Archive | August 4, 2011

Donor Perk – Dragons Next Door: Ketchup

anke requested some more of the “Hostage Situation” drabble (LJ). This takes place immediately after that story.

Dragons Next Door Landing Page (and on LJ)

“It’s a human.”

Staring at my oldest child, I sank down onto the couch. Slowly, as if I was a thousand years old, and carefully, as if I or the couch might shatter at too rough an impact. Blindly, I felt for their hands, all the while chiding myself.

How can I pretend to be this enlightened soul, this all-creatures-in-one-neighborhood advocate, and then be so much more horrified when the monster on TV is of my species?

“Human?” I heard myself say, despite the screaming of my internal censor. “They’re sure?”

“Stands upright, two legs, two arms, generally human-shaped and sized.” My oldest child is not known for tact or empathy; then again, it may simply be that teenagers in general cannot handle these things. “Yeah,” came the clarification, before my aggrieved sigh could become an actual complaint. “Human. As far as the news is telling us, garden-variety white-bread normal sort of human.”

“Normal,” my husband coughed. “There is nothing normal about this.”

Handwave. “You know. Not a Special Projects sort, not a White Tower sort. Doesn’t go zzzapp with his fingers. Just… appears to be holding hostages in case he gets the munchies.”

My husband was, by this point, nearly out of his seat. I sensed the breaking point was close; soon, it would either devolve into a fight, or he would stalk out angrily. With that going on downtown, he’d end up beelining there, retired or no. And this one looked bad.

“All right.” I set one hand on my husband’s knee, one on my child’s. “Start at the beginning.”

Sage took a deep breath, pulling himself back from that place. “It’s been on for about twenty minutes. The first they showed was a scrying of the inside of the bank, and then that went black, and they went to this footage.” He gestured at the TV, where police and reporters loitered around the bank as if waiting for someone to give them orders.

Jin picked up the thread, sounding, for once, almost like a kid again. “The scrying was pretty bad. He had the bank manager stretched over the marble counter, backwards, like an Aztec altar. Everyone else was hogtied, and he’d gotten apples somewhere…”

“There’s no trace of magic about it,” Sage continued. Knowing him, he hadn’t taken the TV’s word for that, either. “No accomplices. One corpse already – the security guard. I used to work with him, when I was on the force.”

“Eviscerated,” Jin murmured, and then, with a note of beginning hysteria, “ketchup.”

I gave Sage a look: do something. There was a time for territorial disputes, and a time to be a parent. With an eyeroll: duh, he moved around me to pull our oldest into a tight hug.

“The police will come up with something,” he murmured reassuringly, “or we will, for them. Someone always does.”

Next: Salt

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30 Days Second Semester: 10, Planning a Family, Tír na Cali

For the 30 Days Meme Second Semester, for the prompt “10) write a story set in three different time periods”

Tír na Cali – landing page here (and on LJ).

Author’s note: the Cali royalty trace their lineage back through three clever pioneers (Istvia, Imogen, and Gwydion) to so-called witches who came over from Ireland to settle the west coast of North America.

Ireland, 1685

The witch looked over the table at her cousin, a pretty young thing that, until now, everyone had assumed was just daft. The girl was floating the dishes in the air, all of the dishes, weaving them in and out in a series of loops that looked like a Maypole dance.

The witch stood, pondering her dim-witted cousin, and nodded at her brother. ::James, Alice’s son with the lovely eyes,:: she murmured into his head. :: He’ll make a good groom. He’s always thought she was fetching.:: And he could lift more than a man ought to, and carry it for nearly ever.

Sacramento,California 1849
Istvia and Imogen studied each other over a game of chess, although both were minding Imogen’s youngest daughter, playing patty-cake with the dark-haired boy Istvia used as a fetch-and-carry page.

“She’s already showing signs,” Imogen murmured under her breath. “She has a bear that follows her everywhere, even if she forgets to pick him up. It upsets the help.”

Istvia, who already knew this, nodded sagely. “He,” she tilted her head at the boy, still feet short of his adult height, “gets things off tall shelves.”

“Mmm. Worth a try, then.”

Hillsboro, Oregon, 2011
Catherine ni Johanna ó Imogen studied her teenaged niece. The girl was playing checkers with a slave boy, a handsome teenager who, like many of the slaves on Catherine’s estate, bore a striking resemblance to Catherine’s family. This one, however, though he had the eyes and the nose, was a good head taller than the free men in the bloodline, and, on brief observation, rather more clever, too.

Catherine had carefully discouraged her niece’s friendship with the boy, disapproving in an over-the-top way only teenagers believed. With luck, there’d be a child before Yule.

The List:
1a) the story starts with the words “It’s going down.” (LJ Link)
1b) the story starts with the words “It’s going down.” (LJ Link)
2) write a scene that takes place in a train station.
3) the story must involve a goblet and a set of three [somethings]
4) prompt: one for the road
5) write a story using an imaginary color
6) write the pitch for a new Final Fantasy styled RPG (LJ Link)
7) prompt: frigid (LJ Link)
8) write a scene in the middle of a novel called “The Long, Dirty Afterwards” (LJ)
9) prompt: mourning dead gods (LJ)
10) write a story set in three different time periods

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Tell me a story…

When I was a kid, my parents and I used to play the “what do you think their story is?” game, making up stories about everyday situations. People don’t seem to like to play this anymore, but I could use it today.

(fear of conflict means, it seems, other people’s conflict stresses me out.)

Overheard, in the Greyhound (bus station) parking lot, a couple with luggage in and around a car:

Person One: (Inarticulate screaming)
Person Two: “I made you my fucking wife and you piss[ed] all over [pronoun uncertain? me, it?]”
Person One: (more screaming)
(note: they are still moving around the car, moving luggage)
Person Two: “You fucking disgust me!”

Traffic light changes, and I drive away.

So… what do you think their story is? Feel free to be as ridiculous, fantastical, strange, out there, weird, as you like

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