Friday, October 31, 2014

Wake up

Today was a choose-your-own-prompt day from a list. This particular prompt was provided by Sabrina, in honor of Halloween. Although my response isn't very Halloween-ey. It didn't turn out quite how I wanted it to, but it is a start.



  Somebody softly nudged her small body. "Wake up, Sharon. Welcome to the world." She tried to lift the blanket from her brain, but it was too heavy for her little mind fingers to move.
 
  Somebody stroked her face. "Wake up, Sharon. It's time to change your diaper." She fought to see through the fog in her mind, but the clouds lingered, filtering the blinding rays of the sun.

  Somebody gently tapped her shoulder. "Wake up, Sharon. It's the first day of kindergarten." She struggled to fit the pieces of her brain into the right order, but she didn't know where they all should go.
 
  Somebody shook her. "Wake up, Sharon. Your driver's test is today." She shoved all the parts of her brain that she didn't understand into an unknown spot and ignored them.

  Somebody shoved her. "Wake up, Sharon. You're late for work." She blinked and ignored the emptiness in her mind.

  Somebody tugged her hair. "Wake up, Sharon. It's your wedding day." There was no room for quiet amidst the jumble of thoughts.
 
  Somebody rubbed her arm. "Wake up, Sharon. You've done it. Here's your new baby." Her mind refused to grasp what her arms held so tenderly.
 
  Somebody called her name. "Wake up, Sharon. You're last child is leaving the house." She didn't move, her mind numb from shock and fear.

  Somebody poked her arm. "Wake up, Sharon. It's time to take some blood." She replayed endless images in her brain that seemed so real.

  Nobody bothered her. She finally slept.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

This man who looks at me

He grows a beard for warmth and ease
And wears warm clothes against the breeze
His hat is green; his eyes are blue
This man who looks at me.

The brown upon his face is soot
and dirt and grime from under foot
No speck upon his face is new
This man who looks at me.

We wonder where he's been but then
we cross the street away from him
because he looks somewhat awry
this man who looks at me.

We look and judge and shake our heads
and wonder where he lays his bed,
and how he keeps his eyes so dry
this man who looks at me.

Perhaps he finds he likes it here
with people all around that share
the same free reign from night to day
this man who looks at me.

Unless I ask I'll never know
which way his dreams and whims do blow,
what words he'd use, what things he'd say
this man who looks at me.


Sabrina and Julie also wrote.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Deeper

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
Into the mud and the swamp and the dirt
Then leave me there to rot by the wayside
Only, please, don't take off your shirt

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
into those moments of embarrassment
that only seem to really ever happen
when being with me seems your every intent

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
into those feelings of insecurity
that often arise now that you've come to visit
and shadowed with doubt all of my perfect dreams

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
into those caverns and places unknown
share with me love's grand adventure
so that together we need never be alone

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
I want to walk through life by your side
You make me better than I ever imagined
And, yes, I said yes, I will be your bride.

Hahahahaha. That's all I have! Someone please do something better so I can post a link and redeem this post.

Ink stain

The prompt from October 14 was: Write about an ink stain, real or imagined. Deb and Sabrina also wrote.

  "There is no turning back," the shadow whispered.
  "I understand," the man said.
  "Good. You know the sign?"
  The man nodded. He had studied for four-and-a-half years, searching in the darkest rooms and glens of the kingdom to unravel the marks of the covenant. He would not turn back now.
  He took the black pen and signed the symbols of the everlasting bind: the square of no end, the cross of everlasting death, and the circle of the eye. He set the pen down and studied his writing. Then he pressed his finger into the center of the mark, binding himself for all eternity. When he pulled away, bits of his fingerprint remained behind.
  His finger was black from touching the ink. He took out his handkerchief and wiped at his finger. But the ink didn't come off. Instead, it slowly spread down his finger, turning the entire finger black. He rubbed harder. "What's going--" He glanced up but the shadow was no longer full of presence. It was just another empty, black shadow. The sign of the covenant was gone as well.
  His hand was now completely black. The ink crawled up his wrist and arm. Another spot appeared on his other hand, mirroring the original spot. It, too, spread to his hand and other fingers. The ink turned his tunic and pants black. It even spread across his tattered cloak. It moved with a purpose, gnawing his flesh, his organs, his bones, consuming him. He stepped back when he realized what the ink was searching for. He placed his hand on his chest as though to protect himself.
  But the ink took his heart, changing it until it pumped blackness through his body like en eternal fountain of death. There was a surge of strength, and then weakness conquered him.
  He stumbled against his chestnut horse, needing its support to keep from falling. The horse flinched from the man's touch, then shrieked as if in pain. The man watched in horror as the spot where he had touched his horse turned black. The blackness spread quickly, consuming the beast faster than it had the human.
  The man knew the instant the horse's heart had changed; the horse stood as still as a waiting shadow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

House on an island

I missed writing this prompt while on vacation. Deb and Sabrina each wrote.

  The bridge looked like wooden pallets stripped apart and placed haphazardly back together. Parts of the bridge were five boards wide, others seven. The boards on the left lay covered in dried salt, remnants of the ocean water that flew into the small lagoon on the wings of the wind before the fingers of the sun drank it up.
  Today the boards were dry, the water they bridged perfectly mirroring the tall trees surrounding the dilapidated shack on the tiny island. There were almost more trees than planks making up the shack. All the trees wore battle scars from the changing season except two dwarf evergreens standing as sentinels at the end of the bridge. I would have to walk through the evergreens to reach the door. They would sense my reason for coming and warn the Hakham.
  I stepped onto the bridge and the board beneath me shuddered and bent. I stepped back. Then I stepped on the outside board; it held firm. I walked along the single board until reaching the next section. There I tested the board before me, but it wobbled. I tested all the boards I could reach. The skinniest of them seemed the most stable, so I shimmied along it, careful not to touch the boards on either side lest they fall into the water and splash me. The same thing happened at each of the eight remaining sections of board except the last. On the last all the boards seemed firm. I hesitated.
  It was certain to be a trap. One slip into the water, one drop on my toe, and it would be over. Although what that meant I didn't know. I only knew I shouldn't find out.
  There were five boards in this section; it would take me six steps to get across. If I ran, one step on each board, I could make it across even if the boards fell away. Except the last step. I would have to jump.
  I moved back down to the midpoint of my current section. Then I ran. The boards fell away from me as soon as my feet touched them. I ran at a diagonal, my feet crossing over each other in haste. As the last board gave way, I jumped.
  I landed on the leaf covered slope and slipped. My feet flew out from under me and I tried to yank them back into my body. I was still too close to the water. Suddenly wooden planks appeared beneath me, keeping my legs and feet out of the water. I stood and quickly moved onto the land. The dock disappeared. I stepped forward, my foot touching wood, and the dock reappeared.
  With a sigh of relief, I turned to the A-framed shack. It was much nicer than it had appeared from the other end of the bridge. Double white-framed windows on the ground floor gazed over the bridge. A small balcony ran around the house, like the brim of a hat. Above the balcony, three triangular windows marked another floor, their angles matching the slant of the witch hat-like roof. Framed by the triangular windows, and well out of reach from the ground, was a door.
  The only door. The only way in.
 

A City of My Own

Writing prompt from Sarah Selecky: Write a scene about buying something new.

 
I stepped back. The towers were certainly tall, and one could imagine what all the lights would look like at night. And the water would certainly prove useful. Still, I wasn't certain.
  The man next to me must have noticed my hesitation. "There is much power in this city. It is one of the four most powerful cities in the world. I am positive you will be gratified with your purchase," he said.
  I nodded. There was power. The power of thoughts, the power of wills, the power of determination. But there were also many shadows. And death. And cats. Lots and lots of cats.
  "Why are there so many cats?"
  The man's eyebrows rose. "There are always cats in large cities."
  I shook my head. "They will have to go. I cannot have cats."
  He shrugged. "When it is yours, you many do whatever you like with it."
  I nodded once. They could go. And I would have my city. "That building will be moved as well. And the park. It shouldn't be here."
  I caught a glimpse of his smile out of the corner of my eye and frowned. There was no point in pretending anymore.
  "I will take it."
  "Fabulous." He yanked the scroll out of the blue sky next to him where only air had been. It shimmered silver in the rays of the morning sun. The lettering sparkled with emerald ink.
  I took out my life pen. The blood-red ink in the pen would make the scroll look like a Christmas decoration. Perhaps I could request a copy.
  "Just sign here," he said.
  I nodded and glanced once more at the city. A city all my own. A powerful city. One of the most powerful.
  I rolled my shoulders back. It was time.
  I signed the document with my soul.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A joining

Today's ten minute prompt. I really wanted to continue the story of Margaret and Greg, but since it's also my MIP, I'll have to go with something else.

Today an old man and a boy came by. But yesterday it was a woman. The woman came with want in her eyes and jealousy in her heart. A group slowly trudged up after her, all peeking through my holes. The woman stopped peeking through me, however, to peek at those around her. And she smiled. She smiled at the way they pushed and crushed to see what I made invisible.
  The man and the boy were different. The boy was curious, even though he knew what I hid. He had run his fingers down both sides of me. He yelled and played on one side but was happier on the other. Today, when he peeked through, he knew what he would see. But he still looked.
  The old man was confused. He had seen me before, too, but didn't remember. He knew me from when I was new. Of course, I block vision so that things may change on one side while remaining the same on the other. So what the old man expected to see, a continuation of what he saw, was not at all what he found.
  "What are we doin' here, Jimmy?" he'd asked the boy.
  "Nothin'. We're just wandering," the boy replied. But they weren't really wandering. For when you know where you are and where you are going, your feet find the way even if your heart is too busy to notice.


I may have to use this prompt again. There is a beauty in it that I didn't capture. But it would take more time than I have at the moment.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

read me

This prompt was actually for October 17th, but I was on vacation. So, Caitlyn, here I go.

  "Sir, we've got it."
  "Finally." I swiveled in my chair and faced the large, NASA-like screen. Nothing happened.
  "Where is it?" The screen was black. As though it was turned off.
  "I'm not sure, sir."
  "Well, figure it out." I went back to my Sudoku puzzle.
  "Ah, here it is."
  I glanced back up. The screen had gone blue, then the rainbow Microsoft logo flickered in the middle, sounding its familiar chime. Finally, the picture of a desktop appeared, the pristine beaches of the Seychelles Islands set as background.
  Some day, I would go there. If there was anything left.
  A file appeared on the screen. README.txt.
  "What is that?"
  "It's what we found, sir. It's what was stored in the woman's DNA."
  "Open it up."
  "Yes, sir."
  I scooted forward to the edge of my chair and leaned onto the desk. And I waited. Finally a little box showed up on screen. I squinted, but couldn't read the tiny print from so far away.
  "What seems to be the problem, Jeffs?"
  "It's requesting a password."
  "You've got to be kidding," I muttered. "Any ideas?" I asked louder.
  "Try 'All the world's a stage'," someone shouted.
  "No, 'In the beginning'," someone else shouted.
  "It's going to be forty-two!" someone stated.
  "I think it will be 'love'," the woman next to me said.
  "Jeffs? What have you tried?"
  "All of them, sir. Nothing is working."
  I looked at the file and leaned back in my chair. "Type: I want to read you."
  After a moment, Jeffs gasped. "It worked!"
  The file opened. In Hieroglyphics.
  "Anyone know Egyptian?" I asked with a sigh.
 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Coffee

Today's prompt is from Julie: Write about a blindfold, a plane ticket, and a cup of coffee. So I went with a different scene for the characters from this prompt.

"It's coffee, Greg. It isn't going to kill anyone." I turned my back on him and tilted the coffee carafe just enough to allow a trickle of coffee into the mug in my hand. The toe of Greg's shoe tapped on the linoleum floor behind me and I tried to slow the trickle even more. "Are you sure you don't want a cup?"
  "I don't drink coffee."
  "That's right. A Tea-only man. So, what, is coffee not good enough for you? Too American?"
  "Coffee isn't American. It's African."
  I puffed out a breath of air. "Technicality."
  "The Africans would probably consider it a rather large technicality."
  I slammed the carafe back onto the coffee machine and spun. "Do you like--" Drops of coffee flew out of my cup and landed on his spotless light blue dress shirt.
  "Blast!" I set my mug down and wrenched open a drawer for a dish rag, grabbing the ugly puce one on top. I quickly dampened it in the sink, then grabbed his shirt.
  He tried to pry his shirt out of my hands. "Margaret, please."
  "Look, just stay still. I'm sorry. Let me get this out."
  "No, it's fine. Really."
  "Why do you always wear these stupid dress shirts anyway? You're always so formal. Don't you have at least one t-shirt that says "I love the Beatles" or "Americans are the ugly step-child" or something? I thought all Brits had at least one."
  "Margaret, stop." He wrenched his shirt out of my hands. "I'll take care of it."
  "Right. You going to rush it to the dry-cleaners?" I picked my mug back up and took a sip.
  He started unbuttoning his shirt. Right there. In the kitchen.
  I spat my coffee out, spraying his shirt even more, and slammed the mug back onto the counter. "What are you doing?"
  "I was removing my shirt. But apparently I should keep it on until you finish your coffee. You know, as a shield in case you--"
  "Shut up." But I smiled. I couldn't help it. His responses were always so disarming. "You can't undress in my kitchen."
  "I'm not undressing. I'm taking off my soiled shirt, not my pants."
  My gaze flicked to his jeans before I refocused on my mug. My face felt warm. Stupid Brit. "Ugh. Only you would use the word soiled. Can't you take it off in your room?"
  "You want your mother to notice these rather fine remnants of our conversation spotting my shirt when I walk past her in the next room? I would have to tell her where they came from."
  I scowled. "My parents won't even notice you. They're watching Blindfold."
  "What is that?"
  "It's an old movie. You know, Philipe Dunne's last film?"
  "Um, no."
  I shrugged. "Can't say I'm surprised."
  "What's it about?"
  I swirled the coffee around in my mug. "It's about this psychiatrist who has to help this guy, but the guy is in a secret location because he's wanted by the enemy, so the psychiatrist is blindfolded every time he goes for a visit."
  "Sounds fascinating."
  "It's actually quite--" I glanced at him. He was undoing the last button. The rest of his shirt hung wide open. His chest was carved with muscle like the model's on a calendar Louisa hung in her room when we were sixteen. Holy smokes, he was hot.
  He glanced up and caught me staring. And he smiled.
  I scowled. "Now you'll have to walk past my parents without a shirt on. Way worse."
  He wadded up his shirt with a shrug and something fell out of the front pocket. I swooped in and caught it. "What's this?"
  "It's nothing." He tried to grab it from me, but I twirled away and opened the meticulously folded paper.
  It was a receipt for a plane ticket to London with his name on it. For tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Meeting

http://funmozar.com/red-rose/
The prompt for today is: Write a scene that takes place in a rose garden at night, from Sarah Selecky.

He stepped on a branch, breaking it. Aora spun toward him, backing toward the bushes behind her. She glanced from side to side like she might run, although there was nowhere to go. Not in the dark. Not when the garden obeyed him and every path she took would turn into a dead end. Even if she crawled through the bushes, the thorns would scrape her, tear at her dress, snag in her hair.
  But she didn't run. She didn't crawl. She straightened up, rolling her shoulders back and lifting her chin. "Here I am. Come and get me, Demon of Darkness."
  He frowned and stepped onto the path, knowing the shadows would hide him although he allowed the sound of his step to linger in the air. Her eyes, wide in the faint glow of the moon, flicked around him without focusing on him. She stepped back again, into the bushes, and they hungrily grasped at her hair and dress.
  "Bold words from one who shivers in the night, but not from the cold." He threw his voice into her head, knowing that there it would echo around her and she would not locate him.
  She pushed against his voice and he stepped back. She was stronger than he thought. The days had not weakened her at all. But she was till untrained.
  She lifted her chin higher. "We meet in the night because you are too cowardly to face me in the day."
  He stepped toward her again. "Day or night. Both are within my command."
  She would believe him. No one had told her otherwise, and the days were dark, darker than they had ever been. But he could not control them completely until he had her.
   He plucked a rose off a bush and stepped nearer, his step making another sound on the gravel path.
  "Stop!" she said, her voice strong. The air around her lit up, although she didn't seem aware that the night lessened to a pre-dawn gray. He would claim her, and she could never light the earth again.
  He placed the rose in the palm of his hand and gently blew on it. His breath of darkness carried it to her on the wings of the deep shadows.
  She stared at it and tried to back farther away. But there was nowhere else to go. He pushed the rose closer to her, the shadows of the night obeying his every whim. He spoke again, this time as a whisper in her mind. "A gift."
  A faint glow encircled her, the light around her swallowing his shadows. The light grew brighter as she reached for the flower. He clenched his teeth as the bushes behind her untangled from her back and straightened. The shadows fled.
  The rose slowly sank in the air. She quickly stretched forward and touched the flower, one finger to one blood red petal. The rose burst into flame and a chill of light zipped up his arm. He gasped and shoved against the light, forcing it back out through his palm, back to her.
  She shrank from the burning rose. The light around her vanished and the dark reclaimed the garden. The rose, suspended once again by shadow, burned until death claimed it. Then the shadows parted their fingers and the flower fell to the ground.
  He knew where it lay, but he did not look at it. Instead, he stared at her, trying to ignore the way his hand still tingled. Trying to ignore the lingering warmth in his arm. Trying to ignore the hollowness he felt at the extinguishing of her light.

Light

The light followed her. Aora hadn't meant for it to grow so large. She knew she needed to keep it small, hidden. She had only meant to give hope to one or two people, not realizing that with each person she helped, with each smile she brought to someone's face, the light grew. Having it large, billowing behind her in great clouds of pink and orange, made her vulnerable. He could find her.
  She ran over the barren land toward a tree without leaves, its scraggly branches stretching before it like fingers from the village's old herbal witch. It wouldn't offer any protection, but it was the only thing to run to, and she needed direction. 
  The clouds followed her, except now they billowed up into the sky, almost blocking the light, like a smoke signal declaring her location. And the were thicker, whiter.
  She ran faster, not slowing as she neared the tree. She stretched out her hand, grasped the narrow trunk, and whirled around to a stop, facing the way she had come. The bark cut into her hand, making it sting, but she ignored it.
  The cloud of light marched across the land, slower than she had run. Which meant it couldn't keep up. Her speed made it thicker, not faster. She could get away.
  She didn't move. The clouds, thicker than ever, could be hiding anything. Nothing but dead, blackened spindles of bushes lay between her and the forest, but the forest was still miles away.
  She should go. She should outrun the cloud of light. She should run all the way to the forest without stopping.
  But she couldn't leave the tree. Her fingers wouldn't let go. The tree, though bare and scarred and small, brought her comfort.
  The cloud came. She kept her hand on the tree and stretched her other arm open to greet it. It swirled around her, engulfed her, warmed her like a bright summer sun. She tilted her face up and closed her eyes. The warmth trickled from her face down her arms to her fingers, down her torso and legs to her toes. Her whole being felt light and warm, like the sun was within her.
  And then she began to cool. Her toes and fingers were first, then her legs, arms, torso. Then her face.
  She opened her eyes. The world around her was dark once more. The cloud was gone, but so was the warmth. So was the sun. So was the light.
  She wrapped her arms around her, finally releasing the tree, not caring about the blood left there from her scraped hand. Let him find it. It would do him no good.
  She turned and, focusing on the ground before her, walked slowly off, toward the forest. Toward the image of protection that would never be hers.

Sabrina also continues her story.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Darkening

"Go. Find her."
Ergal flew toward the black city and disappear into the pre-dawn fog. Only the tall, skinny dark towers of the obsidian city were discernible as the sky slid from starry black to dusky gray. But Rhaoul knew that somewhere in the depths of the scum and the rags of the darkness below walked Aora.
  He closed his eyes and sent his mind forward, searching again for the light that distinguished her from the darkened wretches huddling in the dead-end streets. His mind caught the traces of her on an elderly man, her light lingering around him like a soft smile. A middle-aged woman came next, her brightened shadow matching the graying sky instead of the ebony crevices in which she lived, betraying how the woman had felt Aora's forbidden touch. A stream of children huddled around the next corner and--
  Rhaoul reeled back in his saddle. Their souls radiated the warmth of the first rays of the morning sun.
  She had spoken to them.
  Blast it. She had to be stopped.
  Rhaoul leaned around the deadly iron spikes running the length of his horse's neck, resting a hand on the soft, wolfish fur covering the beast's back, and whispered into the coal-colored ear. "Azhram, fly." The beast snorted, its breath a misty gray in the cold air.
  Then it leapt forward, and they plunged off the cliff.

Sabrina also wrote. Check it out!
 
 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Luggage

Writing prompt for today, from Sarah Selecky: Describe a character by what he/she has packed in his/her luggage.

  Underwear. But not quite enough.
  Socks. Oh, here is a green one matched with a black one. Hmm.
  Ah, folded dress shirt. What? Only one?
  Slacks. Folded. Who folds slacks?
  Um, where are the pajamas? No pajamas?
  Oh, look, an automatic toothbrush.
  And floss. That is a good sign. It looks to be a new roll.
  But--where is the toothpaste? No toothpaste. Yikes.
  A book. Finally, something worth mention--what?! A Romance? Woah, that's quite the, um, cover. That's goes here, upside dow--under this shirt.
  Ah. Another book. Things to see here. Looks new, but . . . Oh, here's a corner turned down. Steakhouse. And another. Gym? But there aren't any . . .
  Oh. These aren't underwear. They're shorts? Yikes! And a speedo? But then, where are the--
  t-shirts
  shorts
  one pair of jeans
  cologne
  Dove soap? For extra-sensitive skin. Um, that gets tucked right over here.
  More socks, another book. Romance again. And a similar cover--wait, is that man not wearing any pants?
  More.... more... But....
  Hm. No underwear. At all.
  Oh, here is deodorant. That's good. But still....

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Crumb

From Sarah Selecky: Write a scene where the crumb on the table has particular significance.

  I looked over the black table. Nothing. I smiled. She would never know.
  "William, what are you doing?" My mother walked in. I immediately turned and stood in front of the table. "Nothing, mom."
  "Then why do you have that guilty look on your face?"
  "I don't have a look on my face."
  My mother's eyebrows rose at the same time she smiled. "Hm. You have no look on your face at all?"
  I shook my head. "Nope."
  "Interesting. That would mean you have no eyes, and no mouth either. Guess I don't need to share this rice krispie treat with you." She grabbed the dessert off the counter behind her and opened her mouth wide.
  "I want some!" I cried out.
  "Oh. I though you'd already had some."
  "No."
  "Um-hm. Then what is this?" She tapped her finger on the table next to a spec of white.
  "I dunno." I shrugged to make it more believable.
  She bent down until her eyes were level with mine. I hated when she did that, but I kind of liked it, too. She was friendlier like that, but it meant I was going to not feel right. I shifted my weight to my other foot.
  "You know it is always better to be honest with me." She just looked at me. She didn't say anything more, didn't touch me, didn't push me to confess. She just waited.
  I looked away. "I ate a little bit."
  Her eyebrows rose and her lips puffed out.
  "I ate a whole one, I mean."
  She nodded. "You don't ever need to lie to me. Even if it means you're going to get into trouble. Because you may get into trouble, but you'll get into a whole lot more trouble by lying. Do you understand?"
  I nodded, even though I had only a vague idea of what she was talking about. "Can I have some of that now?"
  She frowned, and I knew I had said that wrong thing.
  "Do you think you deserve some of this?"
  I shook my head. "No." It was the right thing to say. And I had already had one. But I really wanted more.
  Mother sighed. "Do you know that rice krispie treats are my favorites?"
  I nodded. She had told me that yesterday.
  I watched anxiously as she broke off a piece. I rose onto my toes and settled back on my feet. She took a long time breaking that treat apart.
  "Here you go. But first, I want a hug."
  Anything. I hugged her. She held me even when I tried to pull apart. "Don't lie to me, okay?"
  "All right," I replied, wiggling out of her arms.
  She smiled. "I sure love you."
  "I know. Can I have that treat now?"

Just a page from real life. I love how I can tell when my kids have done something wrong. I hope it sticks when they're a little older. So, tell me, is the voice the voice of a child? If not, what words or phrases should be changed? Thanks for your feedback! And check out Sabrina's post. Her write is always fantastic.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October spells

This prompt is compliments of Caitlyn.

The moon was full. It was time to begin.
  "Ghost and ghouls, this night is yours
  to do your mischief upon these shores.
  So fly now, quickly, release your powers
  to all the earth from these dark towers.
  But don't forget to touch not that
  Which is forbidden from bat and cat
  Or else in air we'll find no breath
  And all be lost to endless death."
  She let the power of the chant ring around her. The orange demons flew through the air. The bats fled out the window into the sky. The air swirled once, then calmed.
  Sorcia closed her book and took a deep breath. It was done for another year. She ran a hand under her hair, brushing it away from her shoulders and neck. Then she closed her eyes.
  She shouldn't be in this position. Being the enchantress of all things death wasn't what she had dreamed of when she first discovered her powers. And she hated black and darkness.
  Although her dress fit nicely, she'd give them that. She ran a hand down her side. Yes, there wasn't another witch that looked half so good as she did. But she would look better in blue, commanding the waters of ocean and river, than black. And death got boring after a while.
  She had tried to tell her mother that. It was in the second year of her reign. Death, darkness, nightmares--they all were the same. She wanted to experience bending the sunlight, bringing people joy, calling down a spring rain or winter's first snowfall, causing a giant storm in a harbor--no, wait, that was death again.
  She sighed. Even though she longed to be someone else, she was bound to what she was. She was as linked to her dark calling as she was to her body.
  She sighed again and looked down at her cat, George. "Come on, then." He mewed once, then jumped on her shoulder. She gathers her skirts and spun. She was gone.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Plot Tips from Bob the Builder

My two youngest (4 and 2) are watching the Pet's Corner episode of Bob the Builder. And the set-up for the conflict is perfect.

Opening scene: Bob and his gang are supposed to build a pet's corner (a zoo for small animals) in the zoo. The details of the building are discussed (like concrete floors and why they're needed). The animals are coming from Farmer Pickles.

Set-up 1: Introduction of the conflict item during dialogue: the chinchilla.

Set-up 2: Farmer Pickles and Spud the scarecrow have a very difficult time trying to catch Charley the Chinchilla.
Spud isn't supposed to help deliver the animals (he always gets into trouble), but he gets to go as well.

Set-Up 3: Bob runs out of chicken wire. Wendy goes to the yard to get some. But there isn't any chicken wire there. They go to JJ's to buy some.

Conflict 1: The animals get delivered to Bob, but Bob isn't ready for them. Bob tells Spud and Travis the tractor
to take them to the yard where Wendy is (only Wendy isn't there anymore).

Set-up 4: Spud decides to leave the animals at the yard even though Wendy isn't there and even though Travis doesn't think it is a good idea. Spud and Travis leave to get straw.

Set-up 5: The animals escape and Pilchard the cat helps to collect all the animals. We see Charley get away.

Conflict 2: Wendy returns to the park with the chicken wire. Bob asks about the animals. Wendy and Bob realize that there is a potential problem and they head to the yard. Pilchard has all the animals rounded up. They put the animals into the new little zoo.

Climax: The man in charge comes by to check on everything and discovers Charley is missing.

Resolution: They all search for Charley. Pilchard finds Charley back at the yard and returns him to the park.

What I love is that we see how difficult it is to keep control of Charley before he actually escapes in the yard and gets lost. We also see that Pilchard can control the animals before he finds Charley, making Pilchard's rescue of Charley believable. It is so important in all of our writing to introduce the characters or conflicts on a small scale so that when the reader is presented with something big, it is believable.

Watch Charley's set-up here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2doi3jQ6uXE

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Alone

Julie provided the prompt for today. We're writing number 4. So, here's a death scene for my protagonist, dying by her worst fear.

I huddled next to the tree. Some of the people walking by noticed me. Some looked directly at me, paused in their walking, and then kept going. But most didn't notice me.
  I slid down the tree trunk to the ground and wrapped my arms around my legs, huddling for warmth and protection.
  No one had even spoken to me. Even when I had said something to them. It was as though they hadn't heard me.
  A tall, brown man headed up the path, carrying a load. Daniel! I jumped up and ran to him.
  "Let me help you."
  "No, I don't need your help."
  "Please, Daniel. Let me help."
  "Margaret, I don't need your help. I don't want your help. I'm fine."
  "But--"
  "Have a good day, Margaret." He walked away without even looking back.
  Louisa's smile came into view next and I ran to her. "Louisa! What are you doing? Can I help?"
  "Margaret. Um . . ." She looked around, then down at the ground. "I'm actually just trying to catch up to Daniel. Sorry, but I think I can go faster without you? I'm sorry. See you later." She hurried away and was lost in the crowd.
  Someone bumped my shoulder and sent me sprawling onto the ground. People moved around me, but no one offered to help me up. No one even touched me.
  I struggled to rise, then wandered back to the tree. The tree was safe. The tree made me almost invisible.
  Complete invisibility would be best. I should walk around the tree, walk off into the forest, and never come back. But I couldn't leave. I couldn't leave the people I loved.
  Mother and Father came next. I hesitated, but only for a second. Mother was helping Father walk; he was leaning heavily on her arm for support. I raced to his other side. "Oh, Father, what has happened? Here, let me help you."
  "No, child. I am fine. Thank you."
  "But I want to help."
  "Margaret, I don't need your help. Your mother and I are just fine."
  "Yes, dear," my mother said, "run along. We'll be just fine."
  "Can I help. Please? Please let me help."
  "Goodbye, Margaret," my father said. The sternness in his voice robbed me of any more protestations. I stood in the middle of the road and watched them walk away.
  My legs buckled and I fell. I couldn't move.
  A giggle, familiar and warm, sounded directly behind me.
  "Margaret, what are you doing in the middle of the road?" I looked over my shoulder. Ah, Alice. Just seeing her bright face gave me the strength to stand and smile.
  "Alice! What are you doing?"
  "Mary and I are going to buy some ribbons."
  "Oh, that sounds delightful. May I come? I could help you select something wonderful."
  Her smile disappeared. "No. I don't want you to come. I want it to be just me and Mary."
   Ice settled in my chest. The tears came quickly. I blinked at them and smiled. "Of course. I understand."
  Alice nodded. "Goodbye."  She skipped off.
  I understood. I understood perfectly.
  I let the tears fall. There was no use hiding them anymore. There was no one to be strong for anymore.
  I made my way back to the tree and sat. It didn't matter that the ground was dirty and cold. It didn't matter that I had no coat or shawl. It didn't matter that the air was growing colder by the minute and that it might snow.
  I laid my head down on the leaves and pulled my legs up to my chest. Then I closed my eyes and waited for the night to come, knowing it didn't matter if I woke up in the morning or not.

**
I'm not particularly fond of this, but let's be honest--it is supposed to be a ten minute writing prompt. And it took me a lot more then ten minutes. I think something like this would have to take a few days to work through. At least for this protagonist.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

House for sale

House for sale.
One house for sale.
One perfectly acceptable house for sale.
With rings of white
and rings of black
and lines that wind around clear to the back.

House for sale.
One house for sale.
One empty and forgettable house for sale.
It's clean on the outside
and dirty within.
Looks perfect when prospects appear rather grim.

House for sale.
One house for sale.
One lonely and desperate house for sale.
It won't keep you dry
and it won't keep you warm
but it will protect you in any large storm.

House for sale.
One house for sale.
One gorgeously handsome house for sale.
It isn't pink
but you could paint it blue
call five-five-five-one-two-one-two.

***
I suppose this is what you get when I read A Light in the Attic to my kids before they (and I) go to sleep. Deb and Sabrina also responded to the prompt.
Photo was found on Pinterest.