Archive | January 14, 2012

The Origins of Smokey Knoll, a story of Dragons Next Door for the Giraffe Call (@meeks_P)

For [personal profile] meeks‘s prompt

Dragons Next Door has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

“So tell me,” Miss Call-me-Samantha Milligan asked Audrey, over tea on what was becoming their regular Tuesday tea date, “do you know how Smokey Knoll came to be? The neighborhood around it, the Retibya Heights, is a, ah…”

“It’s an affluent upper-class human neighborhood, yes,” Audrey answered easily. “Many of your richest students come from that neighborhood. From all of the Heights, Miss Milligan, which does actually answer your question quite tidily.”

“I’m sorry…?” she blinked uncertainly.

“When… I believe, since I was still in school at the time, that it was not dragons but a family of harpies, actually, and a grouping of centaurs. The Paints… a nice group. They came to the city, as many of the non-humans were beginning to to. They may be primarily magic and not tech users themselves, but they tend to like the conveniences of human technology.”

“Back then,” Miss Milligan mused, “it must have been very hard. Everything was so segregated. There was no accessibility at all – I took a class on that in college,” she added defensively. “These days, the classes beginning to get integrated, especially in the cities, and you have to learn how to teach to all sorts of students.”

“Exactly,” Aud answered soothingly. “They ran into all those problems. Bigotry. Lack of suitable housing. Lack of suitable anything. So, being of two of the most practical races, the Paints and, ah, yes, the harpies were the Rednesses. Their great-grandchildren live down the block from me. The Paints and the Rednesses found a neighborhood where builders were beginning to expand, creating upper-class housing. And they bought a large portion of it.

“Through agents, of course,” she added, smirking. “Through a very nice actor Dweomer who still lives down the street. They thought he was planning a stables and a mews, and thought his tastes were merely eccentric.”

“But when others found out,” Miss Milligan whispered in horror.

“Ah, yes. There were certainly… complaints. But by then the Paints and the Rednesses had pulled in other non-human investors, and they simply bought out anyone who complained. Democratic of the wallet.” She smirked. “It’s a lovely neighborhood. You should visit sometime.”

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The Tuesday Map

For rix_scaedu‘s prompt

Influences included Dark City and the folding apartments for which I can’t currently find links. Also, IKEA, and my fascination with planned communities.

The city moved.

The cluck struck seven p.m., the alarm chimed, and, all over the city, people stopped what they were doing and grabbed on to their hand-holds. Smoothly, on well-oiled tracks and risers, the Bell-Apple Experimental Living Zone, the BAELZ, shifted into its Tuesday position.

Announcements sounded. The following changes to the Zone’s Tuesday arrangement have taken place. The Seventh Ave Diner is now on the corner of Sixth Avenue and J Street. The Hairtisserie is now on the north-west corner of the Zone, above the Butcherie. The City Hall has moved one block north and one block upwards.

J-alpha-7 let go of the handle and picked up her knitting, only to realize she’d run out of yarn. “Darn it,” she swore softly.

“What is it, sweetcheeks?” her partner of the year, H-beta-six, asked, not really paying attention. At least the year was nearly over.

“I need new yarn, and I’m never quite sure where they’ve put the Woolery. How do you get there from here when today is Tuesday?”

“How have you lived in BAELZ your whole life and still not developed a sense of direction?” H complained tiredly. “You can’t get there on Tuesdays, you know that. They’re cleaning First Ave, and that’s in the middle of the Zone tonight.”

She wrinkled her nose. “There’s got to be a way. They can’t just cut off half the city for one day out of ten.”

“They can. They’re the architects, the big Grahams. They can do anything they want.”

“It’s stupid.” She stood up, setting her knitting carefully where H wouldn’t go bothering it. “I’m going to go looking.”

“J, don’t be a ditz. You know you get lost when you go exploring alone.”

“Then come with me,” she challenged, knowing full well what the answer would be.

“I’ve got stuff to do. Honestly, J, you know I can’t just drop everything on your whim.”

“Fine.” She slid on her coat – the Zone’s outdoor regions were kept slightly cooler than the indoor regions, to suggest the need for a home. “Then I’ll go myself.” Thinking to herself, two more weeks until the year is over, and trying to hold the Tuesday map in her head, she left their apartment behind.

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Unicorn Chase, a story of Unicorn/Factory for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith‘s Prompt.

Unicorn Factory has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

There weren’t supposed to be unicorns in the Town.

There weren’t supposed to be unicorns at all, of course – they were a myth, a superstition. But inside the Town? Such things should not even be thought of. Not in the Town, with its rationality, its science, its straight streets and straight walls and rational protections against the myth and credulity of the common Village folk. Not in the Town, with its upright people who worked hard for a day’s living in the Factory, who struggled to live in the faint miasma of Progress. There was no space nor time for unicorns in the Town. They did not belong.

And certainly not in the Factory, the heart of all those things the Town stood for, with its soot-blackened stone and its towering stacks, with its tired but proud workers, with its managers and thinkers and planners who understood how the world was supposed to work. A unicorn, if such things existed, could not survive in the Town, much less in the factory.

But Harah who worked at Gear Station One whispered to Jik, who worked the same station, that she’d seen something out of the corner of her eye. And Jik muttered about it to Tonor, who worked at Gear Station Two, and confirmed that he, too, had seen a glitter of horn, a suggestion of malice.

And Tonor mentioned both sightings to Ura, who passed it on to Pallas at the Inspection Booth, who had the sharpest eyes on the floor. And Pallas kept those eyes peeled, and told Rodder, who carried the big stick, when she’d seen the tell-tale streak of white. And Rodder chased the faintest flash through the factory floor, overturning trays and disrupting the whole processes, only to be told by Infe’s daughter, who was visiting, that she’d seen the thing leave by the shipping dock.

Infe’s daughter went home giggling, remembering the horn glimmering, and the happy face of the Unicorn munching the begonias in the Factory courtyard.

Next: Unicorn-Chased (LJ)

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Rediscovering the City, a story for the Giraffe Call (@kissofjudas)

To starlitdestiny‘s prompt

Safe to say, nobody was expecting a city to pop up between Rochester and Syracuse.

And I don’t mean, “pop up” like one of the small towns there along 5-and-20 got delusions of grandeur, called themselves a city, and got businesses to move in. I mean, right there, just north of the Thruway, bam, in the middle of the morning commute, there was a city.

This caused three accidents and a good deal of confusion, mass drug testing in several factories, and then a state-wide (or at least the important parts of the state, up by the lake) holiday as we all tried to figure out what was going on.

It wasn’t a small city, not by any means, but unlike the ones that had grown up naturally around here, this one was contained. It had a shell, if you will, a tall wall, nearly as high as the buildings, and arching in as it went up, so that it really seemed like most of an egg, with just a couple towers poking out of the jagged top. One gate sat slightly ajar, off if giant hinges. No more inviting than a broken window in an abandoned house, but that will call to some people, I suppose.

The brains from the colleges went in first, and then a few farmers who knew the area, instruments ready, cameras and note pads and that curiosity that makes us human. Some were already muttering about aliens – that sort of thing didn’t just appear, you know, and the architecture looked strange, the lines and the materials nothing we were used to, at least not on first glance.

I’m a stonecutter, though, and I know my blocks. I went in with the second batch – for not other justification than that it was my family’s land the city had settled on, or at least a corner of it – and ran my hands over the pink-and-brown patterns, felt the weather in her joints and the places where decay had set in. She wasn’t a young city, not by far. But we could refurbish her. We could make her live again.

Routes 5-and-20 parallel the NYS Thruway a short distance south of said hiway, both running parallel to Lake Ontario’s coastline across the widest part of the state. The area between cities on these routs is primarily rural/agricultural.

See also this map

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