Fates Avow: The Arbiter: Part Four

At school Connie was smart and athletic. Both these attributes served her well during her teenage years and they were required once more in the alleyway.

She was smart enough to realise the two dark figures meant her harm; although, to be fair, the large knife brandished by one would have been a strong indication to even the less intelligent that a friendly welcome was not on offer here.

Connie’s athleticism allowed her to stop and change direction in almost a heartbeat. Those hours spent on the sports field responding to the sound of a whistle paying off. This time the prize was not some athletic pride in her fitness but her life.

She could hear her old coach barking orders in her ear as she sprinted down the alley towards the safety of the crowded street.

Connie was fast. She knew she could out run her would be assailants. Nevertheless she was unable to resist looking back to check. The two figures were in pursuit but they did not run instead opting to walk, patiently stalking their prey just as a tiger would do. At that pace they would never reach her. The odds were in favour of even the slowest runner to outrun someone walking.

It was however this moment of curiosity, that need to see behind her when once again she failed to notice what was in front of her.

A stone lay innocuously in her path, too small for Connie to have noticed but large enough to cause her ankle to turn as her foot landed on this nuisance mineral.

With her balance interrupted she fell to the ground, the elegance of her sprint now reduced to an unceremonious flailing as she hit the floor.

Dazed by the speed in which she went from upright to prostrate, her immediate thought was the proximity of her attackers. She looked up to see them approach, their journey still at that stalking pace. There was certainly now no need to run, Connie wasn’t going anywhere.

But she tried to go somewhere, her will to live too strong to just passively lay on the floor and await her tragic fate. Yet despite her resolve to escape her ankle had other ideas.

Any movement she made to continue her journey towards safety was met by a growl of pain that travelled up her leg and forced her back on to the floor.

Her resilience continued and through gritted teeth she crawled towards where the alley opened onto the street; close enough for her to see the people who could save her yet too far away for them to notice her.

Despite her brain crying out through the pain that escape was now a hopeless endeavour, her desire to survive pushed her further albeit slowly down the alley.

Connie turned to see her attackers, they were close now. She could see the blade more clearly, soon this object of destruction will be pushed into her ending an altogether brief life.

Tears began forming in her eyes as any hope of escape made way for the realisation of her death; and it wouldn’t be a pleasant painless death but the absolute opposite.

Her eyes closed as she waited for the inevitable moment of her doom. She need not witness anymore and mournfully submitted herself to her conclusion.

A long shadow formed over Connie, yet it was not from her attackers but from behind her. Connie’s curiosity caused her to open her eyes and standing over her was the man from the pub…Ryan.

“Come with me if you wish to avoid the threat to your life posed by these two people.” he said, holding out his hand to her.

Forgetting he was the reason she had ran in the first place Connie reached up and grabbed his hand. The actual threat in front of her outweighed any potential threat that Ryan posed.

From behind him emerged the woman, Heze. She leapt at the two attackers striking them on the chest. They stumbled back but quickly recovered to swipe at Heze with their blades.

She pulled a weapon from her belt to fend them off. It was a curious object small enough to be gripped with one hand. The handle was curved like that of an umbrella with the end pointed. At the other end it forked off with three blades, one made of gold, one made of silver and the other bronze.

Connie watched as Heze deftly swung this weapon knocking the knives from the grip of the attackers. Then in one quick stroke she dove the weapon into the stomach of one before pulling it out and slicing the throat of the other. They both fell to the ground in a bloody heap.

Heze wiped her triple pronged weapon on the back of one of the attackers before putting it back in her belt.

She lingered over one of the bodies and rolled up his shirt sleeve. Connie could not see exactly what it was but it looked like a tattoo. Whatever it was it caused Heze to flash a look over at Ryan; was it a look of fear? hate? It was very difficult for Connie to tell.

The adrenaline from her near fatal encounter was still running and perhaps in a different scenario she would have been horrified she had just witnessed the violent death of two people.

But they had tried to kill her, they deserved what happened to them. Any concern she should have about how deadly Heze had been was overtaken by a feeling of relief and gratitude. Heze had saved her and with that came an automatic element of trust.

Therefore without protest she limped back to the pub flanked by both Ryan and Heze.

Once inside she sat on one of the worn wooden chairs and rested her injured foot on another. Heze brought her a glass of that potent alcohol.

Heze seemed different from before, her previous warm and friendly attitude had made way for a more icier demeanour. Connie was unsure if any of this clear hostility was directed at her or at Ryan.

“As I was saying Connie” said Ryan “You’re not safe and so best you stay here.”

His voice appeared stronger than before and he was less confused. Connie didn’t respond, the pain in her ankle was matched only by the throbbing in her head. Instead she smiled and nodded her appreciation.

Certainly she had questions and suspected that Ryan had the answers but that could wait. For now she was content to sit in silence and relax. Silence. Connie noted that the music was not playing anymore.

“Ryan. Can I talk to you for a moment” asked Heze.

Connie watched as Heze walked to one of the doors at the back of the pub and went inside, Ryan followed immediately thereafter.

Behind the door was not the toilets as Connie had first assumed but a hallway. Almost immediately as you entered was a wooden staircase that led to the first floor.

Heze waited by these steps as Ryan entered and spoke “Well done Heze that was good wo….”

Heze punched Ryan hard across the face “We’ve intervened. Haven’t we?” she said angrily.

Ryan said nothing, instead rubbed the side of his face, Heze had quite the right hook on her.

She removed her weapon from her belt and begun to furiously stab at the bottom step.

“We’ve fucking intervened” she shouted “You know who they were? You saw their mark!”

Ryan passively held his hands out “Heze” he said, ensuring that he was a safe enough distance to dodge Heze’s weapon if she chose to throw it.

She flashed him a stern look “Don’t Heze me!” She said twisting her weapon further into the wooden step “We’ve intervened! And you promised we would never do that…again.” Her voice trailed off as she completed that sentence.

Ryan stared at Heze thinking of the right words he could say to her. Even if he had those perfect words to hand, Heze was certainly not in the mood to let him speak.

She stood up to face him “Why Ryan? Why have we intervened?”

“I don’t know” he replied instinctively flinching in case another Heze punch was about to arrive.

“You don’t know?” Heze said, twisting the weapon between her thumb and forefinger “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means I don’t know!” replied Ryan raising his voice before taking a breath and speaking more calmly “Look Heze I’m not sure what is going on. I just know we had to do it.”

“Why? Why now? Why her?”

Ryan thought for a moment then replied “Again I don’t know……It was the music and…”

“The music?!” Heze interrupted “What about the music?”

Ryan put his hands on Heze’s shoulders “I don’t know. I’ll find out Heze. I will sort this. Trust me.”

He flashed a smile at Heze which was met with a strained one from her.

“Now” he continued “Let’s go back in and talk to her. Maybe we can get some answers.”

He turned and opened the door to the main area of the pub.

Connie was gone.

Fates Avow: The Arbiter : Part Three

< Part Two

Any hope that the tired and worn out exterior of the pub would not be replicated inside faded as Connie entered.

Although spacious there was a perpetual gloominess about the place. A few lights hung casually from the ceiling, the cracked glass coverings revealed dull yellowing bulbs. Black specks marked the final resting place of curious insects.

The murkiness of the bulb betrayed its main purpose and all that it could muster was to illuminate a constant stream of dust that seemed on an infinite loop round the mouldy yellow light.

To the right were a row of cubicles, three wooden benches adorned in tatty red leather enveloped tired looking tables. The gloom would not allow Connie to see as far as the furthest benches.

Further down the room a number of tables were haphazardly laid out and the chairs that surrounded them were not arranged in any particular order.

Towards the back were two doors side by side, Connie presumed these led to the toilets but there were no signs indicating which one was intended for Gentleman and which for Ladies. Connie doubted, given the decor, that this particular Pub was trailblazing with Gender Neutral facilities.

In the furthest corner was a pool table. The green velvet covering was scratched and it was unlikely a competitive game could be had with just three balls and one cue.

Connie followed the dark green carpet which in places was so worn away she could see the floorboards beneath. Stains sporadically embellished the carpet, some appeared of dubious nature but no doubt the origin of each stain was, in itself, an interesting tale.

There was a musky smell that immediately had filled Connie’s nostrils as she entered. It was as if she could smell every pint of beer ever supped in this establishment. The aroma was so heavy she had to swallow it down to allow herself to breathe normally.

To her left was the bar and there framed by the optics and beer taps stood the woman. She was illuminated by a neon branded sign advertising a beer that Connie was sure did not exist anymore.

The woman smiled and Connie made her way over to the bar and sat down on one of only two tall bar stools at the front of the expansive wooden bar.

The oak panel was deeply scored and down the entire length were dark rings from the many drinks that would have been placed upon the bar by careless customers and staff alike. They occurred all the way down the bar leading to what appeared to be a wooden box.

Connie squinted in the gloominess to see what that box was because it looked out of place. She was shaken by her surveillance of her surroundings by the woman slamming a glass onto the bar.

“So you’ve had a bad day?” asked the woman, pouring some amber liquid into the glass.

“Terrible” replied Connie

“Well this will make you feel better” said the woman sliding the half filled glass over to Connie.

Connie picked up the drink and took a tentative swig. There was a surprising potency to the liquid and she coughed a frisky ‘Wow!’

“It’s good stuff!” laughed the woman “I’m Heze by the way” (she pronounced it Haze).

“Connie” replied Connie still choking slightly on her drink.

Heze leaned on the bar and rested her chin on her hand “Well Connie tell me about this bad day you are having”

As Connie begun to tell Heze of all the annoyances she had to endure something peculiar happened.

A low hissing sound began to fill the room, then,faintly at first, the soft hum of music. This melodic interruption caused Connie to stop talking and seek out the source of the tune. She presumed that it was from a jukebox but a quick scan of the gloomy interior did not reveal one.

Listening intently she followed the tinny notes to the box at the end of the bar, the box that appeared so out of place when Connie had first seen it.

The music became louder and it was a familiar song to Connie, one that her parents used to listen to. She believed it was by The Beatles although she couldn’t remember the precise name of the song, John Lennon was singing about a Guru called Dave or something.

Heze who had been resting against the bar stood up straight and glanced towards the box then out at the cubicles opposite the bar.

From the gloomy shadows a man emerged and he walked slowly towards the musical cube as if he were in a trance. The presence of someone else being here had initially surprised Connie.

Both her and Heze watched as he took the box between his hands and started to examine it, lifting it up to study all four sides. He glanced up from the box and looked at Heze before his head snapped round to intently stare at Connie.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“Connie” she replied nervously, the intensity to which he studied her made her feel uncomfortable.

“Connie? Do I know you?” he returned his attention to the box, looking it over once more before returning to Connie “Who are you?”

This man seemed confused and Connie presumed he was a regular in the pub that had just woken up after sleeping off a particular heavy night.

Connie was unsure how to respond to this individual. Indeed her only thought was how best to leave the pub. Her day was bad enough as it was and she could do without an altercation with some random drunk guy.

She watched nervously as his attention returned to the box. With the song still playing he wandered back to the cubicle, his apparent interest in Connie over. She followed him until he was consumed by the gloom, the only indication of his presence was the tinny tune that still played.

Connie spun back round to look at Heze who gave a forced smile “That’s the boss” she said with an embarrassed shrug.

Connie thought it was best she left and took one final swig of her drink and coughed her goodbyes.

“How much do I owe you?” she enquired.

Heze threw up her hands “On the house” she replied.

Connie expressed her gratitude once more and then walked towards the large wooden door.

“You can’t leave”

Connie spun round to witness the man emerge once more from the darkness, still cradling the musical box.

“I’m sorry?” replied Connie, trying to hide the anxiety that was building up inside her.

“You can’t leave. It’s not safe ” said the man.

Connie’s heart begun to pound as the realisation that her exit from this pub may not be an easy one. She shot a look over at Heze who was trying to get her bosses attention “Ryan. Ryan” she kept repeating.

“What do you mean it’s not safe?” asked Connie taking a step backwards further near the door.

“It’s not safe. You leave here. Bad things will happen.” continued Ryan.

Connie reached behind her, blindly grabbing at the handle. She stepped further back as Ryan approached.

“What bad things?” she asked , hoping that engaging him in conversation may distract him enough so she can make her exit.

“Terrible things. Horrid things. You are only safe here. You cannot leave” he said, there was a confused mania in the pattern of his voice which did little to calm the rising panic that Connie was feeling.

Her heart was racing and she inwardly gave a small sigh of relief when her she finally found the handle to the door. Although the music was still playing the sweetest sound Connie heard was of the door unlocking as she twisted the handle.

With her back still to the door she tugged at the handle and a comforting ray of light from the low afternoon sun shone through.

Her eyes were fixed on Ryan as she stepped back. She could feel the warmth of the sun on her leg. The unexpected breeze challenged the musky smell for dominance in the air. The dust that had dutifully followed its same infinite path now swirled around on a new chaotic route.

Ryan walked towards her still clutching the box muttering all manner of warnings about impending danger as Heze continued to try and attract his attention. All the while the song continued to provide the soundtrack to this weird encounter that left Connie feeling confused, frightened and clear she had to leave.

She spun round and completed her escape from the building, slamming the door behind her. The street was rather busy but rather seek comfort in a crowd her instincts told her to run. She turned and sprinted up the alleyway that ran alongside the pub.

She could hear the blood pumping in her ears as she sprinted along the alley. She looked back to see if either Ryan or Heze were pursuing her.

Such was her concentration of what might be behind her that she neglected to pay much attention to what was in front of her.

Had she done so she would have noticed two figures standing there. Although it would have been difficult to make out their features in the dullness of the alley she would at the very least had seen the glint of the knife that one held in their hand.

Different path. Same Conclusion.

Fates Avow: The Arbiter: Part Two

< Part One

Connie was having a bad day….But you know that already. You know her story of how she woke up late, rushed to get ready, had someone steal her money, accidentally burnt down her flat, got fired from her job, found out her boyfriend was cheating and then to cap it all off got murdered.

In every story there are moments where things could take an alternative route; that each different choice would open up more and more possibilities which in turn lead to even more eventualities.

Yet, inevitably, even if we chose to take a different path, no matter how unique the journey may be it always leads to the same place.

Maybe Connie chose to go home when she missed the train but that would have seen her trapped in her flat when it caught fire.

Or perhaps she did have enough money to get a taxi only to then be involved in a road traffic collision.

Different path, same conclusion. Connie died that day.

However in every story there is always that moment when the different path taken can change the entire narrative.

For Connie that moment was standing outside the dilapidated building that once used to be a Pub.

In its more glorious years this building would have been alive with the sounds of communal revelry. The tired facade now betrayed the once vibrant colours that lured many into its comfy interior.

Connie never went inside on the day she died; she thought it was closed, abandoned. Her curiosity of the building was not sufficient enough to see her try to enter. There was nothing inviting about this strange place.

However there had been something but in her rage and torment she had simply not seen it.

Haphazardly resting against the side of the building was a wooden board, it was the typical one you see outside pubs and restaurants that proudly exclaim ‘Come On In We’re Open’, followed by a list of drinks and written in chalk Today’s Specials (There were none listed).

In the moments before Connie arrived outside the building, the earlier inclement weather had knocked the board over so it rested hidden against the wall.

If Connie had been earlier she may have seen it before it fell and taken the sign up on its welcoming offer to ‘Come On In’. But she didn’t and she died.

Maybe even the presence of the sign would not have enticed her to go in. It was after all as worn out and broken as the building. Plus they didn’t have any Specials on that day.

She may have studied the sign but the revelation of her boyfriend’s infidelity was always going to send her into that rage which would conclude with her death.

Different Path. Same Conclusion.

But what if, rather than arriving earlier, she arrived a little later?

****

“Connie! Wait”

Connie turned to see Ann bounding after her. Connie desperately wanted to just leave and get home. She could not bear anymore humiliation and was fighting so hard to keep even a modicum of dignity.

When Clive had rather abruptly informed her that she was being fired she could feel the tears begin to bubble up, ready to erupt. With it would come the rage and Clive would never know how close he came to having his face smashed in with a stapler.

“I’m fine Ann. Go back to your desk” pleaded Connie as she tried to hide the fact she was very much not fine.

Despite her portly frame Ann surprised Connie with how quickly she was able to catch up.

“Are you sure?” Ann said, placing her thick hand on Connie’s shoulder.

There was a look of genuine sympathy in the eyes of Ann. This was surprising given her propensity to leave passive aggressive post-its warding off anyone who was tempted to swipe her tuna sandwiches.

Connie just wanted to leave the building, go home and cry her heart out. But she no longer had a home she to privately express her anguish in.

That thought was enough to set her off and she wept. Burying her head deep into Ann’s shoulder, all her frustrations as to why life would choose to be so cruel to her leaked onto Ann’s crocheted cardigan.

Each sorrowful recollection of the morning events were punctuated with a sympathetic ‘There. There’ from Ann.

During this outpouring Connie’s phone vibrated, indicating a message. Her hand moved down to retrieve it but was stopped by Ann.

“Leave it. It can wait” she said “You just let it all out.”

And that she did and when Connie had no more tears to spill she sniffled her gratitude for the kindness Ann had shown.

“Do you feel better?” asked Ann

“A little” Connie replied, forcing half a smile “Thank you. Best go see what is left of my flat”.

“Here” Ann said, pulling out a few bank notes and pressing it into Connie’s hand.

“I can’t Ann…This is too much” protested Connie trying to force the money back into Ann’s hand.

Ann stepped back raising her hands “Take it. You need it more than me.”

After one final hug of gratitude Connie left the building and took the same route that would lead to her eventual death.

She passed someone shouting obscenities towards a HGV which was disappearing into the distance.

“Way my luck is going today I’m surprised that weren’t me” thought Connie as she stared at the soaking wet angry pedestrian.

It was then she remembered about her text and paused her journey to retrieve her phone.

As she was about to type in her pin code something out of the corner of her eye caused her to look up from her phone and towards the crumbling old building.

The front of the pub looked as always uninviting and Connie would have returned to her phone were it not for the woman standing to the side adjusting a wooden sign.

It was initially the blue hair that caused Connie’s gaze to linger longer than she might have. The woman squatted down to write something on the board, her black sleeveless t-shirt riding up to reveal an intricate tattoo of a crescent moon on the small of her back.

The woman moved away revealing what she had written under the heading ‘Today’s Specials’.

Trouble Free

It was a curious thing to write but nevertheless for a brief moment that simple phrase caused Connie to smile.

“Gotta write something.” said the woman breaking Connie’s intense focus on the board.

“No specials?” Connie enquired.

“We haven’t done anything special here for quite sometime” the woman replied.

“Are you okay?” she asked noting the rawness in Connie’s eyes from where she had been crying.

“Just having a bad day, that’s all” replied Connie.

The woman smiled, there was a kindness to her face but Connie was in no doubt that this woman could handle herself if need be.

“Come inside for a drink then” the woman suggested “As the sign says, we are trouble free”

“I didn’t think you were open” said Connie looking up at the building with it’s flaky paint and cracked windows.

The woman followed her gaze and shrugged “This place is never closed to the troubled” she said with a smile and then opened the creaky wooden door to go inside.

Connie paused for a moment, twiddling her phone between her fingers. It had been a rough day already. Maybe just a quick drink to collect her thoughts.

If the mysterious blue haired woman was right maybe it would be a trouble free respite, even if this was unlikely to be the most comfortable place she had ever been in. What harm would one drink do? It’s not as if her day could get any worse.

Putting the phone back in her pocket she opened the door and entered the pub.

That simple act meant she would not die that day; her story would continue. Yet it was now a different story and one that still may not necessarily end well for Connie….Or for anyone for that matter.

Part Three >

Fates Avow: The Arbiter : Part One

<Prologue

Connie was having a bad day. A really bad day.

Indeed by the time the day was out there would not be sufficient superlatives to describe just how staggeringly bad this day would be.

It had started with her waking up already late for work. The commencement of this truly bad day would begin with her phone blatantly lying to her about how long 63% of battery would last. At some point as she slept her phone decided to switch off and not undertake its task of waking her up with an irritating beeping sound incorrectly described as ‘morning sunrise’.

Connie had contemplated charging her phone overnight but on seeing a news report about exploding batteries she had thought it was best not to. Her phone irritated her at the best of times and it would be the height of irritation if it actually caused her to die.

The irony of this thought process is that by the end of this horribly bad day she would, in fact, be dead.

Perhaps if her phone had killed her she would not have to endure all the other bad stuff that would occur before her ultimate demise.

Blissfully ignorant that this would be her last day on earth Connie cursed as she rushed out of bed and into the shower, promptly skipping back naked and wet to put her lying unreliable phone on charge.

She quickly got dressed and hurriedly straightened her hair before rushing out of her cramped flat.

Clip clopping her way to the train station Connie took a bite of a breakfast bar she had grabbed from the cupboard on her way out.

She had hoped that the nutritional information printed on the side of the wrapper was correct and this would provide her with sufficient sustenance. The groan from her belly after she devoured the bar told her otherwise. Eating what was effectively crumbs glued together was hardly a hearty breakfast.

Connie arrived at the train station to witness the train already in the process of departing. She had a futile burst of speed in some strange hope that she would be able to catch up with the train and leap on; alternatively she may have expected that the train driver might spot her and happily stop the train. She hadn’t even reached the gates to the platform before she realised that neither of those things would happen.

Connie cursed again. There wouldn’t be another train for at least an hour. She was going to be very late for work.

Yet in the final moments of her life she’d probably look back and think oversleeping and missing a train was rather pleasant in comparison to being dead. Indeed, such was the suddenness of her demise she would have no time to curse at the unfairness of being killed…..and that is really something that is curse worthy.

Connie’s only chance of getting to work at a time vaguely respectable would be to get a taxi. She saw a row of taxis and smiled that perhaps her fortune maybe changing.

She went to a cashpoint to draw some money out but any hope that good luck was now firmly on her side faded when the screen announced she had no money and then promptly ate her card.

Connie cursed once more. It was payday, the only day of the month she could be confident that there would be money in her account.

Pulling out her phone she tapped on her banking app to enquire about her lack of funds. Her phone chose not to break the news to her gently but instead made the pixelated pronouncement that she had been paid but someone had nefariously then took all her money.

Connie cursed even more, she had no money and had no idea how she would pay for things such as rent or food. Had she known she would be dead by the end of the day this probably would have saved her some unnecessary heartache over these issues.

After several more moments of cursing Connie decided she would simply go home, call the bank then just go back to bed and wake up tomorrow when everything would be better.

She turned to walk back towards her apartment when her phone alerted her to a text message, it was from Ann, a colleague from work.

Where are you? Boss really wants to see you Now!!!!!!

Maybe it was the liberal use of exclamation marks but Connie, cursing again, decided she’d better try and get into work. She rifled though her jacket pocket and found some loose change, it would be enough to get the bus.

Connie found herself on her way to work in a cramped bus sat next to a guy who appeared to have chronic bronchitis. The onset of his spluttering coincided with the bus hitting any divot or pothole, of which there were many.

Through the rare breaks in his coughing Connie listened to the various automated security questions she had to pass to be able to speak to someone at her bank. The irony that she had to provide answers to the most ridiculous questions whilst someone had quite easily just wiped out her bank account was not lost on her.

The bus did not go directly to her work place and Connie alighted to begin the walk. As soon as she stepped off the bus, dark clouds appeared in the sky and it began to rain heavily down upon her. She looked at her phone which proudly displayed a big sun.

“Lying. Bastard. Phone!” she muttered.

Her walk to work by the standards already set was relatively uneventful save that as she walked by every puddle a car would splash her.

Connie finally arrived at work, tired, drenched and annoyed. She just wished this day to be over and of course it would be soon albeit with a permanence that perhaps she hadn’t wished for.

As she walked through the vast lobby of the building where she worked she cursed again on seeing that the lift was out of order. After ascending 16 flights of stairs she eventually reached her desk.

“Bad day?” Ann enquired looking at a drenched and exhausted Connie with a mixture of concern and bemusement.

“Horrible ” Connie replied “I don’t think this day can get any worse.”

No sooner had those words left her lips but her phone bleeped, it was a message from Darren, her neighbour and head of the Resident’s Association for her block of flats.

Hey Connie. Look I don’t know how to tell you this but your flat has just burnt down.

Connie stared at her phone in disbelief. She read the message a number of times before she believed what she was being told, even then her primary thought was whether it was appropriate for Darren to sign off with a sad face emoji.

Connie slumped into her chair and raised her hands to her face. She cursed loudly at the culprit of the fire

Fucking hair straighteners!

In her rush to get work she had forgot to turn them off. Her desire to look presentable had now, in effect, left her homeless.

No money. No home.

“Everything okay?” enquired Ann

“My home has just burnt down” replied Connie, tears beginning to form in her eyes.

“Oh dear! You could do without something like that happening”

Connie decided she would have to go home to see whatever was left of the charred remains of her home; she’d also have to make arrangements to find somewhere to stay. Maybe she could stay at her boyfriend’s house, although she remembered he was away on a conference for the next few days.

She had been dating Luke for over a year and things had become quite serious. Secretly she had been hoping he would ask her to move in. Perhaps her burning down the flat would force the issue. Every cloud and all that.

She wished Luke was with her now. To hold her in his large arms, kiss her on the top of the head and tell her everything will be okay.

“I gotta go” Connie announced to Ann

She got up to leave but was immediately faced with Clive, her boss.

“Ah Connie. You’re finally here. I need a word if I may” said Clive, clearly oblivious to the level of distress Connie was experiencing.

“Can it wait Clive. My flat has just burnt down” she replied

Clive thought for a moment then responded “Not really and if it has already burnt down a few minutes more won’t matter’

Connie sighed “I’ve really got to go”

“Okay” Clive said “I’ll be quick about it. We are having to downsize the department and your employment here will be terminated in a week.”

“Seriously?!” replied Connie “You tell me like that!”

“Well you did want me to be quick about it”

Connie just stared at Clive as her brain desperately tried to process yet another bombshell.

“Anyway I’m sorry your flat has burnt down ” said Clive offering a sympathetic pat on her shoulder before he turned and left.

Connie looked around at her co workers who stared back at her in open mouthed silence. Fighting back the tears she grabbed her bag and left the building.

It was only after emerging onto the street, which was now bathed in brilliant sunlight, that she realised she had no money to get home. She then realised she actually did not have a home on account of the fact it had burnt down.

No money. No home. No job.

Her brain offered no ideas on what next to do and so she just walked, her eyes brimming with tears.

Her brain that had failed in offering any solutions could only remind her of the extent of her problems.

No money. No home. No job.

She was momentarily distracted from the magnitude of her problems by her phone bleeping. She stopped to search through her pocket right next to the only remaining puddle left over from the earlier downpour.

As Connie desperately tried to locate her phone in her pocket a HGV drove past and covered her with dirty puddle water. She let out a few expletives at the driver before turning her attention back to retrieving her phone.

As she wiped the grimy water off the screen she became aware that she was in the shadow of a large building. She’d probably had walked past it countless times but never really noticed it. The facade was quite worn and the stain glass windows were dirty and cracked.

Suspended by a rusty iron chain was a sign. The wording was faded and she could not make out precisely what it said but there was a symbol that looked like a star and she could just about read the words ‘Public House’.

She contemplated for a moment going inside to get dried off but there was nothing about this place that looked inviting. Indeed, Connie didn’t even think it was open.

Having dried her phone she clicked on her messages, it was from Luke. Oh sweet Luke. He’ll know what to do.

However any comfort in seeing his name quickly turned to confusion. The message was a picture of him laying on the bed in nothing but tight underwear, below the text read;

Come and get it Tiger! Room 113. Ready when you are! Grrrr!

Why would he send this to her. He was miles away. Was he honestly expecting her to go all that way to meet him? And since when as he ever called her ‘Tiger’?!

Connie replied with a simple question mark, followed by ‘Luke?’ then ‘Luke??’ and finally ‘Luke??!!’

She stared impatiently at her screen but no response came. She tried calling him but there was no answer.

Her brain, reeling from failing to comprehend her other problems gleefully announced that it had solved what was going on here.

He’s cheating on you!

That was it. The final straw. She threw her phone to the floor and began stamping on it whilst screaming every obscenity she knew, including some she had never previously uttered.

Her phone had done nothing but conspire against her to make this the worse possible day ever.

Dictated by rage she stalked off down the street, each angry step she took a reminder of what her life had now become.

No money. No home. No job. No boyfriend.

In the midst of anger and confusion she found herself down a secluded alley. Had she not been so preoccupied with her problems she may have paid more attention to where she was.

If she hadn’t been replaying every bad thing that happened she might have noticed the two shadowy figures approach from behind her.

She may have been able to run away before they grabbed her and slammed her head against the brick wall.

Had she not smashed her phone it may have aided her in calling for help.

As it were, it was in that alleyway that Connie died.

It was reported in the press but only briefly. Connie simply became another statistic to add to all the other statistics about the rising levels of crime.

She would be mourned by her close family and friends but not really by anyone else. A few who had noted the brief report of her death would comment on social media but merely to reflect upon their own self worth.

‘OMG. So sad. RIP. I visited that place 3 years ago. That could’ve been me’

But for the billions of other people Connie’s death would go unnoticed. As her story came to an end theirs would continue unimpeded by her unfortunate demise.

Yet however tragic this tale may be there are always other stories waiting to be told. Each life carries an infinite amount of possibilities. Inevitably, these stories all conclude in the same way…..with death.

Connie’s story ended as she drew her final breath alone, bleeding in that alley. It marked the final chapter of her tale. A story that to anyone who didn’t know her would seem unremarkable.

However, the story of what happened if Connie did not die in that alley….well that is a far greater story to tell.

Part Two >

The Unerotica Of Selina IX : A Song Of Tyler & Bryce – Part Nine

“Why are you surprised?”

The final Snoflakian dove reached the D’Annimos. Strangely, they were not expecting such an invitation which was surprising given they are all about prophecy.

Nevertheless,with all the invitations sent, thoughts inevitably turned to the peace summit itself.

How would the families all react to the suggestion of peace? This ideal of living together in harmony, to work together for the prosperity of all inhabitants of Earthykinda. To create a world not defined by war and suffering but of understanding and respect.

Well, from what Bryce could work out they were all planning to use the Peace Summit to kill one another.

The Toonidunzas had a very straightforward plan – have sex with them, kill them, eat them and not necessarily always in that order.

The D’Annimos were just going to poison everyone and given that they are all prophetic they probably had an idea whether their plan was going to work or not.

The Bursteads were a little more devious and planned to rule the kingdoms not by obvious force but by stealth.

Their intention was to suggest that the families are united by marriage. With everyone effectively related there would be peace.

Bryce was unsure if this was a master stroke of diplomacy or if this was more to do with their preference for suitors. If everyone is technically related maybe nobody will care what the brother and sister got up to.

In any event, once married the intention was to kill everyone else anyway.

Despite calling for the Peace Summit the Snoflakians had a similar plan, although it was a little more subtle.

Like the Bursteads they wanted the families united by marriage but such a union would not immediately end in death.

The Snoflakians would use the weaknesses of their enemies to manipulate their strengths. They wanted peace but it had to be on their terms.

If the others refused to be compliant then that is when they would die. It was quite clear that even peace loving Snoflakians could be like a cunning Burstead when they had to.

Clearly, everyone had an ulterior motive for wishing to attend the peace summit.

Bryce left the world of Earthykinda to concentrate on some developments in her own life. She too was dealing with an unexpected invitation.

“Why are you surprised? You are my girlfriend after all”

Bryce blushed and lowered her head. She loved hearing Tyler refer to her as ‘his girlfriend’.

They had been dating for sometime but this invitation to the wedding would be the first time he would introduce her to his family and close friends…..and she’d be introduced as his girlfriend!

“It’s in a Hotel, so I thought we can stay there the evening. You know, so we could both have a drink”

“Separate rooms?” Bryce enquired.

“Well a lot of guests are staying” Tyler replied, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck “So….I could only get one room”

Bryce just nodded. It was understandable that it would be difficult as well as expensive to get two rooms. It was a long drive to the Hotel and neither of them would want to make that trip home late at night.

Yet in the back of her mind something troubled Bryce. Was Tyler expecting sex? That the potent cocktail of wedding romance and alcohol would be enough for Bryce to willingly give up her virginity?

Maybe Bryce would be happy to do so. That seeing how proudly he introduced her to his family would be confirmation that he is her one true love.

But what if she didn’t feel that way? Should she just agree to any sexual request, if nothing more out of gratitude for a lovely evening?

Of course Tyler may not be expecting that at all. His reasons may be genuine and honourable; he most likely would offer to sleep on the floor.

Bryce cursed herself for even thinking that Tyler may have less than gentlemanly intentions.

After all, not all invitations have an ulterior motive.

The Unerotica Of Selina VIII : A Song Of Tyler & Bryce – Part Eight

“They ate the dove!”

This was how the Toonidunzas responded to the invitation to attend the Snoflakian peace summit.

The Chief Dunza, although sometimes it was difficult to know who’s the boss, had grabbed the dove and bit the bird’s head off.

The decapitated carcass was then sent back. As an RSVP it did seem rather passive aggressive; a bit like if someone returns a wedding invitation and under Dietary Requirements had written ‘Don’t think much of the menu choices’.

Bryce sighed. If answers to her dilemma with Tyler were to be found in this book she doubted the Toonidunzas would provide much help.

They were Barbarians and treated everyone with a distinct lack of respect. From what Bryce could work out they’d either kill you or have sex with you, sometimes both.

Tyler was not like that, he was respectful, kind but his primal urges were becoming apparent.

The passion in his kiss had increased. The build up of intensity all designed to finally reach that next stage of their relationship.

If Bryce was reading too much into how he kissed then she could feel his intention quite prominently rubbing against her.

Bryce was certainly not an unwilling participant in this show of passion. But when they reached that pivotal moment a flash of doubt would echo through her mind;

Is he my one true love?

This would be enough for the moment to be gone for Bryce. Whilst Tyler was still very much in that moment, Bryce was planning her exit strategy. Inevitably, it would lead them to sitting on the sofa in awkward silence.

Occasionally, Tyler would break that silence by saying that Bryce was ‘a tease’. He would punctuate that with a laugh so as not to cause offence. However, often he would sit quietly, waiting for his urges to rescind.

The Toonidunzas had no such problems. They simply acted instinctively on their urges. They took what they wanted. Within the Dunza camp there was a harem where the women who lived there had one simple role – to service the most basic of instincts for these warrior men.

The Author spent little time in exploring how these women may feel about this arrangement. The point of view was always from the Dunza Warrior. They didn’t seem to care at all and would have sex if they were happy or mad or sad or even if they just fancied sex.

From what Bryce could work out there was a hierarchy within the harem. As in any clan there were those who were more desirable than others. Indeed to have the Chief Dunza choose you was an indication of status.

Perhaps the Dunzas were not so removed from real life. There were men and women who were deemed more desirable than others; magazines are always creating lists of them. The hierarchy for all to see in glossy print.

Tyler was certainly desirable. He was devilishly handsome, athletic and if the local paper did a list of Most Desirable Guys, he would certainly be at the top.

Such desirability did not go unnoticed by others. Bryce saw how other women look at him. They way they would swoon if he happened to flash them a smile or even simply walk past.

He could have them if he wanted. But he had chosen Bryce. Yet, during those moments in the deafening quiet, where she had once again thwarted his attempts to indulge his urge, she saw he was disappointed.

She could tell by the look in his eyes that was he confused. His mind racing with whether the problem was with him or with her. The mere fact he’d be thinking there was a problem troubled Bryce. Those thoughts would only grow until , like a behemoth, it swallowed them whole and spat out whatever remained of their relationship.

It would be an ironic twist that she could lose her one true love for fear that he wasn’t her one true love.

Tyler had been patient, she loved that about him but she was acutely aware that such a precious commodity can wear thin.

And when it is gone, what next? The Toonidunzas had no patience. When they wanted something they took it.

If Tyler was a Dunza he would have taken her by now. Alternatively, there would be plenty of other women who are available to indulge those primal urges.

Amongst the doves and ravens, Bryce could sense those other women circling like vultures ready to feast on the dying carcass of her relationship with Tyler.

The Unerotica Of Selina VII: A Song Of Tyler & Bryce – Part Seven

“What the?!?”

Bryce instinctively tossed her tablet onto the cushion next to her. She was confused.

The story had followed the doves on their journey to deliver the invitation from the Snoflakians to attend the peace summit.

The first dove arrived at the Burstead castle. There, from this majestic bird’s point of view, the author described in quite explicit detail a couple having a sex. It was Ullter and Compleat.

Bryce immediately scrolled back through the previous chapters. She was certain that Ullter and Compleat Burstead were definitely brother and sister. Yet they were having sex!

Why? Had the author forgotten they were related? It was quite a lengthy book, perhaps halfway through he decided they would make a great couple and forgot that earlier on said they were related.

No, that can’t be right. This author had a reputation for meticulously planning his stories and Bryce doubted he would throw in such stuff for no other reason than to be provocative.

Perhaps she had read it wrong. It was late at night and she had been reading for sometime. But as she read once more the detailed carnal acts Bryce was pretty sure they were having sex.

Maybe in a clever plot device they don’t know they are brother and sister. It’s possible. The author seemingly has everyone having sex with anyone and so it could happen. Yet the dialogue “Take me now my brother” was a strong indication they knew they were related.

But that was wrong, wasn’t it? It’s taboo. Such things shouldn’t just randomly appear in books. If they had to it shouldn’t definitely have some warning (of which there was none).

Bryce breathed deeply. Perhaps she was taking this all out of context, applying the rules of modern day life. This was, after all, fake olden times and they did things differently back then.

Maybe it was to preserve the purity of the bloodline. That would be a legitimate, if not somewhat, creepy explanation. Yet throughout the history of The Bursteads they seemed to be the first people to be doing it.

Moreso, the King knew about it and did not seem none too pleased. It made no sense and trying to work out why they would do it worried Bryce.

This wasn’t the only thing that occupied her mind. There was another problem involving sex that loomed in the background.

The relationship between her and Tyler had continued to grow and was now reaching that stage where he would be expecting to have sex with her.

Bryce had been there before with other guys but had always stopped short of indulging in that act.

The preservation of her virginity was not due to any strict upbringing or religious doctrine. The behaviour of her sister, who gave hers away at the earliest opportunity, was testament to the lack of attentiveness from their parents.

But whereas her sister would use this freedom to explore the world unchecked, Bryce opted for the more secure and welcoming worlds of her fairy tale stories.

It was all so much simpler in these stories. You could tell who the honourable Prince was. The path to that one true love was always clear.

Was it naive of her to want real life to be like that? Her journey into adulthood had often seen her resolve put to the test.

Firstly, society appeared to deem a pretty girl in her twenties who was still a virgin to be something of a weird anomaly. The default response to such a declaration was not one of respect and understanding but an inference there is something wrong with her. Either that or guys would see it has a tempting challenge.

The latter did not bother Bryce as the stories she read were littered with unsavoury characters who wanted the sweet virgin princess for their own nefarious needs. Bryce was pretty good at spotting them and would avoid them whenever she could.

However, she needed to date guys, otherwise how was she to find her one true love? Invariably, that meant there were always going to be a few false starts.

Many times she thought she had met her true love only for them to turn out to be a nefarious dick in disguise.

This is what caused the inner turmoil in Bryce. How would she ever know if Tyler was to be her one true love?

She had always just presumed that she’d know from a kiss. That always happened in her stories. The rush of euphoria, the tingling, being wonderfully lost in that moment that if she dared open her eyes she’d see she was floating high in the clouds.

Bryce certainly had that feeling kissing Tyler but she had also experienced it with others.

The previous time next stage, Bryce had opened up to the guy about her virginity. His response of ‘Cool. But look I can put it somewhere else if you still want to be a virgin’ led Bryce to believe he may not actually be the one.

Her experience of the world of Earthykinda had compounded her confusion. Previously, the fairy tale lands and real life had enjoyed opposite ends of the spectrum but Earthykinda was different, it sat uncomfortably in the middle.

The magic and wonder was still there but it was an often cruel place where heroes and villains were not as easily defined.

As she spent more time in Earthykinda she begun to think that the fairy tale lands that had kept her safe as a child were no longer fit for purpose in her adult life. Earthykinda seemed more akin to the real world.

The fact she had gone many years without having sex was not because her one true love had not shown up but because he simply doesn’t exist and never would. If she carried on like this she’d die a virgin.

Tyler was handsome and kind. She should just agree to his less than subtle hints they should be having sex and have done with it. Who knows? Maybe he’ll turn out to be her one true love.

How many ‘one true loves’ might she have already missed with her reluctance to give up her flower so readily. If it turns out he’s not the one then she can continue her quest without the baggage of her virginity. After all isn’t that what her sister does….

Bryce sighed heavily. She’d been tested like this before and she had to believe that a one true love did exist. It was not simply a concept exclusive to fairy tales. The path maybe clear but it didn’t make it no less hazardous.

Upon this path I do dare walk

Many nefarious dicks shall talk

Bryce cursed herself for her moment of weakness. Yet as she laid her head on her pillow those thoughts continued to swirl round her mind. A bountiful of question of which her tired and confused mind had no answers.

Is Tyler the one?

Should I have sex with him?

Ullter & Compleat ..brother and sister….Really?!

As her eyes became heavy, and her mind emptied ready for slumber one solitary answer to the multitude of questions came.

Perhaps the answer lies in Earthykinda.

The Unerotica Of Selina VI: A Song Of Tyler & Bryce – Part Six

“Pass it to me…..Now”

Bryce looked on as Tyler skilfully stopped the ball with his feet before successfully evading the advancing slide of an opposition player.

His muscular legs flexed as he sprinted towards the goal, such was his speed and his skill none who wished to stop him could come near.

He swung his leg back and the ball left his foot with such power, like an arrow leaving its bow. It soared through the sky, bending in the light breeze of a spring afternoon.

Only one man stood in the way of Tyler and his prize. Yet try as this lumbering giant might his desperate leap to stop the ball was in vain.

As the ball completed its triumphant journey by clattering against the net jubilant cheers erupted and Tyler’s fellow warriors all huddled around him to offer their praise with lots of hugging and high fiving.

When the celebratory crowd dispersed, Tyler turned to Bryce who gave her champion an applause which he welcomed with a mock bow.

Whilst, no doubt, being the star player on his team was a personal achievement he seemed to relish it more with Bryce looking on. He was comfortable with impressing her with displaying his many physical attributes.

Look fair maiden as I hit that target.

Behold fair maiden as I climb that mountain.

Watch fair maiden as I wrestle that bear.

The referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the half and the players all wandered off to the side of the pitch for refreshment.

A respite for the two warring clans. A temporary peace over the somewhat muddy battlefield as they plot and strategise, ready for the recommencement of this test of skill and strength.

Bryce looked on as the players drunk from their water bottles and endlessly spat. Strangely, it appeared the goalkeeper had opted for a bottle of beer.

Whilst she could have continued to look on and watch grown men cover the grass with saliva , she wished to use this time for a brief return to Earthykinda.

Bryce had been eager to get back into the story because the most recent chapters had all been about The Snoflakians.

At the start, Bryce had adopted the younger Snoflakian Princess as the character she would relate to. There were a number of similarities with her real life.

Like the Snoflakian Princess she was the youngest of two sisters and as in this story the eldest sister was a little wild.

Indeed, Bryce had to work through a number of pages of the elder Snoflakian Princess seemingly having sex with anyone.

Whilst it may have seemed unnecessary and did not add much to character development, Bryce did not mind. It was no different to listening to her own sister when she asked what she got up to at the weekend.

The Snoflakians were all about peace and they truly believed the battle for who controls all of Earthykinda could be resolved through diplomacy and compromise.

Despite their peaceful intentions they were prepared to fight if necessary and had a fully functioning army. Although, from what Bryce could work out they were more used as bed mates for the elder Snoflakian Princess.

The big plan of the Snoflakian King was to bring all the families together for a summit in the hope to carve out a peace treaty that will bring an end to this bloody war that had raged for decades.

The King’s advisors were, its fair to say, not totally on board with this idea. One suggested the King had lost his mind. Another, clearly not understanding the concept of peace, suggested it would be a great opportunity to poison everyone and reign supreme.

Nevertheless, an invitation was sent to all corners of Earthykinda by doves. Normally it would be via raven which is the fake olden times version of the postal service.

However, getting a raven is the modern day equivalent of getting a bill. You know it’s a bill, you know it’s bad news so you just throw it in a drawer unopened. If Bryce really lived in fake olden times there would be a drawer full of dead ravens.

She often wondered if in fake olden times ravens had been used for junk mail purposes;

‘Being Harassed? Picked A Fight With The Wrong Guy At The Tavern? Need To Overthrow An Entire Kingdom?

Then you need Mercenaries2You*

*Terms and Conditions apply. Cannot guarantee it still all won’t go horribly wrong for you.’

By sending a dove it makes it seem interesting, exciting and definitely something they should be paying attention to; the families would be sure to open it.

Whether they accepted the invitation would have to wait. Bryce’s foray into Earthykinda had preoccupied her for the majority of the second half of the match.

She watched as the two teams, who had battled hard, walked off the pitch towards the clubhouse. There, no longer defined by their clan, they would drink and laugh together. Their differences aside they would bond together in mutual respect for the battle fought.

Some may still harbour a grievance for what occurred on that field but even they are placated by the sound of warriors as one and knowledge that a return to the battlefield would occur once more.

Bryce made her way to the clubhouse as the complaints of unfair decisions and injustice were soon replaced by a more peaceful tranquility of combined happiness.

The Unerotica Of Selina V : A Song Of Tyler & Bryce – Part Five

“Would you like to go for a drink?”

Bryce was rather surprised by this suggestion from Tyler. They were, after all, having a drink in a coffee shop.

It may have been the perplexed look on Bryce’s face that prompted Tyler to clarify his question;

“I mean a real drink. At a bar” he said.

Bryce was somewhat hesitant to immediately agree to his offer. It wasn’t that she did not want to spend time with Tyler; he was after all a very handsome, charming guy. But she tended to avoid busy bars. The cacophony of noise from the drunken revellers always made her feel uncomfortable.

Besides she really wanted to get stuck in with reading more about Earthykinda.

She had reached the part where the barbarian clan, the Toonidunzas, had returned home following a devastating defeat at the hands of the D’Annimo family.

Surprisingly, despite a number of their clan being wiped out their response was to go home and have sex with the women (or indeed anything else that may be around).

Bryce was unsure if this was an appropriate reaction. If it was for the purpose of procreation, to replenish the numbers lost, then they were going have to wait a good few years until they could attack again. It didn’t seem a very well thought out plan.

The author had been unclear if indeed this was the plan as he seemed to concentrate more on the acts rather than the reason. Through pages and pages of explicit content their motivation remained uncertain, Bryce wasn’t even sure if some of the women had agreed to be party to the barbarian’s carnal wishes.

The explicit description of sexual acts did not totally bother her. Bryce would have preferred it wasn’t there or at the very least a warning of such explicit content (of which there was none).

Besides it had reminded her of that time at school when she was reading a fairy tale book from the school library only to find, halfway through, that someone had drawn a penis over one of the pages.

“So? Do you fancy it?” asked Tyler.

Bryce with some reluctance nodded in agreement. It was a date.

Was it a date though? Or was it just two people having a drink? These thoughts occupied Bryce as she got ready. They had agreed to meet at a trendy wine bar near to where she lived.

Her preoccupation as to what the expectations for the night would be meant she did not have a chance to read anymore about Earthykinda.

Her trip to that world would have to wait while she dealt with real world problems such as what to wear. Not too revealing , not too short but not too casual.

Bryce was not a complete amateur on dating guys but she did contemplate messaging her sister for advice. However as her finger hovered over the ‘L’ in her Contacts she decided it would not be a good idea.

Previously the only advice her sister had offered was ‘Make sure he’s bought you the chicken nuggets before letting him in your knickers’. Such advice had been less than helpful.

Despite it being a Wednesday the bar was quite busy. The clientele consisted mainly of office workers ending their night by drinking themselves into near oblivion.

Bryce had opted to wear smart trousers, a white blouse and ankle boots. Smart enough to show she’s made an effort but a clear sign to Tyler that this was only just a drink.

She found him waiting at a tall circular table surrounded by equally tall stools. Bryce found them a curious thing. Within a few hours the people in this bar will find it difficult to stand, let alone be able to sit four feet off the ground.

Bryce and Tyler exchanged polite pleasantries as she tried to sit gracefully on one of the large stools. Being only five foot five it was something of a challenge to get seated and retain dignity.

Tyler wore his work suit. He had taken off his tie and his top button was undone. Bryce got a whiff of his cologne that smelt fresh. His hair looked wet yet it had not been raining and she presumed he had been at the gym prior to coming to the bar.

Tyler offered to get her a drink which pleased Bryce. Not just because it showed he was a true gentleman but she hadn’t fancied the descent back down from the stool. She intended to do that only when necessary.

Bryce opted for a wine, she was not much of a drinker but could handle her drink. She would limit herself, however, to only a couple of glasses, it was after all a work night.

Tyler as always did most of the talking and Bryce simply smiled and nodded. This was due, in part, to the noise level being so high in the bar. The raucous laughter drowning out whatever it was Tyler was saying to her.

She allowed herself to drift temporarily back to the world of Earthykinda. In fake olden days this bar would be the tavern where many a warrior, thief or vagrant would come to sup ale, sing random songs everyone appeared to know the words to and then fight.

Bryce was certainly sure that Knight Tyler wouldn’t bring her to such an unpleasant place.

After a short while Bryce excused herself to go to the ladies room. There was no urgent need to pee. However, by the time she had lowered herself off the stool and made her way up the unnecessary four flights of steps to the toilet she’d be bursting to go.

Her route to the toilet took her past the bar where a group of men were drinking and talking loudly, they immediately noticed Bryce.

She never did anything to bring attention to herself but she was a pretty girl and that, apparently, was reason enough for attention to follow her.

“Here lads take a look at her” she heard one say, resulting in the less attentive of the group to turn and look at Bryce.

“She’s got a nice rack on her”

“I’d tap that”

“Here darling wanna come over here for a bit of fun” said one whilst grabbing his groin, just in case Bryce hadn’t fully understood what he meant.

She just lowered her head and walked quickly by; she didn’t really know what else to do. Her sister would have handled it differently, given them some expletive laden response in return. But she was not her sister.

Reaching the sanctuary of the toilets she lingered there longer than perhaps she needed to, hoping that by the time she made her way back to the bar the lecherous horde would have dispersed.

Taking one final look in the mirror, she took a deep breath and went back downstairs.

Bryce was disappointed to see they were still there and no sooner had she emerged back into the bar the catcalling recommenced.

She didn’t look at them, didn’t acknowledge them, just put her head down and made her way back to the table.

Tyler had left his seat to meet her halfway “Are those guys bothering you?”

Bryce shook her head. She could hardly say they were. Whilst she was confident that Knight Tyler would unleash hell upon them this was Real Tyler and there was six of them.

She didn’t want any trouble, didn’t want to see Tyler hurt. “No it’s fine” Bryce replied “But if it’s okay with you can we go?”

Tyler nodded and escorted her out the bar. Just as they were leaving Bryce found the courage to turn and look at the group of guys that had so demeaned her.

“Barbarians!” She muttered under breath.

The Unerotica Of Selina IV : A Song Of Tyler & Bryce – Part Four

“And where do you see yourself in five years?”

Bryce inwardly sighed at the question. She had wanted to be reading more of the fantasy novel but instead was stuck in a room being appraised.

Personal Development Plans, Goals, Objectives all designed by some maniac in Human Resources as a tick box exercise and an opportunity to spout some nonsensical phrases.

“So Bryce I really want to nail down your competency as a team player and measure your productivity for the benefit of our stakeholders”

She would have preferred not being asked a thousand different questions that effectively all asked ‘Are you good at your job’. She wanted to be back in Earthykinda.

The action had just moved to The D’Annimo family; they were the wizardy magic people.

To emphasise how wizardy they were a lot of time was spent by the author in having them talk in riddle and refer to a prophecy.

Bryce was used to prophecies in the fairy tales she read and invariably they would come true no matter how much someone tried to prevent it.

She always saw this as some sort of annoying spoiler right at the start of the book.

Bryce knew that a prophecy was just a posh word for a guess but supposed it wouldn’t sound all mysterious and fantastical if some wise old sage said “So I’m guessing that this child will rule all and bring peace to the kingdom. He might not, but if I’m right – Bonus!”

The prophecy in this story was that ‘Only the True Blood Prince can rule all of Earthykinda”

Therefore all the families now believed that they were the True Blood and all laid claim to the Throne of Earthykinda.

Now because this was fake olden days such claims would not be made through DNA analysis of blood or by going on a reality TV show. Nope. They were all going to beat the crap out of each other thus proving whoever was left standing must be the True Blood Prince.

The D’Annimo family were harbouring a baby that they believed to be the True Blood. The barbarian clan, The Toonidunzas, were trying to murder the child.

Of course, The D’Annimos were not having any of it and defended themselves with all manner of sorcery.

It struck Bryce that if this prophecy had come from the D’Annimos (seeing as they were wizards it made sense they were the ones who brought it up) then why didn’t they just say ‘The prophecy states this child will NOT be the True Blood Prince’.

Just throw in some self-defeating prophecies to throw the barbarians off the scent. Or slicing them in twain with magic fire blasts would also do the trick.

Bryce had wanted to read more but work had prevented her from doing so. Finally, after what seemed an age, her appraisal concluded.

“Well Bryce we are very impressed with your work and you could be looking at promotion in the near future”

Was that a prophecy?

‘I’ll take that pay rise wise old sage.’