Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Blood Red Ruby

I thought I'd post a little writing from one of my published stories. This is the open scene for 'The Blood Red Ruby' in May-December's 'Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2'.

The Blood Red Ruby
By D. Alan Lewis

December, 1935

She smelled nice and looked at me with big round eyes that held such innocence that I couldn’t imagine she was in the line of work that required her clothing to litter the floor. The red dress clung tight to her curves but even more so as she slid into the booth across from me. She was just another working girl, looking for a score, but she was new to Jerry’s. Having spent most of the past four years living in whatever bottle was the cheapest, I’d gotten to know the girls who worked the nearby corners and frequented this dive.

“Hope you don’t mind, but I need to get off me feet and all the stools was taken.” Her lips were painted cherry red and talking wasn’t what they did best. She squinted when I didn’t answer. “You have … you have nice eyes. But they look so sad, so empty.”

“Look around, pumpkin,” I replied and took a long sip of my whiskey. “Everyone in here has that look. Some lost everything in ’29. Some are lonely. Some just can’t bare living without a little assistance” I raised my glass at the last part and took another sip. Her eyes glanced around, nervously. She was as much a hooker as I was. A little girl lost in the big city with no job, no man, and no cash. I’d seen it a hundred times, but she had something different. She had eyes that made a man want to talk to her, had looks that made a man want to hold her, and was as innocent as the snow. But in this city, even the whitest snow tinged as soon as it hit the grime of the streets.

Her eyes studied my glass. The amber liquid looked inviting but tasted like a dog’s butt. I noticed the trembling hands as she tried to make herself look comfortable. She was young and stupid and desperate. I knew what she wanted and it wasn’t providing the usual service. I nodded to the bar-keep, pointed to the glass and held up two fingers.

“So … what made your life so…” she shifted about, searching for a word that she hoped wouldn’t insult me. I found it amusing, but decided to help the poor thing out.

“Empty?” She nodded and I continued. “Hun, that is a long story and something that’ll keep you up at night.”

“Scary?” she asked as our drinks were placed in front of us. She looked at her glass apprehensively, but I wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol or my words that had her bothered. Those beautiful eyes turned and looked me over, studying what type of man I was. “Can I hear it? Your story, I mean. I … I really don’t want to go back out tonight.”

“I’ll tell you, but you need to understand that it is the truth, every word.” Again, she nodded. “It may have been four years ago, but I feel like that night aged me; turned me old before my time. I’ve never seen the world the same since.”
                        If you want to hear his story, you'll have to buy the book.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

I thought I'd post a little section of my upcoming Steampunk story that will be in Dark Oak's superhero/steampunk anthology, 'Capes & Clockwork'.


     She fell from the sky without fanfare or notice by the few inhabitances that still called this God-forsaken city home. I doubt that anyone, save the four of us, who stood near the impact point witnessed the event that was to change everything. Her youthful form dropped through the black fog that hung over the city and she hit with such force that cobblestones for a dozen feet around her went to powder.

Dodging the debris and dust that arose around her, I approached. The stonework of Warner Place had opened up and cradled the young woman like a babe in its mother’s arms. Her nude form lay still and I strained to see if her lungs took in breath. As a man in my thirties, I’d seen nude women many times, but I felt awkward about looking at her. I felt that my concentration on her chest would give others pause to speculate as to my intentions. Her chest didn’t pulse as if breaths were drawn and that brought on a profound sense of loss. Only her long blond hair moved, dancing in the wind.

“Did ya see that?” an old woman said as she stepped up to my side. “A bit unseemly, I’d say. Guess she flung herself off the roof. Another jumper I reckon.” She scoffed when my eyes didn’t move away from the young woman. “Could’ve had the decency to have put a stitch or two on before leaping.”

I glanced at her and nodded slightly. An elderly couple braved the dust as well to get a look at her. While the old man studied the scene intently, his wife tugged at his arm not wanting to see what she assumed was a tragedy. She nagged him to take her home until he finally gave in and they walked off without another word spoken. 

The number of folks who’d jumped from the rooftop or taken their own lives had steadily increased after the European continent had formally collapsed and fallen into the hands of the Otherworlders. The number increased even more when word reached us that the Americans had fallen as well.

With England now standing alone against the alien horde, most people had lost hope and only longed for a quick, painless end. I couldn’t blame them. The Otherworlders wanted more than just land, they wanted us. Every captured soul in the occupied lands were nothing more than food stock, assuming that anyone other than the aliens still lived in those blackened lands. And London stood almost empty due to the daily shells that rained in each afternoon from the massive cannons on the northern coast of France.

My gaze moved to the rooftops and I scanned for any signs of foul play. A naked girl just doesn’t fall from the sky, but what bothered me were the heights of the surrounding structures. The buildings were simply not tall enough for someone to have garnered the speed to make such a devastating impact. When my eyes returned to her, I lacked the ability to understand why her body didn’t show more signs of damage or distress. The impact should have shattered her petite form, spilling blood and organs everywhere.

But she lay there as beautiful as a sleeping princess, awaiting a prince to kiss and awaken her. Flawless, pale flesh and golden locks were a stark contrast to the dark, crumbled stones that she lay in, like a pearl resting within the black and gray shell of an oyster.

“I don’t think she jumped,” I whispered, only to hear the old woman scoff again.

Cautiously, I stepped into the crater and knelt beside her. Her chest heaved slightly, and I almost jumped. Clearing my throat, I looked back to the old woman.

“She’s alive. She’s breathing,” my voice shook slightly, hinting at the fear within me. She couldn’t be natural, maybe not even of this world. No one could have survived a fall like that. I inwardly cursed my inability to deal with the moment in a calm and manly manner. “She, she must be hurt. Is there a carriage about?”

“Bloomin’ city is emptied out. Ain’t nobody around here exceptin’ you and me.”

My mind raced on what course of action I should take. She needed help, medical attention and what not, but without a cart that meant carrying the lass, a dozen or so blocks to the nearest hospital. My flat lay just around the corner, but still, I wasn’t a doctor, not in the medical sense, anyway. And there was the meeting that I should already be sitting at.

I had hoped to catch one of the steambuses that still operated and get to Whitehall and the War Office. My meeting wasn’t urgent. It was more of the usual updating the Admiralty on my efforts. I’m a scientist, a tinkerer, and since the war started, a weapons designer.

I started to scoop her into my arms but hesitated. It’d be unseemly to carry a nude young woman about town, let alone into my flat. I glanced at the old woman and caught sight of a flag pole behind her. The impact had damaged the stones beneath it, causing it to tilt over. I bolted over to it, snatched the Union Jack that dangled from its midpoint and returned to her. With care, I wrapped her up and then lifted the unconscious woman from the damaged stones.

The young woman’s body fell limp in my arms. I groaned at the weight, estimating her at fourteen stone. Yet, she was a tiny little thing and appeared to weigh half that amount.

“Whatchya gonna do with her?” the old woman yelled as I started toward my flat.

I stopped and hesitated, not really knowing what the best course of action would be. Looking back, I replied, “Taking her home. My woman can see to her needs while I fetch a doctor.”

Then I stopped, remembering the situation at home. I had no woman or servants of any kind, not any more. My housekeeper had abandoned me and the city after the enemy’s shells began to fall. All that awaited us in my flat was a laboratory and enough food for a month of good eating. Still, there were few options and her weight prohibited me from carrying her all the way to the hospital.

“On second thought, my woman has escaped the city. Perhaps, you could assist?” I asked. “I’m lousy when it comes to cooking and I’m sure she needs a meal and what-not.”

She looked annoyed until I mentioned food. “Well, mind ya that I’m only coming along causin’ it wouldn’t be proper for a man your age to be carrying a girl like that about.”

“I have others at the lab, several men who assist me in my work, but they’d be no help with…’ I said and nodded towards the woman in my arms.

As I did so, my eyes fixated on her round face. Without a doubt, her beauty was beyond measure. She had rich full lips that were as red as crimson and a small nose, which turned up slightly at the tip. My thoughts were so dazzled by her appearance that I failed to see anything else, including the old woman as she approached. She stepped quickly to my side and gave me a suspicious look.

“Call me Mattie.”

I nodded and glanced over at her, “umm ... and I am Thomas Laybourne, the third. My friends call me Tom.”

“Hmm, nice to be makin’ your acquaintance, Mr. Laybourne.”
To read the rest of the story, you'll have to wait until the anthology is out.  :)