Up till now I’ve been throwing these out there in approx. 500 word chunks. Would anyone like to read more at one time? I have a good deal more written, I just wasn’t sure how much people wanted to read. 🙂
Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled mayhem…
The Mall was bustling, now that noon was almost here…runners tramped back and forth between stores, their overflowing backpacks and hip-nets glinting with hidden possibilities. Sifters perched before their mountains of plunder, quick hands flying as they sorted out the trash from the treasure…handing the trash to the crafters, for a final sorting and possible rebuilding, and the treasure to the sales crew, setting up their spaces down the center court. Smells and sounds drifted like smoke above the tiled floor, and Blue hurried down toward her spot trying not to pay too much attention to either.
Passing banks of collected aroma, she wove her way between them with only a quick glance to scout out possibilities…the Gap crew seemed to’ve picked up some coffee somewhere, or at least something with a passable imitation of its smell…the Hotties had their usual day olds, and what looked like a pile of excrement but was most likely whatever topping they’d concocted today. Blue’s sensitive nose twitched, and caught the scents of cinnamon, brown sugar, and some other spice, as she hurried past.
Hey, Blue…the voice was soft and hoarse at the same time, and the small sifter that stepped out of the shadow of a column and into her path was a study in contradictions as well. His face was slow and expressionless, but his hands and eyes twitched rapidly, almost in unison, enough to make the light of the tiny hand-rolled he sucked on look like a laser-toy. Hey…just wanted t’say…better not let Big Rob catch y’all letting that cat in here, y’know? I mean, far as I’m concerned, cats gotta have shelter just like the rest of us…but you know how he is.
She carefully controlled her voice as she tilted her head at him, a fake confused expression on her face. Cat? Billy-G, what -are- you talking about? We ain’t got no cat. You think Jamie and Spike’d let a dirty ol’animal get inta their precious stuff? I -don’t- think. She chuckled, dismissingly…
Uh-huh. Whatever…just wanted t’say. He turned away, the tiny point of light inscribing whorls and spins of light in the shadowy areas between the columns. Just sayin…geez. His voice trailed off as he slipped back to his pile…and Blue carefully didn’t let the shaking start until she was safely out of his sight and headed down toward her own pile.
Sev looked up with a hassled look on his face as she approached, nodding to the little runner at his side. Ok, ok, I got it…tell Spike we’re gonna be on time, no matter what -some- people think… He bit his lip in a habitual gesture as the kid took off past Blue, and hollered after him. And -grab- something on the way back…you think we live on charity? Then he turned his scowling eyes on Blue, and shook his head. And you…you ready to do some sales this time, or you gonna pass out like last time? I haveta take over for you -one- more time…
Blue shook her head, confidently. I’m on it, Sev…really. What’ve we got today? Anything good? She moved forward toward the right hand pile, going gracefully to her knees to hover her hand over the contents…not -quite- daring to touch until the sifter’d given permission. But even from back here she could see that her group had done their usual good job…the glint of shiny plastics and sturdy metals could be seen through the grime, and even the bundled cloth looked like it held surprises of the positive kind.
The rest was almost laughable in its anticlimax…at least, someday she’d laugh about it. For now, she simply relished the relative ease of making the careful stretch and scrabble to the next few rungs, then slipping sinously up onto the roof to look down on the milling, furious pack below. Sighing softly, she called down toward the street, couching her voice in as casual and concise a way as she could, considering her condition. “Here, boys…it’s over. Just go home now, like nice doggies…and maybe next time we’ll find time to play.” This had the expected effect of stirring them to frenzies of scrabbling and leaping after her, and she simply shook her head and turned to head home over the rooftops. The path was clear from here, and with the pack occupied below, as safe as any she’d find on street level.
It was a very tired and dirty Blue that slipped in through the gate at the back of The Mall that morning…not that anyone there would’ve recognized her in her current condition. She padded slowly down the cool floor with its tile pattern of blue and green waves, hearing the soft stirrings of morning in the stores as she passed. Head hanging low, she slipped under the curtain and into her current home, tossing a soft smile up at the ever-smiling head of the stores mascot/angel, above. Careful to find her way to the spot that she’d prepped behind a pile of boxes in the back storeroom, she collapsed on the cool cement floor, and fell asleep licking her wounds…
The sound of The Mall opening for business woke her several hours later, and she stretched, wincing as her elbows hit the sharp edges of the boxes, and her knee came unstuck from the floor, reluctantly. Sighing, she reached for the clothes she’d left here before heading out the night before and slipped them on, taking the time to examine herself from head to toe as she did. Apart from the long scrape on her side, and the cut on her knee, and the usual wicked headache, she seemed to have once more slipped through without taking any serious injury. How long this state of grace would last was unknown and unknowable, but for now she’d settle for being grateful it existed, instead of whining about it.
Tying her hair back in a loose messy knot, she made her way down the hall and out into the main store, carefully not meeting the accusing eyes of her “boss”, and the resigned pair belonging to her best friend. They sat curled up with each other in the soft corner, Jamie with one hand on Spikes head, stroking him like a pet. Jamie obviously felt that Blue was hiding something from her, (which to be fair, she was), and when Jamie was upset, Spike felt it as well, even though he had no real clue what. Blue sighed, already seeing the loss of yet another “family” and home in her near future.
As I opened my mouth to respond the usual way, with a smart-mouthed comment, I noticed something strange out of the corner of my eye.
The room, at least what I could see from my prone position, looked like a movie set for the interior of the Titanic. Heavy on the gilt and chandeliers, and pictures of people on the wall that all looked as though they’d swallowed a live fish and it wasn’t agreeing with them. All that wasn’t the strange part, though. The fact that the wall seemed to be melting…was.
I glanced at the wall and back at the Woman, just as she clued in, and a string of that strange trickle-purr language spewed from her mouth…but this time it was more like ice cold white-water over jagged rocks as crows cawed above. She jumped to her feet, holding back another spate of coughing by sheer force of will, and began unbuckling, unlacing, and unlocking the restraints that held me to the table.
Meanwhile, I was watching with no little apprehension as more and more of the “scenery” softened, liquified, and slowly began to drift down the wall. No idea what was happening, but whatever it was, it wasn’t good. As soon as I was able to sit up I quickly finished off the rest of the restraints, swinging my feet off the table…which promptly disappeared, along with all the other furniture in the room.
The Woman in Red was finally unable to hold back another racking cough, although this one was interspersed with what I had to assume was her version of some very unhappy language. I moved to her, just as the floor seemed to tilt under our feet, leaving us at about a five degree slant upwards, toward the double doors. Deciding to act on my lifelong philosophy that cowardice is the better part of saving your life, I attempted to scoop up the Woman to carry her to the door.
I say attempted, as she didn’t move an inch, and I felt as if I had attempted to pick up a smallish pick-up truck. Through the cough, she shook her head, and straightened, holding her hand out to me. “I appreciate the attempt, Mr. “Blake”…but the support of your strong shoulder is all I need at this moment.” I moved so that she could rest her arm across my shoulders…felt like a couple bags of cement…and together we headed uphill toward the door. Where the walls had reached a certain point in their slow slide I saw behind some what appeared to be dirt, complete with very confused worms and plant roots, and behind the others, closer to the door, very old brick work…strange thing is it was placed…sideways?
All this was glimpsed as I struggled to reach the door, with a very beautiful and -very- weighty Woman as a complication. But finally we made it, and stood looking out into the hallway for a good five seconds before I could close my mouth. The hallway…although it’d be more proper to call it a tunnel, as it was round on all “sides” but the floor…was packed completely full with the strangest crowd I’d seen in my life…and believe me, that’s saying something.
Some walked, some scampered, some flew…a few even seemed to swim through the air…and all the traffic went one way. Up. The floor had tilted yet more, until everyone was climbing at about a 25 degree angle…which was fine for the flyers and swimmers, but not so much for the others. Then I saw one of the flyers pick up one of the smaller…things…and carry it to the end of the hall, where it promply dissappeared and the flyer came back for another. A pair of swimmers scooped another straggler, a lumbering fellow who looked to’ve been built of driftwood, up into a modified chair-carry and swam “upstream”…although slowed somewhat by their burden.
Around this point I realized that in the seconds that I’d been staring, the “floor” had tilted yet again, to an even steeper angle, and hurriedly waded out into the flow with the Lady. Startled by my own thought, I rewound and re-examined it, then turned to look at the object in question. Yeah, what my brain had instinctively recognized was a fact. This was not a Woman, or even the Woman…this was The Lady. Not that her appearance had changed any, or any other part of her…but every fibre of my body knew that this wasn’t someone to be fantasized about, or even casually admired…she was suddenly projecting an aura of majesty that I can’t say I’d ever felt before…or since, to be honest.
I carried/supported her out onto the sloped floor…and a movement out of the corner of my eye signaled the full collapse of the room we’d just left, leaving the door behind us looking down into a seemingly endless fall of black, rimmed with bricks and dirt until the light cut off the view. Gulping, I moved a bit further up the slope, as the crowd around us grew thinner and thinner, slowing to a trickle of the slower swimmers and flyers…and us. At this point the floor was tilting a few degrees every thirty seconds or so, leaving me struggling to carry Her cough-racked form a few feet at a time, pushed from behind by a small crowd of the…things who’d stayed behind for just this reason.
Suddenly, the weight on my shoulders disappeared, and I turned, startled, to see the Lady turn toward the tunnel wall and punch her right hand straight through, panting with effort. Turning back towards us…myself and the few flyers/swimmers left…she spoke, softly, in her strangely intriguing language. There was a distressed sounding reply from the group behind me, and her next statement was sharp, again very much a command.
With another distressed babble, and a few of them taking turns to duck out from basically holding me upright to touch her face, or clothes, or just press some unnameable part of themselves against her, we began to move upward again. I didn’t resist, as it was obviously her wish, so her voice from behind caused me to jerk in surprise and look back. “Thank you…Jake. I appreciate what you tried to do more than I can say. We -will- see each other again…I promise. After all, we still have to have that little chat!”
She laughed, lightly, once more the Woman in Red…until the floor began to tilt once again, and she called out urgently to the little ones who began to push harder. As I watched, she turned and punched her other fist into the brick wall, until she appeared to be embracing it…and then she was lost from sight as without her weight the flyers almost threw me up the tunnel.
I think I’m ready to start working on my book again, got my confidence up and my discipline as well..I hope. ;p
Either way, I’m going to start posting at least one page or possible chapter twice a week, and I welcome all comments of constructive critism or praise. 😉
Blue and Grey, synopsis: In a post-apocalyptic/dystopian future, Blue: an unwilling young shapeshifter, and Grey: a born shapeshifter and master burglar, become less than willing partners out of mutual necessity. (I know this needs work…wish I could find the 25 word pitch I did, but I seem to have misplaced it in the junk-filled filing case that calls itself a laptop.)
Blue and Grey: Part One
Blue curled her lip as one paw splashed through an unidentified liquid spilling out of a drain, but kept running. The sound of the pack was all too close behind, their mingled yips and yaps echoing off the alleyway bricks and bouncing around in her already sore head like barbed wire ping-pong balls.
She took the next turn a bit too close, shaving time and a bit of fur off as she did. Almost there, she thought. Just a bit more, and I can put my head down, even if I have to do it on the floor. The thought of the cold concrete floor of the back room was soothing to her cut and scraped up paws, and she managed to pull a burst of energy from the thought and double her speed for a few moments.
It wore off quickly though,and she was back to the limping scamper that she’d kept up for blocks now, and the pack…wait…why did they sound like they were coming from in front? She listened carefully, slowing her steps, hoping against all hope that it was only an effect of the echo that made the yipping cries come from -both- directions at once.
The supposition failed, however, when she reached the corner of the main street leading to The Mall…and heard them more clearly. Damn, they must’ve circled around. -Now- what? I can’t get home without getting caught between! Half-panicked, half-exhausted, she looked around frantically, and grinned tiredly as she noticed the ladder half a floor above her head. Yes! Saved!
Her first leap was fruitless, only managing to scrape her fur against the brick, leaving a smear of what she -hoped- was mud, but was more likely blood. Too tired to feel the pain, she positioned herself a bit more carefully, and took another leap…this time, managing to grasp the bottom rung of the ladder with the claws of one sore paw. Scrambling frantically, she pulled herself up onto the rusted metal, and lay there for a moment, prostrate with relief.
Ok, now for the fun part…carefully she stood, stretching her lean body up toward the next rung, ignoring the calls of the pack as they raced closer from both sides. Just a bit…more…there! Got it. She made the pull-and-rest maneuver one more time, before the first of the packs outrunners, a scruffy little terrier, ran into the alley. Here, here, here!! The cat, it’s here! She sighed, and watched it as it scrabbled frantically at the brick below the ladder, mad little eyes sparkling in its filthy face and spittle spraying everywhere. Dogs…so the dignity.
Just in case people come in through the back door, post by post…I dunno how it all works, but I wanted to let people know I’d changed it to reflect the “new” blog idea of poetry -and- prose. 🙂
I’m going cynically insane,
the more I try to use my brain,
the more I see the lies and pain,
my mind runs’round like a wagon train!
Cognitive diffidence, I really don’t care,
if my mind is here or there,
or hiding from the truths dark glare,
in a special sort of anywhere.
Lazy fair, the rides are free,
as long as you don’t mind the fee,
most will pay it happily,
to buy their couch and their t.v.
Free dumb, as the people glare,
at all the folks who take the dare,
to learn to live, and to take care,
not live in castles in the air.
Ann, our key, I turn the lock,
and stop the ever ticking clock,
that pushes businessman and jock,
and dare the laws of man to mock!
This one is dedicated to TRG, who has done more for my writing bug than I have, simply by being, as his name suggests, a helpful, amusing, appreciative and above all supporting…gentleman. ;p Thanks, Boss!
This question is for my primarily poem followers. I’ve been on a prose kick lately, with a few poems here and there…is that all right with you, or would you rather I move the prose to its own blog, and reserve this one for the poems? If it helps, I’ve been considering that…have a blog already that’s perfect for it…Various and Sundry Nonsenses …but I’m being lazy and procrastinating. Plus I don’t want my new buds in the prose section to have to change bookmarks and whatnot, or add yet another blog to the pile I’m sure they all follow. >.<
So let me know, all right? *hugs*
Meanwhile, down on the winding road that leads to the cabin, a slim figure zips quietly on a sleek, dark motorcycle that seems to purr, rather than roar. Suddenly the rider begins to veer, dangerously, and quickly pulls to the side of the road. Thumbing a toggle switch in the helmet, she speaks urgently into the mouthpiece. “Get me Sanderson…one of Them is gone.”
Suzi’s relief was quickly squashed by the look in Melissa’s eyes, as she repeated herself in an almost bemused tone. “He always liked you best…” Still holding on to the sharp, shiny object with which she’d killed Raj, she stared at Suzi. Suzi was now shuddering in terror, still bound to the table, helpless, as she knew she couldn’t ‘port out of ties.
Moving closer, Melissa put one shaking hand onto Raj’s still cooling flank…and with a quick movement, shoved the lifeless body onto the floor on the far side of the table.
Hearing the soft wet thud sent Suzi over the edge, down and down until only Meagan was left. Her eyes blurred until she could barely see Melissa’s mad face above her… and her eyes…they weren’t really glowing, were they? Her body convulsed, the rope bonds tearing at her fragile skin, while the cooling blood that covered her added to the cold that seemed to be deep inside.
In a low, frighteningly cheerful voice, Melissa said “Now look what you made me do…” The bright shiny edge of the knife glinted even through the blur in Meagan’s eyes…and as it came slashing down, she shrieked in terror…and ported.
The only thought in her head was “somewhere safe…somewhere safe…someone…”
Out on the trail, moving as quickly as possible in the dark, Sam followed Ephraim toward the cave. All his attention on finding Suzi, hoping that she was safe, he almost fell as he ran straight into Ephraim, standing stock still in front of him. “What’s going on?” he whispered, but all he got in reply was Ephraim’s hand flashing up in the symbol for “Wait!”
Ephraim had been moving as quickly as possible ahead of Sam, when a stronger than usual strike of pain heralded a vision coming on. Images flashed through his mind…a pair of somehow familiar mad eyes, a gush of blood, Raj’s face staring into his, a look of triumph on it. Just as he was able to see the path again, and about to rush to the cave, he heard (and –heard–) a terrified shriek and stumbled, almost dropping the blood covered, naked form of Suzi who suddenly appeared in his arms.
She looked up at him through her blood matted hair, and immediately scrambled up him, climbing him like a child would until her arms locked around him and her face was buried in the crook of his neck. She moaned under her breath, clinging and fighting as he tried desperately to untangle her, to find out how badly she was hurt.
Sam leaned in, once, trying to help, but at his touch she shrieked in terror once more, fighting even harder to cling to Ephraim. Using all the discipline at his control, he stepped back, hands clenching into fists at his sides. Watching Ephraim fight to control the hysterical Meagan, nails grinding into his palm, he was startled to hear himself speak…quietly at first, then once he realized what he was saying, louder, so that Ephraim could hear. “It’s not hers…the blood, it’s not hers!”
Ephraim turned his head toward Sam, hearing the urgency in his voice if not the actual content. “What?”
Sam raised his voice, almost shouting. “She’s not hurt! Some rope burn, and whatever…happened to her…but no actual wounds!” At Ephraim’s skeptical glance, Sam moved his gaze to Meagan and began to list her wounds in an almost clinical tone of voice.
“…right wrist, severe rope burn, possible muscle damage. I can See it, Ephraim! I can See her…just like the boxes!”
Ephraim frowned, but allowed the still struggling Meagan to wrap herself around him again, trying his best to use his jacket to cover her. He accepted the coat Sam handed him with a nod of thanks, wrapping the shivering girl in it. “We still have to get her to the cabin, at least.”
Sam nodded. “You take her. I’ll just make things worse, and besides, I need to check out the cave.”
Ephraim frowned, staring down at the blood covered girl. “You know that who…or what…ever did all this bleeding…it’s more than possible they didn’t survive.”
Sam nodded, grimly. “I know…but we need to make sure…”
Meanwhile, down the road, the dark rider paced, restlessly. Frustrated, she muttered to herself. “…damn Sanderson. If the Big Man was still in full control…”
She cut off at a muffled squawk from the comm. Her voice became rigidly controlled, every word precise and knife-like.
“Blue here. Yes, sir. No, sir, not as far as I know, sir. No, I am not currently at the scene. I know…” Rolling her eyes, but keeping her voice level, she continued. “Sir. The Club sent me here due to my particular abilities, and I must respectfully request that you allow me to use them…”
Another slightly louder squeal from the comm unit caused another eye roll, and a head shake. “No, sir. It was one of the big ones, but I cannot determine which side without actual visual confirmation. No, sir, it was definitely not Her. I would know.”
Her voice finally showed a hint of aggravation and one hand came up to rub the back of her neck, under the helmet. “Sir! I refer you to my previous statement vis a vis my being chosen for this mission above any others, and again respectfully request that you do your job, and allow me to do mine!”
Stifling the outraged squawking with a flip of the toggle, she shrugged out of the helmet, tossing it onto the grass near the bike, and ran her fingers through the spiky dark blue hair that gave her her nickname. Pacing again, a cheetah on a leash, her eyes tossed a frustrated glance up the road, toward the cabin.
She muttered under her breath, a whining mockery of the voice from the comm. “How do you know? How can you tell?”
She huffed, exasperatedly, moving to lean on the bike, one booted foot kicking at the grass, petulantly. “Can’t tell him the burst of power almost knocked me off the bike. Can’t tell him how I know it’s not Her. Can’t let him find out …she’s my mom.”
Fun little challenge by Eric Alagan…thought I’d give it a try, since I’ve been struggling with the 100 word stuff. Let me know what you think, then hop over to his page and check out the rest, in his comment section, if you feel like it!
Tiny red sneaker dangling nervelessly from one shaking hand, she stood frozen in shock, half in and half out of the patio door, her other hand fumbling her cellphone from her pocket. “911?”