Extended Thoughts: Child of the Ghosts

 

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A double post on the first day I’m back? Amazing! Or totally predictable, since I hinted that I’d be doing this in the last post, the shorter version of this review. And I follow through with my recently-made promises! Because then I won’t have the chance to up and forget…

 

Have fun~

 


 

 

Title: Child of the Ghosts

Series: (Book 1) The Ghosts

Author: Johnathon Moeller

Genre: Fantasy (Sword-and-Sorcery)

Release Date: January 2014


 

 

…Child of the Ghosts, the first novel in Johnathon Moeller’s The Ghosts series, is Mistborn minus anything worth reading. But don’t worry, I won’t be referencing Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn throughout this, I just thought it was the most pithy and condensed way I could sum up my feelings for Child of the Ghosts

I added that in for continuity’s sake before beginning this Extended Thoughts session, just to keep things relevant. Unlike my original review this one’s going to be a bit more ramble-y as I talk about not only Child of the Ghosts, but the fantasy genre as a whole.

Oh, and spoilers, naturally. Including a very old Harry Potter spoiler too, I guess.

 

Characters and Their Lack Thereof:

There were no characters worth getting invested in, frankly. The story was so uncomfortably fast and slipshod that I, by the end of the book, didn’t remember most of the characters names, anything about their pasts, or their personalities. And unfortunately, most of the characters who I did remember I did not do so fondly. The primary characters, Caina, Halfdan, and Maglarion, all fit neatly into clichés, rendering them totally indistinguishable from the hundreds of other flat fantasy characters I’ve read. The only potential exception to this rule is Laeria Armalas, Caina’s mother.

To summarize: Caina is the clichéd broken young woman who tries to piece her life back together and change her ways when it’s plot-convenient. Otherwise, she’s totally content to slaughter her way through her fellow human beings without a thought, only to lament for a couple of sentences a few paragraphs later. Rinse and repeat. I was originally going to write, ‘…piece her life back together and change what she doesn’t like about herself.’ Except then I remembered that I have no idea what Caina thinks about herself, if she likes herself as a person, or if she’s concerned with how others see her. Caina, by and large, is a vessel to propel the plot forward and to throw knives. So to be honest, whatever trouble she finds herself in (which isn’t much, creating a dry, arid feeling throughout most of the plot) isn’t particularly gripping because I don’t care much about Caina or what happens to her.

Villain’s-wise Maglarion essentially Voldemort, though he’s opposed by a gaggle of assassins collectively holding the idiot-ball instead of a well-organized grassroots movement of concerned, well-fleshed-out individuals. That’s really about it— he desires eternal life and the death of everybody in Malarae for reasons never explained beyond it just being the evil necromancer thing to do instead of going into retirement. Lord Haeron, the walking, ‘hate me, I’m a scumbag with no redeeming qualities,’ character and painfully obvious sacrifice-to-be in Maglarion’s plans, is precisely as described. I mean, when you make a deal with the devil, you end up either getting through into hellfire or fiddled to death. Either way, it’s a predictable (and thus, largely unsatisfying) end.

However, we can turn to Laeria now after quickly poking fun at Halfdan: I actually thought he was dead, considering how clichéd the rest of the book was, I finished the book and quickly forgot what his ultimate fate was so I just assumed he had gone the way of Obi-Wan and Dumbledore. He did not, however, his entire character and fate just escaped my mind mere days after finishing the book.

So, the character of Laeria Armalas, who is, again, Caina’s mother, represented one of the few potentially deep and interesting character-to-character interactions. Being Caina’s mother, who is none-too-happy with her daughter (for reasons unknown, honestly), brings up the potential for an interesting dynamic with the heroine. For some background, Laeria is a magic-user but is singularly untalented. She, according to Caina, had trouble making a goblet float via her own power, so she appealed to Maglarion in order to boost her strength. Furthermore, Sebastian (Caina’s father) fathoms that the reason why she married him was because Laeria had been kicked out of the Magisterium for generally being terrible at magic; she suspected that Sebastian would rise above his current status and become a lord strong enough to force the Magisterium to accept her back.

It was at this point (less than 5% through the novel), that I thought Laeria could be an interesting character: her lack of power, weak sense of self (due to her seeking approval from her magical betters), and tumultuous relationship with husband and daughter opens up an avenue rarely seen in fantasy, especially sword-and-sorcery. It’s all too common for the antagonist to wield some kind of tremendous power and be totally unrelated to the hero aside from the, “You two must fight because one is the hero and one is the villain,” idea of fantasy. Yes, that was a subtle stab at the character of Maglarion. But, for Laeria, what kind of emotional and psychological barriers could we see her overcoming and battling with or even using as a shield against Caina’s eventual revenge? Will Laeria eventually conclude that Maglarion isn’t the master she thought he’d be, creating a parallel between him and Sebastian and causing Laeria to go her own way and become a recurring element of humanity to Caina’s life?

I’ll give you a hint; it’s none of those things. She’s killed before the 10% mark when Caina hits her with a fire poker. And come the end of the novel, there’s not a single character that could replace Laeria and be a new character with some actual potential.

And I had hinted at it before, but I want to make it explicit now— the Ghosts, as an organization, are really almost frustratingly stupid. Though, they’re more of a casualty of the plot than they are of bad characterization (though that is also an undeniable factor). For instance, it’s known early on that Maglarion’s bloodcrystal is a huge source of power and is fed by Maglarion’s rituals, implying (even without it having to be explicitly spelled out) that it will continue to grow in power. So, rather than try to kill Maglarion with the deus ex machina spear-of-magic-killing, destroying the bloodcrystal would rob Maglarion of his power and render him easy to kill, provided he didn’t just die on his own from the shock of his power leaving him.

I remember having figured this all out before the ghostsilver spear even showed up— and once it did appear, I spent the next few chapters flipping (metaphorically/electronically) through the next few chapters just to see if I was right.

I was. I wished I had been proved wrong.

And I had hinted at it before with Maglarion and Lord Haeron, the villains in Child of the Ghosts are just so painfully villainous. They don’t behave like human beings with human wants, desires, histories, pain, hope, and joy. I found myself thinking of the two main villains as mustachioed bandits twirling their long black whiskers just because they were that one-dimensionally evil. Which is boring and uninteresting, by the way.

Plot, Tension, and Questionably-Done Stakes: Okay, here’s the thing— oftentimes these heroic/sword-and-sorcery fantasies function on a very simple kind of plot device, the end of the world (or a close equivalent). Most people would rather the world not end, particularly in the myriad of painful ways dreamed up by fantasy authors. However, most people think that way because the world is worth living in and their lives are worth living. And yet, if a story doesn’t instill in us, the readers, a love for the people and place, why should we care about the fate of the world? Starting off a series with the, ‘World is at stake,’ plot device means that there’s really nowhere else to go from there— no villain will be more powerful than the one that threatens all life. So, the character of Maglarion is even more wasted when one considers that The Ghosts is a very large series, and I predict that the villain of each book will wield a similar, ‘destroy all life,’ kind of power. And yet, because we’re being scrubbed clean of the last villain just to have the new one replace him/her, we never get the chance to really learn about the world and its people. Thus, no matter what villain appears and no matter what power he/she is wielding, it’ll never actually make us care.

To wrap that up: We’re never given time to just examine the characters and see them just being people. Ultimately, we come to know these characters as assassins, fighters, necromancers, etc. but never as simply human beings. And yet, even that feels very bland and malnourished. I know I said I wouldn’t reference Mistborn in this, but I think it needs to be said that Mistborn had a similar cast of characters, but its world and magic system were what set it apart and kept it entertaining. Meanwhile, in Child of the Ghosts, I hardly even know anything about the world (a map may have helped) beyond what’s strictly and immediately plot-relevant. And, with no magic beyond the fantasy clichés of necromancy, telepathy, and blood magic, I was never even invested to see what came next out of that aspect of the story.

This all culminates it something I’ve been writing and stewing about for the past year or so: positive and negative tension. I wrote extensively on the subject for my thesis work at the end of undergrad, and this book helped me to realize that I hadn’t just been blowing smoke that whole time. Positive tension, essentially, is the feeling created when an author (usually in fantasy, but it’s conceivably applicable to any genre) capitalizes on a kind of aura of invincibility around a character which keeps him/her safe from harm. For a variety of reasons, characters (usually the main protagonist) can become invincible in all but name. As in, they will never die and never become wounded or crippled in a way that cannot later be healed. As a side note, Caina’s inability to have children, curtesy of Maglarion’s ritual, doesn’t count as it does not consistently hamper Caina’s physical or mental health. Fitting of a character like that, when danger does come knocking, the tension created isn’t based out of the question, “Will this character make it out in one piece?” as much as, “What new trick or clever idea will the character use to get out of this?”

The difference between those two is that the latter is wholly unrealistic, turning life-or-death combat into a magic act; we all know that a magician, if he or she is sufficiently skilled, will pull of the trick at hand with no real danger, no matter how realistically the magician may be sawing the assistant in half. Instead, we as the audience, are merely standing by the see how spectacular it all is. Positive tension makes the reader want to see how entertainingly a situation can end, whereas negative tension makes us as readers hope that the situation will unfold devoid of catastrophe.

Child of the Ghosts is made up, down to the genetic level, of positive tension. Even if Caina’s plans and adventures deviate from their original goal (being discovered and having to fight her way out of a tight spot seems like an already-old favourite), there’s never a sense of real danger, merely a short-lived inconvenience that serves to set up the next bit of action. It’s after revelations like this that I’m happy the book was so short, otherwise I likely would have never had the patience to finish it.

As an extension of that last point, I had figured Alistair, Caina’s noble lover, would meet his bloody end— his involvement in Caina’s life would have made it too complicated and would take emphasis away from the constant stream of action that makes up the lifeblood of the novel. So, perhaps undulling cynically, I knew he would have to die, lest he complicate the straightforward-as-an-arrow plot.

Ultimately, the Ultimate Ultimatum: So, we come to the rambling end again. And my position is still unchanged— Child of the Ghosts is too boring, narrow, and devoid of joy for me to recommend. But it’s not offensively bad and is free on Amazon. So I guess there’s that.

Oh, and what I mentioned in my shorter review about the writing still holds up upon a re-examination. Every other line has to be extenuated with a heavy bass note and a martial-arts movie zoom-in just to show how incredibly dramatic every drab, predictable turn of events was.

I’m also reading the next book in the series now. Spoiler alert: the writing style is much the same.

 


 

 

This series was started in January 2014 and there’s already at least 17 books out for it? Christmas crackers, I’ll be reading these from now until Judgement Day…

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folks!

 

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Rabble Review: Child of the Ghosts

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Well. Here I am again. It’s not flash fiction, it’s not Lorequest, it’s a book review! I’ll be doing more of these in the future. I did a few in the past, mostly about the SomnAgent series and I want to continue doing them, mostly on indie fantasy and science fiction. Because I’m a rabble-rouser and I want to make sure I want to pick fights with works I know how to talk about extensively!

Speaking of ‘extensively,’ I’ll be doing an Extended Thoughts to all of my reviews so I keep myself from babbling on further than what’s warranted.

 

Anyway, once again and as always, have fun~

 


 

 

Child of the Ghosts, the first novel in Johnathon Moeller’s The Ghosts series, is Mistborn minus anything worth reading. But don’t worry, I won’t be referencing Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn throughout this, I just thought it was the most pithy and condensed way I could sum up my feelings for Child of the Ghosts.

But okay, let’s get a little more specific.

Pros: I liked the little bits of voice we heard from the narrating main characters— it helped to outline their personality (tiny bits of it anyway) and made for entertaining little tidbits.

The action scenes were quick, coherent, and got the job done.

It was short. Which, given the list of cons, is a blessing.

Cons: The characters were, by and large, one-dimensional, uninteresting clichés that are already rampant in the fantasy genre. Nothing new is brought to the table in terms of character.

Unfortunately, nothing new or interesting is brought via plot, either. It proceeds in one strictly defined direction and lacks for interesting or thought-provoking twists and turns that would otherwise engage the reader outside of simply experiencing a string of plot-driven events. Combined with the lackluster characters, it makes the entire experience a singularly uninteresting read.

The world, people (meaning, the culture of the population at large, not individual characters), and system of magic is, at best, vague and sparse in details, or, at worst, clichéd. For a non-spoiler example of the latter, necromancy and blood magic are the prime evils in this novel, which has been done by some many, many other fantasy series (virtually every one that springs to mind which employs said magic).

The writing itself is often stilted and clumsily constructed. Too often will a small ‘twist’ happen in a chapter and, judging by the formatting and pithy writing employed, it will be played off as being of tremendous import, practically warranting a ‘bum bum bum!’ sound effect. Which seems campy to say in a review, but it was campy to read many times over in a book, as well. It gave everything a strange aura of silliness that was hard to shake.

Overall: I can’t say that I liked Child of the Ghosts, nor would I recommend it, though it is generally inoffensive. Which may just be a more diplomatic way of saying, ‘bland, drab, and generally dull.’

 

Child of the Ghost’s Amazon link for those who are interested: http://www.amazon.com/Child-Ghosts-Jonathan-Moeller-ebook/dp/B0052Q9WFQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458623012&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+the+ghosts

 


 

 

Not sure how I feel about this new post-constructor page on the site. Too big, white, and open-ended. It’s like starting a new piece of writing and realizing that your mind is completely blank. Except, that never happens to me, because I still never get writer’s block!

Ha! Anticlimax!

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

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Featured Fiction: Out of Eyeshot

 

I would say, as a warning to this story, “lol I forgot how to science,” but I never really knew in the first place, so… yeah. I’m just going to hand-wave it and say that a supernatural being could totally find trace amounts of sulphur in a cow’s corpse. To be honest, this story ended up being a lot like my last Featured Fiction piece, Head in a Box. Partially because it featured a snarky female lead in a bizarre situation, but it also opened up a whole new Pandora’s Box of ideas that may or or may not go elsewhere at some point. So, like Head in a Box, this story doesn’t follow its own logic or arc as well as I would have liked it to, but it still gets there in the end I suppose. Plus, it might just be a fun start to a larger piece.

But, now I’m just prattling on about nothing. So instead, enjoy more of my prattling on about nothing and read the story below!

 

Have fun~

 


 

 

 

Word Count: 2269

 

If the elements weren’t bad enough, now she had to deal with a rookie oozing enthusiasm all over her crime scene- literally.

She sighed and pulled out the spray bottle from her back pocket. She sprayed her partner with a few squirts of water. Just looking at the moisture fall like mist onto the awkward green mass made Veronica thirsty. She turned the bottle on herself and spritzed her face. Veronica sighed and shook her head, trying to spread the water all around her face and into her hair. There wasn’t much water left in the bottle, but Veronica mostly considered that to be a sign from the universe that her time out in a sand-filled hell would be just about finished.

“Well?” Veronica asked, letting her impatience show though her voice. “What are you finding?”

“About as much as you,” the oozing mass said in its watery, warbling voice. Veronica always thought Smucker always sounded like a songbird underwater whenever he talked. She had considered telling this to his face so he would maybe speak less in the future but she was never quite sure where exactly his face was. “Sorry,” he continued. “I’m doing the best I can, but I’m just not getting very much out of this. But don’t worry, I’ll keep trying.” With that, the green blob expanded itself evermore over the ox’s carcass.

Why was I forced to bring you if you wouldn’t be any help? Veronica wondered. She and the agency had puzzled over the Great Sandy Desert Boneyard case for the last three weeks and all efforts made by mortal human investigators had turned up nothing but more questions. An entire heard of cattle from the west coast of Australia had mysteriously migrated eastward with a single herder until they apparently decided to drop dead in a very particular location in the sand.

Probably the strangest thing about the Boneyard case, though, was that the term “boneyard,” wasn’t even really applicable. None of the cow’s bodies were showing even the slightest signs of decay. In fact, even the flies and vultures in the desert seemed to go out of their way to avoid them. The agency had deemed this case too strange for humanity’s skills of investigation alone.

So, they called in… these.

Like many “fairy tale monsters,” slimes ended up being much more real than most people would believe. For centuries, slimes had been the enemies of humanity, usually devouring hapless medieval knights or bandits if they managed to wander into the caves or cellars where the slimes lived. However, modern ways of thinking and the complexity of modern-day crime scenes called for investigative skill that sometimes exceeded that of a human- especially when other supernatural elements were involved.

Veronica leaned down, raising an eyebrow at her goopy partner. “Do you even know what you’re supposed to be looking for?”

“I thought I was looking for anything that looked out of the ordinary.”

Veronica looked around at the bizarre circle of corpses lying in the sand. “That’s not very hard to do,” she said.

“I mean aside from the dead cow,” Smucker quivered. “Well, unless there’s something strange on or in the cow. I figured I’d be looking for anything at all when I’m out here. Seeing as how nobody else has found any sort of clue, anything that we don’t already know is potentially a clue.”

Veronica nodded. It was sound logic, relatively speaking for a slime. Veronica was one of the first detectives on-site, setting up the yellow caution tape, as if it was really needed in the middle of an Australian desert, and even she hadn’t turned up anything aside from migraines and sand. The most advanced electronics and good old fashioned investigator senses had been leveled against the case and still came up with nothing. There were cows and there was a man. All but one remained- dead and not decomposing while being partially buried in the sand. The cow hadn’t been moved in order to keep the scene as pristine as possible.The man was nowhere to be seen. Really, anything found that wasn’t one of those things was practically going to be a godsend.

“Boss,” warbled Smucker, “Boss come quick!”

Veronica ran over to the cow the slime was investigating, pulling her hat down a bit lower to keep the sand out of her eyes- they were red and irritated enough already from the stressful and sleepless nights. “What?”

The slime briefly recomposed and then pooled onto one side of the cow’s body. He looked up at Veronica with what she assumed was his face. Or, it might have just been some other applicable long appendage that slimes felt the need to extend during conversation. Any educational material about slime anatomy usually amounted to, “results may vary,” so ballparking was usually good enough for most people aware of slime’s existences.

Smucker jiggled happily. “This cow,” he said, “it’s not like any other kind of cow I’ve ever analyzed.”

“I thought you would have figured that out by now,” Veronica said. “Most cows don’t decay or die in the middle of deserts.”

“That’s not true,” Smucker said. “Meat is kept fresh and away from decomposition in freezers and cattle likely would die very easily when placed in the middle of deserts. What’s really strange about this one is what’s inside of it.”

Veronica allowed herself a small smile of relief. Part of what made slimes so skilled at analyzing bodies was their ability to worm inside of them without disturbing the body’s inner contents. Most regular crime scene investigators probably would have considered such an ability to be, at best, excessive and, at worst, invasive. However, when a colony of cockatrices could be breeding in a dead man’s stomach or a fanged worm taller than a basketball player might be lurking in a person’s digestive tract, plenty of crime scenes Veronica handled could hardly be considered “regular.” But now, her little green squishy tagalong looked to have just come through for her.

“See, all of these carcasses have apparently absorbed a strangely high amount of sulphur into the lowest parts of their bodies- the parts that are lying against the sand.”

Veronica nodded slowly, and then wiped a bead of sweat away from her eye. “And what about the minor issue about them never decaying?”

“Oh. Yeah, that. I have no idea why that’s happening. Or, not happening. But isn’t that cool about the sulphur?” I mean, cows generate methane when they’re alive, quite a lot of it actually. You humans sure have weird taste in animal companions sometimes.”

We don’t have questionable taste in just animal companions, it seems, Veronica thought.

“Well,” Smucker quivered on, “this amount and concentration of sulphur can only occur from one thing- absorption through the skin. In fact, it hardly even goes skin deep. Like, little flecks or bits of the stuff must have landed on the cow when it was still alive and then they got absorbed its body.” Smucker oscillated up and down in excitement. “Meaning, something involving huge amounts of sulphur must have happened here that caused it to absorb it!”

Veronica nodded slowly and squatted down to the harsh, grainy ground. She stuck out her hand almost instinctually, thinking (or was it more like hoping?) that she was reaching out to pet her big-eyed bichon back home. Instead, her hand almost sunk into Smucker’s cool, wet gelatinous body. Veronica probably would have recoiled instantly if the slime’s body wasn’t such a welcome change from the hot dry of the desert. Either way, Smucker seemed to enjoy the mostly unintentional praise, as his whole body jiggled like it was laughing.

Veronica tried to ignore the goop hanging off of her fingers and she actually began her investigation. “Sulphur, huh?” Veronica asked. “And it’s not some kind of fluke?”

“Pretty sure,” Smucker warbled. “I had noticed the element in a few places in the body, usually those that are under the sand but I didn’t really pay any mind to it until it started to become a theme.”

“Right,” Veronica said. “Well, if there was going to be something involving sulphur in the middle of the desert…” Veronica’s dark brown hand combed through the sand as she thought aloud. “A cow with sulphur in its body… mostly buried in sand…”

An explosion, Veronica thought. It would explain the small shards of rock and huge quantities of sand thrown everywhere. Veronica stood up, turning around and looking at the ground all around her feet. We’ve been looking at the wrong thing here. Well, the non-decomposing cow defying the laws of nature is probably something worth investigating, but that’s not what I’m getting paid to examine. “We’ve been looking at what’s on top of the sand,” Veronica said, mumbling her thoughts aloud, growing louder and more animate with each words, “we needed to be looking at what’s under the sand?”

 

“Smucker, do you think you can shift your way under the sand- just go straight down from here?”

“Sure, I suppose I could. It might take me a little while but I’m pretty sure I could do it. Why? What am I looking for?”

“Follow the sulphur,” Veronica said. “So, you already know what to look for. Just find the biggest concentration- find where it all came from.”

Smucker jiggled in what Veronica assumed was a nod and disappeared underneath the sand. There was no shade so far out in the desert, so Veronica made due by just squatting down and pulling her hat further over her eyes. She let out a tired sigh and gave the closest cow another quick lookover. I doubt a year’s worth of investigating would have turned up what that blob did in about ten minutes, she thought, chewing the inside of her lip.

Speak of the devil, Veronica thought as Smucker reformed from the sand. He looked noticeably smaller than before- the sand had likely dried up some of his damp body. Veronica took out her spray bottle again and spritzed Smucker as his fully form started to reconstitute and he started to excitedly jabber.

“It’s huge,” he said with an enthusiastic jiggle. “It’s huge and I was right!”

“You’re going to have to use something other than pronouns if you expect me to follow what you’re saying,” Veronica said.

“Underneath us,” Smucker said, “underneath the sulphur content just gets higher and higher. There was some kind of huge explosion near this spot.” Nobody really knew if slimes had to breathe or not, but Smucker seemed completely unable to catch his possibly non-existent breath. “Once I figured that out, I even looked for shrapnel in the cow’s body. There was only one tiny piece; it ran right up into its heart, probably killing the cow instantly and it just got left behind.”

“Let behind?” Veronica asked. “If it got left behind, then where was everybody else going to?”

“A whole city,” Smucker warbled, “right beneath our feet. Big towers with skulls on top and stone buildings that look like they’re made out of bones. It looked like it was all hundreds, maybe even thousands of years old! A whole network of stone tunnels runs right underneath our feet! The sulphur and shrapnel must have come from an explosion that was used to move the sand and get to the tunnels.”

“Meaning, the herder must have taken the rest of the cattle down into the tunnels…” Veronica said, slowly piecing everything together in her mind. “The one still up here must have just been stubborn and got caught in the blast.”

“That was clumsy of it,” Smucker warbled. “The blast charge must have been placed underground and the cow just got unlucky by staying too close to it.”

“No kidding,” Veronica said. “But there’s still the issue about the decomposition…” She stood up suddenly. “What did you say the buildings looked like?”

“Skulls, mostly,” Smucker said. “Bones, other such dead-looking things. It was all pretty cool looking.”

Veronica’s mind only picked up more speed as she thought.

“Is something wrong?” Smucker asked.

The Bleached White, Veronica finally realized with a bitter frown. The insane death cult took its name from the bones of their victims (and later, their experiments) that had been bleached white by the desert sun. Just because supernatural forces and creatures could help law and order, they didn’t always keep themselves on the side of righteousness. Some nutcases felt it their right to turn the ethereal forces of the world to their down benefit- necromancy seemed to be a popular choice. The art also made up over 60% of all supernatural/magical-related offences committed. It also gave off a kind of magical radiation that kept the dead from decaying near fonts of necromantic power, thought to help keep corpses fresh for use.

A man and his herd go missing, Veronica thought, and suddenly a whole can of man-eating worms is opened up. And we’ve got one cow still up here- that means there’s still a whole horde to be used as parts down below… The amount of paperwork Veronica knew she would have to fill out on this whole mess was almost making her reach for her aspirin in her back pocket.

And now, Veronica and her slimy companion were standing on a several feet of loose, tiny stones which separated the two of them from a whole city of death-crazed lunatics.

“No,” Veronica said, hoping that Smucker hadn’t been around humans enough to know when and just how much they lied through their teeth, “nothing’s wrong.” Not yet, anyway. Give it some time.

 

 

 


 

 

Well, that’s about it, that’s all I got. I kind of made a mess of this whole thing- an exploded-cow level of mess, too. But hey, it was a fun little thing I cooked up in two days all based around taking the suggested sentence as a really stupid pun. But that’s my savvy for ye!

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

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