Saturday, November 25, 2017

Year-End Summary

Year Total: 990,115
Increase Over Year Prior: -120,003
Novel Total: 9
Increase Over Year Prior: -2
Longest Novel: Ramifications, 120,027 words, 219 pages
Shortest Novel: Disrupted, 90,002 words, 168 pages
Summary of the Year:
All in all it's seemed like something of a whirlwind year, filled with many good novels, as well as some changes; the most notable being a two-month hiatus taken between June and September — which resulted in the postponement of my first fantasy in the fictitious world of Ureonaiea until next year — during which I had a wonderful time volunteering at a summer camp, which only yielded more story ideas for the future.
Another exciting change was unseen, as I purchased a computer of my own on October 31. This allowed me to be out of the family dining room and off in a more quiet place that definitely benefitted Ramifications quite a bit, not that any of my other novels were any less good.
In fact, they were all wonderful, and I was more than happy with them. Looking back, I don't think any of them were absolute disasters that are in sore need of rewriting (as Ramifications' predecessor was, and so was Disrupted's somewhat). They will probably get a little bit of revising as time goes on, but I doubt you'll see any of them come through as rewrites again.
This was actually probably one of the full-year lineups I was looking the most forward to writing, although next year is pushing a close second, with the rewrite of the first book in the Ureonaiea Sagas  actually coming for real next spring, as well as another historical western rewrite in June.
I will be going back to help out in the camp again next summer because I really enjoyed it, and I do feel like the hiatus was bit of a breath of fresh air in my writing life as a whole, so then will be a break until September, which will feature something of another fairy tale retelling, although it is also a blending of a couple different ones, and then, following that, will be the rewrite of my first-ever book, which I am giving massive overhaul that it deserves.
In November I will be trying my hand at something of a superhero novel that I'm really looking forward to, but to kick off the new year in January I'll be doing my first-ever Christmas novel, which is also highly anticipated, as is the February rewrite of my novel with the fastest turnaround from creation to writing, having been conceived a mere two months before I actually wrote the first words; others, like my first-ever book, have been ten years in the making.
For now, I will admit I'm looking forward to the break that December offers, mostly so that I can 'move in' to my new computer and get the planning work done next year's novels — as well as deciding the roster for the year following — so, for now, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
See you on December 30!

R.A. Millet

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Ramifications: Day 20

Word Total: 120,027

Year to Date: 990,115

Summary of Events:
Dom read an e-mail from his mother talking about how she wanted him to move to Melbourne and vented his frustrations to Bethany a little bit. Lachlan tailed the Golden Shadow to an unknown location and managed to burst in on his attempted sale of the package Lachlan was looking for, which he successfully got away with. Dom got a call from his mother, who told him that she and his father were planning to start a homeless shelter in Melbourne, and wanted him to run it. Lachlan met Harrison and gave him the recovered package.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Dom sighed. "Course, whether or not we have children is beside the point."
"And vhat is the point?" Mama asked.
"I am not leaving Brisbane," Dom replied firmly.
"I vill send you pictures of the varehouse and logo designs," Mama declared. "You vill vant to come to Melbourne vhen you see how nice and fashionable ve make your homeless shelter here."
"I have no care or desire to have a fashionable homeless shelter," Dom said, measured and forceful. "The one I have is working just fine, and will be working even better once we've made use of the million dollars you've so graciously gifted us. I will not leave it; not because I consider my fellow volunteers inept and incapable of managing it without me — they've proved more than capable in these recent months for a variety of reasons — but because this is where I want to be. More importantly, this is where, I believe, God wants me to be. I will only leave if it is Him leading me."
"It is important to be close to family!" Mama protested. "It says in the Bible."
"No," Dom replied. "It says both that man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and that we are, as believers, to go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations. Now, certainly, I have not left Australia, but I am somewhere else in the world making disciples of Jesus, and I'm staying here until He tells me to move on."
"You are so selfish Dominik," Mama pouted.
"Selfish?" Dom asked. "You really think I'm selfish?"
"Yes," Mama replied.
"I am not Mama," Dom said quietly. "If you were to come here, to Brisbane, and talk to to all the people I know, they would never tell you that I'm selfish. The only one who's being selfish here is you."
"I vould never be selfish Dominik," Mama replied, aghast.
"You and Father need to spend some serious time in thought about your relationship with me," Dom said. "That's the only way you'll find out which one of us is right. And, so you know, I have no interest in hearing from you until you have thoroughly thought on the matter."
He set the receiver down without bothering to listen for whatever rejoinder Mama might have to that comment and shoved to his feet.
Running his fingers through his hair, Dom sighed. He could hardly believe it. His parents were going to literally start a homeless shelter in Melbourne in efforts to lure him down there."

Unsurprisingly, I am, again, a
Check back for the Year-End Summary on November 25.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ramifications: Day 19

Word Count: 114,031

Summary of Events:
Lachlan woke up in Angelo's impressive — and very white — suite, where he was fed breakfast before being given a new motorcycle that looked exactly like his old one, except better. Dom read the article Mr. Abbott wrote about him and was pleased with it before receiving a call from a contractor who gave him a quote of no less than five million to redo the roof, which was far more than they had at their disposal; he soon found out that they were a rather disreputable company. Lachlan, enthralled by his new bike, decided to take it out for an evening drive out on the highway . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"He turned his focus back to the road, however, and kept driving, enjoying the bliss of riding his magnificent bike on the rather open highway, as not all that many people were out and about; in fact, even for a winter's night the traffic seemed low.
Lachlan checked his rearview mirrors and saw only a single headlight some ways behind him. His guess was a fellow biker was the owner, being as it looked too centred to be a car with one light out.
Ahead of him there wasn't a single red taillight.
Glancing up at the sky, Lachlan spotted a few stars finally shining out now that the daylight had faded enough, although the stars looked feeble and weak compared to Brisbane's streetlights.
He heard the sound of the motorcycle catching up to him, and as he glanced in his rearview mirror he saw that, indeed, it was catching up to him, and fast.
The next moment the bike had shot past him.
Lachlan could've sworn he'd seen red and chrome, which would mean the bike of the Golden Shadow.
The only way to find out was to get faster.
His bike could now do that easily, so Lachlan squeezed the accelerator.
It didn't take long before the bike — which had quickly become a rather distant red taillight — started to get closer.
Lachlan glanced down at the speedometer. He was going a hundred and eighty kilometres an hour.
He kept accelerating until he reached two hundred and seventy — fifty kilometres faster than his old bike had been able to go, and yet still a hundred slower than this one could go.
This sort of speed, however, was almost panic-inducing, and Lachlan was grateful when he could slow down by seventy kilometres once he got closer to the bike.
Carefully he manoeuvred into the same lane as the bike, giving him a clear shot of the rear fender of the bike in his headlight: shiny metallic red.
The exhaust pipes were shining chrome. He was right on the tail of the Golden Shadow.
Lachlan read the sequence of numbers and letters on the plate and repeated it to himself until he could look elsewhere and easily recite it correctly. He was not going to lose the Golden Shadow this time.
In fact, as soon as the Golden Shadow dared stop — or run our of petrol, which Lachlan still had three quarters of a tank of — he was going to get that package back, and absolutely nothing was going to stop him.
He was going to get his paycheque back, he was going to get the threat of being killed by Harrison off his head, he was going to remain the last one standing.
The Golden Shadow started to slow, so Lachlan did the same, following him as he merged onto the exit ramp and around the wide, arcing circle up onto the overpass, and straight into the artificial starlight that illuminated the city of Brisbane."

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ramifications: Day 18

Word Count: 108,107

Summary of Events:
Lachlan arrived at Dom and Bethany's house and was surprised to find Bethany mixing cookie dough, which he watched before heading to his room. Dom got called by a newspaper reporter who seemed nicer than the rest and agreed to do an interview with him the next morning before learning that Bethany's brother and his wife had welcomed their third child, which made Bethany quite sad. Lachlan went to the police impound to rescue his bike, but got found out by the police and eventually was forced to destroy his bike before being grabbed and knocked unconscious. Dom was called by the reporter and gave the interview, including listing all the ways in which the media had bothered him and other Shelter people to that point . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""That's quite a lot of bother," Mr. Abbott said. "Why does this bother you?"
"Because part of the reason I left Melbourne was to get out of the media spotlight because it was taking away the attention I needed," Dom replied. "I refuse to be a member of Australian High Society, regardless of who my parents are. I am Dom O'Shea, your average Australian citizen, and I want to be nothing more."
"You're content to live the simple life then?" Mr. Abbot asked.
"Indubitably," Dom replied.
"You've chosen to forsake the life you were born into and minister to the lowest of the low," Mr. Abbott said.
"Yes," Dom replied. "And I chose to do so because that high society life turned me into one of the lowest of the low by what it took from me. I became one of the people I now serve, and it was through the people who served me that I came to be in a position of offering that same service to people who are just like I was once. I couldn't be happier if I could be left alone to live my life the way I've chosen to live it."
"Now, you say that the high society life took things from you," Mr. Abbott said. "I'd like to know what it took from you, if you don't mind?"
"It took my parents from me," Dom replied quietly.
"And that's how they wronged you?" Mr. Abbott asked.
"Yes," Dom replied.
"I see," Mr. Abbott said quietly.
"I'd rather, though, if you would, kindly, leave out the bits about my parents, if it's possible," Dom said. "I'd much rather they figure it out on their own than be told, if they're capable of such."
"I'll do my best Mr. O'Shea," Mr. Abbott replied. "Just, one more question: if people want to know more about the Shelter, what's the best way they can do so?"
"They can come and volunteer," Dom replied. "We have a very up-to-date website where they can sign up according to their schedule and they can come serve a meal or do any number of other things detailed on the website."
"Which is?" Mr. Abbott asked.
"Theshelter.au*," Dom replied.
"Thank you for your time Mr. O'Shea," Mr. Abbott said.
"Thank you for your courtesy," Dom replied. "If you would like to do another article on the Shelter I'd be more than willing to both let and help you."
"I'll remember that," Mr. Abbott said.
The call ended, Dom set the receiver down and sighed. He could only hope that this article would satisfy everyone's appetites and get them to realise that he just wanted to be left well enough alone."

*not an actual website; or, if it is, it is completely unrelated to this story.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ramifications: Day 17

Word Count: 102,301

Summary of Events:
Lachlan managed to figure out the address of the gangster he was looking for from the papers he stole. Dom and Elijah got talking about Lachlan, with Elijah suggesting that Dom should inform the police about him without knowing what he was up to specifically. Lachlan and another gang grunt searched the apartment belonging to the gangster in hopes of finding the package the gangster had stolen . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Lachlan continued searching the apartment ruthlessly, but to no avail. Both the main and master bathrooms' drains in the sinks and the showers ran freely, it wasn't hidden in the toilet tanks or just under the rim of the bowls.
In fact, they effectively ransacked the entire apartment and found absolutely no sign of it.
"Bastard has it on him," Lachlan swore.
"So what do we do now?" Ricky asked.
"Take what food you want," Lachlan replied. "If you want to save your things before I light it all up you may want to do that, and take the esky* down if you would. But if I find anything missing I'll knife you."
Ricky said nothing. Lachlan looked over his shoulder and saw Ricky rummaging around in the esky.
On silent feet Lachlan crossed the floor to be behind Ricky. He managed to draw out his knife and hold it between his palms before plunging it down into Ricky's back, which elicited a shout.
"Told you I'd knife you," Lachlan said. "Even with buggered hands."
Ricky returned the sweets he'd taken and Lachlan drew the knife out before using its bloodied blade to close the esky. He pushed the esky out into the hallway with his foot.
"Take what food you want and make yourself scarce," Lachlan warned.
Ricky nodded silently, getting to his feet and leaning against the wall as he made his way to the fridge, which he took several things out of Lachlan hadn't wanted, doing the same with the freezer — including taking the ice creams Lachlan hadn't been interested in.
Once Ricky had taken all he wanted and left silently Lachlan went back into the apartment and lit one of the stove burners. He then took a ravaged pillow from the living room and held it over the burner until it lit. He finally tossed the flaming pillow into the living room and turned off the burner.
He watched silently for a few moments as the flames spread rather rapidly before hurrying out the door, taking up the esky carefully, taking the stairs down to the basement, and exiting out of the man-door beside the overhead door into the underground park.
Silently he made his way along the footpath. He'd not gotten too far when he heard an explosion and shattering glass. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the flames licking up the side wall of the building and smoke billowing out of the window. The vinyl siding melted helplessly as the flames licked it.
Lachlan turned his gaze ahead and kept walking away. As much as fire fascinated him and he loved to watch it, he was sure that a man with bandaged hands and an esky would be far too peculiar a sight to go unnoticed."

*Esky is colloquial Australian for a cooler or an ice box.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Ramifications: Day 16

Word Count: 96,251

Summary of Events:
A regular serving group arrived and one of its members showed Dom some rather depressing tweets about the Shelter, but Elijah encouraged him and he went on to discuss the idea of a hamburger night with one of the other members of the group. Lachlan watched his paycheque get burned — the chosen punishment — and then went to the Shelter looking for a sandwich, which was about all he could eat due to the injuries to his fingers. Dom was invited up to share about the Shelter at the banquet, where he gave the attendees a brief history of the Shelter . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""The Shelter hasn't necessarily experienced a miracle quite like that one, but we have seen a few in our time," Dom continued. "But more on that later. The Shelter was founded about thirty years ago, when the aging, dwindling congregation of St. Hilda's Anglican Church decided to merge with another, younger congregation, putting their building up for sale. It was purchased by a wonderful woman by the name of Margaret Quinton — affectionately known to all as Mags."
Dom did half wish he had a glass of water, but he forged on.
"Mags had been born into a military family in Townsville and had suffered the heartbreaking death of her father, Second Lieutenant Arthur Quinton, in the Battle of Coral-Balmoral in Vietnam as a child," Dom went on. "With her mother being forced to work, Mags and her siblings were left unattended, and Mags quickly became a handful for her mother before running away from home at seventeen to join the hippie movement here in Brisbane, taking drugs and partying little different from what teenagers do today."
Turning away from the microphone, Dom cleared his throat.
"During the flood of nineteen seventy four Mags was rescued by a young man whom she considered quite fetching," Dom continued. "He rebuffed her romantic advances, however, telling her he wasn't into free love. He shared the Gospel with her and she soon became a Christian. They were engaged to be married when he died helping rescue people from a sinking pleasure craft. This devastated Mags, but his parents encouraged her and she soon decided that she was going to remain unmarried for the rest of her days and do whatever God wanted her to do. It was then that she heard about the selling of the St. Hilda's building and bought it."
Mr. Arnold set a glass of water on the podium. Dom nodded gratefully and took a sip.
"Much better, thank you," Dom said. "Anyways. Mags was somewhat a whimsical person, but she did have a plan in mind when she purchased the building, and had it renovated to largely how it exists today. She then opened the doors and started serving food. She had full intention of coming up with a name for the place, but it never happened, so it has become known simply as the Shelter. This, all, was before my time, both in the sense that I wasn't born, and I wasn't in Brisbane.""

Friday, November 17, 2017

Ramifications: Day 15

Word Count: 90,364

Summary of Events:
Dom was informed that a TV news crew had invaded the kitchen and had to call the police to get them to go away. Lachlan was brought before the Associates to face punishment because the fire he started had caused Club Brisbane to burn one of the Associate's clubs down in revenge — and he ended up finding that the police had picked up his motorcycle. Dom unlocked the front door of the Shelter for the day and ended up witnessing a police officer preventing a news crew from bothering the Shelter by telling the crew the Shelter was cooking with limburger cheese. Lachlan went to another Club Brisbane location to see if he could find more information and ended up having to hide under a desk when someone came into the room, although he got found, and that person summoned another . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Feet sounded across the floor and another face peeked under the desk, startling.
"Who are you?" the man asked.
"No one," Lachlan replied.
"Oh you're someone alright," the man replied, reaching in.
Lachlan tried to draw his knife out to stab the man, but only succeeded in jabbing himself in the ribcage, which allowed the man to seize him by the throat and drag him out from under the desk.
"You look an awful lot like somebody I know," the man said, looking at him critically.
Lachlan struggled against the man's grip.
"But you're not him," the man growled, bringing Lachlan's face close to his. "You're that Devil rat."
Still Lachlan struggled, trying to pry the fingers free.
"You want to know what we do with rats round here?" the man asked.
Lachlan shook his head, he couldn't hardly breathe.
"We chuck 'em out the window," the man said, smiling.
The man whirled around, swinging Lachlan off his feet, through the window and the blinds, releasing his neck.
Lachlan reached for the window frame and grabbed hold, grimacing at the stabbing pain of the broken glass biting into his fingers.
He looked down only to see that there were a few lines of fragile glass tubing between him and the footpath below. He was hanging directly off the front of Club Brisbane, and he didn't want to know how much distance was between him and that footpath.
"Let go Rat!" the man shouted, slamming his fists against Lachlan's fingertips.
Lachlan grimaced, but didn't let go. He didn't know what to do, but letting go seemed like a pretty bad idea at the moment.
If anything, his best chance was to go up.
He released one hand slowly and gingerly.
"That's it," the man said, smiling sinisterly. "Let me help you."
Lachlan drew out his knife slowly, holding on obstinately with his right hand while he put is feet against the wall.
Using the grip afforded by the textured stucco wall, Lachlan surged upward, driving his knife deep into the man's chest before pulling himself back into the room, which left scratches on his jacket.
He jerked the knife free and sheathed it before climbing onto the windowsill, steadying himself with a hand against the vertical frame.
Another gangster appeared in the door just as Lachlan reached up with his other hand and grabbed around the roof edge.
Reaching his other hand up, Lachlan then leaned out the window as he straightened and pulled himself up onto the roof. He hoped he'd find a fire escape to get himself down somewhere, but for now he was out of Club Brisbane and not by dying."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ramifications: Day 14

Word Count: 84,004

Summary of Events:
Lachlan managed to decipher two of the stolen papers from the man he'd shot — who had died of his wounds from the shooting and the crash — before Harrison found him and told him to go track the drugs down he'd lost. Dom and the Board's meeting was interrupted by Bethany announcing Mr. Arnold had called and was willing to give them free groceries whenever they needed them. Lachlan decided to infiltrate one of the rival gang's clubs to get information, and got a little from their prisoners — although the prisoners mocked him before he left them . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Turning around to head back up the stairs, Lachlan found himself face to face with a man about his heigh, but broader and bulkier.
"And just who are you?" the man asked.
"That's for me to know and you to find out," Lachlan replied.
"Oh really?" the man asked. "Well I think I can find out pretty easily."
He reached for Lachlan's neck.
Lachlan ducked down into a squat and thrust himself between the man's legs.
"Slippery little eel," the man said, turning around.
Rolling onto his back, Lachlan raised his upper body with his ams before pulling his legs off the floor and throwing his feet at the man's abdomen.
He made connection, but the man grabbed his ankle.
Lachlan struggled against the vice-grip of the man's hand while the man laughed and drew his gun.
Grabbing hold below his own knee, Lachlan pulled himself close to the man and seized his gun hand in one hand while drawing out his knife with the other.
"Gun wins," the man said, training the barrel at Lachlan's head.
Lachlan reared up his knife and brought it down hard on the man's wrist, prompting him to let go of Lachlan's ankle and his gun as he bellowed in pain.
Quickly Lachlan took up the gun and scrambled toward the stairs.
He heard the door above him slam open and looked up the stairs to see another gangster, even bulkier than the first.
Pulling the trigger, Lachlan sent the man at the top of the stairs tumbling down them to reveal another man behind him.
Lachlan charged up the stairs, firing as he went, and took out another five men before driving his knife deep into the abdomen of the man at the top of the stairs and then giving it a hard twist.
He drew it out and ran down the hallway to the only door to his left now that he was going down the hallway in the opposite direction.
Sheathing his knife and stuffing the gun into his backpack with his own, Lachlan grabbed a large plastic jug of petrol and opened it before pouring its contents over the long line of motorcycles as he made his way to the exit door.
The door that he'd left behind opened as Lachlan pulled out his matchbook. He tore off a match, struck it, and tossed it into the petrol on the floor, instantly setting the whole room ablaze while the man at the other end shouted in alarm.
Lachlan, meanwhile, bolted out the door and back down the alley toward where he'd parked his bike, confident no one would be pursuing him.
When he reached where his bike had been parked he stopped short. It wasn't there.
He stared at the empty stall completely baffled. But he'd parked it right there. Where had it gone?"

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ramifications: Day 13

Word Count: 78,022

Summary of Events:
Dom got a call from Samuel, which he took outside because the dishwasher was running; once the call was done he was accosted by a biker, as was one of the other regular volunteers at the Shelter. Lachlan tracked the attacker — a rival gangster, whom he'd shot to protect Dom — who'd fled the scene and crashed near Liam's nightclub; Liam had the crash cleaned up before the cops got there and Lachlan stole some papers from the gangster's motorcycle. Dom called Lois to make an inquiry about the party on Samuel's behalf, only to have her call it off and rescind all her support of the Shelter — which was the money they used to buy food every day; after telling everyone else about Lois' action Dom then got called by a grocery store owner who'd been invited to the party wanting to know why the party had been cancelled . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Well," Dom replied. "There's six daily volunteers here at the Shelter, myself, my wife, and four others, and she wanted all of us to attend the banquet, which, unfortunately, takes place at the same time as one of our regularly scheduled meals. I told her my wife and I could attend, as well as some other representatives of the Shelter, but not all of us daily volunteers could abandon the dinner service, especially because the volunteer group we have coming in on that day is a first-time group, not to mention there's liability involved too."
"Really," Mr. Arnold said. "That sounds awfully unreasonable of her."
"Yes," Dom said. "It is. I think she's mostly become unreasonable because of the fact that my parents, Walter O'Shea and Marina Herczeg, gave the Shelter a million dollars, and I think she's jealous because of how much they gave all in one shot, even though, over the years, she's given pretty close to twice that or more."
"Is she a generous giver to the Shelter?" Mr. Arnold asked.
"She gives us five hundred dollars a day, which buys our food," Dom replied. "Because we refused to abdicate our responsibilities here entirely she not only called off the party, but rescinded all her support, effective immediately."
"I'd presume that has a profound effect, based on what I heard on that interview of you the other day on the news," Mr. Arnold said.
"Yes," Dom replied. "But God has always provided for us before, so I'm fully confident we'll be able to get on well."
"That's good to hear," Mr. Arnold said. "The Shelter's been open for some time hasn't it? I mean, Lois has been supporting it for years."
"I think it's nearly thirty years the Shelter's been running," Dom replied. "I don't know exactly, I wasn't here when it started."
"That really is a testament to how much God has blessed your work," Mr. Arnold said. "My wife and I are Lutherans, but we've heard about your work, and our church has had a couple fundraisers."
"Which church is it?" Dom asked.
"St. Peter's," Mr. Arnold replied.
"Must've been awhile ago," Dom said.
"Yes, Margaret was still in charge," Mr. Arnold replied. "And she was murdered, wasn't she?"
"Two years ago," Dom replied.
"Terrible shame," Mr. Arnold said. "I'm sorry to hear that Lois would do such a thing to such a wonderful work. If you don't mind, I'd like to call you back later."
"Just to warn you, if you call after two we'll be having a meeting of the Executive Board to discuss Lois' actions and what, if any, damage-control we might need to do," Dom said. "So you may have to leave a message."
"That's fine," Mr. Arnold said. "I will talk to you later.""

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ramifications: Day 12

Word Count: 72,062

Summary of Events:
Lachlan got three new grunts to help him by being on the lookout for transfers before chatting with Harrison's daughter a bit — only to be told off by Harrison for doing so. Dom called Lois about the fact that she'd invited all the Shelter's full-time volunteers to a banquet that was to happen at one of the Shelter's regularly scheduled mealtimes; troubled by their disagreeable conversation, Dom summoned Elijah to talk with him about it . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""You, and the whole Shelter, have nothing to worry about, I promise you," Elijah said, reaching forward and placing a hand on Dom's shoulder. "This is going to be bad publicity for Lois and Lois alone, and, although it's unfortunate that she's liable to look bad because of this, we can't really do much about it."
"I must admit, I don't really understand Lois' behaviour," Dom said.
"I can't say that I'm all that terribly surprised, though," Elijah said. "I think Mags saw this coming a long time ago, and I have a feeling she might be glad — if she's even conscious of what's going on down here — that she's not here to be a part of it."
"Why?" Dom asked.
"She and Lois were like sisters who never got to be sisters," Elijah replied. "And in recent years Lois had been trying to use their closeness to manipulate her into making changes here at the shelter that Lois wants to see."
"You mean she wasn't kidding about the chandeliers and silverware?" Dom asked.
"No," Elijah replied.
"As much as I feel like it might give these people even more dignity to think they're being treated like royalty, it's not really the point," Dom said.
"No," Elijah agreed. "Lois also wanted to see some of the volunteer groups we bring in be rejected because they worked for or were associated with business rivals of her husband."
"Oh good heavens," Dom said.
"Exactly," Elijah said. "Mags was resisting her quite well, but it was really destroying her to see what Lois was becoming. I think that's actually one of the reasons Mags started leaving you in charge here and hunting down the drug dealers so as to witness to them, so that she didn't have to deal with Lois."
Dom shifted his jaw, that sounded awfully selfish.
"And, I must admit, I feel like that was a good thing because Lois wouldn't listen to her," Elijah said. "Not to mention it gave you the training you'd need to be where you're at now, although I know Mags prayed regularly for forgiveness if she was being selfish by doing what she was doing in avoiding Lois."
"Lois hasn't brought up the chandeliers or anything like that since either," Dom said.
"No," Elijah agreed. "And I think that's because she knows she doesn't have as much to manipulate you with. Right now, though, I think she's trying to find more and better ways to manipulate you, starting with this banquet."
"So do you think that means there will be a set of terms and conditions accompanying the money she gives?" Dom asked. "Like, that it'll have to be spent on chandeliers and velvet and silverware?"
Elijah shifted his jaw. "I never really thought of that, but I wouldn't put it beneath her to do something like that.""

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ramifications: Day 11

Word Count: 66,205

Summary of Events:
Lachlan showed the ring to Harrison, who informed him it was an icon from an old rival gang that had been destroyed decades ago, but apparently not entirely. Dom received an e-mail from his mom that annoyed him before being informed there was a TV news crew outside, whom he spoke to mostly about the Shelter's operations without their realising who was talking to them. Lachlan, having not heard from Justin in awhile, decided to see what was up and found that Justin seemed to be just ignoring him, which he was quite displeased about . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Instantly Lachlan dropped to his knees on Justin's back, which elicited a cry before Lachlan wrenched and jerked at Justin's shoulder and upper arm until he heard the pop of the upper arm bone coming out of its socket, which prompted another cry.
"You're not dead and you're not in lockup," Lachlan said, lowering his head close beside Justin's ear. "What gives?"
"Get off me you whelp," Justin swore through his teeth.
"I called Angelo," Lachlan said. "He told me I could do whatever I want."
"You're bluffing," Justin swore.
"You wish," Lachlan said.
He straightened up, drew out one of Justin's knives, and drew its broad side across the back of Justin's neck.
"You don't have the balls to kill me," Justin swore.
Lachlan put the knife back and dislocated Justin's other shoulder.
He then hauled Justin to his feet, pinned him against the wall with his right hand, and sent a hail of hard lefts at Justin's face, chest, and abdomen, finishing off with a hard knee to the fly of Justin's swimmers.
Promptly, Lachlan pulled the swimmers down to Justin's ankles, took one of Justin's knives, and made cuts into the inside of Justin's thighs close to the top before drawing out the other knife.
With calm and steady hands Lachlan drew the narrow, sharp edges of both blades down Justin's chest, flanking his breastbone.
Reaching the bottom of it, Lachlan paused and looked Justin in the eyes.
Justin's face was pale.
"You said something about balls?" Lachlan asked casually.
Justin shook his head.
"I didn't think so," Lachlan said, smiling.
Instantly he turned the knives so their points were toward Justin's abdomen and shoved them in until they hit bone; he then lifted Justin off the floor, jammed his knee up between Justin's legs, pulled the knives back halfway, shifted them, and drove them through Justin into the wall behind.
Taking out his own knife, Lachlan made a quick, deft cut and looked at Justin's pain-contorted face.
"You're the one who doesn't have any balls," Lachlan said.
"Siri," Justin managed to croak. "Call for help."
Lachlan turned to the mobile on the table. Its screen was illuminated, informing him that it was, indeed, dialling 000.*
He tossed the mobile to the floor and stomped his heel into the screen.
"They come even if you hang up on them," Justin wheezed.
"I know," Lachlan replied offhand, striding toward the kitchenette. "They'll need to come anyways."
Rummaging around, he found a glass pitcher, which he filled with water, and a jar of used cooking oil standing beside the stove.
He pulled out a frying pan, dumped the oil into it, and lit the burner, which he cranked to high.
It didn't take long for the oil to heat up and catch fire. Lachlan stepped back beyond the dining table and tossed the pitcher. It shattered onto the stove and the water hitting the fire caused flames to go everywhere."

*000 is the Australian equivalent of 911.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ramifications: Day 10

Word Count: 60,012

Summary of Events:
Lachlan was hanging out at the Black Widow when a sudden sound startled him; it turned out to be the night's band in their sound check, but Harrison was unimpressed and threatened them. Dom was confronted by Lois, who seemed to be angry for reasons that Dom honestly couldn't begin to figure out. Lachlan revisited the dumpster, which was now a crime scene, and found a ring in the ashes of the greater part of the contents that he surmised belonged to the corpse he'd been unable to see . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Hoping the ring would be enough in both quantity and significance for Harrison to possibly figure out whether the lower corpse had been one of theirs or not — as he was pretty sure the upper corpse had been completely cremated, having been on top of the whole thing — and who it might've been, Lachlan pocketed the ring and hopped out the other side of the dumpster, where he dusted what ashes he could off of himself before hopping over the police tape and heading round the block to return to his bike.
When he got back to his bike he noticed a police vehicle that must've pulled up while he'd been taking the long way back to his bike.
He did his best to look nonchalant, but when he saw two police officers talking to each other and one of them pointing at him, he hurried to start up his bike. The officer who'd pointed at him signalled for him to wait, but Lachlan peeled off as fast as he could.
Sooner than he appreciated the wail of a police siren reached his ears. Lachlan picked up his speed to be more than ten kilometres over the speed limit, although he wished he had a more aerodynamic bike for what was probably the first time since he'd owned one.
He flew through a red light, causing there to be squealing of brakes and honking of horns.
Another red light was ahead, this one with a fair bit of traffic gathered along the stop line, waiting for the signal to change.
Lachlan hopped up onto the footpath and took the left hand turn; several cars pulled round the corner and off to the side to allow the police car to fly past them.
Squeezing the accelerator, Lachlan maxed his bike out as fast as it could possibly go while his stomach somewhat recoiled inside of him. He felt like this was insane, but the last thing he wanted was to be found by the police.
He took a hard right and nearly lost himself into a skid, but thankfully didn't, only to see a police car appear in front of him and pull to a stop. The other one's lights still flashed in his rearview mirror.
Seeing a gap between two buildings that looked barely wide enough to fit him on foot, Lachlan took it, grimacing at the sparks that flew off his bike as it grazed the walls if he ever wavered off-balance in the slightest.
In the alley Lachlan headed back the way he'd come and then took a right to keep heading the way he'd been going before he'd turned right the first time.
After a few intersections he turned left and drove by a familiar fa├žade that wasn't the Black Widow; it was the Queenie B Club, Liam's club.
Lachlan kept going past it, turned right at the intersection, and then turned right again down the alley until he spied a crown in the shape of that St. Edward's crown or whatever it was called that was the coronation headpiece of the British Monarchy."

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ramifications: Day 9

Word Count: 54,211

Summary of Events:
A roofing contractor came to assess the Shelter roof and he and Dom discovered it was in some severe disrepair to the point that the contractor recommended Dom get the whole roof rebuilt before it caved in, as opposed to merely putting new shingles or metal on it. Lachlan went back to the dumpster where he got stabbed to see if another transfer was happening, but found nothing, until a corpse was tossed into the dumpster, whose wallet and mobile phone he took . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"He also found some small packages of various things. He wondered if Harrison would appreciate receiving them, considering that they were all done up in the Enterprise style: black plastic wrapping around the inner clear plastic. He wondered if maybe they were what he was looking for, but he didn't have time to check their labels.
Wetness suddenly splashed on him and he startled before his nostrils filled with the heady scent of octane petrol. He'd just been sloshed with petrol!
Over his shoulder he couldn't see any heads, but suddenly another bucketful of the clear, strong-scented fuel was pitched over the edge of the bin and onto the garbage therein, this time ahead of him a bit.
Lachlan brushed a trickle of petrol off his forehead. He didn't want to know what it would do if it got into contact with his eyes.
A third bucketful was tossed behind him and then, after a few moments, plumes of slightly bluish-white smoke curled up into the air. Lachlan needed to get out of the bin, but he either needed to take them both down while he did it, or somehow do it stealthily.
It would probably be better to go for taking them out, but he'd have to do it gunless, just incase the gun going off ignited the petrol fumes — which would send him up in flames — and because civilians would immediately call the police at that sound, considering how restricted guns were in Australia. He didn't even technically have legal permits for his, and he doubted few of the people he knew did either.
Based on the positions of the plumes, Lachlan could tell the two men were close together, which was important, because he needed to take them out simultaneously, otherwise one of them could ignite him.
He moved closer to the edge of the bin and saw the two men standing in front of the bin, casually smoking. He wasn't sure that he'd be able to jump on both of them. He might have to stab one in the back as he jumped the other and hope they both dropped their smokes.
Unsheathing his knife, Lachlan raised it up and held it ready for stabbing in his left hand while he positioned himself more directly behind the man to the right.
Carefully he got himself up onto the front edge of the dumpster and balanced himself there on the balls of his feet, with his right hand holding the bin between his legs, almost like an over-crouched snowboarder.
"D'you hear something?" the man Lachlan was about to jump asked.
"Not anything unusual," the other man replied.
Lachlan threw all the force he could into pushing off the leading edge of the dumpster and made contact with the shoulders of the man in front of him just before thrusting his knife into the back of the other man, bringing them both down to the ground with him."

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Ramifications: Day 8

Word Count: 48,037

Summary of Events:
Dom met with the Executive Board of the Shelter and discussed his parentage and the million-dollar donation from his parents; funds from which they all agreed should first be directed at the roof. Lachlan, due to a tip from Justin, found another drug transfer being undertaken by Club Brisbane and attempted to get some drugs from it, which he managed to do in spite of being stabbed. Dom and Bethany were woken by Lachlan running into a wall and Dom worked to stop the bleeding while Bethany called an ambulance — news of the summons causing Lachlan to get agitated . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"The more Dom tried to get Lachlan to lay down the more Lachlan resisted, becoming increasingly violent in his struggles until suddenly Dom saw Lachlan had a knife in his left hand.
Dom struggled to grab a hold of Lachlan's wrist to get the knife out of his hand. He was impressed by the quickness of Lachlan's reflexes to the point that he became more than sure that Lachlan was anticipating his every move somehow.
"Dom!"
He didn't glance up at his wife's cry, lest Lachlan take advantage of the distraction and get the knife into him. He needed to get his hands on Lachlan's hand, or even find some way to pin his arm down.
Lachlan continued to be faster than Dom, even in Dom's efforts to grab elsewhere on Lachlan's arm until finally Dom was able to seize hold right about the middle of Lachlan's upper arm.
The next thing Dom felt was a searing pain in his ribcage, while Bethany uttered a practically ear-splitting shriek.
Dom reeled for a moment before clutching for the handle of the knife, which was still embedded into his flesh.
He pried at Lachlan's hand, but Lachlan's narrow fingers had a fast grasp around the handle and, despite the lack of mass about his bones, Lachlan managed to throw another jab at Dom that punctured, but not half as far as the first one, mostly because Dom exerted opposing force on the blow before he successfully slammed Lachlan's hand to the floor, pried the blade free, and threw it toward the back door.
Pain throbbed in Dom's ribcage, and he felt like blackness was clawing at his brain, trying to tear his consciousness from him. Every breath was blinding pain.
The first thought that came to his mind was one of Jesus' many statements from the cross: that God would forgive His crucifiers because they didn't know what they were doing.
Dom turned his gaze to Lachlan's face, where he saw cold rage.
"I forgive you," Dom whispered. "You don't know what you're doing."
"I know well what I'm doing," Lachlan swore. "I'm getting out of here."
"No," Dom replied. "Not unless you're going peaceably in an ambulance. I won't let you die."
Lachlan's expression changed suddenly to one of cold fear. "I don't want to die."
"Then lay still," Dom said. "You're going to the hospital to get your wounds tended and that's all."
As if desperately trying to locate something, suddenly Lachlan clutched at his chest before swearing. His body relaxed and he stared at the ceiling.
"What?" Dom asked.
"I lost something," Lachlan replied.
"Important?" Dom asked.
"It's none of your business," Lachlan replied through his teeth.
Dom looked up at the sound of the door opening and watched as the paramedics bustled in.
Slowly releasing Lachlan, Dom straightened. "Take him first."
The paramedics looked somewhat confused.
"He's been bleeding longer," Dom said."

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Ramifications: Day 7

Word Count: 42,002

Summary of Events:
Lachlan attempted to get some clues as to the whereabouts of the individual who stole the drugs from him, to no avail. Dom returned to Brisbane and had to tell off a couple of magazine photographers before he got home. Lachlan managed to intercept some of the same type of drug that he'd lost from the gang he'd lost it to, but had it proved to be of inferior quality, forcing him to go out and look for more, but before he could even leave the vicinity building he encountered a fellow gang member of lower rank . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Do you know of any Club Brisbane Hen transfers?" Lachlan asked.
"If I did I wouldn't tell you," the rider replied.
"Why not?" Lachlan demanded.
"Because I'd want to sabotage them and maybe I'd be considered as special as you are, apparently," the rider spat. "Not that you do anything other than sit on that stupid custom bike while Angie sings your praises for doing nothing."
Lachlan set his jaw and glowered at the rider. "I need that sort of information."
"What?" the rider demanded. "So you can sabotage them and look even more special?"
"I need that sort of information if I want to stay alive," Lachlan replied.
"Oh," the rider said, tipping his head to the side in surprise. "You bungled something."
In spite of the helmet obscuring the rider's face, Lachlan could hear the smile in his voice. He said nothing.
"Won't it be nice to have you gone," the rider said.
"Will it?" Lachlan asked.
"Why wouldn't it be nice?" the rider asked. "After all, you're not special, you're just some random whelp from Sydney."
"You could lose out on a promotion," Lachlan said.
The rider scoffed. "How?"
"If you help me, and help me properly, I could recommend you for a promotion," Lachlan replied. "After all, I have Angelo's ear easier than anyone else in this group. If I say someone did a good job he'll believe me, even if Harrison and them would disagree with me."
"Like you'd actually recommend me for a promotion," the rider scoffed.
"Why wouldn't I?" Lachlan asked. "My life is on the line here, Harrison's threatened it twice already. If you help me in the way I need help I'd owe my life to you, and I'd immediately recommend you for a promotion. It's only if you don't help me that you should be worried."
"Why?" the rider asked.
"I could call up Angelo now," Lachlan said. "Tell him you're the laziest member of this gang I've ever met. I could even say you set up my bungle. Then you'd be dead, and there'd be no more promotions."
The rider was silent.
"I have that kind of power," Lachlan said. "And if you value your life you'd help me."
Still the rider was silent.
Lachlan drew out his mobile.
"What are you doing?" the rider asked.
"Calling Angelo," Lachlan replied.
"You want information on Hen transfers," the rider said.
Lachlan let a bit of a smile show outwardly, and smiled ear to ear inwardly. "Yes."
"I don't know of any currently, but I'll keep my ears open," the rider replied.
"And your name so that I can keep in contact," Lachlan said.
"Justin," the rider replied.
"As soon as you hear of a Club Brisbane Hen transfer, you tell me," Lachlan said.
Justin nodded and slipped in through the back door.
Lachlan smiled as he watched the door close. Success."

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Ramifications: Day 6

Word Count: 36,039

Summary of Events:
Dom was finally reintroduced to his mother, who immediately decided that he was going to be staying for a week so that they could have a gala celebration of his return, to his dismay. Lachlan was summoned to Oliver's office only to find out that he'd inadvertently given the package to the wrong person because things hadn't been explained to him thoroughly, and that he was expected to recover the lost product. Dom got reintroduced to his siblings and all of his aunts and uncles, although the introduction was a highly awkward one and he was grateful when they went to their tables while he waited for the moment of his reintroduction to Melbourne society . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Sighing, he stared at the fire until a light knock sounded at the door. He got up and opened the door, closing it behind him silently. The room was even darker now, but all the tables were full of guests whose attention was directed to Father and Mama standing under the glare of some particularly bright lights.
"Velcome everyone," Mama said into the microphone Dom could see was trembling from his distance. "Ve have invited you all here tonight to celebrate one of the most vonderful things that has ever happened. Our youngest son, Dominik, has returned."
A large part of the guests startled, quite taken aback by the revelation. Dom didn't blame them; who expected to hear news ten years after a disappearance that the disappeared person had returned, much less was alive?
Patterson waved Dom forward and he walked toward his parents, skirting around the table at which Zane, Tamara, and Victor were seated, and stepped into the brightness and heat of the lights shining on his parents.
Mama gave Dom a kiss on the cheek and the entire gathered assembly rose to their feet and applauded. Dom felt rather uncomfortable.
Once the applause died down Mama began to speak again: "He is currently the director of a homeless shelter in Brisbane, and ve have a very special gift for him ve vill present now."
Father took the microphone. "As the Executive Directors of the Herczeg-O'Shea Charitable Foundation, we would like to donate one million dollars to the Shelter of Brisbane."
Dom startled and stared at them. Had he really heard right?
Father produced a white, corrugated plastic cheque from somewhere by the wall which was printed up with his parents' charitable foundation logo and had the same thing Father had said aloud written on it in whiteboard marker: one million dollars.
It also called the Shelter the Shelter of Brisbane, which was wrong, but Dom couldn't help but reel: a million dollars. What was the Shelter going to do with a million dollars?
Camera flashes popped and only when Mama elbowed Dom behind the cheque did he finally look up toward the mass he could hardly see for the lights blazing at him from overhead.
"Smile Dominik, for heaven's sake," Father hissed.
Dom looked back down at the cheque again, still completely thunderstruck. Was this why God had put everything together like this? So that he'd get this million dollars now? If so, then what did God want him to do with the money? Surely they wouldn't have a million-dollar need show up at the Shelter tomorrow.
Mama elbowed him again and Dom looked up. The photographers wanted him to smile for a better picture.
Dom tried to smile, but — as much as he was happy — he would've much preferred being able to leave the room and call Bethany at once. He had to tell her about this as soon as he possibly could."

Pronunciations:
Herczeg: hersehg

Monday, November 06, 2017

Ramifications: Day 5

Word Count: 30,011

Summary of Events:
Lachlan received an assignment from one of his superiors to take part in a highly sensitive transfer, which he was rather excited about. Dom arrived in Melbourne and went to see his parents straightaway; he was interrogated by his father, who then sent him away, unconvinced of his identity, leading Dom to call Bethany in despair because he had no money for a hotel room. Bethany called him back awhile later and told him Lois would let him use his return ticket money for a hotel room. Lachlan waited for the contact person with whom he was to make the transfer . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Hearing the sound of a motorcycle, he instinctively whipped around the corner of the bin to make sure his motorcycle was still parked where he'd left it. It was. There was just another motorcycle beside it.
The motorcycle was metallic red, with lots of chrome — just like Angelo's — as well as a black leather seat and saddlebags.
Its rider was wearing standard black leathers and a metallic red helmet. Based on the build, Lachlan could tell the rider was a man, who flashed him the hand signal.
Lachlan flashed his in return and the rider took off his helmet to reveal that, indeed, he looked an awful lot like Lachlan himself: the key differences being his brown eyes and facial decorations of both metal and ink.
Without a word the rider walked up to Lachlan, who deposited the small black plastic bag — wrapped around a clear plastic bag in which the product was contained — into his upturned palm.
Closing his hand over it, the man turned and walked away from Lachlan, who watched as he pocketed the bag inside his coat before putting his helmet back on, swinging astride his bike, and leaving.
Once Lachlan saw his bike drive by in front of the church from his position Lachlan went to his own bike, put his helmet on, and swung astride as well. For being a highly sensitive transfer, it'd gone over quite easily.
Lachlan headed the opposite direction the contact had taken, heading back toward the Black Widow, where he could report that he'd successfully completed the transfer.
Stopped at a red light, Lachlan looked over at a coffee shop to his left and saw the clock on the back wall said two twenty five. He furrowed his brow and pulled out his mobile to see that, indeed, it was only now two twenty five.
Apparently the contact had been early. Lachlan quickly pocketed his mobile and took off as soon as the light turned green. That information probably wouldn't matter to Oliver, what would matter was that the delivery was a success.
Next time, though, Lachlan hoped that he would be able to have a more difficult task to do; although, considering that the Associates didn't seem all that inclined to test him with anything, he had his doubts such a thing would happen for awhile. Considering how easy this was, though, he would definitely be inclined to ask them if he could do something a bit more difficult next time around."

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Ramifications: Day 4

Word Count: 24,028

Summary of Events:
Dom drove Lachlan to his and Bethany's house and gave Lachlan a brief tour before going to bed. Lachlan was spending some time at one of the gang nightclubs when the gang boss came for a visit and he, Lachlan, and the man who'd injured Lachlan got into a rather circuitous discussion about a wide variety of topics, mostly revolving around the incident that got Lachlan injured. Dom was doing paperwork when one of the most lavish donors to the Shelter came over to visit with a plane ticket to Melbourne for him that he was highly reluctant to accept . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Even if Lois wouldn't consider the several-hundred-dollar ticket all that much of a loss should Dom throw it out, he would. It would be wasteful to throw out something that expensive. About the only way he could effectively get rid of it without considering it a waste was if he found someone else who needed to go to Melbourne. Who actually needed to go to Melbourne.
He glanced toward the door at the sound of footsteps and soon Bethany appeared in the doorway.
"You're not happy are you Dom?" she asked.
"No," Dom replied, letting the frustration harden his tone. "I'm not."
"It needs to be done," Bethany replied.
"It's not the right time," Dom whispered emphatically.
"Then when is?" Bethany asked. "I wanted you to do this before we got married and here we are nearly three years beyond that and still nothing's happened."
"I'm–" Dom stopped himself and sighed before looking Bethany in the eyes. They looked glassy, like tears were accumulating within, ready to spill over the precipices of her eyelids and roll down her cheeks. "I'm not spiritually ready for it Bethany."
A tear crawled over the edge of her lower left eyelid and started rolling down her face, leaving a shining trail of its journey behind it.
"But I'm going," Dom said with mild disgust. "I gave her my word and told her as God is my witness I'd be on that flight."
Bethany still said nothing.
"It's not going to go well, though, and you can't tell me otherwise," Dom said.
He ran his fingers into his hair from the sides of his head and sighed.
"You don't really understand Bethany," Dom whispered. "I've changed, yes, and I know the truth, but, but that doesn't make it any easier. They still never loved me. They still . . . drove me away."
Bethany sniffled.
"I mean, maybe I am avoiding it," Dom sighed. "But . . . I know God doesn't want people not to try and make things right, and it's important to Him that things be made right as quickly as they can, it's just not there yet. I know they're not getting any younger and that I'd regret it if they died and I hadn't done anything, but it's just . . . excruciatingly difficult."
He looked at Bethany. More tear-trails striped her cheeks. Dom felt horrible.
"I'm not ready to forgive them yet," Dom said.
"Then I'll let you alone and let you get ready to be able to forgive them on Friday," Bethany whispered, her voice clipped, before Dom heard the sound of receding footsteps.
"Bethany," Dom called. "Bethany!"
There was no hesitation or pause in her stride. He listened numbly to the sound of her feet hurrying down the stairs."

Friday, November 03, 2017

Ramifications: Day 3

Word Count: 18,009

Summary of Events:
Lachlan got one positive reply for a place to stay from his contacts, but only for one night, which wasn't what he wanted. Dom's efforts to find a place for Lachlan on his end also proved fruitless, and then the group who was serving supper arrived. Lachlan asked the superior gangsters for advance pay or something, but only ended up losing his temper and getting a bullet in his shoulder. Dom was helping some of the group pack food hampers for handing out to the people they served meals to when Lachlan arrived; Dom directed Lachlan to his office until they were done. After sitting in Dom's office for a long time alone, Dom finally appeared and told Lachlan the results of his efforts to find a place for Lachlan to stay . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""None of my contacts could take you in either, so my wife and I've decided we'll let you stay with us, free of charge, for however long you need," Dom said. "Even though we don't want money we drafted up a bit of a . . . code of conduct sort of thing, just so you know what kind of things we'd appreciate you did, as a member of our household."
With something of a hesitancy, Dom held out the document to Lachlan.
Lachlan took it and read the neat writing. He wasn't surprised at many of the conditions: no parties, no friends over — it wasn't like he'd want to invite people over to a house that wasn't his. His mess was to stay in his room, he was to be respectful of their sleeping hours — and preferably not blast loud music in general — dispose of all his garbage properly, and all manner of other things he could agree to doing.
Reaching the bottom, he found Dom's signature was already scrawled across the bottom in sweeping, looping cursive that Lachlan could read rather easily, save between the O and the K of Dominik, which dissolved into basically a squiggly line with a couple dots over top of it.
Lachlan took up a pen from the desktop and scrawled his own signature across the bottom. It looked rather short compared to Dom's and the capital letters looked small too, but it wasn't like Lachlan had to sign legally binding documents all that often.
"You can come downstairs if you'd like, we're almost done cleaning up," Dom said.
Lachlan got to his feet, a stab of pain penetrated his shoulder. He needed some more painkillers.
He followed Dom slowly until eventually Dom disappeared. Lachlan stopped in the laundry area, where he'd left his repacked backpack with the grocery bags that his clothes had been neatly folded and placed into by whoever had emptied the dryer.
Drawing out the small glass bottle from one of the side pockets, as well as the syringe body, Lachlan fetched a needle from one of the other pockets, affixed it to the body, and then removed the slender paper sheath that guaranteed the sterility of the needle.
Firmly he thrust the needle into the special opening in the bottle's cap before turning the bottle upside down and drawing out the plunger to fill the syringe until it was halfway full.
He drew the needle out of the bottle's cap and put the bottle away before lightly flicking the syringe to guarantee no air bubbles.
Sliding his right sleeve up to expose some of the fine blue veins that crossed his wrist and even snaked up his forearm, he carefully slid the fine tip of the needle into his skin at the thickest vein, pulling back the plunger a little to guarantee that he was in the vein before slowly depressing the plunger and emptying the contents of the syringe into his bloodstream."

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Ramifications: Day 2

Word Count: 12,193

Summary of Events:
Dom arrived at the Shelter and found Lachlan asleep on the doorstep; after waking Lachlan Dom got him some dry clothes to wear and then went to make him a plate of breakfast. Lachlan ate the breakfast and eventually talked to Dom a little bit before Dom left to get him some fuel to top up his motorcycle that Lachlan accepted without paying for somewhat begrudgingly. Dom sat in his office at the Shelter and thought about Lachlan until his wife came to the door . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Dom smiled somewhat wryly. "What is it love?"
"I was just wondering what you learned from the young man you found on the doorstep," Bethany replied. "He certainly left in an awful hurry."
"What do you mean?" Dom asked.
"Well, we were setting up breakfast and all of the sudden he came charging through the kitchen and left," Bethany replied. "You'd been gone all of a couple minutes."
"But he was here when I came back," Dom said. "He was outside, but he was here."
"Oh," Bethany said.
"He's not one who accepts charity willingly, though," Dom said. "So I wouldn't be surprised if he left so as to not associate with our friends who come here for breakfast."
"He tried to pay you for the petrol?" Bethany asked.
"Yes," Dom replied. "I do believe that I somewhat diffused his efforts by telling him that the Shelter operates without a bank account. Besides, it wasn't like he had the money to pay me for it anyways, he'd told me so himself."
"So he'd run out of petrol and had no money to get more was why he was n the doorstep?" Bethany asked.
"Yes," Dom replied. "At least the best I can conjecture. He's currently out looking for a place to stay amongst his contacts. He'll be back to collect his dry clothes sometime today."
"You mean he hasn't anywhere to stay?" Bethany asked.
"Yes," Dom replied. "He doesn't, odd as it is to put it that way."
"Do you think he'll find something among his contacts?" Bethany asked.
"I don't know," Dom replied.
"Should we look among our own, just in case?" Bethany asked.
"I was planning on doing as much myself, yes, love," Dom replied. "If all else fails, though, do you think it would be alright if we took him in, at least until he could find a different place?"
"I don't know," Bethany replied. "What is he like? Did he tell you his name?"
"Yes," Dom replied. "After I told him mine. I can't believe I forgot to introduce myself until he prompted me. His name is Lachlan. He didn't volunteer anything more than that name-wise. He seems to be a lone-wolf sort, who thinks its him against the world."
Bethany shook her head. Dom could tell she felt the same sadness he did at that fact.
"Regardless of what he's like, though, if he's only temporary," Dom said. "It would be fine, no?"
Bethany shifted her jaw. "I guess so. I wouldn't mind knowing a bit more about him, though."
"I'll have to see what I can learn from him when he comes back for the rest of his clothes," Dom replied. "It may not be much, though, love."
"It may not even matter either," Bethany said. "If he finds a place, or if you find somewhere else for him."
Dom nodded. "And I should get on that, too."
"I'll leave you to it then," Bethany said."

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Ramifications: Day 1

Word Count: 6,012

Summary of Events:
Lachlan arrived at his apartment to find that he'd been evicted for not paying the rent; in revenge, he set the contents of the nearby garbage dumpster on fire. Finding his gang superiors at their usual haunt, he asked if any of them could host him, but to no avail; efforts to find someone else from his short list of acquaintances in Brisbane was also fruitless, prompting him to wander Brisbane in search of some shelter from the pouring rain until his fuel gauge started to run low, which forced him to seek shelter under a small overhang above a door into a back alley . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Leaning back against the door, he sighed. Weariness overcame him, pulling at his eyelids and bidding him just to lie down and sleep.
His conscious mind resisted, though, wondering if there wasn't some chance that the very door he was leaning against was unlocked.
Valiantly struggling against the sleep that seemed suddenly to have launched all-out war against him, he looked at the door and saw that it was metal, it had a lock on it, and that its hinges evidenced that it was an outward-opening door.
Slow and reluctant, he pulled himself to his feet and moved out of the way of the door — which meant back out into the rain.
Trying the handle, he found that, indeed, it was locked. He wouldn't be able to get inside, into the complete and total shelter that the indoors would provide him.
He moved back under the shelter of the overhang and sank down to the concrete pad that lessened the height of the step from the ground to the door, at least immediately in front of the door.
Shifting his backpack, he put it under his head for a pillow, bundling himself as tightly together as he could with his back to the alley and his face to the door, pulling himself onto the concrete pad as fully as he possibly could.
He could still feel the soft mist of water being thrown upward by the rain striking the wet ground, but at least he was sheltered from the large, close-together droplets that were the rain falling from the sky above.
Even though weariness pulled at him, cold chilled him, prompting him to shiver uncontrollably. If only he owned a raincoat or a blanket, he would be drier or warmer then — or if he owned both of them he would be warmer and drier.
Having neither, though, the thought of having them only made him only feel wet, cold, and miserable.
It seemed now, too, that cold was winning the war over exhaustion, and like he was going to end up remaining awake, even though he was really quite thoroughly tired and ready to have been bedded down several hours ago.
He closed his eyes and shivered involuntarily. Maybe he should've kept going until he'd found a dumpster bin. He'd have been completely sheltered on all sides, and between the garbage providing an insulating layer and his own body heat filling the enclosed space, he might've been able to actually warm up eventually — especially if there was rotting garbage, as the action of rotting always seemed to make things warm.
Slowly the black fingers of sleep pried away at the icy fingers of cold and wound their way into his mind, shutting off switches as they went, slowly pulling him down into the darkness of slumber with a soft and seductive touch that he had no inclinations of resisting."

Monday, October 30, 2017

November Novel Essential Information

Novel Title: Ramifications
Time Setting: 2017
Genre: Thriller
Minimum Word Goal: 120,000
Timespan: July–September
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Main Characters: Lachlan Blackwood, Dominik O'Shea
Background Information:
Lachlan has lived nothing short of a troubled existence. His mother had been conceived at the age of seventeen and raised by her mother off the income of waiting tables. He was conceived, in turn, when his mother was sixteen, prompting her to drop out of school.
His mother had gone to Schoolie's Week in Brisbane and met a handsome surfer — which is all he knows about his father — and the following year after he was born she went back again, found the same surfer, and conceived his sister.
The year after that, she returned to Brisbane and never returned. Still police have yet to figure out what happened, and they don't even have any remains to go off of, leaving Lachlan and his sister to be raised by his grandmother, who sought to find her daughter until she found out that it was likely her daughter would be dead.
His grandmother then met a handsome, single shipping company owner, whom she moved in with, giving her grandchildren a chance at an opulent life in Sydney.
Lachlan, however, disliked his grandmother's boyfriend from the start, and quickly became a delinquent, even doing a stint in juvenile prison before he was fifteen.
In prison he met a young gangster whom he became friends with before joining in the gang with and bringing his sister — his most beloved companion — with him.
Their disappearance drove his grandmother to suicide, which depressed his sister, who ended up dying of a drug overdose within a year of their grandmother's suicide despite Lachlan's efforts to prevent as much.
Being as the gang boss' son had caused his sister's death, Lachlan tried to kill him, only to have the whole gang turn against him. None of the other gangs in the area were interested in taking him on either, as they believed it was a trap.
Recently, however, Lachlan encountered members of a Brisbane-based gang that is one of the biggest and most troublesome in all Australia; he impressed that gang's boss to the point of being accepted as a member and, for his own safety, moved to Brisbane.

Dom's life started out rather privileged. His father was a prestigious Australian prosecution lawyer whose family had come from Ireland, and his mother was a Serbian-born fashion model.
Born thirteen years after his brother — who is the younger of his two older siblings — Dom was considered an accident by his parents, and also somewhat of an annoyance to his siblings, which led him to act out from an early age.
His actions included breaking dishes and windows in fits, breaking out of his bedroom to intrude on whatever his parents happened to be doing at the time, and even sneaking into his mother's suitcase when she was preparing to go on a tour to the US on the same day he was supposed to be returning to boarding school.
Being found out at the Melbourne Airport, however, he was shipped off to boarding school anyways, where he continued to act out by disrupting class, bullying fellow students, vandalising cars, picking fights, and starting the biggest food fight in the school's history.
His parents' efforts at discipline, such as shutting him up in his room for long periods and leaving him at home while they went on exotic vacations, only made things worse, as he would take out his rage on the opulent mansion and its contents.
He even got arrested for driving his father's Ferrari without a license, and brought his parents and siblings home from a trip early by setting the house alight and destroying a good portion of it.
Finally, when he was sixteen, he ran away from his boarding school and got a ride with a somewhat bohemian group that headed to Gold Coast in Queensland to live out of their van and surf.
This introduced him to drugs and liquor, which he made use of to take the edge of the painful loneliness and neglect he felt.
Within a year of arriving at Gold Coast some of the group leaders were arrested for having stolen the van, leaving him and several others whom they'd picked up along the way to live on the streets.
It wasn't long, though, before he ended up at an old church that was used as the base for a homeless shelter. The people there were loving and kind unlike any other people Dom had met, and because of that — and the fact that the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen in his life volunteered there — Dom soon was spending a lot more time there.
With the help of his friends at the Shelter he quit the drugs and the drinking and soon became a volunteer at the Shelter himself, as well as becoming a Christian and having the privilege of marrying the young woman he'd fallen in love with.
Just two years ago Mags, the Founder and Director of the Shelter disappeared, leaving leadership of the Shelter to fall to him as the only other full-time volunteer. Her remains were found washed up on the shore of the Brisbane River within a year and after three days of prayer and fasting by the Executive Board of the Shelter, it was determined that Dom would be her replacement.
Dom and his wife have since run the Shelter as full-time volunteers, living in a donated house off of a donated income, and his wife has been subtly encouraging him to reconcile with his parents so that they can know that he's still alive.

The novel begins on November 1.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 20

Word Total: 120,023

Year to Date: 870,088

Summary of Events:
Keeleigh went to the Baptist church cemetery and found the graves of Zygfryd and his wife Helen side by side, as well as the graves of Henryk, Olga, and Irena, Olga's daughter. Olga was woken up by Mama's cry of surprise at her and Papa discovering the Christmas tree and went down to watch everyone else's surprised reactions. Keeleigh arrived at Myshaniuk Farms and met Adelejda, whom she showed what she had for information before Adelejda started to tell her about the war. Emil confronted his father on his suspicions of their departure and had them confirmed.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Keeleigh saw pain on Mrs. Myshaniuk's face as she stared at the bright sunflowers, which seemed such a stark contrast to Mrs. Myshaniuk's dark memories.
"If it's too much, you don't have to," Keeleigh said. "The Village is closed for the season, so I can come back at any time."
"It's hard to think of those things," Mrs. Myshaniuk said. "But I do not want to let myself ever forget them. They are my last memories of Poland."
"You've never gone back?" Keeleigh asked.
"No," Mrs. Myshaniuk replied. "Zygfryd, Olga, and I all wanted to go together when Communism finally fell, but health restrictions prevented us, so we never did."
"I'd like to go," Keeleigh said. "Maybe you could even show me where you lived."
"I doubt the house still stands," Mrs. Myshaniuk replied.
"Even still," Keeleigh said. "I think it would be fascinating."
"One of us has to go anyways," Mrs. Myshaniuk said.
"One of who?" Keeleigh asked.
"Zbigniew and Klementyna's children," Mrs. Myshaniuk replied. "Besides, Zygfryd and Olga weren't able to, and now that Poland's free . . ."
Keeleigh wasn't making any sense out of Mrs. Myshaniuk now, but she wanted to know so dearly. However long it took Mrs. Myshaniuk to tell her, she would be more than willing to take the time to hear all the secrets of the Niemcyk family.
"Where are we going?" Emil asked.
"Canada," Papa replied. "There will be little risk of war coming there. My Aunt Louisa lives there with her family, and she always wrote that it was a lovely country. We will be safe there, and we will come back when Poland is free."
Emil nodded and rose silently. He slipped out of Papa's office without a word and headed upstairs, his vision blurring with tears as he tried to get to his bedroom before they fell off the precipices of his eyelids and fell down his cheeks.
He closed the door and leaned against it at last, clenching his eyes shut and letting the tears seep down. How could he possibly leave Poland? It was their homeland! They ought to stay until Poland was free, seeing it through all the bitter stages of war and whatever came thereafter; they shouldn't let the shadows of war drive them away!
A knock sounded on the door. Emil swiped at his eyes viciously before opening the door.
Olga stood on the other side. "What is it Emil?" she asked softly.
"We're leaving," Emil replied.
"Warsaw?" Olga asked.
"Poland," Emil replied. "We're going to Canada."
"But why?" Olga asked slowly.
"Because it's safer there, for the little ones," Emil replied.
Moisture filled Olga's eyes and she looked at him with fear, but then turned and walked away. Emil closed the door and sagged down it again to let the tears flow. They couldn't let the shadows of war drive them away."

Next post will be on October 30.