Deception Excerpt and Comic Sketches (And What’s Ahead In April)

Posted: March 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

Long time, no update! Anyway…there’s another Camp NaNoWriMo session next month. Doing another daily illustration thing for the month, this time focusing on arc 3. So that’ll be posted here, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Secondly, I’ve been working on book 4 of the Hell Bent series: Deception. This one kicks off arc 2 and follows Spencer’s POV as he begins to learn magic. And his instructor turns out to be a bit…shadier than expected.

Without further ado, here’s a chunk from Deception, complete with comic pages.

It’s been a week since I’ve started my lessons with Slade. Travis and I are heading to the agreed-upon meeting place. Another chilly night, and I can already tell that tomorrow morning will be a rough one. Should really schedule these lessons for my off days, or at least the night prior.

 

But Wednesday nights are apparently the most convenient for Slade. Ah, well. With any luck, the weekly meetings will only be a temporary measure. I’ve been practicing some of the simpler spells. Just basic things like light generation and small-scale levitation.

 

Of course, this wasn’t without its…let’s call them “quirks”. Quirks like making Travis’ hair glow and start to attack him. I sincerely appreciate that he has refrained from chewing me out over the whole fiasco. He’s actually been quite supportive of the whole thing.

 

“Still not sure if I trust this McManus guy,” he says as we enter the woods.

 

“I know, I know…but I have learned quite a bit, thanks to him.”

 

“Just your element, dude. The rest, you kinda learned from the book you picked up.”

 

“But that lesson in my element was a gateway to the rest of it. With any luck, these meetings won’t last too long.”

 

“I really hope you’re right about that one… I mean, the guy looks at me like something he just scraped off his boots.”

 

“Well, he just doesn’t know you. Maybe he’ll come around.”

 

We reach the right spot, and I see Slade sitting beneath a tree, seemingly in thought. There are a few scorch marks on his clothes. He has a scroll in his hands, a quill and some ink sitting beside him.

 

“Mr. McManus. I’m here for tonight’s lesson.”

 

Slade jumps, and the ink nearly spills.

 

“…Please, refrain from startling me so!” he says, hurriedly rolling up the scroll and pocketing it. He packs the quill and ink, as well, and puts those away before standing and facing me.

 

His face takes on a look of disgust when he sees Travis with me. Looking to Travis, he’s just smirking at him.

 

“Oh, don’t worry. I’m not gonna interfere,” he says, striding toward a tree.

 

Slade glares after him, and I could hear him mutter something under his breath that sounds vaguely like “You’d better…”

 

“Now…have you been practicing between lessons?” he asks me.

 

“Yes, sir,” I reply. “I’ve gotten the hang of light spells and mild levitation.”

 

“Good, good. Show me, then.”

I demonstrate the light generation spell first. It’s the one I know best so far. Looking at Slade as the light hovers above my hand, I can see him give a little nod of approval.

 

Good.

 

Now for the levitation spell…

 

I take off my glasses and hold them in my open palm. Thinking over the incantation…

 

Think…

 

They start hovering a few inches over my hand, Slade studying me a bit.

 

“Good, good… Now, I feel we should move up somewhat. Give you a little more of a challenge. What say you?”

 

“Well…I do always love a good challenge.”

 

“Excellent. Now, we can go with either illusionary or offensive. Whichever you choose.”

 

Illusions might be interesting. But attack spells might help me stay safe…

 

But then again, so would shields.

 

“What about shielding spells?” I ask. “That might not be too difficult, right?”

 

“Not at all. In fact, it’s simpler than attacking,” he says. “So simple, in fact, that you could easily practice it on your own time. Attacks and illusions should be carefully monitored by an experienced professional, if one is just learning them.”

 

“Fair enough. But why attacks at this point?”

 

“Well, you did wish to learn magic in the interest of self-defense, did you not?”

 

“Yeah…”

 

“Can you think of a better defense than an excellent offense?”

 

I would still prefer to learn shielding spells. But Slade has been at this for centuries. I’ve only been studying magic for a few days. So questioning him may not be the best course of action right now.

 

I know, I know…sometimes, it IS best to question authority…

 

But Slade already seems the type to not put up with that.

 

“Face me,” he says. “And get into a defensive stance. Attack magic, you see, does not rely upon written incantations. Instead, it draws its power from emotion. All destructive magic does. The stronger the emotion, the more damage is done.

 

“Now, I shall set up a target. What you’re to do is focus on every bit of negativity within yourself. What do you hate most?”

 

I don’t even have to reach for this one.

 

“Her name is Jesse Lynn Belle,” I tell him.

 

I then proceed to describe her, and everything she’s done to my family…

 

PAGE 1

PANEL 1: Slade creates an illusion of Jesse next to him.

PANEL 2: The illusion grins mockingly at Spencer.

PANEL 3: Spencer is clearly shaken at the sight.

PANEL 4: But he tries an attack. He misses, and it seems rather feeble.

DickSlade1

PAGE 2

PANEL 1: Slade sighs and rolls his eyes.

SLADE: No, no…

PANEL 2: Slade focuses on a tree, where Travis has a smartphone in his hands and seems bored.

PANEL 3: A green fireball of some sort flies toward the unsuspecting half-monkey.

PANEL 4: The phone is blasted out of his hands, exploding into pieces. His hands and wrists are burned.

TRAVIS: The fuck?!

PANEL 5: Slade seems satisfied.

SLADE: See, you need to feel it more. Keep yourself focused…

DickSlade2

PAGE 3

PANEL 1: Spencer looks rather concerned. Or rather, worried. Yeah, worried would be the more apt term here.

PANEL 2: He rushes over to Travis, who has dropped out of the tree and is cradling one of his burnt wrists, clearly in pain.

SPENCER: You okay?!

PANEL 3: He looks over one of Travis’ wrists.

PANEL 4: And then he looks back at Slade.

SPENCER: Any chance of learning a healing spell this time around?

PANEL 5: Slade is inspecting his fingernails, clearly not giving two shits about hurting Travis.

SLADE: That may be above your skill level. You can’t even accomplish a simple blast spell. What hope have you of healing?

DickSlade3

PAGE 4

PANEL 1: Spencer looks at him pleadingly.

SPENCER: Please…heal him?

PANEL 2: Slade shows more reluctance.

SLADE: Your pet brought it upon himself by accompanying you in the first place.

PANEL 3: Spencer’s eyes narrow.

SPENCER: PLEASE, Mr. McManus…heal him. It’s not his fault he got hurt, it’s yours.

PANEL 4: Slade glares for a moment.

PANEL 5: Clearly displeased, he approaches Travis.

SLADE: Fine…

DickSlade4

PAGE 5

PANEL 1: Slade takes a hold of Travis’ wrists, and is grasping them tightly. Perhaps a bit too tightly, as Travis looks a bit uncomfortable here.

PANEL 2: A green glow surrounds Travis’ hands.

PANEL 3: When the glow dies down, Travis’ hands are solid ice. Of course, he’d look rather shocked and dismayed.

TRAVIS: …What. The. Fuck?!

PANEL 4: Slade gives him a snide grin.

SLADE: There. His pain is gone now.

PANEL 5: Spencer looks PISSED. His eyes and hands are glowing.

PANEL 6: Back to Slade, who ducks to avoid a blue fireball from Spencer. He’s smirking a bit.

SLADE: Much better…

DickSlade5

I can feel the rage burn through me.

 

“Turn his hands back to normal, now!”

 

Slade shrugs. “And why would I do such a thing?”

 

“Because there was no need to do that to him. Please, just turn his hands back to normal…If you don’t, I’ll…I’ll quit!”

 

Wait a moment…

 

My quitting would probably have no impact on him, would it? He probably has more pressing matters to attend to, anyway.

 

Oh God, do I feel stupid for suggesting that one…

 

An annoyed sigh. “Very well.”

 

I look over and see him take an understandably reluctant Travis’ hands once more. After a glimmer of green light, I can see Travis flexing his flesh fingers, making sure all is in working order again. He jumps back over to me, ducking behind me and hissing at Slade.

 

“I think that concludes tonight’s lesson,” Slade mutters. “I would prefer that you not bring your pet to the next one.”

 

“No deal,” I tell him. “He’s only watching out for me…”

 

He rolls his eyes. “Fine. Whatever. Just make sure he stays out of my sight as often as possible. He is not to engage me. Is that understood?”

 

I look to Travis. He just shrugs.

 

“Fine by me,” he says. “I try not to talk to assholes, anyway.”

 

Slade gives a dark chuckle and leans closer to Travis.

 

“Had I known you in a previous time, I could have cut out your tongue in public and fed it to you, and received nary an objection… The only things protecting you now are your friend and those little laws people have in place now…”

 

He spins on a heel and retreats further into the forest. Travis raises a middle finger after him.

 

And as we begin to head back home, I find myself uncertain as to if I even want another lesson with him. After what he did to Travis just now, and the way he treats him in general? I don’t think I want to deal with that sort of negativity.

 

“Travis?” I ask him. “Do…do you think I should quit? I feel like maybe studying under Slade is only going to end in pain… Probably for you more than anyone else. And I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

 

Travis is rubbing one of his wrists, muttering to himself. I call to him again, and when he looks up, I repeat my question.

 

“I dunno if you should, Spence,” he says. “Would it matter, anyway? He’d be able to track you down if he’s pissed enough. So you might as well keep at it. Learn as much as you can from his sorry ass. And then you know what you can do after you learn as much as you can? You can use it to kick his ass. We both know that he could use a good ass-kicking, and all. And you’re the one to give him that ass-kicking. You got that? Don’t give up, learn what you can, use it against him.”

 

I nod and put an arm around him as we return home. I’d still want to quit. But Travis has a point.

 

I will become the best I can.

 

And I WILL surpass my teacher…

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