25 June 2008

The Secret War: Betrayal

A little experiment in fiction:


That Summer, the Warlock entered into an alliance with Pedro Gutierrez. Nobody was surprised that this resulted in a complete break between him and the Astrolooger, but nobody expected it would happen so quickly.

The Warlock didn't know who he could trust, so his first impulse was to hole up with his few trusted cronies and get rid of everyone else. He had a long message, full of names and places, delivered to the Metropolitan Police, and he went to hole up in a hacienda outside San Luis with his crew. By then he was too well-connected to need worry about where the investigation would lead.

The Astrologer's betrayal was already underway when the police started breaking down doors. He had started organizing when the Warlock had made his first forays into going legit. The Astrologer had no illusions about where a Polack like him would fit into Gutierrez' operation.

He had already determined who was loyal and had began to arm them properly. Procuring so many weapons--knives, guns, explosives, artifacts--without the Warlock's knowledge had been easier than he had expected.

There had been one final item. He hadn't anticipated the depth of the Warlock's cowardice and was sure the battle would come down to a close-up fight between the two. He didn't particularly like the odds of this, as he knew that the Warlock was as skilled with the Nineveh Evocations as any man alive, nor could he hope to match the Warlock's mastery of Enochian.

He had met Guillermo Alberto only three weeks ago at Cafe Serrano on Calle Gallardo. He had first learned of the librarian from a friend of the Harlequin's, whose father had been in elementary school with the librarian. They had a good conversation at the cafe and had quickly struck a deal. The Astrologer was impressed by Guillermo's grasp on the mechanics of the criminal underworld.

It had cost him a lot, for the librarian had not been particularly interested in barter (save for some rare drugs and chemicals which would not have come cheap) but the paper now guarded in his jacket pocket had been worth it. The librarian had been too canny to reveal which book he had copied it out of. Though it was only three long lines of crabby script, it had taken intense study to decipher them, learn them, memorize them. The words had settled unsteadily in the Astrologer's thoughts. Sometimes he thought he could still feel the words taking form in his mouth, like a strong taste that lingered. It was the first time he had encountered Aklo. And he knew it would be the first time the Warlock did, as well.

Low-Fat Fiction: Tourism

I'm taking a class called low-fat fiction, mostly as an attempt to make myself try to write stuff. It's an interesting experience but a little intimidating. Anyway, here's the first piece I wrote for it.


It was in the Cafe Jujuy that I first met Rodrigo, who was arguing with the clerk about some matter of politics or sports. Even though it delayed my own order, I didn't hold it against him. We weren't really introduced until a few minutes later when he came over and told me having my map splayed out over the table made me look like an idiot tourist.

"They're watching, you know, all the time," he explained.

He folded the map into a bowtie and handed it to me, flashing a yellowing smile. A short discussion on the literary merits of the city led to an invitation to be shown around the city.

We ventured out of the cafe, into the streets and sidewalks, filled with potholes and people.

The Libreria Sansabar was crammed into an L-shaped space and seemed to specialize in a particular kind of academic tome. A short perusal resulted in little of value.

It was a twenty minute walk to the Libraria Truco, past buildings abandoned then taken over, and Rodrigo seemed to watch for something. The steel door that guarded the shop gave it the feel of a hideout, and concealed the size of the interior.

The shadows had grown long by the time we stepped outside, my bag somewhat heavier.

There was one more, Rodrigo insisted, in the old part of the city, underneath an old mansion.

Twenty minutes later, he turned and asked, "Why'd you come here?"

I didn't see the blade, but something about that smile made me flinch. I fell back, trying to turn out of the way, and the pack struck him in the head.

It was seconds later that I realized I was running, what little sense of direction I had guiding my way back.