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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Fiction: No Answers (651 words)

They were all there in silence, waiting for one of them to think of something to say. Cindy sat on the couch, sitting gingerly to not upset the still rather sore spot on the back of her head and neck.  James was leaning against the wall near the door, his face covered in half shadow, listening for anyone who might be coming up the front path.  Matthew paced slowly and soft, back and forth along the length of the couch, his mouth moving in silent argument with himself.

And, as usual, Matthew pulled it all together first. “Okay.” He whispered it, but it sounded like a foghorn in the silence of the room. “Apparently, Cindy is also immortal.”

“Yeah, how is that?” Cindy asked, just a bubble of panic at the edge of her voice, “I’m almost ninety-five percent sure that I had a fire axe in the back of my head two days ago, and I don’t know too many people who can walk and talk after receiving that kind of treatment, present company excluded.”

“She couldn’t be a…” James asked from his shadow, trailing off before mentioning what Cindy might be.

“No, no, absolutely not,” Matthew answered without hesitation, “we would know. We would feel her presence. She must be—something else immortal. Something we haven’t run into before.”

Matthew turned and studied Cindy carefully, eyes slowly moving up and down her body. If anyone else was looking at her like that she would have slapped them across the face and informed them in one way or another that she wasn’t just a piece of meat. But she knew that Matthew wasn’t looking at her like a woman—he was looking at her like a mystery. So, instead of slapping him she just shifted uncomfortably under his gaze, hoping that any second he would stick a finger in the air and declare that he’d figured out why she was still alive.

But after a long time, Matthew straightened up and uttered his least three favorite words “I—Don’t know.”

Cindy suddenly felt heavy, like she was suddenly deep underwater and there was pressure coming in on all sides.  If Matthew didn’t know, if Matthew didn’t even have a clue—then she might never know. “I—I think I am going to go to bed.” She stood up slowly, careful not to jar her head too much and make herself light headed all over again.  “Does anyone mind if I go take a nap on the futon?”

“Yes,” James stepped out of the shadow, his face showing no emotion at all. “You may sleep in my room, and I’ll keep guard outside the door.” Cindy’s face must have fallen, because James continued to explain, still with no outward emotion. “This goes one of two ways, Cindy. It’s either that you’ve never uh,” He made a small gesture with his hands, “not died before, so we don’t know what kind of reactions that you might have, and someone should be nearby if something goes wrong. Or you know exactly what’s going on, you aren’t who you say you are, and someone should keep an eye on you.”

The tight, heavy feeling increased around Cindy. She couldn’t even protest about him not trusting her after all this time, because she didn’t know if she could be trusted yet. And Matthew didn’t know what she was. “Okay,” she answered quietly, not able to look James’ expressionless face in the eye, “I understand.”

“Sleep well,” Matthew offered as Cindy made her way to James’ room.

“Thanks,” she offered weakly. She was grateful that the pain and heavy feeling were going to help her fall asleep instantly. If she had to try to set her mind to being still, she might never get any sleep again. But as soon as her head hit James’ pillow, her eyes were closed and she was out. For now.

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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Stories, Uncategorized

 

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Fiction: Subliminal Love (517 words)

“So, I’m pretty sure that our mothers want us to get married,” Thomas said out of the blue. Suzanna almost chocked on the apple she’d taken a bit out of.

In her most unladylike fashion, she spit out the chuck of apple, coughed for a moment and then turned to face Thomas. “What?”

“I think our mothers want us to get married,” he shrugged, stubbornly not looking Suzanna in the eye.

“Why do you say that? Has your mother said something to you?” And then a worst thought crossed her mind, “Has MY mother?”

“No,” Thomas shook his head, “They haven’t said anything per se. I think they—or at least my mother—is hoping we’ll come to the conclusion ourselves, so they don’t have to try and blatantly coerce us. After all, my mother hated her arranged married and we can see how well it worked out for your father so—“Thomas trailed off with a vague motion of his hand, not wanting to mention out right that Suzanna’s mother was not the woman that her father had been promised to since childhood.

“Well, coercing will have to occur,” Suzanna said resolutely, Taking another large bite out of her apple, and chewing it almost defiantly.

Thomas sat and watched her chew, waiting for her to swallow before he spoke again. “Would it really be that bad? Being married to me?”

This time, Thomas did look her in the eye. She held his gaze as she put down the apple and took his hands in hers.

“No, Tom, being married to you would not be terrible. It might even be fun. But I absolutely do not want to marry you because it’s what our parents want us to do, or because it’s just a thought that your mother put in your head. If you can promise me right here and now that marrying me is something you thought about before you realized it was what our parents wanted, then I promise you I’ll try to be open minded about it. But I don’t want to be tricked into thinking I love someone and I don’t want someone to be tricked into thinking that they love me, okay?”

Thomas pulled his hands out of Suzanna’s while he shrugged, then nodding. Suzanna considered him for a second, before crossing to the other side of the room to stare out the windows, scooping up her apple as she went.

“So, what do you think? Horseback riding tomorrow? Might be nice to get out into nature for a little while.” Suzanna asked, taking another bite.

“I do think I love you,” Thomas offered in a small voice. Suzanna pretended not to hear him, turning to look back at the forest outside their windows, as if she was trying to decide the best path to ride tomorrow.  Thomas was gracious in the denial. He came up next to her and looked out at the paths too. “It would be nice to get other there. It’s been a while since we rode.”

“Yeah,” Suzanna smiled at nothing in particular, “Tomorrow will be nice.”

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2017 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Legal Theft–Letters From The Capital (505 words)

“This is getting ridiculous.” Maggie yelled, crumpling a page of the letter into a ball and throwing it hard against the opposite wall.

“Well, he’s been threatened. Repeatedly. That’s bound to make anyone a little paranoid. We’ll ask him not to next time.” Nan answered carefully, always the peacekeeper between her sister and brother.

“William sent us a letter, in code. When I translated it out, it was in code again. And that was in a third code! Each message took an hour to decode, and then another, and then another.” Maggie was balling up more and more paper, throwing them at her sister’s head now. “And even that isn’t the whole letter! He’s sent us a paragraph a day for the last six days, and the letter isn’t finished yet!”

“He doesn’t want anyone else to get his messages,” Nan offered weakly, “His sisters are the only ones who can know his secrets.” She says the last part like she wasn’t one of his sisters, like she hadn’t sat there just as frustrated as they discovered the third code of the paragraphs.

“Why? What are they going to do with the fact that the orange shipment that he received wasn’t as good as he thought it was? Or with the fact that he got a green jacket for Christmas?” Maggie threw the last piece of untranslated paper at her sister, nailing her in the center of the forehead.

This was the way of the Davis siblings. Maggie was loud and brass and sure that nothing in the world could hurt her—no matter what they threatened. William was quiet and fearful and believed that the only way to remain safe was to act cautiously, growing more and more fearful the older they got. And Nan went back and forth between them, begging Maggie to be more careful, and asking William to take more risks—the glue that held the family together and keep everyone moving forward in the world.

Nan sighed as the paper hit her, but didn’t rise to the anger that Maggie wanted. Instead, she tried to appeal to Maggie’s logic. “What do you want me to do, Mags? The Letter is probably all sent now, all in its code.  I already agreed that we should ask him not to do this again. What else do you want me to do?”

Maggie shifted uncomfortably in her seat—trying to think of something, anything, to demand from Nan now—but she couldn’t come up with anything. “I still don’t like having to decode letters from my brother’s a paragraph an hour at a time.”

“It should be over tomorrow,” Nan offered, based more on hope then on actual proof. “One more hours work and we’ll have the whole letter.”

“I sure hope so,” Maggie groaned, letting her head fall against the desk in front of her. “For my sanity’s sake.”

And for my patience’s sake, Nan added in her own head, getting up to clean up the mess of paper’s Maggie had left.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Legal Theft Project, Stories

 

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Fiction: Did He Know? (907 words)

Aurora sat alone in her room. She was always alone in her room—or almost always anyways—at least since her parents died. No that she minded too terribly much. She did have some access to the internet, and her father’s large collection of classic television, so she had plenty to amuse her time. The workers were nice enough to her, often bring her games or new movies to watch. And sometimes, when she was really lucky, John would come by.

John had been visiting Aurora since she was about six years old, even when her parents were still alive. He came because he figured that Aurora might like someone to call a friend who she wasn’t directly related to, and she wasn’t likely to meet a lot of people as long as she was under “observation” here—which was very likely to be for the rest of natural life. On top of that, he was the only international member of the team here, and he figured he was Aurora’s only chance to meet someone who wasn’t American. When she was young, she was enthralled by is accent, and would often come up with ridiculous things for him to say, just so she could giggle at the difference between the way they would say it.

When her parents died, he was the only one who actually went in to  her room to comfort her, rather than just offering condolences. To hold her tightly and let her cry and treat her like the mourning twelve-year-old she was. And when she started to develop her “moods,” they always called John in to talk to her, and get her into a better mood.  He had been a good friend to her. And a surrogate father in the last seven years since she lost her real family.

But she had never asked for him to be brought to her before. Today, though, she needed to know if he knew. She needed to know if she had been so thoroughly betrayed. And if she hadn’t, if he didn’t know, she needed to warn him.

She went to the wall where she knew the door was, and knocked against it sharply. “Excuse me. I would like to see John please. If someone could get him, I’d appreciate it.” She called out.  There was no response.  She waited a few minutes to see if someone would answer her, but she didn’t expect them too. Finally, she crossed back to her bed and sat down. She’d give them a little while to bring him, and if they didn’t, she knew how to fake a hissy fit and get them to fetch him themselves.

Luckily, she didn’t have to resort to that measure. About an hour after she had knocked on the door, it opened just a crack, just enough to see a brown eye peeking in at her. She laughed in spite of herself, and John came into the room, all wide smiles. If they knew she’d figured it out—they hadn’t warned him. “You wanted to see me?” He questioned dropping into the chair that was meant for her desk.

“Yeah,” She scooted to the end of her bed so that she could look him in the eye, “Do you know?”

She saw his confusion, still amused, wondering what kind of game she was playing now. “Do I know what?”

“About my parents. Do you know?”

He didn’t stiffen, or panic. But the amusement was gone. He knew she didn’t like to talk about her parents. He didn’t understand what she was playing at. “What are you going on about?”

He didn’t know. She’d never felt so relieved in his life. She closed her eyes and counted to three, before opening them to look at John. He looked at her quizzically before his eyes widened. “You’re getting stronger, aren’t you?” He asked quickly, “Stronger than you’re letting them believe.”

“Yes,” she answered simply, “But that’s not what I needed to know if you knew.”

“What then?”

“My parents died in a car crash. But it was not an accident. My parents wanted to pull me out of here, thinking these people were going to do me more harm than good. And they died because of it.” She informed him blankly. “I am stronger than they know, and they are going to suffer for that.”

“Aurora. No. Don’t do anything rash.” John said softly. She believed that he actually had her best interest at heart—he wasn’t just trying to save this company—he cared for her. But—she’d made up her mind, and that was that.

“Leave, John. Get out of here before breakfast. After all this is said and done, maybe I’ll come find you. But if you stay.” She gave a little shrug like saying it wasn’t her fault what happened.

John nodded slowly. She’d been out of control her whole life. It was time for her to be in charge. He hadn’t known about he parents, but he wasn’t surprised. “I’ll leave,” he said quietly, “If you promise that you’ll come and find me. Promise me.”

Aurora didn’t even have to consider it. After all, who else did she have? “I promise.”

John stood to leave and Aurora closed her eyes again. No one would know they had this conversation. Now, he just had to act normal until he got out of the building. Aurora would take care of the rest.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2017 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Threesome (99 words)

This is easily the best night of my life. They are friends. They both think I’m attractive. They are sober at the moment. They are asking me if I’m busy tonight, because they would like to hang out and get wasted in their hotel room. They have informed me of the color of their underwear and asked me to guess who is wearing what.  They are saying that this has been a lot of fun, and maybe would could make this a more regular thing if that’s okay with me.

This is easily the best night of my life.

 


What? Did you think I was going to be subtle? ❤

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Stories, Uncategorized

 

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Fiction: Royal Travels (766 words)

Bessie had absolutely no regards for her dress or headdress as she threw herself into her brother’s outstretched arms for a hug. “Oh Henry! I’ve missed you!” she cried.

Behind her, there was the ‘tsk’ of his advisor, “Your Grace,” the advisor started to scold.

“Oh, hush, Artie. These are my private rooms and the only one here to see us is our mother.  I won’t have my sister bowing before me in my Private rooms.”

“Yes, Your Grace,” Arthur sniffed. Henry took a step back and made a small face at Bessie. Arthur gave a little “Mpmf” as he saw the face, but even he wouldn’t dare say anything to the King, not in his own bedroom, not when he’d been already told to hush.  Finally, Henry gave a little sigh.

“Oh, very well.” Henry let his arms fall and took a step back. He gave a formal, regal, bow of his head. “Lady Princess Elizabeth Margaret Cecily. I greet and welcome you on behalf of myself and my Lady Mother Dowager Queen Margaret Anne.”

Bessie dropped into a low mocking curtsy. “King Henry the Fifth of the grand kingdom of Krallen and its colonies. I am honored to receive your greeting and welcome,” she answered formally. They both turned in unison to look at Arthur, who threw his hands up in frustration and left the room, leaving the members of the royal family alone in the King’s private rooms.

“You two shouldn’t be so cruel to him,” their mother chided, but it lost some of its sting because of the wide smile on her face, “He has been training members of this family since before either of you were born. He does know what is proper for this court.”

“Mama!” Bessie grinned, running to hug her as well.

“Bessie, my doll,” she placed a kiss of blessing on her youngest daughter’s forehead, before setting to sitting Bessie’s headdress to rights again. “Did you have a safe trip, Doll? Did they take good care of you?”

“Yes, Mama,” Bessie smiled, “It was a beautiful ride. But no one would tell me why we were coming to visit.  I hope I’m here for a good reason.”

“A very good reason,” Henry offered, joining them by the fire, taking a seat in his tall chair, indicating to Bessie to sit on the padded bench opposite their mother. “Tell me, Bessie, have you ever wanted to go to Zaltslyn?”

Bessie narrowed her eyes as she considered her brother. He knew very well that she wanted to go to Zaltslyn since she was a small girl. They said that their capital city was built next to a lake so blue that it sparkled like a large sapphire, and built near that lake was the biggest library ever built on this world, with documents so old that no one still alive spoke the language. But Bessie grew up as the only daughter of the King of Krallen, a royal princess that had responsibilities of state and couldn’t wander off on whims for fear of being kidnapped and ransomed, or something far worse.

“Oh, put the poor girl out of her misery,” Mama laughed, smacking her son gently on the knee, “Tell her.”

“I am to be married, Bessie. To Princess Nimue of Zaltslyn. And Mama has decided that she is too old to travel as a representative of the state, and since I don’t trust Jaime to go alone,” Henry stopped, waiting for the gears to turn in Bessie’s head.

“I’m to go?” She finally asked in a very small voice, almost not daring to believe it just in case she was wrong. “I’m to go to Zaltslyn to help pick up your bride?”

“If you’d like,” Henry shrugged.

Bessie pitched herself off the bench and hugged her brother tightly around the neck again, squeezing him a bit too hard and making him cough in the process. “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you,” Bessie cried repeatedly, “You’re the best brother a girl could dream of.”

“And a King to boot,” Henry laughed, pulling her free of him. “You have one week to visit with me and Mama, and then Princess Elizabeth and Prince James will head on a royal progression to collect the future Queen of Krallen.” Henry tried to look regal and officially, but dissolved into his wide goofy grin all too quickly. “Oh, Bessie. Go call back Arthur and ask him to bring some wine. Today we should celebrate.”

Bessie kissed her brother squarely on the cheek, before heading for the door. Today she would celebrate indeed.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Night Shift (544 words)

It had been a long day. A very long day. She had to deal with stupid customers and stupid bosses. All she wanted to do was fall in her husband’s arms or lap, and rant about the stupidity she had to deal with.

She expected him to be in the living room, playing some game over the internet with his brother because that’s what he tended to do when he had a chunk of spare time—but the TV was off and the living room was dark. Curiously, she stuck her head into the kitchen to see if he was making himself a snack, but there was no husband there either. As she headed towards the bedroom, she listened for the shower, but didn’t hear any water running. If he went out, he would have left her a note on her bedside table, saying when he’d be back and if she should expect him for dinner. She didn’t make it all the way to the bedside table.

“Okay. This is ridiculous.” She griped, coming into the bedroom to see the lump that was her husband still asleep under the blankets. She ripped back the covers and he groaned, groping wildly for the pillows to hide behind. “Get up.”

“I work nights now,” he complained, like she hadn’t been aware of that every night for the last four months. “I need my sleep.”

She took the pillow away from him as well in one quick, practiced motion. He stole the second one off her side of the bed and buried his face. She sighed, meeting more of a fight as she tried to pull this one away too. “You got in bed at 4:13 this morning. I know, because you flopped down on the bed and nearly bounced me out of it. It is currently–” she stopped the tug of war on the second pillow to check her watch, “5:46 pm. For the love of all good things please tell me that you got up and did something today.”

He lowered the pillow slowly away from his face, giving her the smallest, most sheepish smile. “Have I told you that you look absolutely lovely today? You’re a mighty fine woman.”

“Nothing at all?” She groaned, tossing the slightly twisted pillows back into the spots at the head of the bed.  “At least tell me that you have the night off and you don’t have to leave here in less than an hour.”

“I have the night off,” he confirmed, smiling like a child who did well in school that day, “I don’t have to leave her in less than an hour.”

“Excellent.” She sat down on the edge of the bed and started to take off her shoes, “That means that you are well rested and refreshed and ready to make dinner for your lovely wife who spent the whole working day on her feet.”

He opened his mouth to start to complain, but she narrowed her eyes just slightly and he turned the complaint into a smile. “Of course, love, angel, sweetie, beautiful wife who I am gladly sharing my life with. I would gladly make the most delicious of dinners just for you.”

“That’s what I thought you said,” she replied, blowing him a kiss.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2017 in Stories

 

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