Archive | April 15, 2013

D is for Dances Down in that [Dystopic] Underground School

For Rix_Scaedu and Lilfluff‘s prompts.

First Dance, Year Nine.

Everyone seemed so into the dances here.

Back at home, Pania had not been all that big on the whole idea of school dances. Then again, back at home, there had been other things to do, other places to hang out. Here, down in Addergoole, there was the Arcade, and the dances, as far as she could tell.

So she asked a couple questions of older girls – the ones who seemed willing to talk to her, and who seemed like they’d neither tease her mercilessly for asking nor lie to her to see what she showed up in, and she bought a dress from the Store’s rather wide selection of pretty party dresses, and gave in and bought heels to match.

There. I’m not going to be the belle of the ball, but I won’t be the laughingstock, either.

First Dance, Year Eighteen.

Dances. Really.

Lælia’s mum had spoken fondly of such things, from her own days at her alma matter, but Lælia hadn’t reallyexpected them to still be going on.

For one thing, that had been Year One – very nearly two decades ago. For another, that had been Before The End. Lælia didn’t know if they still had dances in normal high schools. She didn’t really know if they still had high school in normal high schools.

All of her friends from Jr. High had moved away when things started getting messy – moved away, or, in more than one case, just vanished. In those cases, Lælia (and everyone else) tried to pretend they’d just moved, too, that Carrie and Leslie were in the same “I don’t know where but Dad says it’s safe” as Jennifer and Tyler.

All her friends had gone away. Lælia had gone to Addergoole.

First Dance, Year Nine.

“A dance?” The lovely man in the velvet tux bowed over Pania’s hand.

“I’d, ah, be honored.” She was pretty sure that was what she was supposed to say. “I’m Pania.”

“Ambrus. Pleased to meet you.” He had the most stunning eyes she had ever seen.

“Me, too.” Smooth. Pania tried not to look like a complete moron as she let the gorgeous guy lead her out onto the floor. “This is louder than I expected.”

“It does that.” He smiled, bowed, and set one hand gently on her waist. “You get used to it after a while.”

“People have been saying that a lot.”

“It is true about any number of things, here.” He stepped in so he was almost against her; he smelled of aftershave, very faintly, and something deep and male. “And it’s true.”

First Dance, Year Eighteen.

Lælia had found a dress at the Store – she’d found dozens, maybe hundreds of dresses at the Store, actually, but one she really liked – and shoes, and all those things her mother had told her you needed for a dance.

She was relieved – and surprised – to find out that her mother’s descriptions of these things had been spot-on. Fancy dresses, guys in tuxes (two girls in tuxes, one guy in a dress, one in a kilt), loud music (most of which Lælia recognized), and booze flowing like water.

“Where do they get all the stuff?” She hadn’t meant to ask it out loud, but, having said it, turned it to a handsome – nearly pretty – black-haired guy standing next to her at the bar.

He smiled, a brilliant thing that made the room brighter. “Magic.” He wiggled his fingers at her, and then turned it into an offer of a hand. “I’m Maleagant.”

“I’m Lælia. And if you tell me it’s magic, I’m willing to believe you.”

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B is for Beryl and her Boys, a story of the Aunt Family for the A-Zed Giraffe Call

To [personal profile] kelkyag‘s prompt.

Aunt Family has a landing page here

After Sister Help.

My Giraffe Call is open! Leave an alphabetical prompt!

As much as it galled Beryl to admit it, Chalcedony was right.

Getting out – going to the mall, first, with Chalce and Stone and Jake, and then to miniature golf a few days later, and then to the park for a Moose Lodge picnic the next weekend – made her feel better than she’d felt since Aunt Asta had died.

Getting out with her brother and sister was pretty cool; Chalce wasn’t a bad sort, for a big sister, and Stone was pretty awesome, especially for a guy in their family. But getting out with Jake felt better than anything, which was just about like being in Heaven. Getting out with Jake was awesome in ways Beryl had never before felt.

And, just for good measure, hanging out and acting like herself again ticked off her cat and her necklace.

Radar spent most evenings glaring at her. Joseph – well, she felt bad leaving him in the drawer all the time, so she’d started wearing him on Mondays. The first time she’d put him back on, he’d spent a full thirty minutes berating her.

She’d gone into the bathroom and carefully explained to him that if he did not shut up, she was going to flush him down the toilet and let the alligators have him.

After that, he kept his complaining to a sort of dull roar, which, in turn meant that Beryl could listen to Jake and her friends.

And the other boys – now that was a revelation. The more she talked to Jake, the more other boys started to talk to her. Beryl wasn’t sure what to do with that.

Until Radar grumbled to her one evening: “I hope a cute set of eyes, or whatever this latest one has, is worth giving up your legacy.”

Then Beryl knew exactly what to do.

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A is for Alpha

For an Anonymous prompt: A is for Alpha

My Giraffe Call is open! Leave an alphabetical prompt!
It all began with the first of us, called, as was appropriate and due, the Alpha.

I never knew what other name the Alpha might have held, before this place, before Everything Else. But sometimes we called her Anna, or Angie, when we were being informal.

There were not all that many minutes in which we were being informal, truth be told. The formality was something to lean upon, something to prop us up. And we needed all the props we could get, then.

But I was saying. Alpha came first. That much I was told: Alpha, and then Beta, of course, who we called Bill in those rare informal moments, and then Gamma (Gail) and then me. Delta, fourth-arrived, fourth-in-line, and sometimes Dean.

“It was more relaxed, when it was just the two of us.” I never knew if Beta was complaining or explaining when he said that. I did know that, as we went from the four of us to the whole alphabet, twenty-four of us with Omega playing last-in-line, everything got more and more formalized.

Our sanctuary was none too large – a half-sunk building in what had once been a park, surrounded by the wildlife and the monsters – and twenty-four people filled it to capacity and stretched our food supplies even more than it stretched our space. “We’ll stop there,” Alpha said. “One for every letter. It only seems fair.”

We all knew it wasn’t really going to work that way – well, I can’t speak for the first three, but I knew it, and Theta and Iota knew it, and they were the ones I spent the most time talking to. But Alpha, Beta, and Gamma seemed insistent on sticking to it. They even sent away the first two or three people to show up after that.

That’s when the rumbling began – no. That’s when the rumbling got audible. I think the rumbling had begun the minute Alpha said “I was here first, and I’m in charge.”

But now our alphabet starts at Delta, and we’re building a new wing onto the building, and we’ve started giving people Arabic letters.

There can’t be that many survivors left in the world. We shouldn’t run out of letters again, I don’t think.

And if we do, we can start again at Alpha.

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