Monday, 28 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 3 - The second Visit) cont 3...

I am confused and worried, and this is not a good combination.  The reason I started my writing blog was to give myself a kick up the rear, stop procrastinating and to start doing something I have wanted to do for a very long time.  But today I have read an article in Writers and Artists on “when do you show your work in the revision process?”  The gist of the article is – don’t show your work to anyone else when they are likely to come up with a list of suggestions that you are already half considering.  Also, if their comments are going to make you say things like “yes, I thought that”, or “well this is only a rough draft”, or “I already know that needs changing”, don’t show them!  The article goes on to say that the reader you have given your work to, starts to wonder why you are asking their opinion when you already know it.  Now I am in a dilemma.  Do I continue on my route of posting my “rough draft” on my blog or not?
Having said that I have finished the last “rough draft” of Chapter 3 and posted it up for you all to read.  At this stage I am not sure if further Chapters will be posted yet?

The four continued there meal chatting about love and the never ending stream of young ladies in Khaos’s life.  TJ jokingly asking Khaos for advice on how to win the ladies and Khaos talked lovingly about his five children.  He confided in the fact that Kay, his eldest at sixteen, seemed to be continuously embarrassed about him and refused to let him take her to school.  His noisy, smoky motorbike was not acceptable transport for a popular girl.  The others still adored going on rides on the back of his motorbike, except of course Sasha who was still too young.  Thanatos laughed and told him that Sasha had him wrapped around her little finger, something Khaos did not deny.
After the hearty meal of oxtail stew, crusty rolls and apple crumble for pudding TJ offered to clear the dishes and load the dishwasher before going upstairs to his room to play on his Wii game.
Thanatos refilled their wine glasses and carried them through to the living room and sat down next to his wife with a deep sigh.
‘Now,’ cajoled Khaos. ‘we don’t have any eavesdropping ears, interfering wife stealing men or impressionable youngsters around, what is bothering you Thane?’
‘Yes, my sweet,’ said Melanie taking a sip from her wine. ‘I have noticed that you have not told me about your day today?  What is wrong?’
That was one of the strengths of their marriage is that they shared everything with each other.  Neither would be too tired after a day at work to share what had happened, who they had seen or any other matters that might have occurred.
Closing his eyes he slowly recaptured what had happened today in his head before looking at them and stating, ‘I was seen.’
‘You were seen?’ said Khaos a little puzzled.
‘Yes, I was at the hospital, standing next to the man’s bed in the ICU and I was seen,’ confirmed Thanatos.
Both Khaos and Melanie looked at him confused.  Why was this sighting bothering him so much, it was to be expected.
‘But, the man was dying,’ consoled Melanie. ‘He would have to see you.’
‘No,’ said Thanatos shaking his head. ‘Not the man, the girl!’
‘You just said that you were standing next to the man in the bed,’ puzzled Khaos. ‘Was there another bed nearby?’
‘No,’ replied Thanatos quietly. ‘The girl walked in and saw me.’
Khaos and Melanie looked at each other and both asked at the same time. ‘Was she on the list.’
‘No,’ said Thanatos. ‘That is the problem.’
‘Are you sure she saw you, Thane?’ hurried Khaos.  ‘Perhaps she was stressed and merely staring into space.’
‘She spoke to me,’ said Thanatos quietly again.
There was silence.  All three trying to formulate what had happened in their minds.
Khaos queried, ‘Did you check the list.’
‘Twice,’ answered Thanatos.
‘What did she say,’ asked Melanie taking her husbands hand into hers and rubbing gentle.
‘She asked what I was doing and if I knew her father,’ answered Thanatos.
‘Maybe the clerks have messed up again,’ said Khaos trying to find a solution.  ‘You are always saying that they are inept and I often get strange messages on my blackberry.’
‘The list is not the same as your blackberry, Khaos,’ confirmed Thanatos.  ‘The clerks do not have access to that.  The orders come direct from the top.  That is the one reason why I continue with the traditional way – no mix ups or mistakes.’
Biting his lip in thought he quickly got up, went into the kitchen to retrieve his coat that he had thrown over the kitchen chair.  He carried his coat into the living room, sat and pulled out the scroll.  Slowly opening it again he looked at the list, it had not changed.  Shaking his head for the others, he rolled it up again and replaced it into the inside pocket of his coat.
‘Still not on the list,’ he mumbled. ‘The date and time has also changed for the man.’
‘Changed?’ queried Mel.  ‘That doesn’t happen, does it?’
‘No.’  answered Thanatos slowly.  ‘This is the first.’
‘Are you sure?’ queried Khaos softly.
Thanatos’ eyes narrowed and he glared at his friend across the room.  His dark blue eyes turned black, his skin paler and his lips narrowed.  ‘I am not mistaken,’ he said through clenched teeth.
‘I’m sorry,’ rushed Khaos, ‘just trying to think of all possibilities.’
‘Perhaps she is Muse, like me,’ suggested Melanie quietly. ‘I have always been convinced there are many that have not been registered with the Brotherhood.’
‘No, she is not a Muse of any Other,’ said Thanatos.  ‘She does not have the aura.’
The three sat in thoughtful silence, trying to come up with a logical conclusion, but none was forthcoming.
‘Right,’ said Khaos suddenly downing his wine and standing up. ‘Let's go.’
‘Go where?’ asked Thanatos and Melanie together.
‘To the hospital,’ replied Khaos, ‘where else?’
‘I don’t see what going to the hospital is going to prove,’ said Thanatos wearily.
‘If ..’ Khaos stopped looking wearily at Thanatos, ‘when she sees us again we can ask her who she is. You game?’
‘Alright,’ said Thanatos slowly his stomach tightening into a nervous knot. ‘We can try that.  Oh, but I have put Mortis to rest.’
‘No problem,’ laughed Khaos. ‘We can take the bike.’
‘Hmm,’ mumbled Thanatos unenthusiastically, standing slowly and putting his untouched wine on the table.  He kissed his wife quickly and said, ‘we won’t be late.’
Melanie carried the wine glasses into the kitchen and watched the two men walk out to the bike.  In the shadows they looked like Laurel and Hardy, the best of friends but complete opposites.
The roar of the motor bike made her flinch and hope that Mr Smithers didn’t decide to pay another concerned visit.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 3 - The second Visit) cont 2..

I am not completely happy with this section, but feel I need to move on, as I don't want to come to a grinding halt.  So please bare with me and remember this is my rough draft.  I am sure, sorry I know, there will be plenty of changes to come.  You should see the notation coloumn on my main copy.
Mr Smithers had stepped inside the front room but TJ was still standing by the open front door.
‘Melanie,’ gushed the man dressed in formal trousers and jacket.  ‘That infernal motor biker seems to be back in the neighbourhood.  I just wanted to check that you and your son are alright?  You never know what these hoodlum types will do if they found a beautiful women alone.’
‘Hoodlum,’ roared Khaos angrily from the kitchen. “Who is he calling a hoodlum?”
Thanatos laughed.
‘Thank you for your concern, Mr Smithers,’ said Melanie sweetly.  ‘But I am not on my own.’
‘Jeff, please,’ said Mr Smithers.  ‘I realise you have your son and that he is growing up now, but he is hardly a match for one of those ruffian’s.’
‘Ruffian,’ gasped Khaos infuriated storming through to the front room before Thanatos could grab hold of his arm and hold him back.  “I’ll show him to be more respectful and not judge a biker by his bike!”
Watching the scene behind his mothers back, TJ snorted, trying very hard not to laugh.  Khaos was hell bent on reaching Mr Smithers and his dad had hold of his friend’s hoodie, almost strangling him in the process.  Thanatos gave a quick jerk pulling Khaos back enough for him to step in front and stand next to his wife thereby preventing Khaos from being able to manoeuvre around them to get to Mr Smithers.
‘Mr Smi … Jeff,’ continued Melanie smiling widely.  ‘I have a very good response unit should I experience any difficulties.  Thank you again for your concern, but you will excuse me as we were about to sit down for dinner.’
Mr Smithers smiled disappointedly. ‘Of course.  I..’  he suddenly shivered and looked around.  ‘Are you having problems with your heating?  It has suddenly become very cold in here?  I am a very good handyman and can fix the problem for you?’
‘No no, my heating is fine,’ sighed Melanie wanting the man to leave now.  ‘I am quite warm.  Perhaps you are coming down with a cold or something?’
‘Hmm,’ said Mr Smithers doubtfully, looking over his shoulder at TJ still standing at the door smiling broadly.  ‘Well, if you sure everything is ok?  Just remember, if you need anything, anything at all, just ask.’
‘Thank you Mr Smithers, you are awfully kind,’ replied Melanie now firmly escorting him to the door.  ‘Good night.’
Mr Smithers had barely time to say goodnight before the large wooden door was firmly closed behind him.  Gazing at the door for a few moments he pondered on how it was really sad that such a beautiful woman could let herself mourn for a man that had left her so long ago.  He must have hurt her badly because she was very reluctant to get into another relationship.  But maybe when her son was all grown up, maybe then she will start to feel lonely and that was when he would be there to help.  Nodding to himself, he turned and walked down the path and across the road to his house.
‘That…. that man is after your wife,’ stuttered Khaos staring at Thanatos who  had moved into the dining room and was now casually pouring three glasses of wine.
‘Obviously,’ said Thanatos smiling slightly.
‘Obviously?’ gasped Khaos sitting himself down at the large dinning room table.  ‘And this does not concern you?’
‘Why should it,’ said Thanatos placing the wine on the table and joining the rest of the family smiling at his wife.  ‘My wife is not interested in him.’
‘As simple as that?’ queried Khaos looking from husband to wife.
‘As simple as that,’ confirmed Melanie.
‘Well I repeat what I said earlier, Thane my friend,’ said Khaos.  ‘You are extremely lucky.  Not only is your wife the best Muse this side of the sun, she is a superb cook and loves you completely.’
Thanatos smiled and nodded in agreement, he was extremely lucky.  It was nineteen years ago when they met.  He had been searching desperately for Gaia after her mysterious disappearance.  For six months he had travelled from one end of the earth to the other, looking and listening for any signs of his closest and dearest friend.  Her explanation for her disappearance had not satisfied him as she would surely have confided in him prior to taking such drastic action.  There had been no sighting or signals until one afternoon after he had made a collection in Bwindi Forest he heard her song.  He had been drawn into the great forest, to an area where nobody ever came, even the local people who lived nearby did not enter, not for fear of wild creature or monster, but simply because no one ‘knew’ that it was there.  The majestic redwood trees held an air of pre-historic mystique, their branches extending a hundred meters upwards blocking out all the light.  The constant mist surrounding the forest made it invisible and confusing to the casual traveller.  He had wandered around for hours when the singing stopped as suddenly as it had started.  Confused and doubting himself he had wandered on, but no sound could be heard – not even the sound of the forest.   Many days passed with no further sounds or signs so defeated he made his way slowly out the deep forbidding forest.  Finding a country road near the edge of the forest he travelled along it for many miles until he found his way to a small village.  On nearing the closest cottage he had stopped and found himself staring at the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.  Melanie had been busy picking tomatoes from a small vegetable patch in front of the cottage and had looked up and seen him.  She had recognised him on sight and being concerned with his frail, dishevelled state had invited him in for dinner.  Not long after they had married and Thanatos Junior was born.  His connection with Gaia would always be present, but his love for his wife was infinite.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 3 - The second Visit)

I have not been feeling well the past couple of days.  Full of the dreaded flu!  So with a very muzzy head, I hope the start of my next Chapter is not too incoherent. 
I would also like any comments about my previous Chapter (The Meeting) and whether it made any sense or if I have just confused you all tremendously.   I don’t want to go into too much detail about the four riders yet as the ‘who’ and ‘what’ will hopefully unravel through the next couple of Chapters.  But if the general feel is I should explain more about them on introduction, please tell me.

Like all the houses in the street, the house was a nondescript mock Tudor semi-detached house with steeply pitched roof, tall mullioned windows, high chimney and overhanging first floor.  The house was situated on 2-acres of land and had an attached stable with an enclosure at the rear.  It boasted a tall, well maintained hedgerow which ran along the front of the house and obscured it from the neighbours and at the rear of the house was a large, elderly oak tree.   The golden light from the kitchen window fell on the rough bark of the gnarled tree and the gently blowing leaves created patterns on the neatly mowed lawn.  Nothing stirred; it was your typical peaceful family neighbourhood with the average husband and wife with the average two and a half children and one family car.  Everyone was indoors, either eating dinner, watching TV or just relaxing after a long day at work.
The silence was broken by a soft voice drifting out the open kitchen door, ‘Dad’s home.’
The women in the kitchen looked up and turned to the window just in time to see her husband appear next to the stable at the back of the garden.  It amazed her how her son always knew when his father was on his way home, their connection was more than physical it was metaphysical.  She smiled as she watched her son walk across the lawn towards his father.   The boy was already as tall and as lanky as his father, his dark blue eyes and long nose identical.  At this distance the only difference in father and son was the boys shoulder length black hair.  This he had inherited from her.
The sudden roar of a large motorbike caused her to jump and drop the spoon she was holding onto the floor with a clatter.  That confounded motorbike always gave her a fright, but she always forgave Khaos after he begged her forgiveness each time.
The large man parked his pride and joy next to the shed and greeted the young boy standing with his father. ‘T-Man, how’s it hanging?’ be bellowed raising his hand for a high five.
‘Uncle Khaos,’ said the boy humouring the large man by slapping his hand against his.  Khaos always made him laugh with his attempts to remain young and hip as he called it.  ‘You are going to have to apologise to mum again for arriving so noisily,’ laughed TJ.
Khaos looked guiltily towards the main house.  ‘I know,’ he whispered, ‘I really need to buy a muffler for occasions like these.’
Thanatos had finished unbridling his horse and putting him to rest so the three turned and walked slowly up to the house.
‘How was college?’ queried Thanatos.
‘Fine,’ said TJ. ‘We have a Humanities project I may need some help with.’
‘When is it due?’ replied his dad. ‘I am sure I will have time this weekend to help, perhaps after your baseball match.’
‘Only at the end of the month,’ said TJ, ‘so anytime is fine.’
The three men entered the large kitchen and sniffed appreciatively at the delicious aroma wafting around the room.
Before Thanatos could greet his wife, Khaos had dropped dramatically onto one knee in front of her, hands clasped together and a puppy dog look on his face. ‘My sweet, beautiful Mel, forgive me for my rude entry.  I hope I did not frighten you?’ he pleaded.
‘Oh, Khaos,’ laughed Melanie, ‘get up you fool, you are always forgiven.’ She leant over and gave him a friendly peck on the check.
Thanatos chuckled as he watched his large friend struggle to get to his feet, happy that he had been forgiven for his loud arrival, again.  His wife, a petit, dark haired beauty had a real soft spot for the large man.  She mothered him like her favourite child; nothing he did was ever seriously scolded.  Even when he arrived on their doorstep dancing and laughing after a heavy night of drinking wanting to talk and a bed or couch to rest on.  She adored him and all his children who she often babysat when Khaos was away for any length of time. 
Thanatos manoeuvred himself around his son and Khaos to lean over and gently give his wife a kiss.  ‘Hello, my love,’ he greeted. ‘You are far too lenient on him, he will do it again.’
She smiled lovingly up at her husband, ‘I know, but who can get cross with that face.’
They both turned and looked at Khaos standing gazing at them with his sad brown eyes and laughed.
Just then the front doorbell rang.
TJ left the kitchen and made his way through the living room and out into the front room to open the front door.
‘Evening, TJ,’ came a loud masculine voice.  ‘Is your mother home?’
‘Mum,’ called TJ. ‘It’s Mr Smithers.’
‘Oh dear,’ said Melanie under her breath. ‘Not again.’
She slowly wiped her hands on her apron and made her way to the front room. 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 2 - The Meeting) cont 2...

With the continuation of the chapter we meet two more Riders – Demeter and Cycnus.  My main aim in this Chapter is to slowly introduce the major characters in my book.  Hopefully, you will be able to get a bit of an understanding of who they are and what their characters are like.  I have their pictures in my head but I am not sure if these pictures are being portrayed or if I am missing it completely.  Comments as usual would be appreciated.

‘You haven’t started,’ said Cycnus loudly looking around the room, ‘I told Deimos to start the meeting.’
Deimos looked up nervously, quickly closing his email page.
‘We decided to wait,’ said Thanatos calmly stretching his long legs out under the table, ‘I too have just arrived and was enjoying my coffee.’
‘Well, let us begin,’ demanded Cycnus looking agitatedly at Thanatos who was positioned at the head of the table.  ‘I have work to do.’
‘But of course, Cycnus, don’t we all,’ muttered Thanatos. ‘But, now that we are all present, shall we begin with Matters Arising from the Previous Meeting.’
Cycnus and Demeter sat facing their two trainees and after pushing the start button on the recording device, Khaos took up a seat next to Thanatos on his right.   The new electronic recording device negated the need for a clerk to be present at the meeting for minute taking.  This recording would be transcribed later during normal office working hours.  For some reason the atmosphere in the meeting room felt like it was charged with electricity, an atmosphere that seemed to get thicker at each weekly meeting, creating tension and a very unpleasant working environment.
Thanatos frowned; this unrest among them was not good.  Yes a certain amount of tension was inevitable, but this constant power struggle was becoming a grave concern.  He wondered if the Head’s should be notified, but then what would he say?  All he had was feelings and suspicions, suspicions of what he did not know.  Perhaps he was being overly sensitive. Sighing quietly he concentrated on the procedures of the meeting at hand.
After all the Angelos present confirmed that all the Matters Arising had been finalised, the next items on the Agenda were covered by each individual. 
Cycnus confirmed that there were still fourteen disputes taking place with a total ongoing estimated death toll of 7,277,214 to date.  Thanatos checked his calculations and much to Cycnus’ annoyance corrected the total to 7,277,224.  In addition to these ongoing fractions Cycnus’ reported of a suicide bomber in Afghanistan which and encouraged a lengthy gun battle to erupt.  Smiling smugly, he commented that the al Qaeda were an easily influenced bunch.  Both Deimos and Enyo agreed heartily with Cycnus’s comments which again disturbed Thanatos greatly, there total devotion to and desire to please him was not healthy.
Khaos then went on to report on the recent rioting in India after a Sikh Sect leader was mysteriously murdered in an Austrian temple.  The confusion had lasted a number of days until the local police had gained control.
As usual, Demeter had nothing to report, but Enyo commented that there  would be developments in the near future as with the current financial crisis taking place not many countries would be in a position to give aid to the starving countries.  Demeter should monitor the situation closely.  Cycnus congratulated him on his excellent observation, making Enyo smirk at Demeter and for Demeter to become sullen.
Thanatos followed, explaining that it had been an extremely busy week.  The increasing severity and return of the latest Swine Flu epidemic was attacking the young, old and sick.  The numbers of infected were rising daily.  Unsure as to his reasoning, he decided not to explain what had happened earlier today, when he had missed a collection.  This was a matter he would rather discuss with Khaos first outside the meeting.  He did not feel the others would understand his concern and would most likely try and place the error on him.
With individual items finalised they turned to the General item.  Cycnus had obviously not read the full Agenda prior to the meeting, because as Thanatos read he jumped up suddenly sending his chair crashing to the floor.  Both trainees jumped in surprise at the sudden movement and Demeter let out a small cry of alarm.
‘Who put this on the Agenda?’ he blustered agitatedly. ‘Was it you Thanatos.’
‘No, Cycnus, you should know as well as I that it was not,’ frowned Thanatos watching Cycnus carefully.  ‘I, like all of us, do not have a say as to what is put on the Agenda.  The Agenda comes directly from the top.’
Cycnus began to pace the room, breathing deeply.  The rise and fall of his massive chest obscured by the large breastplate he insisted on wearing.  It was not long since he had abandoned wearing his full armour of helm, gauntlets, gorget, and greaves and now only wore his prized breastplate.  This item had been specially forged from bronze with an elaborate engraving of a majestic hawk, wings outstretched and head held high.  The breastplate was more ornamental and symbolic than functional as the metal was lighter than required for today’s world.  His other ‘tool’ of identification was his sword and scabbard which hung from his thick leather belt around his waist.  The sword had been passed down from Change to Change and had been used in many battles. The short, stocky man’s fist tightened over the hilt of his sword, the intricate carvings imprinting on his hand. 
After a few trips back and forth across the room he calmed himself slightly, re-righted his chair and sat heavily.
‘As we have all now been reminded,’ continued Thanatos carefully, ‘Gaia is about to turn fifty.  The question we now face is, has she selected a replacement?’
‘Nobody, knows where she is,’ rushed Cycnus, ‘so how do we know if she has a replacement.’
‘I still believe she is travelling the world and having a party,’ said Khaos half heartedly, hoping that this was the truth.  The alternative was too concerning to contemplate.
‘That is what you want to do, Khaos,’ said Cycnus more composed.  ‘I am sure one of us would have seen ... found her if she was.  We have to go on what she wrote in her letter, she was heartbroken and did not want to be reminded of anything or anyone so has gone into seclusion.’
‘Be that as it may,’ stated Thanatos, ‘with her Change happening soon it would be wise for her to return for the occasion.’
‘Well, if she is as like minded as you, Thanatos,’ said Cycnus, ‘we need not worry as she will return soon.  If anybody would know what she will do it should be you, at one time the two of you were inseparable.’
‘I am sure she will return,’ continued Thanatos, not liking the suggestion in Cycnus’s comment, ‘it would not be like her to neglect this duty, no matter what.  I would however suggest that we continue to watch for signs.’
‘Signs,’ said Cycnus quickly looking suspiciously at Thanatos, ‘what signs.’
‘Any sign,’ soothed Thanatos.  ‘We do not want to contemplate the outcome if a transfer is not made.’
‘I agree with you Thanatos,’ said Khaos seriously, ‘she will not let us down.’
‘Well,’ replied Cycnus, ‘we will see who is better at character judgement.’
‘Yes,’ rushed Demeter, battling to get a word in and looking for approval from Cycnus, ‘I think she has been extremely selfish and lazy.’
 Feeling annoyed and with a bitter taste of disapproval, Thanatos decided to end the topic and asked, ‘Is there any other items you wish to raise.’
There was a general shaking of heads and with no further matters the meeting was closed at 21H15.
Rising quickly from the table in a desire to leave, Thanatos tossed his empty coffee cup in the bin and turned to Khaos.
‘You coming for dinner?’ he queried.  ‘Melanie is making oxtail stew, your favourite.’
‘Oxtail stew, I wouldn’t miss it for the world,’ chuckled Khaos rubbing his large stomach.  ‘You are an incredibly lucky man to have such an amazing wife to look after you.’
‘Ahhh, my friend,’ smiled Thanatos, ‘You have had three such wonderful women in your life, if only you kept hold of them.’
‘I try,’ laughed Khaos, ‘I really try.  I am just a deeply misunderstood man.’
Laughing the two turned, said stiff goodbyes to the four standing talking quietly together and left the room and made their way to where their horses were waiting.
‘What is bothering you, Thane?’ queried Khaos again more seriously.
‘Later,’ said Thanatos mounting his horse gracefully and making his way towards the main gates.  A few yards down the road he vanished in a cloud of black smoke.
Shaking his head, Khaos clambered ungainly onto his large motorbike and with a roar of the big engine exited the gate muttered “The dark void of space, Earth Air Water Fire, Proorismos Khaos” and with billowing exhaust fumes disappeared.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 2 - The Meeting) cont...

The next section of Chapter 2 – The meeting, introduces a new character onto the scene – Khaos.  He is a very close friend of Thanetos and has been for many years.  They are quite opposite in character – but then opposites attract (this creates a much needed balance).  But, there is a secret that lies between them.  Will their friendship survive?  And what dramatic event will happen on the 25th June 2011?

The large man by the coffee machine turned and said, ‘Thane, you rascal, you are late.  I was beginning to worry.’
Far from looking worried, the large man seemed his usual decidedly jolly self.  He was dressed casually in his new jeans, which were ripped by the knees, and a bright canary yellow sweatshirt with Wildcat printed on the front.  His unruly mop of brown hair spiked outwards in total disarray, two day old stubble and brown laughing eyes all conveyed the message of relaxed enjoyment. 
‘Your concern is comforting,’ smiled Thanatos.  ‘I apologise for my tardy time keeping, but I seemed to have got my time zones confused.’
‘That is because you don’t carry an i-phone, my friend,’ chuckled the jolly man, walking across the room and thumping him firmly on the back.  ‘It would be a great help to you, if only you would bend a little away from the good old tradition.’
‘We are not going to discuss the problems of modern technology tonight, Khaos,’ grumbled Thanatos. ‘Not to mention the inadequacies of our workforce today, it has not been a good day thus far.’
‘You are looking a bit flustered today, my friend,’ Khaos intoned in sympathy. ‘Tell, what has upset you?’
‘Later,’ said Thanatos abruptly, turning to the two youngsters in the room he gave a slight nod. ‘Deimos .. Enyo.’
‘Thanatos, pleasant evening tonight,’ acknowledged the two in union, standing very stiff in their formal business suits.
Turning back to Khaos he said, ‘I bumped into Demeter outside, I believe Cycnus is running late.’
‘Yes,’ interrupted Deimos.  ‘He has been in contact with me and has promised that he will not be too late.  He said we should continue without him.’
Thanatos turned and looked at the two youngsters.  Both were clad in grey pinstripe suits, Deimos sporting a silver blue tie and Enyo a bright red tie.  Briefcases were lying open on the large oak boardroom table with laptops unpacked waiting to be booted up.  They currently attended the University where they were studying Business and had obviously been told that in order to be recognised or respected you have to dress the part.
The thoughts of the boys were already running through their itinerary for the long weekend.  Deimos, however was also using all his powers to try influence Thanatos to agree and start the meeting.  He would look good for Cycnus if he could demonstrate his forceful behaviour.
‘We will wait,’ smiled Thanatos sweetly.  ‘If it is only a few minutes it does not matter. 
Deimos’ shoulders dropped in obvious despair at his inability to use his powers to control the atmosphere.  His dislike for Thanatos was growing at each meeting.
Ignoring the two, Thanatos turned to Khaos.  ‘By the way my friend, what have you been saying to Sylvie, she seems to be quite smitten.’
‘What,’ chuckled Khaos happily. ‘Nothing, you know that I am a happily married man.  I can’t help it if I am a chick magnet.  And bad of you for reading her thoughts, my friend.’
‘It is very difficult not to when they are so rapturous,’ laughed Thanatos relaxing slightly after his stressful day.
Khaos grinned.
Making his way to the coffee machine Thanatos wondered what was keeping Cycnus again.  He and Demeter were decidedly jumpy lately and it concerned him.  Selecting a black coffee with no sugar he turned, placed the mug at the head of the table and sat down to read the Agenda before the others arrived. 
Weekly Meeting of the Angelo’s to be held in the head quarters of Bh.U.B, Room IX on Friday 22nd May 2011.  The Agenda went on to include the normal weekly items, but the point under General made him pause.  The item was the Change of Life scheduled for 25th June 2011.  Taking a quick sip of his coffee, he spluttered as he scolded his mouth.  He looked up to see Khaos watching him intently and raised his eyebrows in question only to receive a shrug in response.  Glancing down the table he noticed that the two trainees where to busy checking their emails on their laptops to notice the exchange.
Just then the door crashed open and in walked Cycnus followed closely by his shadow, Demeter.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 2 - The Meeting)

Here we begin with Chapter 2 of Riders – Missing.  My aim in this Chapter is to slowly introduce you to the other pivotal characters within the story.  As we progress through the chapter you should hopefully gain a bit more insight into “who” they are.  Again any comments are welcome.

There was a very quite fluttering noise, like the sound of a bird suddenly taking flight, and the air expanded as the man and beast appeared in the deserted road.  Even if it had been possible, anybody who had been looking out of a window would not have witnessed this sudden appearance as the high thick hedges blocked their view from the narrow road.  The full moon cast long dark shadows across the road, creating an illusion of a long black tunnel extending to nowhere.  The horse appearing to blend into the background made no sound, his flanks twitching as if bothered by flies, he waited patiently sensing his master’s pensive mood.
Before moving on the rider retrieved an old, slightly yellowed, rolled up parchment from inside his coat and opened it up.  Angling the page towards the light of the moon he carefully read, shook his head and read again.  After standing in this manner, staring at the page for a few minutes he slowly rolled it up and replaced it inside his coat.  Then, with a quick click of his tongue his faithful stead started quietly forward and after going a few hundred yards down the paved path stopped without guidance from his rider and waited.
‘Thank you, Mortis,’ whispered the man suddenly realising they had arrived at his destination. ‘You know the way without my assistance.’
The man swung gracefully from his horse, the edges of his long black coat flapping in the breeze he moved towards the high wrought-iron gate which clicked loudly and opened as if sensing his presence.  Walking quickly through the gates he guided his horse down the small pathway to the side of the large building looming at the end of the drive.  There in an enclosure at the side was another horse, a small black, frail looking mare, and parked alongside was a huge black motorbike.   This was a monstrous, four cylinder, 1500cc, 220kg motorbike which you could hear coming from a mile or more away.  The flamboyant flame detail down the side had been carefully painted on by the bikes owner.   This was not your traditional ride, but a ride nobody could deny.  The tall, lanky man smiled slightly, let his horse enter the enclosure, turned and walked softly towards the front of the building.
As he stepped around the corner of the large stone building a nearby bush appeared to shriek in surprise.
‘Thanatos,’ scolded a small shrill voice. ‘Why do you tiptoe around, you scared me half to death?’
‘I doubt it Demeter, you are not on my List,’ said Thanatos wryly. ‘What are you doing lurking around in the bushes anyway?  It is past eight, the meeting should have started.’
‘I.. I’m waiting for the Captain,’ she stuttered. ‘He will be here soon.’
‘Hmm, Cycnus late again,’ queried Thanatos unsurprised?
‘Well, Thanatos you are also late tonight, what is your excuse?’
Thanatos frowned, pretending not to hear.  ‘We had better go in then, shouldn’t we?’
‘I’ll wait,’ she said shortly.  ‘Anyway, Deimos and Enyo are there to represent us.’
Thanatos sighed deeply.   He did not enjoy the presence of the two selected replacements.  Even though they were so easy to read, he had an underlying mistrust for both and did not agree that they were the best options.  Shrugging, he continued up the front stone stairs, pushed at the large wooden doors and entered the large reception area.  On the far wall above the reception desk in large embossed graving stood the letters Bh.U.B inc and in smaller letters below Brotherhood of Universal Balance.  He walked silently across the glass tiled floor, around the central statue towards the pretty slender Elemental, who was busy painting her nails behind the desk.  To be exact, Sylvie was a Tertiary Enthusiasm Elemental with limited skill, which was why she was now the evening receptionist at Bh.U.B.  She had inherited her skills from her mother who had passed when she was a young child so much of her channel training had been neglected.  As Thanatos neared the reception table, he smiled slightly as he read her raptures thoughts about Khaos.  He cleared his throat softly.
She looked up, startled. ‘Oh, evening Sir, I did not hear you come in,’ she greeted politely, quickly hiding her blood red fingernails beneath the counter.  ‘The others are in Meeting Room IX, there is a copy of your Agenda and Minutes.’
‘Thank you Sylvie,’ said Thanatos, taking the stapled pages from the desk and making his way down the passage to the right.  Each closed meeting room door had a small embossed gold number on the outside.  The plush maroon carpet muffled his already silent footsteps.   He reached No IX and entered to the sound of a familiar booming voice.
The voice stopped suddenly and three faces turned towards him.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 1 - Zoe) cont 3....

This is the last section of Chapter 1 for you to read.  I know I shouldn’t do this at this stage, but I have had a quick read back and there are a number of areas I can already see that will need to be “plumped” out a bit.  But I hope you got a bit of a feel about Zoe.  Her character will unfold a bit more in Chapter 3.  Chapter 2 will be an introduction to the other pivotal characters in my story.

They left the little room and returned back along the passage to the reception area.  The doctor paused before the green screens, looked at her for confirmation which she gave with a tiny nod.  He quietly directed her behind the screens and slowly made his way down a wide passage.  On each side were many hospital beds, some blocked off by green screens and others open with men and women lying attached to assortments of machines.  Not looking left or right and breathing deeply, Zoe followed the doctor closely to an area midway down and to the left.  Here another screen obstructed what lay behind. The doctor paused and pulled the screen back allowing Zoe to enter.
‘I’ll leave you alone with your father for a short while,’ he said.  ‘We will be taking him up for his ECG shortly.’
‘Thank you,’ said Zoe. 
Taking a deep breath she moved past the screen and stopped, gasping for air.  Her father was lying pale and still on the hospital bed.  The doctor had warned her about the machines and instruments attached to him, but it was still a shock, he looked so vulnerable.  There was a large breathing tube, drip and various heart monitors attached to him, it all looked alien and out of place connected to her robust father.  Straightening up, she took a slow shaky step towards the bed and stopped again, her father was not alone?  Standing on the far side of the bed gazing down at her father was a tall man, a man she did not recognise.  He was not dressed in hospital attire but a large black hooded coat, which was strange in itself as it was extremely warm inside but this did not appear to affect him in anyway.  He appeared to be totally comfortable in his heavy clothing as he gazed steadily down at her father.   His face slightly averted from her was in the shadow of the raised hood, but from what she could see he appeared to be extremely pale.  His skin, almost translucent, was paler than her own even in her shocked state, making him appear serene and almost beautiful.  He looked like a monk or a mourner at a funeral and did not appear to notice her presence.  As she stood there puzzling over him, he raised his arm and extended his pale hand towards her father.
‘What are you doing?’ queried Zoe rather sharply.  The doctor had not told her that there was another visitor.  A visitor she did not know and had never seen before.
The man stopped with his hand in midair and glanced up towards where Zoe stood. 
She gasped slightly as she stared into his eyes; eyes as black as a moonless night, eyes that appeared to look directly through her.   The stark contrast against his pale skin giving them a depth that appeared to sink them deep into their sockets.
‘Do you know my father?’ she asked getting annoyed by his lack of response.
Instead of answering her, the man looked over his shoulder as if expecting to see someone else.  As he turned back his gaunt face expressing puzzlement and surprise, his hand dropped quickly onto her father’s shoulder.
Suddenly, the heart monitor machine on her father’s right beeped loudly and the pulse indicator began to drop.
‘Nooo,’ yelled Zoe, sensing the sudden urgency. ‘Dad.’
Zoe rushed frantically to her father’s side as the screen behind her was pushed aside and nurses and doctors hurried in and tried to push her away.
‘No, I need to be with him,’ she shouted, grasping desperately for her father’s hand.  The nurses tried to pull her away but she clung to her father’s work hardened hand, praying fervently.
Then, the machine stopped beeping and just as quickly as his heart beat had decreased, it rose again and his eyes fluttered open.
‘Zoe, my life,’ he whispered hoarsely, gazing lovingly up at his daughter clinging to his hand.
‘Dad, you’re awake,’ sobbed Zoe, burying her head against his shoulder, tears soaking into the horrible white hospital gown.
‘Shush, my child, shush,’ whispered the old man trying to pat her on her head. ‘Everything is going to be alright.’
Unable to pull Zoe away from her father, the puzzled doctor’s resorted to checking the monitors to ensure that they were all working correctly, confused about there sudden malfunction.  Dr Marshall appeared and conducted a few more checks to reassure himself that the patient was responding and comfortable and left leaving the screen pulled back in case of another emergency.
As the area grew silent, Zoe looked up and noted that everyone had left.  She was alone with her father and he was awake.  She smiled.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Riders – Missing (Chapter 1 – Zoe) cont 2 ….

Firstly, my apologise for the long delay in the next section of Chapter 1, but I have been going through a few rough weeks and haven’t had much time to concentrate on my book.  But never fear, the story continues, hope you continue to enjoy.  Now I must warn you, the medical information within this section may not be 100% correct (can we really trust Wikipedia?) So any doctors out there that could assist or advice – this would be greatly appreciated.

‘Morning, what is your father’s name?’ queried the nurse.
‘Alex, Alex Alexander.’ Zoe felt as if her chest was closing in and she was battling to breathe normally.
The nurse quickly typed the name into the small computer on the desk, ‘He was brought in about forty five minutes ago and has been admitted to ICU, if you go down the passage and turn left the ICU is through the doors on the right.’
‘Thank you,’ stammered Zoe, quickly turning and rushing down the passage in the direction the nurse had pointed. 
It all appeared surreal to her as she rushed passed doors and other visitors.    Arriving at the end of the passage, she turned left, took a few haltering steps  and with shaking hands she pushed at the big double doors on the right and entered.  The smell of the hospital suddenly hit her in a wave, overwhelming her and making her feel faint.  She urgently grasped the reception desk near the ICU doors, knuckles white, breathing raggedly through her mouth so as not to smell the clawing hospital smell.
‘My father, they said my father had been admitted here,’ Zoe gasped, her mouth suddenly feeling dry.
The elderly nurse seated behind the desk looked up with concern.  ‘What is your father’s name, my dear?’ she queried kindly.
‘Alexander,’ said Zoe, her voice sounding too loud in this sombre room, ‘Alex Alexander.’
The nurse quickly checked her charts.
‘Yes, your father has been brought into the ICU.  If you could please just have a seat, my dear, I will get Dr Marshall to see you now.’ replied the nurse softly.
‘I want to see my father,’ chocked Zoe almost in tears now.  ‘What happened to him?’
‘The doctor will explain everything before you see him, my dear,’ said the nurse kindly, ‘perhaps I can get you a glass of water.  The young girl was very pale, her large dark blue eyes wide in her tiny heart shaped face.  She was obviously in shock and the nurse was concerned she may faint. 
The nurse quickly paged the attending doctor and poured some water into a paper cup.  Handing the water to Zoe she tried to reassure her as she sat perched on the very edge of the hard seat.
It was not long before a large, distinguished looking man in a white doctor’s jacket and identifying stethoscope appeared from behind the blue screens near the ICU reception.
‘Miss Alexander,’ queried the man softly?
‘Yes,’ said Zoe jumping up quickly almost spilling the water grasped tightly in her hand. ‘Is my father going to be alright?  Are you his doctor?  Can I see him now?’
‘Miss Alexander, I am Dr Marshall and I have just finished doing a preliminary examination of your father,’ he said softly.  ‘Please can we go to a more private area so I can explain what has happened and what we still need to do?’
Numbly, Zoe followed the tall doctor down a short passage next to the reception and entered a small room.  This waiting room area overlooked the rear of the hospital and was furnished with three soft two-seater couches situated around a small coffee table covered in various magazines and a coffee machine in the corner.  Parked just outside the two small windows were a number of ambulances.
Zoe’s legs felt like rubber and she sank nervously onto one of the chairs and placed her untouched cup of water on the table.  The longer the doctor took to take her to see her father, the more stressed she became.
‘Miss Alexander, your father was brought into the hospital this morning by ambulance.  They were called out to attend to your father when he collapsed on his boat in Polperro harbour.  I have done a preliminary examination and it appears that your father has suffered from an acute myocardial infarction.  That is he has had a heart attack.’ said the doctor softly, watching the young lady carefully.
Zoe gave an anguished sob, her shaking hands flying up to cover her face as fear, despair and anger washed over her in waves.  Thoughts darting through her mind; this couldn’t be happening, it wasn’t fair, he was her only relative, and she gasped for air.  Standing up suddenly, she began to pace the room trying to control the emotions crashing through her body, trying to calm her shattered nerves.  The doctor seemed to understand her need for quite and allowed her to continue until she slowly sat down again and faced his kind eyes.
‘How bad .. what .. what do we do now?’ stammered Zoe, still trying desperately to compose herself, the silent tears sliding down her checks.  She knew she had to remain strong, for her father.
‘Your father has been admitted to the Coronary Care Unit under my supervision.  I have put him on oxygen and glyceryl trinitrate and we will be monitoring his recovery very carefully.   It is too soon for us to tell the exact amount of damage that has taken place.  We will need to run a few more diagnostic tests to establish the severity of his case,’ continued Dr Marshall.
‘What tests, and what will they tell,’ queried Zoe?
‘We will need to run an ECG, take a few chest x-ray’s and do some more blood tests,’ answered the doctor.  ‘These tests will tell us exactly what went wrong and what treatment we will need to provide.  The results will take awhile to come through, but at the moment your father is stable.’
‘Is he in any pain,’ asked Zoe.
‘No, we have given him morphine for pain relief and he is currently resting peacefully,’ replied the doctor.
‘May I see him?’ whispered Zoe anxiously.
‘Yes, you can go see him now but I must warn you that he is currently attached to lots of machines,’ Dr Marshall consoled.  ‘I don’t want you to get worried again, they are there to monitor and assist him.’
‘I realise that,’ said Zoe.  ‘I have to be strong for my Dad.  He would be worried if I was worried.  Thank you Doctor.’
Zoe stood quickly and waited impatiently for the doctor to direct her to her father.