C'mon in, take yer shoes off, and set yerself down. Here you will find comics, cartoons, musings, rants, . . . whatever strikes my fancy, or "Spins my Plush", so to speak.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Day After . . .


Three had been living with Bonn close to year when his training began to get the better of him. He had grown far beyond the mindless foot soldier that he once was, but a base predatory instinct was something harder to overcome.

“Please,” Bonn insisted the day he found Three leaping across the cavern opening at a small scurrying rodent, “go hunting for dinner. Better that you use up that energy catching our food than me!”

That had been four hours ago, and even if Three felt the hunter’s heart beating in his chest as he stalked the mountain pass that had become his home, he feared that his hunter’s skills would never return.

Perched atop an almost perfect sphere of granite, about 20 feet above an ancient crevice that ran in a more or less straight stretch for close to three miles in either direction of his position, Three had been waiting for an Antelope to pass for what seemed like forever.

Although he had been becoming more familiar with the rocky landscape around Bonn’s cave, it had not been long that he had even been able to walk, let alone clamber over the mountaintops. He had left the cave and headed first to the watering hole over the rise. This was actually only about 100 feet from where Bonn had originally found him while gathering liquid for cleaning. The location was actually just a collection of boulders, fashioned into a bowl shape by centuries of a small waterfall dripping into its centre. The water poured through a crack at the top of a sheer face overlooking the bowl, filling it to its brim before spilling out between two adjacent rocks at about five o’clock to the incoming water’s twelve. The side that Three arrived on was flat and worn away slightly from Bonn’s many trips. The pool stretched out for about 20 feet in front of him, with the rock face to his left, a rising edge to the bowl, about his eye level, in front of him, and a sheer drop to the right. Peering from a distance over the drop, Three could only see the clouds above what he imagined to be a deep valley. He looked back at the incoming waterfall, listening to the splash it made as it landed.

Clambering back up the rock path he had come from, he found a slide of loose gravel that had fallen from above. It had given him enough of a path to reach the top of the rock face. At the top he found a small stream of water running over the rocks. He followed the stream as it gently rose up the mountain. The local vegetation consisted mostly of moss and lichens, but the occasional tree had managed to crawl up out of the boulders.

A cold breeze suddenly blew Three’s shoulder length brown hair into his face from behind as a shiver ran down the middle of his back.

“Brrr,” he muttered involuntarily as he hunched his shoulders forward and tensed to warm himself.

It wasn’t long before Three reached a mountain crest. The stream he was following ran from a pool that appeared as if from nowhere: apparently the product of an underground spring, volcanic in nature, since he could feel the warmth radiating from the pond.

The pond sat between two mountain ridges that came together to his right, and ran off to his left following each other like a pair of snakes. Between was a narrow path made of loose gravel. And in the gravel he could make out the distinct pattern of hooves, antelopes and goats. They apparently travelled up the path to find water and warmth in the frigid, tundral mountains. Heading off down the path, he quickly realized that the long straight valley was not conducive to catching an animal unawares. And so he found a large boulder sitting alongside the path, climbed to the top, and found himself where he still remained to this moment.

The wind had been getting stronger and colder as he sat on his perch, but discomfort was not something he was bred to acknowledge. However, with no sounds save the wind itself howling down the pass, and the slight smell of rain in the air, Three was beginning to believe that his efforts on this day were destined to failure. Looking around and seeing a gentle mist rising as clouds moved in seemingly from all around him, Three saw the sun lowering in the west and rose to a standing position. Clasping his hands as he raised his arms over his head, Three stretched out, arching his back and hearing the slight clicking of his joints as he stretched his tired muscles.

Tensing his leg muscles to leap from his post, Three heard the scratch and skitter of his feet atop the rock, and suddenly, entirely instinctively, pulled himself back, almost falling off the boulder in the process.

A slight “clop” had almost been obscured by the noises of his own body, but even if he hadn’t heard it, his well-trained body had. Crouched back into his predatory position, one knee bent under himself, Three glanced around the other and down the path. The mist had hidden a small caravan of about nine antelopes, heading up the pass for water, one after the other, every second beast slightly offset as if to keep them from the unappealing odours of their fellows’ rear extremity.

Heads up, they were moving at an even pace, albeit slowly. Fortunately, they were unaccustomed to being hunted at such an elevation, and as such had no reason to even be listening for Three as they passed.

As they got closer, Three watched them through the mist, realizing that one near the middle of the pack seemed oddly misshaped. It’s back carried some sort of hump. A hump that seemed to swagger oddly, then suddenly rise high. A small tendril reached out and tapped the neck of the attached beast, as Three realized that the fourth Antelope carried a rider. A human rider.

The beast reached within about forty yards of Three when a distinctive curve could be seen to the rider, a delicate melon-sized head perched atop an “S-curve” body. The rider was a woman.

Closer the herd approached as the rider began to take shape, her pale green clothing standing out amidst the tan animals and grey rocks. A red stripe ran down the centre of her chest. Three could ultimately see a distinct scaled pattern to her green, vest and leggings, as well as a hood strangely shaped like that of a cobra or a . . .

“Viper . . .”

The name of the woman rebel who had become legendary for the slaying of the first Number 1, and legions of other soldiers, spilled from Three’s lips, as the strangely garbed woman’s head snapped, her eyes meeting his, all four open so wide that the pupils and irises disappeared in a sea of white.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Comic Book

This right here is the cover of my comic book. And directly preceding of the writing of this, I slipped Page #19 of Issue #2 into it's protective sleeve in it's own little portfolio. Originally, this was to be a nice little "flash" file that you, my dear readers, could flip through to read the first issue. But, apparently, that doesn't work so well in Blogger. If you would like to read it, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to . . . kidding! (But, seriously, you can ask me for one in the comment section if you actually would like to read it.)

So why am I writing this? I usually have a point to my blog posts, and this should one should as well. Well, in fact it does. But it's a secret! ◕‿◕

Naw . . . just thinking about maybe getting a spot in Artist's Alley at the HalSciFiCon if and when I finish Issue #2 (which, by the way, I am much more content with regarding the artwork). Have to have a backup career in place when I succeed in killing off the population of Nova Scotia with renewable energy . . . "The Coast" and Anne Murray said so!

Now, if I can just get my animation software to work correctly so that I may show off "Mur-man and The Newf" . . . it's like "Magnum P.I.", but set in Newfoundland instead of Hawaii. Excited?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Day After . . .

9-Time Passes . . .

Six months. It was six months before 387 was able to sit up on the edge of his bed under his own power. A half-year out of his life. But, as Bonn pointed out, remarkably short considering he had performed brain surgery on himself.

This is not to say that 367 was fully recovered. Six months of bedsores. Six months of not walking. Six months of no solid food. Six months away from any and all tasks that 387 had been performing since before he could even remember.

Fortunately, Bonn, as he learned his benefactor’s name was, had done all he could to restore 387 to health. After only several weeks, the former soldier was able to walk across the room. Several days later he was eating solid food. Unfortunately, Bonn’s culinary skills were not as well developed as his medical skills. “Three,” as Bonn started calling him, however, accepted all of his meals gratefully, and wolfed them as if he had not eaten for months. Which, as chance would have it, he hadn’t.

“I have no sense of taste,” Bonn stated bluntly one evening, obviously noting Three’s attempts to not flinch as the meal first touched his tongue, “They were considered unnecessary in my function.”

“You’re function?” Three was never one for conversation, but this statement intrigued him for some reason.

“Yes, as a consult. I was a first generation genie.”

At least seven feet tall, with a green, almost reptilian skin, and an almost emotionless face, Bonn was clearly not human. But Three had always thought Bonn was . . . well, he hadn’t actually considered it before.

“I have lived here alone for so long that I had almost forgotten,” the big man almost chuckled as he stared past Three into thoughts of the past. “Another lifetime ago. One of several, actually.

“I was designed as an advisor for the President of North America. That must be, . . . so many centuries ago.”

“Centuries?” Two questions in one evening; Three almost felt drained of energy.

Glancing at Three Bonn looked almost amused, which the young soldier hadn’t thought possible, “Yes, about four and a half to be exact. My longevity was part of the reason my genetic pattern was initially altered.”

“What do you mean ‘altered’?” Suddenly Three was a chatterbox.

“Unlike yourself, the first genies were one of two strains—clones of humans with no outstanding characteristics to set them apart from their progenitors, and genetically altered human beings, designed to enhance some natural characteristic. I was the latter . . . somewhat.”

Three had never even considered where the first genies had come from, and, hearing Bonn’s words, that fact suddenly struck him as odd.

“. . .” Three opened his mouth as if to speak, but only then realized that he had no idea what he wanted to say. Bonn glanced at the young soldier and laughed with his eyes.

“Questions are God’s greatest gift—even if our past won’t allow us to take off the wrapping paper.” Bonn smiled a crooked smile as he lifted his towering frame, collecting the meal’s dishes, and ushering them away to be cleaned.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Stupid Rant

Okay, Seriously!?!

Look, I don't offend easily. I'm a heterosexual white male. There's arguably not a "repressed-minority bone" in my body. But one thing that does offend me is stupity. And more and more I am being regularly offended.

I'm not saying that I don't do stupid things . . . I'm well-known to be as boneheaded as a petrified dinosaur skeleton, but at least I'm willing to accept my mistakes and apologize . . . probably too readily. Society has come to not only accept, but to worship stupidity! Homer Simpson is an idiot, and I love the character for that . . . BUT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO LAUGH AT HIM NOT USE HIM AS A ROLE MODEL!!!

As of 9:30 a.m. this past Monday morning, after already having been yelled at and lectured for being a "stupid engineer with no common sense" (and, yes, I get that a lot; and, yes, it may or may not be intelligent to publicly state that), I found this sign on a Chinese Food Take-Out in Truro, NS--where the mayor has publicly questioned why some residents are less than pleased with the community's acceptance of those who are "different".

The next day I was lectured on how to design a fibre-optic communications network "when [I] get around to it" by the contractor who had already submitted a price for constructing the fibre-optic communications network I had designed for him to price.

The next day I received a lecture for not having drawings suitable to construct a wind farm; drawings clearly labelled "For Review", or, in other words, "Not For Construction".

Then, for lunch, after the first business-suited individual walked straight past the rest of the line to look at what was in the food trays and ordered straight-away, I waited as the second individual--who had clearly been standing in line for at least the past 5 minutes--reached the counter, looked up at the menu, and proclaimed, "Now, what do I want?"

The next morning, I watched as a lady walked into Tim Horton's through the opposite door from everyone else, which she apparently felt must be the "secret" entrance that allowed her to bypass the line.

Thursday and Friday brought us the Dexter Government's $42,000 "Renewable Energy" announcement, and the, at last count, 72 comments of Nova Scotians on the Chronicle Herald website, either upset at the expense, cheering the announcement, or simply cursing the fact that our province has an NDP government. Not ONE mentioned the hypocrisy of spending $6000 to BUS media and VIPs 400km to hand them 200 copies of a 38-page PAPER document espousing how they are going to single-handedly save the environment.

This morning (i.e. Saturday), I nearly popped a blood vessel as the car in front of me at the corner of Jubilee and Oxford started to roll backwards at me as the driver suddenly realized the light was not in her favour and she wasn't going to be able to move forward. Then I arrived at work to find every light in the building left on from the previous day. Then I heard someone in line behind me remark that, "the queue is awkward"; a reference to the fact that HE decided to line up to the left when EVERYONE ELSE CAME FROM THE RIGHT!

And that has, with exceptions to protect the innocent, not even been a full week. I didn't even get into the restaurant review I read with alternating comments saying, "The beer was completely undrinkable by anyone!", then, "The beer was fantastic!, then, "The beer was the worst thing ever!", then, "The beer was undeniably the best in Atlantic Canada!", etc., etc., etc., . . .

It has been my experience, in my limited lifespan, that everyone generally views the world through their own eyes, and it is only exceptional individuals who actually try to place themselves in the minds (not just the shoes) of those around them. I believe that my point, and I do have one, can be summed up best by Jane Fonda: “You can do one of two things; just shut up, which is something I don't find easy, or learn an awful lot very fast which is what I tried to do.”

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ode on a Grecian Toilet Bowl

(with apologies to John Keats)

Gleaming of white
   Porcelain deity of unblessed governance,
Keeper of history
   Of what happened at the dance.
Hidden away such that none do care,
   Until such time that thine grace is needed,
      To be forgotten again more rapid than last night's meal,
   Left with the remnants that it but seeded?
Man's indignity to you laid bare?
      Self knowledge still so vapid?

A black hole contained therein
   You stare at the darkness of all around you,
They, completely unaware of your discretion
   Burying their sins as you do.
Passing as ships in the night,
   Involved as deeply in each other's lives,
      As lovers, but even deeper,
   As wife to husband, husbands to wives.
Sometimes in the light,
      Others as a peeper.

The flotsam and jetsam of life
   Thrown into your eddies,
You take it all in
   Drawn as children to teddies.
Glistened by insolence,
   Treated as sundry,
      Not given to reject,
   Until plugged as from a foundry.
Your screams met with intolerance,
      Shot by the can they inject.

And when fortune favours,
   You're granted respite,
With liquid alcohol,
   Though not mixed quite right.
It burns, but better than normal,
   Slaking a thirst deeper than thirst,
      Memory fades away
   Although to your mind this is worst,
Insulated for a time as with underwear that is thermal,
      Your lost thoughts make you like they.

O bathroom shape! Deeply misunderstood
   Wanting what all others have,
But kept from happiness
   A close to it but for a shave.
The finest of taste! The utmost of scent!
   The utmost of vision! The feel on the tongue!
      E'en the sound of the crunch,
   All blended to you, like unto dung.
"Truth is beauty, beauty is poop,"-it is all bent
      I think they all know this; call it a hunch.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Day After . . .

8-A Strange Benefactor

The sky was a pale grey as 387 looked out from a sea of Genies. Each was dressed in almost identical uniforms, except for the series of numbers located over each soldier’s heart. 387 himself was also dressed in the uniform, the only clothing he had warn since he was a young boy--basically as long as he could remember. He looked around at his fellows and watched as they slowly raised their right fists into the air in perfect unison. His eyes shot to the front and slightly above the throng, and he, too, shot his fist into the air.

Drakon stood upon his balcony, looking over his troops. Slowly, he raised his arms as well, and swept his hands as if motioning for someone to step forward. At first 387 thought that it may be himself, but he suddenly had a sense of motion behind him. The sense was hard to describe, as there was no sound--in fact 387 could hear nothing at all--or any indication at all. He just knew.

387 turned, knowing that to turn from Drakon was wrong, but an overwhelming sense of curiosity took away any self-control that he had ever had.

Even before his head had gone fully around, a slender arm brushed past his face. He felt a tickle at the back of his neck and spun a little faster to see a second arm that had brushed against his hair. He straightened his gaze and found himself looking into those shimmering green pools. Before he could even react, he was engulfed in that fire red hair, as the softest lips in the world parted his own. There was no more female and male. There was only one perfect being. And 387 could only feel . . . something. A belonging. A happiness. A wholeness. A . . . peace? Whatever it was, he had never felt it before that day in the Crucible, and, until now, he hadn’t felt it since. All he wanted was to stay in this embrace forever. He didn’t need food. He didn’t need water. He didn’t need air. He just needed this . . . female. To hell with Drakon.

“SKREEEE . . .”

The lips pressed against his suddenly fell away. Those shimmering pools rolled back and overflowed their banks. Her weight was nothing to him, but as she slumped into his arms, it was suddenly more weight than 387 could bear. He looked into her eyes and saw fear, and hatred, and all he could do was mirror those emotions in his own eyes.

He grabbed at her waist to lower her to the ground, and felt something wet and sticky. He looked down and saw only red. It flowed from a hole in her side where her left kidney had once been. It splattered over her clothing and his. It pooled at his feet. In fact, it all seemed to be flowing straight to him. As he raised his hand, it dripped from his fingers and disintegrated in the residual energy of his own just-released bio-blast.

387 only then became aware of the fact that all this had happened as if in slow motion. And with the realization that she was dead . . . that he had killed her . . . time stopped for a moment, then snapped back to real-time. 387, the angel still in his arms, turned toward Drakon. The sea of Genies had disappeared somehow, and the sky had turned fire red. Drakon stood on his balcony, looking at the scene below him.

387’s eyes filled with the same water that had been in the angel’s eyes, and his mouth dropped open.

“Forgive me, sire,” he mouthed, but still no sound penetrated the all-encompassing veil of silence.

But then, . . . a crackling. Faint at first, but building. Looking around to see the source, 387 could not find an explanation. Then a bead of sweat dripped past his eyes from his own forehead. He followed the gleaming marble to the ground, where everything was now on fire.

387 eyes shot open and he sat upright in a dark cavern. He gasped for air as he looked into a crackling fire built in a fireplace hollowed out of one wall. Over the fire, a freshly killed and cleaned fowl cooked, and the scent made 387 suddenly hungry.

He lay back onto the furs that made his bed, and he realized a sharp, shooting pain in his head. He remembered the chip, and what he had done to remove it. Without emotion he came to the realization that he had lived, and that what he had just experienced was only a dream. His personal situation resolved, he turned his attention to his surroundings.

He turned his head to a beam of light breaking through an opening in one of the four cold, stonewalls. The direct light blinded him for a moment, and he covered his eyes with his hands. As his pupils adjusted, he realized that he wasn’t alone. Attempting to guard himself, he flinched, but his once perfectly-tuned body no longer wanted to obey. Even his words of warning caught in his throat.

A large form blocked out the beam of light, and once more his eyes were forced to adjust.

“So,” the deepest voice he had ever heard rang softly in his ears,” you have finally decided to join me?”

The voice was like two oil drums beating together.

A large palm wrapped across his forehead. It felt cold and hard, not unlike the rock that made up the room,” The fever has broken. I must admit, I did not think it possible that you would recover.”

“ . . . ,” again 387’s words could not find their way out of his mouth.

“Ah, so you think that after all this time you will monopolize our conversation. I think not,” the voice was deep but comforting--it reminded 387 of another sound but he could not remember from where. “Worry not. If your life’s energy has returned, your voice will find it’s way.”

387 felt one of the rock-hands slide under his head and raise it, far more gently that he would have believed possible. He then felt a hard surface against his lips, as water ran past them and down his throat.

He hadn’t realized how thirsty he was, but now that it was in his mouth, the injured soldier couldn’t have enough, and he used all his remaining strength to suck in as much of liquid as he could. He felt a tickle in his throat and knew the water had gone down the wrong way. He coughed and choked, and in his own mind cursed as he felt the spray on his face as the fluid spit from his mouth.

The hand lowered his head back down. “Patience, my friend. We must not have you drown before you recover from your injuries.”

The beam of light suddenly grew brighter as the form moved out of the room. 387 opened his eyes in one last effort to see to whom he had been listening. He saw the flip a long red gown against the stone wall as the figure passed through the portal and was gone. No longer able to fight off the darkness, he fell into sleep once more.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Ballad of Fred the Pierogi

Written originally for Twitter, "The Ballad of Fred the Pierogi", is, as with all of Twitter, completely backwards:

Is this the end? The end of Fred the pierogi? Of course not. Fred the pierogi was devoured three days ago with salsa. He was delicious! Fin.

10:46 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

And, with one last swig of whisky, Fred the pierogi would head into the night to purchase feminine hygiene products at Shoppers Drug Mart.

10:44 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

"If only someone loved MY schwetty balls," Fred the pierogi would think as the SNL commercial that was on the screen faded slowly away.

10:43 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

Fred the pierogi would grab the European carryall that was an Xmas gift so many years before, shutting off the latest episode of Dollhouse.

10:41 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

"Get your purse," Fred the pierogi's wife would then scream. She was mean to Fred the pierogi, for Fred the pierogi's wife never loved him.

10:39 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

And, without fail, every week, Fred the pierogi would sit with failed anticipation as the same message, "Download Failed", popped onscreen.

10:37 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

Fred the pierogi would sit and wait as his laptop would earnestly chug away, downloading its update, bit by bit, byte by byte, until done.

10:35 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

Once a week, Fred the pierogi would receive a message from his laptop that an update to his software was available, & Fred would allow this.

10:34 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

One day, Fred the pierogi decided to download Apple Software. The download, like most downloads, was not without pain, but not so bad.

10:32 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

Once upon a place, in a time not very far away, there lived a pierogi named Fred. Fred, like all pierogis, was delicious with saut├ęd onion.

10:31 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Self Portrait

So I normally like to maintain a low profile . . . not speak too loudly, avoid cameras, that sort of thing. But, my Mom said the other day, "That sketch of the woman on your website is perfect. You should do a self portrait."

To this I responded, "I already did."

"Why haven't I seen it?" she replied.

"You have!" I said.

"Well why don't you post it on your website?" She answered.

So . . . it's old . . . it's more or less out of date . . . so it therefore can't do much harm. Here it is.

Of course, I haven't even written enough text to get to the bottom of the picture yet, and I have nothing left to say.

How about a parable?

A very religious mother once asked her two sons while watching a news report on the space station, "For heaven's sake, why do people have to do that? Head off into space, and risk their lives?"

The two sons couldn't answer the question.

Many years later, one of the two sons had married and had a beautiful daughter. The other was still single, but interested. On a magnificent summer day, they decided to attend a beer tasting. After the event, feeling somewhat tipsy, the wife of the first son came to pick up the brothers with her daughter.

Feeling hungry, the second son offered to buy dinner for his brothers family, and so the four stopped at a local restaurant. They ordered some food and drinks, and, as the daughter was barely more than a year old, she was to share her father's milkshake and meal.

After the drinks had arrived, but before the food, the first son looked at his daughter and saw her reaching for his milkshake. He happily brought the cup over to her and allowed her to wrap her lips around the straw. As she finished a deep drink he turned to his wife and began to pull the drink away. Just as he did so, the little girl reached out and grabbed the straw. Pulling it from the cup, she gently turned it over and stuck the opposite end into her mouth, sucking what was left out of the bottom."

"See? I knew it! She's smarter than we are!" a beaming, proud father turned to his wife.

"What?" She asked.

"How did she know to turn the straw around and suck the milkshake out of the bottom? She's never seen us do that. And her baby sitter would never give her anything like a milkshake."

The brother who was the girl's uncle watched the pride in the young parents' faces, and the answer to his own mother's question from years before suddenly dawned on him:

Maybe God exists. Maybe God doesn't exist. But assuming that such an entity or energy is there, to think that the "force" that could create all that is could care about being praised and worshipped is to assign one of the most base human emotions to something that has to be beyond such a thing. But what would provide meaning to any creator, as to any parent, is watching its creation, or child, exceed what it is meant to do, and do what it's not supposed to be able to do. Even so small an act as to figure out that some milkshake always gets stuck in the straw.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Day After . . .

7-A Desperate Escape

He felt a little light-headed. He had wrapped his wounds in shreds of his uniform as soon as he could afford to pause, but the rags were soaked through with his blood. And the elevation he had climbed to didn't help matters.

He had managed to get a good head start on his pursuers, but the tracking device implanted in his head since shortly after his birth would lead them to him sooner or latter. He had managed to find a crevice in a mountain face that he could reach, even in his condition. The ancient granite around him managed to block the signal, at least temporarily, but the closed quarters didn't make breathing any easier. And what he was about to do may very well make it impossible.

He hadn't known the tracking device could be made "invisible" do Drakon's satellites, but he had seen the confusion the rocky canyons had caused among his pursuers. They always reacted when he would pop into view while jumping over a crest, falling behind when he left their line of sight. They also hadn't detonated the chip, yet.

Programmed to detonate if it did not receive the proper signals in the proper sequence--one from an overhead satellite, one from his heartbeat, one a neurologic impulse--it had not yet gone off. Perhaps, in case an officer had to leave an accessible site--to go underground, like in the sewer--a delay was placed on the chip, so the officer could complete the mission.

Ripping a steel band that had beam woven into the seam of his pants, 387 blasted it with a bio-blast, cleansing it like a scalpel.

"Uhhh . . ." The exertion almost knocked him from the narrow ledge he had perched on. It had to be now.


He started screaming even before the thin steel rod penetrated his nasal cavity, lodging itself in the silicon-metal chip below his hypothalamus. Blood poured along the rod and out his nostrils. If he had any more strength left, the rod would have punched straight through the chip setting, puncturing his brain and killing him instantly. As it was, he collapsed backwards, convulsing, but alive.

Unconsciousness wrapped its warm arms around him.

And the wolves drew closer, but they had lost the scent.