Archive | July 6, 2016

Unicorn Truths – a story of Unicorn/Factory for Finish It! Bingo

After Stroke the Unicorn and Unicorn Strokes, for the Finish It! Bingo

Blanket content warning for Unicorn/Factory: This setting involves unicorns using their horns for both violence and sexual violence, although none of that is directly described in this story.

Jakob took the woman to his home for the night. She deserved better than an anonymous inn bed, after the story she had given them, and, what was more, Jakob found he wanted the rest of the story.

His wife and second-oldest daughters put her to bed. They were not rich, but every home had some small corner that could be made up for guests. In the town, they whispered that the Administrators might come to visit. In the Villages, it was said that you never knew when a guest would turn out to be a unicorn in disguise.

She wore his wife’s second-best nightgown and was wrapped in a quilt Jakob’s mother had sewn for them. She seemed to fall asleep quickly, but Jakob himself lay staring at the ceiling for a very long time before dreams took him.

She ate breakfast with them the next morning, polite as a gentrywoman, appetite as small as her capacity for whisky had been large the night before. She helped Jakob’s wife Elin wash up after, and then, and only then, she asked Elin politely “May I?”

What Elin thought of this woman, Jakob might never know. She looked at this stranger, dressed in widow’s weeds and carrying such pain, and she knew what she’d wanted before Jakob did.

“Of course,” she said. There was a tone in her voice that Jakob had never heard, and it occurred to him that he was intruding on matters most often private to woman.

The woman tilted her head at Jakob. “Let us walk,” she offered, “down by the green.”

“As you wish.” She had gone to the river. She was a Village girl. What had changed in her that she carried herself so nobly? Or was it Jakob, that he wanted her to be noble, because of what she had done?

She said nothing until they were meandering the town green, sidestepping the sheep that grazed there. “You want to know what the unicorn’s answer was.”

“Lady, only if…” She cut him off with a hand.

“You were kind to me when I was being unkind. You brought me into your home when all you know of me is that a unicorn rejected me. For your kindness, I am going to repay you with harsh truths that are too much for me to bear alone. And yet, I can tell that you want me to do so.”

Jakob swallowed. “I want to know what the unicorn’s answer was,” he admitted.

“Unicorns are a mystery to men. That it was it is. They are a mystery to everyone, but the women walk to the river, and so the men think we know something they do not.”

Jakob nodded his politely, but forced the words out. “Women see the unicorns,” he offered, “and they… touch them.”

She raised an arch eyebrow at him. He thought she looked nearly amused. “Does touching someone tell you about them?”

Jakob coughed, thinking of a misspent youth. “Ah. No.”

“Indeed.” She leaned against a tree and looked pensive. “But… Sometimes, the unicorn will answer a question. Sometimes he will answer two. I asked two.”

She was leading him into the story, he knew, but he couldn’t bring himself to resent it. She had been wounded, he thought. She may be lucky to be alive. Few of those who were so wounded ever married, ever bore children.

He cleared his throat yet again. “You said you asked what you’d done wrong.”

“..I did.” She sighed. “And the unicorn told me a secret. But, you see, it’s a secret nobody wants to believe.”

Nobody, Jakob thought, meant no-one where she came from. He thought she might be challenging him, and then he thought of the days in the tavern and amended his opinion. She was challenging him.

“And the unicorn said?” he offered. He did not want to know. He did not want to hear. It was the only thing he could do, to hear.

She eyed him. “You will not want to believe.”

“Lady,” he answered, naked in sincerity and in terror, “I cannot do anything but believe, not after what you have survived.”

She bowed her head for a moment. Jakob thought, perhaps, she’d wanted him to refute.

“He said,” she whispered, so softly he had to step forward to hear him. “He said ‘sometimes the river needs the blood.’ He said,” she continued, while Jakob struggled not to rear back, “that they insisted on purity because then, then there was someone to bleed when the river needed blood. He said,” she was no longer whispering, but Jakob did not move away. “He said that he was sorry, but the unpure ones no longer came down to the river. He said,” and now she was shouting, sobbing, “he said I had done nothing wrong! And he would try to not kill me, but the river…”

Her voice broke. Jakob held her, not knowing if she wanting it, knowing only that he needed to do something. “…the river,” she whispered. “It demanded the blood. I’ve stroked a unicorn.” Her eyes went to Jakob’s. Even now he had to fight not to flinch away. He held her shoulders, feeling like he was holding so much more. “They made a bargain.” Her voice was cracking, growing weaker. “We only thought it was the one we made.”

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More people might want to… a continuation

This is a continuation to Some People Just Want To… commissioned by [personal profile] thnidu

The news channels tried to cover it up, but the people were clamouring for news, and what the media would not cover, gossip would take care of. Yolanda was surrounded by it: the mad scientist. The murderer, hoist by his own petard.

The mystery formula that could make war impossible, if only…

The potential scientific benefits of Dr. Fidelli’s formula, if only…

The ways it could be modified to make a better execution drug, if only the formula hadn’t vanished.

He had to have written it down. He had to have kept it somewhere.

Yolanda tried not to flinch, tried not to smile, tried not to shout. She spent a lot of time hiding in her favorite bar, thinking about anything but biological systems and acidic toxins.

“Yolanda Giana.” A well-dressed man — far too well-dressed for this bar — sat down next to her, his body shielding her from the rest of the barflies. “I have a proposition for you.”

all funds now going to repair or replace the tablet I use to write on the bus: just broke the glass today

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Invasive, a story for the Summer Giraffe Call Round 2

Written to rix_scaedu‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call Round 2

The sun was up. It had been raining for a week, and the plants did not need any more water.

Patrice suited up in leather, long gloves and shit-kicker boots, and risked stepping out onto her front porch.

She could hear sirens in the distance. She wondered if they’d cleared Main Street yet. She wondered what had happened with their “controlled burn.” She’d told them it was too wet for that. She was told them they needed to find the source, but the thing was too good at distracting them from the core.

The vines had grown up all around her fence, sealing it shut. Fruits the size of a mango hung off it, dripping tantalizingly. She could smell the magic from here. And that was the problem.

It had been a bad summer after a bad winter, and the economy was so far in the basement it was digging to the core. People were hungry. People were tired, desperate, and lost.

She grabbed a fruit, keeping the rest of her body far from the vines, and bit into it. They would not starve… if they could remember not to let the vine get them.

The vines had shown up where it was needed – abandoned lots and crack houses in the worst parts of the city. The fruit was rich, tasty, fatty like an avocado and just sweet enough to want you to eat more and more.

And then normal people started seeing the sideways world, the magical. And then normal people starting vibrating with power… exploding with power.

Patrice stepped back into the center of her yard and let the power wash over her. It was a rush, no matter how bad it was. It would keep them fed… and it would keep them happy.

It had been two weeks before the vines were found cradling the husk, barely alive, of a witch. Of a goblin. Of a werewolf. Or someone that was, as far as anyone could tell, human. The vines had been found reaching out for people, snatching them off the streets.

The fruits were richer, sweeter than they had been, and as the vines took over the city streets, they grew even tastier. Fire wouldn’t kill it; you couldn’t burn the thing without burning the city down. And it set down roots everywhere it could find dirt.

The power roiled through her. Patrice rolled her shoulders and unsheathed her machete.

They were running out of space. They were running out of time. She let power tingle down to her fingers and through her blade. She was going to chop down vines until they killed her or she reached the center.

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