“Crimson Augur” is a terrible title…

…but it’s shaping up to be a pretty decent story. (One of the things that I heave to learn how to do is finish a project before starting another one. I handle that so well in my professional life, but I suck at it when applied to my creative work.)

While I do tend toward laziness at times, one thing that I try not to be lazy about is writing. That’s why, before starting any piece, even an essay for class, I try to make a list of goals that I seek to achieve. The outward goals, major plot developments, events that, while minor, contribute to the overall story in a major way, character defining traits, all of those things I put into a list and check them off as I go along, then tweak them as I see fit.

It’s a challenge, but it has its benefits.

I won’t share the list yet, because this is in progress, but I will share a scene from (whatever the new title is, but for now, we’ll just call it the untitled project).

from Stage 1 of Untitled:

“What up big head,” the man on the screen teased, adjusting a pair of goggles on his brow.

Makheda rolled her eyes in mock frustration. “Hello, Sazan.”

“Tell me something good?”

Makheda grunted at her caller.

“What’s got you all bunched up?” he asked her.

“You calling me like I have all day to sit here and talk to you, that’s what.”

Sazan laughed, a big, open-mouthed guffaw that caused some passersby to turn around and look at Makheda suspiciously. “You ain’t got time and I ain’t got time. Guess we need to get down to business then, huh?” His face then became more grave, taking on a look that mixed concern and apprehension. “So…how you doing?”

“Long day already,” Makheda said, walking around in a tight circle. “I stepped in some mud earlier. That just totally messed up this brand new pair of work shoes that I recently bought. Oh, and I had to mind-shock a homeless guy because he thought I had some grams even after I told him that I didn’t.”

“Nobody cares about your shoes, girl…did anyone see you blast the bum?”

“Nah. He’d dragged me into an alley.”


“There was a disruptor disturbance last night,” Makheda said, quickly changing the subject. “Fairly powerful, but not what we’re looking for.”

“Any idea who it was?”

“No, I didn’t recognize the signature. It took two PCUs to take him down though. Saw their carcasses in the street this morning on the way to work.”

“Damn, the kid was a beast…hate that Omicron got him.” Sazan turned to look at something in the background.

“There any evidence of an Underground?” he asked, turning back to the screen. “I’ve never been to Spiral, but maybe word of what we’re doing has spread.”

“I haven’t found it yet, but I’m working on it. I’ve identified a couple disruptors through the link, but I haven’t approached them. Never know how many of them are Omicron puppets. Where are you?” Makheda asked, lighting a cigarette.

“Messing around on these damn farms. In Sigma now. Haven’t heard anything in about a week. I swear, he’s like a ghost. I’ll think I’m getting closer and then BANG he’ll be across the country and you can’t ignore it because it’s like someone set off a grenade in the back of your skull. And by the time I get there, he’s disappeared. Is that a wig you’re wearing?”

Makheda straightened the piece on her head, and blew smoke at the phone. “You are the most astute man I know, Sazan. How else would I get hair? I can’t grow any.”

Sazan rolled his eyes. “Any luck on locating the files? They’re in there somewhere, I know it. He’s gotta have a weakness.”

“You would think I’d have found something in the two years I’ve worked there, but I think Omicron has them buried in the ocean somewhere, with mermaids guarding them. Yep, that’s probably where they are.”

“Stop being a smart-ass.” Sazan cleared his throat. “I’ve done a couple of smash jobs since I’ve been on these farms. I wired you some grams so you won’t have to do anything momma wouldn’t approve of. Maybe you can buy yourself a better looking wig.”

“Screw you, baldie. How’s Star?”

Sazan looked away from the phone again. “She was supposed to be outside with the bike but she found her way in here. I told her not to bring her ass in here because this smoke ain’t good for her, but she just can’t listen!”

“Calm down, boy.” She held out her cigarette toward the screen. “Want a hit?”

“You need to quit that shit anyway, Keda.”

“Too true,” Makheda muttered. “Alright, ‘Zan, I’m already thirty minutes late for work. Let me get in here before they fire me…and then we have to do this the hard way.”

“Sazan nodded. “We can’t afford the hard way. Be careful, Keda. And stay out of alleys. I can’t really spare the time for a trip all the way to Spiral, but i’ll come if I have to.”

“Don’t worry. I got this. You be careful too, fathead.”

Makheda flipped her phone closed. The rush had disappeared, and she was the only person left in the street. Spiral rose before her, glittering and menacing all at once. Makheda stared up at it. Spiral was a feat of engineering, a city that lived in a building that stretched almost into space. Twin columns curved around the central structure, hollowed out to provide a way for residents and Omicron employees to reach the dizzying heights. The central structure was shaped like an inverted cone, suspended above the ground by some mysterious and powerful force that grotesquely distended the earth beneath its point. No windows or openings of any kind were present on the gleaming white surface of the structure, but Makheda could see the stragglers and latecomers on the enormous escalator that the twin spires housed. She continued to stare, awed by the fact that this enormous thing, this thing that dwarfed the surrounding farms and even the country itself, was the vision of one man.

it still needs some work, but it’s turning out well so far, I think. All I need to know now is what you think.

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