Archive | April 2012

Derailed, Part 3

After Part One and Part Two

He barely had time to duck before she hit him with her purse.

Luke ducked and rolled, coming up on his feet on the other side of the aisle, and missed another woman’s purse-swing by a bare inch. “Damnit, ladies,” he muttered, but they were hearing no reason. He ducked a third purse, and grabbed the man tackling him as gently as he could, even as he muttered the strongest, quickest “sit calmly” Working he could come up with.

As he fled the zombie-stares of the first car, he worried he might have gone too far. It would wear off soon – he hoped. He wasn’t all that good at emotion-control.

He had almost lost the thread of his search Working in the meantime. Where was she, where was she… there. Two cars away, he was fairly certain. And here he was faced with…

“Shit.” The gunfire started the moment he opened the car door, one bullet managing to graze his arm before he shouted up a shield. Guns! Damnit, he knew better than to be taken by surprise by these people! He was being clumsy.

No time to beat himself over it now. He plowed forward, using sheer force Workings to push people out of the way. Even if they were shooting him, they were probably normal humans, and he didn’t want to kill them if he didn’t have to. They could, after all, be their enemy’s puppets.

“Abatu kwxe,” gasped out one of the fallen gunmen. Luke whirled, just in time to see the man – woman, actually – pointing a gun at him. A gun with a wooden bayonet.

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Welcome to Addergoole

For Friendly Anon’s Prompt.

Addergoole has a landing page here.

Directly after Reunion (LJ)

I’ve been trying to write more discrete stories and less trailing-off scenes but this bit refuses to go that way, sorry!

In the end, it was Aelgifu who cleared her throat. “You’re a bit early.” She gentled her voice as much as she could, knowing that behind her, Io and Callie were trying not to panic, and not to scream. “School doesn’t start until September.”

The boy squirmed. She could remember Ib – the nightmare in the back of the dances, the he-always-seemed-so-normal creep in the halls. She could remember Callie’s nightmares. This boy had none of that. He was just a kid, not that much older than their kids. “I know,” he admitted weakly. The small group – it had just gotten bigger, again, Ivette and Joffe from one direction, Kendra and… Uberto? from the other. Worry about that later. – the whole group was staring at him. “What?” If the boy squirmed any more, he’d come out of his skin.

“I’ll be back,” she murmured to Io. She moved forward, putting body-language distance between the growing crowd and herself, putting herself on the same side of the invisible line as the boy. “You look rather like someone we used to know.” She kept her voice both quiet and non-confrontational, and kept walking, encouraging him to walk with her with a hip-turn and a warm smile. “Can I buy you something from the soda machine?”

“What? Uh, no, thanks, I have some cash.” He pulled a few bills out of his pocket. “So, uh, that’s why everyone’s staring? Mom said I had some brothers I’d never met… I’m Vilmar, by the way.” He had the Addergoole-wince at his name down already.

“Aelgifu.” She shook his offered hand. “So you’re here early…?” It was easier than answering his question, at the moment.

“Yeah, uh. My mom.” He frowned, rolling his shoulders forward. “She’s got plans for the summer…?” He sounded as if he was trying it out, to see how it would work. Ayla chose to pretend to believe him, and countered with a cheerful lie of her own.

“Well, I’m sure the Director won’t mind you showing up early. We’re here for the ten-year-reunion,” she added.

Vilmar’s glance, first at her, and then at the other women there. Women who, she realized, had almost universally Masked as their teenaged selves. His grin was nothing like his possibly-brother and entirely like a teenaged boy. “Hunh. I might like this school.”

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Free Icon Day, Call for Prompts, and PSA (@rix_Scaedu)

rix-scaedu‘s Prompt Call will be closing in approx. 24 hours.

Read “Inappropriate Use Of A Time Machine,” then go leave her a prompt!

Djinni‘s Icon Day 22 is still open, and ~$100 from the tip incentive where everyone gets a dinosaur icon! Go get an icon! Tip and get two!

That being said – I’m horribly behind on both friends lists, so if I didn’t comment on something you want me to read (I’m looking at you, Clare and Rix, specifically), poke me about it, please.

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Summer Giraffes – A poll

The “summer” months are much busier for me than the “winter” months (read: “above freezing” vs. “below freezing”), and I won’t have as much time for writing. In the hopes of not totally abandoning my other projects, I’m only going to hold two Giraffe Calls in the next four months.

I may fill the intervening months with mini-calls.

What do you think? (DW-only poll; if you do not have a DW account, please feel free to answer in the comments).

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Food Waste and recycled furniture – what I did on my weekend

Today, I spent several hours or so sanding down my old dresser – and by old, I mean I’m pretty sure my Mom got it at a garage sale when I was 6 or so, so it’s been in our family for 30 years, more if I’m right about the garage sale.

This thing is stained – was stained – an orangy red color, and, well, it had been a child’s dresser. Possibly two or three children’s dresser. It is beat to shit. One of the legs is broken. I have been carrying it in move after move since I moved out of my parents’ house at 20. It’s well-used.

But it’s solid wood, it’s a good size for us, and the frame is still intact. So I picked up 4 new (taller) legs at the ReUse center (you should totally see if your area has something similar!) – also stained an ugly orangish red – and got to work with the palm sander.

I’ve gotten the drawer fronts (5), the top, half the front, and one side sanded down – it’s turned out to be a lovely poplar with a very green grain. My plan is to pain the carcass and drawer fronts (the same white as the bedroom walls), stain the top to match what we’re doing with the closet doors, stain the legs to match, and buy nifty knobs.

Truth be told, I’m doing all this for the knobs.
Wow, that was a lot of text for “I’m sanding down a dresser,” sorry.

While looking for tips on refinishing furnishing, I found “The Frugal Girl” and, specifically, her Food Waste Friday segment, in which she blogs about, yes, food waste. I find it interesting, and I’m glad to see someone else thinks of it.

T. & I have learned to minimize food waste by using the freezer a lot and not buying veggies we don’t have a plan for – we buy a lot of canned food. How do you avoid throwing food out?

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For Siege‘s Prompts.

If Jean had learned anything in the five years he’d been married to Zoe (and twice that if you included dating), it was that when her family said “tradition,” the best thing to do was to shut up and get out of the way. Zoe’s family did tradition like it was a religion, an obsession, and an obligation all wrapped up into one.

So when she told him, over lunch with her mother and her grandmother, that it was time to start planning the family reunion, Jean asked, wisely, he hoped, “what can I do to help?” Not quite as wisely, he added, “I’ve been with you for ten years now, and I’ve never heard of you guys doing a reunion.”

Zoe’s irrepressible Grandma Francis cackled gleefully. “We can’t stand each other, so we only do it every seventeen years. We let weddings and funerals fill in the gaps in between.”

It turned out, as three generations of Carter women explained to him, that planning this thing was a year-long event, much like their wedding had been. For one, they all stressed, every Carter still living had to be invited. Every one.

Lists came out: their wedding guest list, Jean’s family tidily crossed off. Grandpa Herbert’s funeral consolation-card list (Jean had never heard of such a thing), likewise with people X’d off. Birth announcements. Death announcements. Wedding photos. And, hidden in the back of his mother-in-law’s closet, the extensive preparations from the last Carter Family Reunion.

A new list was made, and checked, and checked again. Flow charts were made. More begats flew over Grandma Francis’ kitchen table than there were in the entire Bible. Divorces, affairs, bastard children – the gossip flew with a cheerful malice and a lot of sniggering. Carter women had, Jean learned (not for the first time), amazingly ditry senses of humor. He spent a lot of time drinking with his father-in-law and brothers-in-law, only to find them just as obsessed, and gossiping just as much; in the middle of a beer, Dad Carter would shout into the room, “Hey, did you remember Amber? That stripper with her kid we’re pretty sure is Uncle Todd’s?”


“Really,” his brother-in-law assured him. “The eyes. And, well, the habit of shoving dollar bills into little girl’s dresses. That’s all Uncle Todd.”

Eventually, it seemed as if everything had been planned, everyone invited. The biggest three pavilions at the local state park had been rented, the caterers booked, the decorations purchased, the invitations sent. Zoe was still frowning, though, and Jean hated it when she was unhappy.

“What is it, hon?” he asked, in a rare moment he got her alone.

“I feel like we’re missing someone.”

“That’s natural. You’ve invited half of the state, by this point it has to feel like you’ve been staring at lists for a century.” He knew that’s how he felt.

“No, I mean… I really think we missed someone.” He couldn’t talk her out of it, and for days, she wandered around frowning, lips pursed, eyes squinched. Finally, at just about the least appropriate moment, she shouted “Claude!”

“Jean,” he corrected.

“No, no.” She sat up and pulled her robe on, reaching for her phone at the same moment. “We forgot Claude.”

Claude, it turned out, was the son of Aunt Helga and her estranged ex-husband; the boy had been born about sixteen years ago, and soon afterwards, former-uncle-Adam had filed for divorce, taken custody of their young son, and vanished. Nobody had tried to stop them; as Grandma Francis put it, “Everyone knew Helga was a crazy bat already. Good for the boy getting out. But now we have to find him.”

The whole family turned to Jean. “I knew you married a PI for a reason,” he grumbled.

“Please?” Zoe’s puppy-dog-eyes were legendarily. Her father still winced when she turned them on. “It’s important, Jean.”

“They probably are happier not being connected with the family,” he offered, already knowing he’d lost. “Helga’s pretty bad. I wouldn’t want to come back, if were them.”

“Adam doesn’t have to. But Claude needs to be here. It’s important,” his mother-in-law reiterated. “Very important.”

Grandma Francis added the magic words. “We’ll pay your going rate.”

“Important it is,” Jean agreed. He and Zoe were trying to have a baby. He couldn’t afford to be proud about money.

Tracking down former-Uncle-Adam turned out to be not a very hard proposition. He’d moved two cities away and started going by his middle name and a variant spelling of his last name – nothing complex, but if the Carters had chosen not to go after him, he probably hadn’t needed anything elaborate. Once Jean and Zoe paid him a visit, however, things began to get tricky.

“I’m glad I got out when I did,” Adam admitted, “and I never want to go back, but if Helga and I had a son, she never told me about it.” He lived in a one-bedroom walk-up, a nice place, but nothing fancy. There were no signs of a child anywhere around.

What was more, Jean had a knack for telling if people were lying – a side effect of his job as an investigator. Former-Uncle Adam wasn’t lying; he had no idea what they were talking about.

But neither had Zoe and her family been lying when they’d told stories about Adam bringing Claude around, cradling him, packing him up in the middle of the night and leaving. And now, Zoe was white and tight-lipped. “I was afraid of this,” she whispered.

“What?” Gruesome images floated through his mind, but all he asked was “did we get the wrong Uncle Adam?”

“No, this is him. But… this is why we have reunions, Jean. Why we stay close to our family.” She stood and, followed by the bemused eyes of both Jean and Adam, walked to a wall between two doorways. “We, ah. We tend to fade if we don’t.”

“Fade?” Fade. Was she losing it? Her family had a history of mental illness.

“Fade. We’re, ah, a little bit imaginary. I’m sorry, I meant to tell you eventually. But what it means is, we need each other to anchor ourselves here. It’s why what the cousins did to Helga is so bad, ignoring her like that. But she deserved it.” She opened a door. Jean could have sworn she’d been staring at a wall, but then she opened a door. “Claude? Claude, you can come out now.”

Jean knew he was staring; he could feel Adam staring as well. “Claude?” Adam whispered. “Claude? Oh, oh, shit, son, son, come on out.”

As the father and very thin, almost transparent teen requited, Jean found himself looking at his wife. “A little bit imaginary?”

“Only if you don’t believe in us.” He had never seen her look so vulnerable. But he had never believed so fiercely in her, either, or in her love. He smiled, the sideways smirk she liked so much, and made it a joke.

“I’ll believe in you when as long as your grandma’s check clears.” He’d had imaginary friends growing up, more than real ones. He was pretty sure he could handle an imaginary wife.

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The Empress is Dead… a story of early Reiassan for the Giraffe Call

For stryck‘s Prompt. Reiassan has a landing page here.

Set several generations before the Rin & Girey story.

Edyunnaedyun was with his third wife when the messenger came. The man – not a normal letter-carrying boy – bowed low to the ground but otherwise paid no attention that he’d interrupted Edun and Issalaina in the middle of making another heir.

“Prince Edyunnaedyun, we regret to inform you that your mother the Empress has died. Please prepare your son the Emperor for his coronation as soon as possible.”

“My mother? Impossible.” He sat up, tossing a blanket over Issalaina. “She’s a young woman.” And he’d thought he had years and years to convince the council and the family that the habit of skipping a generation should have died with her grandfather.

“And a warrior. Felled by an arrow. Please ready the Emperor as soon as possible.”

“The Emperor,” Edun sneered, “is six years old.”

“Regardless, he is the Emperor.” The messenger bowed again, and exited.

“My heart and my blood.” Issalaina was young, and prone to romantic excess. More than making up for this, however, she was sexually welcoming and not troublesome, unlike his first two wives now were.

“What is it, my lovely weaving of the finest silk?” She did take a careful hand, however.

“Don’t be so desolate. The Emperor has six years… and you are his father, and most likely to be chosen Regent until he reaches his first hunt. Isn’t that what you want? To rule?”

“To rule… yes. Yes. Put on your formal robes, Issa, and your thinnest veil. I will tell Opinani to ready her son for his new role.” His second wife hated him, but she had given him his third son, his heir by the convoluted and frustrating rules of their new nation. And she was his wife; she would obey him, even if she hated him.

“My robes, the fabric of my life? But what of Opinani?”

“Take your place as favored wife, Issalaina. Don’t you want to be at the center of the court?”

“Ah… yes, the center of my world.”

Issa was a lousy liar, a fact that Edun generally appreciated. She was also, he recalled, young enough that she had spent her entire life under cloister. “Wear your veil,” he suggested, “and stay close to me. I will protect you.”

Her shoulders relaxed, and she nodded. “Yes, my spine and my saddle.”

That one was a little strange. Edun wondered, sometimes, about Issa’s upbringing. “I will go talk to Opinani. Have my formal robes ready for me when I return.”

Opinani, it seemed, had already heard the news; Ipinnynon as already being clothed. From the cut and style of the outfit, his second wife had anticipated this; from the befuddled look on the boy’s face, the new Emperor had not.

Stranger, however, than the already-ready Empirical robes on his son of six years, was the equally-formal robes on his wife of eight long years. Those, at least, had the look of not having been tailored exactly for her; parts, he thought, she had borrowed from his sisters.

“You will not be needed at Court,” he informed her. Had she been hoping to regain her place as favored wife. “You may come to see your son installed as Emperor, of course. But your clothing is above your station.”

Opinani only smiled. The answer came from the door behind him. “The river has shifted, son. With the installation of an Emperor, the roles of everyone change. Your son’s daughter’s daughter will be the next Emperor after him.” He would know his eldest sister’s voice anywhere.

“So?” Edun knew how the laws worked. He had been fighting them since he was old enough to shout.

“So,” Opinani answered, “guided by the late Empress’ husband, I, Ipin’s mother, will serve as his Regent.” She gestured at Edun’s half-on tunic. “You may come to see your son installed as Emperor, of course, but your clothing is… ah.”

“You cannot! I forbid it!”

“But the Emperor requests it.” His Second Wife’s smirk was as infuriating as ever. “But Edun? Do bring Issa. The poor girl needs to get out more.”

Pronunciation Guide:
Edyunnaedyun EE-dyun-NAY-dyun, the “u” being like the word dun, bun, run
Issalaina IS-suh-LAY-nuh, with the same “u” sound as her husband.
Opinani OH-peen-AH-nee, “ee” like in “need,” “OH” like in open, boat. “AH” sounds totally different to me than it does to you, I shan’t try. 😉
Ipinnynon – I-pine-NIGH-nawn – I like the word “I,” pine like the tree, Nigh rhymes with sky, and nawn rhymes with dawn.
Edun, Issa, Second Wife) and Ipin are the nicknames for these four people in order.

If anyone knows the male version of Dowager Queen, I’d love to know it, pls.

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Time Travel Does Not Exist.

“And that is why time travel is impossible.”

Professor Guddenkind had earned his distinguished grey hair, his wrinkles, his old, mothball-smelling sweater, in more or less the usual manner. He had a tendency to blink owlishly at his students, as if surprised to find them still there; sometimes, rather than blinking, he simply winked.

His students filed out, two, three at a time. Miss Heruon, as she always did, took a moment to smile at him and thank him for the lesson.

Professor Guddenkind always felt as if she was a little bit disappointed by what she heard. He wished he could give her the answers she wanted.

“Ah, there.” She popped back into the room and grabbed her notebook off of her desk. “I’m sorry, Professor, I thought I left this here.” She dropped the notebook in her bag and exited again.

Professor Guddenkind watched her leave. He had thought, a few minutes before, she’d had brown hair and a red sweater, not reddish hair and a brownish sweater.

Next: The Impossible

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Djinni Icon Time!

So! Djinni has completed another set of icons!! (That’s Summer, up there, giving me 3/4 of a set:

(Winter, Autumn, Summer)

I also got an image of Beryl and the Damn Cat, bringing me to three Aunt Family icons by three different artists

Annnnnnnnnnd with icons posted,
Icon Day 22 is up! Which means decisions!

I’ll satisfy @inventrix’s idea of a set and get Spring for my first icon. Buuuut if the donations get to $300 (And the have the last umpteen times)… what then?
Thoughts include:
* A gremlin or pixie from Dragons Next Door
* A blue person from Vas World
* Ciara, Ahouva, or another Yr 9 character
* Pepper, Fuchsia, or another Year 14 character (okay, that one’s probably silly)
* Another Facets character.


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