Tag Archive | prompter: kelkyag

…A Break?

a break?

From now through mid day Thursday, August 6th, I have a Prompt Call running here – anyone can prompt and please do!

Jess, below, is from Quick Thinking, in the Science! setting. Cara is from almost all the Science stories except that one… But her first appearance was here.

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“Just four of them, Jess?  Dr. Adpirn was supposed to take them on the annual research vacation, but I’m sure you’ve heard what happened-”

“Was that the one that the thing down in the basement levels got?”

“No, that was Doctor Waspue.  Dr. Adpirn was the one that got a little too involved in the testing of a new miracle drug.  The problem was, of course, the side effects…”

Jess winced.  She tried to stay away from the biological sciences as much as she could, although, as Chief of Security for her division, she ended up spending a lot of time in every department,including the icky ones. Continue reading

Weird

I’m having a writing retreat day!  Tell your friends!  Tell your foes!  Tell everyone~
See more about Katydid and Whitney here – http://www.lynthornealder.com/category/verse/fairytown/ 

~*~

It was one of the weird days.

You’d have thought that, considering that she’d set herself to restoring a park in a city that was known for the magic flowing through it and the oddities in its shadows and in its sunbeams, a park that was a crossroads at the center of that city (if you read the right map), a park where the ghosts and the spirits were as likely to advise her and help her as the local gardening groups were, possibly more so, where a giant but see-through cat followed her around for the treats (along with the slightly more mundane cats, who were interested in  more mundane treats), well, with all that, you’d have thought that Whitney didn’t have weird days anymore. Continue reading

Treaty

A prequel of sorts to Lost Day and A Toque for Hill Primus.

“It’s only for a-”

“Ambassador, between us, let’s not mince words.  There’s never an only for a while when it comes to government.  Something exists, and then it continues on. So let’s talk about what we get out of it and what we have to put in.”

“We had to agree to a single arcology to get every other nation putting in to agree to one.   Which is important, because some of those other nations really need the population space. It quadruples the amount of room that a lot of their population will have to live in.  So we’re going to put one – well, we had four buildings in construction already in Virginia, so we’re working with an architectural team to turn those into one big building that can house at least five thousand people.  And every other nation on the committee is doing the same. They’ll be monitored and maintained by the Starlight Hospitality corporation; they’re the ones we have doing a lot of the work on the national parks like the Grand Canyon right now.”

“How are you going to get people to move into a giant skyscraper?”

“For one, it’s not, it’s more like an enclosed town that just happens to be several dozen stories tall.   There’s – there will be, and soon – plenty of accessibility, solutions for power outages, and then, on the other end, nice spaces, good views, plenty of natural plant and animal life, and good shopping and entertainment.  It’ll be like a really nice city, just with no cars and no attached traffic and such. For another thing, we’re going to bribe the first three thousand people. Free rent-”

“You’ll end up with homeless people.”

“Then they won’t be homeless anymore, will they?”  The Ambassador smiled benignly.

“And who is paying for all of this?”

“The Starlight Hospitality corporation is paying for seventy-five percent out the door.  We’re selling rental space for restaurants, stores, and the like to cover the rest, and the rent for anyone over 3000 will cover any unexpected expenses.  Digital commuting allows people to talk to anyone they want without leaving the warmth and safety of their arcology.”

“And what does the Starlight Hospitality Corp get out of this?  Other than the exclusive contract to run these things which, I imagine, will turn them a pretty penny.”

“Well, that.”  The Ambassador cleared his throat. “And there is all of that test market research on an effectively captive audience.  And data on people’s traffic patterns and such. I hear they plan to build another fifty of these things in the upcoming twenty years.  Ours are just their, mmm, their test market.”

“So… they build these things, a treaty forces us to fill them up, and then they get all the money?”  

For the first time, the Ambassador looked nervous.  

“…Yes.  Yes, that is the situation.”

“And we’re stuck with it.”

“Yes.  Yes we are.”

“Then I’m sure—”

Something about the voice made the Ambassador nervous.

“-you’ll be glad to take one of the first apartments there.  

“I will?”

“You will.”

“I… will.”

“For free, of course, since you’ll be one of the first 3000.”

“That’s too generous, really, I can’t—”

“Not at all.  I’m sure your wife and kids will love it.  And you’ll be very comfortable there, right?  You won’t notice being data mined at all! Now come on, I won’t hear no as an answer. It’s a very nice place, I’m told, yes?  And we do want to set a good example, after all.”

Want more?

 

My Arcologies prompt call is still open here

Continue reading

The Trouble With Guides…

After The Trouble With Chickens… and The Trouble With Theories… and The Trouble With Assignments….

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Trenner thought she might be losing it.

“I have made base camp,” she wrote, “in the lobby of the Pendington building.  From the signs here, I am not the first to make camp here.  I can see the remains of a fire pit in what had once been the grand Fountain to Athena, and over there in the former wishing well, people, ah, wished in another way.  

My native guide tells me that he avoided the Exploration Club quite handily, and, seeing the way he blends into the terrain, I am not surprised.  He is, after all, not a plant nor a building, nor is he a giant chicken (or a mutant killer ferret nor a feral housecat, although he bears the most resemblance to the last), and thus, even if he did not smell slightly like Wrong and did not look slightly like a pile of detritus, he was not on their agenda.

“What are you writing?”  He sat across the fire from her, roasting something on a pan he must have taken from one of the dining halls – Goldblum, that was the one in the Lost Buildings.  

“It’s my exploration log.  I’m tracking everything I do.”

“Oh, I remember that. They taught us how to do that in first-year Exploration.  Are you still thinking of going back, then? You haven’t tried the eggs yet.”

The egg in question was huge, and he had darted in and out of a nest with surprising dexterity, returning with something it took him both arms to hold.  “I certainly want to try the eggs,” she reassured him. “And I’ll be here for at least a few days. If I come back too quickly, Professor Lokeg-Fridelabout is going to accuse me of cheating.  And it’ll be points on the chart, sure, but it will be more points if I actually manage to prove the professor wrong and he has to eat his words and the egg.”

“Oh, are you still doing that?  I was almost winning, the year I left, but I kept getting points through being sent on deadly assignments, and I decided I wanted to live. There’s a few of us here,” he added.  “Five that I know of, all up in the top of Drummond Hall. It’s safest there. The chickens don’t like to roost on that roof, because it’s too steep, and we blew out the first-floor stairways, which keeps out the ferrets pretty well.”  He noted the way she was looking around. “This time of year, this will be safe, too,” he assured her. “It’s just when they get broody that there’s a problem.”

Trenner considered broody as it related to a beast the size of a wagon.  “How – how are they still here? How hasn’t someone eradicated them?  Did the university really just let them take over a portion of the school?  What about funding?”

She started writing down all those questions almost before she was done asking them, not really expecting answers from him.

“Well, they’re very hard to kill, surprisingly.  The eggs are easy, but you have to survive getting the eggs.  And they have no natural predators, which means there’s quite a few of them.  That’s problem one. Problem two is, the university has always been known for taking the path of least resistance.  In this case, the chickens resisted more than the trustees, so they put up a fence. I’d heard rumors – are you really writing all of this down?”

“Of course I am.  I want to come up with a solution, which means understanding the problem.”

“You really are one of them, aren’t you?”

It was said with such admiration that Trenner could hardly take offence.  “I’m sorry? What’s a ‘one of them?’”

“Oh, ah. My favorite professor, Professor Sojide, used to say there were Golden Students. Um. ‘If they can survive their time here, they will change the world, one way or another.’  I wasn’t one. Ah. Matilde was, but she didn’t survive the ferrets.” He looked down at his feet. “I just want to live. That’s pretty much it. My family all believe me dead, probably.”

“Hunh.”  She had never heard Professor Sojide say that.  She made a note of it in her book. “Can you take me close enough to see them, without risking yourself?”

“Tomorrow.  At noon. I can take you to the right path.  That’s it.” He shook his head. “I won’t go further than that.  But if you want eggs…  eggs I can get you.”  He spooned out a large portion of his concoction onto her plate, more onto his, and then put the pan on a stone in the shadows.

She was not surprised to see movement there, movement that could have been human.  She did not look too closely. They weren’t a danger to her, she didn’t think; she didn’t want them to think she was a danger to them.

The egg was better than anything she’d ever eaten.  She said so, three times. In the end, her native guide – who still would not give her a name – colored and looked away.  “There’s some tricks to cooking them. But the biggest tricks are in just finding them.”

“I look forward to seeing that, then.”  She had never been more sincere. “And the eggs.  Are they fertile, do you think?”

She had just had a glimmer of an idea, and it looked like her being able to walk out of here alive.

 

Mermay: The Date

Percival looked at the clock.  The day was right; the calculation was right; the ball was the perfect setting.
It had taken a little doing.  Yes, the Club had a ball like this once per year.  Yes, they held it in this place, the Grand Promenade, as it was called, right on the water.  These things were always true.  But to get them to move the date, to hold it not on a day of rest – that had taken all of Percival’s skill to convince his sister Gwendoline to convince the planners.  And it had taken no little bit of Gwendoline’s skill and leverage, either!

There she was, the grande belle of this grand ball, dancing with a handsome man in a top hat.  A handsome stranger.  Percival leaned forward.  This was the right time.  He checked the huge clock on the wall, the masterpiece of the clockmaker’s craft.  Where were they?  Where were the Creatures?

“Oh, don’t trust that cake, m’lord.”  The waiter passing by pressed a glass of sherry into Percival’s hand.  “It’s always gone two minutes slow, and nobody can make it right.”

Two minutes…

Percival’s little pocketwatch clicked and tinged midnight.

Were those… tentacles suddenly sliding out of Gwendoline’s dress?  And from behind the had of her dance partner?

“Nooo.”  Even now, it was only a whisper.  He had come so far.  He had done so much…

But they weren’t supposed to manifest within his sister!


Written to Kelkyag’s prompt Intrigues at the ball.  It feels either like Science! or Things Unspoken, or like Victorian Fairy City. 

The Trouble With Assignments….

After The Trouble With Chickens… and The Trouble With Theories…, without which this story won’t make much sense. 

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The Lost Buildings encompassed what had once been the pride of the University.  They were tall and glorious, stately, and done in the Pecerin style of architecture that nobody seemed to be able to imitate anymore.

(Personally, Trenner thought it had something to do with the amount of opium Pecerin and her disciples had partaken of, but that had gotten her a few too many Hate Points in her architecture elective.) Continue reading

Rabbit Hole

My Giraffe (Zebra) Call is open!

Written to kelkyagprompt.

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At forty, Gemma considered herself to be relatively practical.

She’d put aside the ridiculousness of her teens and the experimentation of her twenties.  She had staid hobbies and a staid job and, to be quite honest, staid clothes.  She had a very comfortable, safe, secure rut.

So when she was raking leaves and a rabbit in a waistcoat ran by, she shook her head and went back to the leaves.  They had to get raked, after all, or the grass would die and she’d just have more work in the long run…

Then it ran back in the other direction, followed by a coyote in a suitcoat and what she was fairly certain was a red fox in a Queen’s Guard hat and jacket, and Gemma just had to follow.

It wasn’t like she believed it, she told herself, it was just that this was far too strange for her to not look into.  After all, that was her yard, and her – where did they go?  She stopped short, just as the rabbit ran past her one more time.

“Damnit,” she muttered, and hurried after the creature, which was definitely wearing a waistcoat.  And now she, too, was being chased by a fox and a coyote, who, like the rabbit, come to think of it, were rather large for their species, at least as she understood it.

“I moved to the suburbs to get away from – oooohh shit.”  

She was falling, falling, and as she thought this hole should not be big enough for me, the hole seemed to enlargen.  She passed what looked like a picture-perfect 1950’s bomb shelter, except that she could see right into it.  She passed through what loked like a large underground swimming pool, except she didn’t get wet at all.  And then a library, the biggest library she’d ever seen.

She was falling quite slowly, she realized, and none of the animals were anywhere to be seen.

I’ve fallen and hit my head, she thought, I’m going to bleed out in my back yard.  Wake up, Gemma, damnit, Wake Up!

At the second wake up, she came to a stop.  Not awake, not in the least, but she was standing on solid ground in what looked like someone’s living room.

No.  Not someone’s.  It looked like what hers might have looked like when it was new, if it had been a 1920’s Display Home at the time, except that the doors were missing.  No… no, there was the front door, smaller than the cat door she had in it now.  And there was the door to the kitchen, even smaller.

On the quaint occasional table was a piece of cake and a cordial full of blue liquid.  The cake had a sign next to it that said, in tidy if spidery handwriting, Eat me; and the cordial was labelled, as one might expect, Drink me.

Gemma sat down on the floor and swore.


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Quick-Thinking

Written to kelkyag‘s prompt.

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The pay at the Lab was really good, and the benefits were literally unbelievable.

Jess reminded herself of that whenever she started feeling like she needed a Henchman t-shirt or an old lion-tamer’s whip and chair.   She had two kids of her own and a niece at home; the Lab gave them a place to live that was probably the most secure three-bedroom house on the planet, had a top-notch school, and paid Jess enough that she could take them all on a really good vacation every year.

Which she needed, because right now she was supervising a slap-fight between two interns who just happened to be handling vials of what she thought was probably a neurotoxin.  Continue reading

EXCUSE Me?

Written to an anonymous prompt, with nods to kelkyag’s prompt.

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“Evangeline, what is WRONG with your sugar?”

There were too many people in Eva’s kitchen.

“Aunt Eva, where do you keep your star anise?”

“What do you need star anise for, Bellamy Jane?”

“Her middle name isn’t Jane…” Continue reading

Find Me?

Written to kelkyag‘s prompt

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She had a lot of earth to work with.

Estella had walked half a day in each direction and not seen another living human.

She’d found more than a few who weren’t alive anymore, and done what she could for them as she went, wondering all the while why she had been left alive when nobody else seemed to have.

The radio made static and sometimes a whimper, but nothing she could consider company.  The power was still running, more or less, but the TV was showing Please Standby on all stations and the internet – well, it was there, but she found only bots on twitter and only advertisements on Facebook.  Reddit was a ghost town. Imgur’s last photos were of The Event – dozens, hundreds of photos, and then nothing.  Not even a downvote.  Continue reading