Archive | March 21, 2017

The Amulet of Good

Written to [twitter.com profile] Midnight_Blaze_‘s prompt

“It is an amulet of good.” The woman behind the counter smiled with not nearly enough teeth.

“Good… luck? Good… looks? Good wealth?” Opal raised her eyebrows in question.

“Good.” The woman nodded. “It is of good.” Her accent was thick and seemed to wander around the globe. Her skin was more wrinkle than smooth, more age spot than whatever her original tone had been, and her hair was thin and curly.

And the amulet was $4. Opal paid it out of her pocket and left the remaining $1 in the jar for Children with… something. The label had long since faded. “Have a good day,” she told the woman.

“Good.” The woman nodded firmly at her. “Have good.”

A man on the street smiled at her, so Opal smiled back. She strolled down the street whistling, the amulet tucked neatly under her shirt, and so she did not see how it was glowing – or how the man she smiled at seemed to float a little; how the woman she held the door for seemed to brighten up, how the clerk in the candy store was whistling, too, after she left.

“It’s supposed to be an amulet of ‘good’,” she told her mother. “I like the way it looks. Oh, and I got you some of your favorite candy.”

“Oh, that was nice! You know, I think I’m going to order us pizza tonight…”

The pizza boy was surprised by his large tip but more surprised by the way he felt when Opal’s mom smiled at him, like he actually could do something with his life. His boyfriend, in turn, was surprised by the way the pizza boy brought him home a poem, written on the back of a pizza menu. He called his family and invited them to dinner the next week.

It wasn’t a very big amulet of good, and so it took a while for the effects to add up, but because it also wasn’t a very big town, they had this habit of folding back on themselves. The pizza boy’s boyfriend’s mother went jogging with Opal’s chemistry teacher, and so the Chem teacher, Mrs. Friedland, was humming when she got into class and, by the time she left class with Opal, literally floating a few inches off the ground. The principal – who was married to the woman Opal held the door for – was glowing faintly by the time he finished talked to Mrs. Friedland about their problem students. And those problem students, in turn (who included the boy Opal really wanted not to like and really did like), found themselves the target of a new, friendlier way of handling detention.

The old lady in the tiny antique shop stayed only until she could see that one person in three was glowing, floating, and smiling happily before she packed up her shop into a box far bigger on the inside than the out and moved on to the next place and time.

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Meeting the Neighbor – a story continuation

After New kid moves in next door

There were four tall people in the family and one short one, a child, all of them tanned and with their hair unruly and sun-bleached. The tallest one was staring right at Sinclar and Ainsley, looking through the leaves of the potted plant at them.

He raised his eyebrows, smirked, and crossed the distance between their “stoops,” as Ainsley’s parents insisted on calling that little tiled area outside each apartment.

“You’re the Nessons, right? The Biddles are on the other side…?” Up close, he was very tall, but looked not that much older than Sinclair.

Ainsley squeaked. Her sister saved her. “We’re the Nessons. The Biddles have two boys and a very young daughter.” She nodded her head in a polite greeting. “I’m Sinclair Nesson, and this is my sister Ainsley.”

“I’m Ted Jendrock.” He thrust out a hand to them, and then, seeing their confused faces, “what, people don’t shake hands in this place?”

“It carries germs,” Sinclair whispered. Ainsley, feeling brave all of a sudden, held out her hand.

“Oh, what’s a few germs between neighbors? Besides, we went through a whole lot of decontamination before they’d let us in.” He squeezed Ainsley’s hand and moved it up and down a couple times. “Pleased to meet both of you.”

“So you’re-” Ainsley swallowed. Her hand felt weird. “You’re really from the outside? I didn’t think people ever came in.”

“We didn’t think so, either. We also didn’t think people ever left.” His gaze was suddenly sharp, but Ainsley had no idea what he was looking for. “Anyway, we had a skillset that was needed, so here we are.”

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Worldbuilding Month Day 8: Tell Me a Story

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it!
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This eighth one is from [personal profile] sauergeek: You have storytellers in at least three universes: Autumn in Stranded, Tanakae in Calepurn, and Rosaria in Aunt Family. Am I missing others? How do their styles overlap, and how do they differ? What are their goals in storytelling? (Lotsa questions!)

Ooh! I probably do have other storytellers, because I like the trope of the storyteller. I like telling stories within the confines of the story, for one – some day I hope to do an at-least-triple-nested story, like Arabian Nights. Maybe for Camp Nano in July~

Autumn tells stories for two reasons: One, because she is a small-change artist, and engaging your audience by telling stories is a very good way to get their attention and interest them in buying. As a Neil Gaiman story I just read says, people don’t buy the art, they buy the story. (Paraphrase). Two, because she is a dancer on the strands of life, and she has found that sometimes a story is the best way to engage someone, to get them to heal their own strand damage, to create their own connections.

Tanakae tells stories because it’s her career. She started out doing her world’s version of rap battles, and evolved from there into high art – think like Shakespeare having a patron. She likes political satire best, because if you put something into a catchy phrase, it makes people – if not think, let’s be honest – at least remember the phrase. She’s her time’s equivalent of a Facebook meme on a bad day, and on a good day she’s Mark Twain. She likes the way words flow together, and making them fit properly is like a really good puzzle for her.

(Okay, I probably write a lot of storytellers too because I am, by chosen trade, a storyteller.)

Rosaria tells stories because it’s how she sees the future, the past, and the present – it’s a type of divination. It’s also how she engages her family – some too young to be interested in the truth behind the stories, some too involved in their own world, their own lives. It also gives her a chance to talk to her grandchildren and grand-nieces and -nephews and keep an eye on them.

In terms of style, Tanakae’s style is far more elaborate and ornate than either of the others. Tanakae is much more interested in the wordcraft and in showing off her skills. Rosaria’s stories are the most likely to sound like fairy tales, where Autumn’s are the closest to “no shit, there I was…”

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