NaNoWriMo 2016 Blog & Social Media Hop

What a wonderful idea!

Raimey Gallant

nano-blog-and-social-media-hop-01

Welcome fellow Wrimos! If you’ve read even one article on book promotion, you’re familiar with the term “author platform”, which is basically your marketing reach. It’s how you’ll promote your books, especially online. The bigger your platform, the better.

So, let’s build our platforms together! Add your blog and social media pages in the form below, and I’ll send it out to every participant at the end of NaNoWriMo 2016, so we can follow one another’s pages.

UPDATE: We have 346 participants so far, which means 346 engaged people who will follow back many of the accounts you add to this form.

The form will close on November 30, and the hopping will happen in December.

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Clownpocalypse: Thanksgiving


Clownpocalypse: Thanksgiving
Katherine Rochholz
All Rights Reserved
            Bobby glared at the phone. They were still making their way slowly across the country to meet in Iowa and Bobby had told Jimmy they had to be back in Iowa by Thanksgiving. Bobby did look to the seat next to him and smiled. He had met up with Katrina; they had then ditched her car. It seemed even during the end of the world she was opposed to grand theft auto. There had been an argument about him stealing Mitch’s truck. But after a bit of time, he convinced her it was for the best and safest. After all, Mitch wasn’t using it and he had filled it up. “Damn it, Jimmy!” He tossed the phone in the dash.
            “Bobby, he is fine. He sends us videos all the time!” Katrina stated. “And we talk all the time.”
            “Look, I know we are doing this slow and collecting all we need to set up some sort of base…” Bobby ran a hand through his long hair, a rebellion after he left the Marines. “I just wish he would take this a bit more serious. Yes, I will state at the first it was fun, I mean seriously the end of the world comes, the dead are walking the Earth and at first they all look like crazed bloody clowns; so, yes, it was funny and exciting. But that is changing; very few have that clown look anymore. Oh, they try, but they can’t find the supplies and they turn and kill. I mean now they look like the zombies of the movie, pieces falling off, bones and skull sticking out, yellow eyes if they are fresh that glow with the power of the blood still in their muscles and blood. Once they burn through that the eyes turn dull and grey and rotted just like the rest of their bodies. That is what awaits us if we mess up!”
            Katrina took his hand, her new emerald cut diamond glittering off her left hand, “I know you are worried for him. But you both were Marines. You both survived the childhood of being a military brat. You are fine. He is fine. I am fine.”
            Bobby nodded. “Look there is one of those drug store/convenience stores. Let’s get what we can. The last few pharmacies paid out. I bet this one will too. We are in a larger town and the gates are down so we just have to through the back way.”
            Katrina nodded. “What if there are survivors in there?”
            “Doubtful. You know the SOS that went out. Put up a notice if you are held up in the building.”
            “How do you think the farm back home is doing?”
            “You know that our property and the acres around it are safe. Secure. Nothing and nobody can enter that land with the walls we put up when we both left.” Bobby stated. “Our stepfather’s money was put to good use after he died.” He growled at the thought of that man. His mother had married him after his father was killed on a mission so her sons would have a male influence. He was a bastard of a military man who made money out of war profiteering. When Bobby was eighteen he saw the man hit his mother, after a childhood of abuse, and Bobby killed him in a fight. After all, his father had taught him to fight. He was court ordered to join a branch of the military to learn how to control his anger since he was found not guilty due to the family defense and self-defense. He shook his head out of his memories.
            Katrina just squeezed his hand. They had met when he came home on a leave. She fell instantly in love with him. Then there was the mess of passing out with his best friend; which they talked about and have moved on from. She looked at her engagement ring. She shook her head. She would never get a wedding but she was his wife in her heart and that is all that mattered. “It will be alright and soon we will be home. Thanksgiving is upon us.”
            Bobby nodded. “Of course it is, let’s break open this bitch.” He stated as he jumped out of his truck with his baseball bat, knife, and gun.
            Jimmy, on the other hand, had been back home for a while. He wanted to set up a surprise for his brother. Bobby already took care of him, protected him, and he had joined the year after him in the Marines. Bobby’s favorite holiday was Thanksgiving; so Jimmy, being the awesome brother he is, was going to give Bobby a true Thanksgiving. He had about a week before Thanksgiving and about that before Bobby was going to pull up. Bobby had been obsessed with clearing out pharmacies and drug stores; but then again, Bobby always thought about twenty steps ahead. Jimmy was always the leap first, and think about the consequences later type of person. They worked flawless together but they were different. Bobby rebelled by becoming an artist with long hair in LA after his six years in the Marines were done. Jimmy stayed a jarhead. He was a lifer. Was a lifer. He had been on desk duty because of an injury with all this happened, and it was worldwide. Zombies. Damn zombies. He never thought they were going to be real and he been privy to some black ops shit in the Marines. He shook his head out of the past. No, he didn’t want to remember those missions any more than Bobby wanted to relive his missions. He looked at the farm. They had animals, they had fields not tainted. This would be a good place to build some houses. He hadn’t come across any survivors yet. But he hoped. And when they did they would rebuild America. They would rid the world of the zombies and start over. They didn’t have a choice. They had to succeed or they might as well put the bullet with their name on it in their own head.
            Bobby finally got close to the home and drove up to the gate. There seemed to be no life, or undead animated bodies, around the place. He put in his code and drove in through the gate, making sure nothing got in that should be on this property. It was Thanksgiving. Well, would have been if the world still turned correctly. He parked his truck in front of the house. He jumped out. He frowned. He heard noises from inside the house. “Stay in the truck Katrina!” He hissed out. He took his bat and gun and went up to the door, it was creaked open. It was cold as hell outside, but he was blasted with warm air as he used his bat to push open the door. He moved toward the noise to freeze in the doorway. “Jimmy?”
            Jimmy stood there with a pie in his hand and looked up and smiled, setting down the pie. “Bobby!” He greeted. “Sorry, I didn’t tell you I was home. I wanted to surprise you!”
            Bobby rushed over and hugged his brother. “A damn good surprise my brother!”
            Jimmy hugged back. “The lands are good. The walls are holding. It would be good to build a settlement. We will have to go out and find survivors.”
            Bobby nodded. “Come on, let’s go get Katrina, have a meal. Pack it up and we can spread out.”
            Katrina smiled as Bobby and Jimmy walked out of the house and jumped out of the truck. “Jimmy!” She went and hugged the man that was as good as her brother.
            “Kitty! We are going to have a real Thanksgiving dinner!” He took her hand and pulled her into the kitchen where almost everything was done.
            Katrina smiled. “We really do have a lot to be thankful for this year.” She stated as she sat at one end of the table.
            Bobby sat down next to her and Jimmy on her other side. “That we do.” He smiled.
            Jimmy laughed. “So I was thinking, we both go north. We go one state at a time. We will need something other than trucks. We got the buses out back that we always worked on.”
            Bobby nodded. “That would be good. Pack them with first aid kits and food…”
            Katrina sat back and watched them plan how to save what was left of the human race. This is why they were such good men. They may complain about red dripping ledgers, or that they were just a couple of boys that tried to make their momma and daddy proud and didn’t want their ghosts to haunt them, or how being a Marine was all they knew, but deep down, deep down under all that tough exterior and the drinking and partying and even the masks they created to forget, they were good men. And if anybody could help save the human population of this world it would be them. She sat up. “Now, if we are going to do this, I think I should stay back so that way we can make sure the ones coming in are free of bites. Have a decontamination section set up. Clean clothes, showers, etcetera.”
            “Good thinking Kitty!” Jimmy stated with a mouth full of pie. “So a good night’s sleep and then Bobby and I will take a couple of buses and start North in Minnesota, and go from there.”
            “Sounds good to me! Now pass that pie!” Bobby stated and took the pie from Jimmy. “Tomorrow we worry about the zombies, today we just be thankful for what we have.” The other two agreed and toasted to that with their drink of choice.

Chapter Seven: The Ninja

All Rights Reserved

Chapter Seven: The Ninja
            “How the ever loving fuck did you know that?” Martin demanded of the woman. He had come to the west coast to avoid the people who knew him; he had gotten out of the life of crime he had led and he wasn’t going to go back.
            Abby, however, was stuck in viewing his past. George helped the man up. “Look let us explain. It is a bit out there but all true.” He stated.
            “You got like five seconds to explain how she knew who I was!” Martin yelled.
            Dean shrugged. “She is God.”
            Martin blinked at him and stared. “You’re shitting me.”
            Dean smirked. “Yeah, she created this Earth with her brothers as a gift to her daddy.”
            “She is an angel?” Martin asked, this just floored him. He was sure there wasn’t a God.
            “One of the first. She is the only one left upon this Earth and within this realm.” Joseph stated as he walked over to Abby. “Hey, Angel, you gotta snap out of this. We have things to do. Things to save. An Earth full of us mere mortals to save.” He stated as he placed a hand on her shoulder.
            Abby blinked as she came back. This had never been her intent. It had never even been her dark brothers’ intents. True evil was born of man. Yes, they made the catalyst by introducing both good and evil, light and dark, but man had taken the routes of darkness and evil and bulldozed their own world and definition. “Sorry.” She whispered as she rushed to the edge of the parking lot and threw up. “So sorry.” She whispered. Sometimes she really hated her three dark brothers and their creations in this realm. She kept whispering sorry as she passed out; her mind not being able to take what had been done to her Protector’s mind and soul.
            The group looked at each other and Joseph picked her up. “Dean, George, go check in. Get a few rooms. Hurry!”
            Dean and George nodded and took the credit card she had put in the dash and went to book a few suites.  They were back and got her in the room before too much time had passed and someone decided to call the cops.
            Sakura checked over Martin and decided he was healthy. August looked at them all. “What do you two do?”
            Sakura looked at the kid. “I am a doctor. You?”
            “Linguist.”
            Martin shrugged. “I just sold my multimillion dollar private security company. I am not employed right now.”
            “Cool.” August stated. “You think you can teach me how to protect myself? I mean I can run, but I always was too caught up my mind and languages to do any type of sports or anything.”
            “Sure kid.” Martin stated.
            Dean, Joseph, and George cleared their throats. “So, maybe it is time we tell you what is going on…” George stated.
            Abby was watching Martin’s life again. She shook her head. How had this happened? How could such evil be allowed by her mortals? If there were times she doubted keeping the realm alive it was what she was watching now.
            Martin was four years old when his father started whipping him. He was four when his mother put in into martial arts classes. Martin trained day after day, pushing his little body. His only goal was to be able to fight back for his mother and himself against his father. Ten years. Ten years he made it a point to learn every form of martial arts up to a point and make them his own and he accidently killed his father one night when he fought back from the beating. The local cartel found out, as his father worked for them, and made Martin a deal. Work for them, and they would make it all disappear and his mother would be taken care of for as long as she lived. He took the deal.
            For the next ten years he was the muscle of the cartel boss. He was involved in many inner workings and even had his own group. His own front business. He hated it. He continued to become a martial arts expert. It allowed his mind to shut down. It allowed him to not only stay alive but to escape the realities of his world. Of the world he was born and bred into and the world he was determined to leave forever. He learned the trades, made the contacts and finally he made enough money that he paid his way out of his contract. He paid his way out of the cartel and swore never to breathe a word of their operations. And he would not. His mother may have passed away that last year but he was now getting a reason to live. Once he was free he took the rest of his money and used some of those same contacts to set up a legitimate business. He went into private security and three years later he made a huge name for his company and sold it. He was out of that business he wasn’t going to go back. As the cartel expected favors. And if he didn’t have a business there was no reason for them to ever seek him out again. He had gone to San Francisco for a vacation while he plotted his next move. Then he got hit by a damn SUV.
            Abby gasped awake. She took deep heaving breaths. She closed her eyes again. She had to get her magic under control. She had been absorbing as much as possible as from the ley lines and trying to process it and so it wasn’t as easy as normal to process her magic. She closed her eyes to the spots before her eyes. The souls of her mortals. It would be too easy to snuff them all out when her soul was in so much pain. Never should a child be hurt. Yes, they get sick. Yes, there is pure evil. But it still hurt her. And it was why a child would always gain heaven if they were killed as a child, either by the darkness of the world or by illness. She took deep calming breaths as she felt her magic yearn to break free and destroy those who hurt hers.
            “Angel?”
A voice broke her out of her black fog of hatred. She opened her eyes. “Oh, how long was I out?”
“Not very long. We got a hotel room, explained what we know to those two and both are ready to team up with us. And we were waiting on you to tell us the next step.” Joseph handed her a glass of water.
Abby sipped it as she gathered her thoughts. “We are to get a ring back. It isn’t the fact it is a ring. It is the stone within the ring, which makes it so important. At first it was the ring that I had to use to locate my keepers until my own abilities grew and I had a new method. It will give a general location of people with good souls that would be good for my Keepers. See, one of my older brothers knew I would need help and gave me this way to find them.”
“What is the stone?”  Sakura asked.
“It was a gift from Lucifer. His last gift to me.”
“Why would the devil give you a gift?” August asked.
Sakura frowned. “You were close to Lucifer?”
Abby sighed and laid her head against the head board. “He was my brother.” She took a deep breath. “That is a story for another time. But he was my closest brother. He was my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, he was darkness personified. But he was made that way. I will explain more once we have gathered everybody. But when he left he removed the iris of his eyes and created for me a blue diamond. The first blue diamond. I, then made them a rarity on Earth. But you see the reason it was made from his irises was to help me find those souls that would be my mortal family. To find the ones that would help me protect this world. This world I exist for it to exist. But it also holds some of his power. Some of his life force. And if Leslie knew this…” She shivered at the thought. “She could open the very gates of hell and let it overrun hell. Yes, there are demons and ways to leave hell but there is a balance as long as the main gates remained sealed. They were sealed using that diamond as a key.”
“Jesus sealed the gates of hell!” August stated.
            Abby nodded. “He did. And that is a story for another time.” Abby stated. “Right now we have to get this diamond back before she literally releases Hell upon Earth.”
            Dean nodded. “Okay, so where is this stone?”
            Abby sighed. “I have to tap into the McKinnon line so I need a few moments. Then we will have to look up the building plans and go from there.”
            George agreed. “Good idea, I, Sakura and Dean, will go get some food. Martin will secure our rooms so nobody can find out what we are plotting. Don’t look so shocked Martin, the Navy hired your company a few times asking for you. When you sold we debated pulling the contracts but kept them in the end.” Martin nodded.
            “And Auggie…” Joseph started.
            “Hey! August! My name is August! Just because ‘cuz I am nineteen and the youngest doesn’t mean you can call me Auggie!”
            Joseph rolled his eyes. “What about Auggie,” August let out a huge sighed as he tried to hide a smile; he never had a good nickname and these were finally his peers. “And I going to do?”
            “Joseph is going to get us another car and Auggie is going to get map drawing material and notebooks and things like that we will need.” George finished.
            “Who made you the boss, Squid?” Dean asked.
            “You may be a Jarhead and if you want someone dead you call in the Marines, but if you want the enemy alive, one doesn’t let the trigger happy leathernecks near the target! So that means you don’t let them plan either! The plan would include shooting, shooting some more, shooting until everybody is dead and then go get a beer.”
            “And Navy plans?” Dean raised an eyebrow. “The Navy designed and invented a ship that has a main purpose of sinking.”
            George laughed. “Fine. Abby?”
            Abby sighed, she knew their fights were just to release tension and laugh. “It sounds good. But don’t take Dean shopping. We will end up having mooing steaks and beer for every meal.”
            Dean smiled. “Well, I say we get some bacon too! No rabbit for this guy!”
            “Dean go with Auggie. Martin go with Joseph and get what you need. Stay together, in your pairs.” Abby ordered.
            “Yes, ma’am!” They chanted and then left.
            Abby sighed and hit her head against the wall. She didn’t want to let them go alone, but she didn’t really have a choice. She had to let them go, without a safety net, as she wouldn’t always be around to save them. They had to save themselves. She closed her eyes and went into her magic and focused upon the McKinnon spots of souls. She winced at seeing the many in one spot but moved on from them. She searched out Leslie. She only wanted her. She focused upon a picture of the globe. She focused upon the spot the same color of emerald as the McKinnon eyes of greed. She found the green and focused upon the sourcing it. After a bit of time it focused and Abby nodded. She was still in town. She was still near. She focused closer. A street. A warehouse. She threw her soul onto the street. She looked at the building and got an address. She knew where she was now and soon she would have her brother’s final gift to her back. She let her soul slam back into her body. She gasped at the felling of coming back to the present. She saw the others weren’t back yet. She took a deep breath. She closed her eyes. She needed to visit her other realms really quickly.
            Abby was started back to Earth, thankfully she wasn’t doing anything but checking the stability of her other plants. She had one going into a black hole as their sun died. But that was the basic order of things. She had only ever favored Earth as it was her first realm she created with her brothers. Though seen as a baby in comparison, mostly because she was an angel and she could mess up the time line that wasn’t linear at all and more squiggly and knotty.  “Good you are back.”
            “And so are you.” Dean stated as he dropped the next load of supplies on the bed next to her.  “Where was that mind of yours Abs?”
            “Checking my other realms, other plants. One is dying soon. Had to make sure everything was steady and everything was going to plan.” She shrugged.
            Dean nodded. “So when are you going to kill Earth?”
            Abby shrugged as she looked through the bags and grabbed a bottle of water. “Never if I don’t have too; Earth is my favorite child so to say.” She gave a sad smile. “But you mortals may one day force my hand. I lived with the abandonment of my family for too long for that to be the reason I suddenly throw in the towel.” She shrugged again in the ‘what are you going to do about it’ kind of way. “It is what it is, that is all it is.” She stated.
            “Well, where is the ring Angel?” Joseph called. He saw her falling into darkness again. And that was just wrong that the woman who sacrificed everything just for her mortals to live had to worry about falling into darkness, despair and sadness.
            “Not too far from here, about fifteen miles away on the outskirts of town in an old abandoned warehouse.” Abby stated as she rolled out the map and showed them the location. “We need the building plans.”
            Joseph took out a laptop and within moments had the building plans. “Here you go Angel.”
            Abby looked at him. “Do I even want to know if any of that was legal?’
            “Nope.”
            Abby looked at him and nodded. “Very well.” She pointed to a place on the screen. “I say we enter here.” And that started off an argument about the best way to get the stone back.
Abby closed her eyes. They had been arguing for hours how to get the ring back. Dean and George looked at each other and nodded. They snuck away without anybody noticing. Abby went back to the map. “I am serious; I think we should have entry points here, here and here.” She stated pointing to the windows and not the doors. Which got Martin started once more on how windows were a bad idea.
            Dean and George moved toward the warehouse, and Dean looked at the lock on the door. “You sure about this Squid?”
            “I am. You chickening out Jarhead?” George smirked.
            “Never. Doesn’t Navy have a policy of sending in the Marines if they want something done right?”
            George laughed. “No, we send in Marines if we want something not alive.”
            Dean shrugged. “Same thing.” He smirked as he picked the lock.
            George took the right and Dean took the left. It seemed nobody was really there; and that was a good thing because they really didn’t think this through. George motioned that they should meet in the middle before going into the room off the center of the building. Dean nodded and made his way over that way.
            They made it to the center and once there Dean opened the door. “Oh shit.”
            George looked and sighed. There in the room was Leslie holding a ring in her hand and sitting on a throne, surrounded by about ten of her minions. Of course he sighed and shook his head when Dean charged forward into the center but followed him.
            Leslie smirked. “Well if it isn’t little Keepers.” She stated as she stood.
            “Well if it isn’t an egotistical witch.” Dean stated as he got into a fighting stance. “I mean who the hell actually has a throne nowadays?”
            Leslie sneered. “Kill them!” She issued the people surrounding her.
            George swore as he took out his knife and jumped into the fray. “Dean I swear I will beat some common sense into your ass if it is the last thing I do on this Earth.”
            Dean laughed as he knocked two people out. Thankfully there were only ten of the minions. “Good luck Squid! Greater men than you have tried!”
            The fight didn’t take that long. Shocking when you considered the woman poached on the ones that held potential to save the world. George looked at Dean and then at Leslie. “Woman, give us the ring.”
            Leslie smirked. “No.”
            Dean moved up behind her as George took her front. “Well then we will just have to take it.” Dean stated as he jumped at her. Leslie moved quickly but not quickly enough and fell to the floor. She dropped the ring and it rolled away. George was standing closest to it and picked it up.
            George smirked. “Want to try it now?”
            Leslie sneered and elbowed Dean in the gut and then took off running. “I will kill you both.” She yelled back.
            Dean looked at George. “Let’s get back.”
            George looked at him. “You look like shit.”
            “You ain’t no better.” He drawled.
            George laughed.
            August was watching the others argue. “Wait, where are Dean and George?”
            Abby looked up from where she and Martin were discussing something. “What August?”
            “Dean and George are gone…”
            Abby swore. “Did any of you see them…” she did not get to finish as the door to the suite burst opened. “Dean! George!” She exclaimed seeing the condition they were in.
            Dean and George were bloody, each had black eyes and a bunch of cuts and bruises. “Hey Abs!” Dean greeted.
            “What did you do?” She asked, as she and Sakura moved to sit them down.
            “We went to go get the ring.” George stated and held out the ring to her.
            Abby took the ring and looked at it. It was her ring. It was the last thing Lucifer gave her. She put it on her finger. “How did you know?”
            Dean laughed and then winced holding his ribs. “Crazy bitch, blue ring, no so hard there Abs.” He winced again as Sakura poked his side.
            “Nothing broken. But you will have to have a wrap. Both of you.” She stated and went to get the supplies.
            “That was bloody reckless! You could have been killed!” Abby yelled at them, she sent a glare to Joseph, Martin and August who were standing in the background trying not to laugh.
            Both men looked at each other and then pointed at the other. “It was his idea!” They both yelled.
            Abby put her hand on her face and sighed. “Let’s try not to do so again. You both look like shit.”
            “It wouldn’t be as bad if the Jarhead followed the plan!” George stated.
            “What plan? The plan sucked. I mean it was a Navy plan from a Squid, and it fell apart in like three seconds!”
            Abby sighed. “Stop fighting. Now that we have the ring, you two can heal a bit and we can leave in a couple days to find our last Keeper. Now get some sleep.” Abby stated and walked away.
            “Hey!” Dean called before they left. “Who are we going to go get next?”
            “Kendra Porter, 23: Chicago Illinois.”

Chapter Six: The Reluctant Doctor


All Rights Reserved
Chapter Six: The Reluctant Doctor
            Dean groaned. “We just came from that bankrupt, morally and financially, state! Why do we have to go back?”
            Abby rolled her eyes. “That is where our next Keeper is living. So behave or I will make us drive the way across the United States. You are lucky my soul almost wanted someone in Japan, but they failed their test. Seriously greed runs rampant in this world of sins.”
            Dean would deny the pout but he huffed and sat back. “Private jet?”
            “Yes. We are going out of JFK though.” Abby stated. “Now just behave, I have some testing to do and though my body is here doesn’t mean I am.” Abby stated and closed her eyes again. She wanted to get the lists longer. More potentials. It was the only way to stay on top of Lilith. This time she wouldn’t let the Keepers, Protectors, or Guides see the list until they proved their loyalty. Damn Jesse for making her doubt her people. She had almost gotten over her trust issues as long as they were here people. She took a deep breath and opened her souls to the souls of the world.
            Sakura sighed as she sat down in front of the mound of paperwork. When her mother got sick she quit her job and lived off her savings to take care of her. After all, what daughter wouldn’t drop everything for the woman who escaped China so she wouldn’t have to kill her daughter, upon her husband’s orders? Nobody who was decent that is who. Sakura sighed. Her mother passed just a couple of weeks ago and she still was buried in paperwork. She also knew she had to find a job soon. It wasn’t like one was just going to come to her and fall in her lap. But she didn’t want to go back to being a doctor. She only become a doctor because that was her mother’s dream. And her mother ‘risked almost certain death and starvation bringing you to America so you could live in the land of the free!’ Sakura shook her head. She could hear her mother’s voice telling her a good daughter would do what their mother wanted. To better themselves and be a doctor. Sakura loved math and science and had not only her medical degree but doctorates in Biology and Chemistry. She was a genius and a good doctor. The only thing that didn’t make her great was that she had no love for the job. Her college friends used to call her the ‘Reluctant Doctor’ mostly because she became one but she would rather be in a lab or on an adventure discovering and exploring.
            Sakura put the paperwork down. She had to get away. She grabbed the keys to her car and took off; after all, San Francisco was the home of so many fabulous shoe shops, thus shoes that she needed to buy. She smiled as she thought of hours of shopping for shoes. She loved shoes. It was the one thing that she and her mother could agree on; the shoe made the woman.
            Sakura hummed as she took her sacks and put them in her car an hour later. She looked around and then at her watch. She had time for a few more shops before they closed. She walked over to the one that had the most wonder stiletto heeled shoes. She smiled as she walked in, she was sure heaven was a shoe store.
            Alice watched the woman she was sure would be a Keeper. She had been sent by Leslie to watch her. She had good taste in shoes that much could be said for her. But Alice wanted her nowhere near Leslie. But she watched as ordered. After all Alice followed orders for so long now that is all she knew. Her mind had been broken because of Leslie. Sometimes though, just sometimes, the girl that was Alice showed through, but it was rare. Alice watched and remembered herself before she was recruited by Leslie. She almost was recruited by Abby. She still wondered how life would be if she hadn’t given into Leslie and Abby found her first.
            Alice Burnt was looking through her new case files. She had gone to the Army to get her degree and now she worked as a parole officer. She was bored with the job to be honest. It wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t glamourous, and it wasn’t what she wanted out of life. She looked up when her new parolee came in. “Miss Leslie McKinnon.” She stated in greeting. “I am Alice Burnt.”
            “Hello Madam Burnt.” Leslie practically purred. “Tell me Alice…” she paused to look at the woman in front of her. “Do you believe in magic?”
            Alice raised an eyebrow; “are you going to tell me that magic made you break into the Washington Monument?”
            Leslie took a seat, her body full of cocky confidence. “Of course, you see, I needed a piece of the monument. It holds a lot of magic after all; as the people of this great nation gave it meaning and as more and more people visit the magic builds. And it is key into giving the people of this world magic. After all it is being kept from us.” Leslie stated.
            Alice looked at Leslie. “Kept from us?” She asked, even though her mind was screaming to run. Run from this predator; for she was going to take her life and soul. Alice wished she would have listened.
            Alice shook her head to get rid of the past. Leslie had broken her mind with her words and promises. She had broken her soul and heart with her false love. Sometimes she wondered if she would have been picked as Protector if she hadn’t fallen for Leslie’s lies. She doubts it. Alice was sure Leslie was her test and she had failed it. After all a couple of days listening to Leslie she had given her heart and soul to her. She had killed three people for Leslie to try to be the Protector Abby choose. But Abby knew. Abby is always knows. How Leslie was able to block her from seeing the murders of the list and Jesse’s betrayal she didn’t know. She was sure it was something Jesse did, something he removed from Abby. What it was she wasn’t exactly sure, but it had to be something vital. But Leslie wouldn’t tell her. Leslie would use her, tell her what to do, send her out to kill, but wouldn’t truly share anything with anybody. To be honest it was a bad move in Alice’s book. What if Abby finally snapped and actually killed her. Abby avoids being the cause of mortal deaths but she had taken lives before; she had to have, she was God. And Alice made the choice to side against God and side with Lilith and those of her ilk. Oh, Alice knew what awaited her when Abby got tired of letting her go. Alice thought that maybe Abby still saw the Alice she used to be, before she was driven into this insanity of lust and need by Leslie.
            Alice looked back at her target. She was to either recruit or kill. And right now she was leaning towards killing. This Sakura was just exotic enough to catch Leslie’s attention for a bit of time. She took her rifle out and had it trained on the woman as she was admiring a really high pair of stilettos. ‘Takes guts to wear them.’ Alice thought as she pulled the trigger. She looked up as the dust settled from the wall and swore. She wasn’t about to risk another shot. She packed up and left.
            Abby had an itch at the back of her neck. She had finally gotten into town and was following the list to… “The shoe district.” She let out a moan. She hated shoes. She knew they were a necessity but for her Father’s sake they were just shoes and not to be fawned over and worshiped like a god! They got to the store and Abby saw a glint. She turned the boys. “Get everybody down now! Tackle them if needed!”
            The boys didn’t wait and ran into the store running into the women and tackling the four women that were shopping. They all looked pissed and about to scream when someone noticed the bullet hole and the dust settling and screamed as she pointed to the wall.
            Abby winced and held a hand over her ears. “Goodness, woman! Shut up!” She yelled and went and looked at the whole. “Damn it! It is Alice. She is in town.” She turned to the women. “Which one of you is Sakura Hoshi?”
            Sakura held up a hand. “I am ma’am. Why?”
            “Great! We will explain later. You all call the cops and report this of course but I and Doctor Hoshi are going for a ride.” She then waved her hand allowing her magic to flow through her putting a different string of events into their head. That there was only the three of them, they had heard a shot and saw the bullet hit the wall and they all hit the ground. Sakura Hoshi was never there.
            “But my shoes!” Sakura yelled.
            Abby rolled her eyes and grabbed the pair of shoes throwing down the five hundred they were on the counter. “Stupid bloody shoes. They aren’t worth dying over.” She mumbled as she lead them all back to the car. She got them all in and took off.
            Dean looked at the woman clutching the pair of shoes. “What is she, cannon fodder?” Dean already did not like her. She seemed way to shallow to be of use.
            Sakura hissed. “Who are you? A redneck hick? What the ever loving hell is going on?” She was confused, frightened and she was sure someone just tried to put a damn bullet in her head, and this man was judging her!
            Dean sneered. “If I wasn’t raised to not hit a woman I would teach you to call me a hick, bimbo!”
            “Bimbo?” She screeched. “I am a damn doctor! What are you? A burger flipper?”
            Dean opened his mouth to respond, just to be cut off by a loud whistle. “What the hell Abs?” He rubbed his ears. “That hurt!”
            Abby parked the SUV and rubbed her temples. Even being all powerful and immortal did not mean she did not get migraines. In fact with so much floating through her head she almost had a constant migraine. “Will you all stop fighting?” She yelled. “We don’t have time for this petty bullshit!” She turned in her seat. “The realms I created are in jeopardy. I will destroy the mortal realm before I allow the sisters too!” She screamed at them. “Now stop fucking fighting! Somehow Leslie has gotten my list again. That means Jesse did more than I thought in his betrayal. And that means we will have to get what he stole back. This is a get in, get the item, get out mission. This isn’t about fighting them yet.” Abby stated as she started the SUV once more. “someone explained to the reluctant doc what is going on and who I am.” Abby turned onto the highway. She had to get to a place to plan. She also had to connect to the McKinnon line to see where Leslie was hiding out before Leslie figured out exactly what she had upon her hand. If she was even wearing it. As Abby hadn’t seen the stone when she had fought Leslie when she went to go get August. Did she have it hidden? Having the stone would be the only way Leslie would know where possible Keepers were at and from there she could research the people in the area.  Abby had to get that stone back. She had stopped wearing it about a thousand years ago when it became almost unbearable to wear, the pain in her heart missing her brother, especially Lucifer. Abby finally saw a hotel and pulled in. Rest and planning had to be done before she went to gain back what was stolen. And the next on her list would have to wait. She needed the stone back. Right now before she could retrieve the next Protector she had protect the others. Getting back that stone was the most important issue at hand. Of course she hadn’t planned on literally running into her next Protector. She slammed the brakes and threw the SUV into park and she jumped out of the door. “I am so sorry!” She bent down to check the man. “Are you alright?”
            The man looked up at the woman. “Yeah, lady I am just fine, being hit by a damn monster of a car!”
            “Abby. My name is Abby. You should let us check you out. We have a doctor in the party and I used to be a nurse at one time.” Abby was looking him over and making sure she hadn’t done any damage. She released a bit of magic to help the bruising her mind found.
            “No need, seriously lady. No need. I am fine. I am just here on vacation and I don’t want it cut short because I was hit by a car, and was uninjured. “By the way my name is…”
            Abby didn’t let him finish as he met her eyes and her eyes went white as his test appeared before her. “Martin Nunez, 27: Normally of Miami Florida.”

Chapter Five: The Speaker of Tongues


 All Rights Reserved
Chapter Five: The Speaker of Tongues
            “Wait! We are going to go get a kid?” George asked, as they drove down the road.
            “The kid is a genius. You will see.” Abby stated.
            “But are you sure this is wise? I mean he is a kid! It sounds like this is a dangerous job!”
            “Everybody has the right to say no. I don’t force anybody into this position. To do so would be an opening of discord and with discord I risk a repeat of betrayal.” Abby gritted out.
            “Is this the first time you have been betrayed?” Dean asked.
            “No. I make mistakes as well. I am not perfect. Yes, you are all tested. Yes, even you were George. The tests show your heart, your soul, your loyalty, and you pass or your fail.” She shrugged. “But people can be corrupted. Even the purest of hearts can be.” Abby stated. “And normally it is the one you least expect to betray you that does.” Abby blinked her eyes to dispel the tears forming.”
            The men stayed silent for a while. “Wait! Are we driving to Cambridge?” Joseph asked.
            Abby laughed. “No. I am just going to make a quick stop in Los Angeles and then we will fly out.”
            “Oh thank God!” George exclaimed.
            Abby smirked. “You are very welcome.” Causing Dean to start laughing and holding is sides, dispelling the depressing tension in the SUV. 
August sighed as he sat down in the library again. He had no friends. He after all just got his doctorate in linguistics and psychology. He was only nineteen and most people didn’t want to socialize with the geek or the ones in his classes didn’t want to hang with a kid. He pulled out his most recent obsession, Eteocypriot, and worked on understanding this long dead language. Before he could really get started he heard a commotion and looked up to see a group of women coming in with guns. The leader had the greenest eyes he had ever seen. He didn’t know why he noticed them but it was the first thing he noticed. She was dressed in leather pants and boots. Her top was skin tight and she had on a leather jacket. He moved and hid under his desk.
Leslie found out there were new potentials. Lilith help her, but why couldn’t the potentials be all women, at least then she could try to corrupt them instead of just having male patsies like Jesse was; she sort of missed Jesse. He was a good puppy. She didn’t have the list of names but had a list of locations. “Spread out, I want that potential if it is a woman, corrupt her…” Leslie smirked. “If it is a man kill him. GO!” She yelled as she walked down the aisles.
August didn’t know what was going on, but he knew he had to get out of there. He looked for the exits. He bit his lip. He didn’t know how to get out. He closed his eyes trying to think of something. But his mind worked with languages and body language and these women all were serious about hunting down and killing or corrupting people. And that did not set well with him. He couldn’t go at them alone and that scared him the most. If he went at them alone, he knew he would die.
Abby pulled up in front of the library she got out to freeze. She looked at the three with her. “Damn it, the sisters are here. I want you to all stay here.”
            “No way!” Dean and George yelled.
            Abby looked at them and knew they wouldn’t let her go alone. “Fine damn it! Joseph, keep the car running, if you need to you take the others and get the hell out of here. Leave me.” She held up her hand before they could protest. “I can’t die! God, remember?” She raised an eyebrow at them. “George, Dean, you find August and you get out. Got it? Don’t argue with me!” She yelled as they went to argue. “I am going to keep the Sisters busy and you are going to get my potential Keeper, who is but more than a kid, out of here got it?”
            Dean was not happy with the plan but he knew right now he had no clue how the Sisters fought and would be better to get the kid out. He looked at George who had the same grim face. “Fine, I and the Squid will get the kid out.”
            Abby nodded. “Thank you.” Abby moved quickly to stay in the shadows as she moved towards and into the building. She saw a window opened on the side and moved to slide in landing on a table with an ancient book. It was in Eteocypriot. Damn, was August near here? She could see Alice and Leslie whispering not fifteen feet away. She slid down the table and onto the ground and under the table. She ran into a young teen.
            August was shocked when a woman slid down and entered his space. She had short dark hair that was cut asymmetrical, and her eyes were golden brown. “Are you with them?” He whispered.
            “Nope, don’t worry kid they won’t get to hurt anybody. What’s your name?”
            “August. August Shepherd.” August stated, as he stared at the woman.
            Abby smiled. “Okay, kid, you are going to see a Seal and a Marine. They are talk and ripped, one has a typical Jarhead cut, the other short but not Jarhead short hair, both are brown, and one has eyes of ice and the other eyes of the sea. Find them. Stay with them.”
            “Why?”
            “They are here to kill you kid.” She stated and then disappeared from under the table and ran down the aisle before leaping over a table and onto another before jumping onto a shelf.
            August watched her. He didn’t know why he trusted her but hem moved from under the table and looked toward the door and sure enough two men entered that fit her description. He looked around. He could make it to them. He moved slowly from under the table, he stayed low and inched his way towards the two men. He looked over to see the woman hit one of the women that came in with a gun out with a huge book. Was that the jeweled bible the university had under glass? He blinked but focused back on the task at hand, getting to the two military men.
            Dean and George moved in through the main doors. Dean looked at George and shrugged when he lifted an eyebrow. “You go right, I go left?”
            George was about to nod when he saw someone move out the corner of his eye. “Or we can wait for the kid to come to us.” George pointed out the kid moving slowly towards them.
            Dean nodded. “You wait for that kid. I will go recon…”
            George grabbed him by the back of his jacket as he moved to leave. “You heard Abby.” George glared.
            Dean sighed. “Don’t grab me again if you don’t want a black eye.” Dean stated as he leaned back against the wall. “I don’t see why Abby gets to have all the fun.”
            George rolled his eyes. “And now I see why you are a Keeper and not a Protector.”
            Dean gave a chuckle. He moved and grabbed the kid when he got close. “You August Shepherd?”
            August finally made it close and the one with icy blue eyes grabbed him and hulled him up. “Yes.”
            Dean nodded. “Good, let’s go.” He pushed the kid out the door and put him in the back of the SUV that was idling by the door. “Drive my good sir. We will wait for Abs across the street.”
            Abby looked at the book behind the broken glass. It was thick enough, she picked it up and rose an eyebrow to see it was The Holy Bible. She chuckled as she brought it down on one of the head of one of the sisters. She smirked. The word of God came and actually smacked down the bitch. She gave a soundless laugh as she moved across the aisles in search of Leslie and Alice. After all they were the ones that would call a retreat. She moved to see Leslie talking with Alice. It seemed that none of these people they were finding where fit for more than cannon fodder. Alice wanted to rip them apart for that. Her humans were not cannon fodder for Lilith’s war.
            Leslie felt something was off. “Alice. Check the others. Something just feels wrong.”
            Alice of course being the good puppy she was to Leslie nodded. “Yes ma’am!” She took off to go check the others.
            Abby smirked and did a flip up onto of the bookshelf over Leslie. She followed her for a bit as Leslie walked the aisles hoping for a clue to who Abby’s new Keeper was, but Abby already had her Keeper safe. She had seen Dean and George take him out of this place. She waited until Leslie was distracted for a moment and she jumped down and smirked as she put Leslie on her back with a kick to the back of her legs. “Well, if it isn’t greed personified?”
            Leslie sneered as she moved to get up but Abby had a boot to her throat. “What is it you want Abigail? We both know you won’t actually kill me. You don’t have it in you.”
            “I have killed plenty of humans Leslie.” Abby stated.
            “Please, you won’t kill me or you would have by now.” Leslie sneered.
            “Your whole line is corrupted by greed and insanity. I only kill as a last resort. Didn’t your mother teach you anything?”
            “She taught me all know knew about you. And how you hate to kill your precious mortals, how you don’t get involved, how you don’t feel.” Leslie sneered. “After all I just killed your whole line almost of Keepers, Protectors and Guides and you just went out to find more. Didn’t even wait until the bodies were cold.”
            Abby sneered. “You know nothing Daughter of McKinnon! You know nothing about me. What I was before I even created this realm. I was an Angel of my Father, and you seem to think there are no other beings besides my Father? Do you not think there are things that can kill an angel? Do you not think that we were created for his protection as he played with his creations? THERE ARE REAMS YOU CAN’T EVEN FATHOM!” Abby screamed at her. “I am not always on this Earth. You know from the stories passed down that the Realms I and my brother created was based upon our home realm. You think you are the only beings I created? I may care for Earth the most as they were my first creations, but they are not my only. Do not tempt me Daughter of McKinnon to show you my true self.” Abby stated. “Now you will leave here. You will take your goons and you will do it now.” Abby sneered.
            Leslie spat up at her. “Fuck you, Abigail.”
            Abby ground her boot into her throat. “I will kill you.”
            Leslie moved to stab her with a knife but Abby moved and kicked it away allowing Leslie to get loose. But instead of charging Abby, Leslie called out. “Retreat!” And she ran to join the others outside of the building. Abby waited to make sure all were gone, and then she too walked outside. She threw her magic out to sense them. Gone. She nodded and walked across the street to the SUV and got in the passenger seat. “Drive.” She stated.
            They were driving for a while before August had to ask. “Okay, look, I am thankful and all you got me out of there. But who the hell are you guys? And why did they want to kill me?”
            Abby raised an eyebrow. “You are a genius kid. And you have heart. All that bullying you had to go through, that loneliness and you didn’t break? You weren’t tempted to use your talents for evil deeds?”  Abby made a tsk in the back of her throat. “That kid is tough. I have seen a lot give up. I have seen a lot end it all because of the shit you had to endure. Because of that you have been chosen as a Keeper to protect the magic and the Earth. Mostly because I will destroy the Earth before I let the sisters get ahold of it.” Abby stated. “Dean, explain to him will ya.” Abby stated as she closed her eyes with her list out in front of her.
            Dean looked at the kid. “So you got Keepers, you, the thief and me, and Protectors, the Squid here.”
            “My name is George, kid don’t listen to the Jarhead.” George stated.
            “And my name is Joseph, not thief. I did want I had to do to live. I didn’t get an education. I didn’t have people who cared. I used what I had and used it well.” Joseph explained.
            Dean waved them off. “Any ways we also got Guides, we don’t have any of them yet. We protect the world and magic. I mean there is a lot more to it. But that is the basics. You want in or out?”
            August thought about it. There was a lot missing, but his life was dull and predictable. He nodded. “I am in.”
            Dean slapped his back. “Good man!”
            Joseph looked over to Abby. “Angel, where are we going?”
            Abby opened her eyes. “Sakura Hoshi, 29: San Francisco, CA.”