Monthly Archives: July 2014

Fiction: Royal Homecoming (468 words)

It was hard for her to take him seriously.  It wasn’t that he didn’t look the part, because these days he certainly did.  He was so much taller than when she last saw him.  He had their father’s strong jaw and their mother’s blue eyes that could cut to your soul if you let them, perfectly cut blonde hair, and broad shoulders all dressed up in the well-tailored fashion—he looked every part the King that he’d become.

But it was very hard to take a man seriously when you once watched him run around in his underwear with his pants on his head.  And by one she meant every time their mother took her eyes off him for longer than three minutes all the way up to his seventh birthday.

But, in spite of all that, she remembered her manners and curtsied low.  “Your grace, I swear my allegiance to you as our one true king, if you will welcome as much.”

“Your allegiance is greatly appreciated and humbly accepted.  Rise, subject, and take my blessing.”  It was the practice often recited phrase, but he rushed through it as quickly as his mouth would allow him.  She stood slowly and gracefully as she had been taught, but saw that the regal king wasn’t there anymore, but her little brother bouncing on the balls of his feet and waiting for all the pomp and circumstance to be done.

He grinned his goofy smile and waited until she was fully standing before he rushed forward and pulled her into a hug.  “Oh, Lizzie! It’s so good to see you.  I’m glad you’ve come home. I thought you might stay abroad the full ten years that Father sent you for.”

“And miss chance to see your rule, Arnie? Not a chance.”  Even though he was much taller than her now, she still held his face on both sides and pulled him down so she could kiss him on the forehead the way she did when they were little and she helped to tuck him in at night.

“So, you’ll stay?  I know you enjoyed being an Ambassador for Father and you do good work with keeping relations healthy, but I would love it if you’d be on my council, Lizzie.”

She straightened up, and with a formality that could almost be considered mocking she dipped into another proper curtsy.  “I’ll do as you wish, Lord, Grace, and Brother.”

“No, no, no,” Arnold almost whined as he pulled her out of the curtsy.   “You are my big sister and the only person who gets to decide completely for themselves.  Do you want to stay, or do you want to go?”

Elizabeth smiled her own version of his goofy smile.  “I’d like to stay with you, Arnie.  It feels good to be home.”

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Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Stories


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Fiction: Rough Night (258 words)

“How bad is it?”  Mara lifted her chin so that Andy could get a better look at where the knife had been held.  Andy shrugged and reached into the little first aid kit he’d gotten out earlier.

“We’ve seen worse—about a quarter-inch long, but not deep at all.  I don’t think stitches are necessary. Want me to tape it up for you?”

“Yes please,” she put her fingers up to the cut and pulled them away red, “Only a quarter-inch? Huh—It feels worse than that.”

“Well, you were also almost strangled.  So maybe you’re confusing the knife cut with the rope burn.  Disinfectant now, hold still.”  Andy applied the little pad to the cut and Mara winced and swatted feebly at her brother.

“I suppose that could be true.  This was not my best outing ever, huh?”

“I would say not.  Stop talking and let me finish this.”  Mara tapped out something with the toe of her boot against the ground as Andy finished with the cut, but Andy wasn’t listening to what tune she was making.  “Alright, you’re good.”  He said, turning to put the excess materials away.

“Hey, Andy, do you think that we could not mention this one to Col?”  Mara asked, reaching up to touch the tape under her chin.

Andy smacked her hand away lightly.  “Don’t want to confess that you messed up that badly?” He laughed when she nodded sheepishly.  “Alright.  But if he asks me point-blank about the rope burn on your neck, I’m going to tell him.”


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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Stories


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Fiction: The Family Way Part 27 (329 words)

After finals, life became much easier. I knew that wouldn’t be par for the course after the baby was born, so I was grateful for the reprieve.

Seniors weren’t required to attend the last week of school after finals since they didn’t have schedules to set up for the next year or summer work to get assigned, so Marta went on almost full-time bed rest, and I got the chance to sleep in on a Monday.  On Tuesday, Bradley finally moved in with us, bringing with him the crib assembling services of Mr. Wilson, the interior decorating services of Mrs. Wilson, the old TV from his bedroom, and the first “Andersson-Wilson Dinner party” which consisted of pizza for most of us, a sizeable slice of leftover beef lasagna for Marta, and a sing-along screening of The Sound of Music.

The rest of the week, Bradley and I put our minds to getting the house as ready as we could for the baby, such as getting the nursery as close to done as we could.  Marta had been locked away in her room because she kept trying to help and giving me and Bradley little panic attacks about heavy objects or paint fumes or whether or not she’d be able to get back up once she sat down on the ground to do—well, goodness only knows what Marta would decide to try to do.   So—we provided her with snacks and juice and Bradley’s laptop logged into his parents Netflix account and told her to not get out of bed.  She discovered that Netflix had all seven seasons of MacGyver and all five seasons of Chuck, and then it was hard to get Marta out of bed for everything else.

In theory, we had eight more weeks, two months to finish the preparations, but after the scare from two weeks ago, we weren’t leaving anything to chance.  We wanted to be ready for Arthur whenever he decided to come.

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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Avery and Marta


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Fiction: Family Night Out (192 words)

“I had to convince Mom to call you-you know?” Charlie looked over at Marie and squeezed her hand.  Marie, in turn, gave her sixteen-year-old son a small glare.

“Is that so? A seven-year-old had to convince you to call me?” Charlie asked with a laugh, and in complete disregard of his mother’s glare, Drew nodded, “How did that conversation go?”

“Well–She said she didn’t have the energy to date–so I promised to be less exhausting if she gave you a chance.”

“Really, Marie?”  Charlie laughed.

“Yes, it’s true.  Although, the little jerk forgot his promise about two days in.  Between the two of you, I haven’t gotten any rest in years.”

“I’m very uncomfortable with the implication of that sentence,” Drew whined, pulling a face.

“I’m very uncomfortable with the fact that your son is suggesting you’re making sex jokes,” Charlie countered.

“I’m very uncomfortable with the both of you anytime we’re in public,” Marie sighed, looking nervously at the family sitting at the table behind them,   “Finish your ice cream, both of you.  I’m ready to go home before you decide to spill any more family secrets.”

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Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Stories


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Fiction: Captured (Part 1 of 2) (879 words) (PG-13)

He came to tied tightly to a chair. It seemed like a strange thing to realize but he knew that he’d been tied up by his former partner, Lily.  Because a knot could be as personal as a signature if you knew how to look, and he most definitely recognized this one.

Despite the fact the he was kidnapped, tied up, and (as he began to realize) stripped down to his boxer shorts, the fact that Lily had tied him up herself gave him hope. That indicated that she still found this whole thing very personal.  He could use that to his advantage.

He hadn’t been conscious for very long when she came back into the room. He was amazed by how good and put herself together she looked.  Apparently, the rumors of her insanity had been greatly exaggerated.

But then again, she wasn’t exactly what the average person would describe as “perfectly sane” to begin with.  That was one of the reasons that they had been set as partners, one of the reasons they had worked so well together, and frankly, the reason that he had liked her so much. Perfectly sane was overrated.

And the fact that he liked her so much was the only reason that she was still alive today. They were both painfully aware of that fact.

“Oh, hello, Rodney. Hope you’re comfortable.” She smiled like he’d been invited over for tea.

“Been worse off, I’ll admit that. Quick question. Do you plan on killing me?” His tone was just as casual. No need to set her off if he didn’t have to.

“It’s not in the plans currently, but you know I’ve always been flexible with my plans. So, do try to behave.” She smiled, and then walked over and patted him gently on the head. Like a dog. “So, you look good. I’m glad to see that your desk job hasn’t prevented you from keeping in shape. I know you were always worried about developing a pot belly if you had to return to being a desk jockey.”

“I look so good you couldn’t appreciate it through my suit? You had to strip me down?”

“You’re the one who taught me the art of concealed weapons, Rod.  Did you really think I was going to tie you up without checking you thoroughly to see if you had a knife to cut yourself free? What do you take me for? I was trained well.”

“But you didn’t bother to check my everywhere?” He smirked, nodding at his boxers.

“Oh, don’t worry. You were checked thoroughly. I just figured that we’d try to protect your modesty some. Didn’t want you feeling exposed while I interrogated you.”

“I don’t know. I’ve only got this, and you’re dressed in your lovely suit. It’s not exactly a level playing field is it? I still do feel rather exposed here.”

“Fair enough.”  She chuckled. Slowly, almost like a woman doing a striptease for her eager boyfriend, she removed her heels, her jacket, he blouse, and her trousers, until she was just standing there in a pink and black lingerie set. “Do we feel a little bit more even now?”

“This might be my very favorite interrogation ever.”  Rodney let out a slow breath with a dreamy smile.

“Mmm.” She smiled, and walked over to him. She considered him for a second, and then carefully straddled him, sitting lightly on his legs. She ran a hand up his bare chest, along his jaw, and then tangled it into his hair.

“Enjoying yourself?” he whispered huskily.

“Oh yes. And why shouldn’t I? You know how many women at the base would kill to be where I am right now? Hell, as your partner I wanted to mount you so very many times. But I thought too much of our friendship to drag sex into the equation. It’s a shame.”

“A shame?”

“Yes. If I had known how little regard you had for our friendship I could have settled all the base rumors about what you were like in bed.  But, ah well, here we are.”  She suddenly made a fist in his hair pulling his head back and extending his neck out. Her other hand had a knife, holding it tightly against his Adam’s apple. “Now, all those women who swoon over hearing you read the phone book are going to be very disappointed if I have to damage your voice in any way, but then again it could give you a more rough and husky quality.  But, if you don’t want to find out, I’m going to need you to be very good and stay very still.”

Rodney resisted the urge to swallow, because he was afraid that would move his neck enough to cut skin. He knew that Lily loved her knives. He could barely feel the blade, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t pressed just as tightly as she was threatening, extraordinarily sharp. He looked down at her with just the movement of his eyes, and she was smiling as sweetly and almost suggestively as ever, as if she was very much believing she was going to get laid before the night was out.

Maybe the rumors of her insanity hadn’t been so exaggerated after all.  Imagine that.

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Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Stories


Fiction: The Family Way Part 26 (814 words)

“Sorry.” Marta shifted up a bit in her bed as we came into the room, “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“You didn’t do it on purpose, you dork.”  I crossed the room and held the hand that didn’t have an IV in it.

“No, but still.”  Marta turned instead to the doctor who came in with us, “Lay it on me, Doc, what do I have to do that I need to pretend to complain about but I’ll actually follow to the letter because I really don’t want to end up here again?”

“Well, avoiding stress would be my top advising, Miss Andersson.” Doctor Janet teased, “How close are you to the end of the school year?”

“Two weeks, well, nine actual school days. Four exams.  But to be perfectly honest, I’m not that fussed about the exams.”  Marta answered quickly.

“You need to take them to graduate,” I reminded her before she could agree to not go to school for the remainder of the year.

“School should be fine, Marta,” Doctor Janet commented, and Marta sagged a little in her seat at being thwarted.  “As long as you aren’t running around, and if you stay seated a majority of the time.   Try not to stress over the exams themselves, but if you’re not that fussed, you should be okay.”

“Right–of course.”  Marta agreed, squeezing my hand. I tried not to laugh.  This was all bordering on the surreal.

“We’re going to keep you here overnight, just to make sure that everything stays the way we want it to, and so that we can get back some of our longer tests. But you should be good to go home tomorrow, with a list of food to avoid, a couple of vitamins to take regularly, and to really, try to avoid stress and getting overworked until we get a little closer to your time. I’d like to see you back a little more frequently too–just to make sure that everything is going well.” Doctor Janet turned to me with a smile, “Avery, I’m assuming you’re going to want to stay here with her?”

“If I can, yes please.”

Doctor Janet nodded again, “I’ll see what I can do.  I’ll be back in a minute,” And she left the room.

“I should go,” Bradley sighed, dropping a kiss to the top of my head, “I know Ma is going to be worried until I get home and tell her you’re doing okay.  You’ll give me a call when they’re discharging you and I’ll come back to get you, yeah?”

“Wait, Brad, before you go–I want to get your opinion on something,” Marta called, sitting up properly in her bed now.

“My opinion?”

“Yes–I mean–you’re not related to him, but no matter what you’re just as much a part of my sons family as Avery and I are, right?”

Bradley blushed, “I mean–if you want me to be.”

“I do–so I want both of your opinions.  While this was all happening, I was thinking–what if he’s born now? What do I want to call him if I only have today left to decide on his name–and I was thinking–Arthur.  Arthur Martin.  Because, well, it sounds good with Andersson, and if you guys get married or do adopt him or whatever, it sounds good with Wilson as well. Arthur Martin Wilson-Andersson, or Andersson-Wilson, or just Wilson. Whatever you guys decide you want to do with your life.”

Marta gave my hand another little squeeze, and I looked up at Bradley, who was now not only red in the face but starting to look a bit teary-eyed as well. “Uh–yeah. Arthur.  It’s a good name.  I’m glad you think so highly of me Mar–and I’m going to go before I make a complete fool of myself blubbering like an idiot here.  I love you both and I’ll see you tomorrow.” and Bradley made a beeline for the door.

“Marta,” I squeezed her hand back, staring at the door, “You made my boyfriend cry.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think it would be that big a deal. I didn’t mean to make him cry.”  I turned to look at her, and she did genuinely look concerned about it.  She would–she was in the hospital for hours and still had to lay about to make sure her baby would be okay, and she was concerned that she’d made Bradley cry.  “He’s going to be okay, isn’t he?”

“He’ll be fine.  Underneath it all, he’s just a big sap.”

“All right, if you say so.”  Marta laid back against her pillows, pulling the blankets over her stomach. “You never told me, Ave.  What do you think about Arthur?”

I grinned one of those goofy giddy literally-couldn’t-stop-myself smiles and reached out to put a hand softly on Marta’s stomach. “Arthur Martin Last Name to Be Determined.  I like it.”

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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in Avery and Marta


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Fiction: Strength (205 words)

The thing that always impressed me about her was how good she was about keeping a straight face, a brave front.  The world could be crashing down around her ears, and she kept a sense of level-headed coolness that could almost be confused with cold-heartedness if you weren’t familiar with her under normal circumstances.  Because she was anything but cold-hearted.  She just knew that she had to stay level in a tragedy, or all she would be doing was making it worse, which helped no one.

Granted, following the crisis, when people were helped and things were settled down again, she would be a wreck.  Not for long, but for long enough, she’d break down and cry and rail and hate and sometimes scream.  She’d make sure not to be obvious, but she loses it completely.

And then she’s back again.  Good as new with smiles and happy and something wonderful in her own way.  But if you look close enough, if you watch for something small behind her eyes, you can see it there–the stony-faced strength, just waiting for the world to fall apart again.

Because if there is one constant we both know, the world is always waiting to fall apart again.

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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Stories


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Fiction: Royal Behavior (256 words)

Someone should have reminded them that they were adults now.  Elizabeth was twenty-four and Arnold was twenty-one.  Not only that, but Arnold was the king of the nation, and Elizabeth was the top ambassador to their strongest political ally, as well as being on the Royal Council.  They were the type of people you expected to be mature beyond their years and carry a level of professionalism.  But they hadn’t lived in the same country since she was sixteen and he was thirteen and they seemed to have regressed to a level even younger than that.

No one spoke out, though, as the siblings made faces at each other behind the speakers back.  The man was more than twice their ages put together, and his report, while mandated by the laws of the country, could not be more boring, and was in no way helped by his very bland and monotone voice.   The royal siblings making faces at each other like they were grade school children again was the most interesting thing in the room.  Besides that, even though it was slightly worrying that the king was acting a bit like a six-year-old at the time–he was an adult, and he was their king, so who was going to tell him off like a child? The only one who might have dared was his older sister–his current partner in crime.

Although, many of the council members couldn’t help but wonder–what would their father, bless his soul, have thought to see them now?

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Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Stories


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Fiction: Guardian Angel (499 words)

She was a big woman.  Not fat, just…tall and broad.  She was at least 6’4” and muscular and Rose had a distinct feeling that if this woman wanted to pick her head off like pulling a flower off its stem, she could.  She’d be more afraid if the first words she said to Rose were “I’m your guardian angel. My job is to keep you alive—and believe me, you don’t make it easy for me.”

Rose bristled at that.  She wasn’t a daredevil.  She wasn’t particularly stupid. Hell, she was more a homebody than anything else.  How was she risking her life?  “What’s that supposed to mean? Almost all I do is sit around in my room.  I go to work, I come home, I watch TV.  I couldn’t have a more basic life if I tried. I’m making your life easier if anything.”

The guardian angel scoffed and crossed her arms over her chest.  “Oh, I beg to differ.  Shall we start with the daily basics?  Do you know how terrible your diet and sleeping habits are for your health? I mean, truly.  I have to work overtime just to keep you out of the hospital during any given week.  And then, you are such an angry driver. I’ve never seen such road rage or aggressive driving.  You should be surprised that you haven’t hit something or that someone hasn’t pulled a shotgun on you.  This is America after all.  People have guns in their cars, you know.”   This guardian angel lady was really starting to get going now, building up quite the head of steam.  “And none of that is to even begin to mention the emotional trauma you are putting yourself through.   I mean, really, why would you watch that show if all it does is fill you with guilt about how you treated your own brother?  Isn’t there anything better on TV?   Hell, I think even Jerry Springer would be better for your emotional growth and health than the things you pump into your brain.  I’m just grateful that you aren’t a heavy drinker and you haven’t yet turned to drugs.  Don’t do it, by the way, that will just be a huge pain in my ass.”

Rose spluttered for a moment.  She wanted to defend herself, but it was hard when facing someone literally almost twice her size, who had technically made some excellent points.  “Well—Fine.  If you’re so sick of me, why don’t you just let me die and get yourself another charge?”

“Oh, Sometimes I so wish I could, missy.  But no. Not everyone gets a guardian angel and then are chosen willy-nilly.  No, you have to be kept alive for something—something big.  So, please, I am,”  She dropped to her knees folded her hands in front of me, “literally begging you.  Please, please, please. Help me out here.”

Rose blushed and glanced around, hoping no one could see them, “Yeah. Okay. Come please, get up. You’re embarrassing me.”

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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Stories


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Fiction: Reunion (612 words)

“I missed you.”  It was too simple a sentence to explain everything but it was all I could think of to say.  David turned to face me from near the bed, his shirt still only half buttoned since I had interrupted him.  “I missed you and when Jack came back without you I…“ My voice cracked, and I couldn’t even be bothered to be ashamed of it.   David was standing in front of me and whole and alive and that’s all that mattered.  “David.”

“River.”  It was all he said, and it was all he needed to say.  It was the way he always said my name, with care and understanding, one part laugh, one part scolding, one part resigned sigh, one part celebration.  No one ever said my name the way David did, and it took me far too long to realize he said it with love.  I covered my mouth with my hand as I started to cry and slid down the wall behind me until I was sitting on the floor. “River?” This time there was an edge of panic as he rushed towards me.

I took my hand off my mouth and held it out towards him.  “It’s okay. I’m okay.  It’s just—You’re alive, David.  They told me it was unlikely, I didn’t want to hope, but you are alive.”

“I’m alive,” David repeated as if he didn’t say it, it wasn’t true.  He sat down gingerly next to me.  I reached out and pressed my palm against his skin under his unbuttoned shirt so I could feel his heartbeat against my skin.  I tried to ignore the fact that both the tips of my fingers and the heel of my hand came into contact with Annie’s gauzy bandages. He was going to be scarred when this was all said and done, but I could feel the gentle thump-thump of his heart.

He pressed his hand against mine, trapping it between his chest and fingers tightly. “For what it’s worth, I missed you too.  I knew I couldn’t die.  You made me promise to never leave without saying goodbye, remember? I hadn’t said goodbye.”

I laughed and I felt his heart beat a little faster.  “David I was seven. Are you ever going to let that go?”

“You were livid that I’d left that birthday party without saying goodbye.  I’ve never seen a seven-year-old capable of such rage—and it wasn’t even your birthday party.  I can only imagine the rage you could have mustered if I’d died on you.  You’d find a way to resurrect me just to give me a proper telling off and kill me again.   I figured if I just stayed alive I’d save both of us the hassle and it would make it so you don’t have to sell your soul to evil for resurrection purposes.”

“I appreciate that—you know how much I hate hassle,”  I replied as off-handily as I could manage with the remnants of tears still on my cheeks.

“I do know, which is why I’m so glad we didn’t go out and join a behind the scenes war against the religion both our parents are a part of which is likely to lead to death and or imprisonment.”  David smiled, pulling my hand from his chest and setting it on his knee so he could finish buttoning his shirt, before scooping it back up to hold it between his own.  “That would just be far too much hassle for either of us.”

“David, do shut up.”

“Oh, River.”  My name again. Beautiful. “That didn’t work when we were seven either. What makes you think it would work now?”

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Posted by on July 16, 2014 in River's Story


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