The Bellamy, Chapter 7

It is nothing but self-kindness to be kind to the new.  Everything here was strange and Veronika wasn’t completely convinced that this wasn’t an elaborate prank.  Still, she ought to be polite. She smiled back at the woman cautiously. “So I’m in the right place, then?”

“Well, if you’re looking for Ancient Acquisitions, then yes, you’re in the right place.  I’m Severn Herrley, by the way. I can probably help you with anything you need in this department.  And several other departments as well.” She winked, which Veronika felt was a little strange, but hers not to question why and all that.  “So what do they have you looking for today?”

“It’s— Wait, not Alice?”  Hadn’t Eleanor said don’t let Alice give you any trouble?

“Alice?  Oh, Alice.  That’s, ah, what we call the wig stands, or at least the really creepy ones.  No, Severn. And you were looking for…?” Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Eight

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

They ran into a riot. 

Lina had used the word before in that sort of semi-ironic way that she used a lot of words.  It meant people were complaining or people really wanted that TV

This was an as-seen-on-TV genuine screaming riot. 

Nobody was breaking windows, sure, but that’s because there were no windows.  The amphitheater was this great (normally) natural bowl-shaped formation that opened to a waterfall in the back and the lake on the left. It had three bottleneck entrances and, at the moment, it looked like the guards were trying to keep people from leaving, so nobody tried to stop Lina and Jackson from entering. 

She wasn’t quite sure why they did, but even as she had that thought she pulled up a shield in front of them.  “What the – what the hell?”

She couldn’t be heard over the shouting.  She could barely hear herself over the yelling. 

She grabbed someone who was carrying a third of a broken lawn chair. “What’s going on?” Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Seven

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

“Think about it.”  Jackson grinned brightly.  “Showing them this when you’re already good enough to do something like that!”

Lina twisted her face up.  “I’d uh, rather not. I mean.  If they wanted this, they’re going to be pissed.  If they didn’t want it, ditto.”

“Why would they be pissed if they wanted it?”  Jackson’s brow furrowed for a moment before he frowned. “Oh.”  He sounded like it tasted bad. “Because you didn’t tell them?”

“Yeah…”  She watched him carefully.  Was he mad at her about keeping it a secret?  What would she do if he was?

“So you have to have a reason that it’s okay to tell them now and not before.  School? I mean, hrrm…” He shook his head. “No, they’d have lied to school and you probably can’t pretend to not know that.”

Lina found herself smiling.  “You’re gonna help me find a way to tell them?” Continue reading

Seagull Rhyme

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“There’s omens for magpies and ravens, but what about seagulls?”

They were sitting on a.bench halfway up the gorge trail, bare knees touching, looking at a flock of seagulls landing and taking off with no apparent rhyme nor reason.

“Oh, there is.” JJ bullshitted with the flare Dary loved. “It’s not as.well known because seagulls are kinda ugly, and so is the rhyme.”

“Oh yeah?” Dary challenged. “One for…”

“One for…”  The seagulls squawked at each other.  “One for the quiet of a morning spent alone.”

“Ah, solitude.”  Dary nodded. “Always a good thing.  So two would be a pair, then?”

“Of course.  Two for the comfort of your lover coming home.”  J found a grin growing. “Now, of course, in some versions, it’s two for the news of a loved one coming home, which is thought to be about the wars, but that’s not the version I was taught.”

“You have some good education going on somewhere.” Dary chuckled.  “I heard it was something like Two for the comfort when your dog brings home the bone, but I bet that’s something someone made up who didn’t have a loved one to come home to them made up.”

“Well, it’s nice to have someone to want you to come home, or at least visit,” JJ offered.  “Let’s see. Three for a foe and four for a friend, which is nice and tidy. But, ah.” JJ paused.  Sometimes when these conversations happened, when Dary fished for JJ to make something up, the things just came, and that could get, well, weird. 

Like now.

“And either way this sign means that something’s gonna end.”

Shit.  JJ blinked.  Where had that come from?

“Five for a voyage; your feet are set to roam…” Okay, that was okay.  

Dary’s knee wasn’t touching JJ’s anymore. 

Six didn’t come to mind, so JJ made something up.  “And six for the strength beneath the silt, the sand, the loam.”

It kind of sounded like death, but it could be interpreted in a number of ways.  Dary seemed to be relaxing again.  

“Seven for the feeling that something’s going wrong—”

Oh, no.  JJ really hated it when this happened, although normally Dary liked the sort of things that JJ “made up.”

“And, and.”  Come on, let it end on a good note.  “-and if you get past seven, then you need another song.”  JJ chuckled. “As I said, it’s a bit rougher than the magpie rhyme.”

They looked at the seagulls.  Four of them were pecking away at what looked like someone’s discarded sandwich. 

“Ah.  Ahem. Look, there’s one more over there.  I think, I think my feet are set to roam again.”  Dary stood up. “Shall we?”

JJ looked at the four-and-one seagulls and couldn’t help but fear that something was ending soon. “Let’s.  I hear there’s miles to go before we weep. I mean. Ah. I mean sleep.”

They headed up the gorge, leaving the seagulls and their omens behind.

 One for the quiet of a morning spent alone,

Two for the comfort of your lover coming home.

Three for a foe and four for a friend,

And either way this sign means that something’s gonna end.

Five for a voyage; your feet are set to roam

And six for the strength beneath the silt, the sand, the loam.

Seven for the feeling that something’s going wrong—

-and if you get past seven, then you need another song.

🕊️

Want more?

 

The Bellamy, Chapter 6

When Veronkia emerged on two floors up, the elevator said it was between the fourth and fifth floors.  She patted her hair back into shape and looked around her. 

To the right, she could see a railing where the second floor opened up into the large cathedral-ceiling area around the front desk.  To the left, there was row after row of glass cases, each one labelled with tidy handwritten cards. Forward were rows of bookshelves.  She was pretty sure Ancient Acquisitions ought to be to the left, although she had no map of this area. 

If she didn’t leave this place in frustration after a day, she was going to map it all out, every inch of it, if she had to do it on lunch breaks for the rest of the year. 

She turned her cart to the left, checked her hair again, and headed into the rows of glass cases.  To the left, she was looking at displays of ancient garbage – pot shards, broken tools, a cracked tablet – where some wit had slipped in a couple modern pieces of similar junk with the exact same style of placards.  To the right, a complete section of a frieze gave way after several meters to a section of hieroglyphs.  Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 4.5

This Chapter goes BEFORE Chapter 5.
After y’all have read this, I’ll move it to the right spot in date sequence.

 

Veronika’s first stop was Local History, where she was looking for a book published by a nearby church twenty-five years ago.  According to her floor plans, they ought to be behind the main entryway and off to the left, just past the display of maps and paintings of the area. 

Finding the maps of the area meant going through a series of stacks which seemed to stretch upwards and outwards in an optical illusion until, like being lost in the middle of a cornfield, it seemed as if she would never get out of the stacks.

Eventually, growing frustrated with going forward for far too long, Veronika took a left turn that had not been in her plan.  She turned right again and found herself staring at a map of the Bellamy and surrounding area.  Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Six

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

Lina and Jackson got to the parking lot, or, rather, they got to the campground side of the parking lot — a strange stretch with some Uhauls and vans, box trucks and the like cheek to jowl with Bentlies and Beemers, Mercedes and Corvettes. 

Another woman in a robe stopped them.  “Sorry, kids. Nobody in, nobody out, we’re locking down.  The boss got a bug in his bonnet and we’re getting ready for the final — well, you know.

Lina didn’t know at all, but she looked at Jackson, who looked guilty and huffed.  “We just want to go into town for a couple hours?” he wheedled. “It’s not like town is dangerous.  It’s barely downhill from here.”

“Sorry, no exceptions.  Go to the water if you want some recreation.  If you want some recreation, I won’t notice if the pavilion behind the food storage gets its lock picked. Just lock it again behind you if you can.” Continue reading

OKAY I feel like it’s that sort of day.

Leave me a prompt about the relationship between any two characters I’ve written & I will write you a 100-200 words of a Something about them.

A Story for B, Chapter 2

Began here.

There was a girl named Malina Serafina Anastazja Dominika Naveed Jeleń nic Cecília O Alexandre, for several reasons, including the fact that her ancestor Dominika had, it seemed, built a castle, along with, or so she was learning, the Malina Concordat, the Dominika Accord, and the Treaty of the Alexandres.

She – we will call her Malina – had been lost in the desert, and not she was not so much lost as unsure of where she was.

She had a castle in front of her; she had a mustang under her.

She had a cat next to her, & that was what she knew.

The building coming into view was not quite what she’d consider a palace. It had no tall spindling towers; no beautiful white stucco painted with all the colors people could dream of; no gold.

She could see a thick, squat tower above the horizon, flanked, of course, by cacti (her whole life was devolving into nothing but cacti). From it fluttered 2 banners, as tattered as any she had seen on border trees in this journey & more so. Continue reading

Read Me Elsewhere

I haven’t done this in a while (ahem. Since September.) But if you’re only reading me  here, you’re missing things!

Or at least some things. 

On Ko-Fi, free for anyone to read (From the November Prompt Call)

A Light in the Dark – Advent
The Real World – Stand and Deliver…
The Two Kings – “There isn’t meant to be a thief king!”
D.F. Claudine Davenport & other authors – “…you listed your cat as a co-author…”
Atsidasauron Minimus – ship’s… creatures.
Nitpick – be careful about your trolling…  (Tir na Cali)
Boys & Girls  – a sequel to Boy Modification, on Patreon below.
Walking Away – something’s… Wrong with the Garden.

Stitched In (September, Aunt Family)

On Patreon – those that are free are marked with a * (only the last 21 posts; check out Patreon for the rest~)
🅿️

Deep Discovery *— Follows A Discovery in Depth, a story of Reiassan about the things you can find buried when you’re just looking for silver.
The Wilds of Notebook *— Sometimes the best idea is to take a little leap.
Caturday! Untitled Cat Game *— Stranded World, a tiny story of kitties.
Ru(i)ne(d), Grim(oire)End(ur)ing*– Stories of Potions & the Apocalypse.
Stewart Drive & Other Lessons *– A bonus story; things you need to learn about college you don’t learn in school
Sunshine Magic *– A fantasy story, another bonus, pretty much what it says on the tin. 😉
Read Another Story – Aunt Family, a Finish It to Heroes, Tell me a Story, etc.
Deck the Halls, a story of Science! 
O Christmas Tree *Set in Fairy Town in Crossroads Park.
Creep – a story of Aunt Family
Where There’s Smoke, there’s… Friends? *– Aunt Family, Beryl & New People
After-Action Report: First Mission with the Ψ Unit – Tir na Cali, their “X-Files” type unit.

A Map of Sorts of Spoils of War
Recipe Blog – Delicious Leavings (& Vegan Caramel)
Recipe Blog: Cooking on a Wood Stove
Fun Facts about Stranded World *
A Conlang Word: Tea (updated, annotated) *

The Expectant Wood 
Nimbus’ Journey Continues!
Chapter 48: Run
Chapter 49: Frivolous 

On Archive of Our Own – free to read and ongoing. (all Harry Potter ‘verse)
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Exchange Students – Harry is going to Addergoole. Porter is coming to Hogwarts. Nothing could possibly go wrong!
Reconstruction – The war is over, and yet Harry, Hermione, and Ron, Neville, Luna, and Ginny find they have another war on their hands. What’s more, Harry appears to have an enslaved Draco on his hands.
Inherited – Severus was dying, and he was dying free.  Then everything went wrong. 
A Solution, of Sorts – my take on the Wedding Law & Harem tropes.