Tag Archive | prompter: kelkyag

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. 

🐣

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.

🐇

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.

🔬

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 ship 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.

🥧

“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

🌱

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

Own the Fate

After Fated, for my Fourth Finish It Bingo Card.

At the third adoption agency, Karen acknowledged that her family and the power were definitely getting in her way. Before she called the fourth – they lived near a big enough city, but there was still a limit – she visited her Aunt Becka.

She brought Aunt Becka’s favorite sweet rolls and a fresh box of her favorite tea.

And while they ate rolls and gossiped about the family, she swirled her mug and studied the leaves at the bottom.

Everyone had always told her she had no skill for it, no art. She looked at the leaves and saw a cradle.

“Here, dear.” Aunt Becka reached for the mug, and pulled her fingers back when sparks lit up between them.
“Oh!” She chuckled, sounding more pleased than the old woman had sounded in some time. “So you’ve decided to own it, have you?”

Karen thought about her answer for a moment. You had to be careful; words you said around family had a habit of coming back to bite you a decade later. “I think it’s decided to own me. But that being so, well.
I’m not going to be jerked around by it.”

“Good for you, girl. Good for you. Now, as for that pesky problem you’re having with the family, here, I can show you how to get around it. I do wish you’d come to me quite some time earlier, but they have their ideas, don’t they, and they push them and push them.” She pulled out a small silk bag full of bones and tossed them across the table. “So. You’ve been pushed a bit. Here, there, your mother’s the worst but there’s three other aunts involved and, bless her soul, your great-grandmother. Want to learn how to teach them to mind their own business?”

Karen sighed. “I’m no good at magic. I never have been.”

“Well.” Aunt Becka raised her eyebrows. “And who told you that, mmm?”

“My mother, my grandmother, and Aunt Zelda, Aunt Laurel…”

“Mmm-hrrm. And exactly what do they have to gain by you being good at magic? I know you never wanted this, Karen. I know, sweet child, that you dodged the least quickly. But I’m not dead yet. I have…” She tossed the bones again and contemplated that. “Something like three years, three weeks, and three days left, although that could be Fate messing with me, what with the threes. Anyway. There’s time and enough for us to get you ready.”

“But…” Karen put her face in her hands. “It will let me have a child?”

“It will let you adopt a child. Clever, that. Nobody’s really gone that way again, although there was one, now who was it…”

Aunt Becka liked to play at being senile. Her hair was all grey and wispy and her eyes were often clouded over, her face more wrinkle than skin, but when she looked up at Karen, remembering something in the far past, there was no doubt that she was still all there. “[-]. Now she was a fun one, if her diaries and her sisters’ diaries are to be believed. When her sister passed, she took in all her sisters’ children. And the husband. Now didn’t the grannies fret about that one!”

Karen couldn’t help but smile at her Aunt’s expression. And at the thought of making the grannies fret, if she was being honest. “So it can be done.”

“It can. But first, child, you are going to have to learn. We’re going to start with something simple, the cards. This set is a pretty gentle one.” The box was hand-made and the cards were clearly hand-painted. The family didn’t even play bridge with store-bought cards, much less do divination.

Karen slid the cards out of the box carefully and ran her fingers over the top card, a portrait of a woman who might have been an Aunt, a long time ago. She had that look.

“Now. You’ve done these before, right?”

“Just for play, with practice cards.”

“Then clear your mind, shuffle the deck, and think about – let’s say think about four years from now.”

She’d said she’d be dead in a little over three years. Karen closed her eyes and shuffled, thinking of The Near Future. She focused on amorphous time-coming-up and thought about the way the trees changed in the summer.

The cards seemed to spark under her fingers. She laid out a simple spread in a hurry, because it felt like her hands were on fire, and set the deck to the side. When she opened her eyes, Aunt Becka was staring at the cards.

The spread was sloppy, but that was secondary. The card in the center was a supernova. The card didn’t even exist, as far as Karen knew.

And Death and Luck flanked it, and below it was Growth.

“Well.” Aunt Becka coughed. “The cards like you. That’s going to make everything a little more interesting. Tell me, who exactly said you had no power?”

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Worldbuilding Month Day 6: More Roots of the Aunt Tree

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it!
🌏
This third one is from [personal profile] kelkyag:
where did the American branch of the family, Carrie and Sarah, come from?

Okay, so I’d originally thought that the immigrated from Away, but I probably shouldn’t have named aunts I was thinking of as German Carrie and Sarah if that were the case.

Also, that doesn’t quite match with what I said to Rix.

So, let’s see.

Wikipedia says:

In the 1670s the first significant groups of German immigrants arrived in the British colonies, settling primarily in New York and Pennsylvania… Between 1820 and 1870 over seven and a half million German immigrants came to the United States

Since that story takes place in 1802, let’s say that the branch that thought of itself as the root branch came over to downstate NY in the late 1670’s.

That means there was an established branch downstate when Carrie and Sarah decided to come up north.

Which changes something – they may BE the root family, but they moved with no family at all. Were they part of a split; i.e., did they have the power of the family but were, say, the only children of an only surviving child? That would explain the move, too; if the power split off between them and another Aunt, a cousin.

So: Carrie and Sarah came from Downstate. *nods firmly*

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The Uncle re. an Aunt

First: Visiting the Family
Previous: The Powers that Be

Uncle Willard let Eva’s words hang in the air while he opened up his sun porch to them and brought in a pitcher of cold lemonade.

There was something like a ritual to it, the clean glasses, the glass pitcher, the cold, sweet-tart fresh lemonade. In the winter, it woudl have been tea. Their family had things that they did, and they all did them more or less the same.

The thought made her smile, her lips just starting to curl up as Willard answered.

“I think Asta was a changing of the guard. She had a lot of things she did. None of them, well, were any use to me, but I think they might be of use to this nephew of yours.” He sat back in an old armchair and lounged, looking at Rosaria and Eva over his lemonade.

Eva wasn’t fooled by his nonchalant glance. This, too, was a test.

She was growing a little tired of tests.

“Let’s see. Asta left Aunt Rosaria free to pursue a different path, one that involved a family, which places Aunt Rosaria as the tale-teller. That’s not a small thing. She let the older generation get complacent, because she let them push her around, and yet, if you read her diaries, she was supremely good at doing what needed to be done, when it needed doing.

“So she wasn’t holding on to as much power, probably – the legacy has a feel to it, you know, and she passed down a smaller part of it. Then again, the whole thing about the legacy is that it comes from the family, and that’s been changing in the last few months.” Eva took a breath. “But Asta holding less of it left more of it in other hands.” She lifted her chin. “Do I pass, Uncle Willard?”

He laughed, cheerfully but with an edge. “You’re an Aunt, all right.”

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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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