Archive | February 21, 2012

Followed me Home

For [personal profile] lilfluff‘s prompt

Evangaline modern-era. After Unexpected Guest

The boy jerked and scooted backwards into his pile of blankets when she said “inside.” “I didn’t do anything wrong!” he insisted, skittering backwards away from her.

Startled, Eva crouched down, making herself smaller while still blocking the exit. “I didn’t say you did. But it’s going to get really cold tonight, and the barn isn’t heated.”

He shifted a little further backwards. “You don’t look like a witch,” he answered, not sounding all that certain about it.

“What do witches look like?” she countered gently. She wasn’t surprised at the rumors – the house itself did half the work, with its hallowe’en aspect, the widow’s walk, the cupola, and the tower, the big wraparound porch and the dark red roses.

“Pointy hats?” he joked weakly. “I don’t know, long noses and warts or something?”

“Well,” she tapped her nose, “I don’t have all that big of a schnoz, and I promise you I have no warts at all. My name is Evangeline, but you can call me Eva.”

“Hi,” he muttered. “I’m, um, I’m Robert, but you can call me Robby.”

“Well, welcome to my barn, Robby.” Tone with teenagers was tricky; she could get away with fudging it a bit with her cousins and niece-and-nephews, but with strangers, botch it once and you were a clueless adult forever.

“Thanks.” He smirked back at her, like they were sharing a joke. “I can, uh, leave, if you don’t want me here.”

“I don’t want you freezing to death, in my barn or somewhere else.” She frowned at him, as he started to get jittery again. “Look, if you don’t want to come into the house, how about just the Florida room? It’s warmer than the barn, and I’ve got some soup on the stove if you’re hungry.”

He licked his lips uncertainly. “I’ve eaten?” he offered. “But… the Florida room thing isn’t part of the house?”

“It’s a porch that’s been enclosed,” she assured him. Later, maybe, she could find out what superstition was going around about the house. “There’s an old divan out there and some blankets, and I can haul the space heater out there.”

He eyed her cautiously. “You’re not asking why I’m hiding in your barn.”

“Nope. And I won’t, either.” There were advantages to being the neighborhood witch; whoever he was hiding from would think twice about coming after her. “I figure you’ll tell me if you want to.”

She stood up. “If you want to come inside, come on in now. I’m going to lock up in a few minutes, and then you’ll be stuck with the raccoons for company.”

He still seemed torn, but a convenient wind rattled the barn just then, and he nodded. “The porch,” he insisted, “right? Not in your house.”

“The porch,” she agreed. “This way.”

The Florida room had, at one point, been a back porch, but a prior Aunt or Aunts had glassed it in and had the floor insulated and redone; it was, as she’d said, chilly, but far better than the barn. She left him with the space heater, a pile of blankets, and a charmed night light.

“If you’re still here in the morning,” she warned him, “I’m going to offer you breakfast. Good night, Robby.”

He looked as if he wasn’t sure if that was a threat, but, gulping, nodded. “Thanks, Eva. Good night.”

She headed into her house, wondering if she’d get a chance to learn his story.

Next: In the Cards (LJ)

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Unicorn-Chased, a story of Unicorn/Factory for the January Giraffe Call

For flofx‘s commissioned prompt, a continuation of
Unicorn Chase (LJ).

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

Infe’s daughter Felfen was thrilled by the Unicorn sightings, not in small part because the Factory bosses were so unhappy about the whole thing, because the grumpus-grownups (not her mother and not her father, but the others, the dour sour-puss-faces who didn’t like smiles or laughter or fun) were so miserable about it, because her horrid teacher had been telling all of them that Unicorns Did Not Exist, they were a fairy-tale figment of fevered fantasy.

Felfen was happy, too, because the unicorn was beautiful, and because most of the adults and even the older kids couldn’t see them, so they were something special, just for her and the other kids. Only they could see the bright creatures eating the flowers, and the laundry, and the pies left out to cool. Only they could tell their mothers when it was safe to keep the washing out, and when they should bring it in. Only they could tell which plants the unicorns seemed to turn up their noses at – there were only a few – and suggest those to the gardeners who suddenly wanted their opinions much more than they ever had.

Kids who had been, until now, underfoot, obnoxious, brats, were suddenly being called Valued Members of the Community, and not just for their ability to handle small machinery and get things out of tight places. And in the lead of this child Unicorn-spotting force was Felfen, daughter of the shift supervisor and the town clocksmith, proud as could be and being very virtuous about the whole thing.

“They don’t like coriander,” she told her mother, who told the foreman. “They make a face at it if they even get just a leaf. And they really hate mint, of course.” Everything hated mint. Even Felfen. “But they like the wool socks the best.”

As the Townfolk began hanging their socks with coriander in the toes, and leaving their boots wreathed in mint, Felfen noticed that one unicorn in particular – the one with the horn with no pink in it, and the mane with the golden streaks – had begun following her around.

At first, she thought it was a coincidence – the Town was big, but it wasn’t that big, and she and her gang of Unicorn Spotters were all over its streets now, forgoing classes and sometimes even work. There were, she thought, about twelve unicorns that liked spending time in and around the Town. You could tell them apart, if you knew what to look for, by horn shade and mane color, height, and shagginess of the fetlock feathering. And the one following her was, she was pretty sure, always the same one.

Once she was sure it wasn’t a coincidence, Felfen began to worry. What was it the thing wanted from her? Were they unhappy at being spotted and pointed out, spied on? Did they want her to stop? She started taking shortcuts through buildings, trying to sneak away from the unicorn. She started hiding inside more, even when it meant someone else got the praise for spying. She started going back to class. And yet, every time, when she stepped outside, there it was. It was chasing her.

Looking into its red eyes, Felfen wasn’t as thrilled by the Unicorn sightings anymore.

Unicorn-Chaste (LJ)

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Bless the Cat, a continuation of the Aunt Family for the Mini-call

For rix_scaedu‘s commissioned prompt, after That Damn Cat (LJ).

Aunt Family has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

“You should hear what they’re saying today,” the Damn Cat told Zenobia, as she set out his evening chicken.

“Indeed?” The cat, she’d discovered, loved to gossip, was completely incorrigible and occasionally very interesting. “More to do with Maude’s beau-they-don’t-approve of?” Zenobia had had a couple of those herself, back in the day. One of them still wrote her monthly; she wondered, sometimes, what his wife thought about that.

“Well, he’s quite the story, isn’t he? Every time someone talks about him, another salacious detail comes out. Tasty.” The cat licked his chops. “But no, that’s not what you ought to be worried about right now.”

That stopped her in her tracks. “Worried?” She put another piece of meat on the cat’s saucer. “That’s not a word you normally use. Tell me, what should I be worried about?”

“Gottleib and Edith plotting to kill you and put in Ida in your stead.”

“Ida?” The idea was beyond horrifying; it was stupidly offensive. “The pretty little flutterbrain wouldn’t know a charm if it bit her up her skirt, where, I might add, any number of things have already bitten her.”

“That’s the idea.” The cat pointedly groomed itself. “She’s sweet, passive, and biddable, things that they believe – rightly, of course – that you are not.”

“She’s likely to end up pregnant any moment now, too; she’s indiscreet enough.” Zenobia was still steaming over her uncle and cousin’s choice of replacement; she realized, somewhere in the back of her mind, that the rest of the cat’s news would have to sink in soon enough.

“Well, then. It shouldn’t be all that hard to eliminate her as a rival, should it?” The Damn Cat looked downright smug. “I’ve always thought your family’s insistence on spinster Aunts was foolish, but since it is unlikely to change any time soon…”

Zenobia sat down inelegantly, the kitchen stool wobbling under her. “They really mean to do away with me?”

“They seem to.” He filled his mouth with meat and kept talking. “You’re too powerful for their tastes, too intractable.”

“I’m the Aunt,” she snapped. “I’m supposed to be the power of the family and the guidestone. I’m not supposed to be passive and biddable. If the family wanted passive and biddable, they would have given the power to an Uncle!

The cat nodded. “So what are you going to do about it? You don’t strike me as the sort to deal with such things passively.”

“Of course I’m not. But if I confront Gottleib and Edith directly, I reveal that I know what they’re up to. I might need that again.”

“Especially if you’re going to continue to make waves. You might need my surveillance again.”

“Indeed. Good kitty,” she added idly, reaching down to scratch him behind the ears. Over his loud purring, she mused, “getting her pregnant seems the thing to do. I’m going to have to pay a visit to Cousin Lewis.”

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.