Saturday, January 21, 2017

Review: Revival

Why did I pick it up?

New Stephen King baby, why didn't I pick it up would be a better question. I own most of his books and at some point have read a good deal of them. I couldn't do the history-type novel (11/22/63) he put out a couple of years ago. For some reason I've never been able to get through The Stand, The Shining and I abandoned Danse Macabre recently.
I own Doctor Sleep but since it's a sequel to The Shining, I'm kind of wanting to slog through that before moving onto the sequel. I'll get there eventually.

My favorite King novels? Carrie, Thinner, Gerald's Game, The Long Walk, Cell, The Girl who Loved Tom Gordan, Under the Dome, Pet Semetary, IT, Lisey's Story, Christine, Bag of Bones, and The Dark Tower Series. You can actually see a glaringly obvious tribute to Dark Tower Series in Tale of the Twins. There are a BUNCH I'm missing because I suck at titles, but yes, I generally adore King. I've yet to pick up Mr. Mercedes since it is a trilogy and I've a thing where I must have the thing ended before I read the whole thing...which is why Dark Tower kinda bugs me.

He's influenced a lot of my gorier horror and sarcastic comedy moments. I love how he can write a short story and bang out a novel over 400 pages. I love he's got so many books but not all of them are perfect and some of them some people (like me) can't stand. Everyone has their favorites with him and everyone has the ones they don't like and that's freaking awesome.
And ending the King fangirl-ness, moving onto the book itself. ONWARDS!

The Review of Revival by Stephen King:

So, first off: there's no body in the beginning. Nope, just a six year old boy, pardon, a 60-something man recounting his life from six to the age he is now. But this is King. We know the horror is coming. He foreshadows it coming when he first talks about Jacobs. And are we disappointed with the horror that comes to Jacobs? I wasn't. Totally knew it was coming from the set-up of seizure farmer driving the same road as Jacobs' wife but the whole "where's his FACE?" and one-armed wife? That was cool.

The minister (Jacobs) losing his faith? Predicable. Getting up at the pulpit and telling people why he lost his faith? That was pretty kick ass. Jamie losing his faith shortly after because he likes the minister? Predicable. Jamie being so good at rhythm guitar, playing in multiple bands, and becoming a druggie? Story of lives. Running into Jacobs at a fair and getting electro-shock treatment to be cured by Jacobs with Jacobs' home-made electro pulse machine? Wait, what? YES.

We see hints of said machine when Jamie's brother loses his voice and Jacobs' is the one to bring it back before Jacobs' horror happens. Anyway, Jamie and Jacobs part again then is found by Jamie's new boss (one Jacobs sets him up with) a few years later.
Then shit starts to hit the fan. We find out Jacobs has been curing people with not just his old carnie show but with his new healing show. Is he doing this for recognition? Because he's nice? Nope. They're all guinea pigs because he has a bigger goal in mind for his special electricity but Jamie's not sure what said goal is.

Of course Jamie and his boss Hugh go to see the show. Of course Hugh has revealed he was healed by Jacobs and that's why he took on Jamie in the first place. Course Hugh freaks out and has a color-episode. Then Jamie just can't let Jacobs go. Why? Because some of the people Jacobs has healed have had harmful episodes. Jamie's had one in which he randomly wakes up and starts stabbing himself. A woman cured from blindness put salt in her eyes. A kind cured from a disease ends up in a mental institution then hangs himself. One guy eats dirt.

So Jamie confronts Jacobs who wants to hire him but Jamie says no and Jacobs (in his 70s now) disappears only to reappear to say to Jamie: you can either help me or I'll let the only woman you ever loved die of her lung cancer. So Jamie helps. And Jamie cuts a deal he'll go back to Jacobs when the obsessed electricity man wants.

And Jamie does go back and we find out why Jacobs is doing what he's doing: he wants to find out what happen to his wife and son. And he does. By bringing back a dead woman during a thunderstorm. By doing so he unlocks something in all his former healed patients and they all kill a loved one and themselves...except Jamie because for some reason unexplained, he was the catalyst Jacobs needed in all this.

And what awaits us after death? Freaky ant overlords who make us slave under them for the hell of it. No peace. No redemption. Just ants whipping us if we fall down and total torture for our unlives. THERE is the horror. The part about Jamie's older brother (the first healed, remember) and Jamie still getting the visions of said ant folks? The icing on the cake.

THIS IS KING. The build-up. The odd-ness. The loving the characters and knowing them like they're your family. The CRUSHING of said characters so thoroughly. This is King. All that shit starts with E.

Would I read Revival again?

I'm going to have to cuz I burned through it on May 19th. Yes. One. Day. I nearly died but I couldn't put it down.

The Negatives:

I wish it was longer. I wish there was a bit more explanation about Clair but I get why Jamie didn't go into it. When something that traumatic happens to a family member then you don't want to talk about it.

Final Review: 5/5. This is a revival for Stephen King. This breathed new life into wanting to pick up the few books I'm missing and re-reading him from the beginning. Yes, I know I'm nuts. So sue me.

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rages, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Writing Tip #18: Death and Where to Stick 'em

This tip is going to be way different than the other tips I've written about so freaking long ago. Sorry about that. Anyway, we're not talking about dealing with the death of your character. That's next time. Today, we're dealing with what happens to a typical person when they're, you know, KILLED. And yes in the physical sense.

For those who don't know: I wrote a 13 book thriller/murder mystery series. I went into the Forensics side of things (vaguely) and found out a lot of interesting things about what the human body does when placed in the vicinity of various deadly objects.

In short: can your character jump into ice water and swim for a mile? Nope. Unless they're immune to the cold they will experience hyperthermia almost immediately. If the water's cold enough they may even have a heart attack upon hitting said water. There are certain factors in determining hyperthermia. I found a cool article: HERE. I used said article's information in Bloody X-Mas.

Can a character survive the blast of a 12 gauge shot gun at 10 feet? Nope. Unless the person shooting at them grazes them and even then it could cause your character's death. A 12 gauge shot gun can go through at least one cement wall and can blow a hole through a tree. The human body is all soft tissue and muscle. Our bones aren't even as hard as cement. If you get grazed with a 12 gauge, you are going down. This information appears in Hunter.

Can your officer character hit a target at 15 feet? Maybe but with a standard issue Glock: they're going to stun and not kill. The range on a police Glock is 10 feet and that's if your character is a good shot.

Can you shoot one-handed or while in a moving vehicle? Nope. Recoil is a bitch and you will have a sore wrist or be thrown back depending on the size of your gun. Can you fire a bigger gun from hip height? Kind of. The butt of the gun should be supported by your pelvis or your shoulder to prevent recoil because the bigger and more powerful the gun then the further back you're going to be thrown.

For those who think your character can survive a cut to the upper arm, stick a patch on it, and move around for days, here are some bleed times for various arteries. Bleed time refers to about how long it will take a person to die if they are struck in said place. It depends on the person's age, heart rate, etc. I found all these here when looking for the proper name of the brachial artery.

Carotid Artery (neck): 2 to 20 minutes.
Jugular Vein (neck): 2 to 20 minutes.
Subclavian artery: 2-20 minutes. This is an artery in the shoulder that runs down the front of a person's body and by the first rib. Unless someone does field surgery on you right away: you will not make it.
Subclavian vein: 15-60 minutes.
The Brachial Artery: 5-60 minutes. This is the one located in your upper arm and protected by the bicep. Depending where you cut along this artery changes the bleed time. Up closer to the arm pit and you're looking at the 5 minute range. Down further by the elbow and you might survive a bit longer.
Femoral Artery: 5-60 minutes. This is the big one located in your upper leg. You hit this puppy right and you're going down in seconds.
Axillary artery: 5-60 minutes. You can hit this via the armpit and front of the shoulder joint. It's hard to hit but an upwards slash or stab hit just right and the wound becomes extremely difficult to treat even with direct pressure. Yes: insta-death.
Inguinal artery: 5-60 minutes. It feeds the femoral artery in the leg and can be accessed by striking upwards between the legs and into the groin. Another extremely difficult wound to treat even with applying direct pressure. Think Blackhawn Down.
Aorta or any part of the heart: 1-2 minutes. These are instant death bleeders.

So, what's in a CSI Kit? It depends on your kit. Here's a good website to check out:

How do you do an autopsy? Wiki-how gives you a nice step-by-step guide WITH pictures located here:

How long will it take you to dig a grave? Well, that depends on a lot of factors. If you're doing this at night with a shovel, are average in athletics, and the ground isn't frozen from the winter, and the grave is shallow: about 3-5 hours, depending how shallow. You WILL NOT be able to dig a grave in an hour, with a shovel, in the middle of the woods, at night. It is not possible. I found a cool thread:

I have reams of information about decay times dependant on environmental factors as well as information about the human body in general. I don't have a link for any of it, sorry. I would suggest for any author wanting to delve into crime fiction or murder mystery: take a basic Forensic Anthropology and a Criminal Psychology course.

You can find plenty online (that's what I did) and you'll thank yourself later when your novel comes off as more believable. No, don't get a degree. You just need a single course available through a continued learning program to get you going. Of course, you can specialize in both fields if you have the time/money/motivation.

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rages, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments section.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

No I'm not dead

I've been concentrated on Avalora.

And I really suck at keeping up with "deadlines" (even self imposed ones) in keeping this blog going. I'm also kind of professionally unmotivated (re: lazy) when it comes to writing anything that isn't novel-related. Like a blog. Or tweets. Or whatever else.

But I figure I should let the few people paying attention to this blog know that I am alive and well. I've killed another million words, gotten a huge chunk taken out of Avalora, wrote a novel, and done a bunch of adult-ing.

My goals are the same as they've been years prior: making some money off the worlds I've created, losing some excess weight, etc, etc, etc. This year I've got some work-friends who want to get together and do a craft show. I've also taken up knitting (with a loom) so even if they don't follow through I might find myself a table or something.

I'm still going to be the lovely way irregular updater of this blog. I'm still going to be writing Avalora mainly on the weekends and the few hours a day during work. I'll post the reviews of books I did last year (ahaha) and the few writing tips I haven't got up yet.

I might even post updates on writing stuff and open the dusty file of Tale of the Twins to actually re-publish the poor creature of mine. No promises *winks*

What I can promise is I won't stop writing so you can be assured even if I don't update the blog I'll be around, pounding on a keyboard making characters suffer and cackling madly while doing so.

You know the drill about comments and what not.

Till next time.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Yet Another New Year's Post

So, I haven't been around since October. Sorry? It's not like I ran out of post or anything. I still have a bunch of stuff sitting in drafts. I sort of lost interest/got busy at the new job and am still trying to get used to my afternoon shift schedule.

Excuses, excuses, truth is I'd rather be writing, close second is sleeping. BUT, I did participate in National Novel Writing Month. I failed in getting my 254,000 goal because of burn out and general lack of time, plus hey, I needed to sleep. I did almost get 2,000,000 words. I kind of gained back the weight I had lost and stopped going to the gym in like April. And...yeah I failed in getting anything done for Tale of the Twins or doing any marketing in general.

On the plus side, I started working at a place I like making over minimum wage, got a new phone, got new tires on my car, and am slowly, very slowly, picking away at the debt I massed while not working. No, I don't like going to work but once I'm there it's not bad and I'm not throwing up in nervousness of having to work there.

My BFF got married while my other BFF is single (a good thing, really) and might be going for her doctrine. She's applying. I'm still singe which is fine with me, my cat's still crazy, and I don't have to choose between buying extra groceries or paying a bill. Plus hey, I'm not using credit cards or lines of credit to you know, live.

On the writing end of life: I wrote almost two million words. Most of that was split between Avalora and fan-fiction. I wrote four new novel this year. Why? Because I planned my year instead of picking as the months went on what I wanted to write. Basically I over-planned for my brain, said "hell with it" and wrote other stuff instead of following the plan. Oops.

Yes, I wrote fan-fiction. Why? Because it's fun. I can be as crazy as I want and make up all the stuff I want and it's no big deal. Let's not get into the fact I made a bunch of original characters so the fan-fiction became it's own novel in someone else's universe but whatever.

Anyway, monthly word counts:
January: 158,491
February: 132,736
March: 88,876
April: 126,539
May: 253,040
June: 240,823
July: 205,978
August: 202,794
September: 95,326
October: 122,740
November: 228,043
December: 53,something

Sorry, I got lazy in calculating my December total. My word tracker gave me the final total. Why were May-August over 200K? I wasn't working. I was on a LoA from the job I got in January because it almost killed me, quite literally. I got the new job August 31st which is why September's total is so low then I got back into the swing of writing and working.

Yes, December is really low. It's normally my month off and I've had way lower counts than 50K before. I didn't write for half the month so there.

Anyway, goals for this year? Same as last year: writing, trying to figure out the whole marketing shtick, potential losing weight, carving down the debt, and what not. I'll try to keep up on the blog but no promises. My memory sucks and I get distracted by writing. Sorry, totally not sorry. *winks*

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rage, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


For those of you actually following this blog, you'll notice I made a huge change to my "Novel Series" list for this year. Basically I knocked off every novel except book 3 of Tale of the Twins. Why?

Cuz I'm totally not getting to them in the few months of the year that's left.


Because I got distracted by Avalora and a bunch of ongoing fan-fiction.

Why fan-fiction?

To be honest, I don't know. I started free-writing and now I have a following of sorts on the site so it's gone from there. Plus it's kind of nice not to make up my own characters or world for once. It helps me focus solely on plot...even though I kind of made up some characters to go into the world. Oops?

Once I'm finished this one ongoing but almost ended fan-fiction story, I'll be going back into the Avalora world since November is coming up in a month and I've only got enough written and ready to be posted to take me through until the middle of November.

I'm planning to start working on term two of year one of Avalora by mid-October. Hopefully I can get a butt load of chapters done, kick it into higher gear for NaNo, finish term two then get Tale of the Twins done.

After that I'll finish off that super-hero book I started in August and actually finish it. Then? Eh, maybe I'll write some of the novels I had on my original list.

I've figured out I can't actually plan my years for writing so intently. My mind wanders from the project I'm on then I get distracted and I end up making on-going things. So, for next year, I'll go back to pulling titles out of a hat once I finish a novel. It seems I get more done that way.

Until next time: comments, questions, rants, rages and what not can be left below.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Writing Tip #17: Self-Editing for Writers

Today we'll be talking about how you as a writer can prepare your piece of writing for an editor. This concept has been briefly looked at in Writing Tip #5: Your Voice and Writing Rules and Writing Tip #6: Words to be Wary of. Don't give me that look. Yes, you have to do a bit of pre-editing before slapping your editor with your manuscript. Why? Well, you want your work to be as solid as it can be before someone else mercilessly rips it apart.

No, you don't have to be the best at grammar. Word (or whatever grammar checker you're using) will catch most of your mistakes. Word will also catch your spelling mistakes. It'll even determine if you're using the wrong word sometimes. Don't trust Word.

Why? Because con is still a word even if you mean can. Bee is still a word if you mean be. There is a distinct difference between definitely and defiantly but they're both still words. There's also a huge distinction between six and sex. Word won't catch repetitiveness like constantly using "that", "just", "really", "thing", "in order", or any other word on the Words to be Wary of list. It doesn't even know the difference between weary and wary. It might not even notice you've left the "r" out in "your." And there are some instances when Word is wrong when it comes to grammar.

Yes your editor will catch all the above mistakes and yes it is what you pay them for. But you don't want your editor to get caught up in minor mistakes YOU could have caught when you want them focusing more on the larger picture. You want them to take your manuscript BEYOND your capabilities. You want them to tighten sentences and make suggestions with your voice or showing and telling. You don't want them focusing on minor mistakes. Pay them for being a second set of eyes, yes, but let them be a set of eyes used to their full potential.

So, how does one self-edit? Read over Words to be Wary of. Then go into your document and hit Ctrl+F or "Find." A window will appear. Now type in the word "that." When it finds the first "that", read over the sentence then REMOVE THE WORD or REPLACE IT. Repeat this process with the words:
  • very
  • really
  • just
  • only
  • in order
  • thing (usually replaced with an object the "thing" is describing)
  • quite
  • get or got
  • -ing words
  • then
  • suddenly
  • smirk
  • quirk
  • like
  • as
  • feel
  • think
  • a lot
  • kind of/sort of
Your writing will AUTOMATICALLY become concise and make more sense. Now, go back to the beginning of your document. If you want to: print it out. Read the entire story from top to bottom OUT LOUD.

Why out loud? Because your brain will force you to pay attention to every word. You won't automatically put in a word that might be missing and you're "hear" if something doesn't sound right.

Go back to your document and correct any changes. Go back to the top of your document and hit the "Show/Hide hidden characters." This button will show paragraph marks, spaces, tabs, and every other hidden character in your document. Why is this important? Sometimes at the end of a sentence you'll have hit a "soft" return instead of a hard return. So, instead of a new paragraph with a line in between, you'll have a new paragraph with NO space. You cannot visually see the difference until your book goes through formatting to be put on Kindle, Kobo, or any other website. The paragraph tag that should be at the end of every sentence looks like this:

You should also only have ONE space between each word, not two. The space between words is shown by a dot running along the middle of your word, kind of like a strike through. It looks like this:

If you have two dots then take one out. Besides your paragraph tags and space tags THERE SHOULD BE NO OTHER hidden characters. If there are: delete them and fix your document accordingly.

Go back to the top of your document again and read it from the beginning. This time make note of the story itself and anything you may have accidently changed like a character's name or eye color. Make sure a character wasn't holding an object and suddenly wasn't holding it (without putting it down) in the next sentence. Make sure a character isn't defying the laws of physics as in taking a seat on the edge of the desk when she was all ready sitting in a chair. Look for any awkward turns of phrases or sentences. Repair it all.

Now, leave it ALONE for a week or more. Go plan for your next novel, start a new one, edit something else, or read. Binge watch a show on Netflix, ANYTHING but DO NOT read your novel for at least a week. Once the week is over: start from the beginning of your document and read through it YET AGAIN.

How many read-throughs should you do? One for spelling. One for grammar. One for the words on the Words to be Wary of list. One for misused or improper words. One for sentence structure. One for hidden characters (as in the symbols not actual people in your novel). One for consistency. Once out loud. One more time after a period of time that you've left it alone.

That's nine times. I know it seems like a lot but your editor will be able to do a MUCH better job if you've read over your manuscript before sending it to them. Plus you won't have to pay them three or more times because they need to read over your novel nine times. Remember, the less they have to do, the more they can focus on your actual STORY.

Yes, it is a lot. But you can combine the read-through for spelling and grammar. If you're great you can also combine misused words, sentence structure, repetitive or unneeded words, spelling, and grammar. If you're excellent: you would have all read done those five while you're writing.

That's the key to self-editing: KNOWING the rules so well you can correct your mistakes AS YOU ARE WRITING. You will get to the point where the words on the Words to be Wary of list no longer exist in your writing vocabulary. You will get to the point where you'll know you've used the wrong word but you know to correct it before moving on to the next sentence.

What's this mean? You're working with your Inner Editor and NO it's not a bad thing. I know a lot of people say to turn off this inner critic when working on the first draft but why bother? If you're constantly shutting it off than you can't learn to get better and make a tighter, more concise first draft. I've got a whole blog post about the Inner Editor. I know the post is old but I still agree with everything there.

We've reached "The End" multiple times in our document. Now what? You find an editor to do the rest. How do you find an editor? I've touched on it briefly here. Read that whole post. Yes, it IS what you're getting yourself into.

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rages, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments section.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Short Story: Why

A little something different this time around.

So back in May there was a contest run on the site Avalora is posted on. Basically authors got to submit a short story of any subject to win various levels of subscription to the site itself which was pretty cool. The only limitation was the short had to be under 4000 words.

I didn't place in the top 12 which is fine.

For kicks, here's my entry. Critiques welcome and please remember this has only been seen by two sets of eyes thus far: my own and whoever read it at Channillo. I don't have money for an editor, hardly enough to keep the billed paid so...yeah.

ANYWAY, here's the story:


Let me explain why I killed them.

My parents were great people. Dad was some kind of business man. I’m not sure who he worked for or what he was exactly. All I really remember is that he had to wear a suit all the time and he made a lot of money. This allowed us to live in a big house and go to Disney World every summer for as long as we wanted.

Mom stayed at home with me. I remember her smile the most. It was bright, loving, and always made me happy. She had a lot of friends who came and sat with us, always telling me what a cute little boy I was and saying I’d grow up to be a heart breaker. They had that right.

On the night my life changed it was dark. Rain sluiced against the windows of the white truck dad drove and he had to keep his high beams on. He guided the immense beast of machinery carefully, a little under the speed limit, and making sure to check around every corner for any kind of oncoming traffic.

Funny how it works, the one who’s always careful is the one who ends up at the mercy of someone not so careful. All I remember is one moment mom was smiling back at me and telling me we would be home soon. The next moment the truck had filled up with bright white light and the sound of a horn blew through my ear in a warning which was too late.

I woke up alone, scared, with tubes in my arms and a machine beeping beside me. It terrified me and I started screaming. I tried ripping out all the tubes but I had been four and not exactly dexterous enough to do as needed. It did not take many nurses to stop me and I remember I kept shouting for my mom and dad.

The looks on the nurses’ faces went from panic and worry to pity. I didn’t exactly recognize pity then as no one had looked down at me and thought “the poor child.” One of the nurses sat on my bed beside me and hugged me. She explained my dad’s truck had been hit in the driver’s side, dad’s side.

The impact had sent the truck spinning and the passenger side, mom’s side, had hit a light post so hard it snapped under the pressure, tore down electrical wires as it fell and crushed the hood of dad’s truck. The rain kept a fire from starting. The driver of the other vehicle had been rendered unconscious from the blow. A passerby in a white car had called the police. It had all happened a week ago. Dad and mom had not made it out of the truck alive.

Coincidences are strange. I remember at the time I had an intense infatuation with Batman, the superhero who had no parents. Now I was Batman. I had no parents.

The solace I was given by the nurse was the man in the other car had broken his spine and would never walk again. It did not provide me with comfort but gave me anger. Why should he live when both my parents, good people, had died? The little comfort I did get from the information was at least he could never make another Batman.

My stay at the hospital was boring and the anger left. The nurses tried to entertain me but not much could be done for a child barely out of toddler-hood who suffered such a devastating blow. Who barely understood why mom and dad were not coming back. Who kept asking why this had happened and received no answers.

No one had an appropriate answer to give.

A week went by and I was approached by a woman from the government. She said she had contacted my mother’s sister and the woman, my aunt, would be taking care of me. I did not know my mom had a sister. It would not take me long to find out why.

The woman looked like my mother. She had the same dark hair and dark eyes with the same lips. She did not have the same happy smile, not even for her two children. She did not have a husband but when I asked her why she slapped me. Later my older cousin told me it was better without daddy as he had hit harder.

My aunt moved me out of the nice house my parents had and sold it. She had saved nothing from my former life except a suitcase of clothes. I had managed to sneak a picture under my shirt before we left and I have it to this day. It remained on my night side table to remind me of the life I could have had.

My aunt was given all the money from the house and the money my parents had saved in the bank. As I was four I could not access this money and it was supposed to be saved for me for when I turned eighteen. I did not understand the concepts at the time but I knew because of Batman I would get some kind of compensation. The issue was Batman did not have an aunt who liked to yell, hit, and drink.

I grew up in a house that had a sagging front porch, yellow weedy grass in the front and back, and shutters which banged in storms. I had to share a room with my older cousin even when she grew up and started high school. She was five years older than me and my nine year old self was always kicked out of the shared room when she had friends over.

When she turned sixteen my cousin was gone. No note but a suitcase of her clothing had gone missing and she had taken a couple thousand dollars from her mother’s bank account. My eleven year old self had been happy to finally have my own room but a small part of me wondered how my aunt who never worked had thousands of dollars in the bank.

My younger cousin, nine at the time and female had been upset her sister left. She began yelling at her mother a lot so I took to closing myself in my room to read. It had become a habit for me to look over at the empty bed and wonder how my older cousin was doing.

Life keeps going no matter what you do and I grew up. The women my mother used to speak with were right. I did grow into a heart-breaker. I had dark hair; dark “puppy dog” eyes with my father’s strong jaw and my mother’s high cheek bones. I had the good fortune to have clear skin and gain my father’s height gene. As I did not like my aunt or her home, I spent a lot of time after school in the gym so my body became toned. In the summer I ran, likely much more than any teenager should be.

Tall, dark, and handsome: every woman’s wet dream and I was it in real life. They swooned over me, the mysterious boy who hid in the library during lunch reading in one of the back corners and sat in the back of the class. I had all the answers for tests and did not act like the others boys:

The jocks with their minds full of sports, the nerds who to high school girls were funny looking and weird, the druggies who stunk of weed or booze, and the loners who were too creepy. I was part of the loner group but I had the benefit of being good looking. No one thought it entirely odd I had no friends. They assumed because of my outer shell I could do no harm and I used this outer shell as a sort of buffer.

When I was sixteen I spent the twenty dollars my aunt gave me weekly on some Batman comics. I read them with a passion during the evening hours after my homework was done and my aunt had left to go out with one of her boyfriends. I stayed away from the later issues when Batman had grown up and focused more on his early life as Bruce Wayne.

Nowhere in the comics did it ever say what exactly happened to his parents’ money. It had been left to him of course and in the end he had access to it. This was because he did not have an aunt whose name was on all the accounts until he turned eighteen and could be responsible enough to handle his money.

When I asked my aunt about the money she said I would get it and not to worry. This came in a shout and she almost hit me but I stopped her. For the first time in my life I saw what fear was in another person’s eyes. It made me let go of her hand and get a twisting feeling in my stomach. She avoided me for a week after that incident and I did not ask again because I did not want to see the fear.

The concept of someone being afraid of me was foreign. Everyone loved me at school or they were jealous of me. Some outright hated me but no one ever showed me fear. It made me feel like I had become the Joker instead of Batman and I did not like it.

Life kept moving on as it does. I graduated High School with honors and a scholarship to go to whatever school I wanted. I did not know what I wanted. My aunt had told me nothing of my parents so even if I wanted to follow in my father’s path I had no idea what it was. The scholarship would not expire so I decided to take a year off and travel wherever my beat up sedan would take me. First though, I had to get access to my money.

After graduation I did not leave on my trip. I waited until the day I turned eighteen two months later then approached my aunt in her dim kitchen. I had startled her and she showed the fear again. This time I would not let it overwhelm me. I wanted my parents’ money as now it was legally mine.

“It’s gone.”

Two words, one contracted. She said them in a low whisper and bit her lower lip after, eyes downcast and hands clenching hard at the counter behind her. The light from the window behind her shone off her messy dark hair and emphasized the bags under her dark eyes. She could have been pretty like my dead mother but cigarettes, booze, and a myriad of other bad habits had taken her youth and beauty from her.

“What do you mean it’s gone?”

She shook her head and kept her eyes down, not wanting to meet mine. The shirt she wore was skimpy and clung to her body like a sort of second skin. Her jeans were the same way and she did not wear shoes on her feet. I remember looking down at the floor to see the red nail polish on her toes and wondering if she was looking for chips in it to avoid looking me in the face.

“Gone where?”

“I spent it.”

Fourteen years of bill payments, booze, cigarettes, not working, expensive clothes for herself, holidays to Las Vegas with her boyfriends, and holidays to the beach had depleted the money my parents had left for me.

I had nothing. No mementoes to remember them. No memories or stories to know them. And now because of my aunt’s greed: no money to start my life with.

You have to realize I had never been an angry person. I took what life threw at me because I knew with time I would be okay. I had the brains, the looks, and the will to leave my aunt’s home and start my life once I could get what I had been promised. I had been driven by this fact so it curbed my anger and the worst off all my emotions and kept me level, cool, calm, and collected. Now the chain keeping the beast from rising was no more.

I cannot remember what I hit her with first though I assume since I was unarmed at the time it was a punch. I do not remember what area of the body I hit her in or when exactly I picked up the knife. I do not remember when my younger cousin had come home and began beating on my back to stop hurting her mom.

I’m not entirely sure when I pushed her to the floor and how I hurt her. The next memory I do have is of me standing in the kitchen with a steak knife in my hand. The blood dripped off the knife the same way the taps would drip into the sinks. There was a lot of blood.

It seeped into my shoes and slid under the refrigerator. It soaked into the cracks on the floor and turned the stained yellow floor deep red, the same red as my aunt’s toe nails. The blood stained my aunt and my cousin’s clothing, making my cousin’s dyed yellow hair turn a sort of orange-red color.

There were spatters of blood up the counters, across the tables and walls, even across the window and some on the ceiling. It had rained over the exposed flesh I did not cut through on both of them, marring it with little red freckles. Both lay at awkward angles and their eyes had no light in them. Neither took a breath. For some reason this did not bother me as much as it likely should have.

I walked out of the kitchen but do not remember dropping the knife. I do remember going into the bathroom and washing my hands. I stripped out of my clothes, realizing how bloody I was all over then took a shower. I dried. I dressed. I took the expensive jewellery my aunt had bought with my money and her purse.

I picked up my luggage bag and packed away all my clothes. I used my aunt’s luggage to pack away more of the belongings I wanted to take with me. Both went into the trunk of my beat up sedan. One of the neighbours asked if I was taking a holiday and I said I was. He waved to me as I pulled out of the driveway and turned away from my aunt’s home. It was probably him who called the police after a few days of not seeing my cousin or my aunt.

You know I lived free for a month. You caught up to me in Florida where I simply sat on the beach sipping a soda and watching the girls my age giggle over me. You know I went with you without argument. You know I did not change my name or appearance or attempt to hide in any way. I am a little disappointed it took you so long to find me.

Now you know why I did it. Why I stabbed my aunt sixty-eight times after beating her with my fists for so long she was hardly identifiable. Good thing for dental records, hm? You know why I stabbed my cousin three times, enough to kill her and in places which would incapacitate her and let her bleed out. I never would have hurt her if she had not hit me but this is not much of an excuse.

Now you can understand why the neighbours were so stunned to find the scene. Why they are crying because I had been a good kid. Why all those people I graduated with and my teachers seemed shock to hear about why you were looking for. Why all the lives I touched on my way to Florida were suspicious as to why you were looking for me.

I am not a horrible person. Circumstances made me this way. If I had not had a greedy aunt maybe I would have become Batman. But what is Batman except a vigilante who beats up the bad guys and lets them get away to wreak havoc again and again? If Batman actually dealt with the villains like I had then he would not have to keep chasing the same ones.

But heroes are not allowed to kill. Killing makes them villains. Funny isn’t it? The bad guys are allowed to deal with their problems with a sort of finality the heroes are never allowed to have. The heroes must toil again and again while people get hurt, their city gets destroyed, and the people they want to protect get killed. Yet they are still looked upon to save the city.

I saved no one but myself in killing my aunt and cousin. Perhaps I saved society a little because on less person living on booze and government checks might help overall. But she deserved her death like the Joker would deserve his if Batman would ever be allowed to kill the crazy bastard.

The regret I do have is killing my cousin. She is the reason I allowed you to catch me. She is why I did not try to hide. You can thank her later.

Now I supposed you have to finish processing me. I assume I get a lawyer and there will be a trial. If my lawyer is any good I will get a sentence of twenty-five years as in this state the death penalty is illegal and who can argue with snap rage especially when I showed no sign of it? Given the circumstances, I am as much of a victim as my aunt.

But I will take whatever punishment I am given because of my cousin. I deserve that. So. Let’s start the process, hm? No point in sitting here talking anymore. I will see you later, detective.

Have a nice day.