…no, not the spice of life. It’s a damn good excuse to do something other than what you are probably supposed to be doing.
With the book complete through Chapter 7, I’m over 30% done. And so, it seems like a good time to take a step back and make sure I’m clear about what the next 1/3 will bring. Add to that a pretty intense period of work coming up over the next two weeks, and I think I’m going to put the novel on pause for a bit.
But I can’t stop writing, so I’m going to spend some time finishing a few stories that I’ve been working on. I’ve posted a bit of one of them here already–“The Last Star”–and while it needs some structural work, it shouldn’t be too hard to bring that one to completion. And I’ve got another I’m working on, as of today, that is going to be as fun as anything I’ve ever done. My only prayer is that it stays short; it’s winking and nudging at me that it wants to be more than a short story, and I don’t have time for that shit right now.
And so, late on this Sunday night, as a treat for those of you who visit regularly (as opposed to when the big “new post” announcements go up”), here’s a preview of a story I’m thinking might be called “The Good Stuff”.
The sword is pretty damn cliché, and there’s no way to carry it around without drawing attention to yourself, so I generally leave it in the trunk of my car. Still, it’s just about the only thing that gets the job done…it’s lighter than a chainsaw, quieter, and you don’t have the whole “will it start this time?” thing to worry about. And truth be told, there isn’t much else that’s portable that’ll get the job done. I keep a woodchipper out back of my house, for taking the small-ish pieces and completely breaking them down, and a big stone oven that can get up to over 1400 degrees for final disposal (ashing the tiny chips of bone), but you can’t exactly bring those with you, nor use them when your target is still up and moving. And since most of the other folklore remedies actually work in real life, I stick with a sword.
As I mentioned, it’s hard to carry one around without attracting all of the wrong kinds of attention. Cops aren’t a big fan of people walking around with lethal weapons, especially ones that fall into a pretty large legal gray area–the academies usually don’t have a class session on what to do when a short, bald dude pulls out a thirty inch two-handed katana–and you can guarantee that most citizens who see you walking around with one are going to notice it long before they notice anything else about you. That said, there are certain places where carrying a sword around isn’t such a big deal…you may get plenty of double-takes, but they’ll be mostly appraising and even appreciative, rather than the “is that short bald dude really carrying around a sword?” variety.
Goth clubs are a good place to move around unmolested, the kinkier the better (though the straight BDSM clubs–despite the similar dress code–frown pretty heavily on walking around with real weapons that they don’t have some control over); your local renaissance faire is also pretty easy to get around with a sword, though my personal choice of katana does stand out a bit next to all the broadswords and claymores. And then there are the LARP groups.
Nice kids, really. And they’re pretty much all kids, regardless of age, at least when they’re actively indulging themselves. And I get it, that’s kinda the whole point: if you’re going to act too adult about the whole business, it won’t work. You check your self-consciousness at the door, along with your cynicism and desire to be whatever flavor ofsocially-acceptable is most relevant to the area, or else it won’t work. It’s a sub-set of the willing suspension of disbelief that all fiction requires to work, a very conscious, deliberate one, and if that doesn’t describe some of the best parts of being a kid, I don’t know what does. Honestly, these kids are a lot braver than most of us, and a lot clearer about what’s important to them and what it takes to make that stuff real.
Unfortunately, a lot of what makes these events special for the kids who set them up and attend them also makes them a prime hunting spot for the Fangs. These kids are very close to each other, but it’s all very insular; they have their family, and their gaming friends, and maybe one or two people where they work who they can talk to, and that’s about it. Most “normal” people have complicated, wide-spread Venn diagrams to describe all the people they know and how they know them–which means, if they go missing, the ripples that disappearance will cause are pretty widespread. For the LARPers, and table-top gamers, and all the other variations that boil down to “people who refuse to give up the magic of make-believe”…well, if one of them disappears, the effects are pretty well contained.
And so, they’re ripe targets for the Fangs, who value their anonymity more than anything else, even more than the blood that keeps them moving. And if that’s where they hunt their prey, then that’s where you’ll find me, hunting them.