of my head.
“Pretty much?”
“Look,” Josh walked up, “If you’re so eager to do something you can help me with an experiment my guard and I have been working on.”
“I’m sorry,” I asked, “Who are you?”
“Sorry!” Josh hit his head, “I didn’t realize that we’ve never met!” Josh holds out his hand, “I’m Lieutenant Captain Joshua Vur Horston, The Dragon Blood Alchemist.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m 1st Elite Nicholas Leija, The Ghost Fire.” I shake his hand.
“So will you help me out?” Josh asks.
I look past him to see Jeremy mouthing “Say no!”
“Sure, what do you need?” I ask.
“Nothing really,” Josh sighs, “Just a few durability tests.”
“Durability?” I inquire.
“Yes, I’d like to see how durable you are.”
“In what aspect?”
“In the aspects of speed, strength, and stamina.”
“Count me in.”
“Back so soon sir?” Chelsea asks as Josh and I walk in.
“Fuego, this is my guardian warrior, Lieutenant Captain Chelsea Roth,” Josh introduces us, “Chelsea, this is 1st Elite Ghost Fire.”
“Nice to see you again.” I smile.
“Likewise,” Chelsea shakes my hand.
“You two know each other?” Josh asks.
“We met once before.” I say.
“Would you like to get started?” Chelsea asks.
“Please.”
“Are you ready for this?” Josh asks from behind a glass window, leading to another room where people are sitting behind computers and machines.
“Just one question.” I respond.
“What’s that?”
“What’s with these patches attached to wires that you put on me and why do I have to have my shirt off?” I asked, I was standing in a larger room, looking up to where they were perched.
“Those patches are probes and we’ve placed them through your body so that we could measure the responses and your energy level.” Josh said, “It was easier for Chelsea to apply them with your shirt off, Now can we get started?”
“Can I put it back on?” I ask.
“No,” Chelsea said, blushing, “You need it off.”
“Why?” I ask.
“Ready,” Chelsea said, “Set, Start!”
“Wait, What!” I yelled. A weight fell on my back, I lifted it, it was only fifty-five pounds. I could lift it with the greatest of ease.
“The weight will gradually double over time.” Josh tells me, “Just say when you want more weight or when you’ve had enough.”
“No problem.” I tell them, “More weight.” Another block falls on me, “More,” a third, “More.”

“What do you have for me?” Jeremy asks Katie a half hour later.
“I’ve improved it slightly better but I still don’t see how—”
“It’ll be okay,” Jeremy cut her off.
“But sir,” Katie says, “This type of Alchemy has never been done in this form, and even if it has been, homunculi are illegal.”
“It’s not a homunculus.” Jeremy reminds her, “It’s like one, but it won’t have to feed off of humans.”
“Yes but,” Katie takes a deep breath, “I understand that you miss her, and I understand that you want to be with her, but sir, she is dead, and you should let the dead be dead. She’s with God, she’s perfectly happy up in heav—”

“How would you know!” Jeremy shouts, “How do you know that she’s happy? Did you talk to her? Did you just come back from having coffee with her? I didn’t realize you were the best of friends!”
Katie and Steven stare at him in disbelief. They wanted to say something, but didn’t know what. They looked at each other, as if signaling to the other to say something. But neither one knew what to say. They just stared at him.
“I’m sorry.” Jeremy sighed, “It’s just… never mind. What do you think Steven? Are my actions justified or not?”

“It’s not that they aren’t justified.” Steven answers, “It’s just that you don’t realize where the line is. I understand that you want her back and that you don’t believe in God, I can understand how you don’t believe but you must understand this; some things should never be tried, no matter how justified the reasoning.”
Jeremy grabs the chart from Katie and pauses, “Okay,” he sighs, “I won’t try.” He rips it to pieces.
“Thanks,” Katie picks up a piece of the ripped paper without Jeremy’s notice, “That must have been hard for you.”
“Yeah,” a single tear runs down Jeremy’s face, “Katie.” He stands up straight, “What are you still doing here?”
“I’m sorry sir?” she asks.
“You have an expedition don’t you?” Jeremy responds.
“Yes sir!” She says uncertainly.
“You should be excited!” Jeremy encourages her, “After all, you get to be a Guardian of the Secret Fire.”


“1,350 lb.” Chelsea read off the chart, “That’s quite impressive.”
“What’s impressive is that he is able to run at fifty miles an hour for three hours, thirteen minutes, and forty-eight point seven two seconds.” Josh said.
“You’re making me blush!” I joked, “Was that useful for your experiment?”
“Quite,” Josh sighs, “You’ve just given us a good amount of work to do.”
“Okay then,” I sighed, “So now what?”
“Now we don’t need you,” Josh shrugged, “You can leave.”
“Of course,” Chelsea says, “We still have to wait for lab time, you could go get some coffee with me.”
"Sounds good to me." 

WWII Part 2

“Then you get back here.” Cpt. Josef said into the radio.
“Sir, is it really that powerful?” James asks.
“Yes, Sergeant,” he said, “We’ll evacuate in thirty minutes. There’s a plane coming to the island, it’ll be here in four hours.”
“How do you expect to pick it up?”
“It’s not picking it up, it’s going to bomb the island, blowing up the bomb.”
“Then we need to leave.”
“I’m afraid, Sergeant,” Captain tells him, “We’re about too. The plane left an hour ago, it’ll be here in three hours, we’re giving you a half-hour to get back and evacuate with us.”
“What about the citizens?” I ask, “Is anybody evacuating them?”
“I’m afraid the citizens are under Japanese flag, there’s nothing we can do.”
“But sir!” I shout, “This was our base originally! That means that they’re our responsibility! You can’t just damn them when they expect us to deliver them!”
“Thirty minutes, Sgt. Nichols,” he responds, “May God be with you.” He hangs up.

“DAMN IT!” I shout as loud as I can. James covers my mouth, my face a deep angry red, we all stay silent for five minutes.
“We need to get back to base.” Billiards rushed desperately towards the door.
“We can’t!” Matthews held him back, “It was a three hour hike back to the shore, not to mention the Japs will be all over us.”
“So, we’re going to die.” Garrett gasped.
“Yeah,” James sighed defeated, “Yeah, we’re going to die.”
“There must be something we can do.” Billiards said frantically.
“There’s nothing we can do.” Vonallen sighs, “We’re stuck here.”
“The villages,” I say, “They’ll die too, those people!”
“What do you expect!” Vonallen yells quietly, “We’re completely screwed there’s nothing we can do.”
“There’s one thing,” I stand up, “If we take over then there’ll be no need to bomb the island.”
“Are you insane!” Garrett yells quietly, “Do you know how many people there are!?”
“A hundred and twentyish.” James decides to humor me, “How many have we already killed?”
“I think twenty,” Vonallen thinks back, “Maybe sixteen.”
“That leaves roughly a hundred and four men to defeat.” I say hopefully. “There are six of us, that means that we only have to kill seventeen people each. I want an ammo check.”
“Yes sir,” they said, all waiting for me to realize it was hopeless.
“I have four rounds left on my BAR.” James said.
“I have thirty bullets for my M1 Carbine,” I tell them, “That’s plenty.”
“I have thirty rounds left for my Thompson SMG.” Matt says, “That’s more than enough.”
“I have twenty bullets for my arisoka.” Josh tells us.
“All we have are pistols.” Garrett tells us, “And we only have twelve bullets each.”
“Then we’ll have to cover each other’s backs.” I say.
"Come off it!" James says, "Do you honestly think it’ll work?"
"At the very least we’ll—"
"Make it so that the bomb kills less men and more citizens proportionally?" James says.
"At the very least we won’t feel useless!" I say firmly.
"But it’s hopeless!" Billiards cried, "It’s better to wait and be completely vaporized than to die painfully. It’s a lost cause."
In response I sigh, grab my cross and medal of Saint Jude, “When I found out I was drafted, I was about to be confirmed, my dad tried to get me out of coming, but all that I did was tell him I’d be back victorious. ‘I’ll return with my shield in my hand,’ I said. So, the day before I left, I was confirmed with Saint Jude as my confirmation saint, my guardian saint. Do you know how many hopeless situations my team has been in Billiards? So many… so many. Do you know how much I’ve been shot? Often. But we’ve never had a failed mission, and with Saint Jude watching over us we never will. Do you know what he’s the patron saint of?”
"uh," Billiards shrugs, actually calm, "I’m not Catholic."
"That’s okay," I smile, "He’s the patron saint of lost causes. He’s referred to as The Hope for the Hopeless. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m going to at least try."
They were silent for a moment.
“Where’s the armory?” Vonallen asks.
“Uh,” Billiards thinks, “In the eastern upstairs section.”
“But they’ll be guarded.” Garrett says, “There’s no way we can get in it.”
“If we blew it up,” Matthews asks, “Would the blast range hit this bomb?”
“Uh,” Garrett grabs some paper, he searches a nearby desk and grabs a pencil, “Let’s see,” he works out some math on the paper, “It might. Dependent on how much has been used I think it has a… forty-three percent chance of missing the bomb.”
“Which leaves a fifty-seven percent chance of killing us all.” Billiards sighs.
“Wait!” James says, “What if we move the bomb?”
“Be serious!” Billiards hits his chest.
“I am!” James says, “Look, we’re in the central southwestern part of the base, if we move it more southwest away from the explosion, then how much would it increase our odds?”
“But there’s no way that we can—!”
“Assume we do!”
“Uh,” Billiards does the math, “If two of us move it it’ll only be sixty meters away in three hours.”              
“And how much would that increase the odds?” I ask Billiards, who works it out. “It should increase the odds of the bomb being out of harms way to sixty-five or four percent.”                                        
“And the plane will bomb the base in three hours,” Matthews notes, “It’ll be close.”
“So what can we do for a distraction that’ll take three hours?” Vonallen asked.
“Two of us will have to lead everyone to the eastern area of the base,” Billiards said, “While two of us break into the armory and set up the explosives, while two of us move the bomb.”
“Orders sir?” I ask James.
"You’re still just as damn crazy as when we met in basic training, Nichols,"James asks me "So you must be thinking what I’m thinking?”
“I think so.” I smiled grimly.
“Okay then,” James give out orders, “Billiards, Matthews, you’ll lead the bomb away, Garrett, Vonallen, you’ll set up the armory to blow. Nichols and I will lead a distraction.”
“Are you sure about that Sergent?” Matthews asks uncertainly, “You’ll die if you attack them.”
“I’ll die if we do nothing.” I say.
“Let’s move out!” James says.

 

The plane leaves the base on another island, it’ll arrive an hour ahead of schedule. Saint Jude, Hope for the Hopeless, pray for us!

 

James and I are running as fast as we possibly can, we’re being chased by roughly eighty of them, bullets flying all over the place. We run into a room and flip up tables, This was where we’d make our last stand. I pulled out my carbine and shot at the first ones, James fired at them, they piled in, one after another, three by three. We had to fight them off, we were directly above the armory, firing in front of the window. “Look out!” I pushed James aside. A bullet grazed my helmet. “They’re shooting from outside.”
“You handle outside,” he said, “you’re the better sniper. I’ll take care of these boys.”
“Yes sir!” I turn to the window, aim, fire, duck, aim, duck, fire, fire, fire, duck. There must have been thirty out there, that makes roughly seventy around us, leaving thirty to the others, we just gotta hope that we draw the other Japs attention.

  

Six men were guarding the armory. Vonallen and Garrett could hear the gunfire going off above them. Vonallen loaded his Arisoka, and waited, “We have to time this right.” He turned and shot one of them just as a gunshot went off above them. “One,” the other five held up their weapons, looking around. Garrett and Vonallen both turned and shot two just as gunfire above them went off.
“That’s three.” Garrett said.
They both turned again and fired, one left. They turned a second time and Garrett got shot in the leg, Vonallen killed the last one and immediately covered Garrett’s mouth before he shouted in pain. They moved forward, Garrett was grunting with each step. They reached the door, it was locked, they searched the bodies.
“Where’s the key?” Garrett asked.
“Here,” Vonallen shot the locks off the door.
“Careful!” Garrett whispered, “You could have blown it up too early.”
“Necessary risk.” Vonallen shrugged, he opened the door. The armory was very, very, big. “Wow!” he whistled, “This is beautiful!”
“Just hurry up and set it up.” Garrett slumped to the floor.
“Hang on there,” Vonallen said, “First let’s take care of that shot before you get lead poisoning.”

 

Billiards and Matthews were moving the bomb at an agonizingly slow pace, they had to push it on a gurney  with all they’re strength. They moved slowly, the floor creaked and strained under it’s weight, sweat trickled down Billiards’s face. Two soldiers moved up, Matthews pulled out his Thompson and shot them on the spot. He ran up to the body and took his gun and ammunition. “Here,” he gave them to Billiards, “You’ll need that now that we’ve got some attention.”
“Thanks,” Billiards shouldered the light SMG and they both continued to move it.

 

“Damn it!” I shouted, “I’m out of bullets.”
“Did you get them all?” James was still fighting the forces inside.
“I think so,” I said, “But more should be coming.”
“I’ll cover you.” James said, not looking away from the firing forces.
“Thanks Sgt.” I ran towards the bodies on the ground and picked up three, using them as a shield while I raid they’re pockets. A bullet rips my left ear off. I fall backward. A grenade lands right next to me, I throw two bodies on it. I run back. James was shot in the left arm, a chunk of his forearm flew off.

 

“All done,” Pvt. Vonallen starts to pull out some explosives, “Guard the door.”
“Right,” Garrett picks up a machine gun, “You do realize, Private, that this is an armory.”
“Good idea.” Vonallen sets charges all over.

 

Seven men came up to them, shouting at them in fear. Billiards kills them without hesitation, “It’s already been an hour.”
“We’re making good time,” Matthews nods.

 

The plane crosses the sea, it’ll reach the base thirty minutes ahead of schedule.

 

They yelled something in Japanese, all of them rushed into the room, James and I couldn’t stop them. They encircled us, A whole lot of guns were pointed at our faces. James and I shook hands, “It’s nice working with you Sergeant Nichols.”
“And you too sir,” I nod, we close our eyes, I grip my cross, “The Lord is my shepherd…”
The sound of bullets pierce my ears, yet surprisingly I feel no pain. So this is death. “We thought that you’d need assistance.” I open my eyes to see Vonallen and Garrett with huge guns. “Keep away from the windows, I think they’re all outside.”
“Good,” James says, “Then they’ll come in and die. Let’s move out!”
“Yes sir!” We run.
“How much time did you set it for?” I ask Vonallen.
“Three minutes.” Vonallen shrugs, “Two minutes ago.”
“Hell!” James says, “Why didn’t you just buy us a f$%#ing coffin?”
“Sorry, sir, but I think this is necessary.” Vonallen points out the window, “Look.”
We look out the window to see an airplane flying towards the building. We hear an explosion and turn to see death charging at us with a blind fury.

 

Billiards and Matthews were running faster, they had managed to pick up speed and were racing through the base, they finally reached the end when the building started to shake violently. The bomb fell on its side and for a second they both held their breath.

  

“That’s incredible.” Captain Josef was walking through the rubble with another soldier, “General, these men did an amazing job defending the weapon.”
"Indeed so,” The General said as they walked to the infirmary, “I daresay that these two deserve much more than the usual purple heart.”
They walked to the infirmary to the two soldiers in bed, one of them had a cast on his arm, the other had a some bandages on his head. “Attention.”
They both saluted, “Forgive the left-handed salute, sir.” Billiards said, “But the Fat Man landed on my right arm.”
“At ease, men,” General said, “You and your team, Pvt. Matthews, have once again lived up to your reputation.”
“Thank you sir,” Matthews said, “With all due respect sir, it was all because of the others, Where are they?”
“We found Garrett, he’s badly injured, he’s currently in surgery. They say he’ll be fine.”
“And what about, Pvt. Vonallen, Sgt. Nichols, and Sgt. James?” Billiards asked.
“We haven’t found them yet.” Capt. Josef sighs, “There’s so much rubble, I don’t think we’ll find them.”
“Please,” Matthews said, “You need to find them.”
“I’m not sure if they’re even alive,” Billiards sighs.
“They’re alive.” Matthews said, “You don’t know them. Nichols doesn’t know how to die, and James and Vonallen are too competitive to die first.”
“We’ll look, Pvt.” General assured them, “We owe them that much.” 

 

“Damn does my head hurt.” Vonallen grunts, he looks to see that he’s caved in rubble with James, “Well this sucks.”
“Don’t worry, Pvt.” James says, blood was trickling down his head, he was sitting up against the “wall” looking cheerful, “We’ll get out eventually.”
“Let me patch you up, Sergeant.” Vonallen begins bandaging James’s head and pulling out the numerous bullets, “Where’s Nichols?”
“Over there,” James points, I’m lying on the ground with my eyes closed, as if in deep thought.
“Is he dead?”
 “You know Nichols, he’s in a state of suspended animation, conserving all his energy, not even breathing.”
“When will he wake?” Vonallen asks.
“Maybe when light shines on him, maybe a few hours, maybe never.” James just shrugs.
"Saint Jude," Vonallen goes to check if I’m injured, "Pray for us."
“He gave us orders.”
“What are his orders, sir?” Vonallen asked.
“Wait, Private,” James said, “Just wait.”

Svartalfheim Part 7: The King of Despair

Slowly the world of Alfheim was decaying like the bodies of the elves. The word for elf in elvish was Edhelunque, the Hollow Vessel. They were under an illusion, and they gave so much to that illusion. The world they lived in was cold and grey and black, and dead. But they didn’t see it as so, to them their world was green and lush and beautiful. The only problem were the monsters, the realm had been filled with monsters, the elves had learned how to kill and slay them. They were the rulers of Alfheim, but that gave them no peace, they had no rest, there was always a hole deep in their hearts. Talo, that was his name, that was the name of the first elf to save himself. It happened quite simply, as he was walking through the caves he just tripped. As he hit his head the illusion was shattered. He saw Alfheim for what it really was; ruins, dead land, caves, darkness. He understood, his world was a lie, his body was a lie, everything about it was a lie. He wanted no more of this, so he ran out of Alfheim to earth, to find truth, to rid himself of illusion.

“So remind me,” Chris glared at Pieces while talking to me, “What’s there to think about?”
“Amanda?” I raise my eyebrow.
“Give me a sec.” Amanda nods.
“How about ‘no?” Leix slashed his sword at her, I’m immediately in front of him blocking with Koskematon.
“You’ve got balls, I’ll give you that,” I smile at my adversary, “Attacking my sister right in front of me. You’re either very brave or very dumb.”
“Please,” Leix kicked me, I fell into Amanda, “As if I would be afraid of a mere mortal man.”
“You’d be surprised,” I get up and draw Halidr, “Come at me!” We immediately combat each other. He slashes at my neck, I duck and aim for his arm, I blink and my front is slashed, “augh!”
“Aina,” Leix mocked me, “I am worlds faster than you.”
“We’ll see about that!” I charge at him.
“Alright,” Amanda runs over to Jeremy and Chris and whispers to them, then to Josh, then to Matt. 
“Sure, but do you think it’ll work?” They ask.
“It should.” Amanda assures them.
“What if it doesn’t?” Chris asks.
“Then Matt’ll be killed.” Amanda says honestly.
“Oh is that all?” Matt shouted.

Talo took his clan out of Alfheim and searched all of earth, looking for freedom from illusion. He rediscovered the God of Elijah. Their Lord and Master had greeted them. At that moment they realized, they had forgotten Him, they had forgotten the time when they were in heaven with their Lady. It was then that they started remembering Him. They remembered heaven and all it’s beauty, and it’s reality. Alfheim was a world of illusions, Heaven was tangible, real, honest, Talo and his clan longed for that world again. But in order to enter it they needed souls, which they still lacked. So the Center offered a deal, he would give them their souls, if they also accepted mortality. They will never again be angels, they would have to enter heaven as souls, even with the humans that the war started on. This was their original punishment, no one can be truly banished from heaven. Talo and his clan were grateful to their Tree. They willingly gave over their mortality to the Life. They knew they were going to die, but they didn’t care. They then became young again, their souls entered their body and with it came youth, they all became fairer than the sun to look at. The humans met them with awe, this was the first time they had seen elves in a great long time. The humans asked for their name, they told them Edhel, meaning light. They asked where the elves came from, they told them they came from Svartalfheim, meaning The Realm of Lies. And they told them that the rulers of Svartalfheim were called Moriquendi, meaning dead-living.

Chris charges at Pieces again and strikes. Pieces hits it aside and the axe buries into the ground. Chris jumps up and spins around the handle of the axe and kicks Pieces’ face, he falls over and Chris lands on top of him. “TAKE THAT YOU SON OF A—”
“Look out!” Amanda blocks a throwing knife that would’ve hit Chris’ heart. “Be more careful.”
“Now?” Matt asks as he parries Iango’s knifes.
“Not yet.” Amanda told him, Josh, Jeremy, and Chelsea hit the ground out of nowhere, they tried their hardest to stand up but couldn’t.
“We’re stuck!” Jeremy says, Pieces raises his axe to kill the three of them, Chris hits him and Amanda starts chanting a counter-curse.

Elowin and I are both fighting Leix. He is incredibly tough! He is able to defend and attack us at the same time. This guy would be very hard to beat. Excitement rushed through me, this guy was on par with Lodez, I licked my lips, Lodez never faced me at full strength. It was time to see how I stacked up against my enuo. I moved forward more careful this time as Elowin parried his strikes. A part of me wanted to tell her to help the others but I wasn’t stupid. If I’m gonna take this guy out I’ll need help. Leix thrusted at Elowin’s stomach, that’s when I made my move. I back-slashed at him and my blow connected! He lurched backward in both pain and surprise. “How Dare you!” Leix yelled in anger.
“I’m sorry,” I responded sarcastically. “I didn’t realize that that would hurt you!”

“Rrrgh!” Leix jumped at me, he hit away Elowin’s sword as if it weren’t even there and stabbed at me so fast I almost didn’t have time to react. Fortunately I went berserk. The world turned red, surprisingly the blade was going as fast as an average thrust. Thankfully I can avoid average. This time I’ll beat him down with ease! I ran forward and slashed down at him, he dodged it!! What!?
“You think that you’re fast?” Leix asked, “You can only perceive the world at a fifth of a second at a time, try again when you can get to a tenth.”

Shit.

And thus the christianized elves dwelt on earth, keeping to themselves, away from men. Because they had rejoined themselves with the Far and Near. They were filled with joy and steadfastness, for they had their souls back. They had come full circle, and though they will never be angels, they still could enter heaven. Heaven, a more beautiful word never existed, they couldn’t wait to return to their King. However the Other still invoked their punishment. He extended their lifespan, now they had to wait thousands of years to go back. Thousands of years of trials, for with a soul they could enter heaven, but they could also go to hell. So they tried to keep their souls clean. Talo died at the age of six thousand eight hundred ninety-four. He had lived for much longer up in heaven as an angel, and for four thousand six hundred years as a moriquendi, and his last two thousand two hundred and ninety-four years as an Edhel. He and his children lived complete and blessed lives, the doors of heaven opened for him, and he gladly entered.  The Gravity was glad to have his son back into his kingdom.

Chelsea and Josh were fighing Ipá and Pesa. They were watching each other’s backs, Josh was coated in rock armor, Ipá couldn’t do any damage to him, but Pesa could cut through rock if he tried. The thing is, cutting rock tires him out a bit. Amanda surmised this, and told Josh to use it to his advantage. Chelsea was blocking and advancing on Ipá, he was having trouble with her. Suddenly Chelsea started slowing down greatly, she could barely block Ipá’s strikes, she was getting slower. “You okay Chelsea?” Josh blocked Ipá’s strikes for her.
“I’m…” Chelsea’s breathing started getting heavier. She was getting tired surprisingly fast.
“Ino manhua kilent!” Amanda yelled as she twirled her knife at Chelsea, she immediately got a huge surge of energy. “The elf in robes is a mage!”
“…” Hate flows out of Olad’s eyes towards Amanda, they both immediately start chanting at the speed of light.

Chris jumps back, avoiding the axe yet again. “Hold still!” Pieces yells.
“Like hell!” Chris dodged again.
“Eina adan!” Pieces yells in frustration.
“I have no idea what you said,” Chris sidestepped.
“Chris!” Amanda yells at him, “We’re ready!”
“On it!” Chris swings his axe at Pieces, who slaps the axe away, it buries into the ground.
“A feeble attempt.” Pieces punched Chris in the stomach, he went flying backwards, he hit the wall head first. Matt ran up to him.
“Is he alright?” Mori tried again to land a blow on Iango.
He’s fine,” Matt told them, “Just unconscious.”
“Malsien!” Amanda shouted at Chris, he stood up immediately. Amanda’s arm turned to stone, she started chanting faster. The stone receded and Olad started glowing. He chanted louder and went to normal. Iango threw several knives behind his back at her. She held up her hand and they froze in midair. She made a throwing motion and they soared at Olad. He waved his hand and they went towards me, Amanda waved her hand and they all disintegrated into nothing.
“Thanks sis!”” I said as I made sure I kept my neck connected to my head.

“Focus!” Elowin actually sounded frustrated. She and I were both working up a good sweat fighting this guy. Leix was unreal! He was somehow able to avoid and parry both  my blows and Elowin’s, he was having some difficulty, but not too much, he was pacing himself, ready to go on for the long run. Fortunately some of Amanda’s curses were directed at Leix, unfortunately Leix wore a special charm that, according to Amanda, would reduce the potency of her curses exponentially. The only real benefit we got was that he was slowed down and wearing out. Just keep pushing. Matt and Chris turned and charged at Pieces. He laughed, Matt slid under him and grabbed Chris’ axe. Pieces was surprised, he didn’t notice Chris jump up and slam his knee into PIeces’ face. He briefly lost balance. “NOW!” Matt yelled.

Josh raised the floor so that it basically became a wall. Everyone fell to the new ground accept for Matt, who had a firm grip on Chris’ axe, and Elowin, who jumped off of me and Josh. Josh was also stuck to the “wall” in his rock armor. Josh shot himself up then returned the floor to normal, as he came down Olad shot up due to the floor rising, Olad crashed into Josh and was completely crushed under him, Josh slammed him so hard there was a small crater. When Josh stood up all that was left of Olad was a mess of blood and bones. Matt and Elowin managed to reach the hall to the throne room, they made it through! It was up to Matt and Elowin to kick Morno’s ass, we just had to take care of his lackeys. 

Morno halted. Damn him! Morno made the mistake of blinking. He jumped back once again, in time to dodge the stranger’s stab? No. He was able to avoid a fatal blow, instead the stranger’s blade made a deep wound in Morno’s stomach. Morno took a knee. “You.. Aina Crobow!”
“It’s over.” The stranger said, “You’ve lost this battle and you will lose the next battle. You said my mistake was not killing you? Well your mistake was deciding you didn’t need a soul! And you will burn for it.”
“And you’re not the one who’ll burn me!?” Morno laughs, “What makes you think that a mere mortal will kill me? I who defeated seven of your brothers!? I who strikes terror in the hearts of my enemies!? I who defeats all my opponents!?”
“Well,” The stranger started to glow, “Not all of your opponents.” And with a flash of light he was gone.
Matt and Elowin immediately ran into the throne room. “That’s him!” Elowin charged at him.

Milens! Morno stood and raised his blade. He parried Elowin’s strike and kicked Matt in the face. “You waste no time.” Morno panted, he was getting slower, Damn that crowbow for wounding me, if it weren’t for him these two would be dead already. Morno tried his best to parry and dodge both their attacks, but the stranger had done his job, Morno would definitely be unable to kill both of them.

Leix’s kicking my ass heavily. This guy is better than me and he knows it. I can barely keep up with him, it takes all my focus to block his strikes. Fortunately Amanda is fighting along side me, so I don’t have to draw Koskematon, I can put all my effort into attacking. Leix strikes at my head, Amanda blocks it for me and I slice at him, but he parries me just as quick. He is smiling, mocking us. Granted, he’s better, but I managed to stab him in the torso when we fell, so he’s now slower. Even so he has total confidence in his ability to take us on. He moves like clockwork, striking and dodging at just the right moment. He is definitely on a completely different level than me. But he is wounded, so he ain’t as far ahead of me as he was at the beginning. “Amanda,” I say, “Let me handle him.”
“What!?” Amanda blocks for me again.

I kick her before she got stabbed by Leix’s feint, she falls away a while, I draw Koskematon, “My name is Nicholas son of Thomas.”
Leix smiles, “A bold move, Nicholas son of Thomas. Very well, my name is Leix son of Öffer.” 
I raise a gust of wind to lift me in the air, then come down, “I will not use that power.”
“You really think you can afford giving me a handicap?” Leix smirks.
“It’s the only way I can grow stronger.” I tell him.
“You are correct.” Leix nods, “I became this great by fighting opponents that were barely stronger than me. However, I am not barely stronger than you. I am far above you, your training attempt will end with your life.”
“I guess so.” We  begin to fight.
“If you die!” Amanda yells at me as she turns to Iango, “I’ll kill you!”
“Don’t worry about him.” Mori warned her, “This guy’s pretty good too.”

Chris finally managed to pull out his axe out of the ground as Jeremy was fighting Pieces. “Alright big buy,” Chris jumped up at him, “Round two, huh?”
“Come at me in two’s, come at me in three’s, it doesn’t matter.” Pieces swatted Chris’ axe away and blocked Jeremy’s sword.
“Damn it Chris!” Jeremy yelled at him.
“What!?” Chris asked as he pulled out his axe from the ground again.

“Don’t you learn anything?” Jeremy was blocking Pieces’ axe. “Think, if he always swats your down-strike, then what do you think you should stop doing!?”
“Down-strikes?” Chris pulled it out.
“Down-strikes, yeah!” Jeremy said condescendingly.
“Got it.” Chris Side-strikes at Pieces, he jumped back and the blade of the axe almost hit Jeremy, who raised his shield.
“Dumbass!” Jeremy yelled angrily.
“I didn’t down-strike.”
“I was obviously aware that you were going to side-strike.” Pieces laughed at him, “You’re as predictable as the sunrise.”
“Have you even seen a sunrise?” Jeremy asked.

“Does it matter?” Pieces down-striked Jeremy, he swatted it away with his shield and got punched in the stomach. Chris slashed down as hard as he could, caught off gouard, Pieces blocked  with the hilt of his axe, the axe broke in two.
“There!” Chris tossed aside his axe, “Hand to hand, the way a man fights.”
“Very well,” Pieces tossed his shattered axe aside, “I will overpower you then.”
 Jeremy sheathed his sword and put up his shield, “Well now you’re talking!”

Chelsea had a huge burst of energy, she had no idea where it came from. Suddenly she was faster, she felt lighter, she was a feather, thin air, a slice of bread. She attacked with the grace and fierceness of a falcon. Ipá was able to keep up with her easily. He noticed this burst of energy and adjusted for it, so she was faster and more attentive, so she was far from tired, Ipá didn’t care, he’d figured out her pattern long ago, and even though she found new strength, her pattern didn’t change. The only thing that got on his nerves was that she was somehow able to avoid his strikes, she was never in position to block them, but she’d always managed to dodge. This is irksome! Ipá thought, were it not for her energy I’d have killed her six times over. Chelsea swung down her staff, it connected with Ipá’s shoulder, he fell forward. No, he wasn’t falling, he was flipping, he pulled off a front flip and axe kicked the back of Chelsea’s head. She face planted and lay still. Got her! Ipá stabbed down for the final blow, but she rolled aside. How! Even an elf would be rendered unconscious from that kick! “That was a good try,” Chelsea smiled, “But you’ll have to do better than that!”

Josh had Pesa on the ropes, Pesa couldn’t pierce Josh’s armor. Josh smiled, this was going to be easy.

Amanda smiled as her and Mori fought Iango, she had decided to let Nick have his way, what a spoiled brat, and was earlier debating on whether to help Mori or Chelsea, she compromised and casted a performance charm on Chelsea and ran to Mori’s aid. Mori was surprised that her tonfa weren’t getting cut, the knives must not be that sharp. Iango was a pro, he fought as if he had four hands, he was able to block, attack, and throw so fast it was almost simultaneous. Mori and Amanda were having trouble. Iango smiled, “Where are you looking?” He threw another knife at Amanda, she dodged them, one cut off some of her hair as it flew by, where does he keep all these things?

“Where are you!” Mori hammered his ribs. “Got ya!”
“Not quite!” He managed to block it with a knife again. He deflected Amanda’s strike with another knife.

“What the heck!?” Amanda kicked at him frustratingly. Ipá dropped his knife, caught her foot, threw her into the air, caught the knife, and threw it after her, all within less than a second. Amanda slammed into the ceiling, which is way up high. Fortunately the knife was off target and buried into the ceiling half an inch next to Amanda’s face. She was slightly disoriented, she saw the knife and it brought her back to her senses. She then fell to the ground and continued staring at the knife. She slammed into the ground and Iango flipped over Mori and stabbed Amanda’s stomach (keep in mind that was all in like tenish seconds). Amanda didn’t make a sound, she stared at the knife as blood erupted from her body, there’s some insignia on the hilt! Iango pulled out the knife and she saw the engraving on the red blade, That’s it! She fought to keep consciousness. 

Matt and Elowin wasted no time attacking Morno. They teamed up on him and had been fiercely going at him for quite some time now. Morno was able to handle himself against them, he was making sure he paced himself, knowing that he simply had to hold onto the key until he arrived. He’ll be able to help me kill these insects. “I’ll make a deal with you.” Morno said as he kicks Elowin’s face in. “I won’t kill you if you fight each other, whoever wins will live, whoever loses dies.”
“No chance!” Matt stabs at his stomach, he parries.
“It is not like you to make deals.” Elowin observed, “Are you afraid?”
“…” Morno jumps over Matt’s blade and slashes at Elowin, she blocks it, “Please! I was just feeling generous.”
“Of course!” Elowin sidesteps around Morno, almost losing her footing on something.

Morno saw the brief opening and went for it. Matt barely managed to block it for her. Elowin stabs at Morno, who pulls the sword in and head-butts her, his blade sliding into her stomach. She fell back and regained her footing.

“Are you okay!?” Matt asked her.

“I’m fine!” Elowin jumps back into the fray, her face wincing. Morno and Matt were trading blows incredibly fast, I had no idea that he could be so fast! Elowin thought, These humans amaze me. Morno punched at Matt, who immediately back flipped. That’s when Elowin dived in from behind him. Morno didn’t see it coming, he tried to block it with his hand, it pierced through his left hand, Morno pulled away and disarmed Elowin. She jumped to the right and Matt landed, slashing downward. Morno blocked it with the sword lodged in his hand, then as he winced in pain he stabbed, but not at Matt, he stabbed to his left. Elowin tried to avoid it, but she slipped on something again. She looked down as Morno’s blade dug through her heart. Blood, there was blood all over the floor, but it wasn’t her blood. It was Morno’s blood. Is he wounded? Her world went black.

WWII Part 1

The rain falls, trickling down our helmets. The boat reaches the bay and comes to a stop, there’s no way the driver would dock. We had to swim to the shore, it was the only way to avoid the gunfire that sent us a message; welcome to the Solomon Islands. We walk onto the beach, greeted by a soldier. He leads us through the field, the mouth of hell, to their makeshift base. “I’m Captain Josef, could you please state your name and rank!” He shouts.

“Private Matthews.” Pvt. Matthews says.

“Private 2nd class Vonallen,” Pvt. Vonallen tells him.

“Sergeant 2nd class Nichols,” I yell.

“Sergeant 1st class James,” Sgt. James yells.

“Let me tell you the situation,” Cpt. Josef tells us. “Our air base was taken over five days ago, we’ve been trying to take it back ever since.”

“What’s our status?” Sgt. James asked.

“We’ve only got thirty men left,” Cpt. Josef explains, “They, however, have roughly a hundred and thirty.”

“What about provisions?” I ask.

“They, unfortunately, have enough food to last months and enough ammo to last six weeks.” He tells us.

“If we’re so outgunned then why don’t we just pack up and eighty-six?” Pvt. Vonallen asked.

“If it were any other base, we would,” Captain tells us, “But we have a great weapon hidden in there. One that has the potential to turn the tides here. If they get their hands on it then we could lose.”

“But there’s no way we can take that base over in so short a time.” Pvt. Matthews sighs.

“Then we won’t.” I say, “We’ll infiltrate the base, destroy the weapon, and consider that a win.”

“That weapon is worth millions of U.S. dollars.” Captain says, “There’s no way I’m letting you destroy it.”

“Would you prefer the death of millions of U.S. citizens?” Sgt. James retorted, “We’ll do what we need to to get the job done.”

The Captain sighs, then turns and yells “Billiards, Garrett!” Two men run up. “These are Sergeant Richard Garrett and Private 1st class Weston Billiards. They are the engineers who have been working on the weapon in there. They can lead you to where it is, but I want them back alive.”

“Don’t worry,” Sgt. James nods, “My team hasn’t failed me yet.”

“Thank you for your cooperation.” I smile. “Let’s get to work,” James says.

 

 

“Here’s the layout,” Sgt. Garrett shows us the schematics, “There’s a tunnel system running under the northeast section of the base, I doubt that they’ll have it guarded. That’s the safest entrance.”

“Why wouldn’t it be guarded?” Pvt. Matthews asks.

“It’s the sewage tunnel.” Garrett shrugs, “The tunnels were naturally formed and we just decided to put them to use.”

“Great,” I sigh, “Everybody plug your nose.”

“Where is the weapon?” Sgt. James asks.

“Here,” Billiards points to the schematics, “In the central southwestern area. It’s in a hidden room. Only a few of us know about it, Garrett and I are one of the even fewer people who know where it is.”

“So then we need you to lead us there.” Vonallen pointed out.

“It won’t be easy.” Garrett warned them.

“If it were easy then you would have tried it already.” I replied.

“If we’re gonna go,” GuierraBilliards thought, “Then your going to have to guard us.”

“As long as one of us are alive, we can direct you on where to go.” Garrett said.

“So one of you is expendable,” Matthews nodded.

“Actually,” Vonallen said, “Garrett and Billiards are expandable, but both of them aren’t.”

“Whatever.” Billiards shrugs.

“Let’s grab some ammo and move out.” James commanded us.

 

 

The smell was terrible, but it was better than getting shot at. It was wet and sticky. We walked through, Billiards was in front, counting his steps. He stopped, “It should be here.”

“Where is it?” Garrett asked.

“I can’t, wait,” Billiards pushed a hatch, above him, “Found it.”

The hatch opened and above us was a small tunnel leading up. “We’ll have to climb up it.” Garrett pointed out.

“Right then,” James said, “Nichols, come here, I’ll give you a boost.”

“Oh joy,” I sighed, “I’m first.”

James gave me a lift, I grabbed onto the pipe ladder and climbed up. At the top was a manhole, I pressed my ear to it and listened. I didn’t hear anything, “What does this lead to?” I whispered.

“The maintenance room.” Billiards whispered back.

I lifted the man hole slowly, and looked around me, there was no one. I got out and signaled the others to come. James lifted Billiards, followed by Vonallen and Garrett. Finally Matthews helped James up with him and we walked through the halls. There were three people in front of us around the corner. Matthews pulls out his SMG, “Be right back.”

“Hang on there, soldier.” James whispered, “Let’s hold onto our bullets for when they all attack us.”

“Then what do you suggest?” Matthews asks.

“Alright,” James turns to me, “Can you get them silently?”

I pull out my knife, “Cover me.” I run up to them as fast as I can silently. I slit the throat of the first one, stab the second one in the heart, the third one raises his gun at me, but I already threw my knife at him, piercing his neck. I wave to the others, they run up.

“I’d say we have twelve minutes until the bodies are discovered.” Vonallen said.

“Then we’d better hurry,” Garrett points, “That way.”

We all run as fast as we can towards the room where the weapon was, turning here and there. A man yelled at us in Japanese, I aimed my M1 Carbine at him and shot him. They were coming, fast.

“We need to move,” James yelled, “Now!”

We bolted like a bat out of hell, straight at eight soldiers. Matthews acted fast, he pulled out his SMG and blew them to kingdom come. We ran faster, turning when Garrett or Billiards told us to. We turned a corridor and were greeted by bullets. I barely avoided them, but they got Vonallen’s left arm, he yelled in pain as we retreated back a corner.

“Orders sir,” I shouted to James. I was on one corner with Billiards and Vonallen.

“Matthews,” James turned to him, he was on the other bend with Garrett and Matthews, “Do you have any grenades on you?”

“I have four.”

“Then use one, Nichols will cover you.”

“Yes sir.” I turned the corner and started shooting. Matthews threw the grenade at them, a nice lob. It landed in the center. Just before it went off a jap jumped onto it, he absorbed the explosion, bits and pieces of him flew by me. “Damn it!” I shouted.

“Stupid japs and their self-sacrificial attitude!” James shouted.

Matthews got another grenade, he pulled the clip and counted, “What are you doing, private!?” Garrett shouted, “Throw that thing!”

“Ten!” Matthews turned and threw it, just as it went over their heads it exploded, killing all eight of them.

“Let’s go!” Billiards and the others ran forward. We opened a door and ran in. “This is it.”

Garrett opened a secret door, “It’s in here.”

We walked in, the room was the size of a classroom, in the center was a huge bomb. “Vonallen,” I turned to him, “Can you set it up with that injury?”

“No problem Lieutenant,” Vonallen pulled out some explosives.

“What are you doing!” Billiards yelled.

“We’re blowing it up.” James said, “That way it can’t be used by them. Judging by the size of this thing, it’ll have no problem taking this base with it.”

“Do you know what this is!?” Garrett asked.

“I don’t care.” James grunted.

“Does the name ‘Fat Man’ mean anything to you?” he pointed to the bomb.

“No,” James shrugged.

“It’s an atomic bomb.” Billiards said, “It’s capable of wiping out this entire island, if you blow that up, then we’ll all die.”

“Are you kidding me!” I shout, “There’s no way a bomb can be that powerful.”

“It was invented by a Jewish physicist named Albert Einstein.” Garrett told us, “Billiards and I have been checking the math; it’s full-proof.”

“So then what is it doing here?” I ask.

“The bomb plane landed here to refuel a few days back. When the invasions started we hid it here.”

“So we can’t destroy it,” Vonallen said, “Damn!”

“Orders sir?” I ask James.

“Contact Base.” James said, “Tell them that we found the bomb, we’ll let Captain Josef decide what to do here.”


But Still

But still we fall but still we lose,

But still we’re broken bent and bruised,

But still we suffer but still we fail,

But still our hearts are thrown in jail,

But still we worry but still we doubt,

but still we are not cared about,

but still we live but still we die,

but still we don’t really know why

And So

And so we learn and so we cry,

and so we give love another try,

and so we laugh and so we play,

and so we hope the feeling stays,

and so we stare and so we dream,

and so we make the perfect team,

and so we make that journey to,

the place where love is born anew.

Stuck in corners,

of my dark mind,

looking for answers,

there are none to find,

Look for peace,

at any cost,

no release, feeling lost,

heart abused,

in disarray,

now reduced,

into a wraith,

thus I try,

now to cope,

with this life,

as a ghost

bringerofplenty:

axon-axoff:

I’m not normally scared by works of fiction, but I simply couldn’t sleep after reading this tale of childhood innocence slowly corrupted by years of perplexing, terrifying events. Great writing—I highly recommend it.

Part 1 – “Footsteps”

Part 2 – “Balloons”

Part 3 – “Boxes”

Part 4 – “Maps”

Part 5 – “Screens”

Part 6 - “Friends”

A must read!

Let’s Play a Game: Easy

The chairs were switched, that’s odd. I know that I really shouldn’t care about such a minute and insignifincant detail, but it still bothers me. I locked the door when I left, so how is it that the chairs are switched? I look through the rest of my apartment, the chairs aren’t the only things out of place. In my fridge the milk is in the back, I usually have the juice in the back. I use the milk every day so it’d only make sense to have it up front. What else is wrong? The remote’s where I left it, so are the chips. But the computer, there was something not right about the computer. It was on the tip of my tongue, staring me in the face, something obvious, but what? I look at my book shelf, the books are out of order, odd. I’m confused. Should I call the police? I check and see if anything’s missing, but everything’s there. But something’s wrong, something’s not right. And then I remember, I don’t have a computer. Immediately I run up to it. The screen was completely black except for five words: Are you bored? Yes, No.

Bored? What kind of bullshit is this? A man went into my apartment, rearanged my stuff and placed an expensive looking computer in my room just to ask if I’m bored? I pace around, who left this? Why? What’s the point? But I decide to play along, I reach for the mouse; yes. My alarm clock turns off, then starts up again and starts ticking, several numbers appear on it. 11:59, 11:58, 11:57, it’s counting down. I lift the clock, there’s a wire connected to it. I follow the wire, there’s a bomb. Shit.

The question disappears on the screen and is replaced with this paragraph:

If you’re so bored how about we play a game?

The rules are simple, there is a bomb scheduled to go off in twelve minutes, you can either play tag and see if you can get 3 miles away in time, or you can play hangman: Tag, Hangman. I click on hangman.

Eleven blanks appear on the screen and  another paragraph:

Here’s how you play; I’ve taken the liberty of rearranging your bookshelf in a specific order, if you figure out the order then put it in the blanks, you will know because if you’re wrong you will hear a huge boom. Good luck.

I gulped and looked over at my bookshelf. The books were out of order, I usually have them in alphabetically but they were all rearranged. What order? There’s no order that he’s talking about, it’s not by author, nor is it by color, or title. Not even hard cover to paperback, I look at the genre, nothing. I glance at the computer, there was a new sentence: clue? Yes, No I click Yes: 

Was that hard?

What? What kind of a clue is that? I look at the clock, 10:35, 10:00, 9:59, 9:58 what!? It took off time for the clue! I had to think fast, I looked at my books:

To Kill a Mockingbird, Then There Were None, Brave New World, Whatever It Takes, The Lost World, The Clay Marble, We Were Soldiers, Heat Wave, Patriot Games, The Magician’s Nephew, Never Ever Yell At Me,

And the list goes on. 9:32, there’s gotta be an order to this, but what? I pull out To Kill a Mockingbird and look at the number of pages, 306. Then I put it back and look at And Then There Were None, 453. I look at the pages of all of them and here’s what I got in order:

306, 453, 380, 220, 450, 256, 434, 379, 543, 174, 345,

Okay, so I have all these numbers, maybe if I convert them to letters: c f dec ch bb, or that could be v,  de bef, or yf, dcd, it doesn’t make sense!

 8:32

I look at the computer: clue? Yes, No

Do I dare take thirty more seconds off the clock? I look: 7:35, 7:34, I click yes, 6:33, 6:32, 6:31, What! No! Not a minute! I look at the screen.

Ignore the

ignore what!? Shit shit shit! I just gave away a minute for nothing! What the hell!? Okay, focus, ignore the what? Damn it I’m dead! 6:22, 6:21, I have that much time till I explode! I should run, maybe I can make it. There’s no what I could get 3 miles away in time, shit I’m going to die!

5:23, 5:22, 5:21

This is the end of the, no, it can’t be. I have to think, I have to think. Ignore the, I look at the titles again. The Lost World, The Clay Marble, The Magician’s Nephew. Ignore the, wait, ignore “the,”! That’s it all I have to do is ignore the the’s. I write the titles down:

To Kill a Mockingbird,

Then There Were None,

Brave New World,

Whatever It Takes,

Lost World,

Clay Marble,

We Were Soldiers,

Heat Wave,

Patriot Games,

Magician’s Nephew,

Never Ever Yell At Me,

Okay, that’s what they look like without any the’s. Let’s think. 

4:00, 3:59, 3:58,

I can do this, there’s something up with it.

 Clue? Yes, No.

 I look at the computer, I gulp, do I dare take more time off? What if it takes off to little, what if the clue is too hard. What do I do? Hell, I press Yes, I don’t care anymore, I might as well try though.

The screen goes blank, then this appears:

eulcehtsisiht

uusioejfosehh

lhliehtaeiini

cssssefasthes

What the hell! What is this? Wait, it’s a word search. I read it: This is the clue.

1:45, 1:44, 1:43,

okay, think this through, a word search. I look at my list of books, was that hard? Ignore the, ignore the, that means I take the the’s off, I already got that. But what could taking the the’s off benefit, unless it took away from the message he was sending. How would the the’s interfere.

Wait!

   TOKILLAMOCKINGBIRD

   THENTHEREWERENONE

   BRAVENEWWORLD

   WHATEVERITTAKES

   LOSTWORLD

   CLAYMARBLE

   WEWERESOLDIERS

   HEATWAVE

    PATRIOTGAMES

     MAGICIANSNEPHEW

     NEVEREVERYELLATME

I keep thinking, ignoring the clock read 50, 49, 48, think think think.

18,17,16,

I got it! I type in the blanks:

that was easy.

The clock stops, a new paragraph appears:

Very good, but I’m afraid you took to long, therefore you must play a penalty game: Penalty game, give up (boom)

Damn it! I click Penalty game, let the next round begin.

Desperation part 1

Don’t ever do anything in desperation!! This is the best advice I can give you and I urge you to follow it. I knew better than to try this out, but I went for it anyway. I never even dreamed what happened would happen. At the time I didn’t even care, I ignored all the signs because I wanted it that badly. Allow me to tell you what happened to me so that you’ll know, learn from my mistakes.

From the moment I saw her I’ve been madly in love with my wife. I know that people always say that but this isn’t some cliché, it’s the truth. The very second that I laid eyes on that beautiful woman my heart skipped a beat. She had shining green eyes that I swear up and down sparkled. Her hair was a soft shade of orange that was radiant as the sunset. She had thirty-four freckles on her face, I’ve counted those freckles a multitude of times. When I first had the privilege to see her beautiful smile I knew; I wasn’t going anywhere. We met in my junior year of college, we only exchanged a five minute conversation on a bus. As it happens we attended the same university, but due to the differences in our schedules we never saw each other. I said a joke, some stupid pun that you would tell a third-grader, and she laughed, her laughter made me glad I had perfect recall, I was able to play her incredible laugh in my head whenever I wanted to. That’s what kept me sane later on… but I digress. As we got off the bus I summoned the courage to ask for her name, she smiled and said the most beautiful word I had ever heard; Felicity. I gave her mine; Miles.

After that brief encounter, I went to see my current girlfriend and I broke up with her. She was furious when I told her that I had fallen in love with a girl I barely even knew. We were living in the same apartment off campus and she demanded that I be the one to move out. It was my apartment to begin with but I agreed to anyway, I knew that I had hurt her badly and this was the least I could do. Crystal, if you’re reading this, I just want to say thank you for your part in this story. If it wasn’t for you I would’ve killed myself a long time ago. You helped me through a rough patch, you were there to pick me up, to dust me off, and to set me on the right path. Yet at the same time I must say that I hate you so much, and will never forgive you, because if it wasn’t for you I would’ve killed myself a long time ago, and this all would never have happened. I would like to say that I never want to see you as long as I live, but I may not have that luxury. I packed and sold my stuff quickly and moved in with my friend Ben, he and I grew up together until he moved away my sophomore year of high school, we never thought we’d meet again but fate had seen to it. Ben is the kind of guy that makes you either want to laugh or smack him. His sense of humor has gotten me into a lot of trouble, and every day I’ve wondered what trouble he’d get me into, but he always gave me a story.

Ben lived in a two bedroom apartment on the third floor, directly across the street from the university. I told him about Felicity and how I broke up with Crystal, I told him how I didn’t know anything else about her and that I may not see her again. “Did you at least bang her before you broke up?” he asked me, his tone was way too serious.
"Don’t be a dick, man," I hit him, trying to hide the smile his comment forced upon my face, "This is serious, I really feel like I need to find her."
"Yeah yeah," He nodded as he went to the fridge and pulled out a cold one, "You’ve found true love and need to find her or die alone, but midterms are next week, you need to forget about this chick for now and focus."
"I guess." I sighed.
"So what’d Crystal say?"
"She said I was a hopeless romantic and that I was doomed to fail."
"And I’m guessing she said that she won’t be there to pick you up when you fall this time?" I nodded, "Well, I can see why she’d be pissed, I mean she really helped you out of those depressions and you just go and leave her like that. Are you sure about all this?"
"I know it’s weird," I explained, "But I am 100%. Crystal is fantastic and I do owe her a lot, and I truly was in love with her, but all the feelings that I had for her are just… gone."
"And they’re now for this Valicy chick?"
"Felicity, yes."
"That’s gotta be the most random thing I’ve heard in a while," Ben sighed, "So you’re saying that Crystal is fair game?"
We both laugh at this and I continue to unpack my stuff. 

I went to bed that night, but I couldn’t sleep, I kept going over in my memory her face, her smile, her laugh, her eyes. Her name echoed in my mind the whole week; Felicity. School comes easy for me, my perfect recall allows me to have something completely memorized after reading it or looking over it three times. I’ve always been able to breeze by. Unfortunately, my mind was erratic the whole week, I couldn’t focus, my memory didn’t want to work, it was playing the five minute conversation over and over again. It’s not like I was obsessing over her or anything, I was trying with all my might not to think of her. I barely managed to trudge through my midterm exams. I would sometimes go a little out of my way randomly hoping to bump into her, not often mind you, just around once a week. I kept telling myself “Don’t be a stalker, don’t be a stalker, don’t be a stalker, don’t be a stalker.” My friends laughed at how three weeks later she was still on my mind. They kept saying jokingly, “Don’t be a stalker, man.” I wouldn’t have been surprised if they made T-shirts that said that. Finding her was a total coincidence. My friends and I went out to eat at a local restaurant to beat the monday blues, when she comes out of the kitchen, she was a waitress there! “That’s her!” I pointed quietly, trying not to make a scene.
"Who’s her?" My friend Nico asked.
"Felicity," I answered in my "are you stupid?" voice.
She’s a piece,” Ben nods, “She’s no Crystal, but she’s a piece.”
"Nah," Nico shook his head, "She’s hotter than Crystal by at least half a point."
"I don’t know," My other friend Julie said thoughtfully, "It’s quite the toss up."
"I think she’s going to wait our table!" I tried not to panic, "What do I say!?" 
"Hi would be a good start," Nico suggested sarcastically.
"Yeah," Ben agreed, "Just a simple, ‘Hi Felicity,’ would do."

She walked up to greet us with that dazzling smile that I remembered, “Hello!” She said cheerfully.
"Hi Felicity!" I said, a little to enthusiastic.
"Have we met?" She looked confused, "How do you know my name?"
"You guys shared a bus ride three weeks ago," Ben said, his plan of sabotage becoming clear, "My friend here has been stalking you."
"Well, trying to," Nico jumped in, "He’s been trying to find you this whole time."
"How long did you say the conversation was, Miles?" Julie couldn’t hide her smirk, "Five minutes?"
My friends were jerks.
"I have perfect recall." I blurted out, in an attempt to calm her.
"Cool!" She nodded, trying to give me a chance? "I’ll bet that came in handy during midterms."
"I’m Miles," I tell her again to remind her. We ordered our food, joked around with her, and had a good time. I would sometimes pop in that restaurant to study and visit her, we became friends.

We started dating the next semester, surprisingly enough, she was the one who asked me out. I’ve bragged about this for the longest time, even when I started lamenting over the fact that I said yes. That semester, as luck would have it, we had the same class and a good chunk of free time afterwards. We spent most of our days together, she told me about her dreams, about how she was an English major and how she wanted to be a high school english teacher, she was Irish and loved Ireland with a passion. Her favorite color was green, she loved Doctor Who, and she wanted one day to travel. I told her about my family, about how my brother died, but not the details mind you, it would be quite a while till I told her the details. How my mother made the best meatloaf in the state, how she would always read to my brother and I as a child, how she was a teacher, how she was loving and kind, how even today she still calls weekly “just to see how things are.” How my father had a drinking problem after my brother died, but never failed to provide for us. “He’s never missed a drink in his life,” I said, “Or a joint, or a chance to get high, or a day of work, or a house payment, or an anniversary,  I never went hungry, although there were a few times where he did so mom and I wouldn’t.”
"Sounds like he’s quite the guy." Felicity nodded from the kitchen, she was cooking some fajitas for dinner, "My parents are both loving and kind, though neither of my brother’s have died so… I’m sorry, that sounded better in my head."
"It’s okay," I say, wanting to tell her about my depression, about what happened when and after Joseph died, "Ben makes jokes like that all the time."
"He’s quite an interesting fellow, that Ben."
"You don’t know the half of it!" I laugh, "He was always there to get me in trouble, but he’d also get me out of that same trouble."
"I had a boyfriend like him," she thought back.
"Why’d you leave him?" I asked.
"He was too out there," She shrugged, she turned back to her cooking. My eyes widened, she looked so perfect in front of that hot stove, her back to mine, working diligently, adding spices and rice to enhance our dinner, wearing my "Don’t be a stalker" T-shirt and a pair of boxers that she liked to call "Lazy shorts." It was the first of many moments in my life that I wished would last forever.
I walked up to her and hugged her softly from behind, kissing her neck. ”Hey pretty lady, where’d you learn to cook like that?”
She smiled peacefully, closed her eyes for a moment, and enjoyed the warmth of my body before answering, “My mother made sure that I learn to cook, and my older brother, Troy, made sure that I learned to cook well.”
"Is he a cook?"
"Yes," She continued cooking, "He owns his own restaurant back home." I started to step back, "If you let go of me then you won’t get to eat," She warned me, demanding that I continue to hold her like this until she finished. This was the second of many moments in my life that I wished would last forever. There are many moments with my wife that I wished would last eternity, all of which mean the world to me, and I would gladly give them all up if it means that what happened wouldn’t happen.

Our graduation was highly anticipated, for everyone except me. I was worried about graduating. I knew that our time together would probably be up, she’d go back home and I’d go back home, we’d find jobs at different places and we’d grow apart. A part of me wanted to find a way to make this work, but I don’t do long distance relationships. I was hanging out with Julie at her place when I explained my worries, and she smacked my head, “Isn’t it obvious!?”
"What?"
"Marry her you dumb-ass!!"
"I thought of that," I said, "But I don’t have the money to start a life with her, and not to mention we both have a lot of loans, then there’s where to go, I don’t think it’s a smart move."
"Sometimes the right move isn’t exactly smart!" Julie yelled, she can be a little high maintenance sometimes, she calmed down and explained, "There will always be a reason not to do it, but likewise there will also always be a reason to do it. You love her, don’t you?"
"Yeah."
"And she loves you, doesn’t she?"
"Yeah."
"So what the hell more do you need?"
"But still…"
"For Christ’s sake!!" She walked over to a painting on the wall and removed it, there was a safe, she opened it and threw a stack of fifties at me, "That’s about five hundred dollars, go buy a wedding ring."
"I can’t take your money!"
"Shut the hell up," Julie countered, she then sighed, "My parents are loaded, I didn’t want anybody to know, but my dad owns several businesses."
"Shit!" I shouted, "And you’ve been living in this crappy ass apartment?"
"I can take the money back!"
"You should," I hold the stack up to her, "Thanks, but it doesn’t feel right to use another persons money to buy a ring."
"Then put some of your cash too!" Julie face-palmed, "You know what!" She grabbed her purse and her car keys, "Let’s go now, I’ll help you pick out one."
That night Julie helped me pick out a beautiful wedding ring to propose with.

I’m sorry.

I’m so sorry.

I’m so sorry Felicity.

I didn’t mean for this to happen. 

I…

I can’t continue.

I just need to rest for a second….

I just need to rest…

I just…

I ju—