Where the shadows lie

Better, I thought. This setup was so much better. Looking west, toward the ramparts. So much more modern, so much more efficient.

The last time was mainly a fluke. A bizarre series of coincidences and luck. Fate scheming against me, unfairly and to my detriment.

But as I admired the new fortifications, the new battlements, the new highway system, landing lights, communications towers—it was easy to forget, and to dismiss what happened last time.

My troops were ready and my plan secure, nothing could go wrong.

This time, I’d be certain to crush all of the damned hobbits first.

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Inspired by this Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

 

Bone-white and Blood-red

Bone-white and Blood-red were two special little girls who shared a cottage in the woods with a wicked old crone (who might or might not be their mother). They were as alike as two skulls in a catacomb, except for the color of their hair.

Bone-white was the quiet and studious sister, who stayed at home in the cottage with the crone, studying the ancient grimoire of wicked necromancy together. Her hair was the yellowish-white of ancient bone.

Blood-red was the wild sister, who roamed the forest and tortured the lore of the woods from whatever dryads and evil fauns she could capture and chain. Her hair was the deep sanguine of drying blood.

One evening, as they were sitting around the cottage brewing some rancid chipmunk stew together, there came a great pounding at the door. Blood-red pushed back the bolt, eagerly hoping for a man—but it was just a moth-eaten old bear. She quickly lost interest.

“Do not be afraid,” said the disreputable-looking bear. “I only want to warm myself at your fire.”

Bone-white and the crone glanced at each other, wondering who this threadbare bear might think was afraid, exactly.

“Sure, why not?” said the crone, cackling softly to herself and idly stirring the stew.

The bear blinked, momentarily taken aback, but closed the door behind him. Blood-red snorted, bored with the evening thus far.

The bear said, “Here, children, knock the snow out of my coat a little.” And he stretched himself by the hearth and growled contentedly.

For this Blood-red began to show some real enthusiasm—torturing woodland creatures was one of her specialties. Both sisters took up hazel-switches and began beating the decrepit bear severely, first knocking the snow from his fur, but quickly stepping it up to tub-thumping on his thick skull.

The bear (a rather dim ursine really) laughed at first, mistaking this for play. But when his skull began to ring from repeated blows, he called out:

“Bone-white, Blood-red,
Will you beat your lover dead?”

What a silly question that was. Of course they would. And so they did.

In the morning, Bone-white used her necromantic grimoire and the corpse of the bear to create a shambling zombie-bear. Waste not, want not.

“Now I shall never chance to see,
My golden treasure returned to me.”

Bemoaned the zombie-bear. This piqued the interest of the old crone, of course.

“What are you talking about, you wretched old bear?”

The zombie-bear explained, in the forest lived a nasty dwarf who would gain free access to the bear’s precious stones, if the bear wasn’t available to guard them.

“Go find this nasty dwarf and kill him, girls, bring back the loot,” instructed the old crone.

And so Bone-white and Blood-red begrudgingly put on their traveling cloaks and reluctantly set off for a long walk in the woods.

After some time, they came upon an old dwarf with a wrinkled face, and a white beard a yard long. His beard was caught beneath a fallen tree, and he was jumping around and swearing like a sailor. He glared at the girls with his fiery eyes and cried:

“Get me out of this thing, you stupid girls! Come move this log off my beautiful beard, Sugar-hips, and maybe we can have a little fun.” And he gave a particularly pervy leer at Blood-red.

Now, Blood-red was a bit of a wild-child and a “bit of fun” wasn’t beneath her, normally. So she stepped forward eagerly. The nasty dwarf actually grinned and reached for her—until he caught the glint of cold steel from the knife in her hand.

After the screaming ended, the girls searched the nearby area and found the zombie-bear’s little cave. And of course the jewels.

They returned with the jewels to the crone’s cottage. The riches funded the entire Cottage Expansion Project, bought for Bone-white plenty of new evil tomes and a fine selection of leather corsetry for Blood-red.

But no one married anyone and there were no happily ever afters.

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No actual anthropomorphic animals or dirty dwarves were harmed in the making of this post.

Ph33r meh

My wife still doesn’t believe it, but I can prove it. And one day, I will.

There is a causal effect shared by my car and the weather. My car has a great deal of power over the universe. I will explain.

The very act of driving my car in bad weather–will instantly cause hundreds of knuckle-draggers to climb into their cars and take to the road, solely to come drive in front of me on the highway.

It’s true! The stupidest people on the planet, invariably, choose the worst weather as the perfect time to drive on the same roads with me.

Or perhaps my car just emits an IQ-reduction field, in a frontal cone? More scientific testing is required in order to explain this phenomenon.

My car can actually make the weather worse!

The weather grows colder, the snowfall grows heavier, the wind blows harder—the closer my gas tank is to “E”. If I pull into the gas station running on fumes, a localized blizzard is sure to be happening.

It astonishes and befuddles weathermen. But I can worsen a winter storm, just by trying to get to work!

Coincidence, you say. Thou Doubting Thomases, you will learn to Fear my car’s Awesum Cosmic Powah.

Some day, I may drive to your place to visit.

Better have your snow shovels ready.

RecDave Seal

You can single-handedly create a causal relation between two things that are currently unconnected — a word and an emotion, a song and an extreme weather event, wearing a certain color and winning the lottery. What cause would you link to what effect, and why?

Don’t make me do it!