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The best thing about writing is molding life to characters you find interesting. The worst about it is having these characters crowd your head, unable to get out because you haven't written down the pages for them. Continue writing? Hell, yes. This blog is a way of letting these characters out for a gulp of air. I love creating them. They remind me that there's a nutjob in all of us. Some are in for a brief appearance via short stories. Others are in for the long haul, peppering a novel I have written. Enjoy these stories. After all, life is more fantastic than we imagine it to be.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Gods Are Like Us

Image courtesy of dan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Loss lazily twisted her fiery red curls around her long, candle-like fingers. She tried to enjoy the soft breeze in the balcony. The cloud goddess gifted her with a caftan. She marveled at how soft if felt.
Her brother Ecstasy was late as usual. "Busy spreading joy. One couple at a time," she
whispered to herself. She was about to raise her hand when a servant magically appeared with a hand mirror for her. "Thank you, Matilda."

"Your bath of morning dew is ready."

"That could wait. I need to talk to Ecstasy." She examined her oval-shaped face, not a single line visible on her ancient face.

"He works a lot. That boy should ease up and take it easy."

"Are you saying I'm a slacker? My job is much more taxing. Separating lovebirds. It's the sewer cleaning job for us gods. I tried bribing other gods to do it for me. No takers. They say waging a war is much easier. Nobody else can take all the hysterics!. Too much shouting and crying. These humans love drama! I have to make sure poison letters get to the intended party. Through the ages, I have learned to dodge clothes, glass furniture and crazy things thrown out along with an unwanted lover. Nobody appreciates that. All everybody notices is what dear brother is doing. Don't they realize that I have to fix things when he accidentally hits a couple I previously broke up? Batting average, they split up again!" Her red hair loomed large around her head, framing her now angry face.

"Sister, cut Matilda some slack. Thank you Matilda.
You may leave me to deal with my twin." The servant heaved a sigh of relief and bowed down before making an exit.

Ecstasy bounced down Loss' side. "Another bad breakup? Haven't you learned to cope? You have that almost every single day. PMS? You're not human. New boyfriend? Not another loser, Loss?" He tussled her hair.

"I'm quitting.

"How many times have you told me about that?"

"Oh, Ecstasy. I really do mean it this time. I'm so fed up with breaking up."

"Have you talked to Father and Mother?"

She curled up beside her older brother. "I will. After my trip with Rage."

"You're going out with him? Isn't it too much bad vibes with the two of you together?" he laughed.

"Misery loves company," she moped. "He is good for my work."

"You said that about your previous boyfriends, Pride and Paranoia? Do you realize what was wrong with them?"

"Their names both start with P?"

"Yes, and you skipped S when you hooked up with Rage." He pulled her ear. "Won't my little sister ever learn? These gods are beneath you! They are not even good at what they do. Pride could barely show himself to us. I'm bewildered at how embarrassed he was about he does to humans. Paranoia was a classic example of how a god should not operate. He got eaten up by what he does! He made me so jumpy after I talk to him I would not be able to hook up a single couple for days."

"Rage is different."


"He is assured, confident and good at what he does."

"Is he the reason why you're thinking of quitting?"

"No. I'm tired."

"Who'll take up your work?"

"Father can do it while snoozing. He is not Pain for nothing."

"You do realize that what you do is important?"

"Yes. But it's a bitch of a job. Nobody likes me. I always have a cloud over me, complete with rains and thunderstorms." Upon uttering those words, a small clump of clouds stopped on top of her and let out a cold shower.

"WHAT?!"Loss screamed curses while being drenched.
Ecstasy was torn between laughing and shooing away the cloud that apparently only targeted his sister.
"Why are you laughing, you moron! Help me find the culprit! Oh, it is already such an effort to maintain my extraordinary looks by being Mother's daughter. And I still have to deal with inanities like this!"

Then suddenly the rains stopped and the cloud dissipated. From afar, the sorely drenched Loss and the choking Ecstasy saw their new neighbor, Nature, scold her young son. She called out her apologies. "My deepest apologies Loss. My son Water is so playful. I will send new vestments to you. I'm really sorry."

"But Mother, she said she always had a cloud with rains over her. She did not have one so I made her one."

Before Loss can hurl curses at the mother and son, Ecstasy accepted her apology. Nature called on her other sons, Fire and Air, to dry out Loss before she called on her father Pain to exact revenge for the childish prank.

"Sweetheart, what happened to you?" A thin, young man entered the balcony.

"Young deviants." Came the terse reply while shooting sharp glances at Fire and Air, who managed to stay farthest from Loss while drying her.

Rage planted a kiss on her forehead. "Laugh, my love. They are children." He turned to Ecstasy and shook his hand. "How are you, Ecstasy?"

"Business has been interesting but difficult. How about you?"

"Humans remain to be the simple creatures that they are. But they complicate their lives in ways that baffle me. Who am I to complain? They make my job easier." Rage presents a calm aura. Quite unexpected from a god with a fiery goal.

"Those same complications compete for their attention. I have lesser good hits now than centuries ago. I try so hard, tried every trick I can think of, yet more and more humans are jaded."

"Woe to me. My load increased hundredfold," Loss interjected dramatically.

"I try to consult with other gods on how they're doing. Might help my hits get better. I hear you're going on a trip with my sister?"

"Yes, we'll visit humans."

"What's special about this trip then? We do that all the time?"

"I have been able to persuade her to go as a human."

"Finally able to get over your trauma, Loss?" Ecstasy's boyish face betrayed his concern. "The first and only time she visited as a human was with our father. She never went back in human form."

"You were fortunate. Mother was with you in your first visit."

"I could understand why Ecstasy did not become scarred like you. Your mother, Love, would have shown the best side of humans."

"I only felt their hurt. It was too much to bear given their fragile existence. I never felt that helpless again."

"How will you cope this time?" asked Ecstasy.

"Rage will be with me. He is far more aware how humans survive their flimsy lives. Father opened me up to their pain, the magnitude of which I was not ready for that time," explained Loss.

"Take time off then. The world can do with a breather from breakups," smiled her brother.

"Oh, you thought I will stop performing my duties while I'm away?"

"Shouldn't you take a break? You always worry."

"Ever since that goddess Envy said that she felt she worked harder than me, I cannot allow myself to relax. What will other gods say? That I am slacking off?"

"Dear, dear, calm down. Let's plan our visit first. Shall we? Breathe. Unclench your fists. Stop staring at those two boys. They're already petrified of you."

"You two go ahead. Is that your fiery chariot over there?"

"Yes. I changed that fire color to blue so it won't steal attention from Loss' hair." Rage smiled. "I'll get it ready. Good to see you, Ecstasy."

"We'll leave you here, brother."

"You and Rage seem to be good for each other. I wish I can work my magic on you, Loss. Just to seal the deal a bit more," he laughed.

"Your magic doesn't work on gods, Ecstasy." She kissed him goodbye. "There's a price to being one of us. See you sometime."

Nicolas & Catherine

We've seen incarnations of Romeo and Juliet throughout generations. I have wished that the two lovers were a bit smarter, funnier and definitely lesser on the mushy side. Here's my own version of the star-crossed lovers with a crazier family thrown in for good measure.


Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

"Do you, Catherine of Rothsguile, take Nicolas of MonteSievert?"

"Excuse me?" Catherine could not believe Professor Hamlin uttered such a sacrilege.

"I asked you if you will take Nicolas as your duel partner today? Your pairing is up." She was not quite sure if she saw a smirk flash across the haughty professor's usually scowling demeanor. She glanced at her prospective partner for today, heir to the Sievert fortune and symbol of that family's new blood. Their families' fortunes had run parallel for centuries, the violent animosity never been quenched. Nicolas chatted animatedly with fellow VladSieverts, cousins and allies. They did not seem to have any want for an interesting topic to discuss.

"Why should I refuse? We'll see how the MonteSievert boy holds up," came Catherine's defiant reply.

"Very well. I haven't had this chance at entertainment since your great grand uncle dueled with his great grand aunt." The professor motioned Nicolas to join him and Catherine.

"Hhmmm...Stuff of childhood stories. Great uncle Silvanos lost an arm. They had to bring him to Morocco to grow it out. Centuries of family connections at the Marrakesh Market helped. I can still hear the curses thrown at the MonteSieverts whenever this story is told. "

"Silvanos was a fool. A blundering idiot trying to show off against the MonteSievert girl. She blasted him to bits. I haven't seen that kind of stupid behavior again in your family. Please don't be a repeat of it. Show him no mercy." Professor Hamlin turned to the dark-haired young man by his side, his white skin a beautiful contrast to his raven-black hair. He looked very masculine, the lines of his beard accented his strong jaw.

"Nicolas, you are to duel with Catherine this afternoon. Since you are both in your highly advanced levels, you may use everything in your arsenal. In short, you can do everything except kill each other." This was the first time anybody in their class saw Professor Hamlin break out into a wide grin, like he finally discovered Christmas.

"Where'the fun in that? I'm sure the class has already place their bets, including you." Nicolas laughed. "I daresay you've placed me in a dilemna, fighting with a girl."

"Such an ass," muttered Catherine, which didn't escape Nicolas.

Nicolas glanced at Catherine's backside, "Such an ass."

She glared at him, red waves of infuriation crept up from her neck, making her head seem on fire. Nicolas barely contained his grin. "Do you want to start now?"
Catherine took a deep breath to regain composure, unconciously giving her skirt a slight tug downwards."We'll start at the professor's bidding. Professor, let me know when the duel begins."

While watching her walk away, Professor Hamlin warned Nicolas, "The Rothsguiles are not to be underestimated. They are known to be a deceitful lot. Do not let your guard down."

To which Nicolas replied, "She's cute when she blushes."

Cute was not included in Catherine's mind when she let out a bolt of energy that landed right above Nicolas' head, showering him with a ton of ashes from the burnt tree leaves. Her right rib dug at her skin. Nicolas' smashed her against a brick wall. He was not looking smashing himself. His shoulders and left leg were bloodied from daggers of fiery light that Catherine chased him down with.

"By God, I'm a god. Look at these two. They're way better trained than they should be." Professor Hamlin watched in glee, bringing out the entire class to watch the two heirs of the oldest families he had ever known. Both lineages rose in wealth and in power through the centuries, their survival assured with their supernatural powers. He should know. Generations of MonteSieverts and Rothsguiles had trained before him.

Catherine hid behind a dense stretch of shruberry, trying to control her breath lest Nicolas sensed where she was. "How could I miss that last blast? I had him squarely in my vision. He must have used a reflective defense. Nicolas seems a bit off today. He should have hit me big time by now. He's not the best in class for nothing." She kept still, trying to decipher where he was. "But I have more A's than him. And I, Catherine Rothsguile, intend to be on top of the class."

Suddenly, a deathly silence enveloped her, a white fog appeared, confusing her senses. Catherine slid down to the wet grass, keeping her ear to the ground, letting minute sounds guide her out of the fog. "Ha! He thinks I'm still by the shrub. Am I that good? Or he's being kind. How sweet of...." BLAM! A ball of fire blazed in front of her, barely missing her by a foot. "The fucking bastard is trying to kill me!" She quickly gathered her composure and concentrated on locating Nicolas.

"By the shrub. Nice. Eat this, asshole!" The humongous shrub uprooted itself and torpedoed down Nicolas.

"What the fu-?" It took Nicolas a few seconds to realize what was on top of him. And another few to notice the fire racing through the shrub. "The bitch is trying to put me on fire."

From the corner of his eye, he saw Catherine rising from the grass. For a split second, she was open for target. He raised his hand, the only thing he could freely move now, aimed then released.

"Burn, bastard." Catherine muttered from where she was sprawled. "Wait, the fire is moving quickly. He's not doing anything!" She shouted, "Nicolas, move!". Her mind was raising, "Fuck, he passed out! Because of the shrub? That wasn't so heavy. Weird." She got up, "Nicolas!" The something stirred under the bushes. His hand.

"Fuck! He's going to hit me. Catherine, you brainless idiot." She braced for the oncoming pain. It was cold. Then came the large spatters. It was raining.

The shrub moved away from Nicolas, revealing him lying on the grass, seemingly enjoying the cool drops.

"Is this a joke?" She stood beside him. "Did you make it rain?" Catherine remained intensely alert lest it was all part of a ruse.

"No, blame the old man in the sky." His eyes remained closed on his upturned face. He did not show any signs of getting up. "Or the old woman, whatever your family believes in. Better choose just one so you won’t be confused. My family did once. Become confused, I mean."

She sensed the game ended for him already. "You were not yourself today," her voice sounded relaxed, even concerned.

Nicolas took a sharp breath. "Had a bit trouble focusing today." He opened his eyes and smiled at her. She could not help but notice that his acorn blue eyes looked at her in their usual mischievous way. He bounded up with slight difficulty. "You are good. I got hit a lot. You could have killed me. Though you should really learn not to show concern for me."

"What? What are you talking about?" Catherine's voice could not believe his smugness.

"Really, it could get you in trouble. You should have seen your face when you saw me under the fiery shrub. I did not really get the full look with all those leaves but man, you looked heartbroken. Come on, let's get ourselves healed." Nicolas ambled ahead of her.

She threw her arms up in the air in exasperation. This guy was really an asshole. The freaking nerve! Under the continuous drizzle, MonteSievert and Rothsguile medical teams appeared from the crowd of students to assist their master and mistress.

While lying inside the healing room that looked much too luxurious for healing, Catherine could not help but rant to her long-time nurse, Gertrude. "Isn't the family tired of this....this stupid war?"

"I would gladly ask your parents that the next time we have a heart-to-heart," came the snappish answer. "Stupid? The hell, yes. Personal? To the day they die. When did your father go off on a hunting binge and even took shots at poor bystanders?"

"When he lost the auction bid to Nicolas' father for a Picasso."

"When did your family hold the mother-of-all parties with all the Rothsguiles in full force?"

"When the family took over a company the MonteSieverts were eyeing to acquire."

"And when did your mother last have one of her near-nervous breakdowns?"

"Ah, such silliness. When Nicolas' mother was featured on the front page of the annual list of best-dressed women instead of her. It didn't help that mother dropped from number 1 to number 4."

"And that will go on and on until someone in your silly families grows up. But better not mention that last adjective to your parents. They do take it seriously." She rolled up her eyes.

"Since when did Professor have a taste for designer furnishings?" Nicolas walked in casually into the room.

Gertrude eyed him curiously, amused to see a MonteSievert up close. Catherine was a bit taken back by his entrance but managed to grin. "Mother spruced up the place when she heard I have a duel this week. Maybe the healing is faster in the company of designer labels."

"How are you? Everything healed?" Surprising, he sounded concerned.

"I think so. You?"

"Good enough for a cup of coffee. You want to grab some? And of course, we'd love you to join us, Madame Gertrude. By the way, I am Nicolas MonteSievert." He extended his hand to the blushing nurse. Catherine wanted to throw a pillow at her.

"Oh, oh...don't mind me. You, young people, enjoy yourselves." Catherine raised an eyebrow. Her mother was totally going to kill Gertrude.

"I would have loved to be in a company of a Rothsguile nurse. We can swap stories," Nicolas teased.

"We can do that some other time," was the nurse' gushing reply. Her father would join her mother in killing Gertrude.

"Do you want to meet there?" Nicolas turned his attention to her.

"How about your bodyguards?"

"I can tell them to keep themselves busy. Yours?"

"Gertrude can take care of the boys."

"Let's have some coffee then."

"No. Let's have a drink. After all that banging, I need to relax."

Nicolas laughed, took her hand and led her out. "You're not such a stuck-up, after all."

As they were about to board his Porshe, Professor Hamlin went out to his office balcony. Upon seeing them together, he stopped in his tracks, raised both his arms, yelled something incomprehensible then went back casually to his office.

"What the hell was that?" Nicolas laughed.

"He's insane." Catherine laughed back.

"Just like our families. Your phone's ringing."

Without glacing at her phone, Catherine shrugged her shoulders. "My mother. 17th missed call. Let's go."