Edition 3: The Raptor and the Lion by Larry Ivkovich
A centuries old battle exists between the Raptors and Lions. But these are the last of their kinds, tired of killing and the stench of death. Can such a powerful spell be broken and their peoples be freed? SY
The Raptor Marceeka emerged from the shadows like a giant, demonic bird-of-prey. A long, pointed beak extended beneath glittering eyes; a thin, rangy body stood wrapped in voluminous, leathery wings.
She laughed to herself as she anticipated what the lone umana in the square was thinking. The wings—a cloak, of course; the beak—a long-nosed mask once worn by physicians during the Black Plague and thought to protect against the hideous outbreak. A very early morning Carnevale reveler, no doubt! Yes, even though the yearly festival was six weeks past, it was obvious the umana was drunk and would conjure up anything in his drink-befuddled mind to explain what he thought he was seeing.
Marceeka drifted back into the nighttime shadows cast by the Campanile, the tall bell-tower backlit against the full moon. The Piazza de San Marco was devoid of life at four in the morning. Even the ubiquitous pigeons that haunted every inch of the city were asleep at this hour. The umana, his heavy frame wobbly with drink, moved on, stumbling across the enormous stone-tiled square.
Marceeka glided upward to the multi-domed, peaked roof exterior of the Basilica—the sculptured figures, inlaid Italian marble walls and gold-leaf mosaics glittered and loomed large like something out of an hallucinatory dream. A mixture of Byzantine and Gothic design, the Basilica de San Marco was an architectural testament to the varied umana cultures that had passed through the city over the centuries.
It was perfect for Marceeka to hide in.
The sky was unusually clear tonight, the stars numerous and bright despite the light of the moon. The familiar smell of the sea floated in from the lagoon, bringing back memories of Marceeka’s life as an umana herself, lecturing tourists up and down the Grand Canal.
The fat drunk belched loudly and patted his rotund stomach. Wine and peach bellinis perhaps? Well, they had certainly done their work on him.
It was time. Marceeka stepped off the roof.
A soft rustling like lace curtains blowing in the wind was the only sound she made as she fell upon her prey.
A Soul Conflicted
The Lion Kolnar squatted in the alley over his kill, trembling violently. He vomited, blood and sputum spraying the pavement. An unnatural chill coursed through his furred body as an uneasiness and dismay he had never felt in all the long centuries of the Hunt enveloped him like a shroud.
The young female umana lay beneath him, her body torn and bloodied. Kolnar choked back down more bile and flesh that threatened to spew from his fanged maw. He scraped his long claws against the pavement in frustration. Once more, he checked the street outside the alley and the small canal that ran parallel to it. His acute animal vision and sense of smell detected no others in the small moonlit campo. Once again, he had been successful in his killing lust. And yet…
It was happening more often now—this revulsion and denial of his true nature. Not that of the umana persona he subsumed during the daylight but of this…this beast…this killer of the innocent by night.
He had no choice, he knew. The Maghi, those sorcerers of another age, had decreed it. In order to finish The Hunt, in order for Kolnar to find his enemy, he had to be strong. And to be strong, he had to feed.
Grasping what was left of the female, Kolnar dragged it to the edge of the canal and threw her corpse into the dirty waters.
In Secretive Flight
They had been engaged in the Hunt for a very long time. Those of wing and fur (the Raptors and the Lions as they had come to be known by the denizens of the city’s twilight world, those who lived on the fringes of everyday life—secretive, elusive and haunted) would hunt until only one was left.
It had been so long that Marceeka could barely remember clearly how the Hunt had all started. Indeed, who was the prey and who the predator anymore? The lines had blurred so much over the passing of time; the rules had changed. There were moments when she wished it would all be done with, so she could join those who had gone before her into the endless sleep.
But she was the last of her kind. And, as such, she had a responsibility to finish what had been started so long ago. Besides, she and the others had been cursed by the Maghi, had they not? Did she even have a choice?
She circled above the walled-in cemetery isle of San Michele, her wing membranes swelling in the wind as she rode the upper currents. Landward lay Murano, famous for its glassmaking and the closest umana isle to San Michele. Back across the lagoon on the main island she could see the Campanile thrusting into the night sky like a giant finger pointing towards the heavens. She had left the remnants of the fat umana at the tower’s peak for the insects and the odd carnivorous pigeon to finish eating.
It had been the first time she had fed in a long time.
She dropped into the cemetery, lighting softly in one of the cypress trees so rare on the other islands, her clawed feet finding a firm perch. She crouched amid the leaves and branches, listening to the sounds of the early morning. A lone vaporetto chugged in from the mainland airport, the water taxi bringing in a group of early morning tourists; the lapping of the waves against the shore, the singing of the fishermen and cries of the birds—what did the umanas call this time? The Hour of the Wolf. Yes, an appropriate title somehow, considering her ultimate foe was one of fur and fang himself.
Marceeka groomed herself perfunctorily with her beak, folded her wings about her and closed her eyes. She must get a little sleep before the sun rose. Then she would play her other role, the one that allowed her to walk among the umanas as the persona known as Lucia Digregorio, a tour guide, the role that might help her find the last Lion of the Veneto. And when she did, as the Pact decreed, she would kill and devour him.
A Way Out?
Later today, Raphael Manoretti knew, what was left of the female’s body would be found where he had dumped it in the canal. The headlines would proclaim a murderer stalked the streets of the city, a murderer who killed like a beast. The umanas would then start their own hunt.
Damn this insidious conflict! Will it ever end?
Raphael hurriedly unlocked the back door of his shop. He rushed inside and fell to his knees, covered in sweat and blood. Naked from the waist up, his lean, muscular body trembled, his dark blond hair hung in wet strands down to his shoulders.
But he knew the answer to his oft-repeated question of late—the Hunt would end when the last of the Raptors was dead. Or he, himself, the only surviving member of the Lions of the Veneto called Kolnar, was no more. Ages ago, when the Curse had been laid by the Maghi and the Pact written in fire and blood, his family and the winged ones had begun their long struggle. And now, in this fabled city of the umanas, home to such artists as Titian and Carpaccio, it would finally be finished. One way or another.
At least he prayed it would be so. But what kind of god did a monster pray to? He laughed giddily at that thought as he leaned back against the door. What god indeed? he mused. More like the devil himself!
He pulled himself to his feet, panting with the struggle to keep from vomiting again. It had to be done! He had had to kill the female in his beast form. He had to feed now to be strong, his fangs finding their mark, his razor-sharp claws ripping and tearing the tender flesh. But it was necessary, he knew. Wasn’t it? Now during the month of Marzo in the Time of Constant Battle—he had to be ready to face his final enemy one last time.
He stumbled into the front of his shop. Dozens of disembodied faces stared at him from the walls, tables and shelves—faces he had fashioned himself. Plaster and papier-mâché masks—covered in glitter, script and paint, lined with leather and velvet—gazed blankly out of dark, empty eye sockets at their creator.
Were those looks of horror and disbelief they showered upon him? Disapproval, like that bestowed upon a wayward child?
There could be another way. Raphael sat down, cradling his head in his hands. To find love, he thought. That is what Grandmama told me. True love would break the curse and end the Hunt. She who would look on me as I really am and not care…He laughed out loud again at such a ludicrous, impossible fairy tale! Was he so desperate to believe the fantasies of children? Not one of the other Lions or Raptors through the centuries had ever found such a solution.
Outside the ever-present chiming of chiesa bells rolled through the winding maze of narrow, criss-crossing streets and canals that comprised the city. From the Rialto Bridge to the Jewish Ghetto, Raphael had lurked and hunted every shadowy corner. Could he really change everything? His nature, the will of the Maghi?
Not now. He must rest. He had to open his shop in a few hours. He must act the part of his present umana incarnation—a mask-maker and merchant—once more until the end.
No matter the outcome.
The Hunt Renewed
The Rialto Market, in the former mercantile district of the sestiere of San Polo, was crowded this morning, as usual. The largest and most famous of the city’s mercatos, it boasted the freshest fruit and vegetables, choicest cuts of meat and seafood just caught hours earlier off the island’s own shores.
Shoppers, tourists and children on their way to school thronged the famous Grand Canal retail area and its interconnecting streets and alleyways. Sidewalk cafes and trattorias, street vendors, gelatarias and kiosks in the adjoining Campo Della Pescheria did a brisk trade. The mask shops in particular were especially busy; those were a favorite with most.
Colorful and exciting, yes, but a smattering of beggars revealed to Lucia the other side of the city—its dark and mysterious underbelly, its twilight world. The cripple with his cup sitting on the church steps, the blind man calling out pathetically to passersby, the old woman with a patch over one eye—her upturned hand held out for coins, her one-eyed gaze strangely focused, despite her unfortunate circumstances. I could help them, Lucia thought hungrily. I could bring them peace forever.
Lucia walked slowly and purposefully, taking her time as she always did when she hunted. There was only this small window of opportunity that came around in the month of Marzo every twenty years. Once, every generation, the Time of Constant Battle would allow her kind and the Lions to take form. Once, every twenty years, after being suppressed by an umana psyche as the Curse dictated, her true nature would emerge so she could hunt and fight again.
Yet, still Marceeka strolled as Lucia Digregorio, confident that this time she would find the object of her long search. She paused, looking grimly at a stone carving of the symbol of the city—a winged lion—a symbol etched on every wall, every trinket, every door, every work of art. Anger and hatred welled within her. It was ironic that, in reality, she was the winged one and her adversary remained shackled to the earth.
So. She would try a different tactic this time, the knowledge coming to her gradually over the passage of time and only revealing itself to her now in her present incarnation.
“Mi scusi, signora. Buon giorno.”
She turned toward the man who addressed her, a merchant, a seller of jewelry, glass, keychains and post cards. He was young, handsome and sure of himself, surrounded by shelves of his trinkets and baubles. Lucia managed a thin smile, knowing her outward guise was not beautiful by most assessments—thin, sharp featured with an aquiline nose under short dark hair, small breasted. But her eyes were another matter. She could disseminate power with those eyes.
The young merchant held up a faux Murano glass pendant on a gold chain. “This would look beautiful on such a lovely neck, si?” he said, thinking, no doubt, he was an expert liar. “For someone as lovely as you, I can let you have it for only a few euros. You see…”
Lucia stopped him with a look in mid-sentence, her eyes flashing. She had no time for this. The merchant blinked in surprise and backed away. He shot an uncomfortable glance back at her as he turned to wait on another customer.
She laughed to herself and continued walking past the fish and eel monger stalls where customers haggled over prices. A traghetto disgorged tourists from the canal onto the market quay, the gondola taking on other customers to ferry them back across the Grand Canal the way it had come. The smells of fresh-baked bread and pastries drifted through the air from a nearby forno.
Despite such colorful activity, Lucia frowned. The umanas were so weak! It was so easy to control and frighten them as she had done with the young merchant. But that was not what she was meant to do nor did she have the time for it. The umanas’ purpose was in giving her strength as she fed on their flesh and life forces–she had to find her enemy. Or rather, she would allow him to find her.
The city wasn’t big by modern standards yet its narrow and winding streets, alleyways and canals could be a confusing labyrinth. But she did have a month—time to traverse all of it if she was careful and concise. And she would start here. She would put her new tactic into play—now.
He could smell it—the essence of his enemy—as strong and feral as any wild animal. The Raptor had just been in the area of Raphael’s shop on the Ruga Della Speziali near the market, perhaps passing by right outside his door. Raphael knew it as surely as if he had touched her himself. And it was female—there was no mistaking the musky headiness the winged one had emanated.
A signal. He knew that. Perhaps to lead him into a trap. Well, so be it. He had thought a lot since killing his last victim and consuming her life force. Guilt, once deemed unheard of in his kind, had overwhelmed him. His mind was afire with doubts and retribution as he fought against the Curse as he had always tried to do.
And now, at long last, could he actually be succeeding?
He could no longer do this. Of that he was certain. The Maghi had cursed his and the Raptors’ families so long ago for opposing the corrupt dictates of those tribes known only as the Shadow Clans, passing down the precepts of the Pact through countless generations of unsuspecting umanas. The city had been a collection of fishermen’s stilt-huts then, dotted throughout the islands of the lagoon and ruled loosely by the Maghi and their supporters. Those Shadow Clans would clandestinely orchestrate the ascension of the first ruling Doge and propel the city to power as the longest running Republic in the history of the world.
The Pact had been made by the Maghi and their secretive familial tribes, assuring that the Hunt would never interfere with the growth of the city. That the sacrifices taken by the Raptors and the Lions would, in fact, give the city its strength and dominance. Almost as if the city was a living thing, feeding on its own people’s blood.
Well, the city had grown to power and fallen and grown again. The Lions and the Raptors were almost extinct now (too many killed over bloody generations!) and the Maghi hadn’t been seen or heard of in centuries. And, really, to what purpose had this all been for anyway? The terrified face of the young female tourist Raphael had slaughtered in his leonine form only a few hours ago floated in his mind.
Never again! The Hunt had to end. He would do no more killing. The Pact be damned!
He put aside the work he was doing—a new mask, a woman with the features of a bat—laid aside his brushes and paint, politely hurried a few customers out of his shop and hung the closed sign on the door as he locked it.
This way. The raptor’s spoor was like a beacon, leading him as surely as a light in the darkness. He walked briskly, trying not to appear agitated, easing his way through the street. Did these others, these visitors and tourists, not sense his enemy as he did? Or was this signal meant only for him?
He made a decision—he would find his enemy and try to break the Curse without killing. Reason and intellect—there must be a place for those in this conflict! The city could live without the Raptors and the Lions! His kind and the others were anachronisms, useless now in the modern age. There was no longer a need for blood and arcane sacrificial rites. Surely his enemy would listen to reason; surely she was as tired of the Hunt as he was.
He would end this…now.
Lucia rushed down a side alley, a glorious exhilaration building within her. She had seen the Lion in his umana façade! She knew who he was and where he worked—her scent, her pheromones, whatever the umanas called such things now, had brought him out of hiding as she hoped it would. Yet, he had been clumsy in his efforts at following her, almost as if he wanted her to know. That would be his undoing.
The narrow alleyway branched out into a small campo, the square quiet and devoid of life except for the pigeons that took wing at her passing. She turned into a side street and strode deeper into the back alleyways, covered passageways and twisting canals of the city. The morning sun had faded behind dark clouds; a light misty rain began to fall.
She stopped at a small footbridge arching over a canal. It was a crossroads of sorts, she sensed immediately—empty of life, but pulsing with hidden power. The surrounding buildings’ open windows gawked like blank, staring eyes; the canal was devoid of life—only a couple of empty gondolas and a dead fish or two floated on its oily surface. The air here was still, as if expectant.
Yes. This was the place, one of many that could serve as a final battleground, one that the Maghi had consecrated as sacred for her kind’s purpose. She crouched down on the bridge, in full view of anyone who would be able enough to step upon this holy killing floor, and initiated the Change.
A Desperate Gamble
Raphael felt the difference as soon as he mounted the bridge—a prickling on his skin, a sense of unreality. It was as if this place were trapped outside of space and time—that this small part of the city had been designated for him and his enemy only. He knew she was here.
He stepped onto the middle of the span, holding his arms out at his sides. “Raptor!” he cried, trying to keep his voice steady. “Winged one, fermate! Stop and listen to me! I beg you.” His body trembled with the effort to resist the Change and the thirst for battle; his hunger gnawed at his mind, his very soul, despite his efforts to control it. “We can stop this. There is no need to fight anymore! Our families fought together against the Maghi long ago. We can do it again. We can break the Curse!”
Something shot at him from above the canal to his left, dark and swift. He leaped aside at the last moment as sharp talons ripped through his shirt and spun him around. Raphael found his footing, grasping the railing to right himself.
The Raptor turned back toward him, ready for another deadly pass. Raphael watched the winged one hover effortlessly, its bat-like pinions flapping to hold its body aloft—the lean, small-breasted frame, clawed hands and feet and needle-sharp beak of his eternal foe all working smoothly and efficiently, almost as if she were some kind of unnatural machine.
The Raptor paused, hovering over the canal, studying Raphael, deciding what to do with him, perhaps wondering why he hadn’t gone through the Change yet. She cocked her head to one side, cooing like one of the pigeons that roosted everywhere in the city.
Perhaps there’s still a chance.
“Raptor!” Raphael called out again. “I beg you, please listen.” The words poured out of him. “It is only you and I left. Is it worth all this? All this killing and fighting? The reasons the Pact was written so long ago don’t apply anymore. All of those we knew are gone, killed senselessly for an unforgiving and uncaring city. And where are the Maghi? They cast their magic for the Shadow Clans and then leave us to our own devices! To destroy ourselves! We are nothing but pawns in a game to them, a game they have forgotten. Let us work together against them. Let us…”
The Raptor screeched, her eyes ablaze. She shook her head as if trying to block out what Raphael was saying. She seemed to waver in mid-air, her hands cradling her head. I’m reaching her, Raphael thought, sudden hope blossoming within him.
But the moment passed. The Raptor launched herself at him again, her talons slashing the air in front of her. She raked Raphael’s back with her claws as he tried to duck and flung him off-balance. Crying out, Raphael flipped over the railing and tumbled into the canal.
The foul water choked his throat and lungs and stung the fresh wounds on his back as he sank into the canal’s depths. His body thrashed and convulsed as the Change came upon him unbidden. His legs and arms flailed as he tried to find some purchase in the murk. He was beyond control now as he opened his mouth to scream…
Seed of Doubt?
Marceeka hovered over the canal where the Lion had plunged. It had been so easy! The fool hadn’t even bothered to fight back. And what was that gibberish he had been spouting about breaking the Curse? About working together? For a moment she had almost considered…it was almost as if the umana Lucia had broken through the walls of control Marceeka exerted.
Pah! There was only one way to break the Curse. Unless one believed the old tale about finding someone who didn’t care, who could show complete love and acceptance.
Love? It was a concept lost to her long ago. The only thing that mattered was the Hunt.
She watched the canal’s waters impatiently, waiting for some sign of life from her enemy. Nothing. Had he drowned? Was he holding his breath? Had he swum underwater to safety? Somehow Marceeka doubted those outcomes. There was something else going on. There was a spectral feeling surrounding her so strong it made the feathers on her back quiver.
A shimmering in the space around her, a moment of dislocation… The spell this crossroads held was diminishing. Very soon, the footbridge and sidewalks here would be crowded again. This junction in time and space would return to normal.
Normal? And what was that to her? She thought again of what the Lion had said…to stop the Hunt forever…
With a squawk of frustration, she flew off into the shadows to induce the Change once more.
A Question of Time
Kolnar, the last Lion of the Veneto, breached the surface of the canal, gulping a huge breath as sheets of water rolled off his furry hide. He pulled himself onto the sidewalk, claws unsheathed, crouched and anticipating the Raptor’s next attack. But this time, he would be ready. He wouldn’t waste time trying to talk, trying to breech a gulf that could never, ever be crossed. He knew that now. He knew nothing could ever change.
He started, his yellow eyes narrowing, his hackles rising. A tingle of fear wound its way through his powerful body. The moon shone full and ripe in the sky above him; windows were lit up from within the buildings lining the canal; the lone street lamp at the footbridge glowed in the darkness.
Darkness? Kolnar growled softly and shook the water out of his mane. It had been morning when he had tumbled into the canal, morning when he had confronted his enemy. He had only been under the water for a few heartbeats yet it appeared that almost a whole day had passed.
How? He sniffed the night air—no trace of the Raptor’s spoor remained and, more importantly, that almost imperceptible difference that signaled this small neighborhood as a place of power was gone.
Kolnar chuffed in fear and confusion. What had happened? Time and space had been manipulated, changed and twisted. The Maghi’s spells were filled with unexpected turnings, it seemed. How else to explain this?
A noise—two umanas approached the footbridge, a male and female. He must hide despite the hunger and rage that welled up within him! But he paused then, stark realization and the knowledge that this conflict might truly never end, stopping him. He hid beneath the corner of the bridge and waited until the couple moved closer and then, pushing back the tide of self-loathing and disgust that threatened to engulf him, the Lion of the Veneto attacked.
So, he still lives. Buono. Buono.
Lucia sat outside a café, reading the newspaper and nursing a cup of espresso. She hadn’t slept on San Michelle the night before—nervousness and some unresolved emotion kept her from returning to the cemetery isle. She had gone back to her apartment, the one her umana incarnation rented for three hundred euros a month. Still, she had tossed and turned, her mind a turmoil, the Lion’s words coming back to her, over and over.
Were she and the Lion simply being used? Cursed to fight and kill over and over through countless generations for reasons no longer valid? Did they have no free will of their own? No say in how their lives were to be lived?
She thought about that for a moment longer as she had the night before and then turned her gaze back to the article that she had been reading. Two bodies had been found last evening, mutilated and partially eaten. The polizia were stepping up their investigation and increasing foot and boat patrols at night in the city. Lucia looked away, the umana mask she wore pinched with concern. It had to have been the Lion of the Veneto.
But the survival of her enemy wasn’t what bothered her. It was the fact that she was glad he had survived. But why?
Another headline caught her eye. Yes, she thought. That is where he’ll be. She got up and began walking. Once more, the words the Lion had said prowled inside her mind. In this form, sometimes her will was not as strong, her convictions wavering as the umana’s presence strived for control. Like before, the umana Lucia was seeking to free herself.
Yet, perhaps the Lion was right. They both were the last of their kind. Perhaps there was another way. But not the way the Lion had proposed. Not one of love, that could never be, but something else.
She stopped in mid-stride, closing her eyes at the realization of what she could, what she must do. The last of their kind…Yes, it would be so simple and the Lion would never suspect! The Maghi’s will could be thwarted! Her hand brushed back the hair from her forehead. Yes, she thought, her features hardening as Lucia Digregorio pushed the Raptor’s protests to the back of her mind. There is another way. For both of us.
Her decision made, Lucia ran back toward her apartment. She would find what she needed there.
To Kill No More Forever
Raphael stood at his kiosk near the pillars of St. Mark and St. Theodore adjacent to the Doge’s Palace. This Sunday, the Piazza de San Marco hosted a number of events. The crowds were thick and disparate. Jugglers and musicians worked their craft; participants in a race for some charity came running in to the finish line; an old woman with one eye, a beggar he had seen before—her eye patch distinctive among the city’s poor—fed the pigeons a few yards from his kiosk. Raphael’s own sales had been brisk even though his masks weren’t cheap. But his mind was barely on the business of selling.
There was one last thing he must try. He had failed twice yesterday—once in winning his enemy to his side and again by killing the umana couple. He had been so hungry! There was no stopping the compulsion to kill. So, he would try Grandmama’s way. He would find someone to accept him as he really was. He would do anything now to end this!
Raphael had had many women, most not able to resist his rugged good looks and artistic nature. But they had all been brief liaisons, short encounters to satisfy his own free spirited ideals and male ego. But now…
He saw her then. A young woman, not pretty but still there was something about her. She moved gracefully, dressed in black jeans and matching T-shirt and sneakers as she browsed the artists’ market. A backpack was slung over one thin shoulder. Her face, though plain and without makeup, reflected some inner strength.
Interesting, he thought, sensing something important was about to happen. Perhaps… ?
She approached his kiosk, not looking at him, intent only on the product he was selling. He took a step toward her, smiling, a sudden anticipation coursing through him. Maybe she could be the one.
A flock of pigeons burst into flight behind the woman. Raphael, momentarily distracted, watched their errant journey skyward. His eyes stopped on the statue of the Lion of St. Mark’s sitting atop its designated pillar and then instinctively wandered to St. Theodore’s, the representation of the former patron saint of the city standing atop a crocodile. He remembered then that public executions once took place at that very spot between the pillars.
He turned back to the woman, the smile still on his face. “Come stai, signora,” he said. “May I help you, per favore?”
She looked at him then, piercing him with a gaze full of…pity? Sadness? Those suddenly glittering eyes…he knew those eyes; he had seen them before! He watched helplessly, as if once again time altered and slowed down, as she pulled a gun from her backpack…
A New Beginning
The old woman with the eye patch walked slowly as she tossed feed to the pigeons, seemingly oblivious to the panic and confusion surrounding her. So it ends, she thought, pursing her weathered lips. Her rheumy eyes stole a look through a gap in the crowd. Two bodies, a man and a woman, lay on the tiled floor of the piazza in slowly spreading pools of blood. Both had been shot in the head, the woman by her own hand.
A cold wind suddenly blew through San Marco’s. The woman shivered, pulling her ragged sweater tightly around her bony frame and adjusting her scarf more securely across her head. She looked back towards the dead. The Maghi knew the Pact’s precepts would one day play out, the Curse fading into dust. But she and the others of the Shadow Clans had never thought it would end like this.
We must begin again, she thought, moving off. The city needs its sacrifice and its blood. The pillars of St. Mark and St. Theodore stood white against the blue sky as they had done for centuries and, if all went according to plan, they would stand for centuries more. La Serenissima—the Most Serene Republic of Venice—would rise to power once again.
I must inform the others. She grasped the bag of bird feed close to her body and vanished into the crowd.
Larry Ivkovich is an IT professional who has been writing genre fiction for over thirty years.
His work has been published in various webzines and print publications including Tower of Light Fantasy, Noctober, M-Brane SF, Afterburn SF, Penumbra, Triangulations, Twisted Cat Tales, Abaculus III, Raw Terror and Shelter of Daylight. He was a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and was the 2010 recipient of the CZP/Rannu Fund Award for fiction. His debut novel, The Sixth Precept, is published by IFWG Publishing.
Larry is a member of the Pittsburgh SouthWrites and the Pittsburgh Worldwrights and lives in Coraopolis, PA with his wife, Martha, and two cats, Trixie and Milo.