Once there was a little girl who was made out of paper. On the inside she was all empty and missing and gone, but on the outside people had stuck pictures and stories and questions and lies and truths and more stories about how they thought she was and what they thought she was like and they just kept putting more and more on until she had a nice paper shell on, all made out of what everyone else thought and felt and said about her. And she lived all alone, and she kept out of storms, because all the loud noises and yelling and words could tear pieces right out of her paper shell and just let it go it flying off into the wind and she’d never get it back, even if it was a part she really liked. And she stayed away from people in charge, which was hard, cause everyone was in charge, cause they could say things and do things and tear things off of her that they didn’t like, or didn’t agree with, or just because they felt like being mean that day, and she couldn’t do anything about it because there wasn’t any her inside to do anything so she just had to stand there and watch, with her paper eyes, as the pieces tore off (and it hurt, when they tore off) and flew away. And then one day one of the people she loved, one of the people who were closest to her, was sad and mad and scared and got really upset at something the girl did, and so she gave her to the really-in-charge people, and they took her away and locked her up in the dark and the cold and the wind kept blowing all the while they looked at her and she could feel the pages and pieces blowing off and off and off like a storm of her. And then they let her go, but she was so fragile then, her shell was so gone, that bits and pieces of the hole inside shone through, and scared the people around her, so she tried to put things back on, but they kept falling off, cause she didn’t know how to make them stick. Only other people could do that, but everyone didn’t know how many pieces she was missing, so they didn’t know to help fill in the gaps. And so she kept moving and going, cause what else was there to do, and the people-in-charge kept tearing and ripping at her, like dogs with a newspaper, and when she tried to tell them that they were hurting her, they just got angry and tore more, and told her that if she didn’t stop they would lock her up in the dark again and she knew that if they did that, that all her pieces would just fall off, and she’d dissappear forever, so she just kept trying and trying to hold things together, but pieces were falling off and she didn’t know what to do. She tried using lots and lots of glue to hold things on, but it made her sick, and sleepy, and didn’t really help, it just made things take longer to do and still the pieces fell off. She tried to ask other people to stick things back on, but it just confused them, and they got frustrated with her asking and asking and didn’t want to be around her anymore. She even went to the people who made the glue, and asked them what to do, but they said she had to learn to do it herself, and they couldn’t help, unless she felt like she was going to start tearing pieces off, herself, and then they’d lock her up and use lots of glue to stick new/old pieces back on, but she knew that that kind of glue only worked for a little while before it cracked and made things worse than before. And they kept telling her that she had to hold herself together, and keep doing what they said, or they’d lock her up in the dark again, and no matter what she said or did or didn’t say or didn’t do, they just kept tearing and tearing until she was so weak all she could do was lie in a pile and listen to the sound of pages fluttering off into the distance, more and more and then less and less until all that was left was one piece of paper and it had this story on it…and pretty soon now, that one will go too, and that will be the end.
“Look!” Cries the Head Clown. “I can be the Ringmaster! In his pretty suit, with the whip of Ultimate Authority…I can be the Ringmaster!”
“Look, look!” Cry Dick and Jane. “Look at the funny clown pretending to be the Ringmaster! Oh, look, his pants just fell down!”
“Look!” Cry the Audience. “Look, look, the Ringmasters pants just fell down!”
I can still feel his warm strength as we curled together on
the couch that morning. “You know I have to go, right? It’ll only be six months. Not long. And when I get back, we’ll get married. Promise.”
I turn my head to smile up at him. “My spaceman.” He grins, and his arms
tighten around me. “I just can’t believe I got in! In my last year!’
I keep the smile on my face as best I can, until
the door closes behind him, and he’s gone.
I still dream the countdown. The numbers harsh in my ears, behind my
tightly closed eyelids. If I’m lucky, I wake before zero. I didn’t even
watch him go.
My ancestors followed the songlines, and found home. So I play. I play
a songline for him. And one day he will hear it, and hold on…and I
will lead him home.
(This is written for Angela Goff’s weekly Visual Dare prompt, my first offering, hope it works. I also wrote a longer piece, just to get the story straight in my head…I think it stands alone, and I’m going to put it here (in another post) in case anyone wants to see. ;p)
You know I’m teasing you with the title, bestest Twin-o-mine, right? I apologize in advance for any what-the-hecks that have wiggled their way into the story, but let us simply state that strong pain medications added to pills with a strong sedative affect make for an (I hope) interestingly “woogie” writer. Okies…so. Most of you know this, but for those of you left behind, I’ve been playing in someone elses playground for a while, writing one chapter of a story, doing whatever I want with the story and plot, and handing it on to the next player…lucky them. >.<
At this time we are considerably up-and-down with the whole thing. Up, when it comes to words…approx. 700-1000 word chapters, 53 of them, equals quite a lot of words. Down, when it comes to writers. Of the original fantastically wonderful writers, only the originator, TRG (aka Boss, aka The Reclining Gentleman) is left. Joanne Best and I were relatively late-comers to the dark corners of the playground, but it’s been a lot of fun. (Can’t speak for Joanne (loveya, twin!) but I think she’s had fun too.) We miss all the original architects, who I am far too lazy to list (and afraid that in my woogie tangent I’ll miss one, and then I’ll cry) so I’ll just have to send you over to the Homepage of this weirdness called the Fiction Relay (cause we can’t title it till we see how it comes out, sillies!) to see for yourselves. (I recommend it…and then check out their pages, cause you won’t be dissappointed…their greatness is sorely missed) That all taken care of, let the curtains part (can’t tell that I’ve been reading Tommy and Tuppence novels, can’ya?) and gaze upon the glory of this, our Chapter 53! (for reals, this time)
Unfortunately for Jose/Elijah, no matter how careful the ninja, gravel under sneakers makes a distinctive sound…so Blue and Spence were ready almost as quickly as he reached them; which was good, as so was Raj. With a whining snarl that echoed through the lonely dark, he abandoned the mystery of the box and jumped at the approaching form, snapping and pawing to get loose when Melissa grabbed him around the neck and held him tightly. Blue and Spencer wrestled Elijah to the ground and kept him there. By this time even the slower members of the team had become aware of the scene, and turned with various statements of dismay or anger in their voices.
Meagan, still acting as the clear center of the group, carefully closed Ephraims hand around the little (glowing, humming, throbbing) box, and winked to him, before turning to the trouble. “Hello, Elijah…or do you prefer Jose, now? I know -I- do…after all the trouble you caused us, and all the trouble you bring with you, why should we welcome you now? Why shouldn’t we just let Raj go, let him tear you to shreds, as he so obviously wants to?” She gestured, toward the snarling, snapping full-grown coyote…with his sons eyes.
“Raj? No…no! You’re just trying to trick me…just like these two, with the smell of the mountain! And you, changing places with her!” He gestured with his chin toward Melissa. “I’m on to you! I saw, in the mountain! I saw Her give THE CUP to you! She promised! She promised to pass it to US, not to you…” His voice trailed off as his head fell back, and his eyes closed. With a grin for Blue, Spencer lowered him, unconscious, to the gravel.
*Nice one, babe! Vulcan Neck Pinch for the win!* *Don’t call it that! You know I hate that…* *Yup* *Smug bastard…* *Yup*
With a quick glare at Spence, Blue sat back on her heels, looking up at the adults. “Sorry, Mom. He was talking too much…not getting us anywhere.” Her glance included the whole group, even Raj, who had calmed down as Melissa squatted beside him, still holding him. “I love you, but right now you’re…you -all- are…thinking like civilians. Like you still have all the time in the world for earth-shattering revelations, and clever power plays. You don’t. What you do have is a war to fight. A war that Sanderson…or whoever he is…has been fighting and training and planning for…for a very long time. And that’s where we need to meet him. A war on the level of Mountains, and Gods, and Spirits…we can’t win. But a war with people (alright, and coyotes) we can find a way to handle.”
She stopped, with a quick smile up at Spence as he moved to stand behind her, hand on her shoulder. “She’s right. Before you all panic and start spouting about Gods and Mountains and Epic Quests, think about this. Sanderson has been training an army. Thousands of young men and women, chosen for their strength and intelligence, and manipulated into almost fanatical loyalty…and that’s not even counting the outsiders, the witches, to maintain the Coyote forms…why? If he’s such an all-powerful Spirit, God, whatever…what use can he have for an army? Why spend all that time and effort, if he could just magic-it-up, as Blue would say?”
At first, watching Blue and Spencer shift from “grumpy-chick and her boyfriend” mode, into “calm and in charge soldier” mode, what Meagan mostly felt was sorrow. Sorrow for her little girl, who she had left so long ago. Sorrow for the boy, grown up so fast, and so lost. Sorrow for -all- the children lost to soldiers, and now thrown into a fight with elements they could -not- defeat. But as she listened, sorrow changed to anger. Anger born of fear, of anxiety and overwhelming concern for her loved ones. Anger shared, she realized, as she glanced around the members of -her- army. Her soldiers. “Yes, Sammy and Spencer are correct…in essence. The presence of the army, of the footsoldiers and commanders, however magical, cannot be ignored. However, neither should we turn and ignore…well…that!” All eyes turned toward Ephraim, as she gestured, and she heard a collective gasp.
Ephraim heard, but felt nothing but confused. Glancing down at the hand that held the glowing box, he blinked. In his hand, floating above the box, was a tiny golden…or was it bronze?…cup, or goblet. Or maybe cauldron…or box? The object shifted restlessly on the top of his closed fist, the image or whatever it was moving to stay on top and rightside up at all times.
He slowly opened his fingers, palm up, and the image stayed, pulsing above the now quiescent box, rainbow shards splitting the night. His voice was soft and almost reverent as he spoke… “What…is that?”
An answer to which will hopefully be upcoming, as the now much the worse for wear baton is passed to the Boss of FR, TRG himself! (At least I hope he’s himself..sometimes he’s not, and then sometimes he’s someone else entirely, and it all ends up in a dreadful tangle once the two of him get home. So here’s hoping!)
Your Woogieness, signing off…
I really am nuts, y’know? Not a little bit, not relatively, just…nuts. Not “insane”, I don’t think. Well, technically, I suppose, but that’s -such- a broad spectrum, honestly. Just vague and diffuse…like the law…a net spread to catch the biggest fish, but tight enough to catch the tiddlers as well…when the Fishers want them. *shrugs*
But that’s beside the point. Back to “nuts”. I like that better. It’s perjorative, and offensive…unless you are, and you use it about yourself. Well, in -my- rules, anyway. Such as they are. Normal. Silly word, silly place, let’s not go there. *nodnod* Most people (“most”…another nonsense word) want to be normal. Correct? People want to fit in wherever they are, in whatever living environment they find themselves in, this time around. But some people don’t. Some people feel that it’s impossible to ever fit in, so in a sort of sour-grapes scenario they decide that being “normal” isn’t anything worth striving for. Just the opposite, they decide. Let’s be as -abnormal- as possible, and revel in that…in our separate uniqueness…just like everyone else.
Then there are the nuts. They…we?…just live. Well, try, anyway. It’s really very difficult to swim downstream in a world of spawning salmon. When the race is to be uniquely different but in a way that fits in with ones chosen social group in such a way as to not outlaw the possibilities of being fertile within said grouping…people who for whatever reason don’t have/want/use that drive can be easily lost in the crowd and drowned.
One of the horrors of being…asexual? ish?…is the absence of touch. People were designed to need touch. Physical contact of even the simplest kind…a hand on a hand, a touch on the back…people without these things will become ill, and can even be driven insane, or become so depressed that they die. Not suicide…just die. Most people don’t think of these things because for them, they are touched every day. One way or another. A quick “snack” during the day. A handshake, a quick hug between friends, even a bump from a stranger on a bus or subway. And a full meal, at home. The loving touch of family, birth or found. The surety of knowing that you have permission…you have the right…to touch and be touched. That you will not be winced away from, or avoided, or rejected, dismissed, or reviled.
However, when people touch, something is transmitted, from skin to skin. A basic assumption, a sort of signal, that no matter the relationship, age, or physical condition, says the same thing. “This person is capable of physical love…this person is normal.” You’ve seen what happens when someone in whom that signal is missing or corrupted touches someone…or attempts to. There is an almost automatic repulsion, an anger that borders on fear…because they feel “wrong”. Instinct says “This person is an evolutionary dead-end…a thing to be avoided”.
Of course this is all hooey…straight out of the “Sour Grapes” file that lives in my twisted little mind. I mean, really. I told you I was nuts! But think about it. Watch for it. And if any of that hits home to you…don’t let it. Fight it. Work for what you need…or what another needs. Thank you.
(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.
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.