Love Letter

((Trying to slowly get back the free time to work on this blog, even if only once or twice a week. I hope you all like this short story set in the Love Letter universe. Yes, the story fits all legal moves in a game of Love Letter – Check in later this week for a review of the game itself!))

A young priestess was walking down a hallway, clutching a letter tightly in her hands. Her eyes darted around the castle, looking to see if anyone was in sight. Seeing nobody, she sighed and looked at the letter for what must’ve been the fourth or fifth time in nearly as many moments. It was sealed with a fancy wax seal, and the front simply said “To my beloved”. The princess’s suitors had become more numerous once she had come of age, to the point where the daimyo had ordered all letters destroyed. Due to this, suitors had begun giving their letters to those closest to the princess, promising land or food to those that could help win the princess’s heart. This was one of those love letters, and the priestess was determined to try and deliver it.

“Ohoho, what have we here?” A painted face put itself between the priestess’s face and the letter. His smile was wide, but his eyes narrow as slits. Continue reading

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Holiday Throwback: Empty

((Did everyone get what they wanted for Christmas? Below is a short story that I wrote for a creative writing class in college. Don’t remember what the prompt was, to be honest. I think it was something about concealment or keeping secrets? Anywho, enjoy!))

 

The room was in shambles. Clothing was strewn about the room haphazardly. Boxes of half-eaten Chinese food lay on the ground. The food was on the floor because six bottles of vodka had stolen their spots on the table. Each bottle was nearly empty except for one. There were a few couches on the sides of the room. Wooden chairs surrounded the table, six in all. As the cop entered the room, a sharp smell reached his nose. Ammonia, he thought while looking for evidence. All he noticed was the lack of furnishings besides the couches and chairs. He walked over to the table. Something in the circle of bottles caught his eye. “Bingo,” he said, putting on a pair of latex gloves.

The officer picked up an unused cartridge. It looked like a .357 round – the most common round used in revolvers – but he wasn’t sure. Placing it back on the table for the investigation crew, he did another quick examination of the room. Whoever they were, they were thorough. He took off his gloves and headed back for his police car.


“So, here’s what we have so far,” Lieutenant Smith said at the meeting the next day. “At 10:30 PM, we get a noise complaint from the lady in the next apartment over. She says that it sounded like a bunch of drunken idiots. We put it on the queue, and continue the evening. 10:45, the situation escalates as the lady calls back saying that she heard a gunshot. Officer Lourie was the first to arrive on the scene, and he found little hard evidence. A team is going back to the apartment to find all the evidence that they can. When I call your name, head to the door…”

Officer Samuel Lourie took a seat in the van next to the other three officers heading up the crime scene. Until further notice, he was in charge of the investigation. Fortunately his partner, Gregory Thomas, was on the crew. Greg was one of the most observant officers on the force, and he would find details that other people might miss. The other two officers were young but good at following procedure. He wouldn’t need to keep an eye on them. Lourie thumped on the wall, and the van lurched to life.


It had only been one day, but the room was starting to smell. The fresh aroma of ammonia mixed with the soothing smell of spoiled Chinese food, topped with a hint of vodka, was a little overbearing. The first thing that Lourie did as a commanding officer was open the window. That done, he delegated the rookies to scanning the walls and floor for any blood spots or other evidence. Officer Thomas was sent next door to ask the lady a few questions. This isn’t too bad, he told himself as he walked towards the table. Nothing had changed in 12 hours.

“Sir!” Officer Thomas said, “Mrs. Andrews has no recollection of anyone ever living in that apartment before. She said it was probably a bunch of high school students fooling around. As for the gunshot, she said that she only heard one.”

“Thanks, Greg. Help the others scour this place.” Officer Thomas walked over to the pile of clothing, putting on a pair of gloves. He began to pick through the articles. Lourie walked over to the window and called the department. He relayed all of his information, and then waited as the lieutenant picked up the line.

“Lourie, additional information came in today. Apparently, other precincts have had similar incidents occurring in their areas. Detective Jones is going to be heading up the rest of this investigation. Sorry, it’s procedure.”

“I know, sir. Out.” Lourie hung up the phone and cursed. Jones was one of the best detectives that the precinct had, but he was just a bit too eccentric for Sam’s taste. Sam wasn’t too angry that Jones was coming; it was just that this was his case, and now it was being turned over to someone else.

About five minutes later, Detective Jones came in the door, a cigarette in his mouth. His nose wrinkled. “Lourie!” Sam went over, and stood beside Jones. “I want you to relieve Thomas of searching the clothing. Thomas, help the rooks find some hard evidence.” The detective plugged his nose. “And will someone please take care of this Chinese food?” One of the rookies leapt to his feet to discard the rotting food.

Thomas examined a spot on the floor, and shook his head. “None of this is any good. They sprayed ammonia on the bloodspots.” He looked at the wall. “This one too.”

Meanwhile, Sam picked through the clothing. Reaching into a hooded sweatshirt pocket, he pulled out a scrap of paper. It read, ‘Jeff Vencus, James Marquee, Vincent Powers’. A list of victims? Culprits? Lourie stood up and handed the paper to Jones. Jones examined the scrap, then handed it back. “Have dispatch find these people for me.” Lourie slowly pulled out his phone. Continue reading

Holiday Throwback: Jack and Jill

((Another old story that I dug up recently, this one also from high school. Merry Christmas to everyone!))

 

Two women stood in the kitchen, peeling and chopping vegetables for their dinner. The older women had a weathered face, from the wrinkles on her forehead to the tired blue eyes. Silver veins coursed through her brownish-blond hair. She was currently dicing potatoes that were being peeled by her daughter. The smaller girl was tall, or at least tall for an eight-year old. Her blonde hair reached down to just past her shoulder blades, and it flowed freely. Her vibrant, green eyes were full of anticipation, vividness, and a slight hint of immaturity. Handing her mother the final starch, the girl rose to her feet, gracefully walking towards the open window. She looked out onto the path, hoping to see anything or hear any sound; a carriage bell, horses trotting, crunching gravel.

“Jill!” her mother called, and the girl turned away from the opening. “While I finish preparing the ingredients, can you please go get me the water for stew?”
“Yes, mother.” Jill said airily, reaching for a large metal pail that was stashed in a cupboard.
“Oh, and Jill?” the older woman continued while slicing a carrot into extremely thin slices. The little girl looked back, the pail bouncing off of her knee. “Can you take your brother with you?”
A sigh, then, “Yes, mother.” Jill left the room, stopping only to find a white ribbon to tie her hair back. That accomplished, she went outside.

A boy that was an inch or so shorter than Jill was amusing himself by throwing stones at small woodland creatures that came nearby. His blonde hair was messy and unkempt, and his blue eyes twinkled with mischief. A smile came to his face when the pebble knocked a squirrel off-balance. His hand reached reflexively for another stone, and then he saw Jill. Dropping the rocks, he stood up and asked, “When’s Pa coming home?” while brushing dirt off his pants.

“Soon, Jack,” his sister replied, eyes darting towards the road for a second. “But first, Mom wants us to get water for cooking!” Jack groaned. “C’mon,” his sister needled, “It’s not that bad a climb.” She started walking, and Jack slowly followed.

Continue reading

Thanks, and info on holiday updates

With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to say thank you all for following my blog over the last five months (give or take). I wasn’t expecting the blog to really go anywhere, but it’s been fun posting and seeing people read and reply to my posts! I wanted to give a few shoutouts:

Thanks to my 27 followers, you guys are awesome! Double thanks to those who have commented on my posts.

Thanks to MSP Games, for giving me the opportunity to review their games over the past month or two, it’s really helped with visibility for the blog!

Thanks to my friends and family, for supporting this endeavor.

Now, for the holiday season I will be trying to work on a buffer of short stories and other posts, so that I have some leeway in the coming months. I will also be updating the About page and adding another page or two for particular categories. Updates will be Holiday Throwbacks to short stories that I’ve written in the past, ripped from my old Fictionpress account.

Finally, I and three other people will be doing a marathon gaming stream this Saturday/Sunday for an organization called Extra Life, a charity dedicated to helping defray medical costs for children. If you are interested in learning more (or making a small donation), click HERE. I’ll post on Saturday when the stream starts, feel free to drop by and say hi!

Again, thank you all for your support over the past few months, it’s been a blast writing this blog for you all!

Looker.exe (part 3)

((Read from the beginning here))

“Well, what do we have here?” I was looking at the expenses of the Greene family over the last two weeks. Everything seemed normal, but one thing jumped out at me. In the last two days, credit transfers had been made to a pre-paid card. They were moderately large – easily enough to cover the cost of a cheap hotel room as well as feed a person for a day or so. I dug a bit deeper, trying to find additional information on the location and usage of the card. Miss Greene was definitely planetside, as these prepaid cards could not be purchased or used in the Mars colonies. Where, I would probably find out in an hour or so.

As this tracer ran, I went for a walk. I passed by several cubicles, where members of my staff were busy working on upgrades to the satellites OS, fixing problems that came up from other departments, or helping with the UIs for various projects going on at ARC. Which cubicle was Jake’s, again? They all looked the same to me. I shrugged and walked out of the office. If he needed me, he knew where to find me.

Instead, I went towards the docks. The station consisted of several concentric rings rotating in place, connected by several elevator shafts. The docks were the furthest out from the center, for obvious reasons. The programmers and scientists were one circle in, and the living quarters one ring in from them. Finally, security, engineering and executive offices were in the smallest ring. I didn’t like going up there, everything felt more constricted and, well, pressured. Continue reading

Birdwatching (part 2)

(Gonna work on building a buffer of some sort, so that I don’t miss a day in the future)

Read Part1

We stopped at a trading outpost on the way to the destination. There was, miraculously, a room open with two beds and a desk. The past few trips, we had taken to sleeping under the stars – it was nice to have a roof over our heads for once. As Marie tended to the horses, I mulled over the information that she had given me.

The target was a halfman – specifically, one that the locals appeared to believe was half bird. Unnatural arm angles and long flaps of skin were what distinguished it. I now realized why Marie had brought the long arms. If the halfman was truly part bird, we’d need the extra range to even lay a finger on him. I pulled up a map of the territory. It had been given to us by the Citadel stablehand, and it had marked a few of the locations where the halfman was last seen. I began drawing lines between the marks. It seemed like there was a valley that several of the lines intersected. That’d be as good of a place as any to start.

A shriek snapped me out of thought. My hand reflexively dropped to my revolver as I looked outside. A brawl had broken out between two men. I say that it had broken out, but it seemed to have been going on for a while, as both men were quite bloodied already. I stepped away from the window, and went back to the map. Whatever was going on out there, it was none of my concern. Continue reading

Birdwatching (Part 1)

The two of us had barely reached the gates of the fortress when we saw a stableboy with a fresh pair of horses. He handed me a letter.

“Father got another request while you were out. He wants you to leave immediately.”

Not a moment’s rest. I frowned. “I need to make a report to Father on the last mission.’ I handed my partner the letter. “Marie, can you read through this and see if we need anything from the quartermaster? Won’t be but a minute.”

“Will do.” She took the reins of my horse after I dismounted, and led the horses towards the stables.

The fortress was well designed, with a thick wooden outer wall enclosing the stables, farmlands, and armory. A second, stone inner wall enclosed the housing, as well as the Citadel, a bleached stone building where Father and the journeymen maintained their offices. I walked up the stairs to the Citadel. Before stepping inside, I handed my revolvers to the guard at the entrance. Nodding curtly, he allowed me to enter.

The inside of the Citadel was enormous. Pairs of stone pillars went from the entrance of the building all the way to the end, supporting the unreasonably tall ceiling. Behind each pillar was an office, where journeymen were busy working their trades. At the end of the hallway was Father’s office. As I walked to his room, the others in the building gave me a wide berth. It made sense – I probably still smelled somewhat of blood and gunpowder, not to mention that they typically tried to stay clear of those with ‘dirtier’ jobs in the Citadel. I didn’t care, as it made it easier for me to reach Father. Continue reading