want to know

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Re: want to know

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 7th, 2013, 5:01 pm

(i THINK that sorts out most of the timeline issues.)
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Re: want to know

Postby happywaffle » February 7th, 2013, 5:09 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:(i THINK that sorts out most of the timeline issues.)


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Re: want to know

Postby Heidi.N.Rogers » February 7th, 2013, 10:18 pm

How are there two Wu Yun's? I didn't see Wu Yun in Jessica's chapter. Am I missing something?


hujhax wrote:
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:some slight chronology problems, but nothing we can't sort out...perils of non-linear storytelling. ;)


Chronology problems... or ARE THERE TWO WU YUNS

:mrgreen:

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Cheers!

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Re: want to know

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 8th, 2013, 9:55 am

Heidi.N.Rogers wrote:How are there two Wu Yun's? I didn't see Wu Yun in Jessica's chapter. Am I missing something?


well, not by name...

Jessica wrote:The room she entered contained a china man on the bed - she couldn't tell if he was dead or just resting, but it didn't matter.


no worries, though, i just made him a different person of Asian descent. ;)
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Re: want to know

Postby happywaffle » February 8th, 2013, 12:20 pm

Chapter 67

"Audie?"

"Hazel."

She immediately wasted her trip to the kitchen, dropping the bowl of broth she'd brought Wu Yun, as her dead husband emerged from the shadows. He looked ghost-like indeed: spattered blood on his coat and hands, pale and trembling as he stepped tentatively towards her. And of course older, older by a decade. She could only imagine how she looked.

Oh, God, how she looked. Hazel held her hands to her face, not so much from emotion as shame. What ten years ago had been a lovely girl's complexion was now pockmarked with poorly-healed bruises and cuts—even an ugly slice from a drunken Irishman's knife, three years back. She'd hardly even looked in a mirror of late.

---

That day back in Livingston, she'd looked in a mirror, alright. She sat at the vanity, dabbing on makeup like her mother had shown her, ready to attack Audie when he returned from the tobacconist's. He was 12 years her senior but showed the virility of a teenager. "It ain't me, it's you," he'd told her.

Then the knock at the hotel-room door. The priest on the other side. The news: "Your husband stepped in the way of a buggy…" It had all happened so fast. I was sixteen, for God's sake, how could I know? With trembling hands she grabbed her Bible, and stepped out the door. There was a buggy waiting for her. She saw the priest make some small transaction with the hotel clerk—I was only sixteen, how could I know?—and didn't think, until she was sitting on the goddamn train, to ask where they were going. She still wanted to slap her younger self for the foolishness. She'd been led to her doom like a hog to slaughter.

---

That was a decade ago, now. She'd been in San Francisco for five. She'd believed her husband dead for ten. And now here he was, pale and trembling, but upright and whole.

"Hazel," he said again, louder, and it took all her willpower for her knees not to give. Fortunately her willpower had been built into a mighty dam, these last ten years. By night she'd take the rapes, the beatings, the theft. By day she'd collaborate with her sisters, learning their names: Beth, Addy, Lien-Hua, Abigail. They learned each other's stories, hid away both guns and money, and plotted what Addy loved to call The Great Ball. "One day there will be enough of a ruckus in this place for us to strike, and strike we will," she loved to say.

And that unkillable Chinaman over there had made quite a ruckus. Enough of a ruckus for the hens to finally take over the henhouse. Enough of a ruckus to summon her husband right back from the dead.

Finally, a single tear rolling down her scarred cheek, she removed her hands and stretched them out to him. "Audie, I thought…"

A sudden movement from the loft. The Chinaman, laying prone in the corner, tried to reach for his pistol, but his injury was too great, and instead he screamed in pain. Audie spun and drew his own piece, and Hazel had just enough time to see the ambusher: Lien-Hua, what the HELL are you doing?

Her husband and her Asian friend fired upon each other simultaneously.
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Re: want to know

Postby Heidi.N.Rogers » February 8th, 2013, 2:36 pm

Sweet! Thanks!

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:
Heidi.N.Rogers wrote:How are there two Wu Yun's? I didn't see Wu Yun in Jessica's chapter. Am I missing something?


well, not by name...

Jessica wrote:The room she entered contained a china man on the bed - she couldn't tell if he was dead or just resting, but it didn't matter.


no worries, though, i just made him a different person of Asian descent. ;)
Cheers!

Heidi :)
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Re: want to know

Postby happywaffle » February 11th, 2013, 11:44 am

I started laying out the "want to know" e-book on Friday. :)
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Re: want to know

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 11th, 2013, 12:15 pm

i've long been contemplating adapting this to either the stage or as a comic book...once it's all finished, of course. ;)
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Re: want to know

Postby Ryan Austin » February 11th, 2013, 7:04 pm

CHAPTER 68

Audie hit the ground with a thud, kicking over a stool as the blood came screaming out his chest. Damn that Lien-Hua, her aim was as perfect as you can get. The bullet hid somewhere just centimeters outside of Audie's heart. But she might as well have split his whole body in two, Audie was slipping fast and ain't no angel of Heaven or Hell could do shit about it.

Lien-Hau rose from her crouched position, eyed Audie's bullet wedged into the door frame and brushed her hair back. Not a smile, or laugh, or even a sigh of relief. Just one hand pushing that black hair out of her face like there was nothing or no one making a ruckus. She reached down into the holster strapped over her ornate asian gown and whipped out another pistol. The dress' slit rose damn near halfway up her ribs. Some men would cut off their own hand to get one glimpse of those legs, and if Cleary had one to spare, he'd be first in line.

Lien-Hau. She played the victim brilliantly and now there she stood. Two long, porcelain legs leading all the way up to two arms holding two guns, one at Wu Yun and the other at Hazel as she ran to Audie's side.

"Baby!" She scried, clutching her dying husband. "No no no. Goddammit NO!"
Audie spat. "Just like that time I fell off the barn. Heh. You remember that, cheeks? You remember how scared you was?"
She nodded. Trying to keep it together and doing miserably.
"You was screaming more than me." He laughed.
"Your leg bone was stickin' out, baby. I just knew you were hurtin' somethin' fierce."
"...eh...It was..."
"AUDIE!"
"It was worth...worth it. Just to--"
"Baby no!"
"Have you...reading...to me"
His hand went for his jacket pocket but he winced. She followed his eyes and found the Bible. The one she read from. The one he was bringing back to her. The one soaking in his sweet, precious blood.
"Those were...the days..." He breathed. His eyes fluttered closed and his chest sank for the last time as Hazel heaped the last 5 years on him.

"A reunion!" Clearly shouted as he walked in, kicking a hog tied Jesse and Cassandra into the room. They tumbled in next to Wu Yun, Hazel, and the lifeless Audie. Cleary sauntered in like a serpant and shoved his forked tongue down Lien-Hau's throat. She gave it right back, gripping him like he was going away for years. "Together at last." Clearly hissed as he pulled away from Lien-Hau and puffed a cigar. "Now I ain't the smartest man I know, but somethin' tells me that my friends in this here room ain't been one-hundred percent honest with me. I think maybe some minds have been changed about me. Hmm?" He stared them down, a volcano in a suit and bolo tie. He was always just so. Ready to spit fire and breath smoke. All of it just brimming underneath his skin. "We gonna have ourselves a little family meetin'. Attendance is required by all now."

SHUNK! A knife clipped Lien-Hua's pistol clean outta her hand and pinned it to the wall. Rising from the corner was that un-fucking-killable chinaman and his incomprehensible tongue. His eyes burned like coals as they trained on his sister. Painfully, Wu Yun whipped his body into fighting stance, half bent over and hobbled, like a one-winged bird. But there he stood, challenging his sister.

Lien-Hau flicked her eyes to Cleary. He nodded and she slipped the gun belt down past her hips and stepped out of it. She took her fighting stance, accepting Wu Yun's challenge without so much as a change of expression.

"Guess we gonna let the adopted children speak first."

Smoke rose with his laugh as brother and sister rushed each other.
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Re: want to know

Postby contentlove » February 13th, 2013, 9:30 am

"So was his wife's, their barrels staring as longingly at one another as their star crossed eyes."

Yeah, well, I just spit coffee *across* my keyboard. Good morning, funny people.
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Re: want to know

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 13th, 2013, 10:08 am

if you write something that someone finds funny, but you didn't intend for it to be funny, does that mean it's bad writing? i'm gonna go sit in a corner and question my life choices now...
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Re: want to know

Postby contentlove » February 13th, 2013, 10:22 am

But...it made me really really happy! Does that help?
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Re: want to know

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 13th, 2013, 10:38 am

yes, happy is good! Wu Yun should bring naught but joy into the world! it's just not the first time i've been told my writing is "funny" when it wasn't intended to be, so clearly i need to take some kind of hint. ;)
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Re: want to know

Postby happywaffle » February 20th, 2013, 2:28 am

CHAPTER 69

He knew, as soon as he saw the severed finger, that the yellow girl would prove useful. His men had brought her in half-dead, the fucking idiots, having apparently decided that their kidnap victim deserved a knife in the side for deigning to fight back. There was a reason he lived the heart of downtown while they slummed with immigrants and freemen and failed miners in the Mission District.

Normally he'd leave her in some alleyway, but the fact that she was not only breathing, but still struggling when he saw her sparked some interest. Those pristine Chinese legs didn't hurt, either. So Chandler Cleary called for his surgeon and ordered her patched up.

Of course surgeons can be a bit sloppy. A bit unruly, especially when their attractive female patients are under the ether. But the same Chinese spirit that kept her from dying in the first place kept Lien-Hua from suffering such indignity. While any other man would be sleeping soundly, the 90-pound Oriental woman was removing the surgeon's offending finger easy as a fried chicken wing.

And so that day, Cleary decided that Lien-Hua would be his personal project. You never know when you might need a girl on the inside, even at such a fine establishment as his. By the end of the first year she'd stopped trying to escape. By the end of two she'd learned some English and begun pulling in not only wages, but information. Cleary took her under his wing, told her she was unlike the other girls (and oh, she was). The fool Dicks had even fallen for her, returning again and again to Cleary's place of business, even paying a goddamned tintype maker to make a picture of him with his Asian flower—and yet every morning after Dicks left, Lien-Hua would be in Cleary's office, sharing useful information about the goings-on in Nevada. Cleary figured that Dicks's dick had earned him a small fortune in business dealings over the mountains. He eventually stopped asking for Lien-Hua to share her earnings. Lien-Hua started visiting his bed. She took to calling him "Cheap V1@gra!!" Some kind of Oriental nickname.

Then a tornado had blown through his magnificent whorehouse—a tornado that went by the names Cassandra, Jesse, Audie, and Wu Yun—and just when Cleary was convinced he'd be meeting the end of a rifle at best and a noose at worst, Lien-Hua had truly proven her worth. All his men were dead, and his nose was broken, and yet the battle was over and it was Cleary who had his enemies dead to rights.

THWIK. His musings were interrupted by Lien-Hua's hairpin, a weapon she'd used more than once to dispatch an ornery or stingy customer. She'd flicked it expertly at Wu Yun's head, but as only a Chinaman could, he'd deflected it into the wall near Cleary and his captives. This was quite a spectacle! He never would've expected such a fight from a man who'd taken a Bowie knife to the back, but even superhuman strength only gets you so far. Lien-Hua used the distraction of the hairpin to kick at Wu Yun's shin, and he grunted, dropping to a knee. She took a punch to the ribs and responded with a box to the ears. The Chinaman was coughing up blood now—not so invincible after all. Finally she seized her brother's braid and wrapped it around his neck, rendering him immobile. It was done.

Outside in the darkness, the Catholic church down the block chimed its first bells of the early morning: Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong. Cleary smiled at Lien-Hua, then at Wu Yun. He puffed on his cigar.

"I appreciate your spirit, Mister Wu Yun," he said. "Hell, I could use a hero like you on my payroll. But, it seems it's not meant to be," he said, and sighed. A nod at Lien-Hua, and she was in Wu Yun's face with another knife; how armed could a 90-pound Chinese whore possibly be?

"Sister," sputtered Wu Yun, as confused as he was desperate. Didn't she remember him?

"Brother," said Lien-Hua, seeming to revel in the confusion. "Does expecting you am I want to cowboy dust-up to the West? Happy reunion you thinks?" She yanked him back to his feet, and he had no more strength to resist. "Am I not the cowboy way, Chinaman. Could I if wish buy China for money low price." She turned to Cleary. "Cheap V1@gra, free shipping am of this man to Nevada?"

Another puff of the cigar. "Nevada… China… probably just a pine box, from the looks of him." He pulled Cassandra and Jesse back to their feet—not cruelly, for once. "As for you two, there's a crimp on the dock who's eager for some new labor." He led them outside to the chilly morning; the sky was barely beginning to lighten. "There's a scow headed to Tokyo at 6 AM. And a cargo ship headed to Sydney at 6:30." He turned around again. "Y'all might wanna say your goodbyes now, if you take my meaning."

Cleary checked his pocketwatch. It was 5:11 AM.
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Re: want to know

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 20th, 2013, 1:36 pm

CHAPTER 70

It started with a tremble, a slight and low vibration in the ground. It may as well have been a cable car passing by...except the line didn't come that close. Wu Yun noticed it first, kneeling on the ground with a knife at his throat. He had felt this before, in his earlier life in that strange little city by the bay. Hazel felt it next, still huddled and weeping over Audie's lifeless body. Her teary bloodshot eyes looked up to Wu Yun, knowingly. She may have been brought here by force and treachery, but by God she was a San Franciscan now, and she knew what came next. The two victims of Lien Hua's betrayal shared an unspoken understanding as Wu Yun's eyes glanced slightly left. Hazel gave an almost imperceptible nod. Wu Yun breathed deep, focusing his chi, his very life force, into his legs and shifted his weight back just slightly. He was ready.

When the quake came, things happened fast. It shook the stables around them, distracting Lien Hua. Wu Yun shifted to the ball of his right foot, turning as his left foot extended and pushing his sister's knife hand away with the palm of his hand. His outstretched leg caught his sister just below the knees, uprooting her from the ground like a scythe severing its way through a wheat field at harvest time. His momentum carried him around and up, and the open palm that had pushed his sister's knife away now lighted it from her grasp before she even hit the ground.

Cleary glanced back, giving Jesse just the opportunity he had been looking for. The one handed lizard had forced Cassandra to bind Jesse's wrists before tying his daughter's hands himself. Jesse knew his way around a rope from his ranch hand days, but his wife had shown him so many trick knots and slips from her days in the circus (first as the Lariat Lass, and later apprenticing with renowned illusionist and escape artist Richard White and his son, Rick). He had recognized this one intimately as she braided it around his wrist. But there was no need for a safe word this time as he slipped from his rough bonds in the way she'd taught him and tackled Cleary to the ground, barely keeping his feet on the shifting ground and scrambling to pick up the bastard's dropped pistol.

When the tremors ceased, the tableau of these lost souls had altered considerably. Cassandra slipped free of her own bonds, muttering something about how one handed sons of bitches can't tie knots for shit, and pulling Lien-Hua's pistol from the wall to stand guard over her father. Hazel had pulled Audie's corpse along with her into the arched entrance of Happy Beauty Pony's stall and now held one of his guns, unsteadily, uncertain of where to aim it. Lien Hua lay motionless on the ground, not from lack of consciousness but for fear of the gun barrel pointed in her face. Jesse's hand held that gun, but his eyes were focused elsewhere...as Wu Yun held his blade to Jesse's throat.

"Please for not shooting my sister, thank you."

"She shot my brother."

"I am her brother."

Hazel aimed her pistol at Wu Yun, who without a glance (and, to the casual observer, without a motion) trained Killer of Bad Personss right at her.

"I owe you Chinaman, but that cunt pretended to be my friend all these years, then took the only man I've ever loved so you drop your fucking weapons this second!"

"I AM her BROTHER."

Cassandra slid Lien Hua's second pistol out of the gun belt on the stable floor, keeping one aimed at her father's head as the other drew its bead on Wu Yun.

"You drop 'em or we drop you, Chinaman. Your call."

"I...AM...HER...!"

There was no tremble this time. No tremor or vibration announcing its arrival. The violent shaking of the earth mere moments before was naught but prelude, overture. This was the wrath of God, splitting and tumbling the ground beneath their feet, as though all the blood and lies and sin of years had seeped into the foundations and soil, the very core of the planet, and given birth to some dark spirit of vengeance whose hour of birth had come round at last.

And for all we know, that may well have been the case...
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