First Look Friday: The Quest for the Wizard's Key: Haunted #8Sunday #MFRWHooks #SnipSun


Image by Szymon Baranowski

Let's Go To The Hop

Note: This week I am taking a detour from sharing The Stable Boy's Roughneck Ride to share a piece from the final chapter of my newly finished WIP, The Key of Eidolon, which I have renamed The Quest for the Wizard’s Key since Eidolon is never mentioned in the story, but the Yaddithian wizard Zkauba makes several appearances.
Now comes the fun of editing and formatting...oh, joy.

I don't have a blurb for this book yet. I'll share the 10-sentence snippet first and then a longer bit for your reading pleasure/displeasure/what have you. I would suggest that if you don't like the first 10 sentences, reading further is not your best course of action.

And now, the first ten!


An Unspoken Language

Gerry Clifford sat on his bed at Candlelight Ridge Care Center trying to make sense of his thoughts. He had attempted to write them down in one of his increasingly rarer moments of clarity, but the results of that were a puzzle.

“At the recent Grimster’s Convention, it was agreed that lanmiters would no longer be allowed.”

Before his brother Paul, sister-in-law Sophia, son Daniel, daughter Amber, and son-in-law Vance had gone home for the night, he’d asked them to see what they could make of the odd sentence. The tall, cadaverous, black-haired bloke and his big Sumo wrestler mate who worked at night came in to take a crack at it as well.

There were pictures of Gerry’s loved ones and frequent caregivers on a bulletin board near his bed with their names under their photos. Sometimes he could read the names and sometimes he couldn’t. Sometimes he butchered the pronunciation of the names only to have a loved one gently correct him as they would a child just learning to read. This frustrated Gerry. He had dropped out of school at fifteen, but he knew perfectly well how to read and write and had always prided himself on his innovative nature.

Did you like that crap? Then read on!

“A-C-E,” Gerry spelled out the name under the skinny bloke’s picture. “Ash. No, Ace. ‘Is name is Ace. Lad looks like a Frank, though, like from that Rocky Picture movie. Frankie Furter. Sez ‘ere that Ace is a night nurse. Well, that makes sense, don’t it, since he’s always around ‘ere at night.”

Gerry turned his attention to the picture of the big fellow.

“T-O-M,” he read. “Toom. Tomb. Well, that’s a dreadful name. C’mon, Gerry, ‘is name ain’t Tomb, ya ninny, it’s Tom. I always call him something else, though. It’s another bloke from the Rocky Picture Movie. Freddie, innit? Nah, that ain’t quite right. It’s Eddie. ‘E looks like Meat Loaf Man from the Rocky Picture Movie. The note says ‘e’s with security.”

Gerry turned his attention back to the sentence he’d written. He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on being what Gerry really was and not a symptom of his corrosive brain.

“Brain ain’t corrosive,” Gerry murmured. “The disease what’s eating it is corrosive. Ain’t gonna sit ‘ere and quibble with meself about syntax. That’s just a ruse ter throw me off the scent of danger. I’ve gotta use all me questionable detection skills ter work out what’s goin’ on in this place. I’ve gotta consider every possibility, no matter ‘ow crazy it might sound.”

Gerry smacked the heel of his hand against his temple as if to shake the thoughts free. Frustrated, he began slamming both hands into his forehead.

“Blast this useless feckin’ rotting sponge in me dome!” he snarled.

“Oi, Gerry!”

Misshapen Realities

A pair of hands firmly grasped Gerry’s forearms to stop him from hitting himself. Gerry opened his eyes to see the black-haired nurse and his big friend looking at him with concern. When Gerry ceased his aggressive battle with his broken brain, the nurse released his arms, smiled at him, and patted his shoulder. He sat on the bed beside Gerry while the big fellow pulled up a chair.

“No sense in beatin’ yourself up, Mate,” Ace advised. “So, what’s goin’ on here, Ger? What has you in such a whirl of ambidextrous pugilism against yer forehead?”

“Well, you ain’t no use if yer gonna talk like that,” Gerry admonished.

Thomas smirked and Ace shot him a withering glare.

“Got ya dead ter rights there, Mate,” Thomas chuckled.

“Zip it, or I ain’t givin’ you none of me deviled ham,” Ace warned.

“Oi, I like deviled ham,” Gerry declared.

“Well, then, we ought to have some. Tom, go grab the tin of ham and loaf of bread from me bag. So, what’s goin’ on here, Gerry?”

“Well, I was just tryin’ ter make sense of this higgledy-piggledy hodge-modge I wrote earlier,” Gerry explained. “I know I wrote it, ‘cause that’s me writing. I remember you lads being in ‘ere when I asked about it, or at least I think I do. It’s so ‘ard ter tell sometimes what really ‘appened and what I just imagined. These bloody misshapen realities in me head are quite enough to drive me stark raving barmy.”

“Yeah, I don’t blame you fer feelin’ that way. It would starch my shorts too. If it helps, me and Tom were in here earlier and you did show us that sentence.”

“So that bit was real realities.”

“Yeah, definitely real realities.”

Thomas entered the room carrying a tin of deviled ham, a loaf of bread, and a spreading knife. He portioned out the deviled ham and bread for Gerry, Ace, and himself.

“Tom, you remember the sentence that Gerry showed us earlier?” Ace inquired. “Do you remember what you said to him?”

“Yeah. I said it looked like a couple of them words were from an alien language.”

“Well, that’s what I was tryin’ ter think about,” Gerry stated. “See, I suppose it don’t matter if I sound crazy, ‘cause I ain’t goin’ home for me wife to cuckold me no more in this life. You lads don’t wanna hear about that soap show, though. The thing is, ever since me brain decided ter fuck off ter shite, I’ve started remembering things about this other place. It looks like a city from the future, like on one of them space programs like Star Tracks or such, but see, I know it’s from the feckin’ dark past. Them weird words, Lads, they’re from that life.”

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical horror/comedy film written by Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien, based on O’Brien’s 1973 stage production of the same name.

Prompts Used

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Photo Challenge

Sunday Writing Prompt

Tale Weaver














October Spooky Writing Challenge: Haunted

Putting my Feet in the Dirt

About the Story

This is the final chapter from my WIP, The Key of Eidolon, which is the second book in the Tales from the Dreamlands series. If you enjoyed this chapter, please consider picking up a copy of Ketil and Yitzy's Adventures in the Xura Dream House.


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  1. Blasted blogger has taken to hiding your posts from me.
    I am so glad I tracked this one down.
    Poor Gerry, poor poor Gerry. I fear that corroded brain will come my way and doubt that I will come out the other side...

    1. Thank you. My biggest health fear by far is the fear of developing dementia. It would most likely be vascular dementia, although my aunt on my mother's side had Lewy Body dementia. Any way you slice it, I don't want it and would off myself if I were to discover I had it. I worked with people who had dementia for a number of years but had to stop doing so when it became personal.
      Gmail likes to hide emails that I actually want to look at. It's more than happy to let the spam ones that it's supposed to be blocking through to clutter my inbox.

    2. It goes with MS sometimes, and like you, it is not an indignity I am prepared to endure.

    3. I don't know if this will be a comfort, but in the many years that I worked in long-term care, I never saw an MS patient who lost their cognitive abilities.
      One of the sadder cases I worked with was a woman who had Huntington's disease. She was only in her 40s.

    4. It is sort of a comfort, but sadly it is also a very real possibility.

    5. Certainly I hope it isn't the case. I try not to think too much about the potential for a stroke or vascular dementia. If I ever have anything more than a minor stroke, I hope it finishes me quickly. My dad had a major hemorrhagic stroke in 2004. By the time he died in 2010, he wasn't the same person. Looking back, I think he had been having TIAs for several years leading up to the first big one. He had undiagnosed hypertension. High blood pressure runs in the family, so guess what I have along with all the other shit. I've been on antihypertensive meds for 10 years. Unfortunately, they can depress the mood as well as the blood pressure, and we all know what a ray of sunshine I normally am.

  2. That's definitely got to be hard to experience forgetting things you know you should remember.

    1. I think it would be the absolute worst. One of the people who inspired Gerry's personality was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at 55--the same age that I am now. I mostly worry about the possibility of vascular dementia because I have diabetes, which means that my vascular system is vulnerable.

  3. This is a chilling visit inside a rotting sponge. Brr.

    1. Dementia is the worst. As Glen Campbell's wife said, it's better to die some other way. Having cared for people experiencing physical decline vs. cognitive decline, I am inclined to agree.

  4. You do Gerry well. I so feel for him and I really want to know what that sentence means!

  5. His frustration is palpable. Well done!

    1. Thank you. Gerry is partially inspired by some of the people I worked with over the years. The retirement community I worked in was near a major university and there were a lot of former academics. I remember one woman telling me that she "felt stupid." This woman had been a professor, an activist in the Vietnam war, and had written several books. I had an autographed copy of one of her books. It was heartbreaking to witness her decline.

  6. Wow, I really got a sense of his struggles here. Tough snippet (but well done!).

    1. Thank you. I started writing this series back when I was still working in a retirement community. I had worked with the elderly for a number of years and was always able to be clinical about working with dementia patients until it became personal and I saw it happening to people I cared about.

  7. interesting snippet. you do well bringing across the emotions.

  8. I love Ace and Thomas and it's such fun to say the dialogue aloud in your head with an accent.

    1. Thanks! I enjoy writing buddy pairs. In many ways, I like it better than writing romantic couples.

  9. Great description "rotting sponge." Hubs has the beginning of dementia, so this really hit home. We also watched Alzheimer's steal my mom's mind. Hard on the family, harder on the person. You did a great job with this snippet.

    1. Thank you. I'm sorry to hear about your husband. I was always great at having a clinical approach to taking care of people with dementia until it ended up hitting home for me when people I cared about on a personal level developed it. Then it became too depressing. I ended up working with medically fragile children instead until I became disabled.

  10. Interesting bit. I wonder what's wrong with him


I try to get comments published as quickly as possible. I have ADHD and anxiety and sometimes I need to work myself up to be able to respond to comments. I don't always reply to comments on my blog, but I do try to visit as many people as possible when I participate in blog hops. I share your work on the monthly Roost Recommendations posts at so others can discover your work. I do read and appreciate your comments.
Sorry, the Captcha is back and this time it's staying. I was inundated with spam comments when I turned it off. I wish butt rash on all the spammers out there.

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