Archive | October 25, 2011


For rix_scaedu‘s prompt.

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

This comes after Fears (LJ Link).

Commenters: 4

They didn’t think Juniper was listening, but, then again, the grown-ups rarely did. Even Cxaidin and Zizny, who were normally so much more rational than her own parents (or the teachers in school, who were either stupid or mean), talked right over her when it was something they thought she shouldn’t understand. Of course, it was a lot easier for them to talk over her; they were huge.

Today it was all four of them, her Mom and Dad and Jimmy’s parents, while she sat with Jimmy and Baby and Cthannie and the erbiss, oiling Jimmy’s scales, burping Baby, and listening to every word.

“What are you going to do?” Dad was asking quietly. “That sort of threat…”

“If we were back in the old country, it would be easy,” Zizny rumbled. “But here, the humans are – no offense – but they’re very thin-skinned. If we dealt with this … interloper… in the traditional way, the police would be beating down our door.”

“Yes, they would be,” Mom murmured. “I can see where making poacher flambé would be bad for PR.” PR, Juniper had learned, was the art of looking better than you were, or at least of convincing people you were better than they thought you were. Jin said she needed better PR for school.

“Rather,” Cxaidin sighed. “I’d love to be able to roast everyone who tries to hurt our children.”

“I’m with you on that,” Sage agreed. Juniper snuggled Tay-tay closer. Her Daddy loved her and wanted to protect her. It was a wonderful feeling. And Jimmy’sparents wanted to protect him. But what were they going to do about the bad guy?

Seemed like Mom had the same question. “So what will you do?”

“We have called the police,” Zizny grumbled. “But they told us that it would take a while before they could investigate, because we chased him off.”

“Mmm. That can happen,” Dad agreed. “And in the meantime, he’s out there chasing down whatever it is he or his employers want, all over the neighborhood. You know, Cxaidin, Zizny, the public will be very upset if they see that you have taken the law into your own claws.” He said it funny, like there was a meaning in there he didn’t want to say out loud.

“True…” Zizny puffed smoke, which usually meant deep thinking or irritation. “True.” The dragon sounded, Juniper thought, rather pleased.

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Linkbak Incentive Story: Rule Two

(I’m already writing Rule One, just not done yet)

This is the linkback incentive story for today’s Giraffe Call. Let me know you linked to the call, and I’ll post another 50 words.

I’m going out for a couple hours now, but will be back to post this afternoon!
When Juniper came home crying from school for the third time, I brewed her my special sweet tea and started baking her a batch of cookies while Sage tried to get the story from her. Since they were in the breakfast nook and I was in the kitchen, I thought I could get away with a little addition to the tea. She’d been so frustrated lately, and it was hard to watch my baby girl suffer – especially knowing how that had colored the way my oldest had grown up.

I reached for the special herbs, the ones I kept in the black jars, up on the shelves only Sage and I could reach. I should have known better – the hinges on that cupboard make a distinctive lack of sound, almost an anti-sound, after a little too much no-squeak got squirted on their hinges. You could always tell when that cabinet – or the one next to it, where Sage keeps his work tools – is opened. We’ve used that to our advantage more than a couple times, when the kids were feeling either inquisitive or murderous (they’re our children; both were to be expected). Today, it served as my conscience – and not for the first time, either.

“Aud?” Sage poked his head into the kitchen as I was opening the smallest of the black jars. “Aud, that isn’t for Juniper’s tea, is it?”

“She’s so frustrated, Sage,” I countered, not really answering him. I don’t lie to him.

“Rule Two, Aud,” he counter-countered. To my exasperated sigh, all he added was “It was your rule, remember.”

“It was,” I agreed. “I assume you mean the codicil? I wasn’t putting it in your tea, after all.”

“Sweetie, the day you dose my tea is the day, well…”

“Well.” No more to say about that; Sage, at least, had a good idea of what a Pumpkin graduate could do, and I had a very very good idea of what a Black Tower alum was capable of. We did not practice our homework on each other.

Or on our children. I frowned at the tea, and put the black jar back in its place. “Her tea is ready. Is she all right?”

“As far as I can tell without really poking, she wishes her dad would butt out of her life and stop making everything such a big deal already.”

“And you’re not going to poke, not really.” I pulled the cookies out of the oven to give him a chance to look innocent. “Rule Two, Sage.”

“But she’s so frustrated, Aud…”

“And we don’t want the problems Jin had. Well, why don’t we get Jin to talk to her?”

“Sometimes, my lovely wife, you have brilliant ideas.”

“And sometimes, my handsome husband, you’re bright enough to listen. Where’s the oldest?”

“Last I saw, he was helping Jimmy Smith fix the wall.”

“The one the ogre’s kid sat on? Good for them.”

“Well, it wasn’t entirely their idea,” he admitted.

“Ah-ha. This have something to do with the mess last weekend?”

“Just a little bit,” Sage nodded. “I told them they could do some yard work, or they could pay me to hire a contractor to do it.”

“They do know you’d do it yourself, right?”

“Irrelevant to the matter,” he smirked. “But I’m sure if you go out with a plate of cookies, Jin would be glad for the excuse for a break.”

“Funny, I made some dragon cookies, too,” I mused.

“I thought those were for Jimmy’s parents?”

“I can always make another batch. Our daughter needs her brother.” I packed up the cookies and headed out to the stone wall, where Jimmy and Jin were, to my surprise, actually being very effective in their yard work. I wondered exactly how much Sage had told them it would cost if they didn’t?

“I’m here to bribe you into taking a break,” I told them, offering the cookies. “Jin, Juniper came home crying again…”

“Thanks, Mrs. S. It’s the bully again, isn’t it?” Jimmy asked, taking the cookie. “That horrid girl Miryam? I told her I’d come to school with her, but she thought that would be a bad idea.”

“I agree,” I told him solemnly. “Crisping Juniper’s problems won’t help her learn to deal with them.” Even if I did empathize with the urge. “So, tell me about Miryam?” I passed him another cookie.

“She’s been calling Juniper names, telling her that she’s funny-looking, that her clothes are stupid. Telling her that she’s making up stupid stories – that’s why I wanted to go to school with her, Mrs. S. Because Miryam’s one of those stupid humans whose never met a dragon or anything interesting.”

Stupid clothes. Funny-looking. I felt a pang of guilt; was this my fault. “There are still people out there that don’t believe in dragons?” It seemed unthinkable, but then, I knew we lived in a bit of an echo chamber.

Jimmy was polite enough not to laugh, but Jin had no such need for manners; I was his mother, after all. “Ogre turds, Mom, there are people who don’t believe in the Black Tower. They think it’s all, you know, whack jobs and conspiracy theories. One kid at school actually told me ogres had been made up by the C.I.A. to suppress homesteading in the mountains.”

I shook my head. Sometimes I was too sheltered. “So this Miryam,” I tried to get us back on topic. “She’s been… what?” I would have been more chagrined about my ignorance if Jin didn’t look as lost as I was.

“Telling Juniper she’s making stuff up. Tattling on her to the teachers.” Jimmy snorted flames. “Lying.”

“Well, no wonder she’s upset.” And she couldn’t tell me, why? “We’re going to have to do something about that. I haven’t been getting any letters home from her teachers, either.”

“Those are easy,” Jin muttered. “Your signature is pretty easy to forge, Mom.”

I shot him a look. “We’ll talk about that later. So she’s been hiding it from me.”

“Well, yeah.” That was Jimmy, surprisingly. “Don’t take it personally, Mrs. S. She doesn’t want you to think she’s messing up, is all. But that little brat keeps making things hard on her, and her teachers… stuck in the last century.”

“Seems like much of the world still is. Well, thanks for telling me, boy… Jimmy, Jin.” They politely ignored my slip. “Jin, do you think you could coax a little more of the story out of her while I call her school?”

“Sure, Mom,” he agreed. “C’mon, Jimmy.”

I watched them go, son and dragon, and wondered what I was going to do. Forging notes. Being bullied at school for things that were simple truths at home. Keeping things from their father and I. I needed to talk to Juniper’s teacher.

And Rule Two did not apply to her.


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Night Terrors

For Cluudle‘s prompt.

Faerie Apoc, Addergoole Year 5 – landing page here (or on LJ)

Commenters: 0

Content warning: implied/remembered sexual assault.

November 24-25, Year 5 of the Addergoole School
(After Chapter 145)

“I know what to do with a little bitch like you.” The giant threw Yngvi to the ground, ripping his clothes off with a single gesture. “That’s where you belong anyway, and you know it, don’t you? You’re never going to be anything more than a pitiful little piece of shit. Can’t stand up for yourself, can’t even manage to make the loudmouth little shit act like a decent human being, and notice how your friends don’t argue? They know I’m your best option.” The foot landed hard on his back, knocking the wind out of him. “They know you’re better off under me.”

Yngvi woke with a start, dragging himself out of the dream, and stared at the dimly-lit ceiling, trying not to hear the voice of his nightmares sneering at him. He’d been training with his Mentor, Professor Solomon, every day, and Solomon had managed to talk Luke into taking him on as a self-defense and combat student twice a week, but it didn’t stop the dreams. It didn’t stop him flinching when he saw Ardell in the hall, or when Emrys made a stupid joke, or when he saw Aneislis’ collar and the nervous-infatuated-terrified way the boy looked at Ardell. It didn’t stop him from wondering what it would have been like, if it had been him who had gotten trapped into the collar.

Kneeling in front of his master, terrified, starving, bruised, leaning into any attention, even violence, because it meant his master had noticed him, begging for scraps of attention, begging to be allowed in bed with him at night… Yngvi had seen the Kept in Addergoole. Better to be alone forever than to risk that.

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Salt – Dragons Next Door – for the Giraffe Call

For Ankewehner‘s prompt.

Dragons Next Door Verse. DND has a landing page – here (or on LJ)

This comes after Hostage Situation (LJ Link)and Ketchup (LJ Link) and is far darker than the normal DND stories.

Commenters: 5

We sat watching the TV, staring at it, really, transfixed and horrified and growing more and more restless. The grainy film of the outside of the bank rolled on, the police moving back and forth, muttering to themselves, but not doing anything, not moving forward, not stopping what we could imagine was going on inside.

“Why aren’t they scrying?” Jin asked impatiently, leaning forward in his seat as if willing the people to move in. “If he’s a human, he can’t have blocked their senses.”

“Salt,” Sage answered tiredly. “A ring of salt will do it; oldest trick in the book, and a lot of banks already have salt built into their vaults for just that reason.”

“Salt?” Jin glared at the TV. “Then a firehose would do it, wouldn’t it?”

Before Sage or I could say something to this relatively-wise advice, the chief of police looked up as if slapped. “Firehose.” Even with the volume down, his meaning was clear. “Someone get that truck over here!”

I could see Sage, on the other side of our oldest, turning to look at him, mirroring me, but Jin was paying us no attention. He was hunched forward, focused on the screen, every bit of his attention aimed towards the front door of the bank while the firemen dragged the hose over and aimed it at the door.

This could go so horribly badly. This could end in blood and tears, and some of both could be Jin’s. If the monster inside were not a garden-variety human, if there were someone else that could follow Jin’s signature back to him, an accomplice or just opportunistic… I glanced at my husband, and relaxed as he began moving his hands in a pattern I knew well. I sank into a half-trance. If this went badly for purely mundane reasons, if the monster killed all the hostages, well, we’d have to deal with Jin’s guilt in a mundane manner. But until then, we had his back magically.

The hose washed through the front doors of the bank, sweeping into the building. Almost immediately, the picture-in-picture flickered and focused on the scene inside, the hostage-taker sitting on the blood-covered slab, holding his long, messy knife and waving it at the captives. In his left hand was a kill-switch, an old-fashioned dead-man detonator.

Jin leaned forward so far he was nearly off the couch, his left hand twitching in a series of movements that looked more like spasms than magic. “Gotcha,” he crowed happily, as every single wire in the building wrapped itself around the monster. “There!” With an exultant cry, my oldest child passed out.

Next: Released

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Monday on a Tuesday

Wonderful weekend visiting friends, just now getting back into the swing of things.

Applesauce successfully canned. Freezing apples tonight or tomorrow.

Planning on doing Nanowrimo in a not-killing-myself sort of way (i.e., working on the story as my main but not sole project through November and December) – the first Autumn story ever.

Giraffe Call:

Updated the linkback incentive (LJ).

Working through to third prompts; if you haven’t left a second or third prompt, you have ’till I get to the bottom of the list again to do so. Then I move on to sponsored prompts/continuations.

DreamWidth – call for prompts here

LiveJournal – call for prompts here


EllenMillion is doing another free abstracts call for prompts today:
free prompted abstracts are now open!

This is a fundraiser for EMG-Zine, which is in danger of being canceled after the June 2012 issue. Free prompts are open during today’s window.

This is an awesome Begariad (Eddings) fanfic by [personal profile] recessional

[profile] kajones has posted a prompt call. The theme is Halloween, Samhain, Diwali, and Fireworks Night

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Lost Spirits – for the Giraffe Call (AuntVerse)

For an anonymous prompt.

In the same setting, 2 “generations” earlier, as Heirlooms and Old lace (Lj), and directly after Estate (LJ) – The Aunt’Verse.

Commenters: 4

It started with her late Aunt Tansy’s attic of mysteries.

The ghosts couldn’t, it seemed, be released from the objects Tansy had bound them into. What the woman had done, Ruan still didn’t know, but the ghosts were trapped. The best that could be done was to give them a one-mile “leash,” so that they could wander from their prison.

That led to an uncomfortable house full of disconsolate ghosts, however, and, with Ruan still trying to figure out the traps laid in the un-ghosted objects, they were a distraction she really didn’t need.

She called on her Aunt Elenora, who was willing to take one of the tethered ghosts – Imogene the mouthy, who settled in happily to a life as Auntie El’s hat. Elenora spoke to some of her friends, managing to contact a friend’s sister’s second daughter, who took the cranky banker in a tie tack off of Ruan’s hands.

The daughter knew of a guy who worked well with the otherworld, and he (Johias) was more than willing to help Ruan work on the mystery of her Aunt’s trapped objects. He was also willing to take Willard-the-cigarette-holder off her hands, and, she noted, was also very handsome, and not without his own charm.

Resolving not to introduce Johias to her sisters, Ruan arranged a number of “safe” meetings with him where they could discuss the matter of Tansy’s collection. He had some innovative ideas about the traps, and they worked on testing them and putting them into practice, but, now and then, another object in the attic would start screaming angrily, as, somewhere, someone died and was sucked into their own personalized ghost trap.

That meant more ghosts to place, or more ghosts wandering around the house throwing things and tantrums and refusing to admit that sulking did nothing to help the situation. Ruan spoke to her aunts, and her aunts’s friends, Johais spoke to his family and friends, both of them to former teachers and former associates.

Finally, having exhausted aunts, cousins, and three-times-removed relations, Ruan and Johias began advertising discreetly in certain publications that catered to a certain audience: Free to a good home: Lost spirits.

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