A Note About 69B

69B Cover.jpg.opt278x420o0,0s278x420Well here we are at the end of another novel. One that I wasn’t sure would come.

The novel had grown far beyond what I had originally thought it would be: a short twelve thousand word novella with a lot of blood and people dying. It didn’t turn out that way though. The first issue being is that people kept living.

My ordinal intent was to introduce the characters in the first part, kill most of them off in the second and let the third part be mostly about Oliver. However, my characters kept on living and fighting, proving that the author doesn’t have as much control over his or her characters as first thought.

Towards the middle of the novel, I thought it would be fun to see how long I could keep it going, inviting people to submit character sketches for a chance to be in the novel. I only had one person submit a character sketch and added another in myself. The interactivity didn’t pan out how I thought it would but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. The same friend that submitted the character sketch pointed out that it would be impossible to keep the novel going forever and I would eventually have to think of an ending.

When I arrived at the beginning of Act Three, I still had no concrete idea about how to end it, but as I wrote an idea began to take shape. What if fighting against what I wanted to do, I let the characters tell me? I knew that they would prefer that good triumphed over evil. I wasn’t sure how many people would die in the end and even some of the characters I killed off worked their way back on to the pages.

A vague idea for an ending began to make itself known and I wondered how I would write it. I let go completely and let the characters tell the story they wanted, something I’m usually loathe to do. Turns out, they knew what they wanted to do all along, I just had to let them.

Did I get to every story line that I left hanging? I think so, but there might still one or two left dangling or ones that didn’t work out how I had originally intended. And that’s just how it has to be. It’s the nature of a serial novel in that it’s unpredictable, but I still had an absolute blast.

And I hope you did, too. Thanks for following along on this journey as I tried, chapter by chapter, to figure out what the hell I was doing. Thanks to all the people who eagerly awaited each chapter and asked me to write faster. If you didn’t read the novel, would I still write it?

Of course I would, but it’s always more fun having everyone along for the ride.

Jamieson Wolf

August 6th to October 20th, 2013

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coda – Shane and Justin

69B Cover.jpg.opt278x420o0,0s278x420Three months later

Shane let himself into the apartment and experienced a thrill. He always did when he came home. The thrill filled every fiber of his being and he relished it.

“Babe? Is that you?” Justin said. He was in the kitchen and something smelled wonderful.

Walking towards the scent of something delicious, Shane saw something else equally delicious when he entered the kitchen. Justin stood at the stove, stirring something in a pot. “How was your day?”

“Good, but I couldn’t wait to get home.”

“I couldn’t wait for you to get home.” Justin said. When he kissed him, the thrill that ran through Shane intensified until it seemed to go beyond his body. Shane broke the kiss to wrap his arms around Justin and pulled him close.

They had found the apartment only days after 69B ceased to exist. Shane and Justin had suggested they move in together. Anything had to be better than the two of them staying with their sets of parents. Shane had agreed in a heartbeat.

He had never gotten to the moving in stage of a relationship before and was terrified that he would fuck it up; but he needn’t have worried. It was as if he had been waiting his whole life for Justin and the love that he gave. Shane returned that love with equal intensity.

Shane broke away just to look at Justin, not believing that Justin was his, and that they belonged together. He had always wanted to get to the living together stage with someone he loved-it had just never happened. Now that it had, he didn’t want it to ever end.

“How was your day?” Justin asked. “My big powerful supervisor.”

Shane blushed. He had been promoted to supervisor in the call centre he worked at. Shane still couldn’t believe his good fortune. A job he now enjoyed now that he didn’t have to be on the phones or do shift work and a man he loved more than anything? It was bliss. “It was all right. A lot to learn but I’m happy to do it. I had lunch with Diane and Moira today.”

“How did that go? Are they okay?”

“Yes, never better. Moira and Giles bought a house and are moving in next month. Diane saw Corey, he’s doing well. He opened his new practice finally. No more visiting doctor stints for him. She also said that Petunia and Jo are getting married. We’ll get the invitations next week when they drop by.”

“Looking forward to it. I saw Valhalla, alias Victor, down at the market today. He’s growing his own vegetables now. He said we could have the medical grade marijuana he was growing super cheap.”

Shane laughed and experienced another happy thrum running through his body. It was good to know that they had all been able to put everything behind them. He only wished the dreams would stop. Every night he and Justin both dreamed of what had happened at the apartment building, of the darkness that had tried to claim all of their lives.

“Did you speak to LaWanda today? You were supposed to call her this afternoon.”

“I did. She had an idea about how we can stop the dreams. She thinks my idea might be a good one.”

“What idea?”

“Come here, I’ll show you.”

Shane followed Justin into his office. It was really a second bedroom but it let in lots of light and suited Justin perfectly. He stood in front of his computer and pointed at the screen. “I already started. Take a look.”

He looked at the screen and received a shock when he saw his own name looking back at him. Moving closer, he read:

 

Shane wondered if he was getting carpel tunnel syndrome from clicking his mouse button too much.

            God damned mother fucking internet dating sites. He had his profile up on so many of them for a week and still hadnt heard a response. Shane wondered if this was the Internet version of instant judgement-the physical equivalent of an eye roll or a sneer. He was aware that the world of the Internet held little emotion and there were no social etiquettes-however, he just wanted a response.

            But it was like high school all over again, really. You sit there, your picture amongst thousands of others and hope that something about you will catch their eye-then you wait. And wait some more.

 

“What is it?” Shane asked. “What are you writing?”

“It’s about everything that happened to us. I’ve talked to everyone so I can get the timeline of that evening in order and make sure I get everything down. I didn’t want to leave anything out.”

“What are you going to call it?”

“69B. Appropriate, wouldn’t you say? I’m going to finish it and get out of the romance business, make a bold new move to horror. My agent and publishers are already salivating for it. They’re calling it a paranormal murder mystery. No one but us will know that it all really happened.”

“Why would you want to write it down?”

“So that we don’t forget. So that we always remember.”

“Why would we want to remember that?”

Justin looked at him with a smile on his face that was matched by the one in his eyes. “If you think I’m going to forget our first date, you better think again.”

When Justin kissed him by the glow of the computer screen, Shane let him, feeling that all was right with the world.

Shane kissed him back with all his heart and, for the first time in a long time, he thought he would have a dreamless sleep tonight.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3.16 – Player 4 – LaWanda

69B Cover.jpg.opt278x420o0,0s278x420The birds that had plucked them off the trees began to circle around them. LaWanda knew these weren’t ordinary crows and ravens. They were his children. She heard the sound of wind chimes and tinkling bells on the breeze. Looking up she saw only brightness.

Shielding her eyes, she looked back down only to see a man and a woman in front of her. She heard all the others and knew they were safe. The birds had put them down on the other side of the trees.

“Are you his children?” LaWanda whispered.

“Yes, I am Lenore and this is Edgar.”

“I read about both of you. I know what you did.”

The brightness spoke. Inside of the light, she saw the White Lady and knew that they were all right, but they weren’t done. “What happened in the past is immaterial. My children seek to right the wrongs that they did to the world by saving you. Do you still have the bottle?”

There was an earth shattering scream from behind them as LaWanda took out the bottle of holy water. The red eyes in the house followed her every movement. “Yes, here.”

Lenore held out her hand for it and smiled at LaWanda. “Thank you. I’m so happy you could help us end this, that you were all brave enough to fight.”

“What are you going to do with the holy water?” But LaWanda already knew the answer. She could see it in her minds eye, could recall the flames in the darkness when she was trapped in the ether. Was this where they were heading all along?

“You already know.” Edgar said. “What we have to do.”

There was the sound of bells again and the flapping of birds wings. LaWanda watched, surrounded by everyone, as the black cloud rose and a flame came to life from the centre of it. The holy water had been lit and it was the only bright spot in the darkness that moved around it. The cloud began to move towards the building with surprising force.

“They’re going to smash into the building!” Diane said. She sounded frightened. LaWanda, however, only smiled.

“I think that’s the general idea.”

LaWanda watched as the black cloud hit one of the eyes in the window. There was screaming unlike any that LaWanda had ever heard before, as if someone were being torn apart.

There was another scream and they saw the eyes from within the flames. A voice screamed and raged at them. “You’re mine! The game isn’t done! It’s not done until I say so! You’re all blood to me!”

The White Lady gave LaWanda a final wise glance, light in her eyes. “Thank you.” She said softly, so only LaWanda could her. The White Lady shot towards the window and the fire that contained her children. She was a cloud full of lighting and when she hit the fire, the sky was filled with brightness and heat that she could feel from where she was.

There was a deafening boom and the entire building was enveloped in white light laced with black, as if the light were bleeding out.

All of them stood together and watched. No one said a word and there was nothing that needed to be said. There was one more loud bang that rang like a thunderclap and when it was gone, so was 69B.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3.15 – Player 12 – Moira

69B Cover.jpg.opt278x420o0,0s278x420 Moira was terrified of heights, absolutely petrified of them. Along with demons infesting he dogs, the rodents that had taken her Giles, the shadow man and the drag queens, this was the absolute worst on her list.

Her hands were slipping on the branches and she knew she could hold on no longer. She was too afraid, too petrified, even after all that she’d been through. Moira wondered if it was easier to stop fighting and just let go. They had been on the first floor of the apartment building, but the trees needed to be traversed, to be scaled for safety.

Moira didn’t think she could do it and was about to let go when she heard a voice she recognized, one she had longed to hear again. “Don’t let go yet, Moira.”

Edward spoke from around her instead of inside her head. “I’m so tired. So afraid.”

“Now is not the time to be afraid. You have to be strong, sweetheart. Your man is waiting for. You only have a few more feet to go, just a few more feet and then you can fall to safety. You can do it.”

“No, I can’t.”

“Yes you can or you’re not the woman I married. Just a little further.”

With all her strength, she pulled forward. The building and the trees seemed to have grown while she climbed. 69B was bigger than it was, almost as if it had grown due to the evil inside it. Ignoring the wind that rushed past her, she went forward again. She was almost there, almost. Then there was the sound of birds wings. She tried not to look, but it was impossible, she had to. Hundreds of black birds, she suspected ravens and crows, flew at her. She screamed and did let go; but she didn’t fall.

Looking to her left and right, she saw that she was held up by the birds, who had taken her clothing in their beaks. She looked behind her and above her and saw that Shane, Justin, LaWanda, Diane, Petunia, Corey, Jo and Valhalla were all surrounded by their own flock of birds and they were all heading to the ground. Expecting to be dropped into the branches and brambles of the trees, she was surprised when she touched down softly.

“I knew you’d make it, honey. That’s my girl.”

Giles was in front of her, holding out his hands. He was fully formed again and she was able to touch and hold him. “How is this possible?”

“You’re love for me kept me alive. I don’t know how else to explain it. He can’t abide love. He couldn’t even touch me.”

“That’s impossible.”

“Nothing is impossible.” Giles said and held close to him. She welcomed his embrace. She would have stayed there forever if the ground hadn’t started to rumble, making her look towards 69B through the trees.

The rest of them turned to look too, and they all saw the same thing. In every window was a blinking red eye and the front door had elongated itself into a wide slit of a mouth. The broken windows were it’s teeth and they were covered in blood.

“Come back!” What was left of Oliver sounded like the creak of floorboards. “You can’t leave the stage before the games are over!”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3.14 – The Game Masters Daughter

69B Cover.jpg.opt278x420o0,0s278x420            Lenore slipped away when he wasn’t looking.

She slipped into one of the shadows that her father he conjured and was gone in and instant. Then she slipped out of the shadows and darkness in front of her trees, the forest she had created.

She waited only a moment before he arrived, his own dark slice in the darkness. Edgar came out of the shadows like she had, materializing as if out of nothing. Lenore watched the spot he materialized from with wonder. It was as if ink were drawing on the sky in front of her, lines and splotches of it flowing into blobs and rivers and then a shape.  As the ink formed her brothers form, she heard the flutter of birds wings. And Edgar stood before her.

Lenore was silent for a moment, but the words came. “Edgar. It’s been a long time.”

He nodded in greeting. “Lenore.”

More silence broken only by the sounds of those still alive made it out of the building, the rustle of the trees as if struck my wind. Then she spoke again. “Please, let them go. We can stand against him. Together we are stronger. We can end this.”

He studied her for a moment, a flash in his eyes, she wasn’t sure what. Was it understanding or a challenge? She was taken aback when he smiled at her. “It’s good to see you, Lenore.”

“What’s happened to us Edgar? Where did we go?”

Now she could tell that he was the one who was taken aback. “What do you mean? We’re who we are, we can’t fight against what we are either.”

“Can’t we? Do we have to kill? He raised us being who he was, and we lived within his shadow. That doesn’t mean we have to become like him.”

“We can’t change what has happened.”

“No, we can’t. We can’t give back the lives we took, but do we have to take more? Killing isn’t bringing joy. It’s taking it. Aren’t you tired, Edgar? Don’t you want stop? I know I do.”

Edgar shook his head. “He’s too strong. He brought us back from the grave, Lenore. He put us there too. It’s a never ending circle, we can’t escape.”

“We’re not strong enough on our own, but we can be strong together.” Lenore said.

“We all will.”

Lenore looked up and saw a bright white light. When it dimmed, her mother was sitting in the branches. She looked like a human shaped moon. “Mother? You’re supposed to hide in the forest, so he can’t find you. You have to hide.”

“I’m not going to hide anymore. We must aid these mortals, Lenore, and you must help Edgar. Otherwise, Oliver can call on all of us at any time, again and again. Do you want that?”

Edgar was silent for a moment but then nodded. “I’m so tired, Lenore. Mother. There’s been so much blood, so much blood.”

Lenore walked towards him, put a hand on his arm. “There doesn’t have to be.”

Edgar looked back at her and then their mother. He nodded again and Lenore turned to Mary. “Tell us what we have to do.”

Their mother’s form grew brighter still until it was almost blinding. In her ears, Lenore heard her mother one final time. “You know what to do. You both do. Make me proud.”

She lifted up her arms and grew brighter still. Within the brightness, the sound of wind chimes could be heard. Then the light blew apart into a million shards of light that filled the sky above the trees, stars shinning down upon them, giving the forest a soft glow.

When their mother was gone, Lenore turned to her brother and took his other hand. “Are you ready, Brother?”

He looked at her deeply and all she saw was peace. “I am.”

A wind blew with the sound of wind chimes, like sweet hesitant music and Lenore  let the change come. She watched her brother’s form break apart and become a flock of ravens. They sailed upwards and settled themselves on the branches. Their eyes were like black onyx in the moonlight.

Her own change was far less swift and a little painful, but soon there was a flock of crows, Lenore’s eyes and mind in each of them. They flew into the air and settled next to the ravens, awaiting what would come.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3.13 – Player 7 – Barbarella

69B Cover.jpg.opt278x420o0,0s278x420Barberella was pretty sure this was hell. She thought she had been the queen bitch of hell, but she had nothing on this guy. Nothing.

She turned to look at everyone and saw only blood. Everyone was alive, but they were all bleeding from cuts of glass along their exposed skin. Looking down at herself, Barbarella saw that some of the glass had cut the spaghetti straps of her dress. With determination, she stepped out of her hooker heels and her dress and stood along the edge of the room in only his underwear. He was John now.

Wiping his face with the back of his arm, he prepared to do battle. He looked at Justin and tried to convey all he could with his eyes. “I’m sorry.” John whispered. They were the first words he had spoken without a falsetto in over a year.  He kept his voice low. The shadow man materialized in a cascade of broken glass. Shards that fell like shiny bits of sky. The door had burst open and he was here, the manifestation of her nightmares  “I lost myself. I forgot who I was, who you were to me. Be happy, okay? Shane seems like a nice guy.”

Justin cried out and tried to grab his arm, to pull him back, but John would have none of it. Barbarella had been able to take this bastard before, Now it was time to see if John could take her.

“I told you before, shadow man. You won’t take what’s mine.”

When Oliver turned his gaze towards him, John knew he had only seconds to move, so he flew towards the  monster, the one who had threatened what was his, what was their home. The instinct to fight came out natrally in him. It was how Barbarella had come out of him in the first place.

Instead of being a bitch for no good reason, now he had something to fight for. This man, this shadow meant business. He had to make sure that Justin was safe, that Shane and the others got out.

“Go to the tree, and for goodness sake, don’t look down. I’ve been watching the trees while everyone ignored Barbarella. All I can say is don’t look down.”

Going towards Oliver, John had only one intent in mind. That was to give the others time, the minutes they needed to get out alive. He wasn’t sure they all would, but he hoped that Justin was one of them.

“Come and get me, you piece of mother fucking, shadow loving shit.”

“Oh, what’s this? Throwing yourself on the knife for your friends? How very noble of you. John, you must have a lot to make up for. Well, if you insist. Who am I to step in the way of a move in the game?”

Oliver moved towards him. John told himself not to be afraid. He hoped he would be forgiven. He said to himself only once: “I’m sorry.”

He ran towards Oliver, not knowing what he would kill him with. Only knowing that he would die. To John’s surprise, Oliver held his arms out for him, ready to take him in a loving embrace. John tried to stop his momentum, but the shadows reached out for him, the shadows of those damn branches that would save the others would take him. He was okay with that, surprisingly enough. He was ready.

When he went to wrap his arms around Oliver, John met only shadow. He slipped into smoke and fog that faded. It was as if he was there one moment and gone the next. John stood there, stunned for a moment before he felt the first shadow slice into his abdomen. He screamed as blood began to flow out of him. The shadows were real and they were sharp as knifes.

His body became slick with more blood. He turned towards Justin and the others. He saw them sliding onto the branches. LaWanda was helping through the window. When Diane slipped through the glass, and then LaWanda, he knew that it was okay to let go now, that at least he made it, he had gave them the time they had needed. His life had a purpose after all and Justin was safe.

Another shadow rushed at his head, its blade slicing into his eyes, and his head, John let out a deep breath and let go.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3.12 – Player 15 – Jo

 69B Cover.jpg.opt278x420o0,0s278x420           The dead are almost here? Jo thought. Surely you can think of something a bit more definitive than that.

The woman inside her head sighed. What else do you want me to say but the truth?            

Jo sighed as well. It was very odd having a woman talk inside her head. Well, you have to tell them something more concrete than that if youre going to use my voice.

Lenore bristled inside of her. Shouldnt you be in your meadow? Im trying to save everyone here.

Were almost at the end, Jo thought. I need to be here right now.

“Oh, all right.” Lenore said out loud.

“Lenore? What did you mean by the dead are almost here?” This was the one called Shane. Jo hadn’t known him very long but she was very fond of him, Lenore saw only light around him inside of Jo’s mind.

“Just that, Shane. Oliver and Edgar know that my mother and I are trying to help you and thwart him. We’re running out of time. I must get you to mother quickly.”

“All of us?”

“All of you. You must get to the forest, the trees are your only protection.”

“How can we get to them?” This was the one called Justin. Ive read all of his books, Jo thought for her. Hes very talented.

“I built the forest to shield my mother. Whereas Edgar and I were buried, her spirit remained. You know her as the white lady.”

“But how can we get to her?” This one’s name was Petunia or RiverMoonFalls. Jo called her Tunie. “I mean, he won’t let us leave the building. Goddess, I can’t believe that I’m having a conversation with another woman inside of you Jo.”

How do you think I feel? Jo thought.

“I will meet you on the other side of the trees. I’m waiting for you there now. As for how you’ll get there…”

Lenore made Jo wave her hand. There was a creaking outside the apartment building, the sound of old wood cracking and breaking. The one called Diane let out a gasp and this was followed by Moira saying “Well, god damnit. Look!”

The trees had stretched to the window and broken open the glass. The branches slipped into Diane’s apartment and unfurled as if they were flowers. They grew across the floor and stopped only a few feet from Jo. She looked down at them with her eyes and smiled. “A way out.” She said.

“Not quite!”

It was that hissing black voice again and it filled Jo, the part that was left of her, with fear beyond all reasoning. What are we going to do?

Its me he wants. Lenore said.

There was a ripping sound inside of Jo and she experienced a moment of light headiness.  Her world went black but she had a fleeing vision of the meadow, her meadow with the screen in the sky. Then she opened her eyes and saw a beautiful blond haired woman standing over her. “Here. Let me.”

Jo took her hand, trying not to be afraid. She held out her right hand, the one that had been blackened. When Lenore took it, the black tar like substance slipped off her skin like water, as if it had never been.

It seeped into Lenore’s skin and glowed for a moment before disappearing.

“Does that hurt you?” Jo asked.

“No, for I am not really alive. He knows, you must go. I will hold him off for as long as I can, you must all get out and to the other side of the forest. Hurry!”

Jo drew her into a fierce hug and broke away, moving towards the window, when the very earth below them began to shake and rumble. Jo got Petunia out and onto the tree branch and turned to look at Lenore one more time.

“Go. The darkness is gone from you, but leaves you with a gift. Use it wisely.”

Then the glass in all of the windows seemed to explode at once. Jo heard all the windows in the entire building breaking and the glass came down like rain. Petunia was still clinging to the tree branch and made her way up, but it was too late for her.

He had come.

The door blew open off its hinges and the shadow was there. “Daddy’s home. And you’ve been a very bad girl.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment