Soul Stones Update: Chapter 5

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Since the dawn of humanity, Man had since discovered the power of wielding Soul Stones, and the dueling arts have continued into the modern age. Iris’ father had just been promoted to Midcity Duelist. Though she admired his battle prowess while growing up, he had never allowed her to claim a Soul Stone of her own. However, that is about to change on their moving day. . .

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* * *

As Iris entered her home, she saw her dad on the living room couch, staring at an ornate jar on their coffee table. The jar was a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. It was the color of jade, with glass branches wrapping around the middle. The branches were full of white blooms that caught the light. All around the room were little ovals that danced into corners.

“Where were you?” David began, his gaze still fixated on the art piece.

She peeled off her sandals before responding.

“I was exploring the neighborhood.” She braved a few steps closer, but stayed out of sight. “Is that Mom. . ?”

He didn’t answer, but she had a feeling she was right. She stared at the jar too, again realizing the weight of their situation.

 

© Raelin Solace 2012-2017

28. Sorrow

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Art by Eddy-Shinjuku

“Do you know how many times I killed a man?” He told her, his breath stinking of old blood and rotting flesh.

Tanya looked up at him, unconcerned.

“Sometimes it takes more than once. Like you, for example, have survived three blows to the head.” She held up her pistol and aimed it between the zombie’s eyes. “But I wouldn’t call you a man. Not anymore.”

She pulled the trigger, and his face was blasted apart from the bullet’s impact. His body toppled over and hit the cement like spoiled lunch meat.

She bent down and searched his pockets until she retrieved a silver trinket. It spun slowly on its chain, and she peered closer to find the locket had the initials K.O.

It was a joke in itself, but it belonged to Katie Outlander, the “Knock-out” of the town. Her father went through a lot of trouble to hire her in order to find Katie, who’d been missing for a week.

Tanya found Katie’s body a mile away from her attacker. She had partially decomposed already, but there were obvious clues of what killed her.

Tanya snapped a photo of the body and decided to gather more evidence before informing Mr. Outlander of his daughter’s present state.

Now with the locket in hand, and the culprit dealt with, it was time to break the news. She snapped one last photo of the undead killer with her cellphone and sighed. There was blood on the screen.

Comes with the job, she thought.

She wiped it clean and called Mr. Outlander. He answered under half a ring.

“Hello, Miss Adams? Do you have any news?”

“Yes sir, but I’m afraid it’s not the good kind.”

She kicked at the body of the monster. His arm came clean off, since the tendons were weaker than overcooked spaghetti. That’s what happened when you rise as the undead. If you were unfortunate enough to be chosen for the antics of a necromancer, then your pieces barely held together.

“Your daughter is dead, Mr. Outlander. I have already contacted the police. I’m sorry for your loss.”

He didn’t speak for a very long time, and Tanya decided to hang up before the shock wore off. His heavy breathing unsettled her, and it was better to let the officials handle the two bodies, letting them theorize a serial killer was on the loose.

It was better than knowing magic was real.

Tanya allowed the gun to transfigure back into a ring on her right hand. It wrapped around her finger as a metallic band with an impressive red jewel in the center. Without a hint of sorrow, she got back to work.

 

Raelin Solace © 2012 – 2017

27. Foreign

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I never thought my life would end this way. It was too sudden, and I didn’t even have the luxury to recount all my past failures and regrets in my dying moments. It only lasted as long as a single blink of an eye, and then it was over. Done. Poof.

            Technically it could be my fault, but I blame it on my family’s unrealistic standards. Just because I was seventeen minutes late to a family reunion I didn’t want to go to, I ran headlong into a car twice the size of my own. There was some loud cursing, honking from every direction, and the screeching of my tires as I frantically swerved to avoid any permanent damage.

            The airbag exploding in my face would’ve saved me, but I felt the impact of another car ramming into my car door and bending the metal exterior to stab into my side. And what ended it all, was yet another car, smashing into my bumper and forcing my neck snap at an awkward angle.

            The result was one dead, two injured, and one lucky bastard who hollered hysterically at the state of his wrecked Corvette. Oh, there was also a scene. There were cops, their white cars obnoxiously flashing red and blue lights, and several pedestrians were staring wide-eyed at the mass of crushed vehicles that could only be summed up as a shitty mess. You couldn’t even begin to call it a T-bone.

            “Wait,” I stopped myself mid-thought, “This isn’t right.”

            I swiveled around to find the silver Saturn that was nothing more than a heap of crushed scrap metal.  Inside, I saw a bloody face that peered back with soulless blue eyes. Blonde hair that was once tightly braided was now a rat’s nest of locks and shards of glass.

            That was my body.

            How was I outside my body?

“If you’re wondering… You’re dead.”

I flinched as if someone delivered a harsh slap to the face. Slowly I turned around and found myself standing face-to-face with a man in a drawn black hoodie, jeans, and a pair of purple Vans. I recoiled several steps away in alarm when I realized there was a dark void where his face should be.

“Get away from me! Can you see I’m trying to find out why I’m not enjoying the afterlife?”

He didn’t sound impressed. “I’m your guide to the afterlife, Venessa.”

I paused. “Are you Death? You’re different than what I expected.”

“I’m not the Death himself, but one of the newbies. The robe and scythe is too mainstream, so I’m trying to change up our image.”

“Are you joking?”

“No.”

I laughed regardless. “Alright, I like the purple shoes. It suits you.”

“Very good.” He snapped his skeletal fingers, and the scene of car alarms and paramedics vanished in an instant.

I nearly fell over from the rapid transition, but I clutched at my knees as Death’s lackey and I were swallowed up in a void of inky darkness.

“Where are we now?” I asked him, feeling lightheaded and about to float away any second. “I really don’t feel good.”

“You’ll be fine.” With a swirl of black smoke, a clipboard and pen materialized in his hands. “It says here that you’re an atheist until proven otherwise. Is that correct?”

“Yeah, what’s that got to do with anything?”

“This is the entrance to processing. We follow appropriate foreign policies in order for you to end up in the right place.”

“What, people have ended up where they’re not supposed to before?”

“It happens sometimes. Some people expect the golden gates, and boom! There’s Buddha.”

“I thought you were funny before, but now I’m scared.”

“You’ve got nothing to be afraid of, darling. Unless you want to go through the rotating door of reincarnation. Things get wild from there.”

“So you’re saying I get to choose my afterlife?”

“Yep, because technically they’re all true! Now follow me, because the paperwork isn’t going to sign itself.”

A portal tore open behind him, and the hooded assistant passed through it, expecting me to join him. With a sigh and an exasperated rolling of my eyes, I stepped into the portal, hearing it hum as it closed off completely.

Raelin Solace © 2012 – 2017

Soul Stones Update: Chapter 4

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Since the dawn of humanity, Man had since discovered the power of wielding Soul Stones, and the dueling arts have continued into the modern age. Iris’ father had just been promoted to Midcity Duelist. Though she admired his battle prowess while growing up, he had never allowed her to claim a Soul Stone of her own. However, that is about to change on their moving day. . .

Read it on FictionPress now!

Don’t forget to comment!

* * *

Iris stared morosely at the ceiling, tucked under a pile of thin sheets to keep warm. It had been difficult to fall asleep, with the whole night spent tossing and turning, and now she could hear the birds rising for the day. She also heard David getting ready despite the hour, and it made her angry the more time passed.

            Whenever she attempted to speak to her father, he barked back at her, saying he’ll handle it. She knew he referred to the details of preparing for her mother’s cremation.

She didn’t blame him for his anger, but rather his unwillingness to mourn their loss together. They were family after all, but she doubted their relationship would change despite the circumstances. She feared her mother’s death would be the wedge that permanently forced them apart.

© Raelin Solace 2012-2017

City of Dreams Update – Sky Sanctuary Rewrite

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Dust Storm, India © Steve McCurry. Courtesy of the AIPAD Photography Show

City of Dreams is a compilation of short stories that emerged from the subconscious mind. Each story is a rich world full of diverse characters that go through lessons of love and loss, or undergo the struggles of friendship and duty. As they live and learn, so shall you.

Want to be a Beta Reader?

Read it on FictionPress now!

Don’t forget to comment!

* * *

Heaven and earth meet at a line of sand and rock, stretching far beyond what the eye could see. The desert was a palette limited to pale yellows and browns, contrasted by a sharp blue sky that caught wisps of clouds. The ground itself was dry and cracked, allowing only the hardiest of wildlife to survive in this desolate land.

However, miracles occur when the land darkens with rain. Flowers emerge with startling color. Creatures of scales, fur, and flesh eagerly seek droplets that spatter into wind-hollowed stones, feasting on nature’s sweetness.

The rain always symbolized rejuvenation. With the heat tamed, and the thunder booming with primordial laughter, festivities and dances. . .

© Raelin Solace 2012-2017

Soul Stones Update: Chapter 3

Since the dawn of humanity, Man had since discovered the power of wielding Soul Stones, and the dueling arts have continued into the modern age. Iris’ father had just been promoted to Midcity Duelist. Though she admired his battle prowess while growing up, he had never allowed her to claim a Soul Stone of her own. However, that is about to change on their moving day. . .

Read the update on: https://www.fictionpress.com/~raelinsolace

 

26. Tears

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Forgemaster by Brandon Moore

Sarabi was born with the rarest and most revered gift. It was not something that could be predicted, nor could it be justified by one’s heritage. This ability graces the mysterious warriors that moved like mist and conquered foes with the surrealism of a dream.

It granted a power so great, that it could change history, and the tides of war could shift into their nation’s favor.

However, spilling blood always came with a price.

With every enemy cut down, the pain reflected a thousand fold on these mystic heroes. Their eyes were always puffy, and their faces tear-stained. War paint dripped and smeared, because with every life taken, another ghost was added to their following. It wasn’t long before their aura went black with spirits.

Death would eventually become their patron saint.

Sarabi didn’t want to share this fate with others of her kind. Instead, she would become a healer, rather than a killer. She would travel the world and offer light to the masses. Should a tear be shed, it would be for joy. Should death be mentioned, it would be in the name of transformation.

She closed the flap of her knapsack and slung it over her shoulder. Tomorrow was the day of her enlistment. She would flee before they called her name, and scour the land’s secret pockets and its societies.

She will build her own destiny.

 

Raelin Solace © 2012 – 2017

25. Trouble Lurking

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Art by damie-m

The summer heat smoldered and wormed into the skin, feeling as if it burned flesh and sizzled muscle. Cool air rushed into the room through portals that revealed the spray of a waterfall from different angles. Occasionally bits of organic debris sputtered and landed onto our faces, immediately producing two identical responses: a sharp flinch, groans of disgust, and the slap of a hand trying to wipe off the algae, or whatever it happened to be that time.

Still, it was better than roasting alive.

“Hey, hey, hey! What are you two doing? And . . . where did those portals come from?”

I opened one eye to find the third member of our trio making her way through the doorway, a salamander girl that frolicked out of pure habit, and reached the height of our stomachs. She could be considered pretty by others of her species, but the human eye found the jewel tones of her scales that covered her face and body beautiful. Still, the frills that adorned her head like hair unsettled me from time to time. She would get overexcited and fan them three times their size, resulting in a joyous reptilian display. In fact, she was doing it now.

“Arilith, to answer your questions, it’s too hot to be outside, and we got the portals from our master. Also,” I drawled. “Your frills are up again.”

“Oh! That’s why I was getting weird looks. Thanks Renae!” She wriggled, making the brass bangles around her neck and wrists jangle. She breathed in deeply, calmly, before continuing. Her frills eventually went down on their own.

“I have great news, but you must get up and see it for yourselves. We’ve been training for this for so long!”

I heard the creaking of floorboards, and turned to see Viron assuming a cross-legged position. He gazed back at Arilith with heavy lids, his long platinum-blonde hair catching into his long lashes. He was part fae, and though I constantly teased him for being a fairy, he was good-humored enough to let it slide. However, the human part of him was more dominant, making him clumsy during battle.

“Is the Judge here? I’m surprised he’d be over today.” He said lethargically.

“You know how trouble is lurking around every corner. We need to graduate and start helping people before they get hurt.” Arilith said with a huff. “Now get up you two. This place smells humid and gross.”

As if to punctuate her point, a wet insect smacked onto my face, and it weakly twitched its wings as I peeled it off my cheek and tossed it back through one of the portals.

“Alright, let’s go. We’re strong enough to take on killers and thieves.” I stood and stretched, then followed after the salamander girl as she hopped towards the outdoor training grounds. I looked back at Viron, who was still half-dead from the heat. “Come on pretty boy, we have a Judge to amaze.”

“Just go without me, Renae.” He told me, laying back on the floorboards. “I’m still too weak.”

I stopped in my tracks. “We talked about this before. You have a touch of humanity, big deal. It doesn’t make you weak. I’m human and look at me go!” I flashed him the steel of my sword, but as usual, he wasn’t impressed.

“Come on!” I whined. “You’re incredible with magic, huh? It’s not just party tricks either. You froze half a field when defeating those kobolds.”

“And ruined crops for half the farming community.” Viron responded, depressed.

“Which you grew back using another spell!”

“By accidently making the crops carnivorous. I always mess things up, you can’t deny it.”

“I’d rather take on a man-eating plant than a murderer.” I grouched. “People are clever, and you never know what they’re up to. At least you’re painfully honest by nature.”

“Ironically, doesn’t that mean you’re a murderer too? All those kobold orphans. . .”

“Nope, not gonna’ work. Those suckers pillaged towns and ate children. You’re not going to change my mind when I do this to protect those I care about.”

Arilith backtracked and poked her head inside the room again. “Is Viron sad again?”

“Always, but not without reason.” He retorted from the floor.

“Well, come on now. I just saw a suspicious figure sneaking around and we should investigate. We can be sad along the way.”

I laughed and reached over to tug at Viron’s sleeve. “See? We could use some target practice—”

“Renae!” Arilith scolded me. “Don’t say things like that. Let’s go, before we lose him.”

It was enough to rouse Viron from his spot on the floor and join us outside. I shielded my eyes from the sun with my arm, and I saw a shadow dart around the corner of a rectangular building. I nudged Viron with my elbow.

“How much do you wanna’ bet he’s new and lost?”

“I’ll give you extra dessert if he is.”

Arilith didn’t wait to hear the rest of our banter. Instead she darted along the grass on all fours like a bolt of lightening. I raced after her, unsheathing my blade and rounding the bend with heavy footfalls. That’s when I saw him, or rather, it, as its draconic scales reflected the sun’s rays under its tattered cloak.

“Kobold!” I yelled, swinging down my sword swords its neck. It saw me and ducked out of the way, but it wasn’t able to dodge Arilith’s balled fist as she rammed it into its ribs.

It squealed like a frightened pig as the breath was knocked out of its lungs, and I felt the hair on the back of my neck start to prickle. I peeked over my shoulder to find Viron conjuring ice spikes from his fingers, preparing to unleash them like throwing knives.

The kobold regained its balance long enough to sidestep my next swing, but the first round of Viron’s spikes shot forward and dug into the creature with such force, it flew off its feet and hit the ground hard.

Arilith quickly found the pressure point on its neck, and the kobold went limp as its nerves numbed from the assault. Its beady eyes flicked frantically within their sockets, staring up at us in alarm.

“How did you get here?” I asked, snarling.

It hissed back, baring broken teeth at me. Arilith tsked and shook her head.

“It can’t speak even if it wanted to. Look, if there’s one here that means there’s others in camp. They never travel alone.”

“Great, just what we needed.” I hawkishly examined my surroundings for another kobold in hiding. “I have a feeling trouble’s brewing. Let’s tell the others before it’s too late.”

“I’ll stay behind and watch the kobold. You two go ahead and alert our master.” Viron volunteered.

“Alright, be careful. We’ll be fast.” Arilith said, moving away from the scene with me following close behind.

“Whatever you do, don’t torture them.” Arilith began. “It makes you darker inside, and cruel to everything. Promise me that, okay?”

I didn’t promise anything. Those kobolds will get what they deserve: Death.

Raelin Solace © 2012 – 2017

24. No Time

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Art by Pepe Psyche

Arian sped down the highway in his stolen red Camaro, easily reaching the speeds of eighty and over, while a blaring symphony of sirens followed behind him. Adrenaline pulsed through his veins, but he didn’t stop grinning despite being chased by the entirety of the police force. His target was getting closer, and he wasn’t going to stop until he reached the estate that belonged to an infamous drug lord.

A barrage of bullets pelted into the tar beside him, and he noticed a spotlight illuminating the road. A helicopter now joined the chase.

He rammed his foot harder against the pedal.

‘This is going to be great!’ He thought, making a sharp turn off the highway that forced a handful of police cars to pass him by. The helicopter tried once again to puncture the vehicle with bullets, and succeeded biting into the trunk and leaving angry holes in its wake. This didn’t even faze him. The mansion was within sight.

“Old man, this is it.” He muttered, finally serious. “Your life ends tonight.”

He swerved into a manicured garden and ran over a line of ground sconces that crunched under his tires. The iron gate that led into the driveway was firmly secured with high security plugins, but he didn’t hesitate to crash into it, the hood of the Camaro screeching as it made contact with its art deco bars, with both car and gate bent from the impact.

The air bags deployed and momentarily crushed the air out of his lungs, but he opened the driver’s side and scrambled out of the smoking vehicle with inhuman speed.

Arian squeezed through the gap he made, making his way to the shadowed steps of the mansion. With a deep breath, he focused all his energy into his body, and when a flood of newfound strength reached his limbs, he plowed through the mahogany double door with his shoulder.

Another alarm blared, and he heard guns cocking as he bounded up the grand staircase that lead to the foyer.

It didn’t take long for the drug lord to meet him from the landing. He was a robust individual, but he was definitely a fighter. He had a machine gun ready to fire, but his mouth went slack when he took a good look at Arian.

He smirked at him, wearing his disguise of the mob boss like a second skin.

“How’s it like to see yourself without a mirror, Victor? I’d say you need to hit the gym-”

“Shut up!” Victor howled, pulling the trigger.

A shower of bullets zigzagged into his chest with an explosion of force. It hurt like hell, but it wasn’t enough to knock him to the floor, or make a bleeding mess. In fact, his flesh tasted the bullets before spitting them out, leaving a puckering wound that gradually healed on its own.

“What the…” The man paled.

“Time’s up, old man. Justice is known to be merciless, especially since you just robbed a military base of its weapons. Good luck with that, buddy!”

The commotion of squad cars and whirring helicopter blades finally caught up to them. Before the man could shoot him again, Arian willed his second skin to sprout striped orange fur.

As he shapeshifted, he pounced and knocked the machine gun aside with a paw larger than Victor’s head. The man collapsed and wet himself, and there was an obvious tremble in his knees as he attempted to crabwalk away.

Arian felt his jaw and tongue begin to change, and he decided on one last taunt before he lost the ability of speech. “Coward.” He sneered, leaping out of the way when more hoodlums decided to enter the foyer and protect their leader.

“The hell is a tiger doing in here?” Someone shouted.

“Just shoot the damn thing!”

Too late. Arian was already making his escape through the side window. It shattered as his muscular frame pummeled through it, and glass glinted in the night air as it caught the LED police lights.

He landed in the grass, molded into the darkness, and slinked away. Arian offered a feline grin before shifting once more. No one saw him as he disappeared from the scene. He had accomplished his mission, and now it was time to rest.

Humanity was safe from itself, for now.

Raelin Solace © 2012 – 2017

Soul Stones Update: Chapter 2

Since the dawn of humanity, Man had since discovered the power of wielding Soul Stones, and the dueling arts have continued into the modern age. Iris’ father had just been promoted to Midcity Duelist. Though she admired his battle prowess while growing up, he had never allowed her to claim a Soul Stone of her own. However, that is about to change on their moving day. . .

Read the update on: https://www.fictionpress.com/~raelinsolace

It has come to my attention that the links I’ve provided for my FictionPress account introduced an error page for cellular devices. However, I solved the issue, and you can find the page. 🙂 I hope you enjoy the second installment of this written original!

Raelin Solace