A Friend Once Told Me . . .
By Daniel Ellis

A friend once told me, to solve the situation I was in, I should write my way out. At the time it didn't sound like a bad suggestion. It was all applied positive attitude and such stuff. I doubt he could have expected this situation.

I guess I should start form the beginning. My name is Daniel. I am 25 years old and a writer. Doesn't show it by the language use, huh? I guess that comes from the fact that I write video games and screenplays. I have finished one novel, but that's beside the point. The purpose of those first couple of sentences was to establish my persona and physicality. To start, like most writers, I have the body of Friar Tuck, a frequent nickname. Now in my defense, I have been loosing weight, taking Tae Kwon Do and trying to walk as often as possible. Still, that has not changed the fact that I have a bit of fat on me. To add to the image, I have a beard, which is dark like the hair on my head. I have been balding for a while and have that monk's look down to a tea. Sound like potential date material yet? Sorry, a little sarcasm helps once in a while. It's actually not that bad. Also, like every other writer in the book, I have quite the imagination and mystical wonderment to guide me. I should be able to tell my tale.

As I was saying, I am a writer for computer games. Or at least I was. It has been eight months since I wore that profession on my sleeve. Since then, I have attempted to pay my bills answering absurd questions for absurd people on technical service helpdesk lines. Needless to say, that doesn't leave me fulfilled. But it leaves me one hour out of my day to sit and write on this old and small laptop I had gotten as a gift from someone who knew my potential. Now you may be wondering why I'm ranting like this about me and my surroundings. I'm establishing myself in the space of the story. This is what my friend told me to do. Once I could write down my intentions and my actions, I could set myself to those actions and possibly lead to a happy, or at least fulfilling, ending. To be honest, it gets weirder. But all in all, that's the metaphysical reason I'm doing it. It also helps me write what I need to.

Anyway, Where was I? Oh yea, about to start. Don't mind the little digressions-they will happen occasionally.

Here I was in Denton, Texas. Ok pause again. For all those who think this a joke or have seen Rocky Horror a few times too many, Denton does exist. Look at a map. Thirty miles north of Dallas/Fort Worth. Can I continue now? This story isn't supposed to last longer than my lifetime, you know.

A little known fact about Denton is its tenacity to drag people back and hold them in its vortex of sublimity. It's like a joint that never burns out, just smolders. However, if you are strong enough you can leave. That was my quest. San Francisco called my name in the form of potential jobs that always seemed to elude me. So I had begun the Herculean feat of selling of all worldly goods that I could not fit in my car. For anyone who has not done so, try it. It can be a lot harder than you think. But there they went. The TV that I bought new. The VCR given to me as a parting gift from a friend. The broken recliner and espresso machine I thought separating from would be like removing a limb. Once again, if you aren't a writer, you probably don't understand. One by one, I sold them for much less than what they were worth, thankful as the money was placed in my hand.

Anyway, time to set the stage. Sunday night. July 30th. A new moon. Oh I should probably mention the solar eclipse scheduled on that day. It will come into play later. And Lugnassahd, the time of new harvests. Seems like a good thing.

A few of my resume collectors and headhunters had provided me with some possibilities in the golden city. Some had even called me back. It led me to believe that I could make it. Bruce, who I had known for twelve years, sat beside me in the empty remains of what once was my apartment, the ceiling light-fan our only illumination and the several bottles of booze our only nourishment.

"You know you're a fucking idiot, don't you?" He said seven whiskeys into the conversation. It was a sentiment he had expressed earlier but he felt the need to expound upon again.

"What do you mean?" I asked the red-haired tank driver, out of his prime physicality.

"I mean, you're a fucking idiot." He looked me in the eye as he said it so I could see him say it. "You've got no apartment, no job." I didn't want to tell him of the two dozen interviews I had orchestrated between employment sites and my three headhunters for my first week in San Fran, so I let him rant. "You got what? Staying with Sam for a few weeks and then your empty. You've got nothing and yet you step out into the void. No parachute, just you and a deep hole."

"It's called faith." I said, half-heartedly understanding what those words meant to him coming from my mouth. As is probably obvious, we had a difference of opinion concerning the matter what lied beyond. His face scrunched in response. "Look," I continued, not wanting to defend myself or my choice of words. "You and I know that I can't stay here. There aren't any jobs for me here."

"No!" He exclaimed, pointing with his finger, driving his point. "There aren't any jobs you were willing to take."

"What's the difference?" I asked.

"The difference is survival. Look how much you squandered."

"I was holding out for the dream," I said almost in my chest. While Bruce is a friend, he was determined to keep me in some familiar sense of reality with only one course of action. This made discussing my own dreams almost as stressful as telling them to my parents . And so he sat looking at me, analyzing me as if I had offended his adjudicator eyes. I tucked my chin in. I hated arguing with him, as there was no arguing with him. It had to be his way. I had lost that part of me some time ago in a traumatic contest of wills.

Ok. I would be lying if I thought he didn't have a point. It was crazy. It was suicide. It was a great adventure. There and possibly back again. San Fran lay on the ocean like a water dragon, waiting for the knight to devour or fight. I had, in some dark recess of optimism that made me feel warm and determined, decided that I had to try my sword. I had much waiting for me there: jobs, money, spirits. Heck, maybe even one of those naked pagan chicks my friend Sam had been selling me on for the last year. And yet this man wanted me to stay, although I could not become more than I was now-as far as I saw it anyway. He looked away, opting for another drink. His desire to debate my dream wasn't as strong as my desire not to debate his "fucking idiot" accusation. So there we sat-whiskey in one hand, the other holding the necessary items for the trips, maps and such. Everything else had been packed in either my car or his Toyota pickup. Normally, I'm good at changing the subject to keep a friendship, but the alcohol clouded my judgment and I stumbled.

"Hey, it's not the Sadam and Gomorra that people make it out to be." To be honest I had never been to the city but I had gotten the stories back and their exaggerations.

"No, but it might as well be." He growled in his whiskey.

 "Hey, I have to do what I have to." We paused again. Neither of us willing to talk as we watched one of our last days together for a long time go to waste. I hated ending on bad notes. I looked down at my watch and chuckled.

"What?" He asked.

"The Solar Eclipse is happening. I hear it's going to be a complete eclipse."

"In England, I think. It's night out there." He swept his arm to indicated the blackness outside. He stopped in mid swing and I watched as his sarcastic face slither away. That's when I felt it too. Normally, between the two of us, I'm the one who could feel vibrations and magic energy. It's a pagan thing. If you are blowing me off because of that, understand that Bruce is Episcopalian and when he opens himself up he can really get a feeling. My guess was that all that alcohol we consumed adjusted our normal perception enough to make us notice.

"Oh crap." He said. The rumbling increased. It had a sound not unlike deep Gregorian chanters or the beginning notes of some Goth song.

"You feel that too huh?" I asked. A touch of natural paranoia combined with honed role-playing instincts kicked in, pushing the whiskey back. I guess you could say our "spider senses" were tingling. However, a quick visual sweep of the empty apartment led us to one conclusion. We had little with which to defend ourselves. Ok, now you may be asking why in the hell would some 25-year-old think like this. The reason has to do with his army training and my time in the SCA. Between the two of us, we have enough paranoia to keep ourselves alive. Or so we thought anyway.

Bruce did have one equalizer. It had been two weeks since he passed his concealed carry license exam, and he relished the idea of his titanium forty-five, that always left bruises in my hand when I fired it, in the small of his back. Jumping to his feet, pausing for a moment to get his balance, he drew the grayed snubbed pistol and checked the safety.

The rumbling persisted, now taking on the rhythmic pulsations of angry pounding. "I think I need to get to my tools." I said. This definitely felt like magic and I wanted any boost to power I coul d. The pulse poundings washed over me creating necromantic fear. I could feel spirits gyrating in quaking rage as if they dragged themselves up from the Earth. Now more than ever; magic was about.

"I don't figure that crystals and incense will do much against this." He said calmly checking the window. "Kill the lights," He lapsed into a command tone. I pulled the short cord to the ceiling light-fan, darkening the room. The blinds kept fast and closed, as he checked his ammo. "You got anything else that might help?"

"Besides my wands and books, Sting's in there." I should explain.

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