Master Class – Rewired

Last week on Master class, the following was given for a first line of a story.  Click through to add your own piece or read the rest of the submissions!

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. I was on the fast track to any school I wanted – my fastball was clocked at 106 MPH.  A motorcycle accident, two weeks in a coma and three surgeries to straighten my leg out, and I found myself with an awful lot of time doing not much of anything, with no-one around to keep me company.  Turns out, the people who hang around with popular-you aren’t always the ones who stick with you through the tough times.  My extraordinary life plan was as out of reach as the sun. Laid up in hospital with my life in shambles, I wasn’t much in the mood to read my usual sports mags.  Reading was a great escape, though, and I went through the hospital library pretty quickly.  My brother rolled his eyes when I asked him to hit up the public library for me.  But since my accident, he’d hung up his helmet – the star quarterback learned his lesson from the has-been pitcher’s accident – so use of my parents’ van was granted in return for ‘helping your brother out’.  Not one to go above and beyond, he’d swing by the library once a week, check out a shelf of books at random and return the ones I’d read. His lazy library visits did one good thing – they brought me the book that would change my life. Programming Your Life, by Franko Brunne, had an overly cheerful picture of the man himself giving two thumbs up on the cover.  I know what you’re thinking… so this is what hitting rock bottom sounds like. I didn’t even have a laptop, but reading this book, I just had to try it out.  Franko’s shtick was that writing the computer code for things you wanted to come true would “rewire your world”.  It sounds lame, but hey, rock-bottom-jock, here.  I was willing to try anything. His coding wasn’t quite like any programming language I’d already read about.  And, with my brother working his way through the ‘computer’ section of the library, I’d read a lot. My first attempt was to write a code for my brother to bring me a coke.  Easy enough, right?  It could even happen, theoretically, without the code.  If Jon weren’t such a tool. Nada.  He didn’t even come into my room with a coke of his own.  I found where I went wrong – no time requirements – and rewrote it. It was the most refreshing soda ever, and little bro didn’t even know it wasn’t his own idea. I practised on small things.  Jon’d moved into the sci-fi and fantasy shelves, which definitely gave me some ideas. I fixed my leg – a miraculous recovery, my doctors said – but I never did get that sports scholarship.  My leg wasn’t even my biggest accomplishment so far.  Making things that already existed change wasn’t nearly as impressive as what I could create from nothing but a bit of led and lined paper.

This is a photomanipulation type piece of artwork by FictionChick on DeviantArt. Click the image to go to her site and check out more of her work. It’s all wicked, and I love the surreal landscapes she creates. Every one of her pieces looks like it’s got its own story, and, if we’re judging books by their covers, I would totally read them all.

 

Master Class – Solace

Master class is back, and with perfect timing for my determination to keep up with writing on a regular basis in the new year.  The first one of the new year has a pretty simple requirement – use the quote from Divergent (excellent book) as your first line.  Click on the quote below to go over to the Master Class linkup and add your own story, or read the other submissions.

There is one mirror in my house.  She is my solace and my despair, as tempestuous as the sea.  At times she is docile, granting me my requests sweetly, glimpses of elsewhere and elsewhen – a bustling village market,  or a peaceful family taking their ease of an evening, perhaps.  The wind picks up and she is derisive and spiteful, twisting my desires, showing instead that same village at its end, all smoke and blood and death, the family’s suffering, the hollow cheeks and broken sobs of starvation and desperation.  Each picture worth a thousand words, look at what you’ve done, over and again.

She rages and storms, my looking glass, and for days at a time, all I see is my true self, no cruelty or disfigurement left cloaked, unswayed by my tears.  Soft as a kitten, my Lady sidles up to me, all soft words and kisses, my face as I once was reflected in her gaze, my own hideous rictus of pleasure mirrored in that long-ago boy’s delighted grin and wide brown eyes.

Whatever her mood, she is my companion, gripped tight while I stalk the desolate halls of my prison, or hugged close as I toss in restless slumber in the den of tumble-down furniture and shredded bedding that was once a grand and bright bedroom.  The only time I feel able to set her down is when I tend my roses.  Their hidden barbs save them from my fits of despair as no other thing of beauty here has done.  I long to believe that there is some beauty yet within me, unseen as the rose’s thorn.

I sit up late into the night, thinking of nothing and everything and staring into her depths.  My past, the innocent boy I was.  The gradual change in me, I pick at the threads of my memory.  Was that it?  Was that the first of my cruelties?  The first time I failed to care, to be human?  Was that when I began my descent?

I have thought of countless ways to avoid my fate, but redemption lies beyond my twisted grasp.  It is as I think on this, a full year into my captivity, one claw absently scraping gilt from her frame, that she begins to show me the girl, pale and plain and solemn.  Her path leading her ever nearer.

Perhaps there is yet hope.

another request put in to my sister.  she is very patient with me and my demands for free artwork!
another request put in to my sister. she is very patient with me and my demands for free artwork!

Write at the Merge: Steaming Mad

This week’s prompt for Write on Edge’s Write at the Merge was the Guns’n’Roses song November Rain, and the quote:

The third day comes a frost, a killing frost.
William Shakespeare

I’m mostly working on my Nanowrimo, so, while this piece is fully stand alone, it could also pair quite nicely with Craft and Castle, Stormed.

Follow the Write on Edge link to head over and submit your own, or read some of the other excellent pieces submitted.

The picture I’ve included is by a young American artist named Clarissa Marie Puentes.  She calls herself a Multi-medium Fantasy Artist, and that is a pretty apt description for her work.  This is a piece of digital art, partly photomanipulated, and partly painted in on Photoshop.  You can check out more of her work by clicking on the photo below (which will take you to DeviantART), or by going to her Portfolio Page.

Fire Dragon
Fire Dragon by Clarissa Marie Puentes

***

Avskeda awoke to rain.  Oh how she loathed it.  Each drop struck her scales with a crystalline chime, producing a cascade of beautiful sound, but the misery of being cold and wet left her deaf to the music.

A creature born of light and fire has no place in damp and darkness.  Avskeda longed for her native sands under the red-hot eye of the southern sun.

She shifted and became aware of further discomfort.  She lay on and under the rubble of a large section of her castle.

She shook loose the tower that had collapsed on top of her.  Looking about at the ruin of her castle, she narrowed her eyes and hissed in displeasure, arching her back and flapping her wings.  She lashed her tail as she pondered the events that had led her to this point.

There was a man.  That much she recalled.  He wasn’t like the ones who came before, though, lacking the loud metal carapaces that the others coated themselves in.  She could hear metal sing, even under cover of darkness, even over the humming of the suits of armour all around her castle.  She wouldn’t have heard him approach at all if it weren’t for the rumbling song of iron on the straps of his goats, and the lovely soaring tones of the gold in his ear.  She loved gold as much as she loathed the cold rain.

She had planned to decorate one of her scales with it, she remembered, but when she’d arrived at the gate, the goats had been such a temptation.  The others always brought warhorses, tough, stringy beasts, whose long flowing manes and tails caught in her teeth.  She never got goat anymore, since moving to this cold place.  The man wouldn’t get far in the time it took to eat one or two goats.

And then… she had fallen, and known no more until the chime of her scales had awoken her.  She flamed her displeasure.  Drugged!  It was the only explanation.  A coward’s weapon.

Avskeda rose to her haunches and peered into the princess’s room.  The girl would be asleep.  The mother was always awake, but that was her burden to bear in the curse this country had been cast under, eternally repenting for the ruin her indifferent parenting had wrought.

The tower room was abandoned.  Avskeda let loose a bellow of pure rage and cast about, seeking for the vibrant song of that errant bit of gold.  With a direction settled on, she set herself to the task of making herself inconspicuous.  She would not give the man creature another chance to fool her.  Rending scale from flesh was agony, a creeping frost as her fire was banked.  She would endure, however, she always did.  No one steals from a dragon and lives to tell the tale.

She climbed out of the rubble of the castle, and headed due East, clad in blood-red dragon scale armour.  Rain steamed as it struck her.

Trifecta – Craft

Trifecta’s writing challenge challenges you to write a piece between 0 and 333 words, with the third definition of the word they give each week.  This week was:

 1 :  skill in planning, making, or executing :  dexterity
2 a :  an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill <the carpenter’s craft> <the craft of writing plays> <crafts such as pottery, carpentry, and sewing>
plural:  articles made by craftspeople <a store selling crafts> <a crafts fair>
Click the link to head over and read some of the other submissions, or submit your own.

This piece is stand-alone, or can be read as a kind of prequel to Castle, Stormed.  The artwork is by my sister, the talented Doodle.  Click the image to go to her DeviantART.  It’s a free-hand pencil sketch, and, not to sound too cocky, but she drew it for me.  I requested an unimpressed goat.  It totally makes sense.

It took hardly any of his craft to get the map.  Its previous owner understood so little of what it meant, this scrap of parchment with the name of a long-forgotten kingdom, that by the time he’d been through, the woman had been glad to part with it in return for a song and a smile.

He’d have called it not enough of a challenge, but he tried to avoid setting himself up for failure.  The most complicated part was dosing the goats just right, so that they didn’t die on the way to the castle.  It was a little-known fact that dragons didn’t eat things they hadn’t killed themselves.  His father had wanted him to go into medicine, had taught Monroe all he knew of herbs.  He suspected the old man would not have considered this a worthwhile use of that knowledge.

The toughest part was hanging by his fingers, over the edge of the bridge.  He hadn’t really considered what would happen if the dragon didn’t take the bait soon enough, not until his fingers were going numb, his arms and back aching as he hung. Hanging over a dry moat full of rusty and broken pieces of armor shook his confidence in the plan.

He’d done it, though.  The dragon slept soundly less than an hour after he’d crossed the moat, and he padded through the empty castle, hopping confidently over the piece of the dragon’s tail that blocked the inner yard.

The highest room, in the tallest tower, he thought, mentally mapping out his best route through the maze of corridors.  I’m going to be rich.

His legs soon joined his arms in aching, as the stairs spiraled up and up.  Even with his goal so close, he stopped at the top landing to catch his breath.

His grin faded as he stepped forward.  He may have been clever in defeating the dragon, but it appeared he wasn’t the only one to get past.  She seemed surprised to see him too.

Summer Master Class #3 – Underdog

I was pretty pumped last round to get to choose the prompt.  I was really pumped that I got my sister, Doodle, to participate in it!  And really REALLY excited when her post won.  It completely deserved it – it was a combination of funny and adorable and Pratchett-y that was just golden.  Check it out HERE if you want.

She left us with the quote below (follow the link in the picture to go submit your own responses or to read the other responses to the prompt):

follow the link to Master Class summer edition # 3

He had learned quickly to deal with it.  You had to act fast to make it clear that it didn’t matter to you, but that it also wouldn’t be a good idea to keep doing it.

It was certainly a Character-builder.  If Character had to do with frequent visits to the infirmary and the principal’s office, scraped knuckles, and a wardrobe that was scrupulously analyzed to give off an air of “don’t mess with me”.  His father seemed to think so.

His mother might have preferred if he’d shown the kind of Character that included turning the other cheek, being polite to his elders, and the spirit of camaraderie.

Rossamund was a boy with a girl’s name, and he knew it from day one.  He’d tried explaining that it was actually a boy’s name common in Wales in the eighteen hundreds.  He’d told them about how his mother was Welsh, and her favourite old Welsh ballad featured Rossamund, a mighty warrior who went off on adventures, slaying dragons, helping damsels in distress, and generally being a badass, manly kind of guy.  Even saddled with a name most people read as “Roza-mund”, emphasis on Rose.

He’d only made that mistake once – trying to explain his way out of the teasing.  A visit to the park with his mother had cured him of that – no boy can survive being called Rosie in front of his peers.  The two years he’d spent at that school were miserable.  And most definitely a Character building experience.

He’d been ecstatic when his father’d been transferred out of town for work.  He’d learned a lot about fighting dirty at his first school, and took advantage of his mother’s nervous shopping the summer before the second school to acquire armour.

Rossamund smiled grimly at the recollections as he dutifully passed on Character to one of his fellow students.  The best that could be said about Billy was that he excelled at contact sports.  The unfortunate aspect of his achievements in sports was that he rarely left them on the field, choosing to educate the scrawniest of the boys in the least sportsmanlike manner.  Lockers rattled in his wake, papers cascading out of some poor unfortunate’s hands as he exercised.

“C’mon, Billy-boy,” he jeered.  SLAM.

“I thought this was how you trained for football?”

SLAM.  The burly teen whimpered a cry for help, but none of the students observing stepped forward.

Rossamund hoisted him by the shoulders of his letterman jacket.

“Eh Willy-boy?  Wee Willy?”  Plant the idea in everyone’s mind, check.  He could distantly hear some nervous titters.  It was a start  “You’re right, this is kind of fun.”

SLAM.

“Please!  I’m sorry!”  there was a distinct teariness in Billy’s voice.

“What’s that?”  Rossamund leaned forward.

“I’m sorry!” the other boy cried.

“I thought that might be it, Tiny.”

Rossamund dragged the boy up by the collar and leaned him, almost gently, up against the dented locker.  He slapped him on the shoulder, almost in a comradely manner.  He then grinned, an evil looking grimace he’d practiced for hours in front of the mirror, turned, and walked away.

“Wow.”

Out of sight of the crowd of witnesses to Billy’s defeat, Rossamund turned in surprise.  He vaguely remembered the bookish girl smiling wryly at him from a class – history, maybe.  He cocked an eyebrow, not letting down the facade, and said, “Yeah?  I am pretty impressive, I guess.”

She nodded slightly.  “It’s nice, what you did for John,” she said, referring to the horribly acne-stricken boy Billy had taken a certain extra glee in pushing around.

Rossamund looked around, checking that they were out of earshot of the other students.  “I don’t do nice,” he snarled.

The girl only smiled.  “Yeah, well, if you ever want to try it in a less… aggressive… way, you should stop by the shelter sometime.  Plenty of underdogs there who could use someone to root for them.”  She held out a pamphlet which he accepted without thinking.

A swarm of students came around the corner and flowed around them.  Most looked cautiously over at Rossamund, to see what he would do next, to get out of the way if possible.  Conscious of observation, he stuffed the pamphlet into his pocket, out of sight.  She smiled again, and he wondered why he’d never taken notice of how pretty she was before.

He couldn’t resist smiling back at her, but turned it into a disdainful sneer as he turned to face the crowded hallway.

He figured he’d count helping out in a building full of four-footed allergens as yet another Character builder.

Haven

This post is a response to Write on Edge’s Write at the Merge # 6 (stained glass, and the lyrics to Fun’s “Some nights”), and Trifecta’s word (Path – 3a : course, route  b : a way of life, conduct, or thought).

If you’re looking for some great short stories, I highly recommend checking them out by following the links below and reading a few of the other submissions.

Concrit always welcome, I hope you enjoy!

“Our path should take us through the high pass. That’s what all the records indicate.” Ruby alternated scowling down at the grubby map in her hands and the weathered building before them.

“I’m telling you, this is it. This is where it lead.”

“The map is supposed to take us to a Haven.” Ruby’s voice cracked and Jim moved to put a hand on her shoulder, only to have it slapped away.  “You must have read it wrong.”

“Let’s just go and check it out.”

“Fine.” she strode across the boulder-strewn yard and through the arched doorway, Jim trailing behind her. Halfway down the aisle, she snapped, “See, nothing but a church from the before-time.”

Jim walked past her, entranced at the sight of the stained glass mosaic rising up from the shadowy hall, lighting the motes of dust in fiery hues. “It’s fully intact! Can you believe it?”

“What are we supposed to do now, Jim?” Ruby barely glanced at the glass.

“How could it’ve survived for so long, unbroken? I mean, Ruby, have you ever seen anything like it?” Jim felt a painful squeeze at his heart, understanding now what his mother meant about the exquisit pain of seeing something truly beautiful with your own two eyes. “It’s just so much better than that picture in Mrs Em’s book, y’know?”

Ruby smacked Jim in the head. “You know what’s better than a bunch of glass? Surviving. How about you come back out of the clouds and focus in that, huh?”

“But Ruby -”

“We’ll find the right path in the morning. Do something useful for a change and break up some of those chairs for firewood.”

Jim sighed as his sister stormed out into the dying light of day.

“… how could stained glass still be whole without protection?”

“How, indeed?” The man at the pulpit had a cruel gleam in his eye.

The church doors crashed closed.

“Ruby?” Jim whispered, backing away from the red-lit man.

Foundations

This little story was inspired by Write on Edge’s Write at the Merge, and the Trifecta Writing Challenge.

Write at the Merge gave us a picture of a brickwork heart and a quote from Groucho Marx:

When you’re in jail a good friend will be trying to bail you out.  A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, “Damn, that was fun”

Trifecta gave us the third meaning of the following word:

BITCH (noun)

1: the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals
2 a : a lewd or immoral woman
b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse
3: something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant

I guess I should warn you now, if you haven’t guessed already… this post may contain mature language.

I hope you enjoy the piece – let me know your opinions on it, concrit always welcome.

The new patio looked fantastic.  Lori called it an ode to HGTV.  She said Mike Holmes couldn’t find something to complain about – it’d last for a hundred years at least.

Jenn hoped so – no good would come of digging it up too soon.  Her gaze was drawn to the centerpiece of the brick patio.  Heart-shaped and decorated in a mosaic of broken crockery, it was a work of art.

Lori always saw the possibility of beauty buried within old and broken things.  There’d been an abundance of broken things to work with when they’d started this project.  She’d been the only one to see something better buried in Jenn herself.  She rubbed the crook in her nose where it’d been broken.

Sensing the maudlin turn of Jenn’s thoughts, Lori stopped dragging patio furniture out and joined her friend in admiring the heartstone.  She punched Jenn affectionately in the shoulder.  “Life’s a bitch, but we’re bitchier, eh?”

Jenn tried to smile, feeling her lower lip start to tremble.  “Do you really think it’s over?”

Lori shifted a pair of rattan chairs a bit closer to the grass and pulled a cooler between them.  She cracked open a beer and passed it to Jenn.  “Honey, it’s been six months. That nice detective told you he’d personally keep you posted on the case.  Sounds to me like they’ve shelved it, anyways.”

“You don’t think anyone will come looking?”

“Earl wasn’t exactly a picnic, Jenn.  Nobody really wants to find him.  You ought to put your mind to nicer things.  Like Detective Jim.”

Jenn blushed, eliciting a whoop of delight from her friend.

“I knew you were sweet on him.  Spill!”

A grin crept across Jenn’s features, youthful and bubbly.  “He invited me to dinner – we’re going to that fancy French place on Highbury next Friday.”

“Well I’ll be damned – something good finally came out of your first marriage.”

Six feet under the patio, worms agreed that Earl was a delightful picnic.

Creeping In

I’m doing my best to get back into writing – apparently the holidays were so exhausting that I have no imagination left.  Or I just lost all ability to plan my time out.  One week free of it, and I find myself overwelmed with how much time I spend walking the dog and entertaining him.  Not that I’m complaining – we’re getting some pretty walk-friendly weather lately, and less than a month after the solstice, I’m getting so much more daylight.

This week’s word for Trifecta’s writing challenge is:

INTENTION
(noun)

1: a determination to act in a certain way : resolve
2: import, significance
3a : what one intends to do or bring about
b : the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered

Check out the other submissions HERE, or submit your own.

It was never my intention to stay so long.  I took advantage, I’ll readily admit.  It isn’t my proudest moment.

They were an easy mark.  How could I resist an open door?

I just can’t bear to leave, quite yet.  Maybe a day or two more.  Not that I’m getting attached, or anything.  I could see myself getting used to it, though, y’know?  I’ll stick around and enjoy a bit more free food.  Not much of a hardship – company’s not too bad – they give me my space, and they’re real good listeners.

I need my freedom – I need to stretch my legs, feel the grass under my feet, breathe deep of the great outdoors.  I’ve got instincts, primal instincts, and they can’t be ignored.  I don’t want to get rusty.  I’ve gotta hit the road.

It is a pretty scary place out there, though.  My pal Fred got scooped up by the nastiest bugger you’ve ever seen.  Guy swooped down out of nowhere, and now Fred’s nowhere to be seen.  It’s kind of nice to be big man on campus, just for a few more days.

The Missus relies on me to taste-test her cooking.

Plus, they’ve got some wildlife in this place.  They buzz around bothering the people here.  Tough suckers, too – seems like no matter how many times I land a killing blow, they’re up and jingling about.  Can’t leave quite yet – Ieast I could do to repay them is to get rid of this infestation they’ve got.

The old guy and I haven’t gotten much chance in the past few hours to hang out, either.  I’ve got this wicked kink in my neck, and he needs help reading the newspaper.  Now that’s what I call an equitable exchange of services.

I’ll be leaving soon – best get in some warm-laundry napping while I’m still around to spread the fur.  Creeping into their lives was exhausting.

cat bum

Rain

Not gonna lie, this prompt response is 412 words.  But, people, it’s nanowrimo, and every extra word counts.  I’ve got no time, no words, no ideas, and definitely not enough freaking words.  See for yourself – if you want to be my friend on Nano, find me under ‘lexy0387’ in the Toronto nanosphere.  I know, it’s sad.  Every word is being dragged out of me with the sam amount of effort and pain as an adult tooth.  And, when my dentist pulled a front tooth painfully and without enough freezing, from my mouth, he was horrified.  “Oh… yeah, that would have still hurt – wow, you’ve got long roots!”.  Thanks, doc (dent?), thanks a whole lot.  If I ever need another tooth removed, I’ll remind you to seriously seriously pay attention when I ask for that fourth shot of freezing, because apparently my roots are about this close to coming out the bottom side of my jaw.  Like an alien from Doctor Who.

I had this brilliant idea… it was all planned out in my head.  There were scenes in which my MC, much as I like her, would not be happy.  She would, in fact, experience the full range of human emotions, and encounter difficulties, people she liked, disliked, loved, hated.  It was all there, and I kept holding back writing anything of it, because, you know… not november.  And now, where is it?  I’ve got nothing.  it’s sad.  This weekend might just see me begging family members to take the dog on various lengths of walk, so that I can sit at the computer without him yipping his loneliness at me, and actually… write.

I’m starting to feel like Hook.  Can anyone else hear that dreadful tic-tic-ticking?

For now, though, shockingly, the cringe-worthy first scene in what I’ve written so far actually quite suits the Red Writing Hood prompt over at Write on Edge.

This week, use rain as the inspiration for your fiction or creative non-fiction piece. The word limit is 400, so please come back this Friday and show us what you’ve written.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
Follow the links to check out what others have written.  If you’re doing Nano, good luck, and I hope you’re doing better than I am.  If you aren’t… well… then you just won’t understand why my posting is going to continue being so severely limited for the remainder of the month.

Interesting artwork from talented artist?  Hah, no.  How about more hours in the day?  But here’s a picture of my puppy.  Note that he’s not sleeping.  No… that would be ridiculous.  He’s watching me type my nanovel… keeping an eye on me to ensure I don’t do anything silly like try to leave the room without his noticing.

Lily stared grimly ahead, struggling to keep calm.

Of course they’d be here.  They paid for it.

She shivered as the steady drizzle of rain seeped ice into her bones, stabbing through her heart as her brother’s coffin was lowered into the ground.  She wondered if any of the strangers who had shown up for his funeral actually cared that he was dead.  That woman, his boss, certainly showed no signs of sadness.  Lily glared at the couture-bedecked woman seated across the grave, some minion holding an umbrella over her head.  Perfectly made-up hazel eyes lifted to meet red-rimmed and swollen.  Lily refused to look away, refused to be apologetic for being caught glaring.

The woman’s lips twitched near a smile, and she nodded acknowledgement to Lily before turning to speak to the man seated beside her.  He nodded and rose.

A few moments later, the rain transferred its sodden fury to an umbrella.  Lily tensed, trying to focus her whole attention on the priest’s words, trying to ignore the presence at her back.

Her nephew had other ideas, twisting around to smile toothily.  “Hey, Remy,” he stage whispered, his childish enthusiasm giving it greater volume.

“Hey kiddo,” Remy crouched down slightly, still holding the umbrella high enough to protect all three of them.  More than a hint of a smile played across her brother’s ex-employer’s face this time.

Lily hated the easy way Matthew let go of her hand to grab hold of Remy.

He’s been Jake’s best friend for years.  Of course Matty likes him.  He’s a familiar face.  She tried to focus on the fact that, without Jake around, she wouldn’t have to deal with these people much longer.  Just get through today.

She flinched away when Remy leaned in, his warm breath against her neck.  “I’m going to take Matty for a walk.  He doesn’t need to hear all this crap.”  Faintly, Lily saw the sharp jerk of Remy’s head towards the priest.

Lily hadn’t even been paying much attention to the man, but Remy was right.  Ramblings about how God felt it was her brother’s time to go, that God was taking him into his arms, blah, blah, blah, how trite.  How completely meaningless to a boy who just lost his father.  She nodded her consent.

Remy tried to hand her the umbrella, but she shook her head, no.  She had cried enough over the past few days – the rain could do her crying for her.

Roc

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
This week’s prompt for Write on Edge’s Red Writing Hood was:

to write a fiction orcreative non-fiction piece set entirely in an airport. Take us on an adventurein 450 words or less

It really didn’t work with the firefly piece (she only just left the airport!), so I figured I’d go back and catch up with Agata (you can find the storyline in Which Witch under my Fiction tab above).  If you don’t want the whole story, the overview to make this story more understandable is quite simple:  Agata is a witch.

a picture I found on public domain, click the pic to go to its source

Agata coasted gently down into the woodland alongside the field.  Her hair was wildly tangled from the wind, and her boots sank ankle-deep in the swampy ground under the trees.  With a sigh of disgust, she hoisted her broom and pack over one shoulder and trudged out to the unusual building sitting in a long and narrow, hard-packed clearing.

It stood at least three storeys tall, a half-tube constructed of bits of scrap sheet metal and canvas.  One end was sealed, but the end she could see into was one enormous door that had been slid aside to allow her a clear view of something even more bizarre.

A mechanical monstrosity stood in the middle of the building, balanced on two wheels and an end-piece, looking awkward and extremely unstable.  Like… almost… a duck.  Agata wondered what purpose it could possibly serve.

From somewhere within the construct, a steady clanking rang out, interspersed with some very creative cussing.

“Hello?” her voice echoed in the large space.  “Is anyone there?”

The clanging fell silent, followed by a clatter and a crash.

A large man emerged from within the beast, scowling and brushing his grimy hands off on his equally grimy coveralls.  He dabbed at his forehead with an oil-smeared cloth, leaving a black streak above his eye.  Wild tufts of hair sticking out haphazardly on his head.

Agata realised the man had spoken while she was taking in the bizarre scene.

“Pardon?”

The scowl became fiercer, but also more ridiculous with the single surprised black eyebrow he’d given himself.  “What’d’ye want, girl?  If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, I’m not mad, I don’t need a nurse, or to be taken to the mental hospital, and no, you can’t buy my land, it’s mine, and I need it.  I’m a busy man.”

“I’ve never seen you before in my life, I’m not a nurse, and what on earth would I do with a narrow, hard-packed strip of land?  As for your sanity – ”  She hesitated, glaring at the machine.  It was too intriguing.  “I’m withholding judgement until I find out more about that.”

He was transformed, a broad and delighted grin on his face.  “Curious, are ye?  Excellent.  Can’t stand folk without curiosity!  Hang on, it’s almost ready to take out for a spin!  Just you stay put!”

And with that, he dove back under the machine, clanking enthusiastically.

Agata crouched to peer beneath.  “Um… I mostly just wanted to know what it was?”

“Eh?”  Rattle, thud, clang.

“What does it do?”

He scrambled up, grinning.  With a proud hand across its beak-region, he replied, “Why, It’s a flying machine!  I call it the Roc.”