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Dragon Rider – Part 56

Dragon Rider

Chapter Twenty-One Continued

A Fiery Death

 

Drake jumped down to sit on Falkor, leaning his body forward and digging his legs into the dragon‘s side.  At once, Falkor duplicated Drake’s pose so that his head pointed towards the ground, their bodies shaped like a bullet.

Eyes sharp, bodies alert, two beings became one.

They hurtled silently downwards, focused only on their target.

One hundred metres suddenly became seventy-five.  Seventy-five became fifty and only a fraction of a second had gone by.  Forty…thirty…

They were nearly there; they could smell Fenrik‘s cigars, taste the smell of animal blood in the air, feel his wild excitement as he stood in the centre of his circle, the Emerald Key open in his hands.

Shit! Thought Drake, as he realised Fenrik was holding the complete Emerald Key in his gorilla-like hands; he’d already managed to bind the two parts of the book together.  Now, Drake knew, he was summoning the Fiery-death to complete his supremacy over Devilsgate.

Drake tightened his hold on Falkor and he, sensing Drake’s urgency, cranked his speed up to its limit.

Twenty metres…

Fifteen metres…

Nearly there…

Drake could now smell the more intricate aromas of lavender and the sweetness of honey intermingled with a more foul odour; sulphur, ammonia, the putrid smell of the grave and petrol.

The petrol smell of Pyro.

Pyro.

Drake cast his eyes over to the Demon.  Shit, no!  Fenrik was using Pyro as a vessel to receive the Fiery-death!  He was mumbling an incantation, the foreign, otherworldly words rose and fell rhythmically as Pyro’s body convulsed and swelled.

Pyro was no longer recognisable; his burning body, still smelling of petrol, had expanded.  His head was grotesquely misshapen with several glistening fangs emerging from under his snout and two twisted horns breaking out from his forehead.

‘PYRO!’ shouted Drake, but his shout was lost as a blood-curdling scream ripped through the darkness as two great wings burst forth from Pyro’s arms.

Pyro was no more; in his place stood a majestic Fiery-death, the Demonic Dragon and Slayer of Cities, conjured up from the deep bowels of Hell.

‘DESTROY!’ commanded Fenrik.  His voice was cold, crazed, bordering on the hysterical.  He turned abruptly to look at Drake, his eyes glowing a fearsome white, his mouth twisted in a strange, unnatural way.

The Fiery-death exploded off the ground, its sole purpose to destroy Drake and Falkor – raging in its eyes.

Drake snapped his body up and dug his feet sharply into Falkor’s side.  At once Falkor threw open his wings and extended his back legs, his splayed out claws acting like brakes.  Within seconds the energy stored within Falkor’s body propelled him skywards, away from the ground, and away from Fenrik and his demonic creation.

They had to lure the Fiery-death away from Fenrik and into the wide-open skies if they were to stand any chance of winning this battle.

Fifty metres…

The Fiery-death was fast, already it was snapping at their heels.

One hundred…

Two hundred and fifty metres…

The sky behind them cracked, a great bolt of lightning split through the clouds illuminating the air around them.  Electricity fizzed in the atmosphere, its crackling clearly audible above even the pounding of Drake‘s own heart.  The threat of rain loomed once more as the clouds swirled menacingly above them but a demonic dragon such as this could not be vanquished by mere rain.

Drake wrapped his hand tightly into Falkor’s crest and gave the instruction for Falkor to turn and face their enemy.

The Fiery-death, now fully formed and twice the size of Falkor, had an angular snout with a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth, two long twisted horns perfect for gouging, knife-like barbs running along its arched back and a muscular tail that cracked at the air like a whip.  But probably its most potent weapon was the fact that the dragon was a living, breathing fireball; a flying inferno.  It looked like molten rock oozing from a volcano.

In one swift sweeping action, the Fiery-death opened its gigantic mouth and spewed out white-hot fire.  The erupting fireball hissed and sizzled as it hit the cold air then evaporated, leaving only the smell of petrol behind.  Why would it last any longer when the briefest of touches could extinguish the enemy in seconds?

Its demonic roar, summoned from deep within the belly of the beast, shook the very foundations of Hell itself.

Eyes raging with the desire to kill, it launched itself at Falkor.

Death’s Apprentice – Part 73

‘So, he’s dead Joe, he’s already fucking dead!’

‘But I’m alive.’

Agnes shot him a look that told him that could easily be changed.

‘It’s not all about you Joe.’

Joe was really confused. ‘But, if he’s dead -‘

‘Which he is.’

‘Why on earth do you want to rip his heart out?’

‘Because it will make me feel better.’

The door to the cottage began to open. Joe and Agnes spun around. In walked Hel, looking very triumphant, and a little scary, bright red blood smeared all over her white dress.

‘What’s up?’

‘I’m going to rip his heart out,’ screeched Agnes. She sounded like what Joe imagined a banshee would sound like if they existed.

‘Sounds good,’ said Hel, stepping further into the cottage.

Really? He thought Hel might’ve calmed her down, not encouraged her. ‘No. No, it really doesn’t. You can’t be ripping his heart out.’

‘Why?’ asked Hel.

‘Because it’s…’

‘What?’ asked Agnes.

Joe sighed. ‘It’s just not right.’

‘Not right? Not right? I tell you what’s not right’, she screamed, pointing the large knife at Joe, ‘is having my heart ripped out by the man I love.’ All of a sudden she burst into tears and collapsed in a heap on the floor.

‘Joe,’ said Hel, ‘look what you’ve done.’

‘Me? What have I done? I just don’t think torturing the guy, even if he’s already dead,’ added Joe looking at Hel’s face, ‘is the right way to get Agnes’ heart back.’

‘What’s your suggestion then?’ Hel asked, bending over to pat Agnes on the head. ‘Go on, tell us.’

‘I…’

Hel tapped her foot on the floor, ‘I’m waiting.’

‘You…could just ask the guy where he’s put it.’

Agnes snapped her head up to look at Joe, her eyes were red and swollen. ‘Ask him? And where would the fun be in that?’

‘This whole situation isn’t fun, is it?’

‘I deserve blood,’ said Agnes.

‘No,’ said Joe, ‘you deserve better. You deserve your heart back.’ Although, he really was starting to question that way of thinking.

So you wanna be a writer? How do you deal with people who make snide comments about your work?

I’m writing this post because of something that happened to me very recently. And again, this is going to contain swearing. I do not apologise for this. Not today.

People can be so shitty.

Like REALLY shitty.

Recently, I bumped into someone who I used to be quite close to. It was a bit strange because when we last saw each other, we parted on not very good terms. It’s okay, these things happen. I’m not going to be liked by everyone and that’s perfectly fine by me. I wasn’t expecting our conversation to be all sweetness and light but I wasn’t expecting what came out of this person’s mouth either.

You see, they exclaimed that they were disappointed in me and asked me what had I really done with my life? Published a book? What a waste of a degree.

I’ll be honest, for a few seconds, those comments cut deep.

And then, I thought, wow, that’s quite sad that someone could try and belittle anyone like that. It wasn’t just a snide comment, they were deliberately trying to hurt me.

I could’ve taken my revenge and made some pretty nasty comments in return myself. But I didn’t. Not because I’m perfect. No way am I that.

No, my revenge will be to smile and keep on doing what I’m doing. I am loving life at the moment. I’m my own boss. I write what I want to write, when I want to write it. I have my family – my kids, my hubby, my dog – they’re all safe and well and happy. And I’m happy.

My revenge will be to make a success of what I’m doing. There’s no need to stoop down to their level. Blowing someone else’s candle out doesn’t make yours burn any brighter.

Be kind. Always.

So, how do you deal with other people’s snide comments about your life, or your work?

You don’t.

After all, it was never really about you.

As Seneca said, all cruelty springs from weakness.

You smile. You get on with your life and you do what makes YOU happy.

Fuck what they think.

And just so you know, I’ve actually published four books 😉

 

 

Dragon Rider – Part 55

Dragon Rider

Chapter Twenty-One

A Fiery Death

 

Drake turned on his heels and shot back up the stairs to the office:  There was only one way out now.

He raced through the office to the other side of the building and into a beamed room where a lot of the older kids slept.  The floor was scattered with books, mattresses and clothes.  Drake scrambled over them to one of the boarded-up windows at the far end of the room.

He kicked hard at the boarded-up window until his foot crashed right through.  Again and again, he kicked until he had removed all of the planks of wood that had covered the glassless hole.  Then Drake carefully climbed through, on to the crumbling window ledge, and took a gulp of fresh, clean air.

In front of Drake lay the meat factory, its flat roof peppered with pools of rainwater and soggy leaves.  The gap was too big; he knew he couldn’t jump it safely.  He steadied himself against the side of the window, cupped his hands to his mouth and called into the night.

And then he waited.

Through the dark of the night, he could hear the familiar sound of beating wings.  He closed his eyes and fell into the darkness.

He landed like a panther on Falkor’s back but spasms of pain ricocheted through Drake‘s body.  Thankfully, it would take Falkor a lot longer to feel Drake’s Reciprocal Damage.  Because Faeries are weak, thought Drake.

Behind him, he could see the blazing inferno – great towers of acrid smoke rolling upwards on the breeze, disappearing into the night and merging into the vast blanket of cloud that strangled the city – and the fat fingers of fire squeezing the life from the warehouse.  The oppressive smell of cremated wood, incinerated animal flesh and scorched earth fought to dull his senses like some unrelenting drug.

He had done this.  He had brought the warehouse and The Lost Souls to the point of destruction.

Drake flexed his hands, he could feel his veins pumping under his skin, feel the anger revitalising him.  He stood up tall, his chest puffed out, his hands curled into tight balls at his side.  ‘Fenrik, I’m coming for you!’ he roared into the darkness.

I am going to put this right.

Drake remained standing, like a surfer, on Falkor.  He could feel the dragon’s displeasure at being ridden like this, but Drake knew it provided the perfect view of the city below; his vision sharpened, even in the dark, by his closeness to Falkor.

They had flown only a few blocks when they first caught sight of Fenrik, his gorilla-like form hunched over the pavement outside the restaurant.  Drake was unnerved at the sight of him out in the open, for he knew that, for the spider to be out of his lair, he must be close to finishing what he had started.

Drake could feel Falkor’s tense energy beneath him as they hovered silently, camouflaged against the night’s sky by the black plumes of smoke.  They watched as Fenrik put the finishes touches to a summoning circle, its wet red edges illuminated by the raging flames of a small fire.  No.  It wasn’t a small fire.  It was Pyro.

‘You useless piece of -’ cursed Drake.

Pyro danced wildly at Fenrik‘s side, his body blazing.  Drake now understood how the warehouse, already a tinderbox with the amount of wood and rubbish, had ignited even more rapidly than he had expected.  Fenrik must have sent Pyro with Vigor to set the building alight.

The little creep had been helping Fenrik all along.  Just like Drake had suspected.

Drake could feel the anger inside him raging like a firestorm.  He could sense Falkor feeding off this anger as his nervous energy built to a crescendo.  He had to control that energy, harness and channel it into the fight.

Death’s Apprentice – Part 72

‘What are you doing?’ asked Joe, very concerned for his safety, let alone that of the woodcutter. ‘You can’t torture him.’

‘Torture him? That’s a good idea,’ she said, dancing over to where the woodcutter sat, the large knife slashing through the air. Her eyes were on fire, her hair wild around her.

‘No, I wasn’t telling you to torture him!’ he shouted, as she slashed the knife a little bit too close to the woodcutter’s ear.

‘Oh, don’t worry,’ she said, ‘I’m not going to torture him.’

Joe relaxed a little bit.

‘I’m going to rip his heart out!’

‘And what’s that going to achieve?’

‘For a start, it will make me feel better.’

‘But I thought you’d come here to get your heart back, not take somebody else’s?’ Agnes didn’t respond, so Joe continued, ‘You’re not going to find out where he’s hidden it if you kill him, are you?’

‘I’m not going to kill him -‘

‘But you’re going to rip his heart out so…yeah, you are going to kill him.’

‘Joe,’ she asked, looking at him like he was dribbling, ‘where are we?’

Joe wiped the side of his mouth, just in case. ‘The Woodcutter’s cabin?’

Agnes snorted. ‘No Joe. WHERE are we?’

What is this, thought Joe, question time? ‘The…Underworld?’

‘Precisely.’

‘Precisely, what?’

‘So, he’s dead Joe, he’s already fucking dead!’

‘But I’m alive.’

Agnes shot him a look that told him that could easily be changed.

‘It’s not all about you Joe.’

Joe was really confused. ‘But, if he’s dead -‘

‘Which he is.’

‘Why on earth do you want to rip his heart out?’

‘Because it will make me feel better.’

The door to the cottage began to open. Joe and Agnes spun around. In walked Hel, looking very triumphant, and a little scary, bright red blood smeared all over her white dress.

‘What’s up?’

Dragon Rider – Part 54

Dragon Rider

Chapter Twenty Continued

Black Veil Rising

Drake slowly opened his eyes.  The room was dark, quiet, but he could see he was lying on a pile of discarded papers and there was a small pool of blood.  He felt his throbbing head.  Damn it, he thought, as it smarted under his light touch.  He inspected his fingers; the blood had congealed.  How long had he been out?

He stumbled over to a pile of rags in the corner of the room, pulled out a sheet and, holding one corner in his mouth, he ripped strips off.  Slowly he lifted his tee-shirt to reveal his ribcage, which had turned purple and black, and tightly wound the strips of sheet around his chest.  Finally, he made himself look over to the chair and where he’d stashed The Emerald Key.

Gone.

Drake slumped to the floor and closed his eyes.

He snapped his eyes open as the acrid, suffocating smell of smoke hit him.

Drake dragged himself off the floor and stumbled into the corridor.  It was coming from downstairs.  He flew down the steps, the smell becoming stronger and thicker the further he travelled.  The heat was building, the flames were eating their way through the building, the tentacles of black smoke reaching out like giant hands creeping towards his throat.

He slouched over on the staircase as the smoke’s hands started to tighten around his neck.  The black veil was rising, shrouding him in darkness.

There was nothing he could do; the warehouse was already in the fire’s ferocious embrace.  A derelict building made of rotting wood and filled with old combustible sofas and wooden pallets stood no chance.

There was no hope.

Vigor had seen to that.

 

Death’s Apprentice – Part 71

‘Just cast a fucking spell.’ Joe was losing his patience.

‘Alright, Mr Grumpy! God, you’re no fun!’ She turned to look at the woodcutter’s body. Holding her arms about two feet apart, her palms facing the ground, Agnes commanded his body to rise with a simple word, ‘Astigan!’

The woodcutter’s body began to slowly rise into the air. As it did so, his arms began to droop underneath him, the axe still clenched tightly in his right hand.

‘Well, that was easy,’ said Joe. Why couldn’t she have just done that in the first place? Why didn’t everything have to be so difficult?

‘But not as much fun,’ replied Agnes with a wink. She turned gracefully on the spot and began to skip off into the woods, the woodcutter following after her, his axe dragging across the ground.

****

Joe was feeling slightly uneasy. No, he was feeling VERY uneasy. Agnes had gone all Tarantino on him and as he knew how most Tarantino films ended (with the exception of the very few he hadn’t seen) he knew this would lead to a whole lot of trouble he really didn’t need.

Agnes had got the Woodcutter back on her own, with no help from Joe at all. She’d even managed to hit the blokes head on the side of his front door several times. Probably on purpose. But Joe was too scared to say anything to her the mood she was in. She’d managed to sit the woodcutter down on a chair and had conjured up some duck tape out of thin air. She had then proceeded to tape the man’s body to the chair so tightly that Joe thought he might die from asphyxiation. His arms were taped to the side of his body. His body and legs were taped to the chair. And as a final flourish, she’d suspended the woodcutter’s axe in the air above him, held only in place by magic.

‘I’ve been waiting so fucking long for this!’ she sang, grabbing a big hunting knife from the display on the woodcutter’s wall. It flashed white in the light of the lamps that covered the cottage.

‘What are you doing?’ asked Joe, very concerned for his safety, let alone that of the woodcutter. ‘You can’t torture him.’

‘Torture him? That’s a good idea,’ she said, dancing over to where the woodcutter sat, the large knife slashing through the air. Her eyes were on fire, her hair wild around her.

‘No, I wasn’t telling you to torture him!’ he shouted, as she slashed the knife a little bit too close to the woodcutter’s ear.

‘Oh, don’t worry,’ she said, ‘I’m not really going to torture him.’

Joe relaxed a little bit.

‘I’m going to rip his heart out!’