I Think You’ll Understand

Walking into the halls of Martin Luther King High School was like coming home, and that wasn’t really a good thing. Home was full of reasons I didn’t want to be there, and school wasn’t any different. This was supposed to be better, even though I knew that was a load of shit my mom told me to get me to pack up my stuff and leave in Dad’s beat-up old Corolla. It was Dad’s house, Dad’s rules, Dad’s decisions, or it was military school. At first I thought my mom was full of shit with that threat. You see that on TV; it doesn’t really happen. But there were fucking brochures on the dining room table the last time I came home with bruised knuckles and a black eye, and if she was bluffing then she was better at it than I thought. She called Dad the same night.

Their divorce had been bad and I probably made it worse, but I didn’t care. Their bullshit had been hell to deal with for years and they had no idea how much they stuck me in the middle. How much they used me and never even listened to me. How much they didn’t even know me and worse, didn’t even try. So fine. I took my shit and left my mom’s house. It couldn’t be any worse at Dad’s.

I was wrong. He had rules, strict curfews, and a big fist. He hit me once and I hit him back, made him remember I was as big as him now and I wasn’t Mom. I could have called someone, maybe, but CPS likes to skip past our neighborhood. So we handle things our own way.


After I Win

by Critical Strike
illustrated by olukemi

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/93135.html)

It’s halftime. I can hear my blood pounding in my ears almost loud enough to drown out the screaming crowd and cheerleaders, before the noises dissolve into the halftime show. Coach is patting me on the back, and on some level his words sink into my head, make some kind of sense, but I’m not listening to him; not really anyway. I’m looking for Moon, but not with my eyes. I never need eyes to see him. I can feel him there, in my head, with his shadows and smug smiles already sneaking in. He’s the biggest tease now, right at mid-game, and we both know it, we both love it. He flatters me, pats me on the back, and I can almost feel his hands like they’re there. His shadowy magic seeps into my skin, brushing, teasing, touching. I send my electricity back at him, like I always do, tracing the shadows back to their source to find him hidden outside the locker room.

Coach’s words start making even less sense when those shadowy tendrils dig deeper. I have to bite my lip to keep from moaning as every little bit of shadow magic curves, twists, and strokes deep in places Moon’s hands can’t hope to reach, even if we we’re tangled in bed, sheets and skin damp with sweat, rocking hard against each other…

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by Critical Strike

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/91388.html)

Smoke curled in a lazy haze, tendrils slowly tripping over themselves and forming shapes like sleepy thoughts in the wee hours of the morning. It was actually early afternoon, and the smoker in question was feeling as lazy as the smoke itself. It might have been the lack of sleep the night before. It might have been the massive amounts of alcohol and drugs. They swirled together in a chemical mess that would be well more than enough to kill a normal person.

But Loki Laufeyson wasn’t a normal person, and was, in point of fact, practically unkillable. Practically unkillable, because, well, he had already been killed once. But that didn’t count, right? They had all died that time, all of them: he and Heimdall, Odin and Fenris, Thor and Jörmungandr, Tyr and Garmr…

Continue reading “Götterdämmerung” »


Strawberry Fields Forever

by Critical Strike
illustrated by olukemi

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/78395.html)

May 16th, 2006
Seamus made sure to be on time. He had a few stops to make before he met up with Siobhan, and he absolutely refused to be late. With a medium-sized disposable cooler tucked under his arm, Seamus crossed Eighth Avenue and headed into Central Park, narrowly avoiding being run over by a few skaters not paying enough attention. He left the path for the grass on Strawberry Field, already grinning ear to ear at his own cleverness. He had a few surprises tucked away for Siobhan. The blond hadn’t been quite as perky as usual the last few days, and Seamus was going to make it his mission to correct that. He looked about, checking to see if Siobhan had beaten him to their meeting point.

Seamus noticed quickly that Siobhan was in fact already there. The blond faery was lying on a blanket, his shoes kicked off, and was just relaxing while he waited for Seamus to arrive. His eyes were closed and hair fanned out beneath him as he soaked up the sun, perfectly aware of the attention he was getting and ignoring it just the same. One leg balanced on the other, his foot bobbed lazily up and down as he waited.

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Pink Is The Love You Discover

by Critical Strike
illustrated by olukemi

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/78806.html)

— February 14th, 2008 —

Some people had reason to hate Valentine’s Day. Hell, it was just created by the card and chocolate companies to entice people to spend money, profess the love they should be professing all year long, and generally make single people feel like shit, right? Or something reasonably bitter sounding like that. See, that was part of the problem, really. If you hated Valentine’s Day, it had to be because you were single, and thus bitter about the lovey-dovey day, right? No, it couldn’t just be because the concept of the “holiday” was ridiculous.

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Blood Drops

by Critical Strike

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/68870.html)

The same instant Travis pushed his reading glasses up his nose, he caught a glimpse of a pale hand out of the corner of his eye. The hand was reaching for the plate of cookies near him, a plate of stillwarm, freshly baked home-made chocolate chip cookies. Anyone who had ever seen at a glance the people living in the spacious apartment would have expected the first words out of Travis’s mouth to be “Phoebe, darlin’ you’re gonna spoil your appetite that way, an’ that ain’t gonna make your momma too happy.” It would have made sense. Four people lived there. Travis Sumpter, the only blond, and the Emorys: Kai, his sister Emma, and little eight-year-old Phoebe, Emma’s daughter. But the hand didn’t belong to a dark-haired precocious blue-eyed little girl. It belonged to her just as dark-haired, blue-eyed uncle who already had the cookie in his mouth as he flopped onto the couch beside Travis. Instead of cautioning a child, Travis said mildly, his Southern accent thick, “Y’know Em’ry, they ain’t even had a chance to cool yet. I swear you must got some kinda radar for my momma’s cookies. She only just dropped them off.”

Kai Emory, the cookie culprit in question, grinned broadly before he took another bite. “C’mon Sumpter, they’re still warm. They’re your mom’s cookies; I could smell them anywhere.”

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The Tale Of The Crimson Cloak

by Critical Strike

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/65922.html)

As a child I never feared the Great Forest. There were all manner of tales told of the dark woods surrounding my hometown that were meant to frighten children into good behavior, to keep them in line. Oh, I was told those tales as well as any other child of our village, but they fascinated me, not terrified me. My mother and father learned early I was daring and bold, but since I had enough wit to be cautious when necessary, they did not restrain me as other children were restrained.

Mother gave me a riding cloak, one she made by hand, and I treasured it. It was a vibrant crimson that when combined with my long reddish-orange hair made my head seem crowned in flame. I swore to always wear it, for it was beautiful and warm, with a generous hood to protect from wind and rain. Father taught me to defend myself, and when I was old enough, he gave me a knife, a little silver dagger with a short sharp blade.

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