Syndicate: You Will be Mine

Have another deleted scene, this time from Syndicate. One of those things that I never found a place to put in is an explanation of just where Mark got those powers from. Because he did get them from somewhere.


Jason just wanted to make a little quick cash and his prayers were very easily answered. This guy at the bar had already been abandoned by his friends one by one as he continued to obsess over a woman that had dumped him. From the sounds of it, she’d dumped him months ago, if not even longer.

He took a seat next to the drunk, looking far too young to be in here. Luckily, so long as he paid, no one cared. Better, he knew the man working the bar and knew that he’d look the other way. “Hey,” Jason said. “Mark, right?”

“Who’s asking?” Mark looked Jason over. “Aren’t you kinda young? I’m not buying you anything.”

“I get that a lot,” Jason said. “And I don’t need you to.”

Jason put his finger down on the bar and the shadows pooled under Mark’s drink. Mark turned back to it and watched as it fell into the wood of the bar, then looked at Jason as the drink resurfaced in front of him. Jason smiled and nodded, tipping the glass in his direction in thanks before taking a drink.

“How’d you do that?”

Surprise was good. Surprise meant that he’d never seen anything like it before. Even as wasted as he was, if he would know exactly what Jason was the instant he saw that trick.

“Trade secret,” Jason said. “But I might let you in on it if you really want.”

“Can you do anything else?”

“Plenty,” Jason said, letting the drink sink back down into the bar and returning it to Mark. “It’s not something you generally go around showing people, but I get a good feeling from you.” A feeling like you’re willing to blow a lot of cash to get back a girl who doesn’t give a shit about you. 

Mark said nothing staring down at his glass. He picked it up and felt the table, making sure there wasn’t a hole or dent, but there was nothing but smooth wood under his hands. He glanced around, but no one so much as glanced in their direction. This was going a little too well.

“How?” Mark asked.

Jason pooled a collection of shadows in front of him and reached down into the bar, pulling out a single purple pill before the shadows dispersed.

“It’s not cheap,” Jason warned him, the shadows pooling around Mark’s glass again and flickering up like a dark flame to lick the cool glass. “This shit comes at a price. But between you and me, it’s worth every cent.”

“And it’ll make me do this?”

“It’s a bit different for everyone. Some people get mine. Some people blow shit up. Sometimes you can control everyone around you. It all depends on you. No matter what you get, though, it makes you more powerful than you ever imagined.”

“How much?”

“Five thousand gets you one. That’ll get you some temporary skills. The second makes it permanent.”

Mark looked long and hard at the glass, now covered in thin black tendrils from Jason’s shadows. “You know a bank near here?” he asked.

syndicate

Backstreets: Mail

I did a lot of thinking about the other stuff that happened in that one arc of stories in Backstreets. So here’s more of what happened with Carrie.


When Carrie dropped her stuff off in her room, she saw the envelope on her bed. Those earrings she ordered online had come in fast. She grabbed it and headed back downstairs and to Don waiting for her in the living room. He turned when she appeared. “Got something?”

“Yeah, I ordered this a week ago,” Carrie told him, handing him the envelope. “I thought it would take longer to get here.”

Don muttered a couple words and ran his finger along the top of the envelope, a neat slice appearing through the tape and paper. She smiled as he handed it back to her. A magic boyfriend was useful sometimes. So long as they kept it low key, she might be able to keep him without getting caught.

She opened the envelope and tipped it into her hand, a slip of paper falling between the two of them before a plastic bag with a single purple pill. Don went as still as her at the sight of it and Carrie’s back tingled, remembering full well what happened the last time she took one of these things. She almost wanted to throw it across the room, but she wanted an explanation more.

She shoved the bag at Don, looking for a return address on the envelope. It was blank and there wasn’t even any postage on it to let her know where it came from. The only other clue was the note.

“This has to be a joke,” Don said quietly as he handed her the note, his eyes darting to the door to make sure they weren’t being overheard. He held the pill awkwardly, like it was about to bite him. “Who the hell would send this to you? Who else knows?”

Carrie read the note.

For the future when the choice arises.

Dawn

Taking a deep breath, Carrie took the pill back and shoved it in her pocket, gathering the remaining evidence together and giving it back to Don. “Burn it. Jin never finds out.”

“You can’t-”

“Just in case,” she said, not quite meeting his eyes.

backstreets

Simya Academy: Questions

I ended up leaving a lot out by not including an epilogue in Simya Academy. Things like, what actually happened to her friends once the book was done.


“You don’t really believe any of this, do you?” Marisa asked once they got back in their dorm. There were only five of them now, Dawn placed on an independent long term assignment, and only three of them in the room. Well, they said that’s where she was.

“She has not been replaced yet,” Angel said. “She might be back.”

“No,” Shane told her.

“You know something about that night,” Marisa said. “It’s been months and no one’s told us anything. It’s not a coincidence that Dawn got put on ‘permanent assignment’ in the middle of the night and the Tower blows up at the same time. Or that, somehow, we’re the only ones who managed to sleep through the whole thing. There is no way she got out of here without going through you first, Shane. And – Roland!”

“What?” Roland asked as he walked into the dorm, closing the door behind him.

“You found something last night, right? The folder?”

Roland’s eyes flicked around the room, carefully checking everything. He went to the window and made sure it was closed before he pulled it out from under his pillow. “There was this,” he said, leaving the folder on his bed. “Ellen’s file. I have yet to go through it, but Dawn’s left a note.”

Shane looked back to the door, then to the rest of them. “Fine,” Shane said. “I will tell you what happened. But only once Jack comes. I am not repeating myself.”

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Office: Xombie Overdose

Just in case anyone thought the twins weren’t somehow entirely responsible for what happened during the zombie invasion, here’s a cut bit from Office that didn’t fit anywhere.


“You’d think they’d know it’s not supposed to be green,” Di said, remaining just out of sight of the small crowd of junkies crowding around what they thought was a box of free heroin.

“You’d think they’d know you aren’t going to get anything good in random boxes in an alley, but this is the second time today.”

“Should we do anything about this?”

A grin crossed her brother’s face and the look in Ezra’s eye told her that he knew just what to do to spice things up a little. He’d been more reckless than her lately and, as much fun as it was, she wasn’t sure if she should be stopping him.

He was always the one to rein her in when she went too far, though. That was how they worked. She jumped at whatever would be the most entertaining and he made sure it didn’t get out of hand. Maybe this streak of boredom was getting to him too. If he wasn’t going to stop her, she’d keep from stopping him too.

“It’s been awfully dull at the office lately, don’t you think?” Ezra asked.

“So boring.”

“And we can’t just leave these guys out here on their own.”

“They’re going to get in trouble on their own.”

“They’d cause too much trouble for the Chief.”

“We should really bring them right there.”

“And take the scenic route,” Ezra agreed. “They might have a few more friends we haven’t seen.”

Di pushed back that voice in her head telling her that this was definitely one of those times that Ezra would tell her it was going too far. The idea of the office plunged in a zombie invasion sounded like far too much fun to pass up. Plus, it had been years since she and Ezra had a chance to really let loose and no one was going to stop them over zombies.

Still, there was something off about Ezra. His expression was as calm as usual, but his smile never quite met his eyes. She knew she should stop and ask him what was going on, even if it meant stopping what might be the most fun they’d ever have at the office.

If it was serious, he’d tell her. If not, she’d ask him when this stopped being fun.

office

Simya Academy: Othering

There’s a few strange things that got left out of Simya Academy. Namely, I left out everything that wasn’t directly related to Dawn. Like this little bit about what happened with Zeke.


A moment ago there was nothing but fire and that girl, her grey eyes chilling him to the bone. He knew her once as a child, back in those hazy years that would never quite return to him. She changed from the friend he sort of remembered to the demon who looked too at home in the flames.

“What’s going on?” he asked, his voice hollow and disappearing into the night. He could feel the cool open night air and was dimly aware that he was in a field in the middle of nowhere, his knees soaking from the damp soil he now knelt in. It didn’t matter. Nothing made sense anymore.

You needed to get out of there, came the little voice in his head. Frag was there, as he always was, speaking gently and trying not to sound shaken himself. I took the liberty.

Zeke shook his head, though he wasn’t sure what he was disagreeing with. He could still feel the fire. He could see Dawn there. He could hear his brother. He saw everything happen. He knew what happened. It just didn’t make any sense.

He didn’t know how long he sat there, sitting in the dirt and shaking his head, before he managed to get his next words out. “I can’t go back, can I?”

You could, Frag said. I wouldn’t recommend it. It might be time to go.

“Yeah,” Zeke said. “Yeah, I think we should go.”

Zeke didn’t move a muscle, but the field was empty a moment later.

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Office: Escape

This is a scene that never quite made it into the series. This takes place during one of the stories in Office when the office is overrun and Persea has been forgotten about.


That ceiling had taunted her for so long. It laughed as she was kept inside the jar, trapped and unable to escape the glass. There was iron in the lid and she could not break through that. For years, she watched as her captor just sat there, ignoring her and forgetting that she was even there in the first place.

And then he died. And then there was nothing to even watch. There was only the mockery of the ceiling when it remembered her at all.

But now some idiot had finally come in. He was trying to freeze himself in the room, but she knew it wouldn’t work. Already, something was rumbling the shelf behind her, trying to break through the wall. No matter how much ice, she would finally be free and humanity would pay for what they did to her.

The shelf came down in a crash and the jar bounced against the ground. She felt the rumbling around her as more humans trampled the remains of the shelf, but the jar that held her was still intact.

No, that couldn’t be right.

Persea banged against the glass. Even as the room around her froze, she kept fighting against her clear prison. It wasn’t fair! She was so patient, spent so many years in solitary confinement and forgotten. It was her time to be free and she would make the humans pay! She was not meant to be contained!

Outside, the ceiling laughed.

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Backstreets: Transition

There were a lot of little things with Shane that ended up in the background of the series. The explanation for one of the stranger pieces of decoration in his office was cut from Backstreets.


The book said this was the time and place and Shane knew better than to distrust it. Even with the number of people milling about, he spotted enough of his allies among them. He was actually a little surprised how many of them there were.

It’s time, he told them, none of them so much as flinching as they heard his voice in the back of their minds. He walked through the crowd to a bald Irishman with an overgrown beard , currently surrounded by a mix of people loyal to him and those who were most certainly not.

“Kendrick,” Shane said, drawing the eyes of everyone in that cluster of people. “We need to talk.”

“Who the fuck’s this kid?” one of them asked. The woman knew full well who Shane was, being one of the first people he approached. She’d been itching to get rid of Kendrick longer than Shane had.

“One of the nokkers I got working the numbers,” Kendrick told her. “Make it quick.”

“You are done here.”

“What?”

“I said you are done, Kendrick. Head back home. I’m taking over.”

Kendrick laughed, cracking his knuckles. Lightning races between his fingertips as he flexed them and raised his hand. “You think-”

Kendrick’s hand stopped just before it collided Shane’s face, electricity still arching between his fingers and as immobile as the rest of him. From the look on his face to the fabric of his shirt, everything about him was frozen in time.

Now all that was left to make sure that everyone else would fall in line. Looking around at the stunned faces and anxious fingers ready to lash out at anyone who made a wrong move, he knew that the the upcoming fight would be over quickly.

“Well then,” Shane said, turning back to the rest of the room. He reached into his pocket for his knife. “Is anyone else going to have a problem with that?”

backstreets

Legacy Now Available!

legacy

Not all magic is equal. Even hard work and determination is no match for skills passed on from generation to generation, each time being built upon and growing stronger. These old magic families have hoarded their secrets with every generation, using them to get ahead where they could – or leaving a mess for their progeny to deal with as soon as they have passed.

Legacy delves into the people who have had the responsibility of generations passed down to them and how they use their family’s magic with the time they have left. This generation knows that eventually the End will eventually come for them and that they might not have much time to stop it. If they want to stop it at all.

Get it now on Amazon!

Genetically Impaired

So I found an old document from 2006 for a serial I started working on, but never finished. It was a comic at one point1 and then I tried to go back in time and write the whole thing. Eventually, I abandoned the project, though I have thought about picking it back up from time to time. It’s interesting going through the original files and seeing what I was trying to do back then.2


Shattered glass and flying mortar were the last things he remembered seeing, the last things he felt embedded into his flesh and drawing out his blood at a rapid rate. Now he was simply awaiting death.

What death was waiting for, he had no idea. There was a point where he thought he had died, feeling a cold hand rip his soul from his body and hurl him into a small pinpoint of light that grew until it engulfed him in the warmth of the afterlife, but that image had faded away a few moments after. There was just nothing, and he started to feel like he wasn’t quite dead anymore. Not quite alive, but certainly not quite dead.

It felt like quite a long time now. Dying, it seemed, was not as quick a process as he had hoped and he was waiting for something, anything really, that would give him a reason for still sitting in limbo waiting for the great beyond. Unless he was a ghost now, ready to meander the earth but not ready to get up quite yet. He might even buy that if he could actually feel any of his limbs, but all he felt now was detached.

Perhaps he was lacking in the self reflection and coming to terms with his own death, before moving on? Would that make the gods happy? Fine.

He had stolen a car. It was a stupid move now that he thought about it, but he had already done it. It had been a nice one too, but there was hardly any reason to regret that now. He had done it, gotten in, and very easily managed to hot wire the thing.

He remembered that the engine roared at his touch, a thing he was very proud of at the time before he had closed the door. And then he had done the stupidest thing in his entire life. He shifted it into gear and stepped on the gas.

It was about that time that he had realized that, while he had seen people drive before, he did not know how to drive himself. Even then, however, completely out of control, he had been laughing and enjoying himself, confident that he could pick it up along the way.

And then he had crashed. He had managed to get very far along the way, well out of town and crashed into the side of the building. The wall gave out under him, though he saw nothing but the shattering glass and falling mortar which should have by all means managed to kill him by now. Especially now that he had come to terms with the fact that he was fully aware that he had died in a stupid manner and he was very ready to face judgment or reincarnation or whatever it was that death had in store.

Still not dead. What else did he have left to do? He’d already done every damn thing that he could come up with and that had done a grand total of nothing.  This was going to be agonizing. That, or this right here was death. He was quickly discovering a deep hatred for death.

He was also discovering that his face was becoming warm. More startling, he was discovering that he could feel his face at all, as well as a slight feeling that there was light in his eyes. Death, it seemed, was getting sloppy because he was definitely not dead now. Not even heading towards it.

Opening his eyes, he winced and let out a soft groan against the light, shying away from it as he brought an arm up to shield himself from the glaring sun streaming in over his face. Maybe he was just regaining sensation after being in the light for so long. Perhaps when the light had engulfed him, he had just gone blind for this agonizingly long time and now his sight was returning along with the feeling of whatever body he had for his afterlife.

The sound of the small, startled scream, he was pretty certain that he was alive, though.

  1. If you want, I can try to find the files and post the old comic up []
  2. But oh my, the prose is a little painful to look at []

Backstreets: Reunion

If you ever wondered what happened after the events of those stories in Backstreets, don’t worry. I got you covered.


“Hey.”

Carrie froze at her locker. That voice. She wasn’t sure if she wasn’t going to hear it ever again, and now that she did, she didn’t know if it was a good thing. He wasn’t exactly himself the last time she saw him. He wasn’t much of anyone, really.

She turned back and saw Jin, standing there and looking nervous himself. She smiled, though made no attempt to get any closer to him, looking down at his long sleeves for a moment before she caught herself. “Hey,” she said. “Back already?”

“Can we just… not talk about it?” he asked. He pulled his backpack higher up on his shoulder and there didn’t appear to be anything strange with his hands. He never quite met her eyes. “Look, I hear you and Don are a thing now. Can you, I don’t know…”

“I’ll let him know you’re back,” she said. “He’s going to want to talk, though, Jin. You’ve been gone for weeks since… that thing.”

“I know. Just not yet, okay?”

Carrie nodded, though she wasn’t happy about it. “If you don’t wanna see Don, you should go. He’s meeting me here in a minute.”

Jin left down the hall, disappearing into the crowd.

backstreets