Thursday, June 30, 2011

Halfway Point: Status Report!

Hey guys. Thought I would put this out there, since we are at the halfway point. I want to know how many stories you've written for Chrysalis so far, even if you haven't finished 'em yet. I want to know your total Chrysalis wordcount, if you've uncovered any unexpected novels in your Chrysalis stash, or if you've completely crashed 'n burned and given up.

On that last note, Don't Give Up! Stick with us, why don't ya? Don't worry about the stuff you haven't written. Just look forward, to the next half of the year, and all the prompts that will be coming your way!! Stick with us, because...just like L'oreal...we ARE worth it. Hehe.

We've got some fun plans for what we're going to do AFTER Chrysalis, as in what we're gonna do with our stories, and your stories too if you're interested. We also have a sparkly badge for anyone who manages to get through this Experiment in one piece. Now if that ain't enticement, I don't know WHAT is. Hehe.

But without further status report for the year so far.

Stories started: 26
Stories finished: Um...argh. Will count this later. hehe
Words written: 69,007 (according to Scrivener anyway)
Potential novels started: um...3? 4? 5?
Stories happy with: Maybe...a third? Half, if I'm lucky? Hehe.
Number of times story wasn't written by Friday: Lost count by now...

Okay, so I wasn't too scientific with that, but this was an off the cuff blog post idea, so I've got an excuse. :P Anyway...I want to hear from you guys about how you're doing so far!

Monday, June 27, 2011

So...........PROMPT(s) NUMBER 26

We are halfway, people!! And since there was no final decision on what we were going to do for our halfway point, I decided to go with the tentative suggestion of leaving a prompt and taking one.

We'll each leave a prompt in the comments of this entry, and take somebody else's. Hey, maybe you'll find a few that inspire you, and take more than one of them! Either way, I think this sounds like fun!

I'm going to leave MY prompt in this entry, though...

Write 1,000-10,000 words of prose (or ya know, 333-3,333 words of the other) based on the following prompt:

"Ohhh we're halfway there
Woaahhh-oh! Livin' on a prayer."

I know, I know...but I couldn't help myself. LOL.

But here's a serious one:

"At least one of these things is a lie."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Valentine's Garden

Another . . . beginning.  Eep.  Not even close to the end.


I used to think heaven was the workroom floor in the back of my parents’ flower shop.  When I was little, my mother would spread out an old quilt under her antique work table and tell me it was a fort—probably to keep me quiet.  There I’d stay for hours, snuggled in a nest of frilly pillows, wearing a glittery tutu with my red cowboy boots and speaking in strange tongues to tiny dolls of wire and felt.  As my mother worked, flower petals would fall down around me, silken bits of perfume that stained my fingers pink and filled me so full that even my tears at bed time would taste like roses.

Dad doesn’t want me to talk about heaven anymore.  He says it’s nothing but a hat stand for cowards and brown nosers.

Back before the Freedom to Marry Act, we were a normal, law abiding family.  Technically, we still obey the law.  We just don’t do it in a safe, socially acceptable way.

I don’t really know how to explain everything.  It’s sort of like what happened with the Civil Rights Movement back in the sixties.  The government gave some people rights and other people—my dad calls them melisha or something—took those rights away . . . without . . . I think it’s called due process.


I don’t always understand my dad when he’s ranting about the government.  He doesn’t really do it for my benefit.  When I try to ask him about it, he says that everything better be okay by the time I’m old enough to benefit from his profanity or he’s moving us all to Canada.

Maybe I should just explain what my family does and why it is so dangerous.  My dad is a wedding officiant and my mom is a one-stop wedding coordinator.  We hold super secret weddings on the roof of our shop where tall fake solar panels block us from view.  The melisha is what makes is what makes this so dangerous.  After the government said that everybody had the right to get married, the melisha made it so that only the people they liked could get married in public.  If they didn’t like you, the only wedding you’d ever be allowed to have was the printing of your marriage certificate off of your home computer.  If you tried to get married in public, you might be shot or kidnapped or a bomb might go off and kill everyone at your wedding.  You’d have to get married in shame, without the sanction of your community or the blessing of your family and friends.

Here are the people that the melisha doesn’t like:
  • People with disabilities or with family histories of certain conditions or diseases.
  • People who’ve made mistakes with drugs or who’ve gone to jail.
  • Atheists and Non-Christians.
  • People marrying outside of their race.
  • People who are infertile.
  • People who don’t have health insurance or lots of debt.
  • People who live together before marriage, who are not virgins or who have been married more than once.
  • People who are gay.

My dad says that no one should ever be ashamed of love.  That’s why we do what we do and why we don’t care about heaven.


“Mom,” I turn to my mother who is pressing gum paste into pale sugary flowers.  “How did you learn all of this stuff?”

“Well,” she says in a way that tells me she’s editing the truth.  “I didn’t have very much help with my own wedding.”

I try not to look too interested.  My mother never talks about the past.  Maybe if I’m quiet enough, innocent enough, a bit of the story will press its way to the surface.  I wrack my mind for a non-threatening question.

“What flowers did you make then?”  The air around me is thick, as if she know what I am thinking.

“Daisies.”  She laughs, releasing a sigh.  The delicate, giant peony trembles in her hand.  “Little white daisies.”

“Like the ones I stamp out now with cookie cutters?”

“Exactly.  They were always the easiest.”  She creases her brow, pretending that the giant white flower is especially tricky even though we’ve made about eighty of them today.  Our freezer is full of sugary flowers.  “Make sure you roll the paste out thin enough, Love.”

My whole life is rolling out gum paste.

When I’m not rolling out gum paste, I’m sewing on pearls, practicing the harp, making phyllo cups and sweeping up rice.

Downstairs, the store bells jingle open.  We both freeze. 

“You better get it.”  My mother says gesturing to my work gloves.  “I have gum paste under my nails.”

Tossing the latex gloves aside, I leave the sugary dough where it is and zip down the staircase at the back of our condo into the flower shop below.  On my way, I pull my hair out of its netting, tie on my red apron with the words Valentine’s Garden embroidered across the front and paste on a big cheerful smile.

“Hi,” I squeak in the direction of two frumpy middle aged women.  Cheerful, cheerful, cheerful, I think.  “How can I help you?”

They ignore me.  I catch the name of someone named Dorris as they putter around the make-your-own fruit basket section.  Poor Dorris.  The two women exchange catty grins as they load an Easter basket with homemade kiwi leather, Asian pears wrapped in gold foil, pretzels, imported cheese, a sausage roll and a jar of mustard.  There is one true thing I know: a sausage roll is not sympathetic.

While I watch the two women murder Dorris with their increasingly impersonal selections, the store bell rings again.  Hmmmm.  We don’t get many customers this early in the morning.

The woman who walks in is soft and small—much softer than me, with my muscles built up from riding the delivery bike in the evenings.  She totters up to the counter in a sweatshirt much too big for her and draws her bright red hair around her face like a veil.

“Hello.”  I say as if too many words might make her melt.

She doesn’t say anything at first, only looks around as if she’s not sure that she’s wants to be here.  Under her thin hair, a dark bruise blooms across her left cheekbone. Her eyes lock on an old marble statue of St. Valentine behind the register.  Only then does she look at me and smile.

Ah, she’s here to see my dad.

I give my line just the way he taught me.  “Ah, Miss Johnson, we have your order in the back.”

The corners of my lips and eyes beam cheerful, cheerful, cheerful but I am careful not to let the pitch of my voice crawl to high as I call to the frumpy women in the fruit basket aisle, “You ladies just ring if there is anything you need.”

The women ignore my merry little wrap of the bell on the counter.  They are too wrapped up in chocolate dipped shortbread.

I flick on the workroom light.  When I do, the metal detector hidden in the doorway springs to life.  The woman who follows me in, isn’t even carrying house keys.  Somewhere in the basement, my father makes a note of this.

“Are you afraid of dogs?”  I ask as Mitzi, our ninety pound German Shepherd rises from her spot in the corner and sniffs her for the scent of explosives.  Mitzi flops to the floor disappointed.
“Hold on to the handrail.  It’s pitch black.”  I push a large bookshelf to the side and lead her down a steep flight of stairs.  The office below is sound proof, cell phone proof and magnetized against digital media.  It is a place where everything is written longhand, a place where the wrong person can shot from behind a two way mirror.

My dad sits behind that two way mirror now.  But I do not look.  I have had too much practice.  Instead, I hand the woman a clipboard and a stack of forms that will take her an hour to fill out.

“When will your fiancé get here?”

“She was supposed to meet me here.”

She, I think, averting my eyes from her bruise.  Must have been her father or boyfriend-figure who did that.  I see it all the time.

I go up and look for the fiancé.  It doesn’t surprise me when I don’t find her in the shop.  More people chicken out than go through with it.  I ring up the frumpy ladies’ fruit basket, hot gluing artificial roses to handle as per their request.  My mother has a jug of ice tea and a plate of sandwiches waiting upstairs for my father’s clients.  I bring them down to the woman in the soundproof room.

“She isn’t here yet.” I say. The woman looks as if she might burst into tears. “Is there a phone number where I can reach her?”

The woman shakes her head.  “I don’t want to get her in trouble.”

I look at the bruise on her cheek and think about the fact that she didn’t bring house keys with her.  The oversized messenger bag strung across her bony shoulders might very well hold everything she owns.  It has happened before.  People don’t understand that a wedding isn’t an instantaneous thing.  “Do you have a place to go tonight?”

She emits a strange low keel. 

I want to tell her that we have rooms and beds for our most desperate clients.  But I can’t tell her that she is desperate.  So I say, “I should go up and wait for her.”

The afternoon wears on.   Customers wander in and out, mostly ignoring me until they make their purchases.  I arrange the delivery of eighteen funeral wreaths, three identical virgin-Christian-heterosexual-perfect-Barbie-Doll-wedding-in-a-box shipments and about thirty-five ladies-who-lunch-type arrangements.  The smirky, impersonal fruit baskets fly off the shelves and I sell half a gazillion potted orchids meant to brighten up half a gazillion corporate offices.

The fiancé doesn’t come.  The woman still waits downstairs.

Dad should really be the one to handle these things.

I draw the shop’s embroidered curtains and sweep the sidewalk in front of the store, gathering the litter into a small pile by the dumpster.  I pull the lid of the dumpster open.

It moans.

All of a sudden, I know what’s happened to the fiancé.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

PROMPT NUMBER TWENTY-FIVE late because of math. Yep, I needed to double-check that 25 was in fact not the middle of the year, so I neglected to post this earlier. *facepalm*

Anyway. This week's prompt:

Write a short story of 1,000-10,000 words based on the following:

You'd think there couldn't be anything sinister about a flower shop. And you'd be so very wrong.

Best of luck!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jennifer's Story Pick, Week 24

I love the way Brooke uses names in this piece especially the way she gives the softest, almost feminine name to the dirt bag and the unsettling way it interplays with what the MC is doing to the mannequin.

           Griffin tapped the paintbrush against the side of the bowl before bringing it up to the mannequin’s neck. She contemplated, then made two dots, one more oblong than the other. She fanned the red paint with her hand, lightly blowing on it ‘til it gained the desired effect.

            An arm reached over her head and plucked a fluffy, pink hat on the figurine’s molded hair. It slipped down over the eyes, the nose catching its fall.
            Griffin pulled it off and threw it in one of the drama department’s shady corners. Her head tilted back to look Win in the face, “It clashed with the morbid feel I was going for.”
            The boy shrugged, “I for one thought it added a touch of irony.”
            She turned back to the doll, “It did, I’ll give you that, but it would have made no logical sense.”
            He slid down next to her, “Ah, how’s that?”
            She used the heel of her hand to brush away a stray hair, “Well, if you were running from a vampire, the last thing you’d be worried about was your hat.”
            Win’s upper lip twitched, settled back down.
            He kissed her forehead, narrowly avoiding blue lips, “It’s just amuses me that you can talk of logic and vampires and not bat an eye.”
            Her eyelids came down in a deliberate motion, “There, my eye has been batted. Happy now?”
            “It would appear so.”
            Griffin grunted and turned back to the mannequin, “Hand me the seam ripper?”
            He retrieved it from a pile of used brushes and placed it in her hand. She positioned it against the fabric.
            “So what happened?” Win asked casually, leaning back on his hands.
            The seam ripper slashed through the model’s shirt, “What do you mean?”
            Win tilted his head to the side, maintaining his offhand tone, “What I mean is you don’t spend after school hours on one of your dummies unless you’re upset.”
            Another rip through the figure’s skirt, “It’s nothing.”
            “The mannequin would beg to differ.”
            She set the seam ripper down, “I had a fight with Cory. That’s all.”
            The muscles in Winn’s face locked up, one by one, “Griffin.”
            “It wasn’t anything big, a little argument,” her hands knit together in her lap.
            “Griffin,” the growl in his throat intensified.
            “Nothing happened. He didn’t—”
            Win grabbed the back of her shirt, cutting her off. He rolled the fabric back and a hiss escaped his teeth. Her back resembled an abstract that, half way to completion, the artist decided was grotesque and tore to pieces.
            “Oh, Griff,” his words were soft but she jerked away and stood, pulling her shirt down.
            He stood, too, facing her across the dummy, “Why do you keep letting him do this to you?”
            “It’s none of your business,” she looked down at the wooden floorboards, tugging at her hem line.
            “None of my business? Have you even looked at your back?” His voice verged on shouting.
            She stooped down and starting piling up her paint bowls, ignoring him.
            “That’s just great. You’re going to keep on pretending that none of this is happening while that excuse for a douche bag is using you for boxing practice. Well, if that’s the way you want it then—”
            A bowl smashed against the mannequin’s plastic chest, spraying red paint across the doll’s face and clothes.
Griffin stood on her feet again, screaming, “You think I like being smacked every time I say the littlest thing wrong? You think I like being hit over and over because I can’t make it to some concert? I don’t. I hate it. And that’s why,” a trapped breath rattled in her throat, “That’s why I told him to fuck off when he called this afternoon.”
Win licked his lips, “Good for you, Griff.”
A tear spilled over the ledge of her eye. It became a waterfall as more cascaded down her cheeks. Win pulled her into his arms and she sobbed against his shoulder, soaking the cotton.
“Griffin,” he whispered when she stopped shaking.
“What?” She hiccuped.
“Can I have the mannequin?”
She looked over her shoulder and sighed, “Might as well. It won’t do me any good now.”

Cory Stevens woke that night with chills. His feet thumped to the floor and he dragged himself to the window. His arms were raised to shut it when the face on the other side registered. He nearly shit himself.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Just Another Day at the Office

Wow, gotta love time differences where I'm STILL not late for the Friday feature even though it's 2:00 pm on Saturday here. Hehe.

So yeah, this is the beginning of this week's story, and when I say beginning I mean there's more, and will be more still. Yeah, I keep writing stories that turn into 'beginnings'! Gahhh!

Please excuse the vulgar beginning just happened.

Just Another Day at the Office

One of these days, my life will suck less than a two dollar street whore.

That's what I tell myself every day at the crack of dawn—no, before the damn crack, it's always pitch-black when I step out the door—as I head off to work in my battered car, wondering if it's going to break down around the next bend. Part of me always hopes it will. Not that my bosses'd take that as an excuse. Well, they'd take it as an excuse to fire me. And as much as I'd love to be fired, I need this job.

I need the money.

Just not sure if it's worth the suicidal depression.

Maybe I'm better off starving on the streets, shivering my bones into dust?

It's just, it's not only about me, you know? I've got other mouths to feed.

So I stay, and I watch the white teeth flashing as they fly towards me, intent on sinking into flesh. Those creatures aren't human anymore; not really. But they're under the care of the state, and I work for the state, and it's my job to care for those creatures.

To make sure they don't kill themselves, or anyone else.

I guess that includes me.

Got to stop them from killing me.

Easier said than done, though. 'Cause they've got really sharp teeth.

"We're in lockdown," Marisa tells me needlessly as I walk in the entrance to the hospital. Needlessly because the sirens are blaring and I kind of got the memo already. Still, Marisa likes to state the facts, whether or not they're obvious.

She sounds bored, but then that's usual for her. Even patient rioting can't get her energised. The sirens are an annoyance to her, not a concern. I'm still not sure that anything concerns her.

Fact is, Marisa is a veteran on this ward.

She's seen it all.

She's even seen the teeth sinking in, redness welling all around, dribbling down, tap tap tapping as it drips on the linoleum floor.

I guess she's learned the most valuable lesson any of us can learn:

Don't assume you know what's going to happen on any given day. You don't.

"Good morning to you too," I respond to Marisa, nodding to her as I approach.

"Report to Lazar," she calls gruffly from behind me as I move past. I know it's all I'm going to get. Marisa doesn't do greetings. She does business.

Report to Lazar, though? Really? It must be pretty serious if I've got to report to Lazar this early on in the shift. Usually I'd go to my shift manager and get a list of duties for the first few rounds. They change daily 'round these parts. But…report to Lazar. Got to be serious for that.

I knock on the brown wooden door that bears Lazar's name in gold letters. Stencilled gold letters. And more bronze than gold, I guess. Or maybe it's just that they're faded. Flaking a little, around the edges. Even smudged on the R. I read LAZAR MONTAGUE, M.D. Except that's so last decade. Lazar's done a lot since he got his M.D.

A lot.

"Come," he calls from inside the office, his voice muffled by wood and distance. I open the door and step inside, surveying my surroundings as I go. His office is…well, let's just say cluttered. If you don't take everything in, you're bound to trip over some of it. I always plan out my path to his desk before approaching it, lest some unfortunate accident happen.

I've got enough trouble as it is without breaking my ankle or something.

"Ah, good morning Mr. Mason," Lazar intones, his voice rich like golden syrup. Or hell, why not just go with honey? Why, because that's unmanly, of course. You can't call another guy's voice honey. Then again, golden syrup's probably worse…

I'd call it gravel—that sounds more manly—but it doesn't really fit.

"Morning, Sir." I stop in front of his desk, peering down at him with arms clasped behind my back. "You needed to see me?"

Lazar removes his spectacles and rubs at his eyes. He's tired, but who isn't? Still, I don't envy him his job. I don't envy him anything.


That's how he begins. I wait patiently, knowing there's more.

"The lockdown."

A sigh gusts out of him and his shoulders slump for a moment. Then he squares them, sits up straight, regards me with bright, if bloodshot, eyes. "It's a little more serious this time… We've had outbreaks on floor three, I think those are subdued for the most part. But level 5…"

My heart sinks, and I feel cold. Level 5? That can't be good.


He shakes his head. "It's more…what's happening in the rooms." A frown appears on his forehead, knitting his brows together. "To the patients."

Moments pass, and the silence is loud. I can still hear the sirens, of course—they won't switch off until the situation is contained. Whenever the hell that'll be. But there's a reason Lazar called me in here. I'm one of twenty-plus staff members starting a shift at this time of day. I'm just one of many.

But he's singled me out.

Can't be good.

"You want me up there, Sir?"

"If you don't mind, Mason."

If I don't mind? Yes, I damn well mind. I don't want to get infected! But I can't say that. It's my job to not say that. It's my job to nod and murmur, "Yes, Sir, right away," and then turn away and walk calmly to the door, unclasping my hands only at the last moment. Any sooner and I'd look desperate, like I'm already envisioning gripping the door handle and throwing the door open, leaping out into the corridor and turning left—toward the exit—instead of right—toward the lift.

No desperation here. Or rather, none permitted on the outside. I can feel as desperate as I like within, as long as I don't do anything with it.

Beyond bury it as far down as it will go.

Bury it, and forget it.

Forget about having any semblance of a life.

It's not my job to have a life.

It's my job to risk my life, every day of the week.

I punch the lift button for level 5 and wait, trying not to chew my lip hard enough to draw blood.

Level 5.

Not a good place to be.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Prompting again from the middle of nowhere . . .

Write a 1,000-10,000 word story (or 333-3,333 verse story) about:

"Look, that's really cute, but it doesn't exactly go with bite marks."

Good luck!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Trisha's story pick, Week 23

Verse!! He did verse! ;) and by "he", I mean Michael of course. Hehe.

She Sailed Away: A Haiku

“No, Marjorie, no!

You must not ride that fiendish

Crocodile. Oy.”

“Ha,” said Marjorie.

“I laugh. Like crazed hyena

Eating deer. Ha. Ha.

I will ride it. I

Have tamed the horrid beastie

He is like so cute.”

“CUTE?” exclaimed Prince Bob.

“He is a vicious eating

Machine! See his teeth!”

“He is not vicious.

I have named him Snuggly-poo.”

She gave it a pat.

“And I shall now ride

Snuggly-poo down the Nile.

It will be fun, yes?”

“It will be fun, NO.

Princess Caitlin would never

Think of doing this.”

“Caitlin is a big

Dork. Her guard is a short mime.

Not very impressive.

Now, as I have said

I will ride Snuggly-poo down

The Nile. I love him!”

“Hmph,” hmphed Prince Bob. “Hmph.”

When Snuggly-poo eats you, don’t

Say you were not warned.

He will bite your head

Om nom nom nom. And then he-


“Zombies? Oh please, Bob.”

Like I would really fall for

That silly trick-” UUUUUUUUURG.”

“Wait. Bob, I’m not sure.

Is urg one syllable or


The zombies came on

Moaning like horrible things

That moan. Urg. Urg. Urg.

They surrounded poor

Lady Marjorie and Bob.

Things looked super bad.

Then, out of nowhere,

Snuggly-poo! Heroic! Brave!

Eating the zombies!

Then one zombie bit

Poor doomed Snuggly-poo.He died

Then came back all wrong.

“Oh no no!” she screamed.

“My nose of hope is stuffed up

With snot of despair!”

“Fear not!” exclaimed Bob.

“For tissue wipes away snot,

And we may yet live!”

Marjorie thought hard

For a new nose metaphor.

“I got zilch,” she said.

Then Bob recalled his

Rifle. He pulled it out and

Bam bam. Double-tap.

The zombies were gone

And so was Zombie Snuggly-

Poo. Hip hip hooray.

“Well, that is just great.

What will I do for fun now?”

she said, very mad.

Bob sighed. “Why don’t you

Go read a book. Books are fun!”

“Blow it out your ear.”

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Week 23 Wrap-Up

Week 23 saw us writing to this prompt (from me, Trisha):

You love him
You love him more than this
You love him, and you cannot
You can't resist.

At the time I forgot to mention that it was song lyrics, courtesy of the Smashing Pumpkins, my all-time favourite band. So anyway...those lines prompted the following...

  • Friday featured was ...nothing! Yay!
  • There was also no Saturday pick...go figure. :P
  • Sunday's pick, chosen by Trisha, was the verse written by the multi-talented Michael! Titled (and subtitled) "She Sailed Away: A Haiku", this was really quite epic and a little bit genius!
  • Jes wrote a story called "Nightingale" which also combined Prompt 24 (which is a story for another pun intended on the 'story' part)
  • Brooke confuzzled some folks, but in such STYLE! Her story this week was about a girl and a cliff, and treachery!
And I think the Chrysalis hosts wrote stuff, or at least I know I did, but I'm drawing a blank so I'm going to fill that in later. hehe

Week 22 Wrap-Up

Another retro-actively posted Wrap Up post, which I will indeed be backdating!

In Week 22, our prompt from Winter was as follows:

"I remember.
I wish I didn't remember.
Maybe if I wish hard enough, the memories will just fall away. Like the smell of old perfume dissipating. Like the innocence of white chalk darkening under the rain. Like the dying color of that crimson blood as he washed it from my hands."

And we had the following responses:


Monday, June 6, 2011


Ya, it's that time again. And this time, write between 1,000 and 10,000 words on the following:

You love him
You love him more than this
You love him, and you cannot
You can't resist.

Good luck, 'cause if you're like me right now you'll need it. hehe

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Winter's Story Pick, Week 22

This week's Sunday pick comes to you from Madeline! Love this interpretation of my wacko prompt. =]

I Know You're Wrong, Boy

“Ah, God, the sink,” she moaned as the blood rinsed off her hands and swirled down the satin white basin.

“Don’t worry about it,” he whispered back to her, trying to restrain all of his tears. “Please don’t.”

She shook her head and looked around his bathroom. It must have been twice the size of her own room, even if her room was small. Everything seemed to be draped in gorgeous creamy satin white, and there she was. A bloody mess, staining his bathroom. “God, oh, God.”

“No,” he commanded. “Don’t you dare be sorry.” His voice shook with pain. Or maybe it was fear. “Please, don’t be sorry. Don’t.”

She itched her face with her shoulder, while he held her hands under the sink. She yanked away from the water, even if it was the cleanest she had ever seen. The water turned to steamy hot, and she couldn’t take it.

Shaking her hands, she drew a few pieces of glass from her palm, examining it in the light.

He closed his eyes tightly, wishing she would put the piece of glass down. He grabbed it from her hands and tossed it onto the ground, watching the shard shatter into even smaller pieces.

He began to cuss under his breath.

She reached for his wrist, and shot him a glance that he knew only she would give in a time like this. “You’re. . . you. . .” he stuttered. “I can’t. . .”

She didn’t say anything, but she nodded slightly. Her blue eyes cut straight into his. “Don’t blame it on yourself.”

He drew back sharply, but then regretted it. Her blood felt warm on his wrist, it felt warm on his icy skin. “Who am I going to blame it on? You?”

She sighed heavily and shrugged. “Accidents happen.”

“It wasn’t an accident, and you know it damn well.” His voice was finale, but a terrible amount of sorrow and regret hung in it. “It was an impulse. Why don’t you hate me?”

“I don’t hate you, boy. I just want to save you while there’s still something left of your soul.”

He took a step back, only to be mimicked by her taking a step closer. Her blue eyes were caustic and suffocating, and he couldn’t shake them from his memory.

Nor could he ever shake the memory from his eyes. She was physically scarred for life, and he was mentally scarred.

He didn’t mean it. He wasn’t angry. She was gorgeous, and he couldn’t even begin to admit it. He watched as her fingers gild across his ivory piano keys, the pedal meshing everything together as she created a beautiful song.

He hated to admit she was the most beautiful creature he had seen. He hated to admit that he had an obsession. And he hated even more to admit that it was a terrible unhealthy addiction.

The glass vase was the closest thing next to him, and he grabbed it, wrapping his large fingers around it angrily. He slammed it on the piano, onto his keys, and onto her fingers, shattering it over her palms.

He drew it back and held it above his head, ready to smash it right over her skull, when he saw a small tear fall down her red cheek and watched as her face transformed into one of sheer terror and pure fear.

He was a monster, she very well knew it, and he knew it too. She hated to admit that he was the most beautiful creature she had ever seen. She hated to admit that he was a monster. And she hated to admit even more that she felt it was all her fault.

He insisted it wasn’t, but she knew it was.

He opened his eyes to see her starring him straight in the face, her eyes cutting deep into his. So deep, he was afraid she could see his heart.

Her hand grabbed the collar of his shirt, holding a fistful of cotton. She stared at him for a while, wondering who he was. She knew, but she wanted to know more.

“I don’t get you.”

“I don’t want you to,” he said. And he meant it.

“Oh, don’t say that.”

“I’m a monster.” He searched her face doubtingly. “I don’t understand you either. Why do you have to make everything your fault?”

She sucked on the inside of her cheek, never releasing the grasp she had on his shirt. “Because I’m dirty and bloody. You’re almost too perfect to be faulted.”

“Almost doesn’t count.”

His fingers curled around her wrist, pulling her hand away from him, holding it against her face.

“What if,” she began. “What if I’m really the monster? What if your perception is completely wrong? Your definition of monster could be wrong, and I could be the real monster, the real demonic one. Not you. Me.”

“You’d be wrong.”

“I’d be right.” She was far more monstrous than he was.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Trisha's story pick...... weeek....what is it again?? 22?

So, I don't think I had much choice this week........ it's epic Caitlin, and here goes (p.s. still haven't written my own!!!!!!!!):

Caitlin vs. Susan

Vsssh. Vmmm. Vmmmm-bmmmm-vmmm. Vsssh vsssh pssht. crackle crackle vmmm. Vsssh. Vmmm vmmm bmmm.

Red and blue light flared across the chamber of the Puzzle of Worlds, as Caitlin and Susan fought in titanic battle. Sweat beaded across Caitlin’s forehead, and her heart raced like a baby jackhammer that had eaten too much sugar and was running rings around its little jackhammer playroom and keeping its frustrated jackhammer babysitter from studying for jackhammer college finals. She (Caitlin, not the little baby jackhammer of our extended metaphor) had known the fight was going to be stressful, but she hadn’t imagined it’d be nearly this bad. As red plasma flashed past her face, coming way way too close, Caitlin had to admit that she was, to use the technical term, in deep doo-doo. All her fights thus far, against random minions and incompetent assassins, had only been as prelude to Susan’s symphony of evil.

Even fighting Vladimir the Marauder hadn’t been as bad, for one big reason; Caitlin had been able to use the sword she’d practiced with all through her sad childhood. Lightsaber-fighting was a whole new ballgame. For one thing, the plasma blade was practically weightless, where her old blade had the comfortable heft of tried steel. When Caitlin swung the lightsaber, her arm still gave its accustomed push to the blade, which meant that it swung wide of the mark, throwing her off-balance and leaving her vulnerable to a serious counter-strike from Susan. The only reason why Susan hadn’t yet delivered the counter-strike, at least not in a serious way, was that she was merely toying with Caitlin, and the princess knew it, and she was seriously ticked. But she couldn’t do much about it. Had she known the proper forms of lightsaber combat, she might have stood a fighting chance, but she didn’t know diddly. (About lightsabers, that is; she did know Diddly quite well, as Diddly was the name of a pet skink of which she was quite fond). Susan, on the other hand, had spent decades of Character Hell-time in traveling through Star Wars fiction and mastering every sequence of every form, from the energetic gymnastics of Ataru to the impenetrable defense of Soresu to the sheer kinetic power of Djem So. She could counter Caitlin’s wide swings and desperate charges with one hand, which she did, not without a goodly amount of taunting.

“What, no witty banter?” Susan called, after Caitlin’s twentieth mad charge failed. “C’mon! Witty banter’s sort of a tradition in these things! I’m going to be really disappointed in a minute!”

Caitlin was too busy fending off her enemy’s leisurely counter-attack to respond substantively, but she shot a quick look towards her shoulder-angel. “Hey, you, quick, banter ideas! Now!” she hissed, in between a rapid flurry of defensive circles.

The shoulder-angel had been pacing very rapidly back and forth in mid-air, wringing its tiny hands and lamenting the fact that it couldn’t do anything to help. Now it squeaked in angelic excitement. “Okay! Yes! Banter! I can do that! Um um um…hey, about a Bible verse!”

“Great! Which one?”

“Oh dear, let me think…you’ll want something wrathful, fire and brimstone-y, um, let’s see….ooh! Ooh! I saw this in a Youtube video once! It’ll be perfect!” The shoulder angel whipped a flashcard out of thin air and gave it a flick; golden light flashed and neat words appeared on the card. Caitlin was in such desperate hurry that she snatched the flashcard and read the words without stopping to consider what she was saying.

“You want witty banter, Susan? Fine! I’ll give you way more than banter! Psalm! 38! 7! For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease, and there…is…no….” Caitlin paused, and turned very slowly to face her shoulder angel. She didn’t have to worry about an attack from Susan, as the Mistress of Character Hell had doubled over in gales of hysterical laughter. Caitlin spoke very quietly. “Maybe you should recheck that reference.”

The shoulder-angel looked to be near tears. “I thought…I thought I had the right one…I didn’t mean…”

The princess had no time to console her distraught angel-friend, for at that moment Susan recovered from her giggling fit and decided that it was time to stop playing around. She straightened up and snapped her fingers, and the air swirled around them like milk and ice cream in a blender, producing a metaphorical milkshake of chaos. When the swirl cleared, they were standing on a balcony which overlooked the vast Plain of Minions. Suspended on the high wall behind the balcony was a massive JumboTron screen. “Maybe I should provide the banter!” Susan announced, her voice magnified and echoing across the plain. Crowds of minions stopped their endless combat and trooped closer to see what was going on. “Or perhaps I’ll just skip to the Dramatic Revelation!”

She waved towards the JumboTron, and its black surface buzzed with white static, looking very much like chalk scribbled across a really big blackboard. Then the white cleared away, and a colorful scene appeared. Caitlin gasped. It was her mother. Queen Maralyn. The queen was fighting smoothly and easily against a squad of minions, her sword flashing in the midday sun. Some distance away Caitlin saw her father fighting with Vladimir the Marauder. Then she saw Vladimir break away, and run towards Maralyn, who had her back turned to him, unaware of her impending danger. Caitlin drew in a breath, knowing what she was about to see…and then to her complete shock, she saw Susan materialize out of thin air on that long-ago battlefield and run Maralyn through before the queen even knew she was there. Caitlin, her face terribly pale, turned towards Susan. “Oh, yeah, should’ve mentioned that before, I guess,” Susan said. “See, I did send Vladimir to kill your mother, but when it actually came to the point, I thought, hey, this is really something I should take care of myself, you know? That’s a sign of a good leader, one that doesn’t just delegate things to subordinates. Especially not when my subordinates are all crappy imbecilic minions. I mean, take the stormtroopers for example. Precise shots my foot; those people couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn if they were standing right next to it. And let’s not even mention all the guards from fantasy worlds who don’t even know which end of their sword to stick at the hero. Honestly. So, to recap, I killed your mother. Bam, dramatic revelation. Surprised?”

Caitlin yelled one single incoherent cry and charged at Susan, who nonchalantly struck a blow with her lightsaber that smashed through the hilt of Caitlin’s blade, just barely missing her fingers. Caitlin’s blue blade vanished, and now red plasma was pressing close to her own throat. “Give up yet?” Susan asked, smiling viciously. “Or maybe you’d like to consult with your little shoulder-friends there?”

The princess’s shoulder devil wanted to fight to the last, but the shoulder angel (who had unaccountably vanished during the JumboTron replay) now reappeared and whispered something urgently in Caitlin’s ear. Caitlin sighed, dropped the smoking fragments of her lightsaber hilt, and raised her hands.

Susan accepted the surrender with all the grace and magnanimity befitting her position as ruler of Character Hell. “AWWWWW YYYYEEEEEEAH! Uh-huh! Uh-huh! It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday! That’s right! Who’s rad, who’s bad, who’s never been h-”


Susan paused in her jubilant celebration. “Um. What was that?”


She glanced up. How peculiar. The JumboTron seemed to be tilting very slightly towards her. She assumed it was probably an optical illusion of sorts-

*snap snap wrench CREEEEEEAK skrench tilt*

“Oh no.”

Susan backpedaled frantically, but she banged up against the rail of the balcony, and she had nowhere else to go. The JumboTron ponderously wrenched free of the wall and tumbled towards her. Then it paused, hanging in mid-air, and Susan glanced over to Caitlin, who still had her hands raised. The princess smiled. “So, my shoulder angel went off and did some research real quick. I think I underestimated the power of the light side.”

“Heh, heh…” Susan said. “Look, that thing about killing your mother, that wasn’t really personal, you know, just-”

“Please don’t say it was just business. It wasn’t just business to me, and you sure seemed happy about it then. So give me one good reason why I shouldn’t drop this thing on you right now.”

“I’ll let you out of here!” Susan pleaded. “I’ll send you right back to your own world!”

“Not quite good enough.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll even send Colin the Mime-Assassin back with you! And hey, since your mother’s still on Earth, the fictional one anyway, I’ll send her back too! You’ll have her back again! Good enough?”

“It’ll do.”

Susan snapped her fingers for the last time, and a hole opened up in the wall. Beyond it shone the green fields and forests of Caitlin’s own kingdom. The princess started tiredly towards the hole, put one boot through it, and then glanced back. “Just so you know, I’m guessing this light-side telekinesis thing doesn’t keep going once I cross over.” She stepped all the way through before the surprised Susan could utter a word of protest. “Oops.”

Susan dived over the rail, just in time to avoid getting squished by the falling JumboTron. She fell a long way, but fortunately for her, she managed to summon a burst of dark-side energy just in time to slow her fall to a moderately gentle glide that landed her with a bump on the plain. Her loyal minions, untold masses of them, surrounded her. Susan smiled. She hadn’t lost yet.
Then Caitlin remembered something, and hopped back through the portal into Character Hell, running to the edge of the balcony and calling down. “Oh, boys? And girls, and, er, metal things…whatever. You all did catch that part about crappy imbecilic minions, right?”

“Yeah,” said Charles, who had pushed his way to the front of the crowd. “Yeah, we caught it.”
“Oh, that,” Susan said, coughing nervously. “Um. Look. That was just…oh, please, you’re not going to do the turning-on-me-thing now, are you? So cliche! The Lion King did that years ago! Honestly, don’t you idiots have even the slightest particle of imagin….a…. ” Her voice trailed away, as it had suddenly occurred to her that insulting the massive horde of heavily armed underlings surrounding her probably wasn’t the most wonderful idea ever.

“Let’s just say we’re following tradition,” Charles said, and closed in, ranks of Stormtroopers, Orcs, robots, patrol-soldiers, droids, rats, and hyenas, following behind.

Caitlin didn’t stay to watch. She dived back again through the portal just before it closed, landing on the fresh-smelling dirt of her own proper world. Caitlin breathed a happy sigh. It was over at last.

Then she shot a look upwards towards the cloudless sky. “Excuse me? Author? What, no happily ever after?”

An echo-y voice, er, echoed down from the heavens. This isn’t the end of the Caitlin Chronicles, silly. Just this one story arc. Maybe you don’t live happily ever after. I don’t even know yet.

“Yeah, but after all you put me through, getting turned into a zombie penguin, getting killed, getting killed again, going to Character Hell, nearly disappearing from all existence, I think I deserve a bit of consideration, don’t you think?”

Well….okay, fine, have it your way.

“Thank you.”

And they all lived happily ever after.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Simian Crease

A short one this time.

I remember.

I wasn’t supposed to, but the memory still clings to me in full color:  their grass-green eyes, pale skin polished bright as the sunrise, lolling blue tongues between poppy-red lips.  My parents—part flowers, part lace-wing flies, the aspects of immortal children—they left me here.

To die.

And taking her instead, a sniveling mortal.

They left me here swaddled in her clothing, white as a chalk outline around my flailing body.  They looked down on me—small, helpless, heart eternally tied to them—and they turned their backs.

I remember crying—trying to call them back to me.  My skin turned a molted purple.  Her humans came to pacify me, not knowing the difference, not understanding that they did not belong to me.  I did not stop crying.

Her humans brought me to their shamans, their curanderos, their specialists.  I did not eat.  I did not sleep.  I only cried.

When I had cried for seven years, I realized that crying would not make them come back—ever.  Their scent had faded despite everything I did to suck it into my lungs, pour it out through my tears.  So I let my body fall silent, hushed the green heart beating inside of me, let the human world make what it would of my abandoned shell.

But I never forgot.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Week 21 Wrap-Up

I know this is like, REALLY OLD, but I'm compelled to do it anyway... And yeah, I'm TOTALLY backdating!

During week 21, we had this prompt from Jenn:

"There's only so much you can account for while doing dead man floats on the shallow end of the kiddy pool."

And we had the following stories to read:

And that was it, to my knowledge at least!