Magic Abroad, the latest book in my series Academic Magic is out! It’s available on Kindle Unlimited and in ebook and paperback form. AND until May 1, the first book of Zoe’s adventures, Academic Magic, is only 99¢! Get all three now!
The chatter suddenly dropped off. The only sound in the pub was the rhythmic thump of the fan over the bar and the squeak of the floorboards as more than one person walked in. Lila turned on her seat at the bar to see what or who caused the normally boisterous Catspaw Pub to fall deathly quiet.Continue reading “Odd Companions”
The tide pounded against the rocks, the sound deep, rolling, and loud. Serena sat on a large outcropping of rock, her feet hanging down, staring across the rolling blue-green water at the horizon. This. This felt like home. She hadn’t realized how much she missed the sound of the surf and the smell of the kelp until they’d landed on this planet. It probably wasn’t kelp, but it stilled smelled like it. How could a place sound and smell and… feel so much like home and yet be so many light years away?
Underneath the sound of the waves, Serena heard the click of a pebble rolling across the rocks lining the shore where she sat. She glanced behind her. Jake was picking his way towards her across the lichens and wildflowers. He reached her and sat down beside her, copying her pose and hanging his feet over the edge.
“Hey, babe. You okay?” His voice was gentle.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just… it feels a lot like home. I guess I miss it more than I thought.” Serena leaned into his warmth and Jake draped and arm across her shoulders.
“It is beautiful. If I didn’t know better, I’d say this was northern California or the coast of Maine,” Jake murmured.
“It really does look like that. And yet, here we are on Etrillon, however many light-years away from Maine.” Serena sighed and wrapped her arms around Jake’s waist.
They both stared out at the ocean for a few more minutes. Serena finally stirred. “Well, we should probably get back to the dig. The crew will get worried, and we do need to figure out what happened to the civilization that used to exist on this world.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Something probably crawled out of the sea and ate them all for a light snack anyway.” Jake grinned and climbed to his feet.
“Thanks for putting that image in my nostalgic moment!” Serena punched him on the arm.
Jake laughed and dodged her second punch. “Hey! Don’t hit the messenger! I’m just saying we don’t know what destroyed or upended this civilization. Everything we’ve found so far points to a sophisticated society with a fairly long history. And yet, Godzilla is still a possibility!”
Serena barked a laugh and started walking back to the dig. “I’m betting on the Loch Ness Monster. After all, it swims.”
“Yeah, but getting out of the water would be a huge issue for Nessie. I don’t think she has legs,” Jack pointed out.
“Okay, point. But what about Gamera or Rodan? Why does it always have to be Godzilla?” Serena asked.
“Well, Godzilla was the first. I mean all the others came to fight him, so you gotta go with the king,” Jake replied.
“Fine, fine. Godzilla it is,” Serena conceded.
The dig was about half a mile inland and they arrived back a few minutes later. Serena went to check on the excavation of one of the main buildings and Jake went off toward the other end of what they were calling Ocean Town. Serena had tried to get a little more imaginative with site names, but Jake insisted on more descriptive names to go into their reports.
“Hey! Jake!” one of the crew, Don, called. “Check this out!” His voice was high and excited.
Serena glanced up and saw Jake trotting over to where Don and his three-man team were digging. She went back to sweeping dirt and sand away from what was starting to look like a very nice mosaic design set into a wall.
“Serena! Get over here!” Now Jake’s voice rang out. The urgency in his tone had not only Serena, but the entire crew racing over to the far side of Ocean Town.
Jake, Don, and the others were staring down at a footprint frozen into the mud of what used to be a walkway. A giant four-toed, claw-tipped footprint. Serena’s gaze traveled up the line in the direction the toes were pointing in. About ten feet away was another print. She raised a shaking hand and pointed.
A collective gasp said that the others had also seen the second print. One of Don’s crew dashed further up the sunken road.
“There’s another one up here!” he yelled.
“How did we not notice these before?” Jake asked quietly.
“That windstorm that came in last night cleared out a lot of dirt and debris,” Don answered. “It was buried until just now. If I didn’t know better…” he trailed off.
Ice crawled down Serena’s spine. She turned to gaze at the ocean just visible at their backs. A broad “V” split the now calm water. The point of the “V” was moving toward the shore. Her gasp brought Jake’s head around.
“Everybody back to the shuttle now!” Jake yelled. “NOW! Leave it all and move!” He shoved Don and his crew in the direction of their shuttle, pulling his coms unit out of his pocket.
“Andres! Do you copy?” he yelled.
“Jake? Yeah, copy. What’s wrong?” Andres’ voice came through clearly.
“Get the shuttle started now! We’re coming back as fast as we can run. I’m the last one!” he yelled into the unit.
A startled silence greeted his command, quickly followed by “On it. Starting engines now!”
Serena joined Jake at the back of their small crew of archaeologists as the group sprinted the quarter mile back to the shuttle landing spot. Behind them, the point of the “V” reached the shore and a huge scaly black head rose from the waves. Serena put her head down and poured all her energy into running toward the shuttle.
Gasping for air, she pounded up the loading ramp hearing Jake’s steps right behind her. She tripped over a cable and fell into the cargo bay, rolling to get away from the door. Jake raced up behind her and slapped the door panel and coms button simultaneously.
“Go! Fast!” he screamed into the coms unit.
“Aye, cap’n!” Andres answered. The shuttle started to lift into the air. The little group of archaeologists staggered out of the cargo bay and into the main area of the shuttle. The door closed and the screaming of the wind was suddenly shut off.
Jake and Serena rushed up to the small bridge.
“Holy crap! What the hell is that?” Andres yelled as they arrived, pointing out the front shuttle window.
“That,” Jake panted, “is Godzilla. Or at least the local equivalent.”
“Oh, my God. I was kidding!” Serena gasped.
“Godzilla!” Don breathed, coming up behind them. “A real-life Godzilla. How cool!”
Jake gave him a sideways look and turned back to Andres. “Get as high as you can as fast as you can and get us back to orbit. I don’t know if he has laser breath or not,” Jake said, staring down at the monster stomping up from the beach toward their newly abandoned dig.
“You’re joking, right?” Andres gave Jake a sideways glance, but nevertheless, changed the angle of their trajectory and increased the speed.
“I don’t know. I mean, it sure as hell looks like Godzilla. Why wouldn’t it have the same power?” Jake said.
“Because Godzilla is an ancient fictional character?” Andres retorted.
“Does that look fictional to you?” Jake pointed down.
“Good point. Getting the hell out of here now,” Andres answered.
For this week’s More Odds Than Ends prompt response I used Fiona Grey’s wonderful header image. At first it evoked memories of the beaches I grew up on and then, as the story unfolded, it became an homage to my friend Don, who we lost last week, and his love of all things Godzilla. I miss Don a lot and the world will always be a bit less shiny without him. But I’m pretty sure he’s busy enjoying a Godzilla movie marathon and some good beer.
The man fell with a thump, his head bouncing off the hard floor. His eyes fluttered up and he lapsed into unconsciousness. Jack winced. He hadn’t meant to hit the guy that hard. Captain growled at the prone figure and Jack reconsidered his slight guilt. Captain had proven to be a very good judge of character, so maybe Jack should pay closer attention to the German shepherd’s reactions.Continue reading “Firecrackers”
This is just s snippet from my work-in-progress. I’m not exactly sure where it will go yet. My prompt at More Odds Than Ends this week came courtesy of Cedar Sanderson: The brassy alarm shook him. Fiona Grey was on the receiving end of my contribution: The space station was always busy this time of year.Continue reading “Alarms and Haunts”
The Biden Administration, via Homeland Security, is creating the dystopian-themed and named Disinformation Governance Board. This should scare the crap out of all critically-thinking people. This thing proves that the Progressive Left in this country (and elsewhere… I’m looking at you, Canada) read 1984 and its Ministry of Truth as a “how-to” guide as opposed to a dire warning.Continue reading “Could You BE Any More Totalitarian?”
“Mama! Mama! They’re dropping!” Ten-year old Myrie hopped from one foot to the other in her excitement.
“Okay, okay! Let’s go see,” her mother said, smiling at Myrie. She put down the rolling pin, covered the pie crust she’d been working on, and held out her hand.Continue reading “Dragon Season”
My prompt response for More Odds Than Ends last week was late and on top of it all, I forgot to send in one for this week. So, I picked up one of the always entertaining spares. This one was: Don’t forget to feed the basilisk! I’m not sure who came up with it, but it gave me an idea and I went back to the world of The Academy Arcane and its resident veterinarian, Dr. Jehan Bishara. Here’s a snippet of a day in the life of an arcane vet.Continue reading “Feed the Basilisk!”
Are polls an accurate view of American public opinion? This morning I ran across a story touting an ABC/Ipsos poll. Titled “Most Americans blame Vladimir Putin, oil companies for high gas prices: POLL”. The opening paragraph states: As politicians spar over who’s to blame for recent increases in gas prices, a large majority of Americans say oil companies and Russian President Vladimir Putin are major culprits, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds. This statement closely follows the current White House and Democratic party lines that oil companies are once again greedy and it’s all Putin’s fault anyway.Continue reading “The Veracity of Polls or Is It Really Putin’s Fault?”
Odd Magics, by Sarah A. Hoyt, is a collection of classic fairy tales reimagined as short stories set in the modern world. They don’t quite follow the original story, but those who know their fairy tales will quickly figure them out. Sarah Hoyt has given us a collection of stories that are quirky and fun and take you out of your head for a short while. The entire book is a quick read that will give you a lift and inspire you to look for the magic in everyday life.Continue reading “Book Review: Odd Magics: Tales for the Lost”