A Day in the Life

Waddup everyone.

Haven’t been on here much, as you can tell my last few post have been posted infrequently.

Getting back into writing, as my former profession has all but come to an end.

I’m interested in a job in the entertainment industry – ideally as a writer, but being an actor would be cool as well. I was just offered $1000 to do a modeling gig, but it didn’t specify whether or not ‘getting raped’ is required. I found the job on craigslist, after all.

Anyway, I’d like to get in the habit of publishing short, 10,000 word stories on Amazon. It seems like a good way to build a following, and also an easy avenue to get my work out there.

The short story I’m currently working on is about a man named Phillip who begins to get a regular visitor in his dreams. This visitor tells Phillip about future events in his life, and uses fear to control Phillip to the point where he becomes no more than a puppet. Phillip races to find the strange man, discover how he has access to his dreams, and justify his own actions before he is placed behind bars.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress – already 1500 words in.

  • Thomas

0

sketchy

Control, guilt, manipulation.

These are the ways heroes fade to grey and become much less than a zero.

The truths we perceive, the things we believe, the ideas we have held as our own –

What can be done for unfortunate ones who are raised to be nothing or something?

And what can be said of the kids who are fed their thoughts from a dream that’s misleading?

Strife isn’t nice when it comes at a price, when success determines one’s meaning.

I’ll say it again for those under ten – your life is your own, respect yours alone, for the takers are always receiving.

– Thomas M. Watt

Running Blind

god

For months and months been on the run,

Had myself a bit of fun.

Tore down all my truths of old,

Replaced them with some sins so bold.

In the flesh I did reside,

The more you sin the more you die.

It eases e-motional pain,

Sin enough you’ll feel no shame.

But go on you’ll find some trouble,

And when then comes your pride will double.

So sure I was of Christ’s untruth,

I laughed at Christians on youtube.

Dumb it seemed that some believed,

One man could replace our primal needs.

Sacrifice, deny yourself, worry not, you won’t see Hell.

Hahaha, haha, hehe, the things he speaks of I won’t take heed.

For I was sure that I knew better, that heavenly things were not too clever.

Dumb it was to live this life thinking one day you’ll see the light.

What light, what proof, what evidence? Where is this God that some still seek?

Nowhere, nowhere, He goes unseen, but this God of light lets blind men see.

For you see I came to truth – that evil exists, and me it used.

Day by day I could not rest, could not stop sin, did not repent.

But when I prayed my heart did open, God returned, covenant He honored.

Showed me to the days of old, when we were close and I wasn’t so cold.

Amazing how when there’s no evil, you find your own evil has doubled.

But after mocking God is through, and your world has fallen through,

And you’re sure you have no chance, that you have tripped on your last dance,

And of good feelings there’s none left, no way this life holds hope; you’re doomed.

That’s when I think it’s time to pray, and if you listen, you’ll know why I say –

That God who lives up high above, that God who you so boldly told –

That with all your heart you don’t believe, who you once deemed a mental disease,

That same God you went against, He will still be there when you’re on the fence,

And it won’t be long before you see, that God so loves you, He’s all you need.

– Thomas M. Watt

Rising Tension: Roy and James Play Cards

pokerpokergirl182447

The purpose of today’s excerpt from “A New Kingdom” is to reinforce some of the concepts discussed in my last two posts, building stakes and increasing tension. If you don’t have any idea what either of these terms mean, I suggests you click those links^ and check them out.

I’ve highlighted any lines that are specifically designed to increase tension, establish the stakes, or foreshadow problems to come. This scene is about Fitz and the threat he poses. He is the antagonist of the underground scenes. Enjoy.

* * *

        “What about Fitz? He’s not going to want us back there.

Let me worry about Fitz,” said Roy.

The pair got up and made their way down the corridor. The yellow lights helped make daytime feel almost authentic. Many families sat in the hallway, exchanging their horror stories from the night of the invasion. The cute blonde girl with the yellow rubber boots sat alone, and for a moment James thought about introducing himself, maybe even inviting her to play cards. He wondered if she were dealing with the loss of her parents as well.

Placed at the end of the hallway was a cardboard box, labeled “ELECTION.” When they finally reached it, James peered inside and saw it was filled with napkins – write-in votes for the new underground ruler.

“I don’t get why we are having this damn election today, you know? We’re done if Fitz wins – might as well as be underground slaves from here on out. And why are we voting for a ruler? Shouldn’t we vote for a leader? Somebody oughtta speak up about this stuff,” said Roy.

They entered the backroom that Fitz had strictly reserved for underground council meetings.

Roy dealt James a couple of cards, who turned them around to see a queen and a seven.

“Why don’t you speak up?”

Roy checked on his own hand, “Wouldn’t do no good. None a’them are gonna listen to me, kid. Most adults don’t like me.”

With a quick hand, Roy flipped over three cards on the table. There was an eight, a nine, and a six, giving James an open-ended straight draw. Roy bet and James called.

“Maybe you should try to make them like you? You never know unless you try.”

Roy laughed, “There’s some people I prefer to dislike me. If a guy like Fitz liked me, I don’t think I’d like myself.”

A fourth card was flipped on the table, and a ten was turned over. James had a straight. Roy bet and James re-raised all in. Roy put his hands behind his head, sat back in his chair, and looked as though he were thinking his move over.

“I’m sure you got a seven, which gives you a straight. The damned thing is, I flopped one too, ‘cause I got a five-seven. So I gotta call, but I’m gonna be pretty damn upset if that last card gives you a better hand.”

Roy pushed all of his chips into the center, and both of them were all-in. He flipped over the final card, a jack of clubs. James revealed his hand, and Roy tossed the entire deck into the air.

“C’mon kid, how could you do that to me?”

James didn’t see it at first, but when he studied his hand further, he realized why Roy was upset – The last card gave James a higher straight, Queen-Jack-10-9-8. He got lucky. Roy’s frustration died down, as he chuckled at his bad-beat and picked up the scattered cards.

“You see, in this game, all the brains in the world won’t guarantee success. The skilled professional can lose to the young novice, any day of the week-

The office door flew open, and Colonel Fitz’s entered in.

“Pick up your things and leave. This isn’t a game room – it’s for official government meetings only.”

Roy shuffled the cards and dealt out a new hand. “With all due respect, sergeant anus, there are only four rooms in this place. If there were more, I’d understand. But we may be down here for a very long time, so I’d ‘ppreciate it if you eased up a little bit.”

James pretended not to notice the escalating tension between the two grown men as he picked up the cards.

Fitz marched over to Roy until he stood over him. “It’s Colonel Fitz, low-life. And I will not stand for any under-age gambling. This meeting room is for grown-ups only. That means both of you need to leave.”

Fitz used his arms to pile up all the poker chips into the center of the table, erasing the winnings for both opponents. Roy stood up and put his face to Fitz’s. “Look, Colonel Dick head, when you and your friends finally come here to play ‘pretend government,’ when you make huge decisions like ‘who showers when?’ Then we’ll get out of here. But until then, I’m gonna enjoy life the little bit that I can, and me and my buddy James are gonna play cards right here, whenever we want,” He said, then pounded his fist against the glossy marble.

The colonel took a step back. “Today, go ahead, play your silly game. But I got news for you.” Fitz pressed his finger into Roy’s chest. “I am a military man, Roy, and you don’t wanna start a war with a military man. When I win that election, you’re going to change your attitude.

Fitz left the room. Roy grabbed the deck of cards and returned to dealing them like nothing had even happened. After a couple minutes, James finally broke the silence.

“I think you might be right about some people not liking you.”

Roy shook his head. “If Fitz wins that election, ain’t nobody down here is ever gonna see the surface again. That man is power hungry, James, and hungry people don’t like sharing their food.”

* * *

–  Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

Tension: James meets Penny Part 2

tension

In my last post, we discussed how to raise stakes for specific situations. By constantly reminding the reader of the importance of your protagonist’s current quest, whether through direct writing or subtext, you will build toward a rewarding climax. Even though this is only one chapter out of the book, it is important to constantly fill your stories with build-ups and pay-offs. If you missed my last post, I suggest you take the time to read it in order to understand the importance of it. Reach it by clicking here.

In the following scene, I’ve created a rise in tension by making the situation more and more uncomfortable for James. Remember from the last scene, his initial meeting with Penny is going to have an enormous effect on his psychological state, one way or the other. Here’s the excerpt from “A New Kingdom.”

* * *

       “That’s it kid, I can’t watch you embarrass yourself any longer.” Roy tossed his cards, stood up, and walked toward the group. James looked away nervously, hoping to God that Roy wouldn’t do what James was certain he was about to do.

“Excuse me, miss – it’s Penny, correct?”

James could hear Penny and the rest of her group slowly come to a stop.

“Yes, that’s me.”

James watched Roy cup his hands together and speak more elegantly than he ever had before.

“Well Penny, my name is Roy, and that there’s my friend James.” He pointed right at him with two fingers glued together.

James looked away. Every part of him wanted to smash his own face into the wall. The other part of him wanted to tackle Roy.

“Give us a wave, James,” said Roy.

James gulped, then looked back and waved hesitantly with a terribly corny smile.

“You see Penny, James here is the greatest guy I’ve ever known. And he’s done so many great things for me, I wanted to help him out a bit.”

“Oh, O.K,” said Penny.

Roy continued. “And this great guy, who I like to call James the great, he really digs ya, Penny. He says you’re the most beautiful gal he has ever set eyes on. Every time you walk by, make your bed, or read a book, James is watching you.”

Penny took a step back and looked horrified.

“Don’t worry, Penn. James is no stalker. As a matter of fact, he told me yesterday he wants to start a stalker awareness club. You know what’s not a joke? How lovely James thinks you are. I think you ought a give him a chance. After all, you two are the same age, stuck underground in a base, it seems like it’s meant to be, don’t ya think?”

James looked up at the ceiling. He wanted God to hear his prayer. He prayed that the brick ceiling above would collapse and kill him. And if it wasn’t too much trouble, to please let it kill Roy as well.

“Fine,” said Penny with a shrug, “I’ll meet him.”

“Best decision you ever made.”

As Roy walked Penny over, James wiped instant oatmeal crumbs from his jeans and held his hand out for a handshake.

“You can call me James.”

“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather ‘James the Great’?”

James laughed loudly and for a bit longer than the joke deserved. He made a face at Roy like an awkward cry for help. Roy countered with a wink and a smile, then left him to fend for himself. James felt his heart in his throat. He stood up.

“James is fine. Uh, you like to read, huh?”

“I guess so… I never read much before, but down here I don’t have much of a choice, not in this hellhole.”

Afraid his nervousness might become visible, James put on the best front that he could. He leaned smoothly up-against the wall beside him, and casually slid his hand into his pocket.

“Yea, life is pretty plain down here. Me and crazy Roy pretty much just play cards all day. Life would be a ton better if it wasn’t for that stupid council, all those idiots do is make schedules and stupid restrictions. Without them, life down here would be great.”

Penny looked down at her feet, “Yeah, ha, right… Ummm, tell me about your friend Roy. How do you know him?”

“Met him the night of the invasion. Crazy Roy keeps it real, and he’s a former pro poker player! Plus he can play some tunes on the guitar, and I think he said he used to be a pilot or something.”

“That’s kinda cool.”

“Yeah, and he has all this chewing tobacco stuff, and he lets me take as much as I want.”

“Ew… Does he have any alcohol?”

“Oh ya, he does.”

Penny moved in and put her hands on James’ wrist. Her bracelets jingled, “James, me, you, and Roy. We’re drinking tonight!!”

“Well… yeah, okay.”

“Don’t tell me you’re scared?”

James laughed awkwardly, “I’m not scared, I’m down. I’ll ask Roy.”

“Good.” Said Penny. With a wide, seductive smile, she left to go to breakfast. At first James walked away with calm strides, but as soon as he was in the clear he practically sprinted over to Roy.

* * *

Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

James meets Penny Part 1 – Building the Stakes

Durr

The quest of your protagonist will matter more to your readers when the repercussions of failing at that goal will have known devastating internal or external consequences.

In the following scene, James puts Penny on such a high pedestal that his initial encounter with her will have a drastic effect on his psychological well-being. All of this build-up is being done to create greater tension and conflict later on, which you will see in the second half of the chapter when it is posted tomorrow.

Every piece of dialogue or description that is designed to increase the stakes (the importance of James’ 1st conversation with Penny) is in bold typeface. The following is an excerpt from my novel “A New Kingdom.”

* * *

CHAPTER 12    

TSSH TSSH TST. The clamor from pots and pans being whacked together rang throughout the room. James slowly wiggled out from his bed and peeled his crusty eyes open. The clashing metal meant that it was time to wake up and get some breakfast, at least for James’ group.

It’d been nearly ten months since the invasion. Life in the underground military base consisted of the same monotonous routine, day-after-day. But group breakfast was the moment James most looked forward to – that was because Penny’s group always followed his.

Penny was the name of the blonde girl who always wore the yellow rubber boots. He still hadn’t ever spoken to her, but a couple times she’d caught him staring at her. This day, though, James planned to ignore her completely. That way he could tell if she liked him back. If she did, he’d catch her staring at him. It was a foolproof plan.

James and his group made their way into the long hallway. Juan put the pots and pans down. James wished him a ‘buenos tardes’ and received a smile back.

“I hate this friggen hall,” Roy muttered. He never woke up in a good mood.

“Morning Roy,” Janie said, as she past him.

“Morning,” said Roy. When she was far enough away, he whispered to James, “What a smoke-show.”

“Good morning guys!” Said Bill, who was walking right behind them.

“Morning Bill! Uhh, Great day, huh?” Called back Roy.

“Sure is.” Said Bill with a chipper voice, before letting out the standard giggle that came at the end of his every sentence. He skip-jogged to catch up with his wife.

Janie, who was second chair in the Underground Council, led James and the gang through the plant room and into the food area. Roy refused to refer to it by that name, and insisted on calling it the, ‘Homeless Buffet.’ He called it that because the ‘Food area’ was no more than an aluminum trashcan. It was filled twice daily with palm-sized portions that were determined by the council. Conservation was a fundamental rule for survival, Fitz had declared. Even those who were whittling down to skin and bone, and spent their days with arms over their bellies, were not permitted to eat more than their allotted share.

Janie handed out a packet of instant oatmeal to each of the bedmates, as well as canned pineapples for them to share. On the clipboard hanging from the trashcan, she wrote down exactly what foods they ate and the size of their portions. To avoid mistakes, each person had to sign off. This process was required by every group, for every meal.

James waited anxiously for Roy to sign. Penny and her group would be coming down the hallway any minute.

“Canned pineapples again, huh? You really ought’a talk to Fitz about changing it up a little,” Roy said to Janie.

“I would, but every man I talk to around here looks at me like they want to bend me over and-”

Roy popped the can open and spilled juice onto his chest and stomach. He hurried over to the sink to let the excess liquid drain out.

“Are you alright, Roy?”

“Uh, yeah… How do men look at you?”

James poked his head outside. Penny’s group was coming down the hallway. He didn’t want her to spot him sitting by himself, though. Then she’d think he was a loser.

“Like they want to bend me over to their perspective on things.”

“Oh. Course.”

 “C’mon Roy, sign the sheet,” said James.

 “What’s your hurry, kid? Got a date?”

 “What? No. Why?”

Roy laughed as he dried his shirt off. “All right, all right.” He signed the sheet and walked along with James out into the hallway. They reached their typical spot and sat down. Roy and James always played Go Fish during breakfast.

“Hurry Roy, deal them out,” said James.

“Geeze, hold your horses, I will!”

James wanted to look like he was busy when Penny walked by, so that she wouldn’t know that he was ignoring her on purpose.

After Roy dealt the cards, he spotted Penny and her group coming up the hallway. Roy looked back at James with a troublesome grin.

“What?” whispered James.

Roy shook his head and continued to smirk.

James adjusted his sitting position to be more upright, and when he spoke he did so with a manlier voice than normal. She might have been close enough to hear. “C’mon, let’s play.”

“That’s it kid, I can’t watch you embarrass yourself any longer.” Roy tossed his cards, stood up, and walked toward the group. James looked away nervously, hoping to God that Roy wouldn’t do what James was absolutely certain he was about to do.

To be continued…

* * *

Hope this helps!

– Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

Conflict: Wouldn’t you shoot a dog if it attacked your child?

conflict

Today I want to talk about conflict, the most important element in story, the one that reels more readers in than any other writing tool.

Conflict is the reason we always hear stories about cops and black men, Kardashian gender confusion, and small parties of people who stomp on the American Flag in protest of restricted rights and status for illegals. It is also the reason we don’t hear nearly as much about the atrocities and genocides being committed by Boko Haram and ISIS as we should.

Before I had a proper understanding of conflict, I always just assumed it was good vs. evil. That’s somewhat correct, but it’s not going to get you anywhere as a writer.

At the heart of any good conflict is debate. The issues that make the news most frequently are the issues that divide Americans into two camps opposing in viewpoints but equal in passion. That’s why the cop stories are always on the news – Are these criminals being unjustly treated due to the color of their skin, or are these cops being wrongly persecuted for simply doing a difficult job?

That’s why the title of this post immediately stirs controversy – well how big is the dog? How old is the child? Did it attack your favorite kid or the one you tell friends was adopted?

The search and desire for an answer prompts you to read on. Our brains are wired to ‘figure things out’. That’s why we’re always preoccupied by the problems in our lives, and constantly infatuated with cunts and dickheads undeserving of our attention. That’s why we fall for the bullshit emotional games and can’t help but play them again.

It’s also why, in my opinion, ISIS doesn’t get as much negative media coverage as it deserves – they are animals who deserve to be slaughtered. There is nothing to debate, they are evil.

So how do we successfully implement conflict into story?

Let me start by stating the obvious – stay away from black and white. In other words, make your evil characters evil, but never have them say things like –

“Being good is for sissies. Come to my side. Money. Girls. Guns. Come on. You know you want to be bad. Light me up an addictive cigarette and pour me a drink of alcohol while I laugh smugly and smile like I’m better than you. Then lets go get skull tattoos… on our necks.”

And you also never want your protagonists to respond with anything like this:

“Stay away from me, Mr. Darkside. I don’t smoke and I never will. And I believe girls is a derogatory term for women. That’s why I call them ‘angels’.”

The focus here may seem as though it is on character, but it’s really not. Learn to thread conflict through every storytelling element, theme included. Remember, questions intrigue us. Questions are problems we need to solve, questions keep us reading. Always.

Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

Versatile Blogger Award: Feast Your Eyes Bitches

I've been nominated for this!  So exciting....

That’s right, I won it.

Versatile blogger award?? What’s that, you ask?

Oh. Ha. A ha, ha…ha. you don’t even know what it is.

Well let me fill you in on a few little details:

The versatile blogger award doesn’t just go to anybody. There is a lengthy process involved, and the qualifications needed just to be nominated are enough to make your head spin. Let me give you a little perspective by telling you what I went through to win this award. I warn you – the daily grind to keep this blog so fresh and clean might come as a shock to you.

– I wake up every day no later than 4:30 a.m.

– I look at my alarm clock and wait until I fall back asleep.

– I wake up again at 9:30 a.m., when my alarm bell rings. I press the snooze button.

– I wake up at 11:23ish and pop out of bed, do three or less pushups, then blast my walk-out song as I make my way to breakfast. (a walk-out song is the rap song that plays for professional baseball players when they approach the plate to hit.)

– As “Ice Ice Baby” blares through my studio apartment, I punch the air with a series of aggressive jabs, secretly hoping I’m beating the shit out of the ghost who can’t be touched but can still feel pain. You might think that’s stupid, but when a ghost haunts your place, you can either stand up for yourself or just pretend he’s not there. I’m not a ghost pussy, I’ll stop fighting when he stops stealing my socks.

– I sit down and pour myself a bowl of cereal. It comes in this enormous cardboard box filled with dozens of bowls of cereal. I have to shake it really carefully, because a lot of the time more than one bowl will pop out, and even when I do only get one, the cereal always spills everywhere.

– I grab the milk from the fridge, then cautiously pour it all over my kitchen table, over the pieces of cereal. I then lick up the cereal as fast as I can, or else my Reeses Pieces are going to waterfall over the edge and wind up on the floor. And I hate eating food off the floor. It’s a lot harder and you can’t even sit down.

– I get on my computer and post a blog entry.

That’s EVERYDAY folks! Except for the weekend when I need time to recover, obviously. But next time you think about spending one full year of your life training for the versatile blogger award, I want you to ask yourself: Am I really willing to wake up at 4:30 am, just to post a blog entry? Because if you’re not, I just don’t think you’re gonna cut it in the free-online-blog-one-vote-wins-it-copy-and-paste-your-own-trophy award category.

Thanks again for nominating me, Aunt Joanna!! :)))) Check out her blog, she’s an amazing writer and an even greater story teller come thanksgiving.

Anyway, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Because now I get to write 7 interesting things about myself, and then I’m supposed to nominate 15 other bloggers 5 other bloggers for this award. Here’s 7 things you didn’t know about me:

1. I’m exceptionally boring.

2. I like turtles.

3. English is my first language.

4. That’s all I got.

5. I like Emenim? Specially the song “When the music stops.” That song is bad-ass.

6. A New Kingdom, the book I wrote, has just been nominated for a Hugo Award in the science fiction category.

7. Number 6 was a lie.

And now, to nominate 5 exceptionally versatile bloggers:

1. His actual name is writeswithtools. That’s how confident his parents were that he’d be a literary genius, which he is. His blog features post-after-post of useful storytelling information. In fact, merely browsing through his blog for a few minutes will help you improve your own writing dramatically, and at the very least open your eyes to the techniques and devices all great story-tellers use.

2. Linda G. Hill. She is so versatile, she actual maintains two blogs – one where she writes about life stuff, the other where she writes fiction.

3. Amy Barlow. Aka sharp little pencil. She has been my friend since the beginning of my wordpress (good old mcwatty9 days), taught me that it’s “all right” and never “alright”, and is a genuinely smart and funny person. She writes a lot of poetry and is never afraid to speak her mind. I like that about her.

4. Mike Steeden. He rhymes about drunk tom-foolery with pure elegance. I want to get drunk with this man. I think there’s a lot I could learn from him… But more importantly, I think he’d be fun as fuck to go out with.

5. Misha Burnett. He’s a really good writer and has incredible insight into whatever topics he chooses to discuss. This is someone who puts a lot of thought into what he writes, which probably explains why his novel, “Catskinners Book,” is beginning to sell like hotcakes.

Ok, that’s it. Congratulations to my versatile blogger nominees, now you get to nominate 15 other bloggers and write 7 interesting things about yourselves!

– Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

Would you kill the love of your life if…

prison cell

What if the love of your life lost their mind, and their inability to show restraint during a time of crisis was putting your own life at risk?

What if a group were chasing after you, and one loud noise would give away your position and get you killed?

Would you risk hurting someone you loved to save yourself?

What if hurting them were your only option, and the future of humanity depended on YOUR survival??

James faces the same predicament in the following excerpt. To give you some context:

– James is locked in a hidden prison room.

– Zephrons are giant red aliens who invaded planet earth and enslaved whatever humans they chose not kill.

– The night of the invasion, a group of locals escaped to an underground military base. They were soon afterward indoctrinated by Colonel Fitz, who considers himself to be the new messiah. This scene takes place in that underground base.

– The zephrons are going to wipe out the rest of humanity in one day…

And James is the only person who can stop them.

* * *

CHAPTER 52

James’ stomach grumbled loudly. He hadn’t eaten a good meal since before his sentence to the picking plant. He looked around aimlessly for something edible to distract him. Nothing. Only the doggie saucer of water. He took handfuls from it, desperately hoping for the water to trick his stomach. He began weeping as he drank.

“I wanna marry you,” said Penny.

James raised his head. Penny moved in, then began licking water out from the bowl. James crawled backwards then clutched himself and began to rock. He smeared dry the tip of his nose, then looked across the room to Spes’ cell.

“Do not worry, human. It will never-”

“Never what!” James screamed. He stood up, grabbed the prison cell bars, then shook them. “What do you want me to do? My best friend is dead, my dad is dead, and tomorrow morning, every human on the surface of the earth will be dead! And here I am.” He grabbed both sides of his hair and breathed chaotically. “Stuck in a prison cell, unable to do anything about it.” He squinted back at them and pointed his index finger. “And you idiots expect me to believe that this is God’s plan? That somehow my being here is going to help me conquer the zephrons?”

“Calm down, human. God knows-”

“God knows, God knows, you know what? God knows shit. That’s what I think. If you want something done you’ve got to do it yourself, period.”

A humming noise came from outside. The door started to creak open to the corridor, and Fitz entered in. He held the ring of keys.

“Well well well, traitor.” He walked over to James with the key ring in one hand, a rifle in the other. “I get your bicep, in case you were wondering.”

“What happened to Roy? What happened to your daughter?”

“I locked Penny up for disobeying me. She was hanging around that drunk loser after I forbid her to.”
“And Roy?”

“Why don’t you ask her?”
“I did.”

“Well? Did she tell you?”

“She’s a little kooky if you haven’t noticed.”

Fitz smiled. “Roy is dead.”

“From a bullet?”
He nodded.

James lowered his head. “Suicide.”

“Not suicide.”

James looked back up.

Fitz grinned and pointed to himself. “That was all me.”
“You killed Roy?”

Just then, the ambulance sirens in the hallway began going off – the same that were triggered whenever someone stepped out from the elevator and entered the underground base. They were soon accompanied by the sounds of zephron howls. Human shrieks quickly followed.

“You led them back here!” said Fitz.

James tried to shake his head as Fitz raised his rifle.

“You led them-”

Janie ran in and tackled Fitz. The ring of keys dropped to the ground, but the rifle remained in his grasp.

“My king! My king! We have to go!”

Greg, Juan, and the other underground council members rushed in. They grabbed Fitz and carried him off his feet and out from the room, then turned towards the back end of the corridor. The keys remained in the middle of the room, unreachable by any of the now-fully exposed prisoners – the door to the secret prison had been left open. All the zephrons had to do was peak inside and James would be toast.

“Ahh!” screamed Penny.

James hurried over then hugged Penny’s face into his chest. He picked up a ratty, child-sized blanket and did his best to cover them both with it. He whispered into her ear as the loud, nightmarish yells echoed from the main room over to them.

“Penny, I need you to calm down,” he whispered.

She bit her lips into her mouth. “But what’s happening?”

The screams only intensified. So did the wild zephron howls. It was a slaughter – no doubt about it. James was nervous and scared, but knew that as long as everyone inside the secret prison area remained quiet, there was a good chance the zephrons wouldn’t bother leaving the main room. And even if they did, they were more likely to run straight past them and battle Fitz and his small army instead.

“What’s happen-”

“Don’t worry – I just need you to be quiet. Can you do that for me?” James’ eyes flickered up. He noticed the hammer in the corner of the cell. “Everything is going to be okay.”

“James!” said Penny.

“Shh,” he whispered, then covered her mouth. “Be quiet, Penny.”

Soon he heard their loud, thumping footsteps echoing through the corridor.

“Hime-cared!” She blurted out.

James hugged her face into his shoulder. “Please… just, shhh.”

Penny struggled to break free as the monstrous roars grew closer. She began to move her limbs erratically, and screamed more muffled words. James struggled to keep her quiet, but she wouldn’t be still. Penny escaped his grasp.

“James! James! Promise you’ll marry me, James!”

He could hear the zephrons closing in. James crawled on his hands and knees over to the hammer. He picked it up, then gulped and looked at Penny.

“Say you love me! Say it!”

James grabbed Penny by the throat and shoved her down, back against the ground. His hand shook as he held the hammer over her forehead.

“Shut-up,” He pleaded through a whisper.

“JAMES!” Penny screamed.

“Don’t!” said Fides, from across the room.

“JAMES!” She shouted again.

James swung the…

* * *

Well, what would you do? I’d love to hear a variety of perspectives.

* And if you’re dying to know what actually happens, you can start by clicking here.

– Thomas M. Watt