Archive | May 2014

Artist Wanted, a short story for the Giraffe Call

I asked for prompts regarding Circles here for The MicroPrompt Giraffe Call. This is written to Kelkyag’s Prompt here and is set in the pre-apoc of my Planners ‘verse.
“The Alma J. Morton Center is auditioning artists.” On the other end of the phone, Tabitha’s voice sounded both tinny and ridiculously high-pitched. “Marsh, Marsh, you have to do this.”

“Auditioning?” Marsha kept her voice low and quiet, the way she always did when talking to Tabitha. “Why is this so cool, Tabitha?”

“…auditioning artists to design and implement a large mural on the theme of ‘life, decay, life.'” Tabitha dropped her voice into a dramatic croon. “Marsh…”

“All right, all right.” Marsha flipped through her sketchbook until she found a corner bare. “Give me the information.”

~

“The Alma J. Morton Center has been, for many years, considered a bit of an enigma in downtown Rochester.” The woman on the other side of the desk leaned forward, putting her weight on her forearms. Her smile invited Marsha to share in the humor. “We’re aware of this. If the Center had a nickle for the times we’ve heard people ask ‘what do they do there, anyway?’ well, then we could launch a multi-media adverting campaign telling people what we do. Since that is not the case…”

“You’re hiring muralists?”

A muralist, and then assistants as needed for grunt work, yes. “

“To…” Marsha glanced again at the job description. “To create a large mural on the life cycle?” A lightbulb went on in her brain. “That north wall, the one facing the Bausch and Lomb building? The one that’s four floors up before it gets to the window?” She swallowed. “That’s a big mural.”

“It is. Now, I see you brought your portfolio.” The woman held out a sketch book and a 20-pencil box. “While I peruse that, could you please draw at least one concept sketch on the theme of ‘life, decay, life?'”

Tip Circle πŸ˜‰

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/722645.html. You can comment here or there.

Like Wolves, a story for the Giraffe Call

I asked for prompts regarding Circles here for The MicroPrompt Giraffe Call. This is written to Clare’s Prompt here and is set in the post-apoc of my Fae Apoc ‘verse.

They were circling like wolves.

Jenna had gotten her back to a tree, but that wasn’t going to do her much good at all if they attacked. She glanced up: no branches within easy reach. She looked around – they were circling, still. They would get sick of that, soon, and close in for the kill.

The kill. Funny how the word galvanized one. The lowest branch wasn’t all that high up… or maybe she could make a dash for that pine tree there.

No. They might be circling, but they weren’t actually wolves. Wolves would have been more reasonable. Wolves would have backed off when she’d shot one of them, maybe. Maybe they could have been spooked off. These weren’t wolves.

“I don’t have anything.” Her voice was shaky. That wasn’t good; nobody was intimidating by shaky. “I barely have enough to keep myself going.”

“It’ll keep us going a bit longer.” The leader snapped forward, showing his teeth. Pointed teeth, of course. They were all such creps.

And they were circling, closer and closer. She opened her mouth – and the leader snapped his teeth at her again. “Try it pretty thing. You know we eat magic.”

“Of course you do.” Of course the wild dogs would…

…wild dogs would…

…wild dogs…

They were circling like wolves, only a few feet from Jenna and her tree non-safety. Circling like wolves, but if you looked at them, really, really Looked, what you saw…

…wasn’t lupine, it was canine.

Jenna whistled, sharp and high. “Bad dogs.”

The predators stopped circling. One of the smaller ones whined.

“Bad dogs. Sit.” She put every bit of authority behind the word. “Sit. Now.”

To a man, they sat. The leader whined, low and deep in his throat.

“Good boys.” Suddenly, Janna wondered if she had enough treats in her pack – and if jerkey counted as treats.

Tip Circle πŸ˜‰

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/722218.html. You can comment here or there.

Terroir… a story of Fae post-apoc for the Giraffe Call

I asked for prompts regarding mushrooms here for The MicroPrompt Giraffe Call. This is written to Kelkyag’s Prompt here and is set in the post-apoc of my Fae Apoc ‘verse.

It goes with Fairy Rings
and Fairy Ring Shortcuts, probably before both

“It’s terroir,” Nacelle explained. “‘A sense of place.’ It’s what gets into the plants – or, in this case, the fungi – and changes everything.”

She tossed out a half-dozen mushrooms. They all looked similar: white button mushrooms. When there had been grocery stores, these had been in every store. “So, these are what the circles are made of, right?”

Babbit had been Bronn’s apprentice, of sorts. Now the little rabbit was Nacelle’s apprentice. “Right. The circles are just little mushrooms, nothing important. Wait, are you harvesting the mushrooms from the circles?”

“No. Not exactly. What I did was arrange for an extra quarter-circle of fungi at each location. And then…” She sliced into the mushrooms and offered up a few samples to the rabbit. “Then, we taste. And when we taste, we can see, or rather smell and taste…”

“Terroir.” Babbit nodded. “And use that…. to navigate the fairy circles?”

“Well.” Nacelle flapped her wings. “Unlike you and Bronn, I’m not a dirt creature.”

“And yet you’re navigating via dirt.”

Tip ‘Shroom πŸ˜‰

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/721945.html. You can comment here or there.

Trip-tripping through the Apoc, a short story of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call.

I asked for prompts regarding mushrooms here for The MicroPrompt Giraffe Call. This is written to KC OBrien’s Prompt here and is set in the post-apoc of my Fae Apoc ‘verse.

Eating the ‘shrooms before dinner had seemed like a brilliant idea at the time.

Cliff blinked again at the television. He thought they’d been watching the news – what was Godzilla doing rampaging through downtown?

It had seemed like a really good idea; then again, most things Skyler suggested seemed like good ideas at the time. “Come on, family dinners are boring. I mean, your family’s dinners are boring. Mine are just hell. And I got these really awesome ‘shrooms from Emerson Roan.”

“Maaan….” And that had been all it took. To be fair, Emerson Roan always had the best everything.

Now… Now Clifford was trying to act natural, which wasn’t easy on a normal trip, while across the table Skyler was laughing. Of course, Skyler couldn’t see the tv.

Finally, Cliff caught sight of his father’s face, and the nervous look his little sister was wearing. He swallowed, and decided that Godzilla attacking downtown was worth clarifying, even if maybe it got him in trouble. “Did… did you change the channel?”

“No.” His father was looking even paler. “No, this is still the news.”

“Did I just see…”

“It was a dinosaur,” his little sister informed him. Beatrice enjoyed informing everyone of everything. “But dinosaurs are all gone.”

“Oh.” Cliff stuffed some food in his face to give himself a moment.

“This isn’t right.” His mother had been quiet; his mother was almost always quiet, unless Cliff was in trouble. Now, he looked at her. “Dino-” His fork clattered to the floor.

It had to be the mushrooms. It had to be the ‘shrooms. Because otherwise, on top of Godzilla downtown… Cliff’s mother had turned into a copper-skinned elf.

Tip ‘Shroom πŸ˜‰

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/721800.html. You can comment here or there.

Fairy Ring Shortcuts… a story of Fae post-apoc for the Giraffe Call

I asked for prompts regarding mushrooms here for The MicroPrompt Giraffe Call. This is written to Clare’s Prompt here and is set in the post-apoc of my Fae Apoc ‘verse.

It goes with Fairy Rings

Nacelle hated using the fairy rings.

Bronn had created them, but Bronn was a badger Change – had been a badger Change, she supposed – and it pleased him endlessly to pop up from the dirt as if he had actually taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Nacelle was not a badger Change; she was a fairy Change, if such a thing wasn’t totally redundant, and popping up through the ground got dirt in crevices she hadn’t even known she had.

But the fairy ring network was the absolute best for travel – and the absolute hands-down premier way to get truffles and other very, very tasty mushrooms. Bronn must have had some pig in his background, because every one of his mushroom rings led straight to some of the best mushroom soil in the world.

And they really were all over the world, although generally at least three hundred miles apart in any given direction, often more. Nacelle hated them… but she used them, because in her line of work, it didn’t really do to be stuck in one place, and stuck-in-one-place was what most people were, this far after the End War.

She made a face as she shook her way out of the ground. She really needed some wild strawberries, and they were in season here sooner than anywhere else on the planet.

She opened her eyes, once she was sure the dirt was out of them.

A human child was staring at her, its mouth open and its hands flailing wildly.

Tip ‘Shroom πŸ˜‰

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/721424.html. You can comment here or there.

Wise Mushroom, a story of Fairy Town for the Giraffe Call

I asked for prompts regarding mushrooms here for The MicroPrompt Giraffe Call. This is written to Anke’s Prompt here and is set in my Fairy Town ‘verse

“They call him the Wise Mushroom.” Delores held tight to Everett’s hand and dragged him into the center of the park.

“Who’s they and who’s he?” Everett wasn’t so much resisting the pull – even at 10 years old, he knew better than that – as he was arguing his way every inch of the path.

“They is everybody. And he is the Wise Mushroom. He’s… you know. He’s the Wise. Mushroom. And he’s the grandfather of the mushrooms, and you can eat them and you get smarter.”

“That doesn’t sound good. That doesn’t sound right. And besides, if he’s the grandfather, wouldn’t he mind you eating his grandchildren?”

“Well, maybe it’s like…” Delores pursed her lips. “Like grandma’s billy goat, at the farm. He likes making new baby goats all the time. Right?”

“You’re saying, what, the Wise Mushroom is like, is like the billy goat? This makes less and less sense. Who’s been telling you stories, Delores? They’ve been yanking your chain.”

“I’m afraid it’s been me.” The voice came from the brush in front of them. “I’ve been telling Delores stories.”

Everett pushed the brush aside. “Who are you? Where?”

“Right here.” Down at the children’s feet, a mushroom a foot tall was smoking a long pipe. “I’ve been telling Delores stories.”

Tip ‘Shroom πŸ˜‰

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/721022.html. You can comment here or there.

Fairy Rings… a story of Fae post-apoc for the Giraffe Call

I asked for prompts regarding mushrooms here for The MicroPrompt Giraffe Call. This is written to Rix’s Prompt here and is set in the post-apoc of my Fae Apoc ‘verse.

“You know what this is, right?” Essie touched the mushrooms lightly with her toe. “It’s a fairy circle.”

It was a circle, all right, wider around than either of them were tall, in a clearing in the forest that seemed tailor-made for it. P.J. mmm’d dubiously.

“A fairy circle? I mean…”

“You’re not going to try to say ‘fairies aren’t real,’ are you?” Essie leaned forward. “I mean, really. Fairies ruined the world. My dad says so.”

“Those weren’t fairies, not really fairies. I mean, they were gods. Not things that are… what, born out of circles of mushrooms?”

“One and the same, my dad says. All the same, gods and little fairies with wings.” Essie paced around the circle. “And places like this, this is where they come from. Big circles, little circles, mushroom circles – they’re fairy rings. My dad remembers.”

P.J. sighed. You couldn’t argue with what Essie’s dad said, what he remembered, especially not as paraphrased by Essie. He was one of the oldest people left in their little settlement, and his youngest daughter idolized him. “Okay. SO maybe it’s a fairy ring. How to fairies come out of it? Are they born out of the dirt or something? Do they just… plop out?”

“I don’t know! My dad didn’t tell me tha…” Essie trailed off.

The ground was splitting. A pair of horns and gossamer wings were rising, slowly, out of the dirt within the ring.

“Returned gods!” Essie ran away, leaving P.J to stare as the fairy rose from the dirt.

Tip ‘Shroom πŸ˜‰

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/720653.html. You can comment here or there.

May/June Giraffe Call: Micro Prompts

Doing something different this time!

I’m going to post a series of themes, to which I’ll take 3-5 prompts; I’ll write a story – a drabble, really, 100-250 words – to each prompter, and then post a new prompt, for five-or-more prompts.

The current prompt is here – Variants
Closed Prompts:
Mushrooms
Circles
Packages

As always, there are tip incentives:

* If I get to $25 in tips, I get take-out (mmm take-out)

* If I get to $50 in tips, I will either:
– write to a second prompt for each tipper
or
– let each tipper who has not left more than one prompt suggest a new theme for prompts

* If we get to $75 in tips, I will write two extra 500-word continuations – chosen by prompters picked by random number generator.

* At $120, everyone who donated will get an additional (3rd) microfic written to their prompts.

And of course, I will write 100 words of continuation to a story of your choice for every $1 you donate.


This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/720328.html. You can comment here or there.