The flu hit me pretty hard this year. Every time I thought I was starting to get better, the cough would strike me down. It’s been a couple of days since my last cough, though, so I think it’s safe to say I’m doing better now.
Writing-wise, I feel like I’m starting over. After three weeks of no words, I’m finally able to write again, and it’s both exciting and all over the place.
So, fine; since this feels like a new beginning, I’m going to start over from zero (though, for the record, so far I’ve written 192,760 words this year. Go me!)
Words written: 3,354
Total word count: 3,354
~~ snippet ~~
In my experience, there are only three things more terrifying than facing someone who is more powerful enemy than you.
Watching ravenous zombies shuffle toward your city.
Watching ravenous robots march toward your city.
From the grimoire of Landon Blackwood
The stars were bright above the city. The fact that they could be seen at all from the top of the Observer newspaper building was both a gift and a threat. The Plague was dead, his troops vanquished, and Landon Blackwell…
He hadn’t expected to be.
It wasn’t anything against himself. One didn’t rise to the upper echelon of villainy without merit.
Landon had faced the League of Good Intentions and Great PR countless times. He’d ruled the west coast for six months, before the League finally found a way around his little clockwork designs. He’d found several of their secret bases around town and delivered dead flowers to them every year on Valentine’s Day and always signed the mayor’s name.
They knew him, feared him, and, on occasion, were charmed despite themselves.
And, for all of the times he’d faced the supposed heroes, Landon—aka Dr. Shadow, aka he got his ass kicked out of the university, no one knows where he got his credentials from—always got away.
If the Plague had succeeded and destroyed San Montalban, Landon didn’t know if he would’ve wanted to escape.
Landon frowned. That wasn’t the sort of sentiment one could share with one’s acquaintances down at the Rogue’s Gallery Coffee Society. When one failed, one tried again. When one had their victory stolen, one tried again. When the city was destroyed, one moved. There were other cities.
Not for Landon.
No other city had this mix of tech and pueblo history. Hidden along the shadows cast by the silver windowed buildings in the downtown area were places where one could buy the latest gadgets and the oldest of charms. On the east side there was a white walled mission next door to a shopping center. On the west was a large cemetery with graves that went back to before California was even a state.
1850, if anyone was curious.
San Montalban had seen a lot since then. The gold rush, the 1902 earthquake, the rise of people like Landon and the League of Ohhh, Something Shiny. If Landon had his way, it would see more.
If people like the Plague had theirs, it would all end tomorrow.
Thankfully, people like the Plague would first have to go through Landon.
He scanned the area, feeling the warm summer air brush over his exposed skin, looking over the city he would’ve died for.
While Landon lived, the lights in the city did not. The world was dark, the sounds of sirens and cars silent. Very soon, the silence would break and people would race to bring light and sound back to San Montalban. The city that never rested would wake from its nap and life would go on.
In this moment, it was vulnerable in its darkness.
The Plague could shrug off his supposedly fatal wounds and rise.
His forces could escape the clutches of the League of Too Much Time on Their Hands and try to destroy what they couldn’t conquer.
The great and heroic Light Blade, the Observer’s Sexiest Man Alive of 2016, 2017, and, quite likely, 2018, might regret his alliance with Landon and try to terminate him before anyone found out about it.
Any of it was possible. Landon would stand there and wait to see what arose.
Footsteps crunched on the ground behind him.
Landon turned. In his efforts to stop the Plague—aka Norbert, aka a radioactive bug bit me, I have power, call me by a cool name—Landon had drawn in a great deal of power and sucked the electricity out of the city. The world was dark. Landon couldn’t see his hand, let alone the edge of the building.
He could see the figure approaching him.
Surrounded by velvet dark, Light Blade—aka Brady Summers, aka that which doesn’t kill me had better run very quickly—stood out like a beacon. He was tall, with obsidian hair, an angular face, and a pale gray costume that hinted at supple muscles. Brady was handsome. Strong.
At one time, Landon thought it was simply a side effect of Brady’s power, a powerful and, if one were at the receiving end, unpleasant pyroclastic ability that could burn a single spot or explode a building.
Landon still thought that. Only now, he had to grant that there was also something inside of Brady. A strange mix of hope and fear, idealism and cynicism. Brady had known the only way to stop the Plague was to kill him. His white gloved hands were bloodless but he would’ve done it.
Landon’s own gloves were black. They hid a lot of things. A little more blood wouldn’t be noticed.
When Brady was three feet from Landon, he stopped. The luminance from his body crept over Landon, revealing tears in Landon’s black coat. The goggles hanging around his neck were missing a lens. Skin peek out from places in his shirt and trousers. His auburn hair, which he usually kept hidden beneath a top hat, had partially escaped.
Brady’s clothing, meanwhile, was fine.
“Light Blade.” Landon smiled. He was tempted to call Brady by his given name. A few days before, Landon had thought it was his greatest triumph to discover it. Now…
It would also tip Landon’s hand. He should keep that information until he needed to use it.