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Juliet makes peace.

by: Judge and Alanna Rodriguez

Judge and Alanna Rodriguez
September 2022

Hello one, hello all! Thank you very much for joining us this month as we release the next chapter of the Romeo and Juliet story.

It is our most sincere hope you had a safe, happy, and blessed new year. On to the story!

Juliet glares at the growling mutt. “I mean it. If you stay away from me and my babies, you might not get hurt after all.”

“You’re not part of my pack.” The dog’s growl gets deeper, more menacing.

“Bruno! Be nice to the kitties!” Nate’s voice is sharp as he taps a finger on the doberman’s nose.

Bruno looks up uncertainly, lip-curl beginning to slowly lower.

Juliet gives the human a slow blink, showing her affection for the one and only human she trusts.

Bruno growls at her and receives another tap on the muzzle, this one hard enough to make his teeth clack together sharply.

Juliet purrs and rubs her side against the man’s leg.

Bruno growls out, “Still not part of my pack,” to which he gets another tap.

Juliet gives Bruno a hard glare. “Look, you don’t want to end up like Mephistopheles, the guard before you. Just leave my family alone and we’ll get along just fine.”

Bruno cocks his head in curiosity.

With one one more rub against Nate’s leg, Juliet purrs, “Later.”

Bruno huffs out, “fine,” turns and leaves the warehouse to stand sentry by the gate.

Nate reaches down and strokes Juliet’s back. “Just let me know if he cause you any more grief. Okay?”

Juliet purrs and rubs against his leg one final time, then bounds up the stairs to her little ones.

As she reaches the top of the stairs, she glances down and sees Nate smiling at her, before turning and leaving the building himself.

When she gets to her nesting place, her babies are all snuggled together, napping in a puddle of fur, flesh, and stuttering purrs.

Juliet walks around, checking to make sure that mutt can’t gain access to her babies, then curls up next to the puddle and purrs herself to sleep.


Juliet’s first mistake was to leave her nest during the day, when the warehouse is open. She hadn’t realized it when she left the comfortable nook in the far corner of the warehouse, where Mephistopheles couldn’t reach her. Her second mistake was to allow herself get distracted by the noisy humans while they were going about their day.

As Juliet made her way to the food and water bowls, she heard the yowl of her mate simply screaming one word: run.

Juliet turned to look behind her and saw the hulking menace of a growling dog. She could only stand stock-still for a full three breaths, before bolting in the opposite direction of her nest. She twisted this way and that, even dodged what the humans call a forklift.

Mephistopheles stayed on her heels. Close enough she could almost feel his breath on her tail. Finally, after running throughout the whole warehouse a couple of times, Romeo stood right in front of her.

When her mate saw her coming around the corner, he bolted toward the mutt, leaping toward Mephistopheles at just the right moment to land on the dog’s back with all of nature’s weapons bared, shredding skin, fur and flesh.

Juliet made a bee-line for her nest. The run made her babies nervous enough to start moving around in her belly, so she knew she needed to go quiet them.

She nestled into the comfortably dark and enclosed space very quickly. Her paws bent and flexed her claws out, expecting to see a brown muzzle trying to reach her, even here, in her safe place.

After several breathless moments, Juliet heard Romeo’s searching mews.

She gave him an answering trill, letting him know where she was.

He entered their little alcove and rubbed faces with her. Although his sides were heaving, he seemed to be all right.

She nuzzled her mate. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. I was so thirsty, I just didn’t think he was going to go after me like that.”

Romeo stayed silent for several moments, then took a bracing breath. “You scared me. I thought I’d lost you. Please don’t do that again.”

Juliet began trembling all over. This wasn’t her first run-in with the devil incarnate, but was the closest she’d ever come to dying. Now, there’s not only herself to think about, but her babies as well. She sighed. “Yes, dear. I know. I’m sorry for scaring you.”

Romeo sighed. “It’s alright my love. I was scared. Please wait until the humans leave for the night, before venturing out. We’ll need to give Mephistopheles a few days to cool off before we can try to go out during the day.”


Juliet awakens when her little ones seek her out to try and find some food. Knowing they are old enough to start hunting on their own, she denies them her milk, much to their annoyance.

She leads the mewling herd of hungry young ones to an area where she knows crickets are. She works on her lessons in teaching them how to find their own food, so she can remove their dependence on her milk.

It’s late in the evening, just before nightfall, that Juliet leaves the warehouse, knowing how to avoid detection. She finds a place close to where Bruno’s resting place is, but out of reach of the lithe mongrel.

When she finds a comfortable resting place, she calls out, “Are you ready to talk yet? Or do you want to continue trying to hurt my babies?”

Bruno lays his head back down on his front paws. “What do you want?” he sulks. “Didn’t you rub my muzzle in the human’s preference for you enough earlier?”

Juliet looks down at the young dog with pity. He’s not wanting to kill her or her babies, he’s simply jealous of her attention. She sighs. “I’ll tell you what. I will do the same thing my mate did with your predecessor: bring you a mouse a day to help you stay strong.”

Bruno gives her an incredulous look. “Why would you do that? Don’t you have to feed your little ones as well?”

Juliet can feel the tip of her tail twitching in irritation. “Yes, but they are learning to hunt on their own. Do you promise not to try and hurt any of us?”

Bruno grumbles something under his breath.

“What was that?”

Bruno looks up the pile at her, with his eyelids drooping. “I said, ‘do whatever you want. I can’t stop you at all.’ Is that alright?”

Juliet begins to purr. “I know you’re mad now, but it will get better. I promise.”

Judge Rodriguez and his wife Alanna are currently co-authoring the Legends of the Landrun Series available in e-book, paperback, and now in hardback format. They can be found here.

Oh My, It’s Monday. :) …Excerpt?

I forgot about posting today, so I guess it’ll be another excerpt – I hope y’all don’t mind! 🙂

(This part comes before the excerpt I posted before, by the way.)

She was glad she hadn’t set up her post sooner: it was much easier to pace for hours than to crouch for hours, especially in the cramped and partially twisted position she was in. Not only was it hard on her limbs, small as she was, but more than that it was hard on her mind; pacing was at least some relief for her pent up anticipation. Even in the shade, it was stuffy enough to keep her sweating a little too, and now she was beginning to notice it. And the itch on her ankle she couldn’t reach without standing all the way up first.

Continue reading “Oh My, It’s Monday. 🙂 …Excerpt?”

Juliet is named.

By: Judge and Alanna Rodriguez

Greetings one and all! I hope and pray that you had quite the restful and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday. For this month’s article, I figured I would continue the story of of Romeo and Juliet.

Historical Authors 2022

Juliet drops the dead mouse down in front of her litter. “Eat up little ones. You need to grow to be as strong as you father.”

Rome looks up at his mother. “Mama, where’s papa?”

Juliet licks the mouse’s blood from her lips. “He’s not here, my sweet son.”

“Can we go see him?” Rome’s voice is muffled as he tears into the carcass of the rodent.

“Maybe, sweetheart. Finish your meat and I will think about it.” She turns and walks out of the nested area of what the humans call a storeroom, the room where the humans keep things like their paw covers and muzzle covers.

As she makes her way down the hall on the second floor of the warehouse, she hears the heavy tread of boots on the metal floor of the offices. She dodges out of the way and hides as well as she can.

She hears the familiar voice of the human her mate called Nate say fondly, “Well! Hello there Juliet! I hope your babies are doing well.” He kneels down and begins stroking her back.

She unintentionally begins purring as she arches her back. Who would have thought that the simple act of feeling a human’s hand on her would be pleasant? She rubs the side of her face against his hand, marking him as part of her family. Of the humans, this one has shown himself to be bearable to live with.

She enjoys the attention for a few moments, before Nate stands with his knees making a sharp report on his age. “Sorry, love. Time to go back to work. I hope to see the little ones soon.”

Juliet rubs up against his leg for a moment, then turns to go in to the storeroom where the paper and office supplies are being kept.

As she gets back to her spot watching for mice, her mind goes back to when she was first introduced to Nate, all those weeks ago.


Two days after they became mates, Romeo coaxed Juliet out of her tree, to bring her back to meet the humans that give him a place to live.

As they make their way into the corner of the building, an alluring smell catches Juliet’s attention. She can’t help salivating. She looks at her love. “What is that smell?”

Romeo smirks. “That’s Nate. He brings me some good food once every few days. He’s a good human.”

Juliet stops in her tracks. Her mother always told her that the humans are not to be trusted. They love on you as a kitten, then, when you grow up, they throw you out to fend for yourself.

Romeo stops and looks at her. “Trust me, my love. He won’t hurt either one of us. I want you to meet him, to know that you can trust him.” He slides along the length of her body. “I promise I will protect you if anything happens.” As he slides back up her, he stops and rubs his cheek against hers.

She drops her face. He knows her well enough to know how to push her buttons to get her to do what he wants. Now, he wants her to keep her fears about humans at bay and accept him at his word. She doesn’t know that she can, but at least she will have to try.

Knowing he’s won, he goes forward and looks back at her. “Coming along, dear?”

She takes a deep breath and follows along. As they make their way around the boxes of bits of metal, she sees a man. He has a long gray beard, a large belly and what seems to Juliet as kind eyes.

Oh, her fur just crawls being this close to one of the detestable creatures, but the look he gives her can only be described as kind.

His facial hair splits into a broad smile. “Well, Romeo, you old dog! It seems like you have brought a girl home, have you?”

He sets a bowl down and the smell wafts over to Juliet. As both cats begin eating the food hungrily, the man stands there, watching intently while stroking his facial hair. Finally, he stops and nods seemingly to himself. “Now, old man, what shall we call your female friend here, hm?”

Juliet keeps eating the wet food, all the while trying to understand what the man is saying.

“Ah! What is Romeo without his Juliet, eh? Well, Romeo, should she be called Juliet?” His smile widens. “Well, what am I asking you for? You haven’t spoken to me yet, my young friend. Why would you start now? Well, my young female friend, you will be known among us humans as Juliet. Eat up my friends.”

As the pair finish off the scrumptious food, Romeo steps up to the man and begins rubbing against him while purring.

Nate reaches down and begins stroking Romeo’s back with his rough hand. “Well, Romeo, now that you’ve decided to start a family, you need to remember your place here. We can’t have you neglecting the reason for you to be able to stay here. You are supposed to be here to fight off the vermin in the shape of rodents. Mephistopheles is here to fight off vermin in the shape of men.”

Romeo stops rubbing his back against the rough hand of the man and winks at Juliet. He knows the human and the human seems to be kind. Romeo moves his head and with his body language, tells Juliet to come over to receive much of the same attention from the human.

Juliet sighs as she fights off her nervousness and does as her mate asks.


As Juliet patiently waits for the vermin to come back, she can’t help but mourn the loss of the love of her life. “Why?” she calls out silently. “Why did you have to leave me, Romeo?”

Judge Rodriguez and his wife Alanna are currently co-authoring the Legends of the Landrun Series available in e-book, paperback, and now in hardback format. They can be found here.

Excerpt from a Project

Don’t tell my brother Brendan I’m writing this! I want it to be a present. 🙂

“Your full name, please.”

“Miria Agatha Thompson.”



“Are you? You look like a sixteen.”

“That’s my small cheekbones.”

Devin shrugged and continued.

“Place of birth?”


“You don’t know where you were born?”

“I don’t believe I was born.”

“Could you give any hint as to how else you came to exist?”

“I don’t believe so.”

Devin shrugged again.

“Next of kin?”

“Hxxjyr Pxhyfhhrr.” The sound that came from her mouth had been rubbed out, indistinct as the mark of a serpent’s scale on softwood.

“What was that?” Devin asked.

“It seems his name is unreadable, but he’s the old beggar-man who sits on the corner of James and Philo, in the shade of Berkin’s awning.”

“It’ll have to do…”

Devin spent a few more moments putting this information in, and looked up again.


“Investigative Reporter for the Crescent Sun.”

“Place of occupation?”

“Everywhere; I’m a reporter.”

“Yes, but where do you report? Where is the headquarters of the Crescent Sun paper?”

“Hmm. Non-applicable. I investigate, and my findings appear in the paper.”

“Convenient. How would I be able to contact your employer?”

“I don’t know. Where do you live?”

“Here: I tend to Dr. London’s household needs.”

“Where is here?”

Devin raised his eyebrows.

“You’re an investigative reporter, and you don’t know where you are?”

“I was on Leiningen Avenue, and went through one of the steel doors. But I know I’m not there anymore: there are no colours on Leiningen Avenue. I’ve heard of colours, but never seen them before.”

“Why, you have…” Devin began, and stood up heavily to look her over, no doubt expecting to see some coloured article on her person. But what he could not have seen earlier in the dim light of the bedroom, and must not have noticed until now, was that Miria and everything she wore was the near colourless tan of the sepia place she came from. He sat down again, even more heavily.

“Hum. That changes things.”

He typed a few more things in fitful bursts, then leaned back, the metal chair creaking as if only a few creaks from disaster. After a space of silence, he spoke without moving.

“Is there anything else you… need to know?”

“What was important about the inspector going to sleep quickly?” she asked, straight away, “I understand a gentleman disliking a loss of sleep, but he seemed official about it.”

“Dr. London is a forensic oneirologist.”

“Oneirology is the study and exploration of dreams, correct?”


“So he’s looking in his dreams for clues to criminal cases?”

“He is; and probably has a lead to follow up. We’ll hear about it in the morning. Speaking of, I think we know enough to let you out of those hand-cuffs.”

“Do you? I don’t. I still don’t know what city this is.”

Devin stepped to her chair and released her anyway.

“The city’s Italis, and you’re on North Armband Road. That should be enough to sleep on. The guest room is this way.”

“You seem to have changed your mind about me rather quickly.”

“Yes, well… just don’t poison us with insanity before the morning, and we’re all square, ‘kay? Here’s the room.”

“You can lock me in if you like, I won’t mind.”

“Thoughtful. Not that I see it doing any good though,” Devin half muttered, scratching behind his ear.

“Really? How so?” Miria asked, feeling flattered in some way.

“I don’t know if you can’t tell me,” Devin replied. “I’ll have to ask Travis in the morning.”


“Short for Travesty, it’s what I call Dr. London.”


“Goodnight then.”


The Path Off the Path

An umbrella opened under the bridge: someone was about to step out into the rain. This someone wore a long dark coat, without a hood. One who stood on the highest point of the bridge noticed the sound of the umbrella, and the movement and colour (it was red and grey). He watched as the someone stepped out, and the pigeons darkened by water scattered into the air. The someone was a lady with long dark hair, and he felt that he recognised her – a prick in his mind like something in his shoe.

Continue reading “The Path Off the Path”