Homecooked Fluff

Though not completely inspired by the writing prompt “Fluff” from The Daily Post, it did help to “make better” the beginnings of my new work on Wattpad titled “Homecooked.” I’d planned on starting the story on November 1 but couldn’t resist the word “fluff.”

Ace has seen many strange things in his time as a hero but this morning’s was the strangest. He woke up back home. He’s supposed to be at his cabin near Neo-Geo Mountain. But it just gets stranger as he is greeted by his father; the same one that disappeared years before. How’d he get back home? Why is his father back? You’ll just have to read the ongoing Thanksgiving special.

I’m hoping that the story will be complete before the end of November, hopefully in time for Thanksgiving, but the holidays being what they are…

So here’s a preview of “Homecooked.” And be sure to thank your local fluff provider (like clouds or kittens) for this sneak peek.


“Ace,” said a distant voice. “Ace.”

My head was full of fluff and cotton. I felt drugged and dragged.

“Ace,” the voice repeated.

“Leave me alone, John.” I slapped at the voice like I was trying to turn off an alarm clock.

“Who’s John?”

Sighing with surrender, I forced open my eyes. “You…are not him.”

The man before me looked like a slightly older version of me. He had the same black hair as me, but some gray around the temples. His face sported a couple scars but the medium length beard covered most of that up. His smile seemed to light up the room. “That seems obvious, Son.”

“Son?” I said in a daze. “Dad?”

“That’s my name.” He put a hand on his hip and used his other to stroke his beard. “Technically it’s Samuel, but let’s not get hooked up on technicalities.”

“Dad!” I sat up faster than a bolt of lightning and embraced him a great, big hug. All my fears and worries melted away in that hug. I felt like a little kid again.

He laughed, a jolly almost Santa Claus-like, laugh. “Nice to see you too.” I hugged him tighter. “Teenagers are so weird,” he groaned in response to the “death-hug.” After a couple more seconds, he said, “I’m running out of air.”

I finally let go, but it wasn’t easy. I feared that he would vanish like a dream if I let go. “But-but what are you doig here?” A quick glance around the room told me I was no longer in the cabin Glen and I shared. I was in my room. I was home.

Could Watermark have finally kept his word and found my father?

“You overslept and today is an important day.” He stood taller and his eyes shined with pride. “Today’s the day you and the other heroes of tomorrow graduate from Trans-High and join the International League of Super-Transbeings.” His smile got bigger. “I’m so glad you decided to follow in my footsteps and use your powers to protect the innocent.”

“What about E Ops?”

His face bunched up in confusion. “That old agency?” His expression, for a moment, changed to concern. “How’d you find out about them?” He then shifted back to his jolly self. “Thanks to the work Emil and I did, E Ops was repurposed as PAWS. A lot of house cleaning was done back in those days.” He sighed for a moment. “Some of the agents were corrupt. They tortured or imprisoned transbeings. The worst was John Watermark.”

Dad’s head shook slowly. (Kind of odd that he didn’t connect me calling him “John” and then him talking about John Watermark.) Dad seemed frozen for a moment like he was searching through files of acceptable responses. He then became excited again. “In the 18 years since Emil and I uncovered the mystery of Neo-Geo, humanity has changed greatly. Now we don’t have to fear the Prophecy of 2012. Or even the Xacians.”

“The Prophecy? The Xacians?” Those aliens responsible for creating the transbeing race?

“We destroyed their empire. Dingo and his followers have been vanquished.” I half expected trumpets to play as Dad put his hands on his hips and striked a pose. After another awkward pause, he placed his hand on my face. “All you need to worry about is becoming the best hero you can.” He raised a fist into the air. Now I was sure I heard some kind of cheesy, heroic music playing. “One day, you will join me. And together we will protect the galaxy as father and son.” He turned back to me. “But first, you better get downstairs for breakfast.” Dad then dashed out of the room with a “love ya, son.”

Aside from the creepy Star Wars reference, things seemed pretty great. I went to the window and swooshed open the curtains. A bright and sunny day beamed into my room. My clothes were clean and wrinkle free, unlike the normal dirt-caked clothes from Neo-Geo. And even though the day was sunny, it didn’t have the oppressive heat that Neo-Geo provides.

Our street was busy with the movings and socializing of the neighborhood. People waved, cars passed, kids headed for the bus and tried to exchanged carrots or candy, and Mr. Watson mowed his lawn. I opened the window and let the sounds of birds drift in. I took a deep breath and exhaled sweet bliss. It seemed like ages since I’d last listened to the birds or watched the lazy, puffy clouds drift by.

“Ace,” came the soft voice of my mother. “Your eggs are getting cold.”

I could almost taste her fluffy scrambled eggs as I practically hopped down the stairs.


The rest will be posted here.

Where’s the riot?

All reviews are my personal opinion and do not reflect the views of any person or organization.

Here be Spoilers. Enter at your own risk.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Space Riot by Pat Shand has our spacefaring heroes taking a shipment of medicine to a plant people planet (try saying that three times fast) who are suffering from a plague. Once the Guardians arrive at the star system, they find it to be blocked by a force field. They need to get permission to pass. After some creepy feelings and subtle threats, they are allowed to leave. Once on the plant planet, they soon find that the plague was not a plague but an invasion. The Guardians are soon on the run from an at least two planet strong army.

The use of having each chapter told by a different character is nothing new, but what I enjoyed is that they sounded like that character. The Star-Lord chapters sounded as if Star-Lord was speaking, that he’d written that chapter.

I found the Drax chapters a little harder to find his voice. The Drax chapters sounded more like the author speaking than Drax. But to be fair, Drax has a different short of character. He doesn’t really have the internal dialogue like the others and he’s more literal. I did notice that once Drax began to have a personal conflict, involving a crush on someone (and I mean a love-crush not a smash-crush like Drax thought “having a crush” meant), the Drax chapters did seem to change.

When I saw that each chapter would be “narrated” by a different Guardian, I hoped that there would be a Groot chapter. I wondered how Shand would do that. Would it be six pages of “I am Groot”? I was surprised to see that not only was there a Groot chapter but it delve into the mind of Groot. You get to see how he feels about not being able to communicate with anyone other than Rocket. You get to see a version of Groot that is quite smart. Some stories show Groot as being stupid or naïve; this Groot is wiser and observant.

I also enjoyed how the individual chapters allowed the reader to see more of the characters’ motives and backgrounds. You learn a lot about why the characters act the way they do.

Shand’s description of the Thandrid was excellent. I got a clear image of what they looked like. Maybe too clear. I kept getting an image of a insect that looked similar to a xenomorph from the Alien movies. But this might’ve been on purpose because of how the Thandrid invade. Much like the xenomorphs, the Thandrid burst out from their host’s body (except it’s the head instead of the chest).

I was surprised and not surprised when the first head-bursting happened. Since I had the xenomorph image in my head (no pun intended), I was not surprised to see it happen. In other words, the clues had been there since the beginning. I didn’t feel like this was some cheap scare that came out of nowhere. Nonetheless, it still shocked me because I wasn’t waiting for it, and the description of the baby Thandrid crawling around creeped me out. It wasn’t like a mystery book where you solve the murder in the first chapter and then are waiting till the end to have your guess confirmed.

My main problem with the book is I kept asking, “Where’s the riot?” The book was called Space Riot and yet there was no riot. There was war and fighting and explosions, but not much of a riot. I guess you could call it a riot because the Incarnadinians, the other planet marked for invasion, and the Guardians rebelled against the Thandrid. Also, all the people of the system were held prisoner by the force field, so it was more like the rebel “prisoners” were rioting against the Thandrid “guards.” The war was very one sided. The Thandrid had the numbers and the technology, so it was more of a riot. But the riot idea really came into play when the Guardians and rebels crashed into the Thandrid prison allowing all the prisoners to escape. It then turned into a literal riot and they attacked the Thandrid.

I have to give Space Riot a 4.6 out of 5. The writing was excellent, the book was short enough that I could finish it in a timely manner but still long enough that I felt like I got my money’s worth, and the book kept making me want to continue. It wasn’t boring at all. It seemed like we were always moving forward. Sometimes the forward motion was a little slower but we were still moving forward. But, it didn’t have the same…silliness of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It seemed like these Guardians were ones that had more experience or were more mature. They still had the same characteristics, but just different.

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Busted

Part 1 Part 2

Jackson “Jack” Riggs

    “Accessing ILOST Database,” said the base’s AI. “Accessing Brood file.”

    The big “Open File” button stared at me. I glanced around checking to see if anyone was near. I took a breath and opened the file. 

    “Brood,” said the artificial intelligence. “Real name Vlad Drake. Hometown: Transylvania. Species: Reformed vampire.” I checked the area again. The volume seemed amazingly loud. “His race once were allies with the Xacians pitting them against the Sirian race. Though no longer allies, the blood feud between vampires and “werewolves” continues. Vlad comes from the upperclass of vampire society, a count, but he rejected the bloodthirsty ways of his kind and joined ILOST.”

    That must have been tough.

    “Powers include: strength, speed, immortality, flight, and the ability to transform into a bat, a swarm of bats, or mist. He can also hypnotize others and survive in extreme environments. Since he is reformed, crosses and sunlight have no effect on him. Garlic will drug him or keep him away. A stake through the heart will ‘kill’ him until it is removed. Dark sunlight, or darklight, can hurt him and unholy water will burn him. His costume includes a black duster jacket…”

    “What do you think you are doing?!” a voice said from behind me. I turned to see the fanged face of Brood. “Is this why you are here? To learn about us.”

    “D-D-Dogboy said to look around.”

    “I sincerely doubt he meant for you to access our database. Even he’s not that stupid. How did you get access?”

    “I-I, uh…”

    Brood then picked me up. I could feel his nails digging into me. He then tossed me across the room. I slid to a stop. Brood leapt into the air and was suddenly on top of me. I felt that same pain behind my eyes I’d felt when I copied Dogboy. The beam shot from my eyes and passed over Brood. 

    “Get off!” I shouted. I threw Brood across the room. He smacked into a wall. Once he recovered, he transformed into a swarm of bats. I swatted at them as they attacked.

    “That is ENOUGH!” a voice echoed. I felt some kind of shockwave hit me. It was strong enough to knock me to the ground. It was also strong enough to knock the bats out of the air and reform back into Brood.

Dogboy (aka Joe Rover)

    Master Mantle stood there with his hands still pressed together. His thunderclap had stopped the fight. The senior member turned to look at me. “Dogboy, get control of your team. If you can’t, we’ll find someone who can.”

    “Yes sir.” I lowered my head and tried not to look at him. The door slammed shut behind the older superhero. I turned to Brood and Jack. This I need. “What exactly is going on here?”

    I could tell Brood was a little winded as he spoke, but he kept it secret. “I found him accessing our files.”

    “What?” I said turning to Jack. Jack looked away.

    “He can copy our powers and now he knows our weaknesses. What more do you need?” Brood’s pale color was actually starting to show some, well, color.

    I glanced at Jack. Then I started looking around. “Where’s CyberCypher? I asked him to stay with you.”

    Realization dawned on Brood and he slowly turned to Jack. “So that’s how you did it. You copied CyberCypher. That was how you could access the files without permission.” 

    Brood stepped closer to Jack as I tapped the comm-link in my sunglasses. “Cy, where are you?”

    “At the library. I’ve been waiting for you for over an hour.”

    “Why…?” I turned to Jack. “Did you tell him that I wanted to see him?”

    Jack blushed, but not from embarrassment. “I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s just…uh…”

    “You have to understand how bad this looks,” I said. “You’re not going to gain many allies by destroying our trust.”

    “Those stupid enough to trust you in the first place,” Brood muttered. I shot him a warning glance.

    “Why did you do it?” I asked Jack. “There’s not too many reasons for a stranger to access files on us.”

    “I wasn’t trying to hurt you. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

    Brood huffed. “Lousy way to prove it, kid.”

    I put my hands on my hips. “Why, Jack?”

    “I-I-I…” He then collapsed.

    “How’s that for timing,” Brood said.

Part 1 Part 2

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First Contact

Part 1

Dogboy (aka Joe Rover)

    While I was thankful for the assist, I could tell not everyone was as grateful.

    “Who is he?” someone asked.

    “Where did he come from?”

    “How did he stop that thing?”

    “Are the Xacians back?”

    Sally helped me up. The burn mark from when the sphere hit me was already healing. My costume was also repairing itself. “You better say something,” she whispered, “before there is a riot.”

    “What do I say?”

    “You’ll think of something.”

    I approached the young man. “Hi.” I could hear Sally’s facepalm from behind me.

Jackson “Jack” Riggs

    “Uh, hi,” I said. Wow, I was meeting Dogboy.

    I started to reach out for his hand, uh, paw, but then I started feeling this pain behind my eyes. They felt like they were on fire. I groaned and shook my head. But suddenly a burst of light erupted from them. The beam of light passed over Dogboy and then vanished. I then got sick. Things were uneven. The world was tilting. Then as sudden as it began, everything was normal. Except for how everyone was looking at me. The crowd had taken a step back and even Dogboy looked frighten for a moment.

    “What?” I said. “What’s wrong?” I looked at my hands and could see that they had transformed into paw-like hands, much like Dogboy’s. I also had fur. I felt panic welling up in me as everyone whispered about how I’d stolen Dogboy’s powers. The fur and claws then retracted and I was back to normal.

    “He’s a mimic,” the woman reporter whispered.

    Dogboy glanced at the crowd. “I think we need to take this conversation to somewhere more private.”

***

    “Welcome to the International League of Super-Transbeings HQ,” Dogboy said. “Or ILOST for short.”

    “Wow,” was all I could say. The place was amazing. There was tech here that people could only dream of. The place was all nice and shiny too like it’d just been cleaned. While it had a very military-like look to it, it also had a homey feel. You could tell this was a place of business, but also a place where members could hang out and relax. “Wow,” I said again just before I bumped into something.

    It was Brood, the team’s reformed vampire. He looked just like his pictures: black duster jacket, black pants and boots with a red trim, black shirt with a red collar, and red gloves.

    He glared at me for a moment and then turned to Dogboy. “You brought him here?”

Dogboy

    I sighed. Brood and I rarely saw eye-to-eye on things. It probably had something to do with that long ago vampires were allies with the Xacians. That pitted them against the Sirians, or werewolves. Even though Brood was beyond the whole blood-drinking thing, there was still some resentment. Blood feuds are hard things to get over in one generation. And his attitude doesn’t help.

    “And where else would I take him?” I asked.

    “PAWS for starters.” PAWS: Paranormal and Weirdness Specialists.

    “Why?”

    “That machine, that he clearly could control, was trying to transform the planet. I’d call that a pretty good reason.”

    “He stopped the machine.”

    “After he probably started it. That’s the problem with you dogs; you’ll be friends with anyone who gives you a belly rub.”

    My claws started to grow. “Do you want to do this right now?”

    His fangs started to grow. “Anytime, Rover.”

    He hissed. I growled.

    A wall then dropped down between us.

    “Is that anyway to welcome a guest?” said a voice.

Jack Riggs

    The woman in the flowing white robe stood with her hand raised as Dogboy, Brood, and I turned. It was Daphne Spelling, the witch. There was something familiar about the woman with the short cut brown hair, beyond the fact that she was a famous superhero. A black cat sat at her feet cleaning its paws.

    “Let us hear what he has to say.”

***

Dogboy

    “That’s quite the story,” I said after Jack finished his tale. He’d told us how he always thought he’d been from Earth but the Sphere had reawaken his memory and his powers. It had also told him that he was the last surviving member of the royal family of Tetrix. 

    “Yes, ‘story’ being the keyword,” said Brood. “Now he’s telling us that there are more like him.” He faced Jack. “How many more?” Jack said he didn’t know. Brood faced me. “What more evidence do you need? They have already tried to terraform the Earth and now there is an army of them, somewhere.”

    “He is quite right.” Agent Zee stepped out of the shadows. “They are the ultimate sleeper cell. No memories of their goals until they are activated. I have also searched the star charts; there is no mention of a planet Tetrix.”

    “Big universe,” I said. “Wait, he just told us what planet he’s from. How did you know?”

    “I have my ways,” Zee said letting his Russian accent slip in even more to add effect. “I had many contacts before Xacians turned me into a zombie.” Agent Zee had volunteered for a project that would supposedly make him a better spy. What happened is the test subjects turned into zombies. Any more than this is classified, according to Zee. And since he’s a zombie, we don’t know his age, but he has accidentally made Cold War references. “We know nothing of this, мальчик [mal’chik].” Even though our interpreter technology allows us to understand each other in our native tongues, some…attitudes/feelings stay the same. The technology interprets what is said in a way that we can understand what is said, even if that is in another language.

    I sighed. “That’s why I brought him here. To find out more about him.”

    “Well, that was stupid,” said Brood.

    “Do you really think he’d try to attack a base full of superheroes?” I asked.

   “Not unless that was his plan.”

Part 1

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The Sphere

Jackson “Jack” Riggs

    People were panicking. The strange sphere came out of nowhere and was now floating over the city. Beams shot from the object and what they hit became cocooned in a strange wood-bone material. Though everyone around me was freaking out, I found it…mesmerizing. It seemed familiar. It felt like when your parents call you home for supper…that home feeling.

    The sea of people rushed around me…but I stepped towards it.

Dogboy (aka Joe Rover)

    I piloted the Dogmobile in a mad rush towards the unknown sphere. Brain, via the dog whistle comm-link in my sunglasses, told me that the strange wood material was terraforming the planet. Woof, the team’s artificial intelligence, confirmed this suspicion.

    “Not the first time some aliens tried to terraform the planet.” I then had to shake my head to resist the flashback of when I fought the Xacians. 

    The Xacians. A evil empire that had ruled most of our galaxy. They had come to Earth eons ago and began messing with, not just human life, but all. They transformed plant, animal, mineral in an ongoing attempt to rule all life. They came to our “backwater” planet because Earth life is surprisingly adaptable. They wanted to make the ultimate invader. Their mistakes became the stuff of legend and story. That’s right, every myth, urban legend, and story is true.

    But they weren’t the only aliens to visit. Many good aliens arrived to help, such as advancing our technology and knowledge of the universe. Many of the great inventors and creators in history were either these friendly aliens, descendants of them, or just friends with them. The world’s governments kept the secret by telling everyone: in the form of stories, movies, comics, video games, and so on. Which is why I’m even allowed to tell you this; you’ll believe it’s fiction. Also, in my time (2027), it doesn’t matter because everyone knows aliens, monsters, and superheroes exist.

    I’m telling you this so you’ll understand when I say that this plays a part in my origins. One such Friends of Earth (or FOEs, horrible name by the way) were the Sirians, from Sirius (the dog star not the radio). These aliens inspired the legend of the werewolf. They came to Earth to stop the Xacians (they’ve been at war with the Xacians for a long time). A couple Sirians fell in love with Earth people and over countless generations genetics mixed to make me–a half human half Sirian…mutt.

    “Joe!” Brain shouted. “Are you daydreaming again?”

    “Nope, just thinking of the exposition I’d need to give the readers for my next story.”

    Though I couldn’t see him, I knew Brain was tapping his desk at the Doghouse in frustration. “Could you please keep your mind in the present.”

    “You try being part dog. Everything is so…fascinating. All. The. Time.”

    “You’re coming up on the sphere now.”

    I parked the Dogmobile and the gull-wing doors opened to let me out. My purple cape blew in the breeze created by the object. I crouched down, focused my telekinesis, and readied to jump. The ground began to break around my black boots as pieces of dirt started to float. I pounced into the air. Using my telekinesis, I could keep myself on track. At least until the sphere hit me right in the Dogboy emblem on my chest (a picture of a dog howling at the moon).

Jack Riggs

    “Dogboy is down,” the woman reporter said. I think her name is Sally Pine, but I didn’t care much. I had to get closer to sphere. I needed to get closer.

    The closer I got, the more I understood it. It was a part of me. I could feel it…awakening something in me. I could feel power in me. 

“Tetrix,” it whispered to me. I saw images of another world. My world. Trees. Animals. A blue sky. It was like Earth but different. There was more of that strange material. I was not from Earth. I’d lived on Earth for 16 years but this Sphere told me I had come to Earth from another world. 

    My world had been invaded by the Xacians. There was no way we could win, so we fled. My parents gave me to the couple I thought had been my parents. Others escaped on ships like ours. They sent a Sphere to a young planet, easily transformable, so that Tetrix could live again.

“Jackson,” said my father, “you will be the only surviving member of the royal family. Lead our people in a new age.”

    Our memories had been wiped so that we could fit in on Earth until it was time. Now the Sphere’s energy was reawakening us. All of us.

    The Sphere seemed to command me to stand down, to let it convert this planet. But I had memories of Earth. I could also see the fear in the Earthlings. Maybe they would survive; our planet was much like Earth. But no, this was wrong.

    I held out my hand. “I am Jackson of the royal family of Tetrix. I command you to stop.”

    The whirling noise and energy beams began to slow. The Sphere was shutting down. 

    The woman reporter went to help Dogboy. A crowd began to form around me. Whispers started.

    “Is he an Xacian?”

    “Another alien invasion.”

    “Where did he come from?”

    “What does he want?”

    “Is that thing dead?”

    The people seemed more afraid now than when the Sphere was on.

To be continued…

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Damsel Not in Distress

I was running for my life.

 I’d been working on a case with the police. A serial killer was on the loose.

 I was getting close. Too close. One final message to police. Sally was in danger.

 When I could I would teleport. It must have looked weird to see someone running down the streets poofing in and out. But I didn’t care, I had to get to Sally’s.

***

 Sally sat down to have some popcorn. She’d just gotten it the way she liked and had a movie ready to stream. She plopped on the couch and took a sip of her soda. She was about to start the movie when the phone rang. She sighed and tapped her Omni-Cuff. “Hello,” she said, but all she got in response was heavy breathing. “Not funny, Danny.” She hung up.

 She turned back to the holographic projection, the title screen still selected. She was about to give the command to start the movie, but the phone rang again. Once again she answered and could only hear the heavy breathing. “I swear if you’re playing a prank…”

 “Having a nice night, Miss Pine?” said a voice that could freeze water. He then began breathing heavily again.

 “Who is this?”

 “You’re…protector is ruining my fun. I had such fun before the police brought him aboard. Superheroes have a way of ruining everyone’s fun. Now, I’m going to have fun with you.”

 Sally hung up. “Omni-Cuff, trace that call.”

 “Tracing,” said the AI voice. “Call came from inside your home.”

 Sally jumped from the couch and went on alert. She rushed for the drawer that held her weapon. It was gone. The phone rang again but this time it was broadcasted throughout the house. “Ah, ah, ah,” said the voice. “Did you really think I wouldn’t find it?” The line then went dead.

 Then the lights.

 When they came back on the serial killer stood a few feet away from Sally. He wore a poncho and hood. He looked like some kind of twisted modern version of the Grim Reaper. She reached for the dog whistle comm-link to contact me. He waved a disapproving finger at her. “We can’t have any of that. I’ve jammed all signals.”

 The man approached her, slowly. He wanted her to feel every moment of panic and helplessness. He had her turn around so that he could smell her hair. He took a long whiff. “Ahhh…” 

 This is when Sally head-butted him. The blow dazed him. She elbowed him and then took out his legs. He fell, hitting his head. Sally put her foot on his chest. “Guys like you have been coming after me ever since I met Dogboy. Did you really think I was helpless?”

 “Kind of,” he wheezed.

 Sally pushed harder with her foot. “Men.”

 I then came through the door. “Sally!” I stopped. “Never mind.”

 “I told you I could take care of myself.” She pushed down again with her foot causing the killer to cry out again.

 “Apparently,” I said.

The End

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