The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Three, 9:18pm

By JKolasch

The German shepherd was crouched next to a man leaning against the broken concrete barrier. The remnants of skyscrapers loomed into the late evening, the sunlight casting a contrasting glow against the fires burning across the city. The man shifted, crunching worn leather boots against the gravel and broken concrete of the sidewalk. He reached into the pocket of an equally worn brown trench coat that crumpled around him. The man looked at the smashed pack of cigarettes he had fished out and sighed. Pulling the least broken cigarette to his lips, he touched the tip with his finger. The cigarette cherried and he puffed, letting the smoke drift through the hair slipping into his eyes. The dog whined gently.

            “What? It’s not like they’re gonna see the smoke.” The man gestured vaguely in the air, smoke trailing from the burning the cigarette. “There’s plenty of haze and fire to hide one cigarette.”

            The dog cocked its head slightly, one ear drooping just a bit.

            “No. I’m not putting it out yet.” The man took a long drag, the hint of a satisfied smile touch his lips like the cigarette. “It’s not like I can just run to the store again. They’re all kinda closed for some reason.”

            The dog laid down, tucking its head between its front legs and whined, brown eyes staring into the mostly empty square beyond the concrete barrier they were hiding behind.

            “Seriously,” he said in a puff, “it’s not happening. Regardless of…”

            The man trailed off. He and his dog both watched as two figures, dressed in the black and (he could only guess based on the distance and available light) silver of Conduits. They were walking low, hiding behind a burning bus. Looked like the bus had some sort of safety slogan wrapped along its side. The group of Soulless he had been watching had so far ignored the two black figures, but they were pushing their luck. Sure enough, a Soulless noticed them. The creature lifted its arm and pointed.

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Three, 9:18pm”

Rise, Rise – Chapter Fifteen

By JKolasch

Xanthiilus stood, watching Saleena.  She wasn’t moving.  She was just sitting in front of her tree, a green glow radiating from her skin and small lights dancing around her.  Xan knew she was almost ready, and he was getting worried.  The battle with the Lord of Fire would be intense, and Xan knew the Lord would not be fighting alone.  He was sure the demon had a reserve of demonic minions yet, and would do everything it could to stay alive after just breaking free from its prison.

            “I’m ready, Xan.”  Sal’s voice was quiet, and strained.

            Xan knelt down next to his dryad, and caressed her cheek, tears forming in his eyes.

            “Everything will be fine, Xan.  Trust me.”

            “I wish I had your confidence.”

            “You will.  I’ll be out there with you, in my forest.”

            Tears began to flow freely down Xan’s face.  “Just promise me you’ll be back.”

            Saleena looked up at Xan, her skin radiating with power.  She smiled, gently wiping his tears away.  “Of course I will come back.  I’m not going anywhere.  Now, get Maryanne and Sympheros ready.  I can sense a great evil about to enter this world.”

            “I love you, Saleena.”

            “I love you too, Xan.”

            Xan started walking away, but he stopped.  “Sal, we’ve been together for thousands of years.  When we met, you joked we were getting married.”

            Saleena nodded, her eyes closing again.

            “When this is all done, I’d like to actually get married to you.”

            Sal’s eyes opened and she smiled.  “I’d love to marry you, Xan.  Now go kick some demon ass.”

            Xanthiilus continued walking out of the forest, tears falling down his face.  There was a brilliant green flash, and the forest erupted, spreading rapidly through the warehouse, spilling outside, and flowing over the city.

            Xan walked out onto the roof, and found Maryanne and Sympheros holding hands and watching Sal’s spell take over the city.  The sun was going down, and it looked like a wave of dark green was washing over everything.

            “Let’s go,” Xan said.

            Maryanne and Sympheros turned and nodded at Xan, their eyes sad.

Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter Fifteen”

The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Three, 9:00pm

By JKolasch

The Soulless were a ring of white bodies tinged with the flaming red of their hair around the cratered remains of what used to be Times Square. They all stood perfectly still, facing inward, with the hint of their mouths whispering. It was hard to tell from this distance what they were doing. But gatherings of Soulless like this were never good.

            Fin ducked back behind the once yellow and twisted remains of the taxi cab. He tried to ignore the black and bloody remnants in the seats. His head swam, momentarily overwhelmed by the acrid scent hanging in the air, the constant overwhelming reminders of death and defeat at every turn. He and Grace had slowly picked their way across the ruins of New Brooklyn from the Conduit bunker on their way back to Times Square. The sun was low on the horizon, but the brilliance of the sunset was lost in the glow of a city on fire. It was oddly quiet and still, considering the level of destruction around them and the horde of Soulless chanting in a circle several hundred yards from Fin’s position behind the taxi.

            “We have to keep moving.” Grace’s voice was low, barely audible in the oppressive silence around them.

            Fin glanced toward the Soulless again and opened his mouth to answer her. He simply nodded instead. He glanced around for a path forward that didn’t lead them to the Soulless. While most of the area was reduced to rubble, some buildings still partially stood. Not much had survived the earlier aerial assault and subsequent massacre the Soulless responded with.

            “There,” Fin pointed. A smoldering bus (Fin fought to keep the thought of what all was actually still burning out of his mind) provided cover to a small hill of rubble and a relatively intact building. It would provide enough cover to navigate around the Soulless. They seemed to be oblivious to their surroundings, but Fin didn’t want to take any chances.

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Three, 9:00pm”

Rise, Rise – Chapter Fourteen

By JKolasch

“You’ve been busy, Xan,” Sympheros said.  He was sitting in front of a small TV he had found somewhere, and all the stations were broadcasting emergency coverage of the city.  There were several interviews with soldiers talking about the strange man with fiery wings.

Xan gently worked his arm, rubbing it.  “I only killed one other general.  There are still eleven of them.  Was hoping to kill more of the demons that mattered before the shit really hit the fan.”

Maryanne walked in from the forest, carrying a couple of empty plates and cups.  “Saleena will be glad you’re home.  You should go see her.”

Xan nodded.  “I will.”

Saleena was sitting with her back to her tree, eyes closed, and an acorn held in her hands.  Xan walked over and sat down next to her.

“Maryanne told me about the news.  Did you run into any more generals?”

“Just one.  And a whole load of lesser demons.”

Saleena opened her eyes.  Exhaustion was evident on her face.  She leaned over, resting her head on Xan’s shoulder.  “Are we going to have the energy to fight after we do this?”

Xan slipped his arm gingerly around Sal.  “We’ll find the will.”  He kissed her forehead.  “Is your full concentration required here?”

Sal shook her head.  “But I can’t really fully concentrate on anything else either.”

Xan smiled.  “That’s okay.  I was just thinking about a bath.”

Saleena smiled sleepily, her eyes closing.  “That sounds wonderful.”

Xanthiilus woke up early in the morning.  The sun was barely creeping above the horizon.  He felt refreshed from the bath he had taken with Saleena, and had fallen asleep at the foot of her tree after Sal had returned her full attention to the spell.  Today was the day.  Sal would release the spell she had been preparing, and a glade would spread throughout the entire city.  It would weaken the demons as well as enable Saleena to sense their presence.  Xan only hoped she would be recovered by the time the Lord of Fire appeared.

Xan flicked on the radio he had taken with him, and was greeted by voices shouting about three black hooded figures converging on a group of battalions.  Saleena looked at him, her face still showing how tired she was, but she nodded.  Xan quickly kissed her, and then he was on the roof, asking for the location.  Three generals were not an opportunity he could pass up.

“Sympheros! Come here!” Xan yelled.

Sympheros came trudging up the stairs to the roof.  “What is it?”

“I need you to be alert.  There are three general demons attacking some groups of soldiers, and I have to take that opportunity to try and thin their ranks.  Hopefully, the wards here will hold in case something tries to attack while I’m away, but I need you and Maryanne to protect Saleena.”

Sympheros nodded, setting his jaw grimly.  “I’d say good luck to you, Xan, but it doesn’t seem appropriate.”

Xan nodded in response.  “I appreciate the sentiment.”  He leapt off the roof, and was gone in a flash of fire.

Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter Fourteen”

Flash Fiction – A Few Days on Mars

By JKolasch

I had been carrying the body of my friend for days.  Her weight had become comforting, draped across my arms, head nodding slightly into my shoulder with each step.  I tried to be as careful as I could, to stop from jostling her too much, but the red, rocky terrain made it difficult.  More like shale, really.  Every few steps the ground would shift and I would have to stop, to keep my footing and to keep from dropping her.  I came to a hill, the last light of day burning my back, the cool lick of night raising steam from my sweating skin.  Day and night on Mars, two wicked mistresses.

The shale betrayed my feet, plunging us headlong into darkness.  But I had managed to twist, landing on my back and protecting her.  Tiny slivers of rock shredded my clothes, slathered their shade of red against mine.  I had been carrying the body of my friend for days. Wet.  That was all I could feel.  Wetness soaked through me, and I shivered as the sun dipped away, like it didn’t want to witness me dying.  What did it matter?  Our ship was destroyed, hit by a meteorite or something, sending us spiraling, burning off course.  I don’t know how far off course, but I did know the direction to go to find the station.

That was our hope.  The terraforming station.  It had been working for decades, converting the atmosphere and environment into something we could live in, breathe in.  Start over in.  We were the first colony ship.  And only by a miracle did we survive.  The other ninety-eight hadn’t been so fortunate.  A miracle.  Her head dips against mine, cheek brushing mine, smearing dust into a muddy streak.  I can’t stop the tears, now that they’ve started.  She breathes hollow.  A vessel, a bag of wind.  Her lungs inhale and exhale, but there is no life.  It’s automatic.  Ejected early from cryostasis, her mind hasn’t awoken.

The station had a skeleton crew of scientists and researchers.  And a med bay.  I just needed to get here there.  I had to get her there.  Straining, I could feel the wetness increase as my muscles tried to work.  Tried to move.  I had to get up, but I refused to put her down.  Rock grinded against rock and skin as I kicked to turn myself.  I was lying, head down the hill.  I had to turn around, so I could sit up, holding her, so I could stand up, holding her, so I could walk, holding her.

I had been carrying the body of my friend for days.  My back burned, but I was shivering, the sun passing over and over.  I forgot how many times.  But it watched my labored walking and dried my bleeding back.  And there it was.  I could see the glimmering dome.  My lips cracked, I smiled, falling to my knees.  As I sank lower to the ground, my eyes closing, I saw hers flutter.

The Road So Far…

I have been away for some time. A little over two years in fact. I’ve tried to start writing again off and on with varying (read: none) success. Call it exhaustion, call it mental health, call it motivation, call it whatever you want. I’ve felt that I’ve been so prolific in the past (during my college career and beyond) that I’ve run out of things to write about. I’ve also felt that I just need to shift what I write about. One thing I realize I’ve never been good about is planning and outlining.

So, this begins a new shift in my writing and my goals. I’ve always known I want to write for a greater audience than just myself. The how of that will always be the challenge, whether in marketing, sharing, or the actual writing. I’ve been working through a novel (The Fall of New Brooklyn) but I’ve felt myself both slowing down and speeding up all at the same time. I pressured myself into writing and sharing more, which lead what I felt were short and rushed chapters. And then I hit a block. I have a vague idea of where I want the story to end up, but I’ve never really taken to the time to plan it out and outline it. As I’m trying to work more on longer form fiction (I’ve typically written short fiction and poetry, almost exclusively), I’ve realized the need and importance of planning.

So, while there likely won’t be any new progress in The Fall of New Brooklyn immediately, know that I have no intention of abandoning the project. But, I need to figure out what I want to happen with it, and that’s going to take some time. I have a few chapters or so left of Rise, Rise that I’ve yet to post, so I’ll be sharing those soon (I’ve already shared chapter thirteen here). This is the first long form piece of fiction that I finished, and it’s from my undergrad. I have every intention of revising and editing, but I thought it’d be fun to share the first, original draft.

Poetry is still a focus of mine, but this is where I need to figure out what I still have to write about. This may take some time. I have ideas floating around in my head and notes, so we’ll see if anything comes to fruition.

I fully intend to keep writing. I intend to begin self publishing. Thanks for following along on my journey. I hope you continue to enjoy reading what I write, and I look forward to your feedback and company as I continue my journey.

Rise, Rise – Chapter Thirteen

By JKolasch

There was about one day left until Saleena had enough energy to spread a glade over the entire city.  Demonic activity had started picking up, and even the human world was being drawn into the war.  Xan sat on top of a high-rise building watching a tank battalion patrol the streets below.  That group was only one of many.  For the most part, the military was incredibly ineffective, but Xan guessed it made the humans feel safer.  Parts of the city were in ruins; the demons seldom lost.  Xan berated himself for staying hidden so long, when he could have been out here, trying to fight the demons head on.  He pulled a cigarette from his cloak and was just about to put it in his mouth when an explosion shook the building.  He stumbled, dropping the cigarette off the ledge of the building.  Xan looked over the edge and watched it fall.

“Damn, that was my last one.”  He drew his sword and jumped off the building, fiery wings leaving a trail of embers behind him.

He landed near the wreckage of a smoldering tank, his cloak billowing out like a flower.  Uniformed men with heavy weaponry ran around, apparently trying to organize a counter attack.  Xan glanced around, and saw the demon standing down the street, red blade in hand.  It looked like the general Xan had killed earlier.  Flanking it were two unusual looking creatures.  They towered over the demon, with black wings blotting out the street behind them.  They were all black, and it was difficult to make out any features apart from the wings and the horns sprouting from their heads.

“Who the hell are you?”

Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter Thirteen”

Ennui – A poem.

It is the underside of a raindrop—
the sensation of shrinking
while rushing closer and closer
to the inevitable.

It could be the force
of the blackhole keeping
the entirety of our galaxy
together. Yet, it ends in a blip.

A hand brushes the drop
from a forehead as eyes
gaze to the cloudless sky.
It must be rain—
the clear liquid on your finger
could be nothing else.

But doubt still furrows—
shimmering wrinkles briefly capture
the sun. It is not captive long.

You walk on. A solitary drop
of rain doesn’t matter to meetings.
But it will stay with you—
a tiny splash of presence
as you stare through plate glass
to the cloudless,
rainless sky.


Commute – A poem.

The moon is full
and dim.

A haze that pales its color—
a muted pink behind sheer fabric.

It peeks behind the mountains
like her nipple as she dips—
a warm, golden blush
that is just the reflection
of light sent cascading
across the star-filled asphalt
singing beneath my tires.

Her soft touch still lingers
as I drive.

The clouds rise like the ocean—
an impending wall of rain and cold
and hope.

To crash against me,
over and over as we both shiver—
the blistering warmth that chills
as we race through each other.


On Judgement and the Rapid Decline – A poem.

I will write this down for posterity—
to the long distant generations that have yet to be born,
that have yet to feel the overwhelming despair
and hatred of existing.
We live in a dichotomy—
a polarization of suffering and spite
that belongs to us all.

No one is innocent. No one can claim
to be better, to be worse—
We are all the cesspool of humanity.
Is it so different to despise one another
simply because one of us is the other?

Political affiliations and ideologies
have obliterated and impersonated personality.
We are defined by our vote—
by the color next to the party and by the words
of those that don’t actually speak for us.
But they speak through us.
And through speaking they control us.

I don’t hate you for the color of your skin
unless you hate me for the color of my sin.
And we leave and breathe and are defined
by our hatred for each other.

I will judge you until you open your mouth,
and I will judge you after you open your mouth—
until your tongue twists in the manner I prefer.

You will treat me in kind—
with the same daggers, half unsheathed,
ready to riposte my own.

You are other.
And I am other.
And together we are so convinced
that our own words don’t poison just the same.


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