And here it is again, the wonderful web of words, woven by writers who…nah, never mind. ;p It’s Fiction Relay time! Time once again for me to take up the spindle and weave us a tale, hopefully one that will inspire more and more to come! In case you haven’t read the previous weavings (all 46 of them, wow!) then you should follow this link to find links to all…or this one, to read the summary so far. I’m betting that you’ll like it, that you’ll have a good time, and hopefully come back for more!
They had taken 5 steps into the room, long enough for Ephraims pronouncement…when suddenly they found themselves in the hall again. An eerie green glow, the exact strength of Jose’s fizzled out light stick, barely illuminated the room. Any attempt to enter the room resulted in the same response, and finally they stopped trying, “milling around in the hallway like a pack of puppies” was the image that came to Jose.
Jose could feel his “part” in the legends approaching, and clutched his medicine pouch even tighter. Thanks to the stories he’d fed on all his life, and his simple knowledge as a mechanic, he knew that things were about to get -very- bad.
“Just give me a second here, guys…I wanna try something.”
As Jose moved further into the room, Sam could “feel” the resistance, almost a heat, that surrounded him. He pushed on, muttering something under his breath, something less like speech, more like…a chant? Whatever it was, it was working, as Jose -slowly- pushed his way into the room. Sams hand reached for Meaghans, for comfort…and then, because he could, here…he put the arm around her slim shoulders and pulled her to him.
Smiling in the dark, Meaghan curled against Sam, feeling the comfort of his large frame, and smelling/feeling that special scent that always meant “Sam”. “Missed you…love you…” Her murmured words were meant to comfort, but also to distract. His thought were too much on the room, on Ephraims “sight”, and honestly…it got in her way.
As she tucked Sam…and love…and Sammy…and love…away again in one tiny corner of her mind, the power surged forward again, as if she’d released some holding tank, and now it was free. She’d begun feeling it a while back, but kept quiet as it slowly worked its way into her brain. After all, that was what it wanted…and she wanted to give it what it wanted.
Ephraim shuddered, as Jose pushed his way into the room. Jose’s muttered words might as well have been english, for he understood every one. Watching Jose move into the room, he listened, closely, to the chant.
“Anansi! Come, bringer-of-tales, speaker to gods, come! I bring a story, untold! I, your birthed child, come bearing gifts! Gifts that will let you put down he who walks not in beauty, he who claims what is not his, or ever will be! I do not beg, but ask, as is my right as your birthed child…come, Anansi, come!
And with the last word, something seemed to flare around Jose…Ephraim saw, and Sam Saw, and Meaghan…or the power within…saw, and screamed! Screamed not in fear, but in challenge, her form seeming to swell for that moment, going from woman…to Woman…then back to Meaghan. The scream startled them enough to almost forget the form of the great huge Spider that had encircled Jose…and whose brightly glowing web he stood within…inside the room.
“It’s safe now…you can come in. The Widow holds us in her arms.” As they began to file cautiously inside, Sam still holding the now stiff with anger Meaghan in his arm, they could feel the web stretch, then part to let them in. As Meaghan approached, Jose bowed deeply to her, head to the floor at her feet. “Mother-of-us-all, be welcome here, here in Your space, here in Your body, and forgive us our small intrusion? We enter only to remove that One who wishes to control even You, in his impudence…”
Meaghan could feel the power within…relax, and seem to…forgive. She shrugged one shoulder, and chuckled. When the Voice came from her throat, they all started, except Jose, still on the floor. It seemed to fill the room…no, it was the room…no, it was the Mountain, speaking to them.
“Come, Anansi, come, little spider…you are not welcome here, but as you enter on a mission I greatly wish culminated…”
Suddenly, the Voice broke off, as she turned toward the front of the cave. “They come! The witches come! In their hundreds they come! My Children will stop them, for a while…but you must hurry, little spider. Whatever your plan is, whatever Trickery you have planned…you must hurry!”
Blue stared into the things eyes for a moment, too shocked to think…then her new-found power seemed to take over, for just a moment…and she ported, finding herself next to her beloved Bike, staring at the four Walls who stared into the distance, their eyes glowing the exact same red as the Not-Spence.
As she backed slowly toward the bike, one groping hand touched its saddle…and she gasped, as instead of the normal worn leather, its color matching her turquoise riding leathers…she held, instead, a huge lump of turquoise stone, its presence feeling comforting in her hand. A feeling, a prescence, came over her…so strong and somehow…familiar, that her normal cynicism was over-ridden, and she relaxed into it.
“My Daughter…you must come home. The witches come, in their hundreds, and you must Fight. Your Brother will come soon…he was delayed upon his way…but he will come, and in that moment, you will join together in Beauty, and defeat the witches. So it is said, so it is done.”
Blue “felt” her power come over her, her aspect pour through her veins, the turquoise chill within her. Inside, somewhere, a tiny Blue curled up within a turquoise room, a smile on her face as she waited for her Brother, her Love, her other half, to join her.
Well, there it is for now…now it’s up to Dawn, writer of Mouse-tails and Fiction Relays of the finest kind…let’s see what we get!
This is part 35 of the Fiction Relay serial story, following the adventures and misadventures of Suzi and those she impacts. To read the rest of the story, or just see a summary so far, go here. To see who is crazy enough to play this game, and see how you might join the insanity, go here.
One quick look back…and then to the road once more. Somewhere behind her, red and blue lights painted their rude graffiti onto the red rock walls of the canyon, but all she saw was a pair of haunting (and a bit haunted) blue eyes. Eyes that could tease and taunt, freeze and burn…eyes that had seared themselves into her almost as long as she could remember.
Since she “joined” the Club, at 8 yrs. old, there had been Spencer. Ten yrs. old, the directors son, and a boy…all things calculated to be sure that their paths never met, at pain of mortal embarrassment and peer humiliation. But like her, Spence had never been a rule follower. Unlike her, however, he didn’t necessarily -break- rules…he just made new ones, that only applied as he saw fit.
For instance, the rule was that Blue (or Sammy, at the time) belonged to him. Her cadet training, her fire-arms qualification, and eventually the discovery and training of her many talents (all that she admitted to, anyway) were all under close supervision and scrutiny, watched over by those eyes. And after-hours, as well. It was Spence who taught her how to drive, practicing with her side-by-side on the back lot from age 12 until she left on the search for her mother. It was Spence who teased her hidden talents from her, one by one, pulling them out and helping her practice those, as well. By that time, he was 16 to her 14, and discretion became the rule.
Especially once the friendship began to deepen. Especially once the Mentor/Student dynamic began to slip, in new and exciting ways. Discretion. Discretion among her peers, discretion among her trainers/teachers…and most of all, discretion among the higher-ups. The new rule was that Blue was Spence’s reluctant assistant, working hard to stretch her “leash” by volunteering for outside missions, and solo missions, almost exclusively. The truth…known solely to the two of them…was that their “connection” had strengthened, over the years. Whatever the…thing…they had between them, it was now so strong that it didn’t matter how far away she was from him, if he chose he could see through her eyes, feel with her hands…or her heart.
The fact that he knew how afraid she was of being “taken over”, of losing control, and chose to respect that, chose to give -her- the power of choice, of reaching out to him or not…for that, if for nothing else, she felt for him. This most recent meeting? It needed pondering. It needed thought, to reach past the emotion, past the pleasure/pain, past the mysterious words…thought that could best be done off the road, and perhaps over a drink.
Besides, the urgency of the chase had begun to calm a bit, the closer she got to “home”…to the Club. It was fairly obvious, now, where her mother would end up…which gave her a chance for a short break. Some breathing room, a chance to sort through this new thing. Spotting a familiar symbol on the next exit sign, she grinned, and slowed to make the turn.
The man known as Sanderson moved to sit at the long table, his stride strong and confident, and his smile quick and sure. As he approached, Sam tried to get a better look at him…for one moment, he thought he might have caught a glimpse…then in the next, he knew better. In that moment, with a sly wink, the “man” let himself be seen. The aura lifted, and Sam shuddered, almost falling to his knees from the force of the personality that stood in front of him. A child staring bare-eyed into the eclipse, he knew his mistake, knew his limits, and quickly slammed his eyes (both sets) closed. Cautiously opening his eyes as the confident steps moved away, toward Meagan and her new friend, Jose, he breathed in, seeing only the man once more, aura and all. A quick mischievous grin flashed where only he could see let him know that his relief had not gone unnoticed…and a quick glance to his friends showed that they were unaware of his distress, or of any pause in “Sanderson”‘s advance. Resolving to tighten his supervision, Sam mentally shook himself, and settled into guard mode.
Ephraims law-trained skills of observation coupled with the habits of a lifetime spent hiding the effects of his “talents” from others were all that kept the shock from his face as the creature calling itself “Sanderson” passed between Sam and the table. The visions were one thing. He’d had them all his life, and by now they were almost familiar. Annoying, sometimes painful, and escalating, recently, for some reason…but known. When he’d been in the orphanage, and realized that the pills were supposed to change him, give him what it gave the others…it had been a huge relief to just pretend that it had worked, that the visions were just starting, and oh-my-gosh what’s all this then?
But this…he took another long look as “Sanderson” moved to sit at the table. On the surface, he saw what everyone saw…an old man, still strong and confident, in charge, with a mysterious aura that seemed to cause different reactions in each of them. But underneath…literally… well, start with the face. The long grey-furred muzzle, shading into grizzled tan as it neared the mischievous grey-blue eyes, then back to grey to the tips of the tall pointed ears that stuck up through “Sandersons” mane of white hair like reeds from a pond. Add a long furry tail, shaded similarly, and what Ephraim could only term a “cowboy outfit”…faded blue workshirt, worn jeans, dusty and very well lived-in boots…and a gun in a holster that seemed almost to shimmer, as if it fit in both worlds. He mentally shook his head, but the view didn’t change…and the look on the humanoid coyotes face as it glanced at him…and winked…he took a deep breath, and tried to look alert as he and Sam were motioned to take a seat at the table as well.
The naughty little donkey that symbolized “Bad Ass Coffee” almost seemed to grin as Blue pulled into the lot, parking next to a long line of other bikes of all sizes and shapes. Sniffing appreciatively at the smell of good coffee, frying bread, and locally brewed…well, brew…she pushed her way through the doors. Not what the average person would picture as the typical biker bar, Bad Ass nonetheless endeared itself to the locals, wherever the franchise went. As far as she was concerned, the coffee and food were enough, but the safety and protection she felt in the company of other bikers was a pretty hefty chunk of frosting on that cake.
She grabbed a table, literally, scooping up one of the tiny two person tables and carrying it to a chosen spot, with a view out the window at the road, and her bike. Swinging a chair around to sit backward on it, arms leaning on the chair back, she grinned up at the waiter as he approached. “Hey! I didn’t know the coffee came with eye candy…” He winked at her, flipping his hair over his shoulder so that she could see the rainbow stud in his ear. “Look all you want…looking doesn’t hurt. So what can I get for you today?”
She grinned, and opened her mouth to speak…but all that came out was a whistling scream, as something hit her hard enough to knock the wind out of her lungs. Desperately trying to draw in a breath, eyes blurring, she looked to the waiter…and stumbled to her feet, kicking the chair in front of her, as he scrambled toward her. His face was set in a terrifying snarl, showcasing almost all of his sharp pointed fangs, and his eyes were pools of flame. Wheezing, she kept stumbling backward, kicking chairs and pulling tables over to slow him down. Snarling and snapping he climbed the obstacles, clearing the distance between them almost obscenely quickly. As her back hit the wall, he howled, triumphantly, and charged her, fangs and claws at the ready…but the moment they touched her skin, she blinked…and slumped, closing her mouth, finding herself still on her original seat, and the waiter and half the bar staring wide-eyed at her.
“Umm…are you ok, Miss? Is there anything I can do? Get you?” She just shook her head, mutely, a shiver starting in the small of her back. “I…I’m fine…just a…a thing. S-sorry..” The shiver grew into a full-body shudder, and her hands clenched on the back of the seat, white-knuckled. “Sorry, I…I have to…” Her teeth chattered with the force of the chills that shook her, and her head spun dizzily as she tried to stand.
The waiter moved to steady her, frowning as she jerked back from him, eyes wide with panic… “Hey, now…maybe you better sit back down, ok? Get you some water?” She shook her head, frantically, and took a step back from him…and crumpled to the floor of the bar, unconscious.
This is part 27 of the Fiction Relay serial story, following the adventures and misadventures of Suzi and those she impacts. To read the rest of the story, or just see a summary so far, go here. To see who is crazy enough to play this game, and see how you might join the insanity, go here.
Ok…keep in mind that I’m writing this late, and a bit…distracted, so be patient with it. There’s a -teeny- bit of backtracking, but not that much, promise. ;p
Melissa is strangely subdued as Sam and Ephraim wrestle her into Ephraims cuffs and drag her back up the hill to the lab to put her in one of the cells for safekeeping. Keeping herself contained, whats left of her sanity curled around the secret held deep inside…the treasure she stole from the bitch’s daughter. In her mind, deep inside, the voice whispers old commands, old orders, and she takes dark joy in squashing them, silencing the whispers with a slash of thought, a whip of power. Now she is the one in charge…the one with the power of life and death. Now they will all see. They’ll find out who the important one is. The one who should have been. As she hears the footsteps fade into the distance, crossing from the stone floor of the cavern to the soft earth outside, the impulse breaks free, and she begins to laugh…a mad, manic laugh, on the close side of hysteria, that rings in the stone-walled cell like a bell.
Ephraim shivers as they leave the lab, a flash of vision crossing his mind. Again, the triumphant gaze of a dead man leers at him before morphing into the figure of a desperately weeping Melissa…curled at the feet of a humongous statue of Suzi/Meghan. Shaking it off, he continues toward the house with Sam.
Meanwhile, miles down the road, Suzi…no, Meghan…leans her forehead against the cool glass of the rigs backseat window. The driver, having noticed the dark circles under her eyes and the slumped posture of exhaustion, suggested that she take a nap in the back, on the small bed/seating area. So far, however, sleep has eluded her…so she stares out the window into the distance, although the scenery does not impact her view. Her mind is full of memories…thoughts of her little girl…her little Samantha…Sammy. It’s been years since she thought of her, since the memory wipe she’d performed on herself to protect the child. Now she stares out the window, into the deepening dusk of the mountain road, and sees instead a pair of brilliant blue eyes in a pixie-like face…blond curls she inherited from her father, and tiny size from her mother. She wonders what happened, how she is doing…what she looks like…and whether she could ever forgive her for abandoning her, so long ago.
Further down the same road, a slim figure hunches over her motorcycle, to cut wind resistance, all senses alert for a taste of her mother. For that elusive feeling that is Meghan…the arrogance of the truly powerful, accompanied by sheer competence and grace. But as at the lab, she gets no trace. Only a fleeting glimpse, a whiff, of the mask willingly put on, the face she lives behind…Suzi. All sweetness and light, confused innocence…Blue shakes her head in disgust. Once she finds her, once they are together again, she will make sure that the Suzi personality is shattered, stripped away, leaving only Meghan…only the one person more powerful than herself. Once she rejoins her mother, and they are able to work together…she shakes her head. What can’t they do? Certainly not bow down to the Club any longer. Maybe they’ll just take it over…or destroy it entirely. And Ephraim…and Sam, her father? Well, they’d be useful, in a weak sort of way. Their powers are nothing, compared to Meghan at full capacity. Let alone Blue and Meghan working together…these thoughts comfort her, and accompany her down the winding road, as she moves unknowingly farther and farther away from from her goal.
Back in the lab, Melissa sits on the floor of the cell, making herself as comfortable as possible on the cold stone. What she is about to do will require her full concentration for success, so clearing away all distracting bodily messages is essential. Prepared, finally, she bows her head, reaching deep deep inside, reaching for the flickering spark that is her newly borrowed treasure. Carefully, she pictures herself holding the tiny spark, and mentally “blowing” on it until it blooms into full strength, a white-hot fireball in her mental “hands”. Gritting her teeth against the pain of the fire, feeling her mind scorched and battered by the strength of the power…but her desperate concentration holds, and she is able to shape the fire into what she needs. The tiny white phoenix sits in her “hands”, sparks flying off it in all directions, egg shell bits made of pure white stone all around. Grinning, she leans down and whispers to it, giving it concise directions…and as it glows a bit brighter, a bit hotter, burning sparks flying and alighting on her skin…it lifts off and flies away, through the door and down the hall, searching. Riding with it, mentally, Melissa directs the creature until it reaches its destination…the recently deceased body of Raj.
Melissa laughs in triumph…a strange sound that seems to come from two throats at once. Giving the little phoenix a mental push, she watches as it sinks into the dead mans chest…and gloats as it begins to rise and fall, despite the bubbling of the blood at his slit throat. After an endless period of waiting, she laughs again, a much more normal sound, as his eyes open, a look of confusion in them. Tugging an invisible cord, she watches as the corpse stands, and makes its slow shuffling way toward her cell.
And with that, it’s on to Dawn! Have fun! *insert evil laugh #34, the “Evil Dictator”*
(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.
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.
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.