Coaster Addict – Adventure Boat Ride

Hello Planet Coaster fans! It has been a long time since my last Coaster Addict post, but I’ve been busy with other projects. Today I wanted to share an early look at two rides I’ve been working on using the Adventure pack. Originally I started this project with just the mine train coaster, but then wanted to have it cross paths with a more gentle water coaster. So, without further adieu, here’s a look at the ride layouts and the park as it stands currently.

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The mine train coaster traverses most of the park’s adventure-themed area, and actually bunny hops over the entrance. Eventually, the point where it crosses with the water coaster will be a volcano, but that’s for next time. Most of this post focuses on the water coaster as it is the farthest along.

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When I started this coaster, I was going for a cheesy dark-ride feel, but then quickly got lost in decorating. Where I’ve landed is somewhere between Disney and Cedar Fair. The shot featured above is where guests first enter the show building after boarding the boats. The ride begins as a lazy ride through the jungle, but then transitions to the crocodile lagoon.

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Not pictured here are several jumping crocodiles that terrorize guests. I also plan on putting a few waterfalls to hide the matte walls of the show building.

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After encountering “Bertha”, a massive crocodile that has just sunk a ship, guests float into a foreboding temple filled with spikes, snakes, and all manner of traps.

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Most of these traps are triggered to add a little jump factor. The roof of the temple will likely stay open to just be covered by black matte roofing. It fits with the halfway-to-Disney theme in my opinion.

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At the end of the temple, guests will encounter my best attempt at an Indiana Jones boulder scare. I’ve thrown strobes on it to add a sense of urgency, and on-ride it actually came out well. This was the last section I finished this morning, but next it’s on to creating the volcano where the two coasters will cross, and adding some of the other terrain for the mine-cart coaster.

But, here’s a sneak peak at some of the mine coaster themeing. Looking forward to sharing more soon!

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Want to see other coaster addict projects? Here’s a link to some of my past galleries as well as my Steam Workshop.

Steam Workshop

Blogs/Videos:

Haunted House – [Ride Through]

Back to the Future Coaster – [Ride Through]

Dueling Mountain Coaster

Volcano Dark Ride – [Ride Through]

Crystal Caverns Log Flume – [Ride Through]

 

Upcoming Projects

Hello everyone! I know, it’s been very quiet around here lately, so I wanted to give you an update on what’s going on with my various projects. While nothing is getting posted to the site, I’ve been writing like a madman. I’ll start with pieces that are the closest to being finished and move on from there.

Whiteout [Samples Here]

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Aside from the snazzy new logo, we’ve also finished the final proofread! What does that mean? It means that once we get the final copies of the book back, we’re going to be sending it off to our advanced reviewers and putting up our pre-order page. It also means that sometime in the next few months, this book is going to be published! For those who backed Whiteout through our GoFundMe campaign, you can expect to receive your copy and rewards a little before release. Looking forward to sharing an official release date soon.

Chadpocalypse [Samples Here]

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My first run at Book 1 of Chadpocalypse is now complete, and the links to all chapters can be found on the post for chapter 13. I plan on going to make a reference page for easier navigation at some point, but I’m not quite there yet. Now, Book 1 ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so, what’s next? Before I begin on Book 2, I want to go back through Book 1, rewrite the first few chapters as they are very short (I had no idea Chad’s story was going to be so long), and then give the rest a final pass-over. Book 2 will likely be something I work on in the background over the next year or so, so expect updates as I make my way through it.

Downpour

I don’t have a working logo for this one yet, but I’ve got some ideas. I know, Whiteout isn’t even out yet, and I’m working on the sequel. The fact is, I’ve written three Nick Ventner books already, and am too excited to stop the process. I won’t say much about the plot to avoid spoilers, but Downpour follows Nick on an adventure through South America as he searches for the mythical Temple of the Dead. There’s plenty of interesting monsters based on real and altered legends that are going to get in his way, and I couldn’t be more excited about where the book is at! Currently, I’ve finished the first five chapters of the Downpour rewrite, and look forward to sharing some samples after Whiteout hits the shelves later this year.

Ghosting [Part 1 Here]

Ghosting is my tribute to my Uncle Dick who donated a considerable amount to the Whiteout Crowdfunding campaign. He’s a big fan of sci-fi, and so I started writing a hard-boiled, detective, Bladerunner-esque story for him. Ghosting follows the story of Detective Dick, who has joined the fabled Ghost Program. This is a small group of people recruited to solve murders by using new technology to live through the eyes of the deceased. I’m in progress on Part 2 of this story right now, and will likely share it in the next few weeks. I’m not sure how long the final product will be, so I guess I’ll just have to see how long it takes Dick to solve the case of the Rabbit Man and get back to you.

The Stakes – A Nick Ventner Tale

If Whiteout and Downpour are Nick Ventner Adventures, then short stories like The Lake and The Tracks are Nick Ventner tales. I like to think of these stories as one-off ramblings that Nick would tell to get a few free drinks at his favorite bar, The Haven. The Stakes sees Nick recounting the hubris of his youth (yes, there used to be even more hubris), and an encounter with vampires in the American north. I’d say I’m almost done with Part I, and it will be a two part story. Expect to see this one after I post the second part of Ghosting.

A Man of the Mountain [Samples Here]

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Finally, we’ve got Nick Ventner Adventures, Nick Ventner Tales, and then a novella that I wrote a while back that sees Nick hunting a very odd sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest. This story deserves a proper rewrite, and I definitely want to do it, but it’s a little lower on the priority list right now. All the same, I can’t wait to jump back into it when I get the chance. Likewise, I can’t wait to make a logo that’s a little less blocky.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got. Thanks everyone for reading and for supporting me as I work on getting my first novel out. I can’t wait to share more with you.

–Ashton

Chadpocalypse 1:13

The final chapter of Chadpocalypse Book 1 is here! I do plan on returning to Book 2 later this year, but my next projects are going to be the final proofread of my novel, Whiteout, finishing the short story, Ghosting, and then the rewrite of Whiteout’s sequel, Downpour. Looking forward to sharing more from those projects as I progress. Thanks to everyone who has read through Chadpocalypse with me. It’s been a lot of fun.

Finally, if you’re interested in becoming an advance reader for future Aberrant Literature projects, including my novel, sign up HERE.

 Need to catch up? Links below:

Part 1-2Part 3Part 4, Part 5Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12

1:13 Pestilence – AKA When the Drugs Kicked In

Lightning cracked across the night sky and Chad felt a familiar tingling sensation run up his arm. Both Joe and James were ignoring him, caught up in some deep conversation about Hell on earth. Feeling slighted, Chad turned around to look out at the dimly-lit parking lot.

With no surprise, he found that it looked like just that, a normal, dimly-lit parking lot connecting a bar and a laundromat. The few lights there were buzzed incessantly atop their high metal poles, filling the air with constant low-level static. Above them, a bright moon had peaked out from between dark clouds to light the parking lot. To Chad, the sight was almost peaceful, that was, until the lights in the lot began to go out one by one.

There was a muted crackle as each bulb dimmed and faded to black. “Oh shit,” Chad whispered. He looked up at the clouds and found they had begun to swirl in an ominous funnel. A dull red light began to pulse in between them, as if they had become very hot. “Uh, guys?” Chad wasn’t sure if he was actually speaking, or just thinking very loudly. One thing was clear, the drugs had absolutely begun to kick in. Every hair on Chad’s arms stood straight up.

“So what kind of Hell on earth are we dealing with?” asked James to Joe.

“The biblical kind.” Joe motioned to his robes as if it should have been obvious.

A pitchfork of red lightning cracked out of the storm cloud, very nearly hitting Joe’s car. The pavement sizzled and sparked, glowing hot from where it had been struck. All three men jumped.

Joe made the sign of the cross over his chest. “That was close.” He looked morosely at his car. The front bumper still hung at an odd angle from where they had jousted the hellhound, and one of the tires had begun to sag. By any measure, it shouldn’t have been going anywhere unless it was a mechanic, or more likely, a junkyard.

James’s hand involuntarily moved to his stomach once more. “Way too close.”

Chad stared at the red crater that had formed where the lightning hit. The edges of his vision began to blur slightly. “Oh shit,” he repeated. Red light shone from the place the lightning had struck, similar to the crack in the diner when Mrs. B had been dragged away. He was about to try speaking again when a red cherub with a nasty grin sauntered around from behind his right leg.

“Howdy, Chad,” it said with the voice of a cartoon character.

Looking at it, Chad swore it even looked like a cartoon character. “Are you here about the apocalypse?” His heart raced and his mind soared, making it impossible to think of any better questions.

“Oh, certainly not.” The cherub folded its pudgy red arms and beat tiny wings pushing it into an uneasy flight. It stopped at a hover when it was level with Chad’s face. “I’m just a manifestation of that little pill you took earlier.” The cherub winked and made the motion of swallowing a pill of its own. “But I’m sure he has a thing or two to say about the end of times.” The cherub giggled with glee and pointed toward where the lightning had struck in the parking lot.

The red pit had continued to grow, unnoticed by the two men who were once again absorbed in conversation, and Chad, struggling to understand what he was seeing. A hand reached out from within the pit, scrabbling and small at first, but growing with every second. It transformed into a thick, corded, black claw. Its nails dug into the concrete, finding purchase and gripping tightly. A set of curved green horns rose from the pit.

“So biblical Hell on earth? What does that even look like?” asked James.

“Uh, kind of like that,” said Chad, pointing a shaky finger at the crater.

James and Joe paid him no heed.

Pestilence rose from the pit, no longer looking like a man in a polo t-shirt, but a massive winged demon with a green fire burning behind his eyes. He looked at the three of them hungrily, but upon noticing that two hadn’t even noticed him, a look of consternation crossed his face. He cleared his throat, but the sound was so deep that it sounded more like thunder than anything. Then, as if realizing an easy solution to a complex problem, Pestilence brought a massive clawed hand down on Joe’s car, causing it to explode in a glorious fireball.

“Oh what the fu—” Joe turned around and the words died in his throat. His mouth opened and closed, but no sound came out. Eventually he managed: “My car…”

James on the other hand was backing away from the beast quickly, eyes shooting from place to place, looking for escape options.

“Oooh, he sure is a big one, isn’t he?” said the cherub with a whistle.

“Yeah,” replied Chad. “Any ideas?”

“Who are you talking to?” asked Joe.

Chad shrugged and returned his attention to the cherub.

“You could try to bargain with him,” offered the cherub. “Demons do love their bargaining.”

“Never been much good at bargaining,” mumbled Chad, stepping forward toward pestilence beyond his will.

“Oh that’s right,” squealed the cherub in delight. “You show him what’s what!”

“Chad, what the fuck are you doing?” asked Joe.

Chad barely heard him. He looked up at the massive winged figure that was Pestilence. His immediate reaction was one of total and utter despair. Chad couldn’t have performed a run-of-the-mill exorcism, much less banish a fully-fledged demon, but as far as the drugs were concerned, he didn’t have many options.

Pestilence eyed him suspiciously as he approached.

“Hey, wasn’t there supposed to be something about fair play?” asked Chad, with more timidity than he would have liked.

Pestilence cocked his horned head to one side and let out a throaty laugh that sounded like it was being grated across sand paper. “Fair play?” he mocked. “It was fair play the second we told you the apocalypse was coming. As far as either side is concerned, what happens in the year leading up to that point is entirely open to interpretation.”

“Shit,” swore Chad. He was about to try bargaining when a small, clear vial of liquid flew in an arc from behind him.

“Oh no,” said the cherub. “That was a bad idea.”

The vial spun in the air and smashed on the Pestilence with a lazy sizzle.

“Holy water?” chuckled Pestilence. “Really, father?”

Chad looked behind him to see Joe looking rather sheepish and James cursing his stupidity. It felt nice to not be the one being berated for once.

“Well, I’m a busy man, might as well get this done with.” Pestilence held up a mighty clawed hand and summoned a glowing green ball of what appeared to be sludge. “It used to be so much easier when all I had to do was conjure a plague.” With an air that was almost casual, he lobbed the green ball at the three men.

It flew through the air, sputtering and sending acidic cascading to the ground as it went. Wherever they touched, the pavement eroded as though it were being eaten by a hungry rock giant. “I’d dodge to the right if I were you,” said the cherub, already fluttering out of the projectile’s way.

Chad threw himself to the side, narrowly avoiding a quick death. The ball sizzled past him and off to the right side of the bar, hitting one of the parking lot’s lone trees. From the base up, the wood deadened almost instantaneously. In a matter of seconds, the tree was white as a ghost and looked as though it had spent a year in the desert.

A drop of green landed on Joe’s robes, and where it touched, they spun away into nothing, leaving a wide tear.

“Jesus Christ!” yelled James, backing away.

“Really, boy?” Joe crossed himself again. “Now’s not the fucking time to take his name in vain. We need all the help we can get.”

Pestilence laughed again, causing the street lamps to shake in the concrete. “The lord is busy right now. Not like a drunk, an undead, and a waste of space are exactly on his good list anyway.”

“An undead?” asked Joe, turning to James.

“We can talk about it later,” he panted. “Let’s deal with this first.”

“Seems like we could use a bit of holy might,” offered the cherub to Chad, who was still staring breathless at their unbeatable opponent.

Pestilence was taking his time, gloating and conjuring another ball of death or god knows what.

Meanwhile, the parking lot had turned into an ancient battlefield for Chad. It appeared that the cherub was not going to be the only side effect of his little pill. Amber waves of grain spread out before him, starting as seeds, and growing to full stalks. A vibrant, white moon burst into the sky above him, shining bright light upon the hill. The hill sloped down towards Pestilence, where in a ring, everything had begun to wither and die.

“Holy might, huh? How are we supposed to get that?” Chad looked at his arm as armor began to assemble on it from thin air.

“Martyrdom is never a bad choice.” The cherub rested its head on a balled hand as if thinking it over. “Works most of the time, and if it doesn’t, you’ll never know.”

“Seems sort of like a one trick pony.” As he said it, a juggling pony appeared next to him on the field. He was about to ask it if it could do anything else, when Pestilence loosed another projectile. The pony gave a final snort and was immediately reduced to bones, and shortly after to ash. The juggling balls fell lightly to the ground and rolled toward Pestilence.

“You son of a bitch!” yelled Chad. “That pony was a national treasure!” The nervous feeling that accompanies a near death experience left Chad. Instead, he felt a warm tingling sensation that he interpreted as the lord speaking to him, and began to advance on Pestilence. “Pony, you will be avenged.” With the ill-guided confidence of one who thinks they have a god on their side, Chad ran forward toward Pestilence.

Pestilence looked down on him like he was an ant. “What’s this then?” he asked curiously.

As Chad ran, a holy sword appeared in his hand. He held it forward like a lance and let out a battle cry.

“Oh fuck yes!” yelled the cherub, mounting a tiny airborne warhorse and pulling out an M16 machine gun. “To WAR!”

Together, the two of them ran down the field toward the chuckling Pestilence, and before Chad had time to register what a colossally bad idea it was, he was leaping toward where he thought the creature’s heart might be. He flew through the air like a spear thrown by an Olympian. Pestilence’s only reaction was a shocked expression. Chad’s sword pierced the creature’s thick hide and there was a blinding explosion of white light.

Chad felt an uncomfortable sensation, like the skin was sliding off his bones. He saw nothing but a vast whiteness, and the cherub floating beside him, equally confused.

“Did it work?” he asked, or at least he thought he asked. The words never quite came out.

The cherub shrugged, and then, all at once, it was as if all the lights in the world just turned out.

End of Part I


 

Want to know more about Nick Ventner? Check out the first few chapters of Whiteout, the first in the Nick Ventner series! There’s also a short story featuring Nick, a lake monster, and a whole lot of chocolate. Links Below:

Whiteout Prologue/ Whiteout Chapter 1

The Lake

The Tracks

Chadpocalypse 1:12

The next chapter of Chadpocalypse is here! Need to catch up? Links below:

Part 1-2Part 3Part 4, Part 5Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11

Remember, if you like what you read, share, like, and check out my GoFundMe Page!

1:12 Hired Help

When Joe told Chad they were headed to a bar, he was excited, but when he saw the slumped old building barely lit by the neon sign of the adjacent dry cleaners, he began to have second thoughts. The day had turned to night and thick clouds blotted out the moon, bathing midway in a rare darkness. It was an odd turn for Midway, which rarely saw any moisture during the dry summer months. As Chad looked up at the clouds, he saw a certain thickness to them, like they were ready to burst. An odd tingling sensation ran up and down his back.

To say the bar was nothing special would have been an understatement. It was a squat wooden building that looked as though it might have had an Asian theme at one point. Bamboo grew wild on one side, untended for years. The lot would have been unlit had it not been for the rotating neon sign depicting a two-legged gold dragon attached to the laundromat. Its glow gave the impression that the laundromat was somehow important, and by comparison, that the bar was not.

“You sure this is the right place?” asked Chad.

Joe was taking off a gold cross he wore beneath his robes and hiding it in the car’s center console. “What? Not what you expected?”

A grimy backlit sign above the bar read: “Jimmy’s”. There was no neon sign declaring that it was open for business, and the bar itself did little to attract attention. The building might have been Asian themed at some point, but all that remained of those times were the sweeping edges of the roof. It looked as though at one point it might have been a pagoda, but now it was just run down.

“Doesn’t look like much.”

“They want you to think that.” Joe rubbed his hands together nervously and looked around the parking lot. “If it was conspicuous, then everyone would know where it was.”

“Church of the Second Book is easy enough to find.” If anyone wanted to keep their practices secret, Chad would have thought it to be them.

“Ah, but they stay out of conflict, which puts them in considerably less danger. These ones run toward it.” Joe opened the car door, and a light breeze laden with static blew into the car.

“Feels like a storm,” said Chad absently. Something about the whole situation felt off, like he was watching it from the perspective of an outside observer. Maybe this is how people feel before they die, his mind added, ever helpful. Or maybe you’re still feeling the remnants of last night’s hangover and need a drink, he countered. Chad’s hand once more reached for the mescaline, and this time, there was no intervention to stop it. As he opened the car door and stepped into the night air, he popped the pill in his mouth and swallowed before Joe could notice.

The air outside was muggy. Chad’s clothes stuck to his body almost immediately and he found himself once more looking up, apprehensive at the sky.

Joe stepped out of the car. “I think you might be right.” He looked up at the clouds. “Best we finish our business here quickly. Something tells me these clouds aren’t the work of a benevolent God.” He crossed himself.

Chad had been feeling the same, but didn’t want to say anything about it. Shrugging the notion off as a piece of his omnipresent anxiety, Chad walked toward the bar. “How are we going to know this Nick when we see him?”

“Oh you’ll know him,” seethed Joe. “Real asshole. Some might call him good looking, but I’m not going to do his ego the service. He’ll be surrounded by a crowd of drunks, telling some terrible story about a monster that he never actually fought.”

“I thought he was supposed to be the best?”

“Manchester was the best. Nick is just pretty good, and reputations are almost always built on lies and deceit. It’s just the way the industry works.” Joe approached the bar’s western-style double doors and pushed them open. His long black coat flared behind him dramatically.

Inside, was exactly what Chad expected. A dive bar with several drunks sitting around faded booths with flickering lights, and in the center, a good-looking man, telling a tall tale about monster he had most definitely never fought. When they walked in, the man was making a waving gesture with his arm, depicting a massive snake, and talking about the deaths of an Amazonian porter crew like they were nothing.

“Yacumamas are no joking matter,” he slurred.

Christ, thought Chad, are we all just a bunch of alchies then? As the thought dawned on him, another took precedence, he wanted a drink. The nausea would soon kick in from the mescaline, and nothing would sooth his stomach better than a cup of coke and ice drenched in rum. Before Joe could say anything, he walked over to the counter in the back of the bar.

At first glance, the bar’s occupants looked exceedingly normal. There was a man passed out in a darkened corner cradling an empty glass, a lanky woman leaning over the table touching the hand of another whispering sweet nothing, and of course, the roar of storytelling from what he presumed to be Nick’s table. The bar’s overall dim nature made details easy to miss at first glance, but as his eyes adjusted, Chad saw more.

For instance, the drunk in the darkened booth might have been cradling an empty glass in one hand, but there was an oversized crossbow in the other with a silver skull wrought on top. The lanky woman was certainly whispering sweet nothings, but her eyes twisted and turned in hypnotic rhythm. Chad wondered whether the drugs had begun to kick in, but dismissed the thought. Even the best stuff would still take an hour.

He reached the bar at the back abruptly and found himself face-to-face with a burly man in a suit that was far too nice for the bar they were in. “You new around here?” the man asked with no pretense of politeness.

Chad took too long to think of a response.

“Alright, here’s what I’m going to do,” said the man, just as Joe was catching up. “You’re going to have a drink on the house, and then you’re going to forget you ever found this place. Sound good?” His tone was kind, but with a hint of deadly seriousness beneath the surface.

“But if we leave, how will we ever gain the endless knowledge of the fantastic Mr. Ventner over there,” said Joe, sitting down on a stool next to Chad.

The bartender looked at Joe with recognition. “Long time, Joe.”

“Well, I tend to drink behind the pews these days.” He motioned to his robes.

“You’re not the first priest to drink here, and I’m sure you won’t be the last.” The bartender brought out two high-ball glasses. “Still drink Whiskey?”

“That I do, Jimmy.”

“What about you?” he asked, turning to Chad.

“Rum and coke will do.”

“Good man.” Jimmy filled the glasses with ice and the respective spirits. “Nick’s in the middle of a pretty fiery one right now, you’ll be hard pressed to get his attention.” A small crowd had gathered around Mr. Ventner and appeared to be hanging on his every word. He made a loud sound effect to simulate the rattling of machine gun fire and slammed a fist down on the table. The pint glasses shook precariously on the table, but none fell.

Joe drained his glass. “Well, he owes me one.” He stood up and walked over to the table where Nick was telling his story.

Jimmy shrugged. “This oughta be interesting.”

Not wanting to be left behind, Chad finished his drink, thanked Jimmy and followed Joe.

Nick looked up briefly at the newcomers and then returned to telling his story.

When it became clear that Nick wasn’t going to stop, Joe cleared his throat. “Excuse me Mr. Ventner.”

Nick looked up, annoyed. “What do you want, priest? I thought we didn’t allow religious zealots into this bar, Jimmy!”

“That was your suggestion, not my rule,” said Jimmy who had returned to polishing glasses.

Nick made a rude gesture. “So, father, what’s so important that you needed to interrupt my sto—”

Before Nick could finish his sentence, Joe swung his fist, knocking Nick onto the ground. He was on the verge of getting up when there was the click of a shotgun barrel being loaded. Jimmy stood behind the bar with it pointed straight at Joe’s back. “Swing again and it’ll be the last thing you ever do.”

“But he—” started Joe.

“I’m sure he deserved it, but this bar is a neutral zone, and I intend to keep it that way. Now put your fucking fist down and get out of this bar.” Then, softening his tone he said: “You know the rules, Joe. No exceptions.”

Chad raised his hands to protest, but Jimmy pointed the shotgun a little higher. “Don’t be an idiot.”

Nick stood slowly from the floor, wiping the blood from his mouth as he did so. “Fucking priests, always holding a god damned grudge.”

“Shut up Nick or I’ll let him hit you again,” said Jimmy coolly.

Joe let out a frustrated huff and walked away. “I knew this was a waste of time.” Joe walked away, cursing as he went. The bars doors had swung shut before Chad had even begun to move.

“You too, kid,” said Jimmy to Chad. “Trust me, walk away.”

Chad threw up his hands in frustration and turned to Nick. “When the apocalypse wipes you the fuck out, you’ll wish you’d been nicer.”

“Not the first time someone’s threatened us with the end of the world,” said Nick, his lower lip growing puffy.

Chad felt anger rise within him, but kept a hold on it and walked outside. Rain had begun to fall. Joe was standing on the curb cursing and holding his swollen hand. The punch had landed square, but it was never as easy as they made it look in the movies. “Arrogant bastard,” he seethed.

Chad walked over to him, furious, and also nervous that he had wasted the drugs on the vengeance of a drunk. “What the hell did you do that for?” Once more he felt like a parent admonishing a willful child.

“It was for the boy. Nick fucking deserved it. We’ll find someone else to help us with the horseman.”

“Mrs. B said to find Nick Ventner, and Carla said not to ignore the words of the dead. Seems like you don’t give much of a fuck when it comes to the advice of others.” Chad understood, he was also prone to irrational action, but it was more frustrating to be on the receiving end. Tired bags clung to the bottom of his eyelids. He just wanted to go home, sleep for a week, and then get good and drunk. The apocalypse could go fuck itself so long as the demons left him his year.

“I couldn’t help but overhear your predicament.”

Joe and Chad spun around.

The voice had come from a shadowy corner of the bar where the light from the laundromat’s neon sign didn’t quite reach.

“Back the fuck up,” said Chad, feigning confidence, and feeling his stomach tighten.

“Woah, easy there.” A young man stepped out of the shadows, a crop of brown hair hanging over his eyes, hands raised in a gesture of peace. He wore a long coat that looked more like it was trying to make an impression than be functional. “I’m a friend of Nick’s.”

Joe took another step back. “That’s not saying much.”

“Fair enough,” said the man. “Let me guess, he’s in there drunk, telling an unbelievable story, and your hand is swollen because you hit him.” The man spread his hands in an understanding gesture. “I know, because I’ve done it too.”

“Took one of my clergy as an apprentice and got them killed.”

“Sounds like Nick,” said the man with a long sigh. “His apprentices don’t tend to live long.” His hand moved to his stomach involuntarily.

Thinking he was pulling a gun, Chad stepped back.

“Oh, ease up. I was and am Nick’s apprentice. James Schaefer at your service. If he can’t help you, maybe I can.”


 

Want to know more about Nick Ventner? Check out the first few chapters of Whiteout, the first in the Nick Ventner series! There’s also a short story featuring Nick, a lake monster, and a whole lot of chocolate. Links Below:

Whiteout Prologue/ Whiteout Chapter 1

The Lake

The Tracks

Chadpocalypse 1:11

The next chapter of Chadpocalypse is here! Need to catch up? Links below:

Part 1-2Part 3Part 4, Part 5Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10

Remember, if you like what you read, share, like, and check out my GoFundMe Page!

1:11 Bad Reputation

They walked through the chapel, passing groups of people in plain clothes and in the black cloth of the clergy, all with their heads bowed in prayer. At the front of the room was a modern edifice of Christ, carved in wood, depicted as a rogue in a duster with a massive cross slung over his shoulder. Chad found it far more comforting than the traditional, more torturous image of the crucifixion. Joe looked like a man who wanted to brazenly yell ‘blasphemy!’, but respectfully remained silent.

At the back of the chapel there was a statue of three wise men playing a game of dice. Carla pulled on one of their beards and a stone slab recessed into the wall, revealing a dark tunnel. She led them through the passage and into a small grotto with dim light shining from pockets in the stone ceiling. Water poured down grooves in the walls into small pools illuminated in deep blue. Several plush couches had been arranged in the center of the room around a wooden table covered in glass decanters. Three stone chalices had been set out.

“Expecting company?” asked Joe.

“I’m always prepared.” Carla sat on one of the couches and picked up a green glass decanter with the stopper in the shape of a skull. She poured thick, red liquid into the stone cup closest to her.

Chad felt his hand reaching down toward the mescaline in his pocket, but balled his fist up tight, resisting the urge. Something deep within told him that it was not yet the time, and that he was going to need it. There was a part of his brain that yelled at him to take it before it was somehow taken away, but Chad shut it out.

While Chad struggled internally, Joe and Carla began discussing the concept of Hell on earth at length. Chad thought that most of it sounded like arcane bullshit, but each time the word apocalypse was mentioned, he felt his attention rise. As much as he understood little, he did know that without their help, the world was only going to have a year left.

Joe and Carla chatted and drank, ignoring Chad as if he were one of the church’s many statues. Cups were drained and refilled, and yet Chad sat, cup dry, with no offers of refreshment. He was growing angry when Carla came to the same conclusion as Mrs. B had in the diner. “One way or another, it looks like we’re going to need some outside help.”

“Were those not swords I saw hanging above the alter?” Joe motioned back toward the chapel.

Carla rolled her eyes. “You know as much as I do that they’re decorative. Unlike the traditional churches, we take a strictly neutral stance on the conflicts above, below and in between. Tends to keep us out of awkward situations like… I don’t know, holy wars, genocide, you name it.”

“Thousands of years later and your still can’t let us live down The Crusades.”

“I know more than a few undead who are still pretty sore about it.”

Chad was about to ask about the undead when Joe cut him off.

“Ancient history and necromancy aside, I know what you’re going to suggest Carla, and the answer is no.”

“Do it or don’t,” she raised her hands placatively. “It’s none of my business, but no matter which way you slice it, you’re going to need Nick Venter.”

Joe winced as if the very mention of the name pained him.

“Oh give it a rest. What did he do to you that was so bad anyway? It can’t be worse than excommunication.” Carla drank deeply from her goblet. The statement had been a jab, but there was true hurt behind it.

A dark look crossed Joe’s face. “Doctor Ventner took a young man from the clergy as his apprentice. As you know, with his track record, that’s a death sentence. I heard a month later the poor kid had been tossed into a volcano to satisfy an island god.” Joe drank bitterly to the memory.

“Sounds like Nick alright. Oh, and he’s not a doctor.”

“Really?” Joe seemed surprised.

“Can you imagine Ventner in a place of higher education? He wouldn’t last ten minutes with someone else calling the shots. No, people just sort of assume, and he does nothing to correct the rumor. Call him Mr. Ventner when you see him; it’ll piss him right off.”

Joe smiled at the thought.

“Who is this Nick Ventner anyway?” interjected Chad.

Carla looked him over. “You heard any of the stories?”

“Ghost at a local diner told me to find him before she was dragged to Hell.” Chad shuddered at the memory. “Then this one,” He gestured to Joe, “said that he wouldn’t have anything to do with him. Sounds popular.”

“You received instructions from the undead to find him?” asked Carla, the conversational tone gone from her voice.

“Yes, that’s why I went—”

“Then why the hell are you here?” Her voice was suddenly full of a chastising anger. “Disobeying the wishes of the undead is unwise.”

“I have no idea who Nick Ventner is, and I figured the best place to learn about Hell on earth was a church.” Chad shrugged. “Closest church to B’s Diner was Joe’s.”

Carla nodded with understanding, but kept her serious demeanor. “When the dead speak, it’s for good reason. Returning to the land of the living is no easy feat.” She paused, thinking the matter over and returned her attention to Joe. “Look, I can give you all the information we’ve got on the end of times, but at some point, you’re going to need to set aside your anger for the greater good.”

“He got a member of my clergy killed, Carla.”

“One death, or the death of the world as we know it? Should be an easy choice for a man of the cloth.” She eyed his robes. “So long as that still means something.”

Joe scowled. “Of course it does.” He drained his chalice. “I’m just not sure Ventner will live long if I find him.”

Carla rolled her eyes. “Ok tough guy.”

“What are you trying to say?”

Carla ignored Joe. “Fair play dictates that Chad has a year to stop the apocalypse from happening, but doesn’t say anything about how anyone could accomplish such a feat. I’ll put our best people on it, but if Chad gets killed in the interim…”

“Yeah, I’d prefer to avoid that if possible,” interjected Chad, briefly feeling like a part of the conversation.

“Yes, I’m sure you have so much to live for. The hell hound on the freeway was likely the first of many, and if they chose you for fair play, it means that you’re the only one who can stop it, and they don’t think there’s any way you’ll be able to do it. You’re not going to survive whatever they send next without outside help.”

Joe opened his mouth to protest again.

“You are going to need Nick Ventner. He’s killed more beasts than the rest of the Order combined.”

“Can’t we just use Manchester?” asked Joe.

“Haven’t you heard? Manchester hasn’t been seen since his party left for the mountains three months ago. Most hold out hope, but if our intel is to be believed, he’s dead. Nick Ventner is your best hope. Now, as painful as it might be, swallow your anger, and go find him, or we’re all lost.”


 

Want to know more about Nick Ventner? Check out the first few chapters of Whiteout, the first in the Nick Ventner series! There’s also a short story featuring Nick, a lake monster, and a whole lot of chocolate. Links Below:

Whiteout Prologue/ Whiteout Chapter 1

The Lake

The Tracks