Archive | October 15, 2011

Where have all the … zombies… gone?

For Meeksp‘s prompt.

Dragons Next Door Verse. DND has a landing page – here.

This was in part prompted by this story, where the elkin first appear, from the Gender-Funky Call for Prompts.

Commenters: 6

“Ever find it weird that we don’t have vampires?”

This, I reminded myself, was what happened when Jin helped in the kitchen. But making tomato sauce was a long and tedious process, and the garden had been very prosperous this year, my younger two were still too small to be much help, and Sage had a bad habit of opening up the black jars into the sauce, Rule Two or not (It makes very good sauce, I’ll admit, but what it did to my mother-in-law that one time, I’ll be making up to her for decades).

Vampires. “Or zombies,” I agreed, “in the classic horror-movie sense of the word. But why ‘weird?'”

“Well, look at it, really. We’re out of their fairy tale books, even if we live in the ‘burbs with them now. Wizards. Witches. We have dragons next door, and brownies. And yet – no vampires. No zombies. I thought the old knock-down place a block over was haunted, but that turned out to be two boggarts and a goblin. And it’s not like we talk about heaven.”

No, although that wasn’t a “we” matter the way he meant it in that sentence – the not-quite-human humans. That was a “we” matter in our household. And that was a matter for another day.

“Hrmm,” I said instead, and tasted the sauce. “Needs more basil, and a pinch of – the medium-large black jar? The tiniest pinch, mind you. Well,” I continued, before Jin got irritated – he was at that irritable stage. I hoped it was a stage, at least. “I’ve never met a vampire, but I’ve seen ghosts. Well, one human ghost. If you’re looking for undead, though, you might go talk to the Elkin.

“The Elkin?” Now he perked up, and I wondered if I’d done the wrong things. The darkest parts of the Black Tower… no. He was my son, and he would not be going White Ops.

“The Elkin,” I agreed. “My sister, your Aunt [*], is dating one. But they have an entire priest class devoted to their undead.” Such as it was.

“Do you think she could help me out, then?” He definitely had that look in his eye.

“I’ll see if I can talk her into it,” I assured him, “If – and only if – you finish that history paper and help me clean up after the sauce.”

I should probably have been more worried at how enthusiastic he was about cleaning, shouldn’t I have?

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Rude Roommates – Stranded World/Autumn – Giraffe Call for Prompts

For Wyld_dandelyon‘s prompt.

Stranded World and Autumn, though I don’t know just when. Stranded has a landing page – here (or on LJ)

Commenters: 7

“No, I don’t mean walking through a ghost will give you a chill, or take ten years off your life, or any of that sort of nonsense. I mean it’s rude.” Autumn pursed her lips at the difficult man who was, of all things, arguing with her about the paranormal while trying to haggle her down on a particularly complex original piece of art. A charmed piece, at that, which suggested to her that he knew more than he was saying about both the art and the paranormal.

“Rude?” He raised an eyebrow in what had to be a studied expression of disdain. “You’re talking about being rude to the dead?”

And now she had him. She smirked at him, and set aside the artwork, which would find its proper home in due time. “Well, sir, that’s a common thread throughout many cultures, isn’t it? It’s certainly considered rude to ‘speak ill of the dead,’ for one; it’s considered proper to honor a dying person’s wishes, and we pay homage to the dead in their cemeteries, do we not?”

He could tell he’d been out-maneuvered, but he was certainly going somewhere with this.

“Well, if it’s rude to walk through them, then we’re talking about dealing with them like they’re people, right? Then isn’t it rude of them to stick around a house they no longer own?”

The dead care nothing for deeds and titles would be the easy answer, but it was not, for all its ease, honest. Autumn’s frown came back, and she could feel it wrinkling her brow. “The dead don’t ‘stick around’ because they want to trespass,” she countered. There was a piece of art for this – and she hadn’t known why she was inking it, but she’d done it, framed it, priced it, and then put it on a shelf under her workbench. She pulled it out, now, the twist of the Ways suggested with the way the trees and the house closed together. “I think you’d like this piece better than the one we were discussing,” she continued, in apparent non sequitur. “And if you wish to continue discussing spectral roommates, perhaps the nice coffee place down the road, after the festival closes?”

“Moon-beans? Certainly. Nine tonight, then?” He didn’t balk at the too-high price on the smaller piece of art, passing her his credit card without further discussion. Amos Talbot. The name suited him.

“Thank you, sir.” She nodded politely, and wondered if she’d just set up a date or an appointment for an exorcism.

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The Grey Line – Unicorn/Factory – for the Giraffe Call

For YsabetWordsmith‘s prompt.

Unicorn/Factory- landing page here (or on LJ)

This happens after Preconceptions.

Commenters: 7

“I’m sorry, that’s an Administrator-level decision.”

“Well, we have an Administrator again, don’t we? Let me talk to him, please?” The woman, pinch-faced and exhausted, looked desperate. Antheri did his best I’m-so-sorry face and shook his head woefully at her over his steepled fingers.

“Administrator Giulian has gone out for a walk, I’m afraid.”

The woman paled, her complexion going ashen and dead-looking. “A walk? Out there?” She gestured with the hand that still worked; the injured arm was clutched over a heavily swollen belly. “Out there? But it will be weeks before they send us a new Administrator.”

“At least,” Antheri agreed. The Under-Administrator was rather proud of himself for this; the paperwork to fill the position of his supervisor took longer and longer each time, as the Higher-Ups did their best to find someone that the rest of the world wanted to get rid of. And the Town wasn’t even all that bad – at least, if you knew how to handle it. “If that’s all…?”

Badly-suppressing sobs of frustration, the woman took her leave. She would give birth to her bastard on the factory floor, like so many others had, and if it was one one of the strange and fae river bastards, well, it would never survive the coriander-laden air of the work floor.

No wonder she wanted to leave. But when they left, seventy-four percent of the time, the women did not return to work; when they gave birth on the floor, they only died forty-three percent of the time, and were permanently incapacitated beyond the ability to work another fifteen-point-five percent of the time. That meant, statistically, it was more reasonable to make them work until childbirth. Training new workers was expensive, time-consuming, and slowed down production.

The Administrators, though, and the Higher-ups rarely saw it that way. There were Policies. There were Regulations. There was Morale to consider, even though, Policies or Rules or Morale or WhatHaveYou, it was still Antheri who heard it when the Almighty Production was down.

Easiest just to never let it get to an Administrator at all.

And how convenient that this one had chosen to go walking so soon. He’d been asking questions, awkward and uncomfortable questions. He’d been letting people take time off in non-peak times. He’d been reading his predecessor’s notes.

And now he was gone down to the river, and Antheri would begin the paperwork for his…

“Under-Administrator! Come here!” Impossible! That bellow! Well, perhaps he’d simply gone mad? Antheri scurried out, doing his best toady impression.

“What is it, sir? Did you enjoy your… sir, what is that?” The Administrator had taken off his coat and wrapped it around something, around a bundle bigger than an infant, but not as large as a small dog. Near the large man’s shoulder, something glittered.

Antheri took a step backwards. Up here, in the offices, the air was not infused with coriander. Up here, they didn’t need it. “Sir, what’s that?” How had he gotten it in his arms? How was he still alive? “Sir, I don’t think…” He was still back-pedalling, but the file cabinet behind him, his precious files, were in his way. “Sir…” The damn man was still walking forward. “They’re poison, you know!” He was babbling now, reaching into the back of the cabinet. “They can kill you with a touch. They can draw out your soul.” Somewhere, somewhere… there! The old revolver had done him well with his third boss. It would serve him well again.

“So I’ve heard.” Why, damn him, WHY didn’t he seem worried?

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For Rix_scaedu‘s prompt.

Faerie Apoc, Addergoole – landing page here (or on LJ)

This happens after the storyline of Addergoole; for reference, see this guest story

Commenters: 2

It had never ceased to plague him. His memories of death and dying were picture-perfect, dozens of deaths, at least, some of them in worlds that had made Professor Valerian frown and Professor Pelletier twitch when he described them (which was, of course, half of why he described them). But his memories of what was, in theory, his current life, were either non-existant or fuzzy. Even large parts of his time at Addergoole were a blur.

He worked as a mechanic, because he was good at it, because he didn’t have to remember much from day to day (the skills didn’t go, just the people, and the events), and because it paid well. He paid a couple former Students of his Former Mentor, and one from Valerian, to keep his cave – a house when he’d started and, from the outside, still mostly a house – and his bed warm and comfortable, more than willing to share the money. You helped your cy’ree. He didn’t forget that. You helped your crew, your cy’ree, and your brothers. If he had any of those.

But now the stupid departed gods were coming back, and they were ruining all of that. The world kept moving, changing, and his uncertain memory couldn’t keep up with the changes the interlopers were imposing on the city around him. The clients who kept money in his pocket were fleeing the city, and encouraging him to do the same. Run and hide. Prey ran and hid, and girls. He might hate his memories of death, but Baram did not fear it.

He thumped down the street from the shop – no work today, go home, the boss had said, get your girl and get out of here – to his home, pushing aside overturned cars and, once, because it was in his way, moving a broken bus off a wounded human. He muttered the healing Words at the human so she’d stop screaming; something was wrong. The place where his cave was looked wrong.

A growl started deep in Baram’s throat. The fucking returned gods had gone too far.

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For Cluudle‘s prompt.

Faerie Apoc, Addergoole – landing page here (or on LJ)

This happens before the storyline of Addergoole; for reference, see this chapter

Commenters: 2

Badrick died.

He died like he had in his dreams, bloody and violently. They pulled him apart, the mob, and, although the details were different, the pain was the same. The shouting was the same. The blood splattering everywhere, his blood, his entrails, his life.

“Why?” he managed, before the farmer hit him in the throat with the pitchfork. He knew why, deep in his cold heart. Monster, they’d screamed. Monster, beast, demon. Demon, they shouted, as the pitchfork pierced his heart.

That wouldn’t be enough to kill him, not on its own, but they had come prepared. They doused him in oil, pinned him to the crossroads with wooden stakes, his heart still pumping blood out of his body, his lungs still trying to push air. They lit him on fire and then, by some luck, then, as his pants began to burn, he lost consciousness.


Robert woke screaming, not for the first time, rolled over and stifled the scream in his pillow before anyone could hear him. He could still feel the fire licking over his skin, although a quick, surreptitious pat-down told him that no, he wasn’t on fire. He wasn’t dying. Not this time, not right now.

He wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep tonight. He slipped on a shirt over his sweats, checked to make sure he hadn’t woken anyone, and headed out for a walk.

The dreams weren’t always the same, but they always ended badly, in blood and fire; they always ended with or near death. And they’d been getting worse. They’d been getting more and more vibrant, lately, seeming to take over even when he was awake.

His ankle twisted, snapped, seemed to stretch out of shape, and he grunted, swallowing another scream. Now even the pain was following him into the waking hours. Was he never going to have a moment of peace, a moment – thought and complaint were cut off by a feeling like his skin splitting, as if everything inside was too big to be contained anymore.

A woman screamed, loud and terrified. “A monster!” Mrs. Colburn, from down the street. She sat behind them in church. “A monster!” she repeated, “a demon from hell! Kill it, KILL IT!”


He woke in a field, in pain and stinking of smoke, with no memory of how he’d gotten there, no memory of what it was like to not be in pain… no memory, he realized, at all.

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Giraffe Call Story – Ninja Kitty (Tir na Cali catpeople)

For ankewehner‘s prompt.

Tir na Cali, catpeople. Cali has a landing page here (or on LJ)

Commenters: 10

“I don’t mean to sneak up on people, I just forget to make a sound sometimes.”

Cob looked at Lea, her ears raked back, her tail limp, everything in her body language saying “I’m cute, please don’t hurt me,” and sighed. This adorable little kitty had been trained in combat since she was old enough to walk. The mods she’d inherited from her parents had given her sharp teeth and sharper claws, and, whether it was nature or nurture that had made her predatory, she had turned out bloodthirsty either way.

“Lea,” he said patiently. “That’s a very good skill to have when you’re in the field.” If she was ever sent into the field. For all the training, he wasn’t sure the Agency would ever use their hybrid cat-people for their ostensible purpose. They looked too cute, even licking blood off their hands, and were too human-cat creepy, even by the standards of pet-shop moddies. They, Cob’s fellow trainer Jac had muttered, were firmly in the Uncanny Valley, and, being there, were too damn freaky to send out into the general population.

Even to their trainers.

“I’m very good at it, too,” she answered sweetly. “Aren’t I? Seen and not heard, right, that’s what Lady Pia said, but I’m not seen, either, am I? Unless I want to be.”

“Aaah. Come here, sweetie. One. I’m sorry about Pia. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about – but don’t quote me on that. Two. Don’t take out your frustration with the higher-ups on me, Miss Kitty.”

She blinked at him, all innocence, but her tail was lashing. “But Cob,” she complained sweetly, “you are my higher up.”

Cob studied the charming teenaged assassin-in-training who was his primary responsibility and realized, perhaps for the first time, just how human the hate in her eyes was.

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Giraffe Call: Spooks, Creeps, Ghosts, and Ghouls

The call for prompts is now Closed!!

open! For the next 24 hours Until I write all the current prompts, I will taking your prompts on the theme of Spooks and Creeps, Ghosts and Ghouls.

I will write (over the next week) at least one microfic (150-300 words) to each prompter. If you donate, I will write to all of your prompts, and write at last 500 additional words for each $5 you donate, to the prompt(s) of your choice.

In addition to the donation incentives below, I have two new incentives:

For every linkback I receive, I will post another 50 words on a story (See the poll for setting here.

I will write, for the story with the most commenters by Friday morning, a piece about that setting.

And, of course, donations are always well-received:

If I reach $35 in donations, I will post an additional 1000-2000-word fic on the subject of the audience’s choice. Reached!

If I reach $65, I will write at least 2 microfics for everyone, whether or not they donated. Reached! Add a second prompt if you haven’t already!!

If I reach $95, I will write to every prompt I get in the next 24 hours – if something truly bugs me, I’ll ask you to re-prompt (or a third prompt to each prompter). At this point, please allow up to 2 weeks for the writing to be completed. REACHED!!!

If I reach $120, I will record a podcast of an audience-choice story and post it for everyone to read. Also, everyone who tipped will get double wordcount.

If I reach $150, I will release an e-book of all of the fiction written to this call and the last one. At this point, please allow up to 4 weeks for the writing to be completed.

I’m still saving up for the giraffe carpet, which will be installed the first week of October November (still can’t find a plumber)!

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