(This one is a bit longer, but it’s the end of the chapter and I didn’t see a good spot to cut it, so here it is. :p Hope it’s been a good ride so far…it’s been neat for me to see and know other people are actually reading it. I’m thinking about trying to finish it before November, somewhere around 7,000 words or so…what do y’all think? I’m halfway there, now, so I know it’s possible…but is that a good length for a short story?)
Sev scowled, and nodded. That’s sorted…go on, take it. She grinned, and began scooping up the pile, already scoping out the main drag for a good spot. Let the newbies take the one under the sunbeam, she’d take the one where the beam’d be once the people started coming…and -away- from the entrance, where the non-serious shoppers wandered in, and blocked off the view of the good ones. Cuddling the pile to her chest, she began shuttling back and forth, her grin widening as each new layer became visible. Putting each find where she felt it got the best show took the best part of an hour, and by the time she was done, the first trickle of customers was heading in. As usual, the day went by quickly…maybe a little too quickly. By the time the torches went on, and the night crowd started filtering through, she was already wondering what to do with herself that night. Tossing a quick if insincere grin up at her replacement as he approached, she sighed, and adjusted the new scarf she’d appropriated for herself as she stood. Ok, ok…you can have it. Anything happening?
He shook his head, already more interested in sorting and sifting. Party up t’the Hotties, but you know how that crowd gets…and I heard something about a new singer over t’the Kitchen Sync. Oh, and Jamie wants t’talk t’ya…said it’s important. Butt-in-a-sling kinda important. He looked sideways at her, quirking his lip at her suddenly nervous expression. Hell, relax…she prob’ly needs someone t’chew on for a while…it’s Jamie, y’know? If she don’t got somebody to bite ever day, she gets cranky. Maybe the Spikester ain’t been licking her boots right, huh? He grinned nastily, and put on a whiny tone of voice. Why doncha ever -listen- t’me, spikie? Left -then- right…left -then- right…are you just stupid? Is -that- your problem? Blue snorted…then outright giggled, swatting him beside the ear. You…are gonna get us -both- in trouble, she ever hears you do that. Ok, I’m off…just…be careful, huh? And don’t let that big piece go to anybody but Old Dave…he’s been looking for one just like it for-ever.
She shook her head, and headed off down the hall, after one last wistful glance at the treasures spread out all around her. Not till the weekend. Sellers-day was coming, just two more days…then she could pick and bargain…for whatever was left. She bit her lip, trying not to anticipate what this little “talk” with Jamie was about…Spike being her best friend wasn’t going to hold her here for -much- longer, especially if Jamie got wind of her…nocturnal activities. Sidling through the torchlit shadows, she wondered again what was with the lo-techs and lighting. Sure, it made it more…romantic, in here, and got people buying more…but they acted like even having lights back in the stores was somehow bad. Just a few little lights, and they’d double their productive time, instead of having to rush everything, then leave it sit all night. She shrugged, and slipped back into the shadows behind the “sales floor” with relief. Less smoky back here…and less temptation.
The store was dark, as usual, the only illumination coming from the tiny candle that sat in the mouth of the stores sign/mascot, giving a soft glow to her somewhat frantic looking features, and the tiny fire in the barrel that sat in the middle of the main room. The off-duty team sat around the barrel as usual, and someone had been in a giving mood, obviously…there was a strong smell of cooking meat, without the charred-hair smell that meant rat-thing, and a jug of chilled water sweated gently in the heat. She inquired as to Jamie’s placement with a raised ‘brow, and was directed to the back of the Lair…behind the double-row of beaded curtain that blocked off all light from the back room.
Boss? She moved to the curtain, parting it just enough to stick her head through…and received the usual grunt in reply. Slipping the rest of her way through the surprisingly heavy beads, she waited a second for her eyes to adjust, then paced forward to kneel down by the pair of figures who curled together in the middle of the cushions covering the floor. As her knees hit the cushion, two pairs of eyes opened, and one mouth grinned…but which was which was hard to tell. The gravelly voice that spoke was -definitely- Jamie, though…and -not- in a good mood, so most likely -not- the grin. What’re you doing, Blue? She blinked, confused, and shrugged. Talking to you? She tried. The voice snorted, and a rustle from the darkness revealed itself as Spike sitting up and moving out of range. Lemme clarify…what’re you doing that I don’t know about? That takes you out all damn night? That brings you back beat to hell and gone, and dirtier than a Raver at a Pow-wow? What…are you…doing?
Blue…gulped. I uh…I got stuff, boss. That’s all. You said, long as I’m working, you’re good. You said, when Spike and me got here. She blinked, as a light flared, revealing Jamie’s face all too close to her own, looking rather demonic in the flickering flame of the tiny tea-light candle. I said…yeah, I did. But that’s before I saw. You’re working, yeah. But one-a these days, you won’t be. You’ll be down t’fill, only -in- it, steada on it. Now me, longs it don’t affect the Claires, I don’t give a smack…but Spike, he likes ya, and I’m not liking it when he’s too worried about ya to do his…job, y’hear what I’m saying? She glanced over her shoulder at him, the look on her face softening into as normally…human…as Blue had ever seen. Spike, for his part, kept his eyes down, hiding his face behind his curtains of soft blond hair…but Blue could tell he was upset by the set of his shoulders. So…either y’tell me what’s happening…or I got no choice. I gotta letcha go.
Just a little fan-girling…I -love- Stephen Kings “Firestarter”, I have ever since I first read it, at twelve yrs. old. I didn’t watch the movie till years later, didn’t want to spoil the book…but I was surprised to find that I liked both. As long as I thought of them as separate but related stories, they were both awesome. I love Drew Barrymore, and she was so cute in her angst-filled rage… ;p
Anyway, here is my little tribute, a short-story-ish non-canon look into the world of the Firestarter, part one. Enjoy. 🙂
The old cars long familiar motion failed to soothe, and Charlie shifted, restlessly, head pounding with the rhythm of the wheels. “You ok, baby?” Her fathers voice was intentionally low, and his eyes sympathetic as he met her pained gaze. Forcing a shaky smile for his sake, she nodded…and winced. “It’s ok, daddy. Just a little headache. Just need to sleep…”
His nod said that he knew the truth, but like her, he would let it be for now. “You do that, baby. Get some sleep. We’ll be stopping for gas pretty soon…maybe even get a motel room. You’d like that, hmm?” She smiled again, and kept her exhausted sigh as internal as she could. “Mm-hmm. That’d be nice. Love you, daddy.” “I know you do, baby. Love you more…” A tired grin was his reward, before she turned her face to the darkness outside the window and deliberately closed her eyes.
He sighed, carefully keeping both hands on the wheel although he longed to reach out and touch her soft hair…to reassure himself that she was still real, still there, still with him. Not like…the other. He shook his head, quickly, banishing the thought before it could take hold. All his concentration must be on the road, on keeping them safe, keeping moving. But god, he was tired.
The lights were sharp and white when Charlie woke from her half-doze, glaring through the windshield, reflecting the exhausted face of her father pitilessly in the glass. She winced again, and deliberately pasted on a bright smile before shifting in her seat as if just waking. He glanced over at her as he pulled into a spot under the canopy. “Just getting gas, like I said. Do you want anything? A soda, some chips? We can get some real food once we get to the motel, ok?” She just nodded, then shook her head, gently. “I’m ok. I…I’m not hungry.” He searched her eyes, then nodded as he got out of the car. “Just let me know, ok?”
She was pretty sure she’d never be hungry again, not with the memory of her last meal still so fresh in her head. The phantom taste of her mothers grilled cheese sandwich stuck like glue to her mind, mingling with the scent of tomato soup…and the other. Angrily, she brought her hand to her cheek, brushing away the memory and the tears that began to leak from her eyes. No. Not thinking of that. They were both scrupulously avoiding any hint of what they’d left behind, and as far as she was concerned she’d like it to stay that way forever. “Ok, daddy. I promise.”
Curling into herself, she watched him move around the car, pumping gas, moving to go into the brightly lit store that stood like an island port in the darkness, the big rigs like ships around it. This image amused her, and she began to embellish the picture, adding the sounds of creaking sails and excited voices, her active mind keeping itself busy as it always had, her favorite toy.
In the store, he gathered a few bottles of soda, a box of crackers, and a brightly furred little bear, and moved quickly to the cashier. Placing his items on the counter, he kept a bright but somewhat harassed look on his face. “Hi. I’m sorry to ask, but is there any chance you can cash a hundred? I’m traveling with my little girl, and I forgot to get change…” She sighed, smiling down at the little bear, then up at him. “I’m not supposed to…but all right. For the little one.”
His smile warmed, and he reached in his pocket for a worn one dollar bill. Holding the bill folded close in his hand so that their hands touched as he passed it over, he summoned the picture of a one hundred dollar bill into his mind. Worn, but not too much, a crease across Franklins face, a reassuringly recognizable bill. Holding the picture, he concentrated with all his strength as she carefully counted out his change, bagged his items, and handed them to him. He almost staggered as he pulled away, the sudden exhaustion that always accompanied use of his gift almost overwhelming him…but the thought of Charlie waiting out in the car gave him a burst of manic strength as he hurried back out the doors into the night.
Deep within the ferny swamp,
a mossy hillside beckons me,
beneath the fireflies that romp
and play about a great Oak tree.
Beneath the Oak, upon a stone,
a figure sits, form cloaked and still,
awaiting my approach, alone,
a statue, grey, upon the hill.
Gnarled knuckles grace the hands
that rise to lift the heavy cloak,
revealed, the spirit of the sands,
the Lady of the great Live Oak.
Tangled hair of spanish moss,
and eyes a deep palmetto green,
the scars of years lie mapped across
the softest skin I’ve ever seen.
She meets my gaze with patient eyes,
her smile as soft as summers hum,
her voice, so deep and old and wise,
whispers “Child, I’m glad you’ve come.”
frightened flower in the dark,
silent, cold, and trembling,
feeling every bite and bark,
each angry word, dissembling.
the glare of disapproval, shame,
searing unprotected skin,
a creature formed of guilt and pain,
that burns and burrows deep within.
fragile flower, tender child,
know the world is bright, and wide,
come out, come out, to gardens, wild,
and taste the sunlight deep inside!
Swelling, growing, life within,
Kicking thrusting hidden limb,
Tracings under rounded middle,
Madonna, smiling, just a little.
In potentia, the child,
Soft and sweet or bright and wild,
Rough and tumble, party dress,
Peaceful time to sit and guess.
Knowledge gained, the plans begin,
Dream the life so deep within,
Dream the hearts that pulse as one,
And yearn toward tomorrows sun.
Apparently I haz an anniversary. Sometime in the last week or so was Kyotzeta’s first b-day with WP. There should’ve been clowns.