Flash: Thirst Trap

Turkish scimitar with scabbard, with ornaments and corals, 18-19th century,isolated

Photo 70495356 | Scimitar © Valeie | Dreamstime.com

Criella looked over at Dolph, remembering when she drafted the kid into her unit all those years ago. Was it only three? They were dealing with some bullshit pirate activity hitting the small ports along the southeast coast and needed locals to fill out the ranks of the recently dead. She hadn’t expected the blond fifteen-year-old to last, either dying or deserting before the month out. And here the kid was, waiting like the veteran he was for the goblins to come pouring over the hill. She waved the fisher boy over.

“What do you want, lieutenant?” the youngster asked the tiefling in heavily accented Draconic. “Captain.” He said nodding at Ghesh, the dragonborn leader of what was left of the duchy’s army. Dolph made Sergeant when he managed to learn Ghesh’s native tongue enough to run messages and sit in on the meetings.

“We got some magic shit from that last battle with the redcoats.” She offered him a sword. “It’s a scimitar. Don’t know what it does other than has a solid edge. The mage only had enough juice to detect, not identify. There’s not much use for a scimitar in the normal ranks behind the shield wall, but with your fucked-up fighting style, maybe it will be useful.”

The kid’s blue eyes grew round. “A magic sword, for me?”

“Yeah, here.” She thrust the ruby-jeweled hilted blade inside a beat-up leathered scabbard at him. “Don’t say I didn’t give you anything.”

“No sir, ma’am, sir.” The boy lifted the blade just far enough out of the scabbard to see the beaten waves of the special metal – a fractal pattern of silver and brown-rust leading to the curved shinning edge of the blade. “Thank you,” he breathed. Dolph glanced at the captain then at the lieutenant.

After they nodded permission, he moved off and unbuckled his belt, taking off the standard-issued longsword. He then threaded the belt through the scimitar’s scabbard, playing with how it fell against his leg, balancing it against his daggers, and the javelin on his back. Next he practiced drawing it and the dagger until satisfied. After dropping off the hated longword at supplies, he rejoined his light unit.

They asked him for news, and he watched their faces fall at the no change in orders. Sixty soldiers against a horde of goblin meant fewer would be gathering around the chow wagon come morning. It’s been one nonstop battle for a month since whatever happened at the capital happened leaving only a hole where the fortress and city above Mirror Port used to stand. Took two weeks for the news to sink in, now everyone and all their neighbors were vying for a land grown rich on trading from their many ports and solid roads the old duke and his son had insisted on building. All he, his unit, and his leaders could do was keep as many of the local alive until the big guys figure out who owned what.

Tonight that meant they would be fighting goblins.

Mini, Marcus, and Rovindell formed up on Dolph as they moved to the flank of the regulars they would be guarding and melted into the trees. Mini and Rovindell took to the trees like Dolph would take to water if there had been any. He moved to Marcus’ left side to guard the arm the man lost four days ago. If they hadn’t been protecting a convent against the redcoat army attacking all the religions their country’s monotheistic church hated, Marcus would still be laid up. Instead he was out here, untrained and off-balance for his new body structure. Dolph muttered a quick prayer to his distant sea god for mercy during this storm and safe harbor at the border fortress town just two days march away they were trying to reach, hoping for reinforcements.

The first horns of the goblins sounded in the next valley. Wolf howls echoed, and smoke rose against the twilight sky. Hollerhome burned, a sacrifice in the war of attrition, most of the citizens behind their limited military lines walking, running, and riding away with the clothes on their backs, dropping the precious possessions they could not leave behind but didn’t have the energy to carry if they wanted to move fast enough to escape.

Full dark was three hours past when the first screams rose from the ranks closest to the rise on the other flank. The clear field stopped reflecting the silvered harvest stubble as the goblins poured in. Within moments Dolph knew there was no flank to guard against a surrounding maneuver. Hundreds of goblin broke as a wave against the shield wall.

“I would tell you to run…” he muttered to his fellow soldier.

“If there was any place to run to.” Marcus finished the thought. “Well, every death here might save someone in a port town.” He adjusted the shield strapped against his body, drew his sword, and rushed in.

Dolph just a step behind him, dagger and new scimitar at ready. A cut one side, then the other, the scimitar not fighting his two-weapon style, but not being overly helpful. Still much better than the overlong sword forced on him when he enlisted. He could feel the weapon’s joy at the bite into goblin flesh and the sing at the end of the slash, blooddrops flying.

Dolph did not notice the blooddrops flying back into the sword a moment later, the battle overwhelming in sound and darkness.

More slashes, a few dagger thrusts, his avoiding pikes and knives, some enemy attacks skidding along his leather armor, bolts bouncing off his helm. A bite here and there, but Dolph paid more attention when Marcus went down, the older soldier’s longsword gripped by a goblin so he couldn’t withdraw it to protect him from three pikers on his right. Blood flew as Dolph made his way to his fallen private, not caring about killing blows to protect his back from survivors as much as clearing space between where he was and where he needed to be.

Anger ate at him. The never-ending battles. The useless fight. Friends dying. And goblins, so many goblins. He let his rage take him.

Criella found Dolph’s body on the left flank by following the path of desiccated goblin dead, shriveled, drained of blood, dozens if not scores piled around his form at the end of the path. Her tail flicked with surprise when his chest rose and fell. The kid was sleeping. In his hand, the magic sword she gave him was gripped tight, and not a drop of blood on him. The fractal pattern in the metal a wet red. His armor needed replacement, but he looked remarkably healthy considering the amount and placement of the holes in the leather.

Well, that gift worked better than she hoped.

She hunkered down to study the curved blade closer. Damn, a thirst sword. Sorry about that kid. Still, Dolphin was breathing, which exceeded the state of half their army at the moment. And likely they had that much because of blondie and the blood blade. The goblin shamans had taken the mage the redcoats and the pearls left them before she and Ghesh could break away from the hobgoblin allies the goblins brought with them. Now their army had no magic except her small skills.

Dolph and that sword would be getting a workout.

After tucking the thirst blade back into the mangled scabbard, his right hand still wrapped around the hilt making it difficult as shit, she let out a shrill whistle. A nearby dragonborn corpsman responded and picked up the six-foot soldier to take him back to the wounded tent.

She pushed aside the question of whether to warm Dolphin about the curse effects. People got really fucking weird when she reminded them how close her bloodline was to actual demons. Dolph hadn’t yet but she hadn’t really, really rubbed his face in it. Once they made a full count of the living, she would bounce the issues off the captain.

(words 1342; first published 9/27/2023)

Flash: Gynock (Part 4)

For the last part of Gynock’s story, includes the breakdown of how the game mechanics actual would work in the game sessions.

The Pandora’s Box campaign worked really well, and I was sorry to see it end. I’ve often thought of maybe taking the conceit of the story (the spirits of the gods released upon the word) and reworking it into a publishable form.

Part four is the deescalation of action … for now. Destinee is not one to share her husband for every long.

Debating a moment, but deciding that she wanted to investigate her target and until then Moonblossom was safe, Gynock returned to his quarters and got his handheld and sunglasses. Until Destinee calmed down, he feared for the goddess’s life.

After over an hour of discovering more of the myths behind the woman he loved, which was not the easiest task set before him. Destinee had worked as the secretary and business manager for the dojo and was much more technically savvy than him. The search was slow going until he heard the brunette “Aha!”

Gynock came around the desk to stand behind her to see what she had discovered. For a moment the smell of his leathers and her sweat distracted him, but he pushed it back with annoyance. His mind should be set on higher things then the adolescent fantasy that had held him enthralled for so long. He looked at the display, not seeing what had caught her attention even when she pointed them out with her fingers. “What?” he finally asked.

“Balhr, Bright Beauty” she read patiently from the screen. “All that looked upon him fell in love with him and promised not to hurt him. Only little mistletoe, which lived in the shadows, and never saw him, didn’t make the oath.” She leaned back in the chair and looked up at him. “You, my dear husband, are a creature of shadows. When you are in the light, the spell binds you, but darkness returns to your true nature.”

Confounded by the implication that something other than his real emotions controlled him at the moment, and that when they had been clawing each other earlier he had been in his right mind, his shook his head doubtfully.

She stood up and faced him directly, leaning against the desk because of the small amount of space between them. “No really, you care for me because you care me, not because I manipulated you into it.” She laid her hand on his cheek.

Still shaking his head in disbelief, he said. “So if I just call the shadows…” and he did so, action and thought being nearly the same thing to him, instantly proving her theory. “Oh god.” He kissed his true love gently on the forehead and leaned into her strength. “What are we going to do?”

“I noticed you didn’t try to step away just now when earlier you couldn’t touch me.” She commented, making eye contact with him despite the total absence of light.

“So what’s the idea now, was it sex or time in the shadows breaking the spell?”

“Maybe both, could be fun trying to figure out.” She flirted.

It was good that the omnipresent cameras couldn’t record activity in his shadows; otherwise the territorial Alexander would have had a few words about how they used his office.


Taking a break to allow his powers to recharge, since he couldn’t maintain the darkness at all times, they walked back to their quarters. Returned to the light mode of thoughts, he couldn’t quite believe their discoveries even while he enjoyed the back view of the woman in front of him. There was no love in his heart for her, but she still was the sexiest thing he knew. The goddess was something to be adored and protected. This demon was dangerous and stimulating. He loved the goddess just a little more, because she needed him, but the mortal was temptation walking because she should be forbidden.

Something struck him and he asked, “Are you certain you can spend so much time in the shadows?”

Looking over her shoulder, she stopped a moment and grabbed his hand. After tapping it twice, she drew him into a side corridor that used to lead to LuEllen’s rooms. A couple of the walls had been clawed by the Sphinx as she learned about her talons before she had moved permanently in with the Redwoods. Destinee stopped in front of one such area and did the silent code for clean.

Expanding on his earlier question, he stated. “I killed at least a dozen people with shadows earlier today and drove others insane. At least that is what they told me. Normals like you.” Even now he felt no remorse; he would do anything to protect his goddess.

He watched the thoughts tumble through her head. To most people, her face was a blank mask but he always watched her expressive eyes. “So far I am good.” She answered carefully.

“Even the others, the ringwearers, don’t like it. They say it feels cold, evil … and they hear things.”

She nodded. “I hear things too, people I’ve killed, but I know I beat them, and other things. … I think most people haven’t faced their darker side and it scares them. The good are scared it will conquer them and evil know it will consume them someday … I’ve faced all that long ago.” She glanced around before continuing. “Besides, it’s your noir and when I am in it I feel …. safe. Truly, I am okay with it.”


The next morning, the unit meeting had both of them sipping coffee so black that it was melting the plastic straws. He seemed to have a handle on his emotions; he was totally and deeply in love with two women and wanted to protect them both. Then the prisoner videos started and the need to worship and protect Moonblossom surged. He squirmed in his seat fighting the need to run to her aid; there was no way he would be successful if he tried right now. Destinee watched him from where she was taking notes and he realized any action he took would result in Moonblossom’s death.

Suddenly the need for action passed as he realized that if Destinee killed the goddess’s body, then the energy would transfer to his wife. His lack of movement seemed to upset her more, and soon thereafter she dragged him to the sparring room.

A whispered warning, acknowledging that the spell had rule of him, fell upon his ears as she had him in a momentary hold. “If you dare have anything further to do with that Thing, I will destroy it.”

Rolling away, enjoying the fact that now he could beat her instead of the other way around, he responded with great satisfaction, “If you kill her, she will take you over.” Either way he would win; if she did nothing, Moonblossom would remain safe; otherwise both of his loves would be in the same body.

She smiled as she shook her head and feinted on his weaker side before taking advantage of having a lower center of gravity. As he fell and tried to regain his breath, he heard her say “I didn’t say kill, I said destroy.” For a moment he froze as he grasped the difference. “I will find a way, somehow.”

Realizing that his wife has never made an idle threat in her life, he put thoughts of rescue to the back of his mind. Better that the goddess be alive and captured then dead and destroyed. His wife was very possessive.


Game Effects discovered over the next few days:

  • The longer Gynock is separated from his wife (like on trips), and the more exposed to daylight the less strong his natural feelings for her. His feelings for Adonis do not change. The obsessive love the spell (for lack of a better word) commands, requires a halo effect destruction on all other loves including self. Strangely, his emotions towards his daughter do not change. His emotions will go from love, to sexual attraction, to toleration, to active hatred over time (restoration works in reverse). It takes about a week (or a single hour if exposed to Adonis directly) to reach hatred. This includes a near suicidal need to keep Adonis safe; “it matters not what happens to this wretched body so long as she lives on.”
  • Restoration time is required to return the emotions of his wife to normal. That is time in the shadows with her. The longer the time away, the more “sessions” in the shadows are needed to restore most of his mind to normal. (Again, the obsession never goes away while he is in the light.)
  • Only when either his daughter or wife is in his shadows WITH him, is the spell rendered inert. If he creates a shadow around them, but does not enter, the obsession remains. If they are outside the shadow and he within, the obsession remains at full strength. The minute either enters the cloud with him, the obsession disappears from his thoughts. They are the lodestones to his true nature.
  • His shadows seem to have no detrimental effect on his family. They seem to be able to see as good as him in the black, they don’t get cold (in fact they say it is a comforting warmth), and can hear in and out of the cloud just fine, furthermore, the tentacles cannot be made to harm them (ever since his wife said the safe word, they “know” how hard they can squeeze her without hurting her). In addition, obfuscate abilities seem to have no effect on them. He can sneak up on them using normal skills, but the “superpowers” do not make any difference on how successful he is.
  • He really is faster and stronger than his wife and can beat her in hand-to-hand (most of the time).
  • The ring makes no comment on the obsession and seems to have quieted down now that it is located in Gynock’s palm.

(words 1,193; first published 8/9/2020)

Flash: Gynock (Part 3)

Rating Mature

Gynock and his wife Destinee had a long history which didn’t come into play much during the game, but the original history the player had given me was rich. The obsession Moonblossom had laid upon him could only change his emotions, not his past. A past with a wife who was much more dangerous than he.

Part 3 starts with a window into their past, a flashback. When Gynock remembers the last time he saw his wife’s eyes turn into black murder.

She had been eight months preggers and he wasn’t getting any. At barely nineteen, this was the end of the world. He was passionately in love with Destinee, but she wouldn’t marry him, wasn’t interested in doing the deed and he was pretty sure she was going to cut out the moment she popped. His ex-comrade in-arms hated being clumsy, hated not being able to breathe, hated being stuck in one place and she was taking it all out on the cause of her discomfort, him.

And this pretty blond co-ed asked for extra lessons at his dojo. When the student locked lips with him, he just let his second brain do the thinking. They were in a compromising, but not too compromising position when Destinee had waddled into the dojo from the office where she worked as his secretary and was sleeping because it was too hard to walk up the steps to their flat. The only bathroom on this floor was in the foyer.

Her eyes flared black. The only time he had seen that look before, she had killed five men so fast he hadn’t even seen it happen. He was worried, but the girl didn’t know better and had all the confidence of someone new to the martial arts. “Oh, hi.” She purred.

“What do you think you are doing?” came the clipped, emotionless reply. It was as though death was talking.

“I’m getting private lessons.” And the undergrad stretched up from where they had fallen.

“Oh really, let’s see how it’s coming.” And motioned the girl to stand.

Gynock had stood hastily and tried to intercede. But before half a syllable had passed through his lips, the woman carrying his baby interrupted. “You’re next. Stand there.” And she pointed. After a half a lifetime with her as the Sensei, he obeyed automatically. He had been very young.

Then the graceless, short ball of human flesh proceeded to show the tall, lithe beauty just how little a yellow belt knows. Destinee limited all the moves she made to the martial form he had been teaching, which made the fight that more pitiful to watch, knowing the breadth of action the expert was capable of. Gynock felt very sorry for his student, but also felt pride in his woman. The girl didn’t have a single mark on her at the end of the bout, but would be aching for days. In the end, Destinee had the child in a submission hold. “Yes, I can see you need more lessons. I expect you back when we reopen next week.” She said in her third deadliest voice. The girl gulped and nodded quickly, getting the message.

“I can’t hear you.”

“Yes.” came the forceful whisper.

“Yes, Sensei.”

“Yes, Sensei.” came the voice stronger but shakier. Destinee let go the wrist and hand and the co-ed ran fled.

The girl did return, most likely terrified not to. Before she graduated from the local college, she had a first-degree black belt. Destinee participated in all of the girl’s classes, and even kept her for private lessons.

Facing the swinging door instead of the back of the room where he was located, Destinee said “Your turn.” The voice was now in its second deadliest mode.

Maybe he would have had a better showing if he hadn’t been trying to avoid damaging the fetus.

When Destinee checked him in the emergency room, she described each of his “suspected” injures with great confidence. That when he knew she had chosen every move she had used on him; he still had a lot to learn. Everything was healed by the time his daughter was born, but just barely.

He had had to get home from the hospital on his own. As his ribs were being taped, Destinee said she needed to finish working off steam and left. Four days later when his dislocated shoulder had healed enough for him to reopen the dojo, she had returned.

Looking angry and scared at the same time, she stated. “I am ready to get married.”

“Why?” he blurted out before he could stop it. He had been asked for a wedding ever since he discovered that she was pregnant. Master Damien had taught him to be honorable and take responsibility. She had been totally against it.

She shrugged, but it was more staged than nonchalant, and said “I find that I don’t want to lose you.” Not exactly a declaration of love, that didn’t come until years later, but close from someone who wanted no ties. They were wed before nightfall.

He never was officially told where she had gone to work off steam, but, according to the newspaper, the drug dealers in Houston had a short war during those same four days. Just over a score, in singles and pairs, had been alternately shot, sliced and beaten to death. Twenty-three men in their prime stalked by one pregnant woman who could barely walk. They never had a chance.


And now she was leaping at him, black eyed again. He instinctually summoned a shadow cloud and sidestepped, dropping into obscurity. She twisted in midair and hit him low across the knees unbalancing him. The swords kept his back from flexing properly to take the blow and remain standing so he fell hard to the ground. The hellcat and him tumbled a bit, until he actually got her in a hold that she couldn’t break. It was the first time ever that he had won a sparring match and not felt she had gone easy on him. For a long time, he had had an advantage with size and strength, but her dexterity and real-world experience made her slightly better. The ring had changed that equation. His eyes slowly moved their way down from the dangerous hands he just captured, stopping a moment at the small tattoo of a dagger she had on the inside of her left arm just below the bend of the elbow and coming to rest on the ebony eyes.

He took the prize they normally exchanged at the end of a match, and leaned down to kiss her. That shifted his grip enough that she freed herself, and the battle was restarted only with a new tension.

After exhausting himself and her, he dropped the useless shadows. Then it hit him, how he betrayed the goddess with this vixen. Pushing the wench off of him, he rolled over and vomited. As the few contents of his stomach traveled back up the route that they had entered his body, he started prayfully apologizing under his breath for this betrayal.

Destinee forcibly rolled him back, her eyes now filled with concern, not anger. “What’s wrong?”

“You raped me and I didn’t stop you.” He muttered, ashamed at his weakness.

She jerked back as though he slapped her. “You were enjoying it as much as I a moment ago.”

“No, …. maybe,” he said, “brainwashing from when I was a kid.”

She looked at him a little longer, horror, anger and caring all dancing across her face. “Right.” With that she grabbed his coat from the floor, and headed out the door putting her bare arms into the too-long sleeves. The tails and chain dragged on the floor behind her. Knowing how quickly she moved once she made a decision, and fearful for his love’s life, he grabbed his pants and followed her through the progressively brighter areas. Fortunately the residential quarters were all at reduced night lighting.

He caught up with her shorter legs when she arrived at the Pit, the great open area where the secretarial pool was located. Corridors sprayed out around the room leading to the different units. “What are you doing?” he asked.

Advancing on the door that was located just behind her work desk, she answered “I am going to find out what that witch did to you.” Since she wasn’t continuing to the prisoner area, he relaxed a little.

“How?” he asked.

“Research, idiot” came the angry words. And she sat in Ethan’s chair and started warming up his computer. As a precaution he entered the room with her, in case she decided to have a more direct approach later. He had to protect his love, but wasn’t certain even after that last battle if he could take the trained assassin. After all she hadn’t tried any killing moves on him, she still was holding back. He sat in the chair he had been debriefed in a few hours before and put on his jeans. “You too,” she ordered, “Get your portable and pull everything we have on that Thing.”

(words 1,441; first published 7/12/2020)

Flash: Gynock (Part 2)

Rating Mature

The campaign where Gynock appeared was called “Pandora’s Box”. An anthropologist had found the box and released the spirits within, which were what humans came to know as Gods – Greek, Norse, Roman, ect. They inhabit a body until they use it up and then go onto the next body. A group of heroes locked these spirits into the Box; they used magical rings to go toe-to-toe with the Gods, and used the rings to power the protections on the Box. When the spirits escapes, the rings found their way into the hands of the special-ops-spy-team sent to investigate the disturbance.

Gynock received one of the rings. Once on, the rings cannot be removed any more that the spirits can leave a body once possessed. Gynock’s ring gave him obfuscation and shadow powers under the Vampire the Masquerade rules – under superhero rules, think Cloak of Cloak and Dagger. He has become very sensitive to light, and the powers he holds are quite new.

Part 2 continues with the hospital stay. The obsession Moonblossom has placed on him remains strong, overcoming his natural affection and love for his wife. The nature of the spell playing tiddly-winks with him mind demands all love be directed to Moonblossom only, including self-love. The only he is under the spell, the worse it will get.

“What is best for me is knowing she is nearby.” It nearly made him sick to say it, but if they were HQ then they were pumping him for a past he rather not reveal, if they were the gods then again he didn’t want to answer and a normal hospital wasn’t cleared for anything he had to say. The harbor existed as long as he remained focused on getting in touch with the black widow he married when he was nineteen.

“We will see if she is available.” And with that the two suits stepped out of the hospital room. The nurse offered more water and showed him how to operate the motorized bed even with the restraints on. Gynock was amused at the security (the nurse could act as a bouncer and was nearly as big as Malcolm) and wondered what he had done this time to warrant these precautions. His last memory was strangely incomplete, a sensation he remembered from other times he had been knocked out. His team must have had attacked him for protecting the goddess. He must remember to be less obvious about it the next time.

The snake he married slithered into the room, carrying a set of his sunglasses in her poisonous hands. After saying something about being glad he was okay, she kissed him on the lips. It was all he could do not to pull away as she closed on him. She looked at him quizzically before putting the glasses on him. Blessed relief from the unending glare. It almost made him like her for an instant, in spite of now understanding the emotional manipulation she had done to him growing up.

Destinee continued speaking. “And Melodie cannot wait to see you. She got a new doll while you were away.”

“The Aladdin Barbie?” he asked.

“No, GI Joe silly. Of course the Barbie.” and she lightly punched his arm then laid her hand gently on the bicep she had just abused and gave it two invisible taps. The key phrases had been exchanged, verifying that this was his wife not an imposter. The taps indicated that they were under observation, the location where she rested her hand indicated that she thought they were safe, but to be cautious.

“I can’t wait to see it.” he said.

She gave one squeeze indicating what she said next would be true. “We are just glad you are home safe. Unit Two say they want to observe you a couple more hours, afterwards I think Unit One will grab you for debriefing.” She gave another squeeze to indicate the closing of the truth.

“So what happened?” he asked in an easy manner.

“I don’t know <squeeze>, they won’t tell me <squeeze>.” So she does know, but she isn’t suppose to. Having the viper as his wife did have some advantages. It almost made her skinny ass attractive. But the truth was she fell into the same category as his most dangerous blades, he respected them but didn’t want them making contact with his flesh.

For a little while, their eyes met. She seemed to be trying to measure something he couldn’t see. The two suits closed on the bed. He must still be partially out of it; he hadn’t heard them enter. Ethan Alexander was behind them.

“I need to get back to work,” she said after another moment. “<squeeze> I love you. <squeeze>.” With that she leaned over to kiss him goodbye; he moved so she only got his cheek. Long ago they had agreed to always kiss at meetings and partings. Their daughter got to see them spar, and he had suggested this as a means of showing affection to reassure her that they weren’t fighting for real. Had it really been him that came up with this idea, or had she manipulated him into it? He couldn’t believe how she had taken him in.

For the last few years they had settled into being an old married couple. But since coming to Newark, Destinee had been blooming – more welcoming of his advances and even initializing contact herself. The new excitement in their lives seems to have reawakened her, making her more alive every day and he had been reveling in it until now. He didn’t know how he was going to deal with it; the thought of having sex with that bitch, betraying his goddess, made him nauseous.


When he walked back to their quarters much later, he still hadn’t come up with a solution. He knew he was sunk when he saw she had worn a white chemise to bed. A black T-shirt was the default sleepwear, the better to blend in the darkness, the easier to move in. A white nightgown was guaranteed to be removed at some point in the night, if only to get rid of the glare. The lights in the bedroom were set to the normal dimness for their housing. She instantly awoke when he opened the door.

As she slinked towards him, he panicked. There was no way Gynock wanted that foulness to touch him. From every shadow in the dimly lit room raced a tentacle of blackness to restrain her. Shocked, Gynock felt the feedback of her initial quick struggle and knew these things were under his personal control. Somehow he had raised them to meet his need. A new power, barely under control, he thought. He could kill her here and now and no one would be the wiser. He had already killed over a dozen people today trying to defend the goddess; a minor sacrifice to her protection. Adding another would speed him on his way to rescue her. He made the tentacles tighten, squeezing her like she had done him earlier that day.

Until from her lips passed one of the two safe words they had for sparing. The first one was the equivalent of “I Surrender”, something they rarely said. The second one indicated “that hurts too much, back off a little and let’s continue.” The second word was what she uttered and long habit made him reduce the pressure. Realizing what he had done, he tried to increase it again, but he couldn’t get the tentacles to obey. Instead they started to caress her fondly though a little awkwardly as though they didn’t have precise motor control. Okay, he thought, that is another option. He ordered them to continue along that path.

During the next few minutes the tentacles frenzied, rending the nightgown from her person. After she had been thoroughly used, and the sadist seemed to have actually enjoyed it, the tentacles rushed back into the shadows, unceremoniously discarding her. She dropped in a limp pile onto the institutional carpet. Going over, he nudged it with a booted foot, a low moan came from the naked scarred body.

Satisfied it wasn’t going to move for a while, Gynock started to prep. He cleaned his blades and armed himself. Over the chainmail laced leather slicker he wore as armor he looped both scabbards for his large swords. Everything could use a little repair after the last combat which he couldn’t remember, but the fixes would have to wait. The earth-walking goddess needed rescue.

“Where are you going?” groaned the pile on the floor.

“To rescue Moonblossom,” he answered, doing a final check on the guns. He didn’t like them, but sometimes they were necessary. Best to bring them.


“Because I love her.” came the automatic reply. Final check done. Then he realized what he had just said and half twisted to look at the heap. All he saw were black eyes flaring.

Shit. He remembered seeing her eyes like that only twice before. Once when Master Damien had been killed in battle and once when he had been stupid.

(Words 1,303; first published 6/14/2020)

Flash: Gynock (Part 1)

One of the campaigns I ran used Vampire the Masquerade to power a superhero campaign. Gynock was a player character in the campaign and fell under an obsession. In a storyteller format-based game, I didn’t want a simple “oh, you double botched, that isn’t good” on the mind control, so I wrote up a story … 5,000 words … to translate the game mechanics into a narrative for the player.

Part 1 opens with Gynock waking up with his brain marbles still thoroughly shook.

He had been hearing beeps for a while before opening his eyes. He quickly closed them as the uncompromising white flooded his senses. The light was so bright that it hurt his eyes. He opened them more slowly this time, barely lifting them so that his eyelashes protected him from the worst of the glare. A voice from the brightness cheerfully welcomed him saying, “Oh good, you’re awake.”

He tried to see if he could speak. “Kind-of,” he croaked. He wasn’t certain if the sound made it past his lips.

“Have a little water” and he saw a bottle condense out of the white haze before him with a sipper straw attached. He greedily sucked the water into his too dry throat.

He flexed his hands discretely as he gulped the liquid; both were braced against something, as were his legs. His right hand had tape across the back. So he was restrained noted the combat portion deep within. The rest of his brain was fuzzy, not functioning. Something had happened.

“Good afternoon, I don’t believe we have met. My name is Dr. Reed.” The voice had changed to something deeper, more rolling. His inner self noted three people in the room and was disturbed because he couldn’t place the exact locations by sound alone, although he knew he should be capable of it. “What is yours?’

The question stumped him for a moment, then his tongue gave the answer before his brain could find it in the cotton wadding acting as his brain. “Gynock.”

“Good, good.” replied the doctor. “And what is your last name?”

Gynock thought a moment and “Pran” welled forth on his tongue and in his mind concurrently.

“And your birthday?”

Confused he answered, “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know,” replied the doctor in a noncommental tone.

“No, my wife keeps track of stuff like that.” He had a wife? Trying to search through the slush, he confirmed it. Closing his eyes completely, a small dark-haired woman formed behind the lids. The glare was getting worse the more awake he got.

“What’s her name?”


“Does she have a last name?”

“Yes, Pran, same as mine.”

“What is her maiden name?”

Gynock’s eyebrows knitted as he tried to think of it. His tongue didn’t seem to know the answer either. He wanted to answer, but he had none. Finally, compelled by the haze, he answered with a quip. “Don’t think she was ever a maiden.”

He heard the doctor sigh before the man continued. “How many children do you have?”

“One.” And the dam broke in his mind, all centered around his little girl. A rare smile touched his lips and he volunteered, “Melodie Pran.”

“You are her biological father?”

Annoyed at the intrusion as he sorted through his partially restored memory, he threw back, “Of course.”

“And the biological mother?”


“Good, good.” said the doctor. “Do you know where you are?”

“A hospital.” He had certainly spent enough time in them during his short life; the scent was unmistakable. This time Gynock opened his eyes slowly but all the way. He now remembered he was light sensitive. There were three men in the room, he was pleased to note. One was a nurse type hovering over the two suits, both with clipboards diligently taking notes. The closer man was asking the questions.

“What do you remember last?”

He thought back: the group had gone to Waco and arrived at the house. The target had come to the door. No wait, not the target … “Moonblossom,” Gynock whispered in reverent awe.

“Good, good. What else do you remember?”

“Is she all right?” That became of driving importance despite the haze and the need to answer the questions being asked. That her perfection should not be harmed was the most important thing in the world to him.

“What do you remember?” the doctor continued in his calm steady voice, not answering Gynock’s question.

Gynock glanced around the room again. No windows and one door. He was restrained. He could be at HQ, though he might not be. He didn’t recognize anything or anyone. He still felt the need to answer the questions, but something inside him was holding him back a second. It seemed to be the training his wife put him through long ago. The fuzz must be from drugs, not injury. He wiggled his right hand again; an IV was taped there. He had gone through that for months when he was a child recovering from the fire. Truth serum? Maybe, but not anything he had previously been exposed to.

“Not much.” He answered, tapping into the training. He still needed to answer and could only answer the truth, but he could sidestep a little. “Was I knocked out or something?”

“Alright then, please tell us what you do remember.”

Were they enemy, friend or some normal hospital just going through the normal tests of establishing identity after a head injury? “Like I said, not much. Moonblossom answered the door.” And filled it spectacularly, as thoughts of her now filled his mind. She had been in danger. He remembered trying to make certain no one hurt her, then his memories just stopped.

“Good, good. And after Moonblossom answered the door, what happened?”

The compulsion to answer built, but he was able to trump it with a programmed response. “I need to see my wife.” Gynock wanted to ask for anyone else other than the evil that had brainwashed him in childhood, but this was a safe harbor they had formed in his mind when she had molded him.

“That is not advisable until we make sure you are up to it.”

He snorted in derision. “She has seen me worse.”

“Mr. Pran, we are trying to do what is best for you.”

“What is best for me is knowing she is nearby.”

(Words 978; first published 5/10/2020)