Hello there!

Welcome to my blog, brought into existence because I believe in the power of stories. I hope you'll find a few things you like here. Let me know what you think and leave me any verdict, suggestion, challenge or request you want.

Contact: stories@hotmail.be
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stories-Inc/177071399037533

Happy readings!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

OMG, my blog finally went over 10000 page views....

and I freaking MISSED it! Damn you, computer crash!!!


Anyways, I've been away for a while now because I had some computer trouble. The hard drive on my laptop sadly passed away, dragging my working projects down to the grave with it (right in the middle of freaking NaNoWriMO of all times).

It has (just recently) been replaced, but now I'm left with a pile of corrupted files, in obscure versions because I'm an absolute slob, to sort out. I have a tryout version of word repair, so I should be able to fix some, but it'll take a lot of time (I have to copy the recovered text word for word).

Apart from that, I'm also taking up a bunch of projects in my mother tongue, so my activity here will be low, practically nil, for the time being.

But hey, at leat the Halloween page will finally go down. That'll be enough for a day's work... Sorry.

I'll try to post something new really soon. There are some "new" poems on Hubs (http://storiesinc.hubpages.com), just look for'the 'Dead Wood' cycle.

And last but not least:

May 2012 bring only bliss and joy for you and all your family and all be right with the world.
As if. But here's to hoping ;)

Cheers ;)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The alien in the cornfield (Halloween horror short story, Write Anything challenge)

It was a rainy afternoon, the kind that makes you put on your coat, open the door, sigh heavily and then turn back to flop down on the couch and stay there. But not for Bill. At least not this time.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Halloween Week!!!

Hooray, hooray, it's (almost) Halloween!

Convinced as I am that one day just isn't enough for this glorious event, there will be a full week (and a few days) devoted to my favourite part of the year (f*** Christmas).

I added a new 'Halloween Week' page that lists all of my own Halloween-ish posts (and will remain available till somewhere in the first week of November).
Basically, every post of this week will have to accord to the Halloween theme.

Feel free to join me with 'Halloween Week' and leave links to your own scary stuff in the comment section or in this forum thread. I'd like to read me some scary stories too, so if you've got some, help me find them ;).

After all, life's too short to do without a good scare...

The Surgeon's Assistant (A Halloween horror short story)

The Surgeon’s Assistant
Her quick feet thudded through the empty corridor. The wind howling through the broken windows could not drown out the distinct clang of metal against metal behind her as he ran his scalpel across the cracked wall.
“Where do you think you’re going?” He bellowed, bursting into hysteric laughter.
“Please let me go!” She panted, her back against the wall.
He gestured with his smoking cigar and leisurely puffed the fumes in her direction, filling the hall with a breathtaking heaviness. Lightning set a ghastly light to his blood-stained scrubs. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Blogger Wonderland

Exactly one year ago, little Stories - isn't it wonderful how you can always patronise a (slightly) younger self? – inadvertently hopped into Blogger. There a little orange rabbit popped up. ‘Do you want to create a new blog?” The button-rabbit asked tentatively.

“Hey, what’s that?” Little Stories asked *self and clicked it. With a dizzying fall, the noob writer plummeted through the rabbit hole where (s)he beheld a world of miracles, where people from all over the world could converse and laugh together as if there was no distance between them, where the wonderful people and skilful fellow-writers were suddenly only a link away.

Stories ‘ooh’ed’ and ‘ah’ed’ through the year, pulling some leaves aside and surprised to find a jolly little coffee shop where people who never met sat together nipping delicious chatter. 'Booh!' Stories cried. 'What are you doing?' And then the new comer soon joined the regulars for thee.

There at that table, (s)he met the most interesting creatures, a boy with a gigantic hammer longing to smash something, a witch-doctor with a wicked pen, The Red Queen of Ranting, a high school girl writing by the sea side, a boy who spoke only one hundred words at a time, a multi-talented lady buttering toast, an active pilgrim on a path to enlightenment and enlightening others on the way, and many many others aside. Stories stumbled into a decorated Hall where the walls were full of marvels and – perhaps a bit too little lately – stood awed leafing through the tales that seemed to just rain from the heavens and fluttered down in the Blogger breeze.

And this, my dear absent friends, is the story of how Stories ended up in Wonderland. And never since did (s)he want to go home again.

Yes, people, today is this blog’s ANNIVERSARY. Woot, woot!

Hard to believe a whole year has gone by, it feels like just 6 months ago. The month long lapses could have something to do with that.

Either way, virtual cake and drinks on me!
Help yourselves to a drink and as we say in Dutch: 'Proost!'

Confessions of a chocoholic: I really want this cake. Badly...
Cin Cin!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Faery, part II (epic fantasy novel excerpt)

Part 1: http://storiesinc.blogspot.com/2011/10/faery-part-i-epic-fantasy-novel-excerpt.html

“Wait, wait, little bird!”
She cried after it, but it kept speeding up. Not once taking her eyes of the curious birdie, she chased it across a meadow full of fragrant flowers. The little bonnet slid from her head and unleashed a wild abundance curls. Running and crawling through the field, her fancy black varnished shoes slipped off in the high grass and green smudges formed on her freshly-washed Sunday dress. Smeared with grass and dirt, the child ran as fast as her bare feet could carry her and reached for the creature. Finally, she managed to poke it with a fingertip and startled. It was so warm.

Faery, part I (epic fantasy novel excerpt)

On a Sunday stroll through the park, an exuberant young lass finds herself drawn into the Land of the Fairies.
In this world of magic, Macy is swept up in an epic quest that will determine the fates of the fairy world as well as her own.
On this journey, she and her friends will have to pass numerous tests and discover as well as surpass their own limits in order to literally save the day.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11 challenges

Hey everybody!

You thought this was a joke, but I really mean it... Confessions of a chocoholic.

Yes, this calls for lolcats... (Despite 9/11)

It’s 9/11 today and exactly ten years ago horrifying things have happened, but as some of you may know from the ‘about me’ page; it also happens to be my birthday. Yeah, I know, not a day for celebration, but I didn’t pick it.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Kicking Pebbles (1)

WARNING: this cycle is not suitable for young readers due to language use and violence, so if you're a minor (under 18), please do not read these stories.

Friday, 29 July 2011

The Black Rose (novel) : Chapter 8

Chapter 8 – Resolve

“I want to know what’s up there!”, she had hissed through clenched teeth. She just couldn’t understand why Ann didn’t want to support her theory that someone in the house attacked Julian. “Who?” She asked. “I don’t know.” She replied, acknowledging her partial defeat against her will. Why did she feel like she’d already lost the debate?
“Of course you don’t. Why and how, Eliza? Why would anyone do that, especially Henry and Hawkins.”
“I don’t know.”

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Black Rose (novel) : Chapter 7

Chapter 7 – Attack

Being in the depressing mansion did not seem to lower Ann’s spirits at all. On the contrary, Ann woke up more cheerful every morning. Eliza wondered why the castle had no such effect on herself. Her friend seemed more at home in it than she did.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Black Rose (novel) : Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – The sleepover

The singing of the birds, the rushing and rustling of the leaves in the wind made her more at ease. A chilly breeze soothed her skin as she made her way up the hill. Nevertheless, she was reluctant to go back to that house. It seemed even more of a cage now she had been out with the free birds. She shrugged slightly and went in.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Announcement: impending (temporary) emigration

Hey guys!
A quick heads up: I'm leaving for Italy tomorrow. I'll be gone for a few weeks and though I normally should have internet access while I'm there (probably not the first few days though, we make a long road trip out of getting there), past experiences incline me not to get my hopes up so I'll schedule a few posts just in case. If I don't respond, you know why...

Hopefully, I can do a few 'on location' posts while I'm there.
Anyways, take care people.
I really hope I can stay in touch abroad or I'll be really pissed and walk all the way back home... No, I won't, but I'll say I will out loud, which is basically the same thing. Cu later ;).

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Black Rose (novel) : Chapter 5

Chapter 5 – the encounter

She held two tops up and tried to determine which to wear.
“What do you think?”, she asked Ann.
“They’re both black.”, Ann replied with a quick glance while reading a fashion magazine on the bed now her schoolwork was done.
“Maybe that’s just the colour of my soul.”, Eliza said mockingly.
“As if!” Ann laughed while Eliza dodged the pillow aimed at her.
They laughed aloud and dropped down on the bed to listen to some music. Ann turned the volume up a few notches. “Nothing like some party music to get into the mood.”
“Right.” The first party in months! Eliza only wished she actually wanted to go. Perhaps she just hadn’t digested all the ghost stories yet, even though she liked a good dose of horror. It does make a difference if it’s set in some distant movie studio or in your own house... But she was resolved on enjoying herself, on command if she had to, for Ann’s sake and for her own.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Black Rose (novel) : Chapter 4

Chapter 4 – The alliance

She banged the door shot and sighed. Another week gone by with nothing in it for her but school, reading, sleeping and more school. The “village” was a bore, she knew hardly anyone in it and she could forget about diversion in her explorations as well, since the attic was guarded continually by Henry and his watchdog by the time she got home.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Black Rose (novel) : Chapter 3



Chapter 3 – the village
Si sta come
Sugli alberi
Le foglie
(“ One is/as in autumn/on the trees/the leaves”, ‘soldati’/’soldiers’ by Giuseppe Ungaretti, translation as found in Harrison, ‘dominion of the dead’, p. 125)

Her eyes flung wide open. It took her a minute to realize that she was staring at the ceiling and then another to recognize the annoying beep in the background as the alarm clock. She turned to look daggers at it, but as the thing refused to explode she extended her arm to the fullest to reach it. No more denying it was already morning...

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Black Rose (novel): chapter 2

Chapter 2 – The attic
She startled and woke from the depths of sleep at midnight. What had woken her? She could have sworn she felt... It was storming, of course.
No wonder she couldn’t sleep. The winds were no soft whisper like home, they roared and howled and made the walls whistle and the floors creak. For a moment she doubted the strength of the bricks that were her shelter, but they had sheltered others for hundreds of years.
Still, the cracking and squeaking kept her from going back to her sweet slumber. Or had it been sweet at all? The imprint of the dream was already gone. She rose and strolled towards the window. It was pouring, rain pattered the glass with a merciless vigour. Thunder seemed creepily close by and so did the forked lightning that tormented the land below her dark ivory tower.
Even the fierceness of nature has its splendour. Yet there was a restlessness outside which caught on and stirred up her inner agitation. She felt trapped. At least the tempest was free, a privilege she had not. She fixed her eye on the horizon instinctively, but what was that to her? Where would she go? To view another skyline and long for that one. The horizon was a myth, though a lovely one.
She picked up a random volume from the pile of books on her desk, something to clean up in the morning, and opened it at an arbitrary page.

Friday, 17 June 2011

The Black Rose (novel) : Intermezzo chapter 1-2 (first dream sequence)

A thick fog surrounds me. I don’t know where it comes from, smoke seems to whirl up from every side. It wells up from below my feet, from the walls, the ceiling, it’s choking me!
I stumble to the door, it has to be here, how many steps have it been? I can’t find it. It’s damp in my mouth, my throat. I’m coughing, but every gasp brings in more mist and no air. My lungs fill up with dew, it feels like drowning.
I can’t see. Where am I? I reach and hold my hands out like a blind person, but the room is empty. Help! I shout as loud as I can, but there’s no reply. Help! Can’t anybody hear me? Please! My desperate calls echo in the silence and are then swallowed by the nowhere around. I’m all alone.
Slowly, the mist lifts a little. I start to discern vague contours. There is something rectangular ahead of me, I can see it shimmer in the distance, as if it is beckoning me to it.
I creep closer, is it a door, a portal? I can only see the same thick white mist ahead of me as I leave it behind, like I’m walking on clouds. I crash into something hard and touch my forehead. It hurts.
I feel the cool glass as it dawns on me; I can’t see my own face in the mirror.
A pale hand, white and cold as the fog, forms out of the glass and two cold fingers touch my temples and caress the side of my face along the cheekbones.
I gasp.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Black Rose (novel) : Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1 – The Castle/New Beginnings
“In the middle of our life’s path I found myself in a dark forest, where the straight way was lost.”
Dante, Inferno, Canto I, verse 1-3

She looked up at the thing looming high before her and shivered. It was nothing like she had expected, it was worse, much worse. The same look was in her brother’s eyes. She clasped his hand and squeezed it reassuringly, with as consoling a smile as she could possibly muster. With a heavy heart, they mounted the hill.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Black Rose (novel) : Prelude

This one is another unfinished project I've been working on since I was about fifteen and that I never got around to finish. It was a bit too much to handle with my skill at the time, so I could start the novel, but I couldn't push through the challenging bits. I've been reworking it (with long, sometimes year-long lapses, like the one since I lost rewrote it, long before I came to blogger) ever since.

It's pretty low on the to do list for the time being (the things on there always shift about, depending on the circumstances, I'm afraid I have no control whatsoever over that), so I won't be making it more decent anytime soon, but I decided - very much against previous incentives - to post it. Especially since I'm too busy to get a lot of short stories up during the exams. I'll schedule the parts I've got (which is at least 80 pages or so), one a week. I don't think I'm going to read over them first and bear in mind that they're imperfect drafts, but what I'd like is for you to tell me what you didn't like about it. I'm aware of the flaws, especially that it gets pretty long-winded at times and that the whole could and should be smoothed out considerably - a legacy from its early birth, I guess - but I'd like to map out just when, where and why it spins off, so I can take it into account while rewriting it, when I get around to it.

I wasn't keen on sharing this. I don't think I ever even thought of putting it up, until today, all of a sudden, so here's the first part. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Broken Shells, a poem in 3 parts

Broken Shells, a poem in 3 parts*
At dawn it hatched,
at noon I held
a chicklit in my hand,
frail and soft like spring buds.
At dusk I stand and stay
with my dear bird
long flown away.

Clinging to a bird in flight,
Its wings beat solemn through the night
so slow and still, what was, what will
and all that’s in between is seen
through eyes from high above,
and so we rove on and on
past rock, clouds, whatever may
be seen and watch it swirl away,
I frown, I know it is, a long way down.

Closed my eyes when darkness fell,
hope, pray, dream that all is well,
softly curled up I creep
back in my shell,
put the pieces back in place
with crimson ribbon, shreds of lace.

*Author’s note: date = today; just dealing with depression/anxiety and shaking exam stress
Hey guys, sorry I haven’t posted yet in over a week, each day I wake up hoping I’ll finish the next part of the Svart-cycle (I’m almost sure I’m going to call it ‘The Nightingale Paradox. Chronicles of a revolution’), and I end up going to bed unfulfilled, though the chapter is practically done and has been for nearly two week now. Yes, exams are back in town. The regulars among you will know what that meant last time so be warned...
Nice to be back though, however brief. Sorry if I’m slow to respond at the moment, I’m kind of freaking out :S.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

when love hurts, a poem

Author's note: Another one of my old poems, I'd say pre-17, maybe from my 18th, but I find that hard to believe. I really can't pinpoint the exact year for this one. And I didn't do drugs, but sometimes going through my older stuff makes me think I secretly did. Truth is I just go(/e)t carried away easily and went for the obvious. I'm cleaning out my virtual closet, so what the heck, I'm posting it anyway. It's there, I have to.

When love hurts
O treacherous heart,
so sweet,
so cruel,
torturing with desire.
Do not deceive my head,
do not betray my mind,
do not dare, to control,
do not force me to surrender.
Weakness, shall not overcome!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Episode 6 - The Black Earring (encore: 'Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned')

The Black Earring (Episode 6)
I paced around the empty room. The lights were out, a pale ghostly shine falling from the hall through the open door. It made the chairs into faded silhouettes. It was quiet. Unusually quiet. Normally at this hour, student-musicians were practicing their symphonies in the adjacent music rooms, which is my I even bother coming here in the first place, but not today. I turned to the shadows of the corner. The piano stood abandoned but with dignity in its smooth blackness. I caressed its keys longingly. Such a pity I never learned.
I ambled on, a final glance at the Steinway, in between the desk, the surface was dusty, and the blackboard, going over the lecture words forgotten on the canvas and lost in the green wilderness that was empty. ‘Antigone’ it said, with proud, hastily crooked letters, the first almost entirely wiped out by the lecturer’s fervent hand. Must have been interesting.
A glimmer in the dark caught my eye, next to the control panel for the auditory on the floor. It must’ve been a piece of equipment one of the students broke, a wire of sorts. I passed it, stopped, passed it again, retraced my steps and picked it up. It was an earring of coal with all the glimmer of diamonds, four ovals full of facets piled on top of each other, the lower always bigger than the next. I brought it up to the light of the hall and watched it sparkle.
And then stepped forward from the dark a creature fair with grace and ease. Emanating danger like a flame I was strapped to the wings of moths, unable to fly. She stood patiently, invitingly and smiled.
“Who are you?” I asked, my voice an echo that seemed strange to me in the void.
She smiled benignly and stepped closer.
“My name?” She said with a melodic voice that ringed with something foreign, a tone I’d only heard before in dreams of spring and dew and fairy bells. She strode elegantly around me in a circle and whispered in my ear. It made my head light and empty and filled it instead with the fragrance of midnight flowers and dewed green. “Most call me Luna.” She traced a finger along my shoulder bones and let out an amused chuckle. I slipped into the touch complacently and watched her every step. “Others Artemis, Diana, Hekate,...” She took a step back suggesting infinity with the mere casualness of her nimble lily hand. “I have so many names.” She smirked. “None really matter.”
With a melancholy expression, she slid through the shadows shining bright like the moon, a radiant beauty of silver shackled to the earth and doomed to forever more mourn the loss of flight, her crippled hoary wings hanging limp over her long snow-white gown of Greek folding. She returned my stare with a knowing smile, shrouding in mystery like she knew of some secret by grace of which she held me ensnared. And she did. I stood motionless, powerless, eagerly taking it all in. She threw me a predatory gaze, pleased like a kitten with her catch.
It felt as though there was no roof, no walls, only earth, water and sky overhead, a distant scent of sultry fire smouldering and suddenly the empty chairs were like the forest, the trees from which they came, and the night a deeper, thicker black than I had ever seen before.
She held out her hand. I returned the earring to her. She beamed graciously.
“Tell me, my sun-kissed child, have you ever wondered what it would feel like to catch the moon in your bare hands?” She said in that magnetic tone of hers and beckoned. I hesitated, but to her nodding encouragement, I rushed ahead and stepped eagerly into her embrace, content to perish in her arms. She gave a kiss so powerful it could rip a life away and licked the blood that oozed from my lips and left the taste of magic.
Then in a flash of bluish pure white light, the world had disappeared.

Author’s note
Goal: I trying to master a certain type of writing that’ll be important in later parts of the Svart-cycle, heavy on mood, touch and insinuation, something sultry and at the verge of being passionate.
In fact, I think I’m going to add this one as a dream (that can be attributed both to Darius and Alice) in that cycle (which is why I labelled it ‘episode’), I just don’t know what the best place to fit it in is yet. Most likely after the next episode.
Anecdote about the coming to be of this story
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned!
(no, I’m not that religious, and yes, I just stole that from ‘Coyote Ugly’)
I’ve stolen things before, sometimes for no urgent or apparent reason and often with no or little trace of remorse afterwards, but now it finally happened; for the first time, I committed theft for Art.
It isn’t quite that spectacular, especially not after how I made it sound in the introduction; last night I had some time before the next bus home. There’s an auditory I like to go to at times like that, I don’t really know why, probably out of nostalgia and to look for inspiration (there usually are musicians playing music that I’ve never heard before, and that you never hear on the radio, which is like the Fort Knox of inspiration for me). Anyway, the part of the story up to the picking up of earring, I just plucked out of my own experience. I picked the thing up and put on the table, so the owner would find it there the next day. However, I paced over and over, picked it up again, laid it back, scribbled some notes for the story, picked it up again... It just wouldn’t let me go and I felt like I needed to have it with me for the story. Having lost stuff before myself however, I kind of sympathise with whoever’s missing it. But, when it was time to go and I was at the door, I couldn’t go, so I went back, snatched the thing up and then I actually took it with me. It’s here next to me on the table right now as I’m typing this. I know, I KNOW, I feel horrible...
Anyway, in my defence, I do intend to put it back first thing on Monday though. Or after the book (but that would mean never...). So my intention was just to borrow rather than steal it from the start.
So, let’s make this thing interactive; what’s the worst thing you ever did for Art (or some other important Goal)? I’d love to know, please leave a relevant comment below.
(I’ll try to add a picture of the legendary earring. I suppose it’s rather plain in itself, but still, the way I found it, glimmering in complete darkness and all, it was just gripping)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Episode 5 - Fallen Order

Fallen Order
There was a rumble in the distance, an earthquake or a thunderstorm. It made the ground below them quiver.
“What’s that?” Michael asked panicky.
“I don’t know.” She replied thoughtful, a sense of worry encroaching on her. It would not go away. “Are you going to be okay?” He nodded. She handed him over to another friend to support him. “You guys go straight home, alright?”
She turned around.
“Wait, where are you going?” He pulled her back.
She looked at him briefly and turned in the direction of the Order headquarters. “I have to go somewhere, check on something.” She hoped so desperately that she was wrong.
“Alice!” He cried after her. She ran off, into the darkness.
Just a block away from the club a desolate ghost world began. A blooming part of town just a few hours before, now had more likeness to a post-war wasteland. No lanterns were lit, a few flickered and went out with a pop. It sent shivers down her spine. The streets were empty, the shops deserted. They showed signs of struggle. Trash cans were kicked over, their insides spilled across the sidewalks, a few doors hung wobbly from their hinges, cars were scratched and dented, the shoes of their yanked out drivers left behind on the road. Something crunched. She looked down at the broken glass from cracked windows beneath her feet. Svarts raided here as well.
She strode through the lane, on her guard, the only sounds her own. Her heels were too loud on the pavement and her feet were killing her. She took the shoes off and tiptoed crouching through the streets barefoot – carefully across the debris – clinging to the walls and staying in the shadows. She bit her lip. A squadron of Svart troops passed by, she pressed against the damp side of a corner and held her breath, waiting for them to march on and rubbing a hand over her queasy stomach. She had a bad feeling.
They stamped on in rows of two, blabbering and laughing, the sound of their military boots trapped, echoing back and forth between the high brick walls of the alley. What were they up to? And why hadn’t she met a single knight around? Where were the others?
Once they were gone, she crossed the street and looked around the bend. All clear. Nervously, she broke into a sprint.
There it was, the street. She slowed down, coughing. The air was thick with dust, everything was grey and it was so unusually, so deafeningly quiet and empty. And then she saw it.
With a sigh as if her last breath was squeezed out of her, she sunk to the ground. She’d been right. It had happened. Before her lay the pile of rubble that was once their tall, proud office.
She got up and plummeted headfirst into the smouldering wreckage. A few bits of wall were still upright, their characteristic iron bars sticking out like fish-bones.
“No!” On her knees she clawed into the ruins to look for life, for bodies, anything among the ash and stone, but two arms clenched firmly around her. She pushed him away. “Let go, we have to...”
“Alice, don’t!” A soft voice whispered, resolutely helping her up. “You can’t help them, it’s too late.”
She looked at him, in tears, exasperated. “Uncle, what happened?”
He held her close. “The building, they blew it up, my child.”
She struggled against him to go back, but he wouldn’t let her. “No, Alice, it’s not safe.” There was a distant thudding on the ground, she paid it no mind. “We have to go, they’re coming.”
She looked in the direction of the marching sound. “I don’t care. Some may have survived. We have to get them out.”
He clenched her wrists and made her look at him as he articulated the words carefully. “None survived, Alice.” He pulled his hair with a frustrated wave of his hand. “The collapse was just a cover-up, they gassed them first, there was a leak and...” He puffed. “No one even noticed what was happening.” He scuffed his foot over the concrete, unable to look her in the eyes. “I was just outside in the garden, I saw the whole thing through the glass door. Once it got through to me what was wrong, I rushed in, but it was already too late.”
 “No! No!” She moaned, pulling her hair.
“Alice, please, we have to leave.” He said desperately. “If they spot us...”
“No, no, I won’t go.” She wiggled around for a way out of his grasp and back into the rubble, but he tightened his grip. He dragged her back into an alley and clasped his hand firmly over her mouth and his arm around her waist. She struggled like crazy and uttered suppressed screams, but he did not let go.
“Shht!” He whispered in her ear. “Be quiet. They can’t find us. You owe them that.”
She calmed down and nodded, so incredibly tired and so she hung limp in his grasp, watching through dulled eyes with tears pouring down as a dozen of the Svart task force went through the rubbish. They were looking for something, kicking rocks aside like it mattered nothing, be it stone or flesh.
“Captain!” One of them cried. Three of his companions rushed in to help and they shoved boulders until one pulled out the prize from its unbreakable titanium container in the ground where the front desk had been.
“The security system.” She whispered. “What do they want with that?”

Author's note: hi there, hope you're enjoying the novel. I know I sure love writing it. However, there might be slow progression with the project for the next month or so. The last weeks have been terribly busy, next week will be worse and after that, it's examination time again till end of July, and you probably know how that turned out last time... Yes, disastrous. So, be warned. It's very frustrating, because now I have to delay getting Alice to the point and place where it really starts getting exciting, I'm anxious to get there, which results in not rewriting each separate chapter for a hundred times over before posting. Sorry.

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