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Iron Fist, Shang-Chi, announced interest in Richard Dragon... everybody truly is Kung Fu Fighting...

I'm definitely ready for some kung fu antics.

I mentioned my interest on Discord but I might as well post it here too. I just finished watching that new Batman animated movie and while that was set in the 70s, it did spark my interest in writing some Richard Dragon plots which should fit in a late 60s setting.

I'm neutral on either option with regards to having a Discord. I've been seeing a growing sentiment that it detracts from OOC thread activity but I doubt having one really makes that big of an impact.

In the heart of the Night District rests a man in an ill-prepared, lidless casket yet he himself is neither ill, dying, dead nor undead. This makeshift box filled with hay and a solitary cloth sheet wasn’t fit for anyone’s eternal rest and the local carpenter knew that. So why was he sleeping in his latest craftwork?

If he were to receive a visitor during the witching hours, he definitely did not want to be deep asleep in comfort. Jean Charpentier was no fool. Something strange (well, stranger than usual) was moving about late at night for the past few moons. He knew how the folks of the Night District traversed and they definitely didn’t sound like a four-legged beast in heat, slobbering and howling at odd intervals. This noise has kept him up with at least one eye opened at all times. However, as the sun rises obscured by heavy haze over Serpent’s Snag, Jean has no choice but to endure the next business day with what little sleep he has afforded for himself. His own casket will have to wait until he’ll need it again.

It wasn’t every day he’d get to sell his woodwork but you can bet that there’d be some oddball bothering him during all store hours. Seems today wouldn’t be any different as ol’ Oliver Nightwell made his sly presence known by informing Jean about what was keeping him up at night and what will be keeping him alert during the day. Wolves aren’t ones to be trifled with but law enforcement are a different kind of predator – more vicious and able to play with their food before going for the kill. Lawmen from all over have been the bane to the Frenchman for the majority of his life, stemming back from his memories as a child to a peasant class couple all the way to just before arriving in Serpent’s Snag. Needless to say, he wasn’t their biggest fan and he suspected Oliver told him this to rile him up. The carpenter had tried his best not to give him the satisfaction of getting under his skin by remaining inexpressive during their… conversation.

Though Oliver was about to leave, the last part of his message was definitely cause for alarm. A slight twitch on Jean’s mouth could be visibly seen before uttering “Thank you. Good bye.” to the visiting vampire. While Jean had planned to keep a low profile for the rest of the day, the latest addendum to his agenda would make that virtually impossible. A known convicted runaway who had trouble with the law is surely going to be stopped and frisked, right? But surely his time as a law-abiding citizen in this town is enough to clear his slate. Surely, they’d leave him alone this time, right?

These thoughts would ring in his head as he proceeded to pack his derringer in his inner breast pocket and travel to their arranged meeting location. Anything hungry for his flesh was going to get a side of lead served with it.

Issue # 1.03: Skullduggery

Only one man in the room was bewildered at how easily the knife was disregarded by the seemingly supernatural intruder – our hero Buddy Baker. Though, he would soon learn that this wasn’t just because of how his body wouldn’t move but also due to technicality. As the monster encroached ever closer, Buddy soon got a clearer look – it was a full-on skeleton man like that from a 1920s Walt Disney Halloween cartoon. However, this one was covered in leather in the form of a jacket with logo embroideries of pit stops and a reproduction German Stahlhelm…

It was a skeleton biker. There was no getting around the absurdity of it all, which might have contributed to Buddy’s curiosity-fueled paralysis at that moment in time.

Though while he acted like a deer in headlights, the butcher retaliated in the manner that a buck in heat would and charged in head first at their foe. Just moments before the point of impact, antlers had suddenly grown from butcher’s scalp which made contact with the cranium of the skeleton. The sound of a skull cracking and crumbling resonated through the shop, with a piece of the decaying osseous form falling to the ground. However, the being did not flinch nor react not unlike before. It grabbed on to the butcher’s horns in an attempt to wrest them away from. Others soon poured into the entrance and grabbed on to the butcher as well.

“Baker, I say this once more. We must leave now. The Butcher will protect us as we make our escape.” Socks would state, this time pawing at Buddy’s leg.

Though he nodded in agreement with his feline companion, a look of concern for the butcher would stay on Buddy’s visage as he picks up Socks and makes for the back of the store. Just like the store front, various slaughtered stocks of meat were placed on hooks in the backroom storage area. These ones were still bloody. Or at least they were before a visibly accelerating decay had started to affect the ones closest to the emergency exit which meant they were just on the other side. Shambling, scary skeletons soon started shrieking, shattering slaughter store's short serene silence.

“They are outside, awaiting us. Prepare yourself.” Socks would state after a hiss.

What did he mean by prepare though! His guide Silenos didn’t even get to explain why he was chosen, let alone what he’s capable of doing now aside from apparently pass out on the command of random barn animals. Now wasn’t the time to panic, even though he started doing that the moment Socks said to prepare himself. Stupid cat can’t eve- Wait. There it was, the solution to his problem laying in a corner on a tool rack: a captive bolt gun.

“I’ve seen enough anti-meat ads on Youtube to know this’ll crack some skulls!” Buddy triumphantly states, with a nervous grin. As he picked it up, a fly had landed on his nose, prompting him to wave his hand in front of his face in an effort to drive it away. The rotting meat was now attracting carrion-eaters. This wouldn’t stop Buddy though as he battered down the exit door. A small number of the nightmarish monsters had mobbed around the door but the sudden swing knocked back a couple of the shamblers, giving Buddy the opportunity to use his humane weapon to kill these inhumane creatures. As the metal met bone, the quick release of compressed air shattered the first skeleton’s skull!

But that would be it for his bolt gun as a bullet jacket fell to the ground, causing the tool to stop operating. The justified panic soon turned up to a degree that would wet one’s pants, though Buddy wouldn’t immediately notice this due to one of the remaining skeletons decking him in the face with reckless abandon. Even without flesh, the impact of a fist on your face still hurts. Reeling and falling to one knee, another skeleton proceeded to rush towards Buddy while wielding a sharp skull shard of his fallen comrade.

In that moment of desperation, a soothing force surged throughout Buddy. It felt like adrenaline but it made his mind clear. He then focused his sight on the fly that had earlier landed on his face, sensing a connection. It was as if time had slowed down but his thoughts did not. Only the buzzing of the insect’s wings could be heard by Buddy as he carefully used the metal deadweight he was wielding to block and bash his enemy brain case. This time dilation allowed our newbie hero to methodically disarm – literally – his opponents as continued the melee. However, the mob of monsters did not stop and soon he would be surrounded. It would be at this time that Socks jumped up to his shoulder to whisper to his ear.

“Fly, you fool.” his companion would state. With the buzzing still in his mind, Buddy suddenly got off the ground though he had no wings and began to take flight. Erratically and flying in a spiraling pattern like that of a fly, the pair would successfully evade the skeletons, emergency staircases, clotheslines and AC units as they crash landed on to the rooftop of the neighboring apartment building. Before Buddy could catch his breath, an explosion could be heard from the butcher shop which soon engulfed it in fire.

“Oh Christ, we need to get out of here.” he would state in shock. Leaping in single bounds with the agility of a cat, he would traverse the city’s rooftops to get away from the site of his first foray.

Even in the calmest of waters, danger is ever present. Beneath the ocean surface’s tranquility lies chaos that only life can create. Unfeeling predators looking for their next victim, opportunistic parasites that latch on to their unsuspecting hosts to drain them of life, the occasional snake that strikes you when you least expect to see them, and the unlucky mammals that roam pointlessly until they become something else’s next meal… These are merely some of the denizens of the sea. However, you could make the case that these were the types of people one would meet in their miserable experience of a traumatic childhood.

At least that was the case for David, still dreaming of that stupid boat and trying to interpret what it all means when he wakes up. At first, he didn’t mind since he just wrote it off as a quirky nightmare. The next time it happened, he had realized that he was entirely lucid during the sequence but couldn’t do much to change the landscape or even conjure props to liven the dull room. By dream number three, it had gotten stale and was actively causing anxiety episodes. It doesn’t even make sense! He flew to London and hasn’t set foot on a dock for years!

It always ended the same though. The odd caricature of a man would state some mumbo jumbo and then he woke up, much like now. It took a couple of seconds but David got his bearings and found himself in one of Thames’ Edge University’s computer labs. Yes, he now recalled that he was doing some extra course work after his morning classes. It seems that he dozed off for quite a bit though as no one else was in the room and the only light source turned on was the PC terminal he had logged in to.

5:30 PM, it would state on the corner of the screen.

Grumbling to himself, David would quickly shutoff the computer and make his way to the exit. While signing out on the lab’s logbook, he had noticed from the windows that a fog had crept up on the campus. While London weather was famously gloomy, he didn’t expect such a heavy visibility hazard to show up out of nowhere. As he left the lab and gone out to the misty grounds, David noticed that the usually bustling school was empty. In fact, this was the first time he had experienced the university in a state of quiet.

Too quiet. Something was wrong and his heart began to race. As he walked aimlessly inside the fog, his heart started pounding louder and had drowned out the silence. A horrible thought had invaded his mind: was his heart giving out from the stress and his misuse of pharmaceuticals? Was he going to die just like his mom?!

“No, that’s stupid. They’re over the counter…” He reasoned to himself. Before he could continue in this descent of paranoia, David had started to hear distant mumblings. Someone, or something, was out there.

“Hey! Anyone out there lookin’ to help a lost bruce out!” he shouted with bravado, trying to mask the fear that was slowly overtaking him.

For everyone's consideration.

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