Launching Cloaked Press

Today, my Gentle Readers, I began the process to launch my own publishing company, Cloaked Press. You can see my Kickstarter project by Clicking Here

My goal with Cloaked Press is to publish two short story collections a year by collaborating with other authors. The Fall edition will be focused on Fantasy. Be it Epic or Urban, High or Paranormal; I love them all. For the Sprung Edition the focus is on Science Fiction: AI, space exploration, aliens, and technological warfare in cyberspace. 

My goal is ambitious but completely doable with your help. Share the link, tell your friends, and if you are so inclined, pledge a donation to the project. 

Thank you so much for all your support of my blog and I hope to bring you even more great stories and content in the future. 

“Hack the Planet”

Dade Murphy: I don’t play well with others.

The Plague: Kid, don’t threaten me. There are worse things than death, and uh, I can do all of them.

The Plague: There is no right and wrong. There’s only fun and boring.

Dade Murphy: Mess with the best, die like the rest.

A recent Daily Post challenge is to take a quote from a movie and make that the title of a post. Unfortunately, I cannot pick just one from one of my favorite movies of all time, Hackers. Here is a little story using the above movie lines.

Charlie sat on his bike near the edge of the woods. The older boys had thought it a joke when he started following them, especially his older brother James. James knew that if his mother found out he left Charlie somewhere unattended, he would be in serious trouble. For that alone he had told his friends to just keep an eye out for his kid brother. Charlie sighed deeply and began to slowly pedal after the laughter of the older boys just inside the tree line. They were already jumping off the natural clay ramps of the trail ahead.

No one remembered when the trails were formed, they had always just been there. It was like a rite of passage when one graduated from the normal flat roads to the rough, hard packed clay of the woodland paths. The natural hills provided ample opportunities for jumping from peak to peak for the more accomplished rider. Charlie was nervous when he came up to the first long circle that his brother and the other older boys were on. This trail doubled back on a sequence of small hills that the boys were trying to clear in one jump. Charlie sat there until the group had moved on towards the relatively flat spaces deeper into the woods.

As he stopped at the top of the first hill, Charlie looked down and trembled visibly. Just then another rider came up the trail behind him. When he looked Charlie paled, it was Derek, the biggest bully in their little subdivision.

“Move kid,” Derek said as he started down the trail in Charlie’s direction.

Charlie was frozen, but he finally got his mouth working at least, which probably wasn’t the smartest move, “Leave me alone or I will get my brother.”

Derek came to a stop next to Charlie and glared at the younger boy. He knew he could pound this little pipsqueak into the ground, but something stopped him. His hands flexing on the grips of his bike, he said instead, “Kid, don’t threaten me. There are worse things than death , and uh, I can do all of them.”  Before he could push off to go down the hill there was a sound of bicycles sliding to a stop behind him.

“Hey, what are you doing to my little brother?” James called to the bigger boy. He was roughly the same age as Derek, but where James was lean, Derek looked built to smash bricks with his fists.

“Nothing. I don’t play well with others. Best you just move on,” Derek adjusted his feet in preparation to pedal off.

“You shouldn’t harass little kids,” James spoke up, walking his bike up the hill towards the bigger teen. When he reached the top he continued speaking, getting between Charlie and Derek. The top of the hill was very crowded with all three of them standing there. “It isn’t right to pick on little kids.”

“There is no right or wrong. There is only fun and boring,” Derek laughed as he shoved James backwards into Charlie, the two brothers tumbling off the side of the hill into a heap in the brush along the trail. Charlie began to cry as Derek pedaled away.

Charlie started crying and James got mad. Sure, he found his little brother annoying at times, but no one else is allowed to harm his little brother. James jumped to his feet, stopping his friends with a look. They backed off as one, seeing the fire in their friend’s eyes. James grabbed his bike and started down the trail towards Derek’s retreating back. James could barely make out the darkly dressed teen as he flitted down the trail. Pedaling hard, James started to gain a little on his quarry.

Looking back, Derek sighed when he saw James straining to catch up with him. He had hoped to have a little fun by shoving the smaller boy around and then get lost in the woods for a little bit where he could smoke in peace. His aunt didn’t care for his habit in her house so he was forced to go elsewhere when he wanted a smoke. He had found several places deep in the woods adjacent to his neighborhood conducive to peace and quiet. As he reached the point where the trail leveled off and ran parallel to the train tracks, Derek slowed down enough to allow James to catch up.

James noticed Derek slow down and braced himself for the bigger teen to stop and face him. When that didn’t happen, James kept pedaling hard. He came up alongside Derek and, mimicking a police pit maneuver, rammed his front tire into the side of Derek’s bike.

Derek was not expecting this. Caught completely off guard he went hard left off the trail. The ground dropped sharply before rising back up at the railroad tracks and he careened down the hill to land face first in the pile of granite rocks at the base of the tracks.

James nearly lost control of his bike himself but recovered to stop and watch the bully crash. He then shouted, “You are right, that was not boring at all. Next time be careful who you pick on.” James began pedaling back towards his friends and little brother.

Derek sat propped against the pile of rocks, sharp edges digging into his back through his t-shirt. He pulled out his cigarettes and lit one. After taking a long pull of the smoke he smiled to himself. “That guy has some serious balls to try that. Maybe he isn’t so bad.” Derek laughed and took another pull from his cigarette.

When James got back to his friends, they had Charlie up on his feet. The younger boy was still brushing dirt from his clothes and looked up, eyes full of concern, when his brother came back into sight. “Is he coming back?” Charlie asked fearfully.

“I don’t think so,” James slid to a stop. “When I left he was lying face first at the bottom of that ramp that goes over towards the train tracks.”

“Really?” Charlie and the other teens were incredulous. Then Charlie said, “You are the best big brother in the whole world.” He threw his arms around James and hugged his brother tight.

James grinned, “You know what they say, mess with the best, die like the rest.” He shared a high five with a couple of his friends and then the boys all headed for the pathway that led back to the street. Their adventure for the day was done.