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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 7.2

The tall zombie missing an arm turned out to be the fastest among his comrades, wobbling forward at a velocity quite impressive for someone who shouldn’t be moving at all. He also unfortunately decided to make a beeline for Sylvia’s cart and the mule didn’t like this one bit. On a positive note, potential death seemed to be the needed ingredient in getting the old beast to finally show the spunk and speed Sylvia had been aiming for since leaving her village. This resulted in the mule catapulting their approaching friend in the air with a mighty front kick. On a less positive note, the cart itself was not built for sudden changes of direction. As the mule managed to turn itself around and begin a swift race back toward town, the cart ended up being dragged along on its side. Sylvia was thankful her load consisted primarily of clothing as it provided for a softer landing while she and Obmuj found themselves flung to the ground.

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 6.3

None of you are staying so get out.” The desk attendant continued giving everyone the evil eye while releasing a thunderous, gurgled snort from his throat. Sylvia scrunched her face, half-expecting the next action to be spiting a mass of something nasty on the floor. Instead, he began a lazy reach for his book.

Let us stay.” V’s hand landed on the book first and pushed it to the other side of the desk. “Pleeease.” He spoke the last word like a child begging for a cookie before dinner.

Take a hike.” The man narrowed his eyes, leaning closer. “And get your hand off my book before I break it.”

The hand or the book?” called out Bastiick, winching a second afterward from another one of Deigen’s elbow jabs.

We’re staying here tonight,” said V with an authority that at this point was just plain ridiculous. “Get us four room keys.”

Sylvia rolled her eyes. “Look, V, it’s time to know when to quit and-”

Okay, keys are right over here!” The man practically skipped his way to a shadow box key holder behind the desk. He spun around and gingerly held the requested items in an open palm toward V. “Will there be anything else?”

What?” Sylvia’s head whirled to stare at the vampire’s overly cheerful new best friend.

Why didn’t you just do that when we got here?” complained Bastiick while crossing his arms.

V turned and raised a brow. “Because some of us have manners. Put it back.”

Bastiick shrugged. “Put what back?”

Deigen wrestled a coin out of one of Bastiick’s tucked hands and tossed it toward V, who managed to catch it while still displaying a disapproving glare. “I believe this was on the floor by the entrance, which means it belongs to him not you.” He slapped the coin down on the desk in front of the desk attendant who still appeared gleefully trapped in a daze.

He wouldn’t have missed it,” argued Bastiick, holding a hand out for one of the keys. Sylvia bounded forward and pushed the extended arm out of her way.

What did you do, V?” She stomped in front of the vampire and crossed her arms. It was an act that would have perhaps succeeded in being more menacing if Obmuj had not decided to hop on the desk and perfectly mimic her.

V nodded at the man while accepting the keys from him and passing them out to the rest of the group. “Nothing that will cause permanent damage, I promise. But he won’t stay that way for long and it would be best if we’re not here when he becomes grumpy again.” He tossed the last key in his hand to her and reached into his pocket, pulling out a handful of coins. “Though grumpy or not, I’m certain this business is his livelihood.” He counted out what Sylvia considered to be a rather generous payment for the rooms and strolled towards the staircase.

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Time to take out the bookmark…

Happy New Year!

As predicted, the general hustle, bustle, and self-induced insanity that the holidays tend to bring left little time for much writing. This is the primary reason I knew a short hiatus would be needed for Sylvia and her friends.

For anyone catching my last pre-holiday post, you’ll remember I was doing serious consideration as to whether continuing this story blog style would be something that resumed in 2012. This is, after all, a rough draft in the works. This admittance  also may give a bit dark insight into the way I write: Characters have conversations or play out a scene for me at random, usually while I’m doing exciting activities such as folding laundry. Sometimes, when these conversations/scenes are interesting enough, they get scribbled down on paper or typed up. There’s usually no initial beginning or ending, as my characters like to keep me on my toes and just throw the middle at me to start with. Eventually an actual plot becomes chiseled out  as these scenes create transitions with each other and a story is born, kicking and screaming into the world.  Such was the case with my Once Upon a Time tale.

But there are two strong truths that lead me to believe continuing this story here is actually needed. The first is the fact that, until I started completing it via blog, Sylvia was left dormant and unheard from for many years since first being typed up and saved onto the computer. Actually finishing stories is the hardest part for me and I fear that if not completed at least as blog snippets, these characters will be doomed to never know the victory of  crossing the “The End” finish line. Second, I’m thrilled and somewhat amazed at the number of folks that have started following the story either by Facebook or otherwise. To all of you included in that little audience, I owe a HUGE thank you. I also realized that suddenly deciding to totally switch gears and stop the story now would be a bit a slap in the face to those that have been following along and Sylvia just wouldn’t hear of that. And so, starting next weekend, we’ll go back to our usual Sunday postings. I’m not so much afraid of people getting lost if they happen to come across the story later because I think each snippet holds its own to a certain degree. That being said, the snippets themselves will likely be a tad bit shorter at times, to hopefully make it both easier for me to write and less daunting for those reading.

Again, thanks so much for continuing to follow the adventure as it unfolds!

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 6.2

V leaned in toward the man at the front desk. “How much for a few rooms tonight, friend?”

Their friend, however, seemed more concerned with continuing to read a book he’d grabbed from the desk’s edge than attending to his potential customers. “Don’t rent out to vampires,” he said with a grunt, tearing the page out he just finished reading. Judging from the haphazard pile of pages Sylvia now noticed littering the top of the desk, he was at least past the first chapter.

“It looks like your novel there is getting a double life as decoration,” joked V, eying the desk’s unique covering.

“Didn’t like how it started.” The man added another torn page to the collection.

V watched the page fall down. “You’re a fast reader.”

The man became motionless aside from his eyes, which raised up only to glare at him. Small talk was clearly not the way to win this fellow over.

“Four rooms.” V held his fingers up, wiggling the digits. “Three for myself and the other two law-abiding gentlemen and one for the young lady.”

“I don’t rent rooms to vampires!” the man bellowed back.

“Two of us aren’t.” V pointed back and forth between Sylvia and Bastiick. She felt as though she were suddenly part of a two for one deal at an auction.

The man’s attention to her paled in comparison to the inspection he gave Bastiick. Finally setting the book down, he leaned in closer to peer at him, causing the desk to groan in agony. His head made a slow revolve to the WANTED poster tacked to the wall adjacent to the desk. “You’re all law-abiding citizens, eh?”

Deigen let out a long sigh and elbowed the toe-headed member of the group. “Some of us more than others perhaps.”

Sylvia stared at Bastiick. “You’re a wanted criminal?”

“Well, he’s not a vampire,” said V. He turned back to the over-sized front desk attendant. “And the rest of us aren’t criminals.”

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 6.1

Once again Sylvia found herself being led into a smelly building with questionable occupants. This time, however, the stench was less attributed to spilled ale and more due to the occupants themselves. A burly man with a body that appeared too small for his arm muscles leaned against a rickety front desk. He wore a beige shirt which was likely white at one point given the garment’s spotted color variances. Besides the desk, there was only a staircase leading up to the left, a darkened hallway taking an unknown path to the right, and a single wooden table tucked away in the left corner near the door. The table appeared similar to ones from the tavern, though it was hard to tell given that it was partially obscured by someone sleeping on top of it. The snoring lump lay entirely covered by their cloak aside from a greasy mop of brown hair that trailed off the table’s edge. Sylvia made the mistake of deciding to inspect the floor as well and took an immediate step back as a cockroach large enough to saddle and ride scurried past, disappearing under the desk.

This is your idea of a safe haven?” she asked, scooping Obmuj in her arms to keep him from chasing after the runaway insect snack.

V shrugged, casually making his way toward the front desk. He took a wide step forward to avoid stepping in the puddle of an unidentifiable stain. Sylvia hoped it was only her imagination the sludge appeared to follow his boot when it passed over. The vampire looked around the room nonchalantly, his eyes seeming to escape notice of the dingy paint peeling off the walls and the fact that the main light source was a chandelier with only one candle lit, hanging crooked from a ceiling that threatened to loose the battle in holding it any minute. Leaning against the desk, he gave a nod of approval. “I’ve stayed in worse.”

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 5.3

For someone who claims to be a magician, you seem to know fairly little about your predecessors.” V spoke like a disapproving father.

“Not all magicians wreck havoc on people’s lives,” argued Sylvia. “In fact, most travel from village to village and use their skills to help others. There was one that stayed with my family for about a week. Everyday after breakfast, he taught me a new spell like how to make water instantly hot without using fire.”

“So he took up free lodging, ate your family’s food and encouraged you to be a lazy child.” V and his horse managed to snort at the same time. “Yes, that sounds quite helpful.”

“He assisted my parents with the daily chores while he stayed and left me a spell book to practice with.” Sylvia stuck her chin up. “I think you simply have the same fallacious opinion about magicians that most have about vampires.”

“And I think you are too young and unwise for us to have a reasonable discussion on the matter.” V stared ahead of him and said nothing afterwards. Sylvia wasn’t certain whether the vampire was deep in thought or pretending to ignore her. She was nearly convinced of the latter until he randomly spoke to the air in front of him. “Did the visiting magician leave you with the pendant you carry?”

Sylvia wrinkled her nose, remembering how she found the pendant lying on the kitchen floor. “I’m not sure.”

“Not sure?” Deigen repeated, bringing his horse up to the side of the cart again. “How can you not be sure?”

“Well, I sort of found it after he left.” She took a peek at the black stone as though it would share its mysteries with her. “And I was going to just hold on to it until he came back. Except he’s been gone for over a month and now everyone has disappeared from my village.” Sylvia looked up to find all eyes on her.

“Disappeared?” asked Bastiick. “Where did they go?”

“Well if I knew, I wouldn’t have just said they disappeared now would I?” Sylvia rolled her eyes at him. “The only thing I found when I got home was a letter from my mother telling me some woman came looking for me. The letter told me to go see my uncle because she thought I would be safer with him.”

V turned his head to face her and raised his hand, counting off on his fingers. “A stranger leaves a trinket worth some possible value behind. They oddly neglect to return for it. A month later everyone in your village vanishes and your missing parents warn that someone was looking for you.” The vampire directed his horse to the right, snatching the reins out of Sylvia’s hand and leading her mule along.

“Hey, where are you going!” yelled Sylvia, trying to grab her reins back. “You’re taking us off the road!”

“Exactly.” V hopped off his horse and pointed at a stone building in front of them, lantern light streaming out of its many windows. “This is one of the last inns available to us before leaving town limits and will be where we stay tonight. You have someone hunting for either you or that pendant and we will not be dealing with them in the dark. We’ll sleep here and continue in the morning.”

“In the morning?” Sylvia wagged her finger between the two vampires. “You can’t travel in the morning.”

Deigen slid off his horse, sharing her look of confusion. “Why not?”

“You’re vampires, don’t you turn into ash or burst into flames in broad daylight?”

Another round of chuckles emitting from Bastiick alerted Sylvia that she must have been the victim of yet another vampire misconception he shared in the creation of.

“No dear.” V cupped a pale hand over his forehead as though her ignorance were causing physical pain by this point. “We walk in daylight just the same as moonlight. Careful on a full moon, however, we turn into werewolves.”

“Really?” Sylvia asked excitedly, happy to have at least one supernatural element of the world understood.

Deigen and V turned to her and shouted in unison. “No!”

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