Monday, June 27, 2016

The Lost And The Found Part 6: Clash Inside And Out

The white haired man stepped forward to confront the lady he'd seen in the cargo container. She'd been very deceptive he thought, a tell tale sign that she was working with the forces of Lorr. She'd penetrated their defenses almost effortlessly hadn't she?

The adult Ai Yuanlin Ying flew the distance of the passage and into the assembly hall her wings glowing and stretching to encompass her target. She rolled to the passage floor landing up with her legs directing into a kick. She impacted Jasmer before he was able to respond and it was Yirfir that came to his aid. She let forth a bolt of coldness attempting to constrain the Butterfly woman.

The Butterfly dodged just barely under the bolt as it smashed into the wall on the opposite side of the chamber.

"Excuse me M'aam, but that's my friend." Monique said as she reappeared behind Yirfir grabbing one of her free arms.

Yirfir turned to face this new threat just as Monique transformed herself into a blinding light. Yirfir grabbed at her eyes as Jasmer dove to protect her.

"Besides, you're already on my naughty list for trafficking in people." Monique responded as Shaela delivered her retorte.

"If you really were as bright as you are verbal, you'd have figured out that we're trying to stop them!" Shaela directed her hand emitting forth a dark cloud that dimmed even Monique's bright light.

Mila stepped in to cast one of her pieces of artwork rendering Monique into it like a prison. It was a maze however the perspective had been skewed in such a way that one could not tell which direction was up or down. Monique clung to the walls as she struggled to find her way out of the newly emerged structure as it grew to take up the space that filled the assembly hall.

Feylashar had made it to Yirfir and Jasmer by the time the maze had enveloped them. She immediately tended to Yirfir's eyes returning her sight once again.

Meanwhile Xenshi, Xushu, Sato and Jeong Soon had moved forward to contend with the Butterfly lady on her own grounds. All three were martial arts experts each from a different school of training.

"Four on one? Is that how your instructors taught you to compete?" Heylyn asked them.

"This is our home where we live in peace. You came here uninvited and laid siege upon us." Jeong Soon reminded her.

"You laid siege upon me by trafficking in people." Heylyn accused Jeong Soon.

"We are not the ones responsible for the travesty you left behind. Hear us out and this might save us this confrontation." Sato asked of her.

Heylyn calmed herself as she evaluated their reasoning. Inside her head another war was being waged by Lorr.

"Don't listen to them! They are deceivers! They are playing you and your friend! You will die by their hands if you let your guard down!" Lorr said to her psyche.

"You're playing me! You just want me to let my guard down!" Heylyn replied to Sato setting up her defensive stance.

Xenshi stepped forward addressing Heylyn in their traditional tongue.

{I recognize your form. Your symbol. You are from the field. You arose from a cocoon after many years of virtuous study. You are the Butterfly. The Butterfly Dragon.}
"我承認你的表單。你的符號。您是來自外地。您可以從繭經過多年的良性學習的出現。你是蝴蝶。蝴蝶龍。" Xenshi said to her in their ancient tongue.

{You bear the likeness of one of the spirit forest dwellers. The legendary Xenshi and Xushu. The two winds. The only winds that one will find in a forest.}
"您自行承擔精神森林居民之一的樣式。傳說中的Xenshi和徐庶。這兩個風。只有風的人會在森林裡找到。" Heylyn responded recalling the spirit lore taught to her by Jin Hua.

{Then we are acquainted and almost friends.}
"然後,我們所認識和差不多啦。You must trust us enough to hear what we have to say. All of us." Xenshi responded patiently.

"We are trying to stop the traffickers as much as are you and your friend. We have been investigating this particular operation for over a year now. We set up to conduct the rest of the investigation from the aspect of the captives. Those being trafficked so that we many find the missing link. The headquarters of their entire operation." Jeong Soon explained to Heylyn.

"Missing link... You mean the Island of their operations. We busted up that Island a year ago. Alomera Zek and Grier Gus Torman were the masterminds. The vessel we were on is part of their former empire. They have no headquarters anymore." Heylyn told Jeong Soon as Jasmer and Yirfir arrived.

"That is where you are wrong. They do have a headquarters and it has to be large enough to support the majority of this operation. We are not just talking about the trafficking of people from Asia but also other sites in the Atlantic seaboard as well. Women and children. Some men too. Many are trafficked into prostitution or slave labor or worse. Trading in unwanted children or kidnapping victims like the captives we've seen on the boat. You must believe us." Jeong pleaded with Heylyn.

Monique held onto the side wall of the maze making her way around it towards what she hoped would be the end.

"Help! I'm caught in a surrealist painting! Help!" she screamed.

Barris had become caught up in the maze as had Mila when it grew too quickly for Mila to tame. Jexelen and Athandra were beside them pressed up against the walls of the maze unsure of whether to move.

"Mila honey, I know I've been saying that we need to go on an exciting vacation but this is not what I had in mind..." Barris said clawing the walls of the maze watching the girl they'd trapped precariously try to make her way to safety.

"I'm doing my best to try and undo this but the laws of perspective are a bit off." Mila said as she writhed with her hands in attempt to break her spell.

"Maybe you could try another style? How about cubism? Wait! Scratch that! How about surrealist? No! Uhhhhh? How about a family portait or something?" Barris suggested.

"You mean like Norman Rockwell, Right?" Mila asked him.

"I don't know. I'm already lanky enough as it is without being a Norman Rockwell painting. I certainly don't want bigger ears either." Barris said uneasily.

"How about Andy Warhol?" Mila asked him again.

"Hold it! I will not be turned into an Andy Warhol painting in the Sanctum!" Jexelen shot to Mila as she desperately clung to the walls.

"How about Raja Ravi Varma? " asked Athandra who had managed to stay somewhat calm.

"A great idea. His painting of the human form is flattering to say the least. Any other suggestions?" Mila asked as she made another attempt to return them to the assembly hall.

"I am African! I do not want my form filtered through the interpretation of an Indian artist! I am proud of my heritage and my blood!" Jexelen said defiantly.

"To be depicted by an artist of another culture is a great privilege and honor! After all, it is someone seeing you through the barriers of language, cultural symbol and appearance to find a common ground of some form. Like we're both alive. Why don't you just give the India versus Africa competition a rest! Besides if we go with Raja Ravi Varma that means we're all going to be reinterpreted through his style, not just you. Besides I could incorporate Joshua Johnson if you like? He's an African American artist from the late 1700s and early 1800s. Remember though that we all have identity, not just you. It can humble us to see ourselves through the eyes of others just as well as it can elevate us. Look at artists like Chen Yifei, Debora Teo LinangBasuki Abdullah and Liu Linghua. What about that Canadian artist's collective, the Group of Seven?" Mila reminded Jexelen.

"Honey, I feel very very very humble right now if you catch my drift. I think my leg is twisting back in such a way that I could scratch the back of my head with my little toes. Please do something quick!" Barris said startled at the effects of skewed perspective.

"Alright. Do what you feel is best to remedy us of this current obstacle but I'll have you know that we'll be discussing this in the assembly in the future." Jexelen said impatiently.

"We all will. Let's be a team rather than work against one another." Athandran said in Mila's defense.

"Help! I think I'm turning inside out!" Monique yelled from somewhere within the maze.

Mila frantically waved her hands in a gesture summoning forth her weave to undo the magic of her perspective skewed painting. Slowly the maze twisted as the very fabric of space curved to return perspective to something dimensionally more familiar. As soon as the perspective was lost the maze disappeared and they dropped a short distance to the floor of the assembly hall.

Meanwhile, the Butterfly Dragon stood her ground while listening to what Xensh, Xushu, Sato, Jeong Soon, Jasmer, Yirfir and Feylashar had to say.

There was a moment of silence as Heylyn reflected upon their words. A moment passed when suddenly she fell to her knees grabbing at her head in great pain.

"Do I have to do everything myself!" Lorr's voice spoke through her.

"I am sorry but you shall not while I'm on guard. You'll find me to be quite smart and even harder than the hardened heart on her breast plate." the large figure of a Dragon erupted from aura and into the Sanctum.

Lorr stepped our from the darker half of her aura.

"You have unraveled my plans once again, no matter. From within these walls I shall free you all from your wretched lives."

"Not while I fly in this air shall you strive to cause harm to any within or without. You may be of Eld but lest you do well you are weak to powers of life and love." Weltherwithsp confronted the Power lord face to face.

To be continued... and far from the end...

Brian Joseph Johns
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 3Z5
416 203-0928

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Lost And The Found Part 5: The Visitor

Heylyn lay awake watching the gentleman with white hair whose name she'd learned was Jasmer while Monique slept with her back against the cargo container wall. Jasmer had spent most of the evening talking with another captive by the name of Pasu. Everything seemed harmless enough given the situation they appeared each and every one to be victims. However this did not change a thing about Heylyn's gut instinct and intuition about them. After all, Jasmer exhibited a very strange aura to her heightened senses, much like those of Torman's minions on Treadwater Island. They'd dealt with his army of SY349 super powered guards with relative ease. Jasmer's aura was a hundred fold what she'd seen on Treadwater making her feel very uneasy.

Did some of Torman's men escape with the formula? Were they now creating an army of super powered traffickers to deal with any resistance from the authorities? The possibilities perplexed her though Jasmer's demeanor was forceful but it most certainly was anything but threatening. Perhaps I am overreacting to my senses? she thought to herself. After all she'd only been The Butterfly Dragon for less than a year now and despite her extensive mixed martial arts training and expertise she was aware that there was still much to learn about the nature of her own abilities.

As a little girl having just arrived in North America and eventually Toronto, Canada from China, her attentiveness with regard to people had caught some off guard. The same talent that she'd later draw upon to draw the human figure for her fashion designs had given her the ability to read people in a way that few could. The same way that she could read Alicia and her plight during their school years together. The same way that she'd read Monique that fateful day when she'd fled her boyfriend's flat having learned about his involvement with the gangs of the city. She'd seen a girl who'd been misled and then betrayed by the one she'd trusted most. Heylyn knew from experience that one could take that same energy and turn it around to propel themselves forward and away from influences. A unique intuition she'd inherited from both of her parents, for they'd had it in different ways. Her Mother who was always thinking with her heart had given Heylyn her sense of empathy. Heylyn was certain that it was her Mother who'd given her the native Chinese name of Ai. Her Father was born of wisdom of the mind and of life experience having had a difficult upbringing amidst the Chinese revolution. He'd given Heylyn her sense of intuition and the wisdom to apply it. She was ever grateful for these gifts though now her heart and mind were in contention with her own experiences with those who exhibited a similar aura.

It was in the middle of the night and their collective slumber that one of the traffickers had decided that he was going to sample some of the product. He'd opened the container during Heylyn's watch revealing a contingent of guards behind him.

"You... errrr... and her. The pretty one... bring her... We have a special request from you two... An opportunity to earn the rest of the trip sleeping in your own cabins. What do you say?" the trafficker said as the guards leveled their guns at the two of them.

Heylyn turned her attention away from Jasmer to the trafficker. She sized up the lot of them realizing what they wanted.

"Well we were getting kind of lonely and cold just sitting here all by our lonesome." Heylyn responded throwing a lot of accentuated lip movement into her reply.

"Bring your friend and we could make your night very interesting..." the trafficker responded, the guards beside him appearing excited.

"Hey! Hey! Lady? Our friends here say they want a special night with us... what do you say we entertain them?" Heylyn said to Monique who brushed away the cobwebs from her consciousness.

"Huh!? Have you lost your... Oh. Yeah. Alright... All five of them? Sure thing. Hope you have a special place for us to go..."  Monique responded hoping she'd not blown the escape opportunity.

"We'll go up to the elite cabin. A great big bed and lots of space so we can get busy..." the trafficker responded gesturing to them.

Heylyn got up first extending her hand to Monique who accepted it. Most of the captives in the container remained asleep and those who weren't pretended to be if only to avoid the prospect of being the next targets of the guards' affection.

They led Heylyn and Monique up to the elite cabin, following the trafficker into the room with the four armed guards behind them.

"So why don't you sit down while we get ourselves warmed up?" Heylyn said seductively.

"Yeah. Just sit down and enjoy the show..." Monique said following Heylyn's lead.

The guards sat around the edges of the bed watching Heylyn and Monique very closely. Heylyn feigned delight though she only felt disgust at the sight of the guards and their sexual attitudes. She knew that if they'd resisted, that they would have tried to beat them and possibly some other captives into submission. Instead she decided to take the upper hand.

"I've got a little story to tell you. Its about the Butterfly. Do you like butterflies?" Heylyn asked running her hands up her muscular thighs.

"We love butterflies... pretty ones... yes we do... especially when they dances for us..." one of the guards spoke.

"Well one day this butterfly went out into the field... and it looked up in the sky... and do you know what she saw?" Heylyn said leaning closer the guards covering for Monique.

"I don't know... the clouds...? a big sexy pair of lips maybe?" the trafficker responded playfully.

"No... she didn't see any of that. No sirree... Instead she saw an.... Eclipse!" as Heylyn finished the sentence Monique tranformed into her light form with a brilliant flash.

The men grabbed at their eyes screaming as Heylyn rendered them unconscious one by one. All in all they fell in less than three seconds from the point of Moniques transformation. Monique then turned to a shadowy form and watched the corridor for any response.

"The coast looks clear thankfully. I don't think that I could have done that for those disgusting slobs again." Monique told Heylyn.

"Now we have to decide what to do with their filthy bodies? We could store them in the neighboring cabin. Tie them up first and just leave them there. In the meantime I could catch some shuteye here while you keep watch. Besides I have to make time for you know who..." Heylyn explained.

"Weltherwithsp is coming out tonight? That's pretty important then. Maybe Welly can advise you on that white haired guy?" Monique asked.

"Maybe. Weltherwithsp will have some answers about him. We have to find out about him before we storm the containers. He's close to the captives. He and any of his cohorts could kill half of them before we could stop him. We have to know the facts before we continue this though regardless we should attempt to take out cargo hold guard shift in the early morning and try to sneak into the container with their keys. Then we can take him out if need be." Heylyn told her.

"I'll stand guard while you catch some winks. I'm sharp and on my toes now." Monique told Heylyn.

"Alright. After we get these guys tied up and gagged and into the next door cabin, I'll grab a snooze and wait for Weltherwithsp to show up with some answers. Don't let me sleep more than three hours." Heylyn asked Monique.

"Sure thing. Let's get this done so we can wrap this whole thing up. These guys and this boat are really giving me the creeps. There's something wrong with this whole thing..." Monique expressed to Heylyn.

"I know what you mean... Let's do it." Heylyn said as she began tearing the bed linens into strips to constrain the guards and the trafficker.

She used the remainder of the bedding to gag them effectively reducing them to quiet whimpers. They stayed quiet as Heylyn effortlessly carried them two at a time into the neighboring cabin. When she'd packed the room with all five of them she locked the door with their keys and left them to their fate.

She slipped back into the elite cabin and fell asleep while Monique kept watch from an overstuffed chair across from the bed. She lay in bed still for a long time before the embers of darkness crept across her closed eye vision and the dance of sleep commenced.

She sat somewhere waiting for such a long time that she'd forgotten what she was waiting for. There was no field or flowers just a silent darkness, inert and quiet. Then she saw the Dragon weaving its way through the patches of space towards her. As its form grew larger she stood to face Weltherwithsp.

The Dragon wound up in a coil in front of her floating and hovering under the power of its enormous feathered butterfly wings. It paused a moment looking at her as if seeing her for the first time.

"So pretty. I'd have never known. Has it been that long since we've talked little girl?" Weltherwithsp asked Heylyn.

"Where's the field? We've never met like this before. Is something wrong?" Heylyn asked Weltherwithsp taken back by the fact they'd never met outside of the field they'd first met.

"We are at sea. Far from the reaches of the shore where many fields may lay. Don't you agree?" Weltherwithsp looked at her up close waiting for an answer.

"It's different. That's all. So you're saying we're not in the field because of our current journey onboard this ship?" Heylyn asked curiously.

"To travel in the realm of reality is to travel in the mind. There is no land for many leagues and as such... No field in which to be..." Weltherwithsp laughed deeply pondering the statement.

"So what of these anomalies? The man with the white hair? The red haired lady and her two friends? The artist and the nature lover? They possess very different auras. Much like those of the foes we'd faced on Treadwater Island." Heylyn asked Weltherwithsp hoping that the Dragon might explain.

The Dragon's brow furrowed upon the mention of the people and in all of her time with Weltherwithsp, she'd never seen the Dragon's emotions curve so sharply towards ire.

"They are... to be feared. They are as you. Very powerful and deceptive. They work with the traffickers to ensure the cattle do not escape. They are part of the remnant forces you extinguished on Treadwater and very dangerous. They've even built themselves a fortress from where they execute their plans. They call it the Sanctum... Imagine their nerve using such a term for such a purpose..." Weltherwithsp explained to Heylyn maintaining a very serious demeanor and keeping its face close up to hers.

"So their compassion is just a ruse? To earn the trust of captives?" Heylyn asked the enormous Dragon.

"Yes. Yes! Exactly! They are deceivers and have been for a long time. You and your friend Monique must extinguish them if you are to ever escape from the boat and liberate the captives. They will be your toughest foes and do not underestimate them. In fact, they will be making secret contact with the so called Sanctum in a few minutes from now. It is within my ability to send both you and your friend Monique there with them through the same tether. There you can strike at them and easily dispatch them for the safety of all the captives." Weltherwithsp informed her.

"Right now? Both of us? If they are so dangerous as you say then perhaps we should consider this opportunity." Heylyn proposed deep in thought.

"Yes. Do it. Go. If you miss this chance you may never leave the boat alive for they together are very powerful. Only catching them off guard do you have a chance." Weltherwithsp said its eyebrows pressed down unto its nostrils.

"Then we'll do it! For the safety of the captives. We are ready..." Heylyn agreed to the Dragons terms.

"Excellent. Step through this portal and there you will find your friend Monique. Both of you will be within their fortress and meeting hall. If you can take them all out, you will be able to free the captives very easily." Weltherwithsp instructed Heylyn.

Heylyn stepped through the portal which closed after her. The Dragon's form was replaced by that of a cloaked man.

"I've nought succeeded in such a ruse in a millennium. Lyra if she were here would be most disgusted with me and that would be the measure of my success. I have a feeling that Jasmer and Yirfir have finally met their match." Lorr said as his laughter filled the empty recesses of Heylyn's dream land.

Heylyn found herself within what appeared to be a large stone fortress. The walls rose for fifty feet above her filled with colorful runes, living plants and vines and a magnificence she'd never seen.

"They built this? How many are there?" Monique asked her.

"A few. Perhaps ten. Weltherwithsp said we'd have a chance if we ambushed them. They're working with the traffickers so don't be tricked." Heylyn advised Monique of the situation.

They proceeded in the direction of hollow voices which echoed through the corridors of the fortress. They kept to the shadows and tried to discern what was being said. The reverberation made it nearly impossible to decipher their conversation but made finding them much easier. It also gave them wonderful cover in which to set up their ambush.

They approached into the shadows under an archway leading into what appeared to be an assembly hall of some sort. They appeared to be having a meeting. Jasmer, the white haired man stood before a sextet of people. A Korean couple who sat comforting each other. An African lady with long braided hair. A Lady from India who wore an elaborately designed dress with gold trim. A tiny and pudgy man wearing a vintage tuxedo of the seventeen hundreds. A Pale Lady whose red lips pierced the darkness through her cowl.

Beside Jasmer, his Lady friend Yirfir stood accompanied by the Artist, the Nature girl and the red haired Goth. Even the ship's Japanese custodian was there standing beside the witty Englishman.

"This doesn't seem right. Something's off." Heylyn said aloud in thought.

"I agree but if we're wrong, then all of those captives could be slaves for the rest of their lives. Believe me, I know what its like to have a boyfriend that wanted to sell me to all of his friends. He would have thrown me away when I was all used up. These traffickers aren't much different." Monique told Heylyn.

"I'm wary of attacking the innocent. I don't think that Weltherwithsp would have told us if it wasn't the truth." Heylyn convinced herself of their current line of action and the decision was made.

They listened in as they were mentioned directly by those in the assembly hall.

"I hate to add to the confusion but I fear there may be two operatives on board acting in the interests of the Power Lords or even possibly the traffickers themselves." Shaela told the assembly.

"Shaela, given your record of disregard for procedure and recklessness during operations, how is it that we are supposed to accept that your observations are credible?" Jexelen, the African Lady asked Shaela.

"I second that question." Thara added.

"I've seen a lot of auras during my time as a Night Wytch. I've even seen the aura of Lorr himself and as such I have experience that is valuable beyond measure to this assembly. I am telling you that there are two on board that are experienced practitioners of the weave. Their auras are unnatural and unusually high in concentrations of the kind of energies that make the weave possible. I've never seen anything like it before. We need to be very careful of them." Shaela the red haired Goth advised the assembly.

"Shaela, you are to be on guard for this danger and because you seem to be aware of it more so than anyone else, you are responsible for keeping the operation protected from it. There will be no casualties of any kind tolerated on this operation and the use of force will be limited to the liberation point one hundred kilometers from the western seaboard of Canada and the United States from where their authorities will take over the operation and we will disappear never having been there. Do all of you understand?" Jeong Soon, the man of the Korean couple asked them.

"I need backup in my cargo container. Preferably healers and possibly an elementalist." Jasmer addressed the assembly.

"It would be unusual to conduct and insertion in the middle of an operation. Have you got a workable cover plan?" Lady Soon, the Korean man's spouse asked.

"I've a contact and friend in the container. He'd be willing to have any insertions added to his roster as family or loved ones. He's a Japanese national who'd been abducted earlier in Asia while traveling. He's befriended Sato as well. I trust him. The two Shaela is talking about are in my cargo container. If we get a healer or ESPer in, somebody that can check them out, we can make an accurate threat assessment." Jasmer suggested.

"In that case We'll send Feylashar, Xenshi and Xushu. They should be able to blend in and advise you on the matter of the two possible threats aboard your container. That will be all. Finish up your personal communications and we'll close this portal in ten minutes." Jeong Soon told the assembly.

"So we can suspect that something is coming up at this rendezvous point. I suggest that we plan for a liberation if the containers are relocated. During the relocation we'll have the best chance for success. Nelony and Yirfir can run distraction for us while we deal with the local guard detachment. Feylashar can spend the next ten hours healing those in my cargo container and getting them ready for any physical activity. Xenshi and Xushu can keep an eye on the threat. Mila, Shaela and Barris can prepare the other container and deploy themselves when the time comes. Sound fair?" Jasmer asked.

"It does sound fair except for one thing. Do you want to deal with us here or there?" Heylyn announced her presence to the occupants of the assembly hall.

They turned to see Heylyn whose butterfly wings had erupted from her back glowing and undulating in the shadows as she took to flight.

The red haired Goth lady known as Shaela began gesturing with her hands as if painting a picture in mid air.
Monique transformed to a shaft of light and arrived at her position instantaneously. She transformed back throwing a quick kick then transforming with a thundrous clap into a shadow.

"Not so fast shadow girl. You're not the only one who can play with light and shadows..." Monique blurred past the Goth spinning her and sending her to the floor.

"Alert! The Sanctum is under attack and has been breached! Lockdown the Librum Universalis Codex!" the Korean man said getting to his feet.

"We have ten minutes to dispatch them before the portal takes us back. We've got to act fast!" Jasmer yelled as he charged at Heylyn who'd landed before them.

The Butterfly Dragon and the Eclipse waged war against the Sanctum unaware of how they'd been played by the Sanctum's worst enemy.

The last Power Lord whose name was Lorr.

To be continued...

Brian Joseph Johns
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 3Z5
416 203-0928

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Heart With Wings For The Victims Of The Pulse Attacks...

I just got back from working a heck of a job today (one that I've been working for a week). In hopes of being able to afford the kind of things that I envision for The Butterfly Dragon and for my own future. Between fighting piracy and rampant identity theft and identity swapping (groups of people in the city swap your identity with that of someone else to power their life and burden you with theirs) I've had my hands full. When I started the day I had still not heard tell of the horrible atrocities that befell Pulse dance club in Orlando Florida.

Once again we find ourselves in the midst of hateful violence directed at a community of people who've long struggled for their freedom from such acts and to be as they are. As I've always said, when two adults love each other really nobody else should have a say in that matter. Whether they choose to make that commitment in writing or not. It's a basic right that every other adult enjoys, with some racism still existent in certain mixed culture relationships. Some such relationships are tolerated more than others but rarely does it escalate to murder. So how is it that someone can kill over their disapproval of the LGBT community?

Having been a writer for Amnesty International and other causes, I'm used to being scorned and shunned by abusive members of the community (that's does not excuse them for their behavior towards me). Often the worst of it is the members of these groups swapping my identity for that of someone with a much different lifestyle (usually related to drugs and abuse). So the person with whom they swap my identity gets the credit for what I do and I get the burden for their activities. That seems to be the new way of dealing with people with a fairly good moral compass. It's a wonder that members of the LGBT community have not fallen victim to this sort of thing.

As the author of The Butterfly Dragon I: Heroes Of Our Own, I can vouch for the characters of the book when I say that they all support the rights of the LGBT community. I as the author also support the rights of the LGBT (that's short for Lebian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender just in you're unsure).

I have always supported the rights of members of the LGBT community for as long as I can remember and always will despite the fact that I am heterosexual. I don't understand why or how it becomes someone else's business that two adults love each other and how supporting that stance could be a problem for anyone.

So from here on in, let it be known that The Butterfly Dragon does support LGBT rights though the stories or books have not so far breached that topic. Perhaps in the future they might, but I have no plans for it but it would not be out of place in the world of the story for it is a reflection of our world and in our world, the rights of individuals are supported as such.

I`d like to give my condolences to the families and friends of the victims. Just as the cocoon symbolizes the process of becoming, perhaps one day when the world emerges from its cocoon it will arise to a day without hate or scorn for members of the LGBT community.

Brian Joseph Johns
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 3Z5
416 203-0928

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Lost And The Found Part 4: Investigation And The Dragon

"Ok. The first crew man just left the administration cabin. There's only one left then you should be in the clear. Remember, be careful." Heylyn said through her headset.

"Don't worry about me. I was made for this... and walking the runways." Monique replied as she watched from the other end of the corridor.

One of the crew men left the administration cabin and walked down the corridor past her not even seeing her in dark form. She'd blended into the darkness of recess in the corridor intended for drainage. She watched as he walked by and then she made her move. She accelerated down the corridor and towards the adjacent cabin across from the administration. She passed through the solid material of the door and into the cabin beyond which was currently unoccupied. As she materialized on the other side of the door she responded.

"Ok. I'm right across from it. The cabin's empty as you said it would be. Give me the signal and I'm in." Monique indicating her readiness to Heylyn.

Heylyn watched as the door to the administration cabin once again opened and the manager stepped out. He was a tall bald fellow who wore stylish suit though it did look a bit out of style. He sported a stylish monocle as well though it was apparent that he could see clearly with both eyes. He paused for a moment as if he sensed that something was amiss. He looked towards Heylyn who slipped deeper into the shadows. She remained silent until he left proceeding down the corridor towards the bridge of the ship.

"Alright. The tall guy with the monocle just left." Heylyn informed Monique.

"You mean the penguin looking guy?" Monique asked.

"Har har. Very funny. Not quite. He's no Burgess Meredith or Danny Devito. Much too tall. Not nearly as much character." Heylyn replied in jest.

"Sorry boss. That's a tad bit before my time. When I was growing up, George Clooney and Tobey Macguire were the only superheroes on the block." Monique replied.

"I'm not that much older than you. Besides, I would have assumed your role models to be Milla Jovovich or Angelina Jolie knowing your character." Heylyn responded.

"Except they never wore tights and a cape." Monique came back.

"Do we?" Heylyn posed.

"That's a yes on the tights. We aren't going to start wearing capes are we? Anyway I'm going in." Monique's form became a dark and shadowy cloud as she passed through the matter of the steel door and through into the administration cabin.

"I'm in. It's an office with mostly cabinets and a couple of computers. Looks like they've got satellite equipment too. They must be connected to an offshore database through the internet. Are you getting this Alicia?" Monique said through the headset.

"Loud and clear, though that's pretty consistent any time someone talks to you. I'm ready for the data any time you're ready." Alicia replied.

"So who were your heroes when you grew up Alicia?" Monique asked as she jumped onto the keyboard of the first computer attempting to login.

"I didn't watch a lot of television when I was growing up. I did a lot of reading instead. A few Doctors and Astronauts. They were always my interest. When I did finally start seeing movies I guess it would have been Sigorney Weaver maybe. Sarah Michelle Gellar too. I really like Buffy. She was smart and didn't need rescuing all of the time." Alicia responded to Monique's question.

"Alright. I got in with guest credentials. That's enough to open a terminal and elevate my user privileges. Sometimes its nice to be rescued by a hunk. I like it." Monique continued typing as she replied to Alicia.

"Well that's not too hard figure out. After all you went gaga over Derek taking a bullet for you on Treadwater." Alicia retorted.

"Well he is a Security Specialist. He was wearing a bullet proof vest. He works for your boyfriend. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Ok, I've got administrator privileges now. I'm going for their data trunk." Monique reminded Alicia.

"No sign of any trouble from out here. The coast is clear. So do you think that Women sometimes let themselves be rescued so that their fantasy lover can feel good about themselves? A sort of self sacrifice?" Heylyn asked Monique and Alicia.

"Is it really appealing to be with a guy where that's necessary? Are you really being true to yourselves in that case? I mean if I had to break down and be in need rescuing every time my boyfriend needed to feel good about himself, why isn't he just confident in himself especially if he has me? Does that mean that for me to be a Woman I've got to be weak, afraid, unintelligent and in need of rescuing just so he can feel good?" Alicia replied.

"I don't know. Some Women like to be overwhelmed. You know, overwhelmed with charm, personality and sometimes even force in a playful sense. I know I like it every once in a while. I'm running the SQL script right now from the terminal." Monique responded to Alicia's point.

"Maybe its a tug of war. Or tug of peace depending upon your point of view. You're both vying for that in each other. Control. Submission. Sometimes its fun to be on top. Sometimes its fun to have him on top of you. There's no answer really. The coast is still clear." Heylyn replied checking her aft to ensure nobody was coming from the other direction.

"It's different for all of us. I don't think that I could handle an overbearing guy who was all hands or who was about dominating me. Making me submissive. I mean I still have shudders when I think about Torman. I just found the directory. I'm waiting for the output Monique." Alicia said defiantly.

"That's different. He's a creep and an... Anyway he was in uninvited. No consent and he occupied us. Our minds or whatever you want to call it. That's not what Heylyn is talking about. She's talking about with a partner that you love and trust. It can be fun to be on either side of the dominant or submissive side. When a jerk like Torman barges into a person and violates their freewill like that, it's disgusting! We have powers that would enable us to easily rob banks. Hijack armored bank cars..." Monique started.

"...or break easily into protected computer systems..." Heylyn reminded her.

"That too, but this is for the greater good. I mean we're here to rescue these people and anyone else who might have fallen victim in the future. My point is that just because we could do it, doesn't mean that we do it. That was Torman's downfall. He could do it, and so he did it. He had no moral compass. Maybe if the same thing had happened to him he wouldn't have done it to others. The SQL output is ready. The file's called THESECRETDATAWETOOKFROMTHEBADGUYS.TXT" Monique insisted to Heylyn and Alicia.

Alicia chuckled to herself upon seeing Monique's filename.

"I don't think that he was that empathic. Besides, he might have actually liked us struggling against him. Who knows. The whole no means yes thing. Those kind of guys really give me the creeps. There should be a separate justice system just for them. I think that the only Woman who could really give answers about Torman is Valerie. After all she dated him for several years before the Treadwater incident. Alright Monique, I've got the data. I'm parsing it and cross referencing it against what we learned about them in Toronto." Alicia's fingers could be heard typing frantically.

"Monique! Get out of there! Mr. Monocle just showed up again. He's about two minutes away." Heylyn informed Monique.

"Oh crap! The system just froze on me... Wait. I don't want him to find my terminal open. I've gotta do something..." Monique nervously waited for the cursor to return.

"It's alright. Stay calm. Press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+T. At the prompt select the terminal process and click kill. Then press Ok." Alicia instructed her.

"Alright. I just got it. The terminal's closed. Forcing the screen saver..." Monique said pressing keys furiously.

"He's about ten seconds away from the door!" Heylyn said frantically through the headset.

The monocled man arrived at the administration door. He turned the handle and stepped into the room just as Monique transformed herself into a shadowy cloud. She flew under the desk as he stepped behind it and slipped through the door as he sat down in front of the computer. Monique sped down the hall in Heylyn's direction and materialized beside her.

"We did it!" Monique said in victory.

The monocled man pressed a key combination and the login screen was presented. He immediately noticed that something had changed. The last login name was: Guest, an account they did not use. He immediately got on the phone.

"Someone's been in the system. I don't know what they were doing. It might have been one of the crew. I want you to signal a fire on the ship and start rounding up the cattle. We'll keep them in the cargo holds for now. After we're done we'll find out which of the crew men have computer experience and find our hacker. When we do I want them thrown overboard. They are to be dead before they hit the water. Keep it quick and clean." the monocled man said into the phone.

A moment later the ship's klaxon broke the late night silence startling Monique and Heylyn.

"It's starting. They must have found out somehow." Heylyn said retrieving her phone from a belt pouch.

"I'm sorry. I did everything correctly. There's no way they could know!" Monique said worried that she'd been the leak.

"It's alright. You succeeded. We have the data we need and if Alicia finds a link between that data and the shipping points, we'll have enough to give the authorities a leg up on the investigation. You did good. I need your phone. Now!" Heylyn demanded.

"Why? What's up?" Monique asked.

"They're going to take us prisoner. Everyone. This is the cattle round up. They just made their move a bit early after detecting the hack. They'll be collecting phones. Do a factory reset on your phone and wipe out all your data. Just in case they poke around with it. Do it now!" Heylyn said as she began working on hers.

"We could kick their butts! All of them!" Monique said in a fighting spirit.

"If even one of the passengers died, that would be too many. We have to do it this way. We have to protect the people they're kidnapping and figure out a way out before we get to port." Heylyn instructed Monique.

"How are we going to speak to Alicia?" Monique asked her urgently.

"I've got it covered. Alicia? We've just been discovered. We'll be out of contact for about twelve hours. I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Check our GPS location right now and make note of it just in case. We're resetting our phones." Heylyn notified Alicia.

"Alright honey. I'll miss you two. Stay safe." Alicia replied as she checked their location on her GIS system.

As their phones rebooted they stepped out of the shadows and into the corridor in the midst of the round up. Several guards stepped before them armed with guns and directed them towards the cargo hold. Monique reluctantly complied as did Heylyn handing over their phones. Within the hour they were loaded into a group of steel cargo containers.

Heylyn observed the situation using her special senses to see the entirety of the cargo hold around them. There were twelve guards in all though there were at least forty armed crewmen who'd rounded up the passengers. Their firepower was considerable which indicated to her that human trafficking wasn't their only business. The thought unsettled her and she began to question whether every one of the passengers were really just passengers. There could be traffickers amongst them. After all they'd remained undetected for at least thirty years according to Heylyn's calculations. She was a little girl who'd come over to North America with her parents while these scum bags were shipping people and selling them like cattle, some into sex trafficking. She thought to herself how different her life would have been if her and her family had somehow ended up cattle in their ring. She most certainly would not be the Butterfly Dragon.

These thoughts came to mind as she spied a conversation between one of the Japanese captives and a taller man with white hair. It was obvious they'd befriended each other as the Japanese man had administered Reiki to the man's knee. She examined the man carefully with her heightened senses noticing some strange perterbations about his aura.

Most people's aura would fluctuate under her vision and change color according to their mood, their temperature and physical condition. She could tell many things about a person just by examining their aura which showed up perfectly to her heightened senses. His aura remained very steady and well balanced. In fact it was so much so that she suspected that he might be somehow similarly powered as were they. She'd seen his injured knee as plain as day and the Reiki had eased most of the nerve and muscle tension but the rest of his aura was almost unnatural.

"Unnatural? Is not that a subjectivism in this colloquialism and schism?" the familiar voice of Weltherwithsp broke the silence of her thoughts.

She turned to see the Dragon sitting beside her examining the same man. His brow furrowed and his one eye opened up wide while his other scrunched closed.

"Hmmm. I'd say he looks a tad bit more natural than do we all. Is it he who is bizarre or is it the rest? I mean if all are anxious and it's he who's calm, does not that us make strange while he is strong?" Weltherwithsp suggested.

"Can't everyone else see you? Can't they see me talking to you?" Heylyn asked Weltherwithsp.

"Consider this a moment that runs beside the one you were in. It's just our moment. Like looking into a lake and seeing the fish beneath the water. They don't see us but we see them." Weltherwithsp responded.

"Alright. So back to your earlier point. You're saying that he's the norm and we're all just so caught up in our daily lives that our auras are actually highly active?" Heylyn asked the Dragon.

"Its point of view don't you see? If a million were sick and one was healthy, would not that one be the odd?" Weltherwithsp's face nudged up beside hers looking at the white haired man.

"I don't like it when you do that!" Heylyn replied stepping sideways a little.

"And by that what do you mean?" Weltherwithsp slipped back a little looking somewhat amused.

"When you make sense. When you're right all the time..." A reluctant smile was born upon her face.

"I'm afraid that I am as often wrong, just nought for you." Weltherwithsp smiled back at her.

"Oh I'd love to see that day. So you're saying that perhaps I should trust him? I suspect there's an insider amongst the passengers. There's something off about this. I can't put my finger on it. It's intuition." Heylyn explained.

"You'll see the day when I'm wrong and at that time you will only have yourself upon which to rely. In the mean time you should trust who trust as I cannot be the judge of that. I can give you hints but you must make your own choices. This wonderful and bizarre existence of ours is full of many things of which you have no awareness as there are many things which have no awareness of you and your unique abilities and history. Butterfly. I would say that you must be who you are and in doing so, this situation will be resolved and thus will be defined the role of the Butterfly. I must go and let you ponder this but keep in mind you are not alone in here. Make your choices wisely and I will return to help you when you most need it and you most certainly will." Weltherwithsp faded as the last words left it's mouth.

"Wait, don't go!" Heylyn said.

"I'm not going anywhere!" Monique replied.

"Good. At least not until we figure this out. We'll sleep in shifts. You take the first shift and I'll wake you up for your shift. We're going to keep an eye on the guy with the white hair. There's something peculiar about him..." Heylyn said settling herself down comfortably for her shift.

Meanwhile from the other side of the cargo container Jasmer looked back and saw the mysterious Oriental lady observing him.

"You know Pasu, if I didn't know any better I'd say that there was a Dragon looking back at us." Jasmer said.

"Perhaps. She has the look of the ancient ones. She is skilled. Very skilled." Pasu trying not to look directly at her.

"Ancient ones?" Jasmer asked.

"We must wait and see which of the ancient ones she is. Is she the protector or the infernal." Pasu said rhetorically.

"I'm hoping that she's the protector because something gives me the feeling that we should not tangle with her." Jasmer replied to Pasu.

"I agree. Completely." Pasu said lying down on the cold steel floor.

Outside of the cargo containers another Japanese man finished up mopping and bid the guards a good night.

He too would be keeping an eye on the Butterfly.

Brian Joseph Johns
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 3Z5
Single six years and going. PS: I'm not Eugene. I'm not Chris. I don't work for TCHC.
Copyright © 2016 Brian Joseph Johns

Copyright © 2016 Brian Joseph Johns

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Lost And The Found Part 3: Ship Of Fools

Heylyn had boarded the ship as a passenger in Hong Kong. Most of her belongings were in a small carry on bag. That's everything that she'd take with her to the new world. The promised opportunity of the West though she'd already fallen for the West long ago. Through her youth she'd grown up learning the ways her parents had taught her of the East. She'd also learned through the mentorship of the three temples the ways of the Butterfly Dragon. A long lost martial arts form and way of life. With both the East and the West in her she was complete, though it never was enough. One who is complete must help others to be complete within themselves and so she did. Alicia first. Then her true love Brad, whom she'd lost to a violent act of terrorism. Then for Monique whom she'd rescued from a dangerous spouse and had given her the opportunity of a lifetime. She'd been rewarded with a successful fashion company and a world known presence which she most often played down.

After all, she was the Butterfly Dragon from her Mother`s and her Grandmother`s story bedtime story. A deadly creature who'd emerged from the cocoon built by the butterflies. Butterflies are vanity. Artistry. Delicate. Fragile. In their bedtime story the creatures had been taken away one by one. Kidnapped by cruel people who'd keep them for a collection. The creatures had a meeting where they discussed how to defend themselves and deal with these cruel poachers. Everyone of the creatures had a defense though it was useless against the poachers. When the butterflies offered their help the creatures of the field had laughed at them. After all, how could delicate, fragile and vain creatures such as butterflies do anything to protect them?

So the butterflies built a cocoon, putting the best of each of the creatures into it. When the poachers returned once again to finish off the rest of the creatures, out came the Butterfly Dragon to deliver justice. The story had left such a strong impression upon her that she'd taken it up as a way of life. Shaping and moulding herself into a Butterfly through rigorous training. By the time she was sixteen years old, she was a force to be reckoned with though a responsible and humble one at that. Much like her Chinese namesake Ai, which meant love. As Monique had put it, great love.

What she did now she did out of love. Her parents had brought her from China to Canada on a reputable ship to their new life in Toronto. She too was an immigrant like the people who'd entrusted their life savings to the traffickers. Her parents had brought her to North America when she was two and thanks to the good relations between the Chinese and Canadian embassies all went well. Her father had even maintained contact with family back in China, who'd come to Canada to visit them on two occasions. All had went well. No problems with visas or travel rights.

The ship she'd boarded however was her target. Under investigation for human trafficking. She'd even set up the means to get a ride on the ship so she could investigate. Monique had accompanied her though they'd both boarded at two different points. Where as Heylyn had boarded in Hong Kong, Monique had boarded at Bangkok a week before her. They'd made contact on the boat pretending that was their first meeting. Monique had taken advantage of her Ukrainian and French background which had made her perfect for this operation. They leaned over the bannister looking down the seventy five foot drop to the warm Pacific.

"They're still not biting yet. I'm doing everything I can to draw them in. I even showed a bit of leg today." Monique told Heylyn.

"I know. They're just being cautious. They'll take notice of us soon and likely make their move. Don't panic when they do. We're valuable to them. Like their payload. They won't damage us because that will devalue us to them." Heylyn advised Monique.

"Oh great. So having that hairy ape all over me, I shouldn't get nervous because he's not going to hurt me?" Monique said sharply throwing a piece of her sandwich into the ocean watching the gulls dive for it.

"I know. That guy gives me the creeps too but we have to go with this, besides..." Heylyn paused as one of the crew got close.

He was an elderly man likely Japanese in heritage. He pushed a mop before him wearily as he approached them.

"I'm so sorry. I did not mean to interrupt. Nice lady. Nice lady." he said bowing to them as he backed away.

"Don't worry about it sir. You speak English very well." Heylyn commented.

"But not as well as me." an English man in faded attire approached them.

"Are you putting him down? You should be ashamed of yourself. He's working his butt off and what are you doing?" Monique jabbed at him verbally.

"I'm sorry. I didn't know that you had a thing for mops. Or pops." the man replied barely losing stride.

"I did not know you had a thing for floods. I take it you're an optimist?" the Japanese fellow responded in his own defense pointing the Englishman's pants which were taken up a tad bit high.

"Well if the washing and drying equipment on this blasted barge worked half as well as you did, these pants might be shorts by now!" the Englishman replied.

"They are shorts, aren't they?" replied Monique.

"Oh very funny. And who might you be?" asked the Englishman.

"I'm Monique. And who are you?" asked Monique.

"I'm Barris. Barris Windsor at your service." Barris offered Monique his hand.

"I'm sorry sir. There's no wind surfing on the boat. None." the Japanese fellow responded.

"No you buffoon! That's my name! Windsor! Windsor!" Barris looked back at the Japanese fellow.

"Wind surf? Wind surf?" the Japanese man replied.

"And who might you be sir?" Heylyn asked the Japanese man.

"Why I am Mishima Sato. At your service. Who do I have the pleasure of knowing?" Sato replied mocking Barris' earlier introduction.

"I'm Ai. Ai Yuanlin Ying. Pleased to meet you." Heylyn bowed for Sato.

"You're from the south in China? I can tell by your name. Your accent." Sato responded.

"Yes that's right. GuangZhou. That's where I'm from." Heylyn responded.

"Sato! Stop harassing the paying customers on this ship! That's an order!" Carver walked up his burly figure imposing upon the group.

"I'm so sorry. Right away. Work I will. Yes." Sato responded keeping his head low.

Monique took the opportunity to show a little bit of her leg and buxom. She spied Carver looking at her for a moment then he looked away.

"Are you with them?" Carver asked Barris.

"That depends..." Barris replied.

"No. He's not with us." Monique replied.

"He's someone we just met." Heylyn replied.

"Why thank you very much. See if I ever..." Barris stopped as a beautiful dark haired European girl approached and grabbed him by the ear.

"Hi honey! Did you get lost again? Let's get back to the cabin so you can give me a foot rub." the lady said grasping his ear firmly.

"Right away Mila." Barris said as he stumbled under the force of her pull.

"Bye..." Heylyn waved.

"Tata. For now..." Barris replied.

"What a jerk!" Monique spat back towards him.

"Good bye wind surf." Sato replied with a wide smile across his face.

"I'll get you for that Sato..." Barris replied as they disappeared.

"Ma'am. Be careful. Both of you. I like you." Sato said to Monique and Heylyn as he backed away from them to continue his job.

To be continued...

Brian Joseph Johns
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 3Z5
Single six years and going.
Copyright © 2016 Brian Joseph Johns

The Lost And The Found Part 2: Insertion

Monique's Diary, June 4 2008

Dear Diary,

This is probably going to be the last entry for a while. I've got to go and do that favor for Heylyn. We're actually going to do this together and she's been nervous about leaving her company for such a long period of time. Our cover is that we're going to the United States for a fashion retailer's convention in Las Vegas of all places. Instead we'll never get there. We'll be trying to get inside of the trafficking ring as cattle (the slang name they use to refer to their merchandise). We've made an arrangement through a private investigation agency to provide intel to the local Police and a larger Federal investigation for their use to build a case against the traffickers.

I'll be a going as a Ukrainian immigrant who was abducted in France and shipped to Canada. Thankfully my Ukrainian isn't too bad though my French is better. I should be able to pull it off. Heylyn will be going as an abductee who purchased passage to North America from the traffickers and ended up with the general population cattle.

Now the thing is that most people aren't aware of this ring, and the ones who do often treat the cattle like they're not people. Literally like cattle. For sex trade. Some make it to those kinds of jobs. Some are given away to paying customers as gifts. Like prize wives who will be thrown away or even snuffed out if they don't obey their new "owner". They connect with the local sex trade (which is not illegal) but many of the Women involved don't make such a choice out of their own free will to do so. They're trapped and forced into it. In some cases addiction becomes the prime factor. Getting her started on an addictive substance might make it easier down the road to get her working as a low paid sex trade worker. So the trafficking ring and the local street level sex trade work together. When cattle gets away from one, the other acts as the safety net making sure that the whole ring is not exposed.

So some Women locally get trapped as a result of income level, lack of education or their peers whom most often are knee deep in it themselves. They're played by a group of people who really know what they're doing when it comes to trapping a Woman in that way and yes, they try it sometimes with Men too. These are Women that have nowhere to go if they lose this so they don't rock the boat either. Besides many of them by that time are dependent upon a substance and I'm not talking about food, water or air. So if they escape they have nowhere to go except down. Most don't want to escape anyway and will actually sabotage the efforts of those trying to liberate them from that life. They become addicted to the lifestyle and lack the will to liberate themselves most often because they have no idea that there's a different world out there. One in which they are valued as people and not just for the moments of pleasure they might provide a paying customer. Sex is a wonderful thing and the world's eight billion population is proof that many agree with that statement. Objectifying a Women only for the purposes of sex rather than recognizing her in a holistic sense and really loving her for those qualities is the downfall of any society that strays in a direction that exploits her without remembering her greatest features. Women are really beautiful creatures for certain. So let us know it and that you value us. Sex is one of the languages of love. Who wants small talk when they're trying to speak in the language of romance? I mean if you want her, then want her for her mind and being as much as for her body. Again that's me quoting my boss. Heylyn Yates. Ai Yuanlin Ying. You know what her name means in her native tongue of Chinese? It means great love. I believe it.

For those trafficked into this sort of thing from afar, they are usually misled and upon arriving are slowly lured into sex trade to pay for the service of having representation during their citizenship hearings. If they don't work in this way to pay for that service, they're reported to immigration and deported as I said in the last entry in my Diary. So it is rare that any of them make trouble. Keep in mind that not everybody who comes here ends up in this predicament. Only a very small percentage who happen onto the radar of these traffickers. The ones who do just do what they have to do and hope for the best. The ones that don't end up working sex trade might end up working low income jobs like producing the counterfeit clothing that drew Heylyn's attention to this operation. The traffickers don't want attention because most people from this city and others in North America would trounce them. Unfortunately building a case against them is very difficult business and that's where we come in.

We've arranged to relay our intel to the private investigation service. They in turn will give it to the authorities who are working on building a case. We'll have the best of the best in Police watching over us just in case, though I suspect we'll be capable of handling ourselves. They don't know the part about our... ahem... abilities. We're not planning to use them seeing as they're bound partly to our costumes though we've undergone a similar transformation that Alicia went through. She called it the Osmosis of Quantum Transmogrification (I just copied that from one her notes to us because I could not have remembered it otherwise). It means basically, that if our powers take a few months to wind down after we've worn our costumes. This effect becomes more pronounced the more we wear our costumes so our powers are almost a part of us now. So we should be safe in in a crunch.

So that's it I guess. I hope that this is not the last entry that I write ever. We're leaving in about three hours. That's after a workout together and one last game of tennis. We love playing that as it keeps us on our toes. Then we're into our cover clothing which is a bit dirty and tacky but it will be perfect for the mission. Then we're to jump on board a recently arrived boat at one of the major ports and mix in with the cattle.

Wish us luck!

Brian Joseph Johns
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 3Z5
Single six years and going.
Copyright © 2016 Brian Joseph Johns

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Lost And The Found Part 1: From Monique's Diary: May 25, 2008

Dear Diary,

Things have been great since our return from Treadwater. I've got a great boss and a dream job and having met Derek, I've got a cute hunk too. Finally someone who can keep up with me in more ways than one.

Heylyn has become a close friend and mentor both as my employer and as the Butterfly Dragon. I wouldn't say that I'm her sidekick so much as I'd say that we are a team. When we patrol the city, we need each other. Not just for our own protection but because we each see differently than one another. You know? Like she might see something going down that is totally wrong that I never would have recognized from the air. Not from our eye sight but from what she calls our mind sight. The sight we have that comes from our experiences. Our memories. What it feels like to be wronged in some way. To remember our pain or someone else's. When she explained it that way, I understood her completely. She was saying that she was just as blind to the things that I'd notice as I was to the things that she'd notice. Which brings me to what I'm writing here dear Diary.

We'd been working on an upcoming fashion show together when it came to her attention that someone had been counterfeiting her designs. A lot of street clothing that had was taken right from some her summer wear show from two years ago not to mention a number of other lines. She shrugged it off and gave it to her Lawyers. That's how she is. Let someone else whose area of expertise it was to deal with such problems handle it.

A few weeks later her Lawyer had approached her with information about the counterfeiters. They were in fact part of the remnants of Torman's gang. Some of those who'd managed to get off on an alibi had managed to dig in and merge with a trafficking business. So naturally I told Heylyn that drug trafficking is pretty common still despite the outcome after Treadwater. Even without Torman around the street would protect it. After all, I had a boyfriend who was armpit deep in that life though I'd never known. He even tried to get me working for him as a... Lady of the night I'll just say. That's exactly when Heylyn happened into my life as if by serendipity. She rescued me from a life where I could have ended up a street walker.

Instead I walk on the lanes of a fashion runway where I'm rewarded for ability to project someone else's art on the art of my own body and being. Heylyn explained it that way to me. I'm in charge of my own life. I have a condominium of my own. I even make the mortgage payments myself. My condo is beautiful, with all new walls and floors and everything! I've got a fridge and an awesome stove! I'm even learning how to cook for the first time. Heylyn rescued me from that other life. From Samias, my ex. One of Torman's cronies I'd later found out. So he'd been on this trafficking deal at some point and I reminded Heylyn that it was common. I also told her that I was sorry that her clothing had somehow ended up as counterfeit goods at the hands of these punks.

That's when she told me that they weren't trafficking in drugs. They were trafficking in people. Young. Old. In between. You name it. It was mixed up in both citizenship extortion and sex trade trafficking. Citizenship extortion is when someone is promised citizenship at the receiving end of their journey only when they arrive, they are forced to work low paying jobs, many illegal and often in sex trade to "pay for" the legal representation at a citizenship hearing. For many of the people both Women and Men it takes years to pay for this supposed debt which to the rest of us is a right. If they don't pay, the scumbags report them to immigration and have them deported after they've taken all of their money. They're sent back to where they came from after having spent years of savings to pay for the trip. The scumbags having made them work for nothing because they essentially stole it all.

I've never seen the Butterfly become angry but when she told me that, I could see the Dragon looking at me through her eyes. Fierce and full of wrath. I didn't talk to her after that for a while. She frightened me but I'd never let her alone. She changed my life. I'd protect her with mine if I had to. So I waited for her to become herself again. It took a while and when she did finally return, she asked me for a favor.

Well not really a favor because we are superheroes. I mean she's the Butterfly Dragon! She's an ancient martial artist master who can see through walls, see everything around her, heals very fast and has skin as hard as Dragon scales. I've seen someone shoot her at point blank range with a shotgun. Her skin instantly shelled up into rows of scales. I had to dodge the ricochet by turning into a shaft of light so the bullets would pass through me.

Me? I'm the Eclipse. I started as the Strawberry Eclipse I guess because I love strawberries, and because as Heylyn would put it, if there were strawberries around when I was around, now you see them, now you don't. Kind of like me. When I make an entrance I really make an entrance. I can come in as a shaft of light. I mean brighter than the sun. So bright in fact that it blinds most people whose eyes aren't protected. They're usually grabbing onto their faces by that time. That gives me time to convince them that they should just give up while they're still walking before the Butterfly Dragon arrives. Though she's merciful, in combat she doesn't take time to moralize your part in the proceedings. If you were supporting the baddies then you're just as bad. Especially if you were benefiting from them and their actions.

Sometimes though I like to come in dark. Incognito. A flying shadow or cloud or dark fog. Someone or something you don't see. From there I might flash you and I don't mean like naked or anything like that. I mean become really really bright again. Once again if you're a baddie you're blinded. I deal with you and hopefully before the Butterfly Dragon shows up because she can really dish it out. She doesn't even break a sweat. All in all we work together as a team. I'm not her sidekick or pushover. I'm her friend and more importantly I'm her ally. So don't mess with the Butterfly Dragon or the Eclipse. I dropped the strawberry part. Except when we're helping kids. Then its Strawberry Eclipse all the way. Most of our enemies arent't impressed by strawberries. I guess it makes a funnier story for the kids when they're told the bad guys were beaten by a strawberry. And a Butterfly. Strawberries and Butterflies. Love always wins and that's the proof. When it gets really bad though we have to pull out the Eclipse and sometimes in the worst cases, the Dragon.

So about this favor. What did she ask me dear Diary?

She asked me for the first time in my life to pretend to be someone that I was not. To go undercover. To infiltrate these traffickers and get close enough so as to get at information related to their operation both here in North America and my beloved city of Toronto, and their connections overseas in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. She asked me because. Why? Because I had life experience in that neck of the woods as she put it.

I looked at her in amazement. She'd never valued my street wisdom or my savvy on that side of the fence. After all she grew up in suburbia. Isolated from the worst of what I'd seen though I never told her that I only saw it from the time I'd left Montreal to come to Toronto in search of my own life. At the ripe age of nineteen I'd left home despite the protests of my hard working Ukrainian Father and my Homemaker French Mother. I left after finishing high school and went hoping to work and live in Toronto. That's where I met Samias. He wasn't exactly my type but he was mysterious. Dangerous. Confident. All the things that really turn a nineteen year old girl on. Especially one like myself. Fresh from home and out in the world to find her place. Unfortunately I'd found him.

He was used to playing Women like myself. Young. Gullible. Impressed by his false sense of confidence. After all he was in Torman's gang. He was protected by his brothers in the gang. He had protection from "above" in the form of Torman's right hand man. He had power that he was hardly worthy of and that he'd never deserved. One of those street dealers who'd managed to keep it well hidden while he'd been running prostitutes as well. I had no idea of what he was really up to. I saw a confident man whose sense of impenetrability came from his gang, not him. He was not a man at all. Just a cardboard cutout for one. Like many of Torman's gang, using people until a point had been reached where they could "cash in" on that person in some way. They're a bad bunch of people but hey, most of them are doing time now and hopefully learning something in the process. Like maybe to take a different path like most honest people.

So Heylyn asked me the favor and that's the moment when I really understood what Heylyn was asking me. She was asking me to investivate a bunch of slimeballs who'd use the same methods though against newcomers, many from Heylyn's native culture of China making them pay for the service of being ready for citizenship after selling their bodies for years as prostitutes or sex trade workers. That means mothers and daughters alike. Most from abroad and some domestically who were run by this gang as sex toys for their paying customers.

Kind of like what Samias had tried with me. That was when I understood why she'd asked me. Little did I know that it would be the most intense experience of my life. One that I could never describe and hopefully dear Diary, you understand this fully because if you can make sense of it, then perhaps there is hope for the future and the Women that Heylyn was trying to protect. I'll explain more in the next entry though its a pretty complicated story. There are many people involved too and many strange things as well. Some even stranger than us with our super powers. Can you call a story a story when it's real? Something that really happened?

Yours Sincerely and Forever,

Monique Defleur aka The Strawberry Eclipse

Brian Joseph Johns
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 3Z5
Single six years and going.

Copyright © 2016 Brian Joseph Johns

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Walk On The Danforth...

Today I woke up and decided I needed a little emergency cash to placate the starving author/artist in me for a bit, not to mention that it feels great to use your body. You feel good and to tell you the truth, my monitor tan just isn't really cutting it these days. Besides I might want to attract the right Lady Butterfly (she's Chinese) some time in the future (hopefully after the print version have sold a few copies).

So I the brilliant idea of checking out the gigs on Low and behold when I spied just the kind of thing I was looking for, I called and was on my way. Its amazing how technology can link people nowadays. When I was you're age, I used to have to walk six whole minutes to the bus stop! Now you youngsters just teleport everywhere! Oops. That was from another story. Where was I? Oh yeah, on my way to the site.

So after finding out that my bicycle had a flat and after trying to patch the flat a number of times, I gave up and began my long walk to the job site.

The trip took me through one of Toronto's great communities (amongst many great communities but it was this one upon which I journeyed today). The stretch of Danforth between Broadview Avenue and Pape Avenue which is a scenic and lively place. There's Cafes, Restaurants, Patios galore, Health Food Shops, Fashion and Technology, you name it. So on my way there (back) I mamaged to shoot some photos which I thought would be good to display during Toronto's Pride Week and in general because the Danforth is a great place for Cafe and Patio hopping. Nothing but people enjoying the restaurants or having a coffee, maybe an artist or two with their Mac or PC laptop etching a design or two. Mothers walking their hot rod modded baby carriages and a few animal lovers walking their pets (or pests depending upon your point of view). If you come to the city during the summer months, then check this place out on a Thursday or Friday late afternoon early evening or on the weekend. There's just so much to do and the community is really colorful and beautiful.

Naturally this attracted my attention for obvious reasons. A Fashion store worthy of the name Butterfly...

 I tried not to be intrusive and picked patios with a lot of color and activity when I could. Generally in the late afternoon or early evening though you'd see a lot of action. Especially on Thursday and Friday. You might even spy a few superheroes too. I even here this is Dragon Butterfly's turf some time...

There's a lot of great restaurants offering regional cuisine to suit your tastes.  Some even have their own house brew on tap and wine too. I hear that Mishima Sato himself (of A Lady's Prerogative fame) even frequents this place... Beside it, Avli Restaurant might be Barris' turf though he also tends to like the Pubs where he can often be found reading.

Here's everyone's favorite Factory Girl. No, they don't make girls but I'll be you'll find guys and girls here and often. I do believe the reference is to one of the chefs or bartenders (possibly the management or owner) and the fact they can just keep putting it out for the customers. Now after having checked out their web site I am floored! But you can only find out what it really means if you check out their site. 

I mean that. Honest. You better have checked out their site. I mean it. Really I do. Pretty please with sugar on it?

Naturally on the job site I need to pick up some nails at Urban Nails. I stopped into this place and was so astounded with the paint job I got on my cuticles that I left without my nails so I stopped into Terri O's. Terri told me they only had O's there. Maybe next time...

 Well that Dora Keogh looks a tad bit Gaelic to me lass and lads. It must be a name because when I tried to translate it, I got the same thing. Maybe its a secret. Maybe it's Oard Gekoh? Who knows? I'll bet they have some great pints in there if you like that kind of thing. Perhaps even some great cuisine. Right beside it is Allen's. I think Allen works on the web stuff while Dora cooks up a hospitable meal and brings the pints.

I also tried to translate Allen's on Google and I got: The creator of great food and drinks that is positioned beside another great restaurant named Dora Keogh on the Danforth. Moved originally from Belfast over six hundred years ago, relocating the family businesses to the largely unpopulated spot just a few miles north of Lake Ontario in the brush. Five hundred years later a city, and The Danforth emerged around them. Can you believe that? Little did they know that several of the Fashion, Pet Shops and Health Food stores had been operating for over nine hundred years in another part of the brush. You can just learn so much online...

Of course you could check out their unique and neighborly cooperation online at

 The Black Swan is a historical landmark on the Danforth just East of Broadview Avenue. This earthy place is a great place to hear live bands as well as play darts and have a few pints. Next to Allen's and Dora Keogh, (and a few fashion shops, pet stores and health food shops) it is one of the first fixtures of its kind along the Danforth.

 This is The Old Nick on the Danforth. Possibly because of someone named Nick (notice how the N is capitalized for a quick lesson in etymology). I don't know much about them but after reading their blog, I'm quite impressed. Check it out yourself by following the link or clicking on the image. Consequently I used to have a friend named Nick in school when I was a kid. I wonder if it's the same guy?

Here's some more regional cuisine. One of my neighbors is from Brazil and a heck of a nice guy and good human being too (like myself) who does a lot of extras for a particular charitable organization called the Red Cross (an organization I sometimes help). So I thought I'd grab a pic of these two restaurants just for him. Thanks for being a good human being there friend. I wish the world had more people like yourself Mr. Brazil. So check out Tapas at Embrujo for their incredible cuisine, live entertainment all of which can be seen on their web siteRodeo (Rodizio) once again for authentic Brazilian cuisine and buffet. Both have a great atmosphere and look like a great place for an intimate date or just some great food.

I like this building. Its a great design. My bank manager also told me that if I didn't put a picture with their company logo on it that they'd start charging me twice the amount of interest on my recently paid up but overdrawn account. The truth is that I like this building and my bank is a bit closer to home on Parliament Avenue.

 Not exactly on the Danforth but somewhere down Broadview Avenue just north of Gerrard Avenue this little restaurant and Cafe was holding an outdoor gig with a crowded patio. I walked by and took a picture from across the street  The city was alive with the sound of music, but alas Julie Andrews was nowhere to be seen. So I say we remake The Sound Of Music with Anne Murray! No! Wait! Avril Lavigne! Sandra Oh! With guest appearance by Drake! What do you think? Do you think that Disney would go for it?

So with Pride month going strong the city seems to be quite active and alive with music. By the way I did finally make it to my destination to work for the day at Carlaw Avenue and Danforth Avenue. My back is just killing me and I'm out the door again tomorrow bright and early.

I'm currently looking into martial arts (again) and trying to decide between more traditional Karate, Wing Chun or even Aikido. I've studied Karate and Tae Kwon Do before (many years ago though I lack expertise). This time around I want to go for my degree (my black belt). One of the reasons is for some of the upcoming promo material related to Butterfly Dragon, Dragon Butterfly and Night Style (all of whom utilize a mixed style of combat with specialized techniques). Also I am looking at the possibility of getting into mocap for animation purposes (which would make choreographing the kind of sequence I'd like to do between the two leads possible. I'd also like to achieve this goal since it had always been something on my list.

Beyond that, look forward to the release version of The Butterfly Dragon I Heroes Of Our Own soon with a possible print edition possibly around the corner. Once I get distribution figured out that part might be under way very quickly (seeing as I have this and several other ready to go stories in that regard).

Thanks for taking the time to read a little bit about my city and we'll talk soon. I don't pirate other people's stuff. Please don't pirate my book. I literally live on next to nothing and spend a great many hours preparing my books, creating the artwork and getting them ready for release. Not to mention that amount of harassment and abuse I undergo from my own community which makes producing such a seemingly popular story very difficult.

Brian Joseph Johns
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 3Z5
416 203-0928

No Makeup Mondays Monique Defleur...

And without further ado our feisty French heroine and fashion model extraordinaire... Accomplished with Daz3D, Adobe Photoshop by Brian Jose...