So sometimes when I dig through my files I find things that surprise me. This is one of those times.
Waaaaay back in 2000 or 2001--back when I still lived in Raleigh, NC--I came up with the basic idea that eventually turned into the Curveball Prose Comic Serial. I eventually abandoned it because I realized there was no way I could ever draw it, and I didn't know anyone who would be interested in collaborating on it. So the idea sat for... oh... about ten years before I picked it up again.
But today, as I was looking through my fiction files, I found the original script that I wrote when I still thought it might be a webcomic. And now I'm posting it for all the world to see.
David stays against the far wall, but moves over so he’s facing the door. Through it he can see a long room that reminds him of the old workshop his dad had in the basement of their house—narrow, full of shelves, with a table set against a wall that lacked only a vise to complete the picture. And it is empty: every shelf, every surface. Completely bare.
“The books are gone?”
“I don’t know,” Artemis says, voice hollow. “It’s… it’s not possible. The wards are intact—they must be intact, because the door opened. And if the wards are intact, then I am the only person allowed in this room.”
Artemis LaFleur stands in a room he has not thought of for a very long time.
When he’d commissioned the construction of the Imperial Palace, he’d made it a grand and public affair. Set into one of the few mountains on the island, it would look out over his tiny nation, serving as both beacon and reminder of its new way forward. His quarters, it was reported, would be at the lowest levels—no dungeons here, just a secure suite for the island’s leader. This was in stark contrast to the previous “leader,” a despot who took pride in the dungeons and torture chambers of his own palace. It was also considered a reasonable nod to security, since the United States and Soviet Union had been locked in a desperate cold war, and the threat of nuclear Armageddon was ever-present.
There was another reason Artemis had wanted his rooms there, however. As soon as he moved in he began carving out a series of secret rooms beneath his own—a sanctum where he and those he trusted could plan in private. Rooms that, eventually, only he could open—he could thank Artigenian’s tutelage for that, for the spells that recognized their master and opened only upon his command.
Scrapper Jack doesn’t look up from his cards. “I figured the scar gave it away.”
“It is suitably villainous,” Jenny admits. It is—it’s a nasty, jagged thing that travels down the length of his left cheek, and it pushes the left side of his mouth down into a slight frown.
They’ve been playing cards all afternoon. Crossfire and CB are out running errands, and playing cards is better than just sitting around, awkwardly making small talk. It turns out Jack is a lot more amiable than he initially comes across, and Jenny has found herself slowly warming up to him.
He’s also not a bad card player, which means Jenny doesn’t feel obliged to pretend she can’t play.