A Picture or a Thousand Words?

Hey, Jim.

 

I wanted to ask you a rather strange one. I’ve been working on my book for a while and I use a lot of concept images when I write. I like them because they help me better describe my characters. You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words?

Well I’ve been looking at a few of my recent works and thought that they might look good in the book itself. Do you think its a good idea to put these images in?

Thanks,
Nohri


 

Hi Nohri,

I actually do the exact same thing. I like creating visuals for my characters. That way I can really visualize what they are supposed to look like. So kudos on that.

As for putting them into the book itself…

Well I’ve heard two trains of thought on that one and unfortunately they conflict;

On one side, you have people saying that you absolutely shouldn’t do that. These are the same people who will tell you that adding too many visuals to your cover will take something away from the story because the reader will no longer be able to create their own visuals based on the writing. This argument has merit and in many cases, these people are absolutely correction.

That being said, on the other side you have the people who say that readers will form their own opinion and visuals regardless of what’s on the cover or if there are pictures in the pages. In fact many successful stories out there are indeed enhanced by good visuals. (See Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.)

Personally, I like to take the middle of the road, as usual. A few visuals aren’t a bad thing. Leave a lot to the reader’s imagination, but you don’t need to leave everything. I do also feel that the second crowd is correct that the reader will form their own vision regardless.

I for one absolutely love sharing my concept art and have included it in a couple of my stories… if the art is good enough, that is;

cropped-untitled-3.jpg

20170425_114339

So yeah, go ahead and throw some imagery in there, my advice is just not to overdo it. Don’t dictate to your reader what they should or should not be thinking, but feel free to give ‘hints.’

 

Hope this helps!

-Jim



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

The Double Standard of Art

 

I recently got into a discussion with someone over the rules of writing and grammar. He suggested that the rules of grammar and writing were too rigid and should be subject to change based majorly on what is/is not politically correct at the time.

While I agree that the rules can be very rigid and should be subject to change. Slang changes, words change meaning, period pieces really should be written in the vernacular of the time, and there are as many writing methodologies as there are words in any give language.

My issue comes with how/when the rules need to be changed and how much they should really be followed. As a writer, I don’t always follow the rules of grammar because when writing characters and having them speak with slang terms is often a nightmare to try to sort out. Thus I usually rely on my own personal style to fill in the blanks of how that is supposed to go. Not only that, there is no rule about how to write in a foreign language and then translate it should you want to, no rule about writing thought vs. speech, etc.

Thus in many cases the rules are more like guidelines and really should be references more than followed to the letter.

Now here’s where I don’t think the rules should be changed… they should not be changed to follow the passions/prejudices/social political issues of a time. What I mean by that is that a writer shouldn’t feel constrained to write within what is considered socially acceptable at the time. If you want to write something that may trigger someone, go for it. If you’re worried that someone will get offended or upset, that’s they’re problem, not yours.

Don’t get wrong, I don’t like the idea of someone writing something for the express purpose of pissing people off. That’s unprofessional and bad form, but if you’re trying to write something provocative and want people to think, I have no problem with that. As long as its not incitement, slander, or written for the express purpose of causing harm, I don’t have an issue with it.

I call bull! You’re constantly calling people out for what you consider bigotry and bad writing.

That is true, but have you ever seen me demand that they take down what they wrote? I call out the logic, hypocrisy, or negative stigma that comes with what they write. I do NOT report them or demand that any of it be taken down. They have a right to say what they say and they have a right to be heard. I have a right to disagree with what they say, voice my concern, and have an equal right to be heard. If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, they can unfollow me, block me, or call me out on it. I have no issue with it nor do I hold it against them. I welcome a little discourse and discussion because that’s how you get things done. The ONLY time I shut someone down is when the discussion turns into childish name-calling and insults. That is personally attacking someone and it is uncalled for and unprofessional.

Anyway back on topic. Why do people feel that writing needs to be censored and needs to cater to the passions, prejudices, and hurt feelings? History books omit certain triggering issues in classrooms, writers are hiring sensitivity editors, and even pieces like Mark Twain’s writing is being censored!

Why is this allowed to happen, when in most cases these are the same people who think that works of art like this should not be censored despite how offense it can be to christians:

Piss_Christ_by_Serrano_Andres_(1987)

They’re the same people admire Carroll Dunham’s work… despite how visually displeasing others (myself included) find it… They’re the same people who say that nudity in any medium, including movies shouldn’t be censored.

So why then is it okay to say that writing should cater to political correctness with literally no other art form does?

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Writing Music in Literature.

Hey, Jim.

 

I’m in the middle of writing a novel and I really want to convey the emotion of the scene I’m working on. I noticed you give out writing advice, so I wanted to ask you about this. I want to use songs the people know in my writing and give my characters reaction to the lyrics, but I’m worried about copyrights and what is/is not allowed. Is there a way I can pull this off without getting sued?

Thanks,
Meaghan


Meaghan,

Listen to me very carefully because I am deadly serious about this. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you be writing anything more than a brief quote (one line, TOPS!) into your novel from any copyrighted works, be it a song, a book, or any other written medium without written consent, a contract, or royalty agreement in place.

I can not stress this enough, don’t do it. Its a big no-no and it could land you in a lot of trouble. I personally don’t even quote full lines in my works. At most, I put in the artist’s name and song title. Then I’ll say something like;

“The couple came together as Linkin Park belted out the first line of Castle of Glass, their bodies twisted together as the song picked. When they were as one, unable to pull away from each other as the chorus played around them. Neither wanted the moment to end and as the last line was sung, their lips came together.”

 

You shouldn’t have much trouble conveying the emotions you want to by using this method. Other than that, you may need to choose a different song… I’d recommend writing your own or choosing something that’s in the public domain.

In any case, I hope this helps. My words of caution can’t really be overstated, for your own good I hope you heed them.

Readers, have you seen writing done this way? What advice would you give Meaghan? Let me know in the comments.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

The Love/Hate with Relationship Writing

There seems to be a trend that is pretty well-established in Hollywood, but unfortunately has also inked its way into literature and other various art forms as well, and its one I do not like nor do I think its effects are positive.

What do I mean by that? Well let’s think about this for a moment; Name one TV show in recent memory where a relationship between two characters sprouted, and it actually survived the series. Same thing with movies… While I’m sure there are some out there, none immediately come to mind.

I started noticing it little by little over time, but then it really came to a head when it came to my wife’s turn to pick a movie for us to see… and she chose La La Land…

Okay my own issues with this movie aside, it ended on a real downer with the couple splitting up and going their separate ways, each getting the fame they wanted, but neither necessarily the better for it.

This is not the only example either… in Jurassic Park, Dr.s Grant and Satler split up between movies despite all the build up and character development that hinted towards the two of them having kids one day… essentially making the first movie’s character development pointless.

Indiana Jones wouldn’t see a recurrent love interest until the forgettable fourth film. National Treasure saw our lead kicked out of his own home by the love interest. In How I Met Your Mother, ONE a single relationship survives the series giving the series a .00001% success rate (blame Ted). In one of my wife’s favorites, Grey’s Anatomy, not even the marriage between the two main characters survived and a couple characters are struggling through their second marriages… the show is still ongoing so we’ll see how this goes…

In comic form, Cyclops leaves his loving wife and young son, and BOTH go through a character assassination for Jean Grey to return. She later gets killed off and Cyclops winds up with the White Queen. Colossus is now gay so… sorry Kitty!

Worst of all, perhaps the most entertaining relationship in Marvel; Mockingbird and Hawkeye didn’t survive.

Really the list just keeps on rolling. I see it in written form too…

But Jim, in this day and age, marriages don’t last. The odds are actually against it.

Actually the latest statistics are that between 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. That likely places the number at 45%. It also doesn’t take into account marriages of convenience, people who marry, remarry, and remarry again, nor does it take into account the behavior of the Hollywood cesspool.

Well Jim, wouldn’t you say that’s part of the problem? Look at the role models!

Not really… first of all, anyone who views the Hollywood elites as role models needs a dose of reality. That place is a cesspool of corruption, deviancy, and KNOWN child sex trafficking. Anyone who has children that look up to Hollywood celebs really need to re-examine their parenting.

Also, that statement doesn’t hold true anyway. Celebs that choose to keep their relationships out of the public eye… usually by moving out of LA, but also through other means which sometimes include reducing their career-load and/or exposure, survive just fine.

Christopher Lee, one of my all-time heroes was married for 54 years until his death.

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. have stepped back from the spotlight taking more… behind the scenes and voice acting roles and they’ve been married for 12 years.

Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn, two big names from the 80s and early 90s have been together for 34 years. You don’t see them in much anymore, but they do pop up from time to time.

Matt Damon has gone to impressive lengths to keep his family out of the spotlight and he’s been married for 12 years.

I get that these are the exception, not the rule, but they do further my point.

Anyway, yes I get it, we’re in the middle of a family crisis which I think writers and artists in multiple mediums are taking WAY too lightly. In many of these cases, we see these relationships end, and both parties go their separate ways. They don’t take into account the emotional, financial, and even psychological damage that can take place. It’s sort of glossed over in many cases.

That’s not even taking into account the effect it has on children, whom statistics and most mental health professionals show that children do better in stable, two-parent households.


This is really not good people. In my opinion, this has had a negative effect on almost ALL storytelling mediums in a very drastic and sad way. How you might ask? Consider… you watch a show or a movie and two characters get together that you really like. The couple is… for lack of a better term ADORABLE together. They get married and everything is going great. Given what’s been going on lately, are you going to get invested in that couple? Are you going to savor it?

Unlikely.

Given that the chances of said relationship surviving, especially if its early in the movie/book/series/etc, getting emotionally involved will just lead to disappointment later. The result? The great character development and immersion is lost on people who subconsciously put up walls to prevent the disappointment. Most of the time they aren’t even cognoscente of the fact that they’re doing it.

A few of my friends who have read my stories have said that they’re a little romance-heavy… well those are also friends who all to often turn out to be shocked when a relationship actually survives a movie series, TV series, or Book series.

That’s right, a strong successful relationship has been reduced to a PLOT TWIST!

Look I understand that not every relationship is meant to last, and you can argue that most people go through an average of 5 or 6 relationships before they find ‘the one,’ and you’d be right… but not marriages, live-in partners, or long term (4+ years) relationships!

So I’m not saying don’t write in breakups, don’t kill off the love interest, don’t not write about infidelity or divorce… what I am saying is that it might be refreshing to have successful relationships become a little more common… or at the very least try to take the damage done by parting ways more seriously instead of just glossing over it!

Anyway, readers what do you think? Am I being melodramatic or have you noticed something similar?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Let’s Get Down to the Details

Hey, Jim.

I was wondering if you could give me some writing tips. I have a blog on WordPress where I write stories and poems. I’m not the best when it comes to giving details in stories, so I was wondering if you could help me out with that. I would really appreciate it

MJ


 

Hi MJ,

Great question, I’d be happy to help. Believe it or not, you’re not alone in this venture. Authors have struggled with how to provide detail for the longest time, while keeping the story interesting. There’s a bit of a disconnect between how to keep a story interesting so that your reader stays engaged, but not overloading them on details. Many an otherwise good novel has died on the alter of TOO MUCH FREAKEN DETAIL!

There is also the idea that the reader should be free to draw their own conclusions on what a world looks like based on a limited amount of information provided. It’s a good philosophy, but it’s one that puts extra burden on the writer to determine how much detail is just the right amount. With an audience that has a notoriously shrinking attention span, getting this right is absolutely crucial.

The best way to combat this is by using metaphor and comparison. Let me give you an example…

Here’s a fairly generic description of a scene from a story I was working on a while back:

“The night was cold. It must have been easily less than thirty degrees. The wind blew hard against Mike’s back, causing him to go numb. Not helping matters was how dark it was. The street lamps couldn’t compensate for it, making it hard to see where he was going. The road was long, easily about two miles. He could easily tell that he had a long way to go.” 

Believe it or not, this is actually really good description. It tells you exactly what’s going on, what the weather is like and how our character feels… but it’s not very interesting, is it? It’s almost robotic in its description, like it’s not intended to be interesting in any way. Now imagine a full book being like that…

Those are the types of stories that tend to get used to prop up furniture later on instead of holding a prominent space on ANYONE’s shelf.

So obviously we’re not going to get much out of that, are we? That’s not going to hold anyone’s attention… so let’s try adding comparison and a little metaphorical writing to it…

“The night was so cold that Mike was certain an Eskimo would have felt right at home. The wind felt like a sharp knife against his skin, causing him to go numb as he walked. The fact that it was so dark that he could not see where he was going didn’t help. The night loomed over him like a black veil that was so thick that even the dim yellow glow of the street lamps could barely shine through it. His journey was not going to end any time soon. The road appeared to stretch on forever, as though the path disappeared into the heavens on the horizon.”

Now which story are you more likely to want to continue reading, the first or second one? Chances are the second one held your attention longer, why? Because it let your mind get an idea of how cold it was, it let you feel the character’s pain instead of just throwing information at you. Even if it is a little bit longer than the bare bones description, this will keep a reader engaged a lot easier.

But Jim, how much is too much? 

Well that’s struggle number 2. How much information is too much? Again, it’s in the details. Let’s take a look at a description of something from a story:

“The tapestry was blue, bright blue. John honestly couldn’t decide if it was royal blue or navy blue. There were several different shades of blue that fit into those two categories that it could have been either in the spectrum. It also had gold trim that was shiny and knitted together with little red lace. It must have been hand-sewn because the lace was so delicate, no machine could have done that. John started to wonder what that thread was made of.”

Oh God…

These are stories where you can easily skip over entire paragraphs without missing anything essential to the story and believe it or not, there are enough of these to fill the Library of Congress. So what could we honestly do away with here? Well unless the detailed description of the tapestry were somehow crucial to the story (which it rarely is), we can probably do away with most of that:

“The tapestry was blue, bright blue. John honestly couldn’t decide if it was royal blue or navy blue. There were several different shades of blue that fit into those two categories that it could have been either in the spectrum. It also had gold trim that was shiny and knitted together with little red lace. It must have been hand-sewn because the lace was so delicate, no machine could have done that. John started to wonder what that thread was made of.

Yeah, even that could be considered too much. Simply saying ‘blue tapestries adorned the walls’ would in most cases be sufficient

So MJ, I hope this helps. The use of metaphor and comparison writing will give the reader a lot more to think about than just a bland description.

Readers, what do you think? Do you have other advice you can offer MJ?

Let us know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Stardust: Being a Review Within the Realms of Faerie

The book, turned into a very popular movie that has quickly achieved cult status, was published in 1998. Originally it started out as a written story that was published in comic book form (sort of). Neil Gaiman, the author, wanted artwork displayed with the book and from what I read, convinced his friend Charles Vess to do the illustrations. It was published by… of all people, DC Comics!

Keep in mind though, this is NOT a comic book. Far far from it. Given the layout, the way the illustrations tend to flow around the words, and the drop cap, illuminated caps at the beginning of each chapter… I have to say that its closer to looking like a medieval book (See book of hours for further reference.)

It’s written in a very old world form of English and will require a slightly more expanded vocabulary to fully appreciate the writing. I personally love that Gaiman chose to do this as it fits in with the type of story that it is. This is written as a very traditional fantasy, paying homage to the pre-Tolkien styles and stories that many of us grew up with.

So I just finished the book… and… honestly I’m kind of on the fence about this one.

Why? Well… maybe because I saw the movie first… ill-advised, I know, but my introduced me to it. I didn’t even know a book existed until about a year later. So in typical collector fashion, I sought out a first edition… and found one that was Autographed by Charles Vess.

So going through this book, it reads fairly similar to the movie. It starts off dealing with Dunstan Thorn and then follows the adventures of his son Tristran (Not Tristan) Thorn as he searches for the fallen star to bring back to his true love.

Overall, the book definitely delves a lot more into the world of Faerie (Not Stormhold). The book starts off kind of slow, as most traditional fantasies do. In fact, the star barely makes an appearance until about half way through. We’re also introduced to many characters, including a nymph tree, a rabbit-like hairy man, among others.

The artwork is also sort of a fairy tale, old-world style, which compliments the book nicely and is unexpectedly dazzling to look at:

20170410_075615.jpg

Keeping in mind though… THIS IS NOT A CHILDREN’S BOOK AND I MEAN BY ANY STRETCH!

20170410_075540.jpg

However there are several things that I don’t like about this story, and again, this may be more the movie’s fault!

Spoilers ahead folks, be ready!


So what did I like about the book?
As I said, the artwork, the expansive story, the overall writing style, and a completely original world that we haven’t seen before. The character development was great, the relationship between the main cast was very well fleshed out, and motivations behind everything they did were clearly established.

What didn’t I like?
The sky pirates aren’t as developed as they were in the movie and the captains hobbies are not explored either as they are in the movie. The movie took quite a bit of dramatic license.

The ending… my God the ending… This is one of those rare books where its strong enough to survive an iffy conclusion. Again, this is partially the fault of the movie. Where the movie ends with Tristran and the Star living many years together and then leaving for the Heavens to live together forever as stars… in the book the star can NEVER return to her domain. After Tristran dies, the immortal star becomes the lady of Stormhold and rules by herself. The book ends by saying that she spends her nights up in the highest tower looking up at the heavens, sadly.

Ugh!!! Maybe I’m just a pampered brat, but this is not my kind of ending. It left me unsatisfied and really just looking at it like ‘…. what the heck!?’

I might recommend skipping the Epilogue.

Now again, maybe I’d feel different if I’d read the book first, but I didn’t.


So with all this in mind, what is my overall rating?

4/5 Stars.

I can’t in good conscience downvote the book because of the movie. As far as I’m concerned, they are not the same story. Where one expands, the other cuts back. The book covers more time, but the movie really gets the character better. The relationship in the movie feels rushed and almost cliched and is explained far better in the book.

Do I recommend it? Hell yes! It is an amazing story in its own right and is one that fantasy junkies like myself will love for years to come. This gem of a book is going on my shelf right next to my first edition NeverEnding Story and Silmarillion.

Have you read it? Let me know what you think in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Beneath the Surface (Chapter 10)

X

 

Alex woke up in his mother’s bed. He felt disgusting and his joints were all sore like they hadn’t been moved in days. He was in despirate need of a shower. He sat up, ready to start the day, when he looked outside to see that it was completely dark. What time is it?

The clock next to his bed said 9pm. What the hell?

At that moment, his mind began to clear, “Tersa!”

Alex struggled to get out of bed. His knees ached as he tried to apply weight to them. He was unable to find his balance. Had he been drugged?

At that moment, two men in black and red robes burst through the door. Alex’s eyes went wide, “Who the hell are you?”

The leader, an older man with a gray beard, stepped forward, “I am Father Benson, and this is Father Paul.”

He eyed the two preists suspiciously, “You’re here from the Vatican?”

“Officially, no. We don’t even exist. We are part of an ancient order within the church. We are Papal Knights.”

“The Papal Knights were disbanded back during the 16th Century. They don’t exist anymore.” Alex fired back.

“As far as the public is concerned, that’s true.”

On their black robes, both of them had a small pendant on the collar. It was two sword, one red, one white, in the form of a cross. They each also had a sword at their side, for ceremonial purposes, no doubt.

Alex didn’t know their intentions, but didn’t trust them, “I suppose you two are the ones who have been following me around over the last few days?”

The two priests looked at each other for a moment before Father Benson spoke, “No.”

“You weren’t following me in black hodded cloaks?”

“No.”

“Then who was?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know.”

Alex was growing even more suspicious, “What happened? Where is Tersa?”

“She’s safe.”

“I need more than that, what happened after the exorcism?”

“There was no exorcism. You failed. What were you thinking?”

“I beg your pardon?” Alex asked.

Father Benson pointed an accusing finger at him, “You are not ordained. You went to the church, they turned you down, so instead you go about trying a seat of your pants exorcism? Are you out of your mind?”

“Father Moran’s view was way off.” Alex shot back. “He wouldn’t even consult the bishop on it. She clearly was exhibiting all the symptons of a power possession. There is no way that she would have lasted long. Where is she?”

“Here.”

“Here? In my house?”

Father Benson nodded, “Yes, we took up residence here. Her parents agreed to leave her in our care while we sort this out.”

Alex shook his head, “Sort what out? This struck me as a possession, not unlike any other.”

“Oh but it is different.”

“How.”

“Because, Tersa isn’t the only one possessed.”

“What… then who, Sgt. McConnel?”

“No. Think harder.”

That’s when it hit Alex. The voices he’d been hearing, the hallucinations, the man in the black robes, the nightmares… “Me?”

Father Benson nodded, “That’s correct.”

“Well… that would explain a few things, but how…?”

Father Paul stepped forward, “The failed exorcism that you were a part of. That girl left something with you, didn’t she?”

“No. Nothing.”

“No?” Brother Paul asked. “Tell me, when did the nightmares and your smoking habit start? Almost immediately after, didn’t it?”

“Well… Come on, that’s just post traumatic stress disorder.”

Father Benson nodded, “Spoken like a true psychologist.”

“It’s the truth.”

“Is it?” Father Benson asked. “How long do you think you’ve been laying here?”

Alex shrugged, “I don’t know, 17 hours?”

“It’s been four days.”

“Four days?”

“Afraid so…”

Alex couldn’t believe it, “How… that’s not possible! I was unconscious for three days! What did you give me?”

“Nothing, we knocked you out. We didn’t drug you… and you weren’t unconscious the entire time either.”

“What do you mean?”

“You were up, walking around, speaking in tongues.”

Alex was barely able to process this information, “So why didn’t you exorcise… whatever it is?”

“We tried, twice. It will not leave. We were even able to identify it, but it still remains attached to your soul.”

“What are we dealing with?”

Father Paul lowered his eyes as he spoke, “Adramelech.”

Alex couldn’t believe it, but it made sense. That would explain why Rachel referred to him as such, “But… that demon…”

“Yes we know. It killed that poor girl in Rome.”

“But it was with her after the exorcism.”

“No.” Father Paul replied. “We believe that it did the damage to her that killed her during the exorcism. She died because of those injuries, but that doesn’t mean they were inflicted at that point. It would appear that your exorcism wasn’t a failure after all. You ripped the demon from that poor girl, but you didn’t successfully send it to Hell.”

“So it attached itself to me.”

Father Benson nodded, “Yes… I’m afraid so…”

Alex rubbed his forehead. Suddenly things started to fall into place. Unfortunately, it still left too much unanswered, “But why haven’t I ever lost control? I’ve had hallucinations, but up until now, the demon has never taken control of me.”

“That you know of.”

Alex stopped in his path, “Yes… that I know of.”

“For all you know, it could have taken you while you slept. Or perhaps it was lying in wait for the right moment to strike.”

“Why would it do that?”

“Who knows? Maybe it wanted you to bring it somewhere before trying to take over?”

That made Alex very suspicious, “Somewhere as in here?”

“Possibly.”

“But why?”

“No idea…”

Alex shook his head, more questions that didn’t have answers. He stood up and turned to the priests, “Can I see her?”

The two of them nodded as Father Benson spoke up, “She’s out on your back porch, but for your own safty, we’d ask that you not leave the property. We can’t guarantee your safty or the safry of those nearby if you do.”

“I’m surprised you’re not trying to force me to stay put.”

“We’re preists, not armed guards.”

Alex nodded as he turned to the door and stepped out of the bedroom. He proceeded past the priests down the hallway to the living room. Everything was as it had been before in the living room and the dining room.

His house was very similar in layout to the McConnel’s. Their dining room and slider to the back porch was in the same place, though his mother preferred a different setup of the furnature. Their table was off to the side, giving anyone in the living room an unobstructed view of the porch.

Alex made his way to the back slider when he saw Tersa standing out back, wrapped in a black blanket. He pulled the slider open carefully, trying not to disturb her, but his efforts were in vain. She jumped the moment that she heard the slider open.

A sign of relief exited her body when she saw that it was just Alex. He paused at the door when he saw her, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“You didn’t.” She responded. “I guess I’m just a little tightly wound at the moment.”

“Yeah, I can understand that.”

“Well it’s not every day you find out that you’re the reincarnated mistress of some ancient Aztec God.”

“Aztec?”

“Quetzalcoatl. He was the Aztec God of light. Some say he was one of their Sun Gods. I looked it up when I found out who Rachel worshipped.”

Alex scratched his head, “But I don’t get it, why you?”

“I was born at the right time.”

“Yeah you and how many millions of others?”

“I also lived nearby.”

“Still, there has to be a bit more to it than that. I mean why you, why wait three hundred years?”

Tersa shrugged. Alex saw the sad look on her face and began to worry, “There’s something you’re not telling me, isn’t there?”

“Maybe.”

“Maybe?”

Tersa nodded, “It could be nothing… odd coincidence.”

“What?”

“My mother’s maiden name, Proctor.”

Chills ran down Alex’s spine, “You’re kidding?”

“No, and my mother’s family has lived in this town for as far back as our history goes.”

“Now it makes sense.”

Tersa nodded, “Yeah… Rachel was too young to have children, but according to what I read, she had brothers and sisters, some of whom survived to adulthood.”

“So that would make you her great, great, great, great… great grand niece.”

“Her blood descendant.”

Alex sighed, “Well that does make sense.”

“So you believe?”

“Yeah, I believe you, why wouldn’t I?”

“That’s not what I meant.” Tersa replied. “I was asking if you believe.”

“Then my answer is still no.”

“How can someone who has seen a demonic possession and even now is dealing with one of his own, still not believe in God?”

“Did I ever say that I didn’t believe in God?”

Tersa’s racing mind stopped dead in its tracks. It’s true, he never did say that. Then what did he mean when he said that he wasn’t a believer? This made no sense to her, “Then what don’t you believe in?”

“I don’t believe he cares.” Alex replied. “I don’t believe that he’s infallible.”

“So… what you think he just created us for sport or some kind of entertainment?”

“Exactly.”

“That’s a pretty dismal outlook.”

“Yup.”

“You really have changed. The guy I used to know would never have said anything like that.”

“A lot can happen in six years.”

“I guess.”

Alex’s eyes narrowed, “You sound disappointed.”

“No, not at all.” Tersa insisted. “You may not be the charismatic person you were back then, but you were still the kind person who took a complete stranger in distress in off of the street. That’s the guy that I remember.”

“Well at there’s one person I didn’t disappoint.”

An annoyed look appeared on Tersa’s face, “You know, you put way too much stock in what happened in Rome. Small towns like this aren’t a good place to keep secrets.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that everyone here knows that something bad happened to you over in Rome, not everyone knows what, but we all know that you left the seminary because of something you saw. Rumors spread quickly about what it was…”

Alex rolled his eyes, “Oh great…”

“Alex, we were worried about you. You could have come home, but you were too ashamed.”

“I couldn’t save that girl. She had a family and life before all of this.”

“Yeah she did, but so did you and you still do. Look, from what you told me, you were a student. You shouldn’t have even been put in that situation. You did what you could.”

“It wasn’t enough.”

“No, but you gave it everything you could. It wasn’t for you to save that girl. She was doomed the moment that your teacher was killed.”

Alex couldn’t argue anymore, or was it that he didn’t want to? Instead he feigned a smile, “You sure know how to suck the wind out of an argument.”

“It’s easy when all you have is the truth.”

Alex nodded, “All right, well I’ll think about.”

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

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http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim