Haunted House 42: Thieves, Thick As

First: A story featuring a male keeper and a female Kept.
Previous:  Market

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Mélanie stepped closer to Jasper and surveyed the area.  There were people everywhere. More than half of them hadn’t seemed to notice the shouting at all.  A few of them were looking across the market. A few more were looking at Jasper.

Was she going to have to do Workings again?  Was she even allowed to?

Jasper waved enthusiastically with one arm, balancing the packages with the other.  “George Ridges! I haven’t seen you in forever!” Continue reading

Effects

The battle against the Noknuxo had been raging for months.  The space-faring aliens had clearly superior tech – weapons that were huge and completely incomprehensible that made noises that could not be predicted and left swaths of damage in their wake.  Their lasers were precision-targeted and left holes you could throw a baseball through; their bunker-busters were just insane.

They were fighting the Terrans over a system that was smack in between their two most favored colonies and Terra’s first really successful colony system.  They were down to fighting on the best planet itself, which had serious disadvantages – they were destroying land both groups wanted to live on – but on the other hand, a single hit didn’t end up destroying huge numbers due to atmosphere loss, the way that several of their space battles had gone.

The Terrans were losing.  They were demoralized, and it was making everything that much harder.  The Noknuxo tech was just too advanced.  There was no way that they could win against things that their scientists couldn’t begin to understand.

Suddenly, over a loudspeaker, the echoing, chittering voice of a Noknuxo sounded – in Terran. “Cut!”

“What?” The Terran general looked at her aide.  “Was that right?”

“We’re out of special effects budget,” came the Terran explanation in a Noknuxo clack.  While the Terrans had figured out Noknuxo, the aliens had never bothered to talk in English before this.  “We’re going to have to go to doing this the boring way.  We’re dropping our projections now; you can drop yours and save the budget.”

The general stared across the field as, one by one, half of the incomprehensible machines vanished.  The other half suddenly looked much less… impressive.

Carefully, she leaned into the mike and pushed the translation button. “We have no projections,” she called over the field.  “What you see is as we are.”

There was a chitter and chatter from the Noknuxo side.  “Say again?” came the clicking reply.

“We have no projections.  Everything here is exactly as it is.”

Somewhere behind the General, three of her best scientists were staring into viewfinders at the Noknuxo siege devices.  “General, can you capture one of those?”

“Not while they’re calling a truce,” the General replied, careful to be sure her mike was off.

“Better hurry,” her aide commented.  Looking out at the battlefield, the General could see why.

To a being, the Noknuxo were fleeing.  There was no reply, no request for clarification.  They were simply loading up their remaining ships.

The General had been given this position because of her quick-thinking – which could have been seen as either a positive or a negative, because it came with a quickness to speak as well.  She flipped the mike and the translator on.  “Please,” she called, as if the Noknuxo weren’t fleeing, “name the location where you would like to discuss peace terms.”

She wanted to learn more about fighting a war with special effects.


Inspired by

Hidden Mall 60: A Hero Dies But Once?

Abby took a step backwards, and another, until ‘Via caught her. “Easy,” ‘Via murmured in her ear.  “It’s okay.”

She forced herself to look at – at herself.  Except dripping wet and dripping blood from what remained of a leg, leaning on a Liv who was dripping both water and blood, too.

“The – the sharks.”  She worked her throat.  “Remember? And before that, the fire.  This is – this is all the deaths we could have died.  It can’t be.  We can’t have died this many times.”

“We could have.” ‘Via shifted a little.  “I mean. It’s not I mean.  We don’t know how many malls there are.  We don’t know how many of them anyone came through.  We don’t know if the mall just generated new versions.”

“Some of the malls were fake.  Who told us that?” Liv frowned. Continue reading

Haunted House 41: The Market

First: A story featuring a male keeper and a female Kept.
Previous:  Wants and Desires

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In retrospect, Mélanie thought perhaps she ought to have expected a question like that.  Dressing her in silk, treating her like a partner – she shouldn’t have been surprised that he asked her if she wanted anything.  Wanting her to want things, wanting to get her things, seemed on par with everything else that he’d done so far.

That it took her completely by surprise was a sign she wasn’t paying attention.

She blinked at him. Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 38: Loyalty

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Halorans

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“Like this place?”  Carrone shook his head.  “No, you weren’t. You were going stir-crazy staying in one place.  I can’t imagine what you’re like at — at home. Cooped up in a single building…”

“Well…” She let a smile linger on her lips for a moment. “It has its benefits.”

“I was trying to explain those to our friend here, but she didn’t want to hear it.  I mean, if she’d listened to me telling her it was an Imperial Cabin…”

“Well, then maybe she might have left when she had a chance.  Unless you were offering to show her exactly how nice the Imperial Bed is…?”

The woman squirmed but said nothing.

“Would you be jealous if I did?” Continue reading

Funerary Rites 43: Stupid Lessons

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Chitter squealed as she was dragged into the back seat, but the moment Erramun was cradling her, she stopped complaining.  “I’m—” She smushed her face into Erramun’s chest.

“Easy, my young friend, easy.  There’s always going to be more that you can learn.  There’s always going to be more that you can do. But you can only grow so fast, and you can only do so much.  It’s a hard lesson to learn, I know—”

“It’s a stupid lesson,” Chitter muttered.  Ezer kept his face forward and drove, but Senga could see him peering in the rear-view at them.

“It is,” he agreed, “but we all have to learn it at some point.  So. I’ll help you get the education you need, but you have to accept that it’s okay.  You made a mistake, yes, but nobody got hurt-”

“You got shot!” Continue reading

Blog Post: Rafters, Projects, and Slipper Baskets

When I was in college, I learned a planning style that occasionally I re-remember.

This was during my Technical Writing class, and it was designed for planning a writing/publishing project, such as an advertisement brochure.

Turns out, it works pretty well for actually plotting out things like… renovations, too.

And spring is sort of coming now.  So I’m starting to figure out the planning for some of our extant projects.

They’re big ones.  I mean, it’s a house and I want to redo everything in it eventually.

(probably even the bedroom that we did first, because the walls still need redoing and we still don’t really have a closet.) Continue reading

Read Me Elsewhere

There’s always fiction of mine scattered all over the web!

On Ko-Fi, free for anyone to read:
After the End – the gods gather to discuss the results
The Place at the End of the Mists – Tilda walked into the mists.  Eventually, she walked out
Friday Thing – He showed up on Friday.

On Patreon – those that are free are marked with a * – This month is Research Month; Last month was Friends 
Secret Lairs – a Trunk Story– They need a new Lair, to do their “Research” in
Recipe Blog: Baked Brie
Recipe Blog: Success and Failure – Really Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies; Avocado rice. 
The Expectant Wood – Nimbus’ Journey continues with Chapter 35: The Wilds of the Tame Lands
*Ugly Jewelry – a story of the Aunt Family*- Rosaria was fairly certain that one of her nieces had given it to her last.
Somewhat Hereditary-The world shook when she was born. 
*In The End…* A story of Addergoole, Hell Night, and friendship
Beyond Rules – a moment for Aud and Sage
Time Passes – a story of Whitney (open for non-Patrons after 90 days)
Map: A Tír na Cali Baronial Estate

On Archive of Our Own – free to read and ongoing.
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.

On Mastodon – free to read and fun to join; super short fics
Bird Brains
Tootplanet and Explorer Log 
Natha/en

And I can’t believe I didn’t mention this in the last two:

http://www.edallyacademy.com/ 

Haunted House 40: Wants and Desires

First: A story featuring a male keeper and a female Kept.
Previous:  Honest

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Jasper was still laughing. Mélanie was staring at him with something between horror and worry.  Had she broken him?  Was he going a little mad?  Was this what happened right before he finally got angry with her?  

“Easy, easy,” Jasper managed through a chuckle.  “Oh, my dear, easy. Telling me that you think I’m doing something wrong.  Being a little difficult? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have laughed at you.” He draped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to him.  “I do apologize. I know you were serious. And I take it seriously — I do!  — that you feel strongly enough about this that you’d tell me you thought I was doing something wrong.  I know that’s hard for you.” He squeezed her a little more firmly. “It’s just that if that’s what it takes to get you to give me your opinions more often, it’s tempting to go find the nicest little old couple I can find and bilk them out of their life savings.”

“Don’t do that!”  Mélanie twisted in his hold to stare at him.  “No, don’t — please, I mean —” Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 37: Halorans

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Guests

🐻

Deline froze.  The voice in the cabin didn’t sound like the Talon, but she couldn’t be sure.  They were both female voices, that was certain, and how, otherwise, had she gotten past the wards.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“Fine.  Settle in, here, have a drink, and we can wait for whatever you’re waiting for.  But you can move that knife any time now.”

“What, so you can attack me?”

The accent was different.  It was probably – probably – not the Talon.  

“I’m not going to attack you. You attacked me first, remember?  And we’re both Halorans.”

“Yeah, so what are you doing way out here in the middle of the Bear-Empire Mountains?”

“I could ask you the same thing.  We’re in the same cabin together, after all.” Continue reading