Category Archives: River’s Story

Fiction: Hating the Wait (533 words)

All River could do now was wait. They had fortified their defenses. Her army was at her it’s strongest yet. They had a good position around their base—and she was fairly confident that the could outlast any siege that the Brotherhood could bring around them.

But now they were just waiting.  They had to wait for the Brotherhood to decide to come and attack them. They all knew that it was only a matter of time—but they didn’t know what length that time would be.  She paced around the front room of the little fortified base, trying not drive herself crazy, or anyone else crazy. David was standing near the door to the barracks, leaning against the wall and watching her walk herself around in different circles and squares, and any other shape that her mind could create, as a pathetic attempt at a distraction method.

“Are you going to do that until they show up?” David finally asked when River finished was he was pretty sure was a five point star. “It could still be a couple weeks before their army is at our door. Your legs are going to get tired.”

“Hardy-har,” River replied in a monotone, starting a new shape around the border of the room.

“Seriously though, Riv, you’ve got to calm down. You’re going to drive us all batty sooner rather than later if you keep running around like that.” David answered

“I’m going to drive myself crazy if I sit still, Dave. I can’t just stand around waiting to be attacked.”

“Well, there is a poker game going on in the barracks. I’m pretty sure the chef can always use help in the kitchen. Or, if you’re thinking a little bit more one-on-one, I’m pretty sure there’s a nice little supply closet we can disappear to for a couple hours or so,” David waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

River stopped in her pacing to give David a look. “Really? That’s what you’re thinking about? With everything going on?”

“Well, of course—“ David shrugged with a smile. “It took us so long to get together. If we’re going to be under siege, I might as well try and get as much as I can before it’s all war all the time.”

The anger and tension slid out of River in one quick wave as she shook her head at David. “You are utterly ridiculous. You know that?”

“I am aware. I’ve been told a time or two. Mostly by you, in fact.” David pushed up away from the wall, but didn’t step forward. He raised his arms just slightly, like inviting River forward for a hug. She rocked back and forth on her heels for a second, before walking forward into his arms. He wrapped his arms tightly around her waist as she rested her head against his collarbone.

“I love you,” She muttered into his chest, “Just in case I haven’t said it enough.”

“I love you too,” He murmured into her hair. He waited a whole additional fifteen seconds before added, “So, that closet…yes or no?”

She gave him a half-hearted shove in the chest. “You’re ridiculous.”

“See?” He laughed, “There you go again.”

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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in River's Story, Stories


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Fiction: Prophecy Child [Part 2 of 2] (1155 words)

I stayed with my mother when my father moved out, because she was higher ranking in society, and based much closer to the Soothsayer, where my mother felt I needed to go frequently because she wanted to figure out more about my so called destiny. So, I went every couple weeks or so, whenever it struck my mother’s fancy, to stand in the crowded room and stare at a man who said nothing to me or about me ever.  Although, he did always make eye contact and give me a little wink.  Every three or four months, I went to visit my father and his “god sister” and those children for a couple of days, or weeks if I could convince my mother that I could afford to miss that much schooling, which I managed to do once every year or so.

Other than constantly being referred to as “The Child That Flows like Water” by most of the temple staff, including all my teachers, my life held nothing that would even begin to resemble powerful or life changing.  I was allowed to run a little more wild than the average child, because everyone was desperate to make sure they didn’t “contain me” and “do damage” to the prophecy.  So, I didn’t take to dresses the way that proper ladies of the house of the second order should have, I didn’t always have the best manners in social situations, and I was pretty bad about sitting still during classes.

I didn’t have many friends.  In fact, I’d venture to say that I didn’t have any friends in The City of the Order.  Partly it was because of the aforementioned lack of manners and disregard for rules.  Partly, it was because even with my disregard for rules, I often didn’t get into trouble for things that the other kids did get in trouble for.  But, in a big way, I think it was a lot to do with the fact that adults talked about me as this great child, which the other kids probably resented because most of them saw themselves (in many cases rightly so) as better than me, but I got a lot of the glory.  The “Prophecy Girl” was a good mocking point, and they latched onto it.  It really got to me, which of course only encouraged them to mock me more.  My mother told me what I had already assumed, that they were jealous, but I didn’t really give a fuck why they were doing it at the time, I just wanted them to stop, which pretty much guaranteed that they didn’t.

I had one good friend, David, who lived out in Ingel, two houses down from my father and his little family.  We were close, but I could only see him every so often.  We’d write letters often when we were apart, but it wasn’t the same as having a friend that you could see whenever things got tough. And he couldn’t be there to help me through the rough parts of my day to day life, so sometimes I didn’t count him at all.

So, perhaps I was little bit more bitter and cynical at nine years old than I should have been.  It was shortly after my ninth birthday when I went to see the Soothsayer like I had already done what seemed to be several thousand times before, expecting it to be like every other time.  However, when I walked into the hall, it was completely empty.  Except for myself and the man sitting on the raised platform on the other side of the room, smiling calmly, which only served to prickle my temper.  When it became apparent that no one else was going to turn up for this session, I approached him carefully, not one hundred percent sure that the protocol might be for this type of situation, and if I would have followed it even if there was one.  He watched me as I approached, but didn’t do anything but sit serenely, still smiling.  When I was only a foot in front of him, I stood still and stared him down for a little while.

We stared at each other for twenty minutes of silence.  He looked at me a little more steadily, and said quietly, “Ask.”

“What did you see for me? Why am I dealing with all of this? What am I supposed to do?”

He narrowed his eyes and analyzed me for about three seconds, and then he grinned broadly and said, “Ah, Lovely River.  Twenty five is a wonderful number, isn’t it?” and then he stood gracefully and walked out of the hall.

I swore aloud for the first time in my life.  And I swore loudly, so that it echoed and reverberated around the hall.  It made me feel better for a moment.  If my mother outside the hall heard, she didn’t say anything, she just took me home and I sat in a premature teenage angst for a week or so.

I can’t say for sure that that’s when I gave up on prophecies as a whole, but it was pretty close to then.  I was quiet about it growing up.  I couldn’t decide how I felt about our Gods or the other aspects of our religion, but I firmly didn’t believe in the Soothsayer and his prophecies, which I told to my Journals, and when the time felt right, to my friend David.  He had always been steadfastly religious, and the idea that the soothsayer was lying to us all would have never crossed his mind.  He never tattled on me, and I was sure that he’d still be there for me if I really needed him, but it became very obvious very quickly that he didn’t agree with my thought process, and it made him a little bit uncomfortable.  So, over time, we slowly drifted apart.

But despite all that, the number twenty five stuck with me, lingering in the back of my mind. The night before my twenty fifth birthday, I went to bed with a little jolt of thrill.  True, I was always excited before my birthday (my favorite day of the year) but this seemed to be a little bit more than that.  Due to that fear of “damage” that my mother held so strongly to, I wasn’t subjected to any paternally arranged engagements, or jobs that I didn’t want.  I didn’t believe in the prophecy, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t above taking the advantages that the prophecy afforded me.  Maybe that makes me a bad person, but whatever. I went to bed that night, with plans for the next day, and wondering what that year had in store for me.  After all, a very strange man once told me that twenty five was a very interesting number, and here was his last chance to prove to me that he wasn’t a fraud.

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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in River's Story


Fiction: Prophecy Child [Part 1 of 2] (1014 words)

If you’re reading this, it’s probably a translation.  The universal language is already starting to fade out, but since I spent so much time spilt between the City and Ingel, I always spoke universal, and I don’t feel particularly confident enough in either language to try and tell the whole story in either.

But hey, if you’re reading this that means someone cared enough to make sure this book survived the loss of the universal language.  So, that’s cool, I guess.  I mean, it’s kind of my fault that the world as we, or as I, knew it fell apart.  But then again, I was just kind of in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Born in the wrong moment if you will.  But that’s an argument for others to make.  I just know that I did the best that I could with the situation I was presented.  What else could I do?

To start off, I should say, that I was about nine years old when I decided I no longer believed in prophecies. In fact, I would even to go as far as to say that I believed that prophecies were a load of shit.  Now, that was a very dangerous and odd statement coming from me, for a whole series of reasons.  Firstly, its blasphemy, punishable by life imprisonment as a sister in the Temple of the Order if I went around announcing it in public squares or someone bothered enough to go through the notebooks I kept at the time.  But I wasn’t stupid enough to go announcing it in public squares and my books were always carefully hidden or guarded, so it would take some serious dedication on my accusers’ part in which case I would say they’d earn enough of my respect to go ahead and lock me up, they worked hard for that right. In fact, from the time that I decided that I decided I no longer believe in the Soothsayer’s prophecies at age nine, until I was twenty-five years old, I only told one living soul that I doubted the Soothsayer’s words.  He was my best, and really only close friend throughout childhood.  And, well, he didn’t respond to it particularly well.  I guess if someone was challenging my core beliefs, then I might take it badly too.  He never told anyone though, I guess as a testament to our friendship, but we were never quite the same again.  Needless to say, I wasn’t in a rush to tell anyone else anytime soon.

Secondly, I only exist because of a prophecy.  Literally, my parents never would have looked at each other twice, let alone be allowed to get married if there hadn’t been a prophecy.  My parents had each traveled to see the soothsayer.  At the time, it was a legal mandate to visit at least once before you were twenty years old.  Rumor has it was so that the world didn’t miss someone who was destined for greatness through unfortunate events like being born somewhere lacking advantages.  My father was fifteen years old, from a hard working but not particularly wealthy family, all making the pilgrimage together because his older brother was nineteen, and they knew they wouldn’t be able to afford a second trip to the City of the Order before my father turned twenty.  My mother was only ten years old, the youngest daughter of a family that ranked very high with the Orders, and therefore considered themselves to be particularly “blessed.”  It was my mother’s thirtieth visit to the soothsayer because they lived in the City and because my grandmother believed that my mother was destined for great things.

The Soothsayer indicated for both of them to be brought up onto the elevated platform where he stood for all of his meetings.  He made them clasp hands in front of everyone.  After standing there in silence for about fifteen minutes, the Soothsayer declared “Come together, create a child.  She will be named for the flowing water, and she will be just as powerful.  She will bring the greatest of changes to the nation—and if the fancy strikes her—the world.  Do not contain her, for the dam does damage, and the beautiful canyon won’t be formed.”

It was his last prophecy for almost twenty seven months.  He’d show up to the sessions, but he’d have nothing to say, not even the small things he tended to spit out.  So, people started to get really excited about me, even though it would be years before I was born.  The day the prophecy was made, my grandparents got together and my parents were betrothed. They were married almost ten years later, after my mother’s twentieth birthday, and I was conceived shortly thereafter.  I was born a healthy baby girl, and was named River, as in for the flowing water. And the first part of the prophecy was fulfilled.

To say that my parents didn’t love each other would be too harsh.  They corresponded and visited each other frequently in the ten years of their engagement, and they were very kind to each other through their wedding, and the three years they lived together after I was born.  They loved each other, they just weren’t in love with each other in the way required to make a happy marriage and peaceful cohabitation work for the long term.  Divorce wasn’t an option, not with the prophecy and my mother’s standing, so everyone just accepted the idea that my father returned to the town he grew up in, a village several days travel away called Ingle, to help care for his aging grandparents, then his aging parents, and then his older brother, who was “ill.”  Two years after he moved back, when I was five years old, a young woman moved into my father’s family home, using the excuse that she was my grandparents afore to unmentioned goddaughter who needed a place to live. While living there, she had three children who bore some resemblance to my father, but no one really mentioned it.

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Posted by on March 16, 2016 in River's Story, Uncategorized


Fiction: Hiding at Home (553 words)

We made our way in through the kitchen door—quietly in case there was anyone other than my family somewhere else in the house.  We didn’t see anyone but Nathaniel washing dishes at the basin.  When he saw us, he screamed, dropped a plate into the soapy water with a splash, and ran forward to pull us both into a lopsided hug.

“Stop that,” he muttered, squeezing me a little too tightly around the shoulders, “If I have to wonder one more time if you are alive or dead I swear I will kill you myself—simple as that.”

Nathaniel’s scream brought Angela, my father, Maria and Rose all running into the room.  “What’s going on?” Angela asked us, looking sterner than I’d thought I’d ever seen her.  “We find you two gone, and then we hear what they are saying about you in town? What are we to expect?”

“What are they saying about us in town?” Jack asked as Nathaniel finally released us from the hug, keeping a careful arm around me still as if I might vanish if he lets me go.

“There are rumors that you killed the Soothsayer, River, and that Jack is a member of the terrorist group who seduced you into it.  The Temple isn’t giving any official statement on it, but with the Soothsayer missing and some strange circumstances around you two, I can see why people would be ready to believe it.”  My father said with the even voice of a man reading from a newspaper.

“Daddy?” I said, more scared by his lack of emotion than of anything else he’d said. “Daddy—you don’t believe them, right? You know I didn’t kill the soothsayer, right?”

He took a sigh, and I watched as his shoulders relaxed slightly.  “Now that you say you didn’t, I know you didn’t.”  He came forward and pulled me into a hug, kissing me softly on the top of the head. “But people aren’t going to be so easy to convince.  We’re in trouble here—and we need to make a plan.  I’m pretty sure that this isn’t just naturally going to end well for us.”

Maria, who was still standing at the doorway between the kitchen and the living room suddenly yelled, “Someone’s coming up the walk!”

Nathaniel hurried over passed Maria, looking carefully out the front curtain. “Brothers.  I can’t be sure, but I think one might be Brother David.”

“We can trust David,” I said quickly, “He may act like we can’t but we can, okay?”

“Okay.  But still.  You two should probably—“my father made a vague gesture with his hand, visibly trying to stay calm.

“Hide. Yeah. C’mon.”  I pulled Jack by the arm behind me.  There was a cupboard in the hall perfectly matched to the wall.  Gods only know what my great-great-great grandfather intended when he first built the house—but my father used it to really piss us kids off during games of hide and seek when we were small.  If they didn’t know it was there, there was no way anyone would be able to find it.

Of course, David knew it was there, but once again, I was literally trusting him with my life.  Jack and I locked ourselves in, and we were immediately plunged into pitch black darkness.

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Posted by on November 30, 2015 in River's Story


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Fiction: Fatherly Rage (253 words)

“I don’t understand.  What did you think would happen?” Rory asked, looking at the Brothers standing in his living room.  “You would show up, spout lies at me, and I would suddenly believe that my daughter is a murderer and a demon?”

“We were hoping you would listen to reason, Mr. Magntin.  Your daughter—“

“Hasn’t been brought to trail,” Rory pressed on, “She is an innocent woman until she is taken to court. And I believe that my daughter will remain innocent even after her trial, because she is simply not capable of what you are accusing her of doing.”

The Brother who had been doing all the speaking took a deep breath and put on a patient smile.  “Master Magntin.”

“I’m done listening,” Rory spoke over him, “I have told you everything I am legally required to tell you.  I have no additional information that I would like to reveal.  If you would like to stay in my house, I won’t have you removed, but I am done listening and I have nothing more to say.”

The Brothers seemed to have a silent conversation amongst themselves before rising in unison from the couch. “Very well, Master Magntin.  We will leave you in peace.  However, if we find more pertinent questions, is it safe to assume we will be able to find you here?”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Rory said sternly, crossing his arms over his chest.

The speaking Brother nodded, “Yes. Well, go with the Gods, Master Magntin.”

“You as well, Brothers.”

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Posted by on October 8, 2015 in River's Story


Fiction: Allies (181 words)

“Did your mother believe you?” David asked as River slumped into a chair.

“She did, actually.  Without a moment’s hesitation.  Just asked me if I did it, and when I said no, that was it.”  River said quietly.

“Wow.” David stopped in his crossing the room, stunned.  “I did not expect that.”

River looked up at David wide-eyed.  “To be honest, neither did I.”

David pulled another chair up to River’s, raising an eyebrow. “I thought you were sure your mom would be on our side.  I thought you said she’d be an amazing all, and all you would have to do is speak to her.”

River shrugged, staring a little past David now.  “I thought I would have to convince her–remind her again and again how I’ve never lied to her.  I knew she’d be on my side, I just though I’d have to fight her, to convince her.  I thought–”  River blinked hard and refocused her gaze on David.  “I think I underestimated my mother.”

David reached out and patted River on the knee.  “I’m sorry, sweetheart. So sorry.”

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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in River's Story


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Fiction: Fighting Fit (253 words)

River watched David and Jack train.  They had both been pretty good before Jay and Ross started teaching them, but their progress had been amazing.  River herself had technically improved the most, but that was mostly because she had absolutely no previous combat training—and it was really easy to improve from nothing.

Usually, when she sat to watch them, it was to follow their footwork, to watch the way they twisted their hips, to look for anything at all that might help her get on their level.  But today, she couldn’t focus on any of the details.  She was far too happy with the fact that they were both there and they were both fit enough to be fighting.  They had tried to kill all three of them—at least twice over—but they were still standing, still fighting, and that had to be worth something.  Jack and David seemed to feel the say, with the gusto and enthusiasm they were taking to this particular training session.

Jack tried something that River didn’t know was possible, and River winced as David hit the ground.  Everyone in the room held their breath as they waited to see—but then David laughed and held up a hand so that Jack could pull him back to his feet.  Even still, River could see there was an extra limp in David’s step as he made his way to get some water.  Maybe they wouldn’t have to wait for them to make another attempt—they’d kill each other with over practice and confidence.

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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in River's Story


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Fiction: Bedside (219 words)

River had finally fallen asleep.  Even still, David and Jack decided to keep a constant vigil at her bedside, making sure that one of them was always there, because they didn’t want her to wake up and find that no one was there next to her. They couldn’t do that to her, not now, and hopefully not ever. They wanted her to make sure that she felt loved, she felt complete, and she felt protected.  Especially considering they both blamed themselves for dropping the ball earlier.  They both thought, though they never said it aloud, that they were solely responsible for River’s kidnapping and torture, for the pain that she was in now. And because of that, they would make sure not to let her suffer any more than she had to. Not now, not here, not ever.

So, it was a lot waiting, a lot of being very quiet when she was awake, a lot of dark rooms and light meals and being very, very careful when all things considered. They weren’t sure if River was even aware enough to realize what was going on, but they didn’t really care if the she knew or not, they just wanted her to be as happy and as comfortable as she could be, if being happy and comfortable was even possible.

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Posted by on May 20, 2015 in River's Story


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Fiction: Through Town (142 words)

“Grin and bear it. Grin and bear it,” Nathaniel muttered as he walked through the town center.  People were less than discreetly pointing and whispering behind their hands.

Rose giggled to herself as skipped along next to her brother.  “Nate’s got Daddy’s temper,” she sing-songed under her breath.

“Doesn’t it bother you, Ro?  That’s River they’re all whispering about, you know. That’s our sister.” Nathaniel countered.

Rose slipped her hand into Nathaniel’s, watching as his face grew red with another old woman muttering ‘traitor’ and ‘their sister’ in the same sentence.  “I know.  But, I also know that River is more than capable of taking care of herself.  I’d bet River would thank you to remember that, too.”

Nathaniel let out a slow breath and gave Rose’s hand a little squeeze.  “I guess you’re right.”

“I know.  I got Momma’s smarts.”  Rose grinned.

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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in River's Story


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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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