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Balance - Book One by Marc Dickason
Urban Fantasy

Genre/Category: Fantasy Books
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Balance - Book One by Marc Dickason
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Ebook Synopsis

When Jet Clarence is granted unwanted supernatural abilities, the doors of a previously unseen world of magic are thrown open. He need now only harness the powers to take advantage of the power, before the accompanying demon drives him to insanity.

BALANCE is an urban fantasy, dark comedy, set in a world that is as similar to our own as it is completely unique. As the reader ventures deeper into its violent and chaotic landscape, the clearer the layers of darkness will become.

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The more specific details of the dream slip my mind, but what I do recall with some clarity is seeing the tuxedo for the first time.

I recognised it as the design often referred to with humorous, somewhat clichéd connections to penguins, and noted it was made of the expensive sort of fabric a wise old tailor would rub between thumb and forefinger while nodding in approval.

The suit stood before me, perfectly fitted, buttoned and shining gloriously. What struck me as odd was that a person was suspiciously absent from the expensive clothing. Where a neck and head should have protruded was only empty space.

“I command you reveal yourself,” my dream presence said, and with that a face swam into focus above the empty collar; a human face by all means, but for the light blue skin and pupil-less, blood-red eyes.

The face looked at me in response, and then I felt the pointy object being forced into my lower back, three inches above my backside. I attempted to reach for the object and realised I was unable to move, but not restrained in any obvious way.

Bizarrely, I did not panic. Not yet.

How long I was in that vulnerable position is a bit of a mystery. It seems to have been only moments, but on reflection it may have been a great deal longer. At some point, the pain in my back becoming unbearable, I spoke again;

“Jet Clarence, mental state awake.” A rather odd and specific thing to say. “Jet Clarence, mental state awake…”

And then I was alone in my bedroom, lying amongst twisted bed covers and gazing up at shafts of early morning sunlight penetrating the curtains.

With mind scrambling to catch up with reality and be convinced I was awake, I slipped a hand under my night T-shirt and massaged the aching spot on my lower back.

It took a few more moments before the chaos surrounding me was registered. Every object in my bedroom; bedside table, lamp, chair, and shoes, was sitting as if flung from where I lay.

To my left; the wooden bedside table had been sent skidding across the floor till it came into contact with the wall and could go no further. Looking down the length of my body I saw the chair which normally sat at the foot of my bed, generally covered in discarded clothing, pushed forward till it now sat leaning against my cupboard.

“What the hell…?” Before the words had been formed my eyes were drifting up to the light fixture. It swung erratically, arching through the air directly above my head, as if molested seconds before.

I did not yet see the blood on the wall, but would soon enough.

So there I lay in sleepy confusion, the twittering of early morning birds audible beyond my window, glancing around the room and half expecting to see a sneaky assailant hiding in the corner, pointy object clutched in hand. But I was alone.

Desperate to make sense of the situation, I stood, stumbled from my bedroom and into the bathroom.

When I lifted my shirt and turned my back to the mirror, the bright red mark where the pointy object had done its business was visible.

This in itself would have been enough to get me alarmed, but upon returning to my room I now spotted the blood on the wall; the shape and size of a starfish.

At first I could not imagine from where it had originated, but the source soon revealed itself at my feet.

Critter was my mom’s boyfriend’s cat. He had been flung against the wall with enough force to kill him instantly.

“Oh no…” I muttered, my hand clapping itself over my mouth.


* * *


It was no secret in the Clarence household that Critter and I did not see eye-to-eye. On more than one occasion it had been hinted at that I disliked the fat, stupid animal. On other occasions I had been out-rightly accused of hating him, who knew why.

If forced to be honest, I thought of Critter the same way that some might view a disease-infested rat. And no, the irony that “Critter” was a sort of self-fulfilling name in that case was not lost on me. From his pointy little ears which sprouted puffs of black hair, to his flat face that looked as if it had been the victim of a door slamming, I loathed Critter. Always slinking around and purring, with that smug look, like he had just found a cure for cancer and was expecting praise.

But I did not kill Critter, and would not kill any animal. At least not on purpose. And the fact that the little bastard was dead put me in a whole world of trouble. My mind had not begun to process how the murder had occurred.

Clinton, Critter’s before mentioned owner, was the only person I saw less eye-to-eye with then the ridiculous creature itself. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that the man was an unemployed drunk, but to put it in a nutshell we did not get along.

And I was certain cat homicide was not going to serve as the bonding occasion that brought us closer together.

It was about 5:45am when I crept downstairs, snuck into the kitchen and stole a garbage bag from the drawer.

By 6:00am I had Critter in the bag; a process that took about fourteen minutes longer than I thought it would. The delay being time spent gathering the courage to handle a bloody feline.

And it was just after 6:06am when I stepped into the crisp morning air and began to dig a hole in the back garden. Having not been able to find the actual hole digging shovel I was forced to settle for the little hand version that had me digging till 6:15am.

Critter was put to rest, bless his furry soul, at 6:35am.

By the time I tiptoed back up to my room I sensed no indication I had been overheard by my mother or Clinton and, as I grabbed a sponge from my bathroom and the scrubbing of the blood stain on the wall began, I felt satisfied that I was in the clear. For the moment.

When my alarm clock went off at 7:30am I descended the wooden staircase as per normal, dressed for work in my standard attire of “whatever happened to be close at hand”.

I headed for the kitchen to find my mother, Liza, already cooking eggs. Dressed in apron and flattering work clothes one was dared to believe she was a day over thirty five.

Her spectacle wearing boyfriend, Clinton, who hadn’t been polite enough to die during the night and disappear forever, gave me an uncertain smile from the small kitchen table. His appearance on the other hand loudly declared every day of his fifty odd years on Earth.

“Morning, Jet.” he said hopefully.

“Clinton.” A single word was all he was getting, and lucky to have gotten it. I sat across from him and avoided his eyes. My mother looked over her shoulder,

“Want some eggs?”


I sat in silence, half expecting accusation of being a cat murderer. None come. The eggs continued their sizzle in the pan.

“Clinton’s going for an interview later.” my mother said, trying as much to break the silence as to once again convince me her boyfriend was good for more than drinking her money away. As if to validate her statements’ truthfulness, the skinny man offered me a grin.

“Great.” I murmured, letting the room fall back into silence.

After another pause I spoke my mind; “I just had the strangest dream, mother.”

“Oh? Do tell.” she replied, flipping the eggs.

I knew she was sore at me for not accommodating her attempt to involve Clinton in our morning small talk, but had stopped caring long ago.

“I’m wondering if it might not have been magical.” I continued.

“Really?” This got her interest.

Beside me Clinton sunk into his chair, accepting he would have no part in yet another conversation.

My mother had always been the only one in our family with any real level of natural magical ability. Except for my grandmother of course, but since I only saw her once a year at most I hardly considered her to be “real” family.

“What makes you think it was magical?” my mother asked, and already there was a hint of excitement in her voice.

“Well…” I wasn’t sure how to put it. And besides it was not so much the dream that bothered me as much as moving of objects and dead animal.

The brochures they handed out on the first day of high school always said stuff like “dreams of a magical nature,” but what that meant I wasn’t sure. I had never cared enough to read further. Nowhere had I heard mention of remote manipulation of physical objects.

“I was attacked.” I said, hoping that my mother knew more then I did.

“Attacked?” She slid the eggs onto plates and placed one in front of Clinton. He started eating, thankful to have his mouth occupied.

“Yes, attacked. Something was pushed into my back.”

“Okay. And you saw someone there?”

Someone? Had it been a ‘someone?’ “Some kind of creature with a blue face and red eyes. Not human, I don’t think.”

“Alright,” She put a second plate in front of me and took a seat to my right. “And did this blue guy say anything?”

“No. I looked in the mirror after, there’s a mark on my back.”

She frowned. I stuffed eggs in my mouth and watched her, wondering if she guessed there was more to the story. But she broke into a beaming smile and gave my shoulder a sharp slap. It was supposed to be an indication of congratulations, but succeeded only in making a forkful of egg miss my mouth by an inch. She did these kinds of things, my mother. Odd little gestures of parental affection that should’ve come from a father. I loved her for trying.