Archive | March 11, 2017

Sturdy Walls – a fic beginning of Dragons Next Door

This one peters out more than some of them today. I wasn’t sure where it wanted to go.

Anne Herrington had heard things about Smokey Knoll, of course, but the house was so cheap and it was such a nice house.

She didn’t ask too many questions of the old owners – a very nice couple with three kids, the youngest still in diapers – because it was clear that the two-bedroom house was too small for their growing needs. The tiny strip of city-style front lawn was a little overgrown, sure, and the back they’d let go wild to raspberry bushes and wild roses, four woody apple trees and a vigorous smattering of grapes, but Anne had quite the green thumb and was looking forward to the challenge. The house itself was solid, passed all inspections with flying colors, and came in ten grand under her budget.

And, yes, it was actually in Smokey Knoll, not adjacent as the realtor had tried to sell it, but so what? Smokey Knoll was supposed to be a beautiful place. Sure, the people were a little… strange, but Anne had grown up around strange people. She might be normal, but that said nothing for her parents’ friends, or her friends in school, or that brief phase of college experimentation…

Anyway, she sold insurance now, and it was a very nice, very staid, very normal job, and she had a two-bedroom home with very sound walls in Smokey Knoll.

Then she came home early one day, because the idea of selling insurance to one more person was giving her a splitting headache and she hadn’t had a day off in half a year.

And there were four people standing on her kitchen counter. Four tiny, tiny people.

She stared at them.

They stared at her.

She inched closer, peering. She hadn’t had hallucinations with her migraines in years.

They millimetered backwards away from her.

“You’re Tinies!“ She made her voice as quiet as she could. They still backed up another teeny step. “Oh my god, I thought I’d imagined you! I thought you were something from that – uh. I thought I’d made you up.”

The tallest of the tiny people, who was carrying what looked like the leftovers from her Oreo binge, stared back at her. “You imagined us?”

“No – well. Maybe. There were a lot of drugs involved.” She pulled up a stool to the counter and sat down. “Let’s just say… I’m glad to know you’re real.”

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Working out the kinks – a ficlet continuation of an old thing

So I wrote this as a continuation of When One Is Being Hunted, but I had Invisible People a little in my head too, and maybe got them a little mixed.

I think it works for Aisleigh and her new sub, though.

“All right. If we’re going to sell this – and we’re going to have to sell it – you’re going to have to be believable. And so am I.”

She stretched. This wasn’t going to be easy. ​”I’m rusty, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. It’s been… well. It’s been a while.”

He looked up at her, his lips curling in a smile that was too close to superior to be healthy in a sub. “You don’t like it.”

“Hush now.” She tapped him very lightly on the side of the head, not a hit so much as an admonishment. “There’s no reason to be teasing me like that.”

He cringed. She had not been expecting that. She hadn’t been expecting the way he dropped to his knees and dropped his head, or the way his expression went blank. Nor the murder somewhere behind the blank expression, the way his spine was too tight and his smile was too perfect.

Someone had done this person a disservice, and then some.

“Easy, easy.” She put her hand on his shoulder. “I didn’t mean anything by that and it won’t happen again. Come back to me now. Easy now, come back.”

He looked up at her, blinked, and his smile vanished into a worried frown. “What-”

“Seems like you’ve got some interesting traps in that mind, dear. We’ll have to explore those very, very carefully.”

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An Explanation

…Of yesterday’s Need to Fight a Bunch of Monsters post (which is still open for prompts…

(I was a little sleepy yesterday…)

This is a Wignow.

It comes from 4TheWords, a gamification of writing game.

It gives out something like 1.9 leaves per fight of 250* words.

And I need about 50 leaves to fight other things to get other things to make other things…

More or less.

(* there are modifiers from equipment).

Hence, this weekend I’m grinding Wignow.

P.S. if you’re interested in joining, ask me for the referral code.

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Well, You See, It seemed Reasonable… a story of Science!

“Well, you see…”

Hank Honore, Dr. Hank Honore, was nervous.

That was not all that abnormal in the lab, but Dr. Honore moved like something was going to eat him, quick darting motions that settled down only when nobody was looking at him.

Cara thought it was cute, in the sort of way that made her want to eat him. Alex was not as impressed.

Of course, Alex was never impressed.

“Do continue,” Alex urged.

“Ah! Well, you see. It turns out they’ve got almost all the right skills already. And since we were working with the Moreau model anyway, it was easy enough to tweak it.”

“What project were you working on again?” Cara was supposed to know that, but she couldn’t remember the Moreau model being in play recently.

“Oh, Dr. Westfield asked me to help her, and since I’m new, well, I help wherever I can. Want to be useful, you know. So anyway, Califord Island, that project we were trying to get off the ground as a resort? It was having some traffic snags, and we didn’t want real police because, well… issues.”

“Time to get to the point,” Alex offered lazily.

“Yes, yes, ah. Well. It turns out that if you go with mostly heron and just a little bit of human DNA, you end up with a very nice traffic cop… as long as you don’t mind peck marks in the cars sometimes.”

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Didn’t Have it Too Bad – a ficlet of Fae Apoc

Set in Fae Apoc, in the midst of said apoc.

It had appeared as if their city had gotten off easy.

You heard rumors, scattered news reports, stories from refugees:

So-called gods fighting in the skies.

Those deities demanding sacrifices – or people, of land, of food, even of cash.

Whole cities burned to the ground, or locked off with walls that that nobody could enter or exit.

People forced to compete in games until they won or died.

Their city, their “god”, such as she was, sat on the monument in the middle of the town and listened to people.

She asked for leftovers, and people gave them willingly.

She asked for rumors, and there were more than enough people to whisper in her ear.

She asked for a couple buildings to be demolished, to give the park she had chosen more sun. They tore them down, found ways to move the people, and were just glad that she wasn’t fighting monsters in the sky to demolish them herself.

They thought they had it easy.

Well… the rich people, the well-off, the comfortable did.

Eddy stared at the rat. The rat stared back at her.

“Look, I really need that bagel.” It wasn’t the first time she’d had an argument with a rat. There was a reason she’d lost her job. There was a reason she was eating out of dumpsters.

“You might need it, but my Queen needs it more.” The rat was talking back. That was new.

“Are you – are you talking?” She squinted at the rat. “Are you wearing a tiny waistcoat? In need of tailoring, I might add.”

“It’s fine.” The rat straightened its misfitting vest. “I’m talking, of course I am. Are you?”

“I am. At least, I think I am.” She narrowed her eyes at the rat. “Look. I’ll make you a deal. Give me half that bagel, and I’ll fix that vest so it fits you properly. You’ll look nice and dapper when I’m done.”

The rat stared at her for a minute, its whiskers twitching. “You have a deal.”

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Funeral: Senga’s Inheritance

This follows The Funeral and Further Funeral and Funeral: Will-Reading. It’s set in Fae apoc, pre-apoc era, possibly 2010.

The room did not seem very crowded, but the list seemed to go on forever. Great-Aunt Mirabella’d had extensive holdings, after all, and with those holdings came promises, deals, arrangements, and piles and piles of sealed envelopes.

Senga had her eyes on the envelope that held her deal, but that one hadn’t gone up yet; the cousin had gotten only what the lawyer called the “common” envelopes, which Senga thought probably involved human dealings or dealings that appeared human.

She had ended up sitting a few rows away from her tall, dark, and handsome friend, and as the readings went on, she could see that he was growing more and more tense. His attention seemed to be aimed at the same pile of envelopes she was worried about, but he was very nearly vibrating.

“Senga, daughter of Claudia, called Senga Monmartin?” The lawyer cleared his throat. “Ah. Yes, miss, there you are. To you Mirabella has said: ‘I leave to you the house on Monmartin Hill, which should have been yours anyway, and the number bank accounts listed in the gold book, as well as one million dollars from the general fund, and the small pink notebook of names. All this however-’” here the lawyer had to raise his voice to talk over various upset relatives. That was more than she’d left her daughters, if there was anything other than pennies in the gold book accounts. “-However, is contingent on you, that is, Senga Monmartin, taking Erramun Silence as your bond servant for a time no less than six years under the Law of the People.” His eyes bored into her.

There was no question what “bond servant” meant here. Great-Aunt Mirabella wanted her to Keep someone. Some Erramun. Some -”

“No.” The voice came from tall-and-dark. “No.”

“I am not yet finished,” the lawyer admonished. “And your name is next on the list, Mr. Silence.”

Tall and dark fell – ha- silent.

“In addition, if you, Senga Monmartin, do not agree to the terms of this inheritance and do not fulfill them, then the protections listed under Clause Seven will be revoked.” The lawyer flipped pages, leaving Senga sitting stunned, feeling as if the air had just been knocked out of her. “Please come see me after the will-reading to discuss these terms.”

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Stone: Aftermath

This comes after King(maker) Cake, King for a Day, and After the Kinging.
👑
“I would ask your sister to borrow her necklace some day. Or her cat. There are worse things the family can do to you than kick you out or bind your power, and they have done them all at one point or another.”

Stone chewed over those words for a week before he let himself even think about doing anything about them.

It wasn’t like he didn’t have other things to think about. Classes were back in session, he still had a few relatives hassling him about the trinket he’d gotten in his muffin, and something over the Christmas break – he hoped it wasn’t the rabbit trinket, really, really hoped it wasn’t – had gotten him a little more attention in school than he normally had, or than he felt comfortable with.

Jenny Connor had literally followed him home from school the other day! She’d been talking to Chalce, so he hadn’t noticed she was even on the bus – his sister was popular, even if she didn’t drive to school; she was always talking to someone – and tried to follow him into his room.

Chalce had put a stop to that and sent Jenny away, but it didn’t leave Stone feeling particularly sanguine about school.

It took a week for all that to die down – or at least, for his sisters to run enough interference that it looked like it had died down. In that time, Julie Fenway had stopped talking to him, which… he probably should have expected, all things considered, but just left him grumpy and not willing to talk to anyone female.

He didn’t so much decide to ask Beryl as decide it was a good way to get rid of her quickly when she showed up in the doorway to his room. It wasn’t the nicest thought… but he’d really hoped he had a chance with Julie, and now she wouldn’t even answer his texts.

“Hey,” Beryl tried. He knew he’d been snotty lately, but Stone couldn’t bring himself to say more than “hey.”

“Is there anything I can…” She shrugged awkwardly.

“Actually… Aunt Rosaria said I should talk to your necklace. And, uh. Your cat.”

“I can’t guarantee anything from Radar, but I can bring Joseph over.” She squinted at him. “Is Aunt Rosaria threatening you?”

“Threatening? No. I – I don’t think so. She said she’d teach me.” Stone wrinkled his nose. “I don’t know, but I think she’s worried about the rest of the family threatening me.”

“Screw ‘em.” Beryl frowned fiercely. “If they want to threaten my brother, they have to go through me first.”

Stone didn’t have the heart to tell her exactly how un-intimidating that was.

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Hazards of Sisters – a ficlet of Winter/Stranded

In the past – when Winter is in his late teens
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Winter leaned forward, his lips only a millimeter from Karen Schneider’s.

He could feel the place where the Strands were about to be disturbed. He could see the disturbance, even with his eyes closed.

He kissed her anyway. Kissed her and then wrapped an arm around her and rolled them both to the side.

“What!” she gasped and tried to pull away, but Winter had practice with this, if not with Karen.

The water balloons hit the tree behind them, right where they would have been if he hadn’t rolled them.

Winter released Karen and rolled off to his side so she didn’t feel the least bit restricted, just as his little sisters ran up to him.

“Winter!” Summer complained. “You cheated!

Karen was finally catching up with what was going on. “You saw them coming?”

“Heard them,” he temporized. “I like this shirt. I imagined you didn’t want it getting soaked.”

It was a nice mint-green top, thin enough that even dry, he could see the lines of her bra strap through it. Wet, it would have left nothing at all to the imagination.

She blushed. “Thanks. Thanks, it’s just… you startled me.”

“You cheated,” Summer repeated.

“No.” Winter had far too much practice not getting irritated with his sisters. “As I recall, you three promised not to bother Karen and I for at least an hour. So I’d say you cheated.”

“Come on.” Autumn took Summer and Spring’s arms and steered them away. “He’s not any fun when he has company.”

Winter appreciated the gesture, but he could see that it was already too late for this particular date.

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Third Husband – a ficlet of Jaco (Lady Taisiya’s Third Husband)

Set early in Jaco’s marriage to Taisiya

“Seriously.”

Some part of Jaco wanted to cringe. His wife – his wife, the only wife he’d ever have – was glaring at him with exhausted exasperation.

He took all of that desire to cringe and lifted his chin up defiantly. “The egglings are all safe. I waited until every one of the bandits was dead or bound and locked in the closet. I waited until I hear you and Onter give the all-clear.”

“You took care of the egglings, good.” She didn’t sound like she thought it was good. She sounded like of course you did the bare basics required of you by decency.

Jaco had to admit that was true.

“I wasn’t going to leave them in danger,” he tried anyway. “I’m not a monster.”

“And for that, I’m sure we’re both grateful.” She looked him up and down with a gaze that had no sympathy or affection at all.

Jaco couldn’t help a small gulp. He shifted his feet a little further apart and tried to look her in the eye.

Tried. He wasn’t quite able to manage that.

If he was a monster, rather, if Taisiya thought he was a monster… he knew what happened to monsters.

That was a line too far.

“So. You waited until it was safe. You made sure the bandits were bound and locked away. And then…”

He forced himself not to quail away. “And then I snuck out the back door, stealing a shirt of Onter’s and some pants of Callum’s on the way.”

“And then you ran away.”

“I did.” He had gotten an embarrassingly short way. He had shirt and pants, yes, but he had no shoes, and his feet were already going soft.

“Again.”

“Again.” This time he managed to meet her eyes.

She sighed and grabbed onto a handful of his hair. He didn’t stop her.

“Let’s put you in your room. I’ll deal with you in the morning.”

She wouldn’t, of course. There was only so much dealing she could do.

He was going to be a Bad Husband until she got rid of him. The trick was not being so bad that she thought he was a monster.

He let her steer him by his hair with no argument. He’d pushed the limits enough for tonight.

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