Sorry for the wait Krhainos, but here is my half many years later!
A progression of this pic can be found here [link]
I saw a photo of a guy doing a blunt slide on a snowboard years ago in a magazine and thought that was one of the raddest things I've seen, so I had to do that for this pic. I also dug the night shots that Transworld would set up, everything blacked except for the rider and target :]
~~Full view takes A TON of the blurriness away! ~~
I just started "seriously" drawing... In the past week I've really started seriously doing pencil drawings, and it's been really fun!
I'm still working on my drawing-fur skills, seeing as I've never really done it seriously before, but I think for a first attempt (well, this is actually the fourth of the three drawings I'm going to post now) it came out really well.
I used an AWESOME photo of a lion I found on photobucket for reference... sadly I can't find the picture (if you search "lion" on google I'm sure you'll find it somewhere. )
EDIT: I replaced it with a cleaned up version (I got rid of all the horrible pencil smudges and stuff on the sides)
Lame title... I know. But the reason for it is because she's waiting for her love to come back to her. Hence the play on the spelling.
I had a ton of fun with this. I'm super proud of the background. I didn't use a single reference for anything in this picture. I even made my own moon. Go me :3
So, another Egyptian picture. I love anything Egyptian, and since I drew Auset before her, I had to redo Kanika. I started a revamp picture of Kanika earlier this year, but it just wasn't doing it for me. It was the same kind of concept, her waiting for Boramier to come back to her. But... just wasn't up to par, and since I waited so long to even put color in it, I won't finish it because there's just too much to fix in it. So. I just started anew. And I'm very proud of how this all came out. The water and the moon are probably my favorite parts in this.
And, if you haven't noticed, Kanika has a scar on her inner thigh. The eye of Ra. Long story behind it, but to wrap it up, a bad guy wanted her, couldn't have her, cursed her by scarring her... tada. Scar. There you have it. Enjoy.
By the way, she's sitting in an outdoor 'bath' that connects into the river. S'why there's vegetation in there.
From shoulder to elbow it was a normal arm, a pink flesh coming out of the sleeve of a green T-shirt. But the pink turned into an unhealthy looking white from the elbow on down. Strayer, my cat, got me. Must have been pretty recently. Noticed it a little bit more than two days ago. She was unnaturally tough. Was she pretending it? She must have had a normal human life two days ago. Did she have family? Why was she here and talking to the enemies of her world? Youre from Narvik? Of course. Not much around here besides the white rose. I lived there with my uncle. You know that you have caused much grief with your raids? You have sunken deep when you killed that old man and the woman. I will always hate you for that. I can understand when you attack our seekers but I knew that woman. She couldnt harm a fly. I was looking at Tage but he just shrugged. You said you were looking for us. And you just said you hated us. I have no knowledge of the raids you mentioned but I did attack humans. So I ask you: do we have unfinished business? Her resolve crumbled. I could see how she fought to keep her breathing even, and the tears out of her eyes. My uncle is part of the council. I wasnt very close to him but he is family. Ive seen them execute those that had become infected. They shoot them and burn their bodies. I didnt want to find out whether my uncle would make an exception in my case. I seek asylum. I seek help. Damn you, Tage. Put that gun away Im incredibly tired. I fear its us that must ask you if we could stay here in your company for the night. I can hardly refuse since its your old shelter. There are some open questions but they must wait till tomorrow. I turned around a mattress, found an only mildly burned blanked and was soon warm and comfortable. The last thing I saw before my eyelids crashed down like portcullises was Tage lying down too. Maybe that was the assurance I needed to fall into a deep sleep. I didnt know what time it was when I finally got up. Hadnt slept enough but it was still dark so it must have been well before noon. I looked around. The little propane lantern was still on spraying yellow light in every direction. Tage wasnt on his mattress anymore. The girls sleeping bag seemed to still hold a body. I wasnt sure whether I would find it alive or dead when I put a claw on the light down filled microfiber cocoon. I sighed in relief when I heard a moan from within. She put her head through the opening and shook her head to clear it. Good morning. Hows the arm? The joints in my hand are killing me and I feel a little bit dizzy but that might be just the morning hangover. Sorry I was too tired yesterday for a proper introduction. Im Glauca and the husky is Tage. Im Liv. Nice to meet you, Glauca. Im not so sure you will stick to that statement. Youre in for a wild ride, physically as well as emotionally. The metamorphosis is hell. While we can reduce the pain and somewhat increase your chances of survival we have no influence on the outcome. But that your cat got you instead of an insect or a parasite is something that might increase your chances. Glauca, thanks for so effectively cheering me up but its not as if I would have a choice. I didnt have an alternative. I would have been killed if I would have stayed. I couldnt run away since I knew from the reports that the time after infection is hell. And so I ran to my enemies. At least I knew that you wouldnt kill me. That reminds me of something. You knew about this shelter and the attack. I had a little chat with another human rather recently. He didnt know about it. I was wondering what your function in Narvik really was besides being your uncles little girl. I guess you must go on wondering then. My past is my past. We should rename Opphold to Graveyard of forgotten pasts I guess. You have yet to meet the council but let me already welcome you in our little scouting party. And how will it go on from here? I guess you have two or maybe three days that you can spend on your feet. After that its a month of pain, hallucinations, fever dreams and complete misery. So we best get you to our place and introduce you to our professional team of helpers with first hand experience before you keel over. Tage was a little on edge yesterday. Was it because I was human, or that I am in your old shelter? We had a long day and a long way home. And the attack on this shelter was our own analogue to the attack on the old lady that you mentioned yesterday. Many in Opphold have lost friends and dear ones in the blast. And you killed four humans during that attack. If you want to keep alive you should at least keep such details for yourself. Yes, we attacked attackers. We could play that game for hours each trying to put the others sins on the scale. The outcome wont help anybody. All we would get is a huge heap of sins that nobody would touch ever touch. How old are you by the way? Its hard to tell who Im talking to with your body and the distorted voice. You want to know how serious you need to take me; whether Im a kid or a guy in its fifties? Could it possibly matter? I didnt want to offend you. I guess its just a human thing. I wouldnt need to ask if you were human. Its all new to us. Its an uncomfortable question since we are all uncertain of how long we will live. It hit me when I was 27. Im 24. And youre right; it doesnt matter. I had a good job in the accounting department in the town hall of Narvik. Instead of having a good life I saw people vanishing or mutating, the disorganization and mayhem followed by violence. I told you this much about my past to make you understand. I had a normal life but circumstances drew me into hell. Im not a bad person. Never thought you would be. But today thats no criterion that makes you immune to our violent times. Your story is nothing special; we all can tell similar tales. At that moment Tage came through the hole. Morning everybody. Philosophizing again, Glauca? Morning Tage. You know; its a habit of mine. Cant help it. Im Tage, by the way. Im Liv. Nice to meet you, Tage. Man Im starving. I remember, that we couldnt carry all our supplies when we left this shelter. Anything left in that cupboard? I saw Liv jerk and her eyes widening. This place has been raided, Tage. Even if we found something we couldnt trust it. I said. He checked the remains on the floor and on the counter. A shame that is. Theres canned meat, noodles, even tomato paste and dry onions. Would have been such a nice feast after the rations, Sams burned rice and dry bread. The kitchen reminded me of how Sara and I had hidden the generator before we left. Could you check on the gen while youre in the kitchen? Should be beneath the floor board of the last compartment. Still there. A miracle since all drawers have been bulled out. While he checked Liv had turned around, rolled to her left where her backpack stood and was pulling out some packets. I have honey rings, milk powder, some noodles, instant soups, dried peaches, dried apple rings and the rest of my bread, caraway seed. Caraway? I guess I will relieve you of the burden of carrying that heavy bread around with you. Tage said his eyes lightening up. Do you mind sharing the apple rings? I asked. Not at all. Help yourself. The flavor was sweet and more than welcome after the rations. After breakfast we packed and headed out along the beach once more. The sun was up and exposed us. We had to take cover twice hearing snowmobiles on the street further up in the east. A little bit more traffic than usual. Tage remarked. I kept my silence. Tage knew what the patrols were looking for and why. And it was up to him to decide if he wanted to talk with me about yesterday in front of Liv or not. After a while he said: Glauca, Ive been thinking this morning. Woke up and felt empty, exhausted. Im not sure I want to explain things or whether I could. I just wanted to tell you that I wished some things would have been different yesterday. True, he had messed up my attempt to establish communications. And he had done it quite thoroughly. But I didnt feel as if I would be the person he should apologize to. But a start was a start. I was high on adrenaline too I replied. And would have preferred us to make decisions together. Im no expert in social communications so Im sorry too for having acted without appreciating your advice. But I guess you know the feeling when you have an idea or feeling and simply shut out every interference. It sure was a wild ride. Im not looking forward to reporting to the council this evening. Me neither. More bad news. Are you two sure youre not gay? Liv asked with a wry smile. I guess you have never seen males during a football evening. That little emotion youve seen is nothing compared to the tears, laughter and belly bumping when real men come together to enjoy a real masculine sport event. I countered. I didnt want to let the converseation touch our relationships. Tage would be reminded of Gota and I had my own sensitive spot still dreaming of Saphira. And I doubt that shopping tours and little make-up pajamas parties let you seem any less lesbian. Tage added. Touché. And I guess holding hands isnt your thing. Still the walk along the beach the twilight I just couldnt help it. We all had to grin. It was a little bit forced but a nice distraction. We arrived late in the afternoon, knocked the code and once more looked into the muzzle of Ingrits scattergun. Hey Ingrit, youre holding that thing in my face just to show me that you can finally hold it right? Tage joked. But he was right. The shoulder support had been shortened , the trigger guard had been removed and the barrels shortened. Tage, if you were not breathing I would think you were born without brain. We changed the code a week ago! One of these days youll end up with your brain nicely spread over the bushes. Now get in. We were worried since we expected What that behind you? A human? Not quite. Liv said and waved her white arm. Its been some time since new faces arrived. I had been wondering why. But come in. Some rice and fish is still in the pot. While we warmed up and ate we introduced Liv to Opphold. A silence grew. Sam, Artur, Sara, Ingrit and Ake were looking at the two of us. I didnt like to talk about what happened in Narvik in Lifs presence since I felt ashamed but she was a part of Opphold now and would learn of it sooner or later anyway. Tage explained how we got in, I took over when he had finished describing the pub and the number of snowmobiles in front of it. I covered the tale up to the explosion in the tunnel. And Tage briefly finished the rest. A silence followed. We should post sentries day and night, not only patrols. Sam said with a sigh. Wont change much. Ingrit murmured. Sara grinned. You two made it back in two pieces. Good enough for Glaucas first recon tour, I think. Did all this change the plan, I wondered. The situation within Narvik seems to heat up. The organization still seems coordinated but the emotional atmosphere is destabilizing from what we heard from Arvid. In addition they are killing their Pandora cases. Never liked that name, Ake said. It sounds so apocalyptical. Ingrit smiled, looked at the rifles in the corner. Fits then. Sam, Sara; what comes next? In a way we already attacked them. We dont know their casualties but the booby trap was not a grenade but one of the big mines. I guess that one or two of our pursuers died while several other might have been wounded. Doesnt change anything, Glauca. The little girl with the eerie deep voice said. The animal has been wounded. Peaceful parallel existence is now far away. Even if we do nothing we face an attack as retaliation. We can only end this by breaking their organization, when we attack their headquarters. And that will be in five days. You think you can simply run into the center of Narvik with a few hunting rifles, face 150 humans with rifles, grenades, mines and explosives and come out alive? We were not telling you everything, Glauca. Sara added. We were not sure on whose side you would be and were watching you for a while. In the meantime Tora and Artur were doing extra reconnaissance work and Sam and Joel bought more explosives. We wont tell you the details yet but there wont be an open out attack. I see. It was a long day; Im going to bed. Glauca, dont take it emotionally. We do what we must. Sara, thanks for the advice but at the moment right and wrong seem to be the same. And when somebody tells me not to take it seriously it ruffles my scales. Im not Sara, Im just tired See you all in the morning. I laid down on my mattress in the corner, rolled myself in the blanket and soon was asleep. The next two days went by very fast. When I was not on sentry duty I was raiding the shops for screws and bolts, carried weapons and equipment to the shelter Ake and I had checked for his brother when we first met. It was just a few blocks from the pub. Liv got worse and worse. The white skin, that strangely resembled a fungus, had reached her neck and she was burning hot with fever. Her fingers had shortened slightly and some white hairs could be seen on her arm. It was mostly Joel sitting on her side and tending to her needs but Sara and I replaced him whenever we could. She slept a lot although her restless movements didnt make it look like a comforting sleep. She opened her eyes. Hey Glauca. Seems Im on the first hill of the ride; looking forward to the thrill. Itll be over before youre aware of it. Liar. This place has become busy. Its the attack, right? Dont think about that now. You will not be part of it. I doubt I would want to. Ive had my share. What are your reasons? After what I heard the other day an attack after anothers not your style. I have my reasons. I Hard to explain. I have seen something wonderful in life since I changed. Something so sweet that I sometimes doubt I really ever felt it. Im here to learn. I need to see my fill of the other side to be able to enjoy and appreciate the sweetness of life. I have the irrational feeling I dont deserve it. Its philosophical nonsense as Tage would say but this hedonistic philosophy is so real for me that it has brought me here whether it was rational or not. I have seen what you seek. Maybe not as deep as possible but deep enough to turn my back on it. In a way I can understand you although what you do is really foolish. Go and visit madness. And maybe you come back. Maybe you will show me then that sweet feeling of yours. Maybe. And you get through the fever with your mind in one piece; the world has enough insane existences at the moment. Ill be there if I can. Youre not alone in this. She closed her eyes and that was the last time I spoke with her before the attack. I held her hand, offered water but she would only sip on it without becoming really conscious. The day before the attack we all came together for instructions. We were all tense although the others probably knew more about the big plan than I did. We need a rabbit. Sam opened the meeting. He or she should be able to handle a snowmobile sufficiently well, best have some experience with it. Glauca, your anatomy doesnt qualify you; Ingrit, Artur, Tora and Sara youre out of question too. And Joel is still a kid. That leaves me Tage and Ake. Guys, do we have a volunteer or do you want to pull straws? Silence. Ill do it. All were looking at Tage. No big deal, is it? They will chase you and the air will be hot and leaden. Sam said. You asked for a volunteer. You have one. Now lets go on before I change my mind. Ingrit and Tora; you two will prepare the alley. Glauca youre our lookout. Artur, you will be on the roof where you have the best view and trigger the packs. Ake, you assist Tage. You help him with the snowmobile acquisition and cover our retreat. You all agreed to the plan and have been briefed individually. Any questions? That was the plan they had worked on for weeks? I must have missed something. Could you be a little bit more specific? You will go with Ingrit and Tora tomorrow. Sam said. You will support Artur from the ground. It is your job to warn Tora and Ingrit when a patrol comes too close. You know, that I am likely to make mistakes when I dont know the full plan? Ingrit will make sure you know it all once you are in position. Sam, I will go with you tomorrow. But you expect me to be part of this machinery. How do you think I know how to contribute to it in my own individual way when you keep the mechanism covered? As I said, you will be told tomorrow. And relax; its just an easy lookout job. I dont like the taste of it. I might be more comfortable if I knew what will await me tomorrow. Its just the nerves playing tricks on you before a fight. Dont worry. Itll be alright once it has started. As I said; Ill be there. I gonna step outside for some fresh air. Mind if I come with you? Sara asked. I can hardly refuse, can I? The air was cold and clear, the sky filled with stars. I felt the chill cool my mind. I had needed that. Sams right, you know? We all are on edge before a major attack like that. Sara, I know Im unable to find the words to describe the feelings inside me. My heart is not behind what Opphold is doing. I dont believe its the right way especially when theres so much mistrust. I will fight with you tomorrow to learn my lesson. And I will leave Opphold afterwards. I wont fight the war thats comming. You will be on your own again, exposed. You came to Opphold because you were wounded, tired, starved and hunted. Look at you now. You are warm, fed, have company and can communicate again. Your life is richer now. I know. And still this life would kill me eventually. I cant look into your soul; dont know whether youre immune to the poison or if your inside is already scarred without you having noticed it. I dont want to know; I wont ask. The others need you and who would I be to question another persons solution? I fear tomorrow. Not because I fear being injured or killed. Nor do I care much about casualties on our or the enemys side to be honest. Im afraid of making a mistake too big to be ever able to forget again. I already live a second chance. I cant expect to get a third. Your soul is your responsibility and yours alone. Theres not much anybody can do for you there. I didnt quite get what your job will be tomorrow. I will function as a front sentry and as messenger. Quite similar to what you will do on the other side. Alright. Ill try to get some sleep. See you tomorrow. Good night, Glauca. The night wasnt good. I cant say I had bad dreams but it definitely wasnt a refreshing sleep. I woke up frequently, was hot and cold, far too aware of the hard floor and the sounds of breathing, snoring and soft chirping that filled the room. I saw Sam getting up and joined him in the corner far right corner with its plastic covered floor and the shower bag. Nmorning Sam. Could you fix me a shower after youre done? Morning Glauca. I wont need all the hot water today. Give me five minutes and the shower will be yours. Thanks. Half a bag wasnt much but I never used a full bag anyway. I jumped and leaned against the wall, pulled the cord to let the water flow out of the black bag that was hanging down from a hook in the wall beneath the roof. The warm water was refreshing; it washed away the bad taste in my mouth, cleared my head and found its way beneath every scale. Normally there was a little resistance when dry scales moved against each other. When they were wet it felt as if every scale was oiled, a strangely intoxicating feeling. I spread the soap towel and rolled myself into it. I didnt really like using soap anymore. If I used too much soap or used the towel too long I would get a very unpleasant itching beneath my scales. So I kept that part short and turned the shower back on and let the water flow until the bag was exhausted. Ingrit had already more water on the stove. I looked out of the window and saw just more of the darkness that was so familiar by now. Ingrit, do you know what time it is? Five in the morning. Could you help same with breakfast? I went to the cupboard and took out some bread and marmalade since Sam had already gotten out the plates. I once more envied those of us that went on two legs and had their hands free. I was painfully aware of the hopping gate that I was limited to when carrying something in one claw. I was always somewhat ill at ease when I found myself so badly adapted to human environments. I hadnt felt that way up in the Sarek. I longed to be back there. Had Rolf forwarded my ill presented request to the council? He did call the CDC so I had no reason to mistrust him. And what was Saph doing at the moment? Had she found her heaven? Maybe I could go and see if I could pick up her trace somewhere after this mess. It was a bright thought that light up my day together with having had a good non-itching shower. Breakfast was strangely normal. Nobody mentioned the attack; all joked, and filled the time with small talk, nonsense about the medical consequences of Sams cooking, the weather and the coming summer. We cleaned the dishes and packed the remaining gear. Joel, is it ok when you are responsible for Liv until were back? Sara asked. I like taking care of her. Sam cleared his throat. Tage, I thought about that glass of the pubs windows. The risk that the plastic on the inside would make the window too strong for a simple stone is too high. Its too risky and you dont have much time. Pick me up before you go there and I will produce a hole for you to throw the packet through. He shouldered his Calashnikov and handed out the other rifles. Welcome in the delivery business. Tage joked and clapped the young girl on her shoulder. Did you get that with the explosives? I asked pointing at the AK 47. Special equipment for special jobs. And it was cheaper than the other they had Sara, do we have everything? We could do it with what we have stored on site. Ok guys, lets go! It felt more like going for a family picnic than going to war. I guess that was part of the madness. While we went through the vegetation to the ring of farms around Narvik I kept on having that catching tune in my head, Vivaldis Allegro Der Fruehling. I had a hard time focusing on my task. It was wonderland again, so far away from reality it could not possibly be part of reality. I sobered up when we came to the shelter, packed the big bangs, the cables, batteries and switches, the plastic covers and pipes. We brought it to an alley half a mile from the shelter. Two concrete bee hives were standing close together leaving a 100 yards alley without doors between them. The blocks were buily in the sixties when tourism started to increase. They had offered cheap apartments but had been half empty even before Pandora hit Narvik. Now they were only skeletons, some windows pushed in by storms and dirty from neglect. We brought the gear to the first floor of the left complex. Sara checked the gear. Sam and I will go back to the shelter and get the rest. Glauca, do you see that hedgerow over there? That will be your post. Give us a sign if a patrol comes that way. Its the southeastern side of the alley and rather far away from the center but we dont know. How am I supposed to give you a sign? Do you want me to shout? If you want to, sure. But you might prefer Sams modified walky-talkies. Sam? Its nothing special. The communicator already generates sound output. I just modified the connectors of the radio. You just have to set it to channel five and auto-trigger . See? Let me help you strap this to your arm . Try it out. I made the commands with my arm. The radio on Sams arm, on Saras and Ingrits shoulders went on, hissed Test, test. It works. Does it have a privacy switch or will everybody hear what I say from now on? Remember the command signs? You know on and off, you know the volume control. This one.. He touched the inside of the second joint of his baby finger with the tip of his thump, is the output control. You will just rotate through the choices. If you make that sign you can switch between speaker and external device. Nice. I said the box on my shoulder. Tora, you can start setting the six packs. Make sure the two facing out cover the whole square. You might have to change the angle slightly. Artur, get your gear and throw down the cables to Tora. Ingrit, could you prepare the delivery? We dont have much time. Once Ake and Tage have intercepted the snowmobile patrol our clock is running. That should be in 15 minutes. I want the delivery within 10 minutes after that. Ok guys, lets get going! I left with Sara and Sam but went straight for the position Sara had indicated. The two blocks were nothing but big long cuboids. The small alley formed a T with a bigger street. The corner of a house shielded the alley from my sight but I could clearly see both ends of the street the alley ended in. I switched to radio. Im in position. Sara you still owe me that explanation. I guess I do. Sam wants me to keep it brief to keep the frequency clear. We know the patrol schedule of the eastern ring street. Tage and Ake will use a steel cable to get a patrol from its snowmobile. They dispatch him and Tage will drop Ake off on his way here. Ake will cover the first groups retreat to the east that is Ingrit, you, me and Artur. Tora, Sam and Tage will go west. Somethings missing in between, Sara. I looked at both ends but nothing moved. I tasted the air. Nothing unusual underneath the smell of rotting wood, wet waste and ash. Tage will pick up Sam and they will do a drive-by in front of the pub. Sam will shatter the glass while Tage throws in a timed C4 package that is covered with the nails and bolts you were sent to get the other day. We dont expect the loss to be total. Our reconnaissance identified a hunter group of unknown size that isnt stationed at the pub. They have been seen in the pub and are likely responsible for the attack on our old shelter. We expect them to pursue Tage and Ake. The bait will head for the alley from the northeast with company on its tail. Once they are clear of the alley Artur will trigger the metal coated packs on your side. The pressure in that small area and the shrapnel spray will be enough. A second pair on the other and will deal with other pursuers while the wide spray bombs on the entrance on the outside of the northwest entrance will kill the rest. I felt empty. I had known it; I could not possibly claim ignorance. There was no way back, the way out let through this swamp. In for a penny in for a pound. Somethings coming from the east end of the street, Sara. A snowmobile. Tora, put the electric meter covers over the packs, and go inside; someones coming. Copy that. The 120HP Yamaha Viking came closer, a white cloud of fine powder behind it. The rider surely had a hell of a fury suit Its Tage. Tora, whats your status? Who wants to know Its me, Sam. Your status? Were almost done. Packs are on the wall, attached to Arturs triggers. Were struggling with the covers of the second back inside the northwest entry; the Pack is too big. Doesnt fit beneath the cover. Ill send Sara out. Thanks The snowmobile skidded to a halt in front of me. Hi Glauca. Man, without the helmet and the suit this sure is fun. He laughed. Did you have trouble with the patrol? Not at all. He hit the wire with his throat and did a nice back flip. Crashed his windpipe and we broke his neck to spare him the suffocation. Ake is in position. Hey Tage Try not to mutate into Swiss Cheese. You still owe me that race. Glauca, this is not madness. Here is my place. Im happy, not mad. Good luck, Tage. I guess Sams waiting for you inside. See you later! I saw him parking in front of the left complex, going in and returning after what seemed five minutes with a small bag in front of his chest and a little girl in a red parka, a Russian assault rifle hanging from her shoulder. Guys, whats the status? acks are armed and covered; Ingrit, Tora and I, we are heading for cover, Sam. Northwest clear. The triggers are ready, all clear up here. Artur reported. Southeast end clear. Ake in position. Good luck everybody. Alright see you all in the shelter. Here comes payback for Alfred, Johan, Maren, Nils, Gota, Derek and Sven! You forgot my little brother Ake added but Tage had already powered up the three cylinders of the Yamaha and both were already heading north, to the pub. It cant have been more than five minutes that we waited but it was an eternity for me. I frequently hold my breath to listen but there was nothing besides the ghost of distant engine sounds. When the first boom of machinegun fire rolled over the scene I felt relieved and tense at the same time. The wait was over but the page had been turned and we were facing the next chapter. A deafening boom came from the north that shook the ground. A series of single shots broken by volleys filled the silence. Every shots echo multiplied endlessly in the maze of concrete walls until I wasnt sure whether the now unbroken series of explosions was due to echos or a machinegun platoon unloading their magazines the Mexican way. Do you see him yet? I asked the others. Negative. But there was a whining beneath the shots. But I think I can hear an engine coming in. Cant confirm that, Glauca. Artur, do you hear something? I think so but from the west. Wasnt Tage supposed to take a direct route, Sara? That was the plan. Sara, the sounds coming closer. I reported. Sam, this is Sara. Are you ok? The engine noise that was coming through the ether next almost drowned out Sams voice. Sara too many Tage turn left!... Well come in North! Ahh... krack! Sam? SAM! SAM, can you hear me!? Sara, I see something coming from the northwest! Ok everybody. The plan changed. Prepare for northeast approach! I could make out a snowmobile coming close with reckless speed and still the sound of gunfire reverberated between the walls of the city. With every second I could see them clearer. They might have had a head start but they come in a mad zigzag and I can see at least three more snowmobiles behind them make that five. Artur, we seem to have a big tail approaching from the wrong side. You might delay and let two targets pass the exit until you trigger the outside spray packs. You know that whoever will be in the plaza at the end of the alley will be pulp, Tage and Sam included? Artur asked, the words distorted. His hand must be shaking. I know; Sam would want it that way. You will trigger the charges, Artur! Dont let us down! The little point that had become a black object and then Tage with Sam behind him came closer and closer. And with them the gunfire. Tage was now madly zipping from one side of the street to the other. I saw something slipping from the seat. 400 yards 200 yards, 100 yards. I saw a red cloud over the snowmobile; it got slower. And slower. The driver slipped off the seat. I didnt think. I dont know why I did what I came next. Maybe it was just to finish what I had begun, to see work blossom. Maybe I was afraid that the pursuers would find me behind my cover now that they advanced from this side. I really dont know. The engine was still running, the Snowmobile had slowed down after Tages hand had slipped from the throttle control, the gear was still in and the splinter wristband dangled unused, wrapped around the bar. I dove through the hedgerow and would almost have frozen seeing the whole street filled with a cloud of white dust and the deafening whining of at least five snowmobiles. Fear can freeze your action or speed them up. In my case it did both and after the initial stop I covered the 20 yards with personal best time. Jumped on the seat from behind, took hold of the handles, clawed deep into the foam of the seat and turned the throttle control hard. The machine jumped forward and the first two seconds I thought I would not be able to control it, madly tipping from side to side. The bloody plastic shield in front of me cracked when two more shots tore out pieces causing the upper part to rip off by the wind. I covered the remaining yards and zoomed through the alley with the first three snowmobiles only ten yards behind me. There was the exit, the light between the two blocks, was that Artur on the roof? The plaza; I had to cover it before An enormous explosion turned my tail that was hanging from the rear to the left, lifted be up. I heard metal hitting metal like rain on a car roof. Then I hit the big trash container, skidded over the top and fell hard on the concrete behind it. I heard more explosions, more rain before I sank into a wonderfully soothing sleep. Sara, I think Glaucas coming back. Noel No Joel was the voices name. Somewhat familiar. I felt some fog above my consciousness. The blackness was so much more peaceful. I returned to the blackness. There was taste, somewhere. Salty. Watery. What was it called again soup or broth? It smelled oily at the same time. I tried to open my eyes but the effort hurt so I returned to the blackness once more. I floated in my blackness, warm and cozy. Every now and then sensations would intrude but I ignored them. I was at ease here, no memories, nor worries, just existing. Existing Something was missing for the blackness to be paradise. What was it? I was beginning to feel uncomfortable since I couldnt answer that question. There was that taste again, salty again with the taste of meat and oil. It prickled in my mouth, felt hot. There was a shadow of a bitter taste after the salt and the meat taste were gone. The oily taste sometimes remained. That bitter taste wasnt that bad. Each time the salt and meat taste came I would savor them and wait for the bitter taste. Why did it taste bitter? Burned? I remembered cooking. There were so many spices out there, not just salt, meat, oil and the bitter taste. I remembered fried potatoes with caraway seeds, paprika, separately fried onions, garlic. Garlic was good. I wanted to taste it again. Suddenly the blackness seemed empty, devoid of sensation and stimulation. I tried to escape into the fog but it hurt so much. I succeeded to open my eyes but all I saw were vague shapes. I couldnt move. I tried and it hurt. Pain was bad. Heard something. Maybe the blackness wasnt so bad after all. I let myself fall back again. The liquid black world was free of pain. I was grateful for that. But I still hadnt solved the riddle about the taste. I felt my thoughts becoming sharper as I mulled over the enigma. The fried potatoes had tasted salty too. And sometimes oily. But they had the same bitter taste after all the other flavors were gone. I remembered having tried to produce some fried potatoes when there was a power shortage while I was cooking. I ate it nevertheless. Didnt taste good at all. And I cant remember having tasted the bitter taste then. Bitter taste was somehow linked to good fried potatoes. It was part of it. I had become hungry. I wanted more salty, spicy liquid with the taste of meat in it. I once more fought my way through the fog and opened my eyes. Just shapes. Sara, he has opened his eyes again. That was Joel. Souf! I hissed. There was something about speech. Couldnt quite remember. Want some more soup? I nodded. And there it was again salty, oily liquid with meat taste in it. In comparison this taste was crystal clear, not the almost vague sensation of the black space. I wanted to taste again and again and again. And smell and see. I decided not to return to blackness. I felt tired, everything hurt but I felt. Even with all the pain I dreaded the blackness now. I began to fear it. I returned to sleep but not to darkness.
Someone ordered a set of blue fluorescent bull horns, so I was seeing what I could do to get the color how they wanted. Well, they're UV reactive as you can see, but they're not solid blue. So these are now for sale at $10 each, or $20 for the set, shipping not included.