The Beckoning of BadAss Things By Calinda B
The Beckoning of BadAss Things, excerpts:
I stand before the giant trunk. “Sixteen inches. Hmm. Well, I know the width of my outstretched hand.” I stoop before the top of the tree and measure off an approximation of the required amount. I pick up a wood chip and place it on the tree to mark my chosen guide, stand back, retrieve my sword and power it on. This time, when I direct the light, it pings against the wood, barely nicks it and sputters, like I’m using a dull blade. “How odd.” I try again. Same thing. “Maybe it needs more juice. What do you think, Sober?”
He wags his tail.
“My thoughts exactly.” I let more energy flow through my system, direct it out the glistening tip and this time, the top of the tree explodes. Both dogs yip and jump away. “Shit! Gah!” My head whips around to stare in the direction of the house. I sure hope Tom and Daniel aren’t in the yard, watching. I don’t see them anywhere so I turn back to the tree.
Sawdust litters the clearing where at least sixteen inches of wood used to be. “Now there’s my problem,” I say. “Too much energy. I need to control it more. I’m always, all, ‘let’s let er rip’, Engles. ‘Don’t hold back from free expression.’ ‘Death to suppression.’” I tick off catch-phrases I used to guide my life as an artist. “Well, this time,” I say to my sparkling canine, “we’re going to learn to contain all this wonderful life force and use it the way I want to use it.”
“So,” Daniel says, ignoring us, clearly in command. “Marissa has informed me that we have a situation to deal with once we reach the Shadow Lands. My father,” he says, his lip curling in disgust, “is no longer in a coma, apparently not incapacitated either. He’s gathered his evil allies to take Marissa down, and the rest of us, no doubt, as collateral damage.”
“As if we didn’t have enough to deal with,” River says, pressing his lips into a crisp line.
“Armando?” Rafe says, choking on his drink.
“One and the same,” Daniel says.
“I saw your mother shoot him in the heart,” Rafe says.
“He’s very much alive. I made a few calls before you got here. They’ve formed a coalition called Guerreros del diablo - the devil’s warriors. They’ve splintered off from the Numina. They’re not allowed in the ether meetings anymore but Tom thinks they have a mole planted on the inside.”
“Did Tom already know about this?” I ask, frowning.
“No. He didn’t know. It’s been forming in secret since we got our orders to accompany you to find the sisters. After I contacted him, he made a few calls and that’s all he could discern. He’s busy gathering data as we speak.” He glances at his Movado wristwatch. “We have to meet him in the garden at about twenty after. We’ll have a brief ether meeting to hear what he’s discovered.”
We all nod.
“I’ve got some contacts. I can call in a favor or two,” Rafe says. “See what they know.”
“Same,” River adds. “I can find out a thing or three as well.”
“Good.” Daniel nods, satisfied. He places a hand on my thigh and draws it up the inside, slowly, deliberately. “We’ve got to keep this woman safe.”
“You live in one fucked up world, Stealth Numen,” Daniel says.
“How so?” Rafe asks him.
“Well…look around.” He gestures toward the Dali like environment. “Birds flutter from tree to tree, twittering and chirping in a crazy chorus of reverberating songs, landing on branches and melting like wax, oozing into stains of color like Marissa’s paints. Nests appear, filled with eggs, where the birds once stood. Miniscule beaks break free from shells and baby birds appear, chirping insistently with their mouths open. Adult birds land, feed them, and the baby birds become fledgling adults, spreading their wings. Meanwhile flowers bloom, wither and die, seeds spread in the wind, fall in the soil and sprout once more. I’d say that’s fucked up.”
Seasons accompany these swift changes. The atmosphere around the three males transforms into icy winds, blizzards, pouring rains, summer showers, baking heat and fall colors.
All of this happens within a couple minutes.
“Hope springs eternal here,” he says with a sarcastic edge. “And who says I live here?”
“I want you to trust me.”
A small frown appears before I can catch it. “I do trust you,” I say, after a second’s hesitation.
“No,” he says, “you don’t.” His fingertips play along my sides, not quite ticklish, causing me to pull away. “I want you to trust me with your life.”
“I…I…” I can’t think what to say.
“Shhh,” he soothes. “Hands over your head. Let your light free.”
Another frown escapes. What does he want from me?
Shhh, he silently conveys.
I close my eyes, sourcing the place from where my energy flows. I sense its movement, erupting from my core, a wash of crackling blue and white lightning that streams through my spine and limbs, making me feel powerfully alive. “Like this? Is this what you want?”
“Yes,” he says. “Like that.” His hands navigate up my sides, tracing my ribcage, the hollows of my underarms, the sensitive skin of my inner arm, until he’s lacing his fingers with mine. His strong body is poised over me, hot, sexy, his breath landing on my cheeks, warm and moist. “I want you to trust me,” he repeats. He releases my hands and drags his fingertips along my wrists, stroking gently, deliberately, as if shaping and guiding my light.
Before I comprehend what he’s doing, my wrists draw together, bound tightly by filaments of light. The light buzzes and crackles, producing a slightly disturbing sensation in my wrists. “What’s this?” I say, a short laugh bursting from my throat. “I can just slip free from this, you know.”
He shakes his head, a small smile flashing across his face like quicksilver. “No,” he says. “You can’t.”
This is that other thing he does - since we’re soul bound, he can combine energy with mine and use it in ways I never dreamed. I tug and pull against my magnetic restraints. Nothing. “Okay, so maybe I can’t in this second. I’ll figure it out,” I say defiantly.
Another small shake of the head. He lifts his arms, like he’s the conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra.
My arms lift into the air. “What? What’s going on here?” I scramble to keep up with my arms as they’re tugged, firmly bound, heading toward the ceiling.
I turn the corner of this gray and brown world to see my dog Sober Dober barking at a face poking out from a rock. “Great, dog, you’re losing it, I already lost it. What a pair we are.” I stomp to him prepared to grab his collar and haul him away from the illusion. “This is a fantasy. We’re sharing the fantasy, but it’s not real,” I tell him, glancing at the gray and brown-eyed, bulbous nosed, chapped lips apparition. “Look.” I place my hand over the face, expecting to find rock, only to find warm flesh, accompanied by a slippery, pointy tongue licking the center of my palm. I leap back in surprise.
“Hungry, little girl?” the face says, his clownish leer revealing spiky yellow teeth.
“Oh, Jesus!” I say, rubbing my hand vigorously along my jumpsuit. “Now the illusions are talking back. Sober, we’ve got to find food.”
Calinda B was told early on that she should be a writer. She heard frequent praise for her writing, as well as her sense of humor. Scoffing at such admonitions and praise, she went on to pursue her life of adventure, chock full of the things that make up a well-rounded adventurous life: music (yup, she was a singer in a rock and roll band), dance (even performed hip hop in Russia), rock climbing (ever hung from a rock wall a few stories up? Yikes!), fire walking (taught high-ranking Moscow fire officials how to walk the coals), kayaking, scuba diving (she’s in love with sharks), travel, and falling in love again and again.
Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with the love of her life and her two cats, she has now chosen to put fingers to keyboard and write – when she’s not in pursuit of another adventure!
College educated and life-experienced, Calinda B has worked in the world of computers and technology for a long time. Before that she worked in the world of health and fitness, as well as art. Throughout her career she has relied on her writing abilities to write articles, ad copy and web content.