There seems to be a trend this week…

There seems to be a trend this week in which I look at my blog and say to myself:

“This is extremely important to me. I like this blog. I want to write something today. UNFORTUNATELY, there is something else very important to me happening today, and I must make good life choices.”

So, there will not be a blog post tonight.

I dare you to guess why.

Flash Fiction: In For the Night (178 words)

It was cold outside. Cold enough to chill Deira’s toes through the leather of her boots. She had her coat buttoned tight to her chin, but her cheeks were still numb, and her hair couldn’t keep the chill off her ears. Hands as deep as they could go in her pockets, she walked in short steps, because the ice was slick, and she didn’t want to drag that much air into her lungs. She had her chin tucked into a knit scarf, and her breath held gray in the air.

It was miserable. Like turning to metal in the winter air, picking up the cold, hardening, stiffening, as if she had forgotten she had blood to keep her warm.

But when she got to her door, kicked her boots on the stoop and knocked the wet off herself as best she could, when she opened the door and stepped inside to meet the steady coals in the fireplace, warmth had never been as dear, nor the dark outside seemed so calm.

Wednesday Serial: Farther Part LXVIII

Anie fire_handANIE

“Up, up, up!” Rhian called as she pushed through the door. The yellow morning light fell in around her, and she strode to the windows to fling the shutters open. Her clear voice still woke more of the sleepers than the sudden rush of light.

“Up and out of bed!” she called. “We’ve got work to do!”

Nessim looked at her suspiciously, while Sevi just raised his head and squinted tiredly at her.

“Breakfast?” he murmured.

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Not the Usual Tuesday

Tonight is made for many things. Writing a blog post is not one of them.

My first thought when I realized the shape of the hour was: oh, crap.

My second thought was: Well, this doesn’t usually happen on Tuesdays.

Here’s hoping that your Tuesday night is shaped for something good as well, perhaps because it is not the usual.

Flash Fiction: Sipping on a Memory (357 words)

Aydel felt warm. Warm like summer afternoons, sitting on red earth streets, like she used to do when she was small, and the dirt stains on her knees and bothered no one but her mother. Warm like, running in the old days, when it didn’t matter how hard she fell, or if she tore her clothes, skinned her hands, bruised her knees, because she could always rest tomorrow in trade.

Aydel hadn’t had tomorrows to trade for a long time. She needed each and every one of them.

She laughed easier. There was no real reason for it, but she was suddenly remembering that there didn’t need to be a reason to smile. She didn’t need to have a trick ready to play. She didn’t need to have a thought to hide behind the flashy mask. On red earth streets, she had laughed simply because someone said something silly. Or even because she had fallen trying to do something stupid and happy.

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Gwendoogle Part C – 88 Random Objects I Guess

GwendoogleAnswers served with… oh gosh, is this the 100th set of search results already?!

Kate Kearney searched: Why am I dreaming about haunted houses?
Because you have heard how Frankenstein was inspired, and your subconscious is trying to help you out with your next novel. You wanted to write a Gothic-inspired horror novel, right?

Because it’s either that, or your subconscious is getting a head-start on your Halloween plans, and your house is going to be the most kick-butt house on the block.

Neekers searched: Why is “taking names” such a kick-butt thing?
Because it implies that not only will a person kick butt on a particular occasion, but they will continue to kick butt on later occasions.

When a person “takes names” they are making a list of people to either report to the closest person with the power to deliver retribution (if you are a law abiding citizen or middle school student) or to beat up later (if you’re the kind of person who likes to keep your retribution personal and organized).

Either way, you may want to keep your name to yourself in any butt-kicking situation.

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Flash Fiction: Warm Hearts (860 words)

In the dead of winter, Ashlynn was always the first out of bed. It was not her choice. Everyone else stayed wrapped in their blankets, happy in the warmth that built after hours of sleep and her blankets were just as snug. The air was still and cold between the shuttered windows of the upper floor, and the wooden boards under her feet only warmed when she stood still for a moment. The forges in the long hall beneath her had cooled overnight, and the heat of them only touched her after she came down the stairs.

But they needed to be stoked again before the day’s work could begin. She was too young to hammer the red hot metals like the others, so she built the fires while they slept a little longer.

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Flash Fiction: The Weight of a Smile (370 words)

“Pick it up!” the captain shouted, not for any real reason, but just to be calling commands. “Move it!”

The two lines of men and women kept running without any change. They held to their straight lines, feet striking the packed dirt road in perfect time with person beside them. They moved quickly, smoothly, eyes straight ahead. If the ground lay in anything other than a smooth, downhill line, it didn’t matter. They ran as if they would run forever, as if breath were unnecessary, as if their bones were made of something as light as steel.

“Move it!” the captain shouted again. “Pick up your feet!”

Drystan glanced at her, then at Kelanie running beside him. He raised his eyebrows, just a little.

Kelanie rolled her eyes, quick, without losing her calm expression.

Smiling to himself, Drystan faced forward again.

“Pick up your feet!” the captain shouted.

It only took Drystan half a moment to decide to do something stupid. He stepped to the left on his next stride, moving cleanly out of line, and slowed. The line continued past him while he bent over double and reached down to his toes.

“Drystan!” the captain shouted. “Are you hurt?”

“No, ma’am,” Drystan called back.

She signaled for the others to come to a controlled halt, and they did on the instant, straightening, shoulders square, heads all turned to look at him over their left shoulders.

“Then what are you doing?” the captain asked.

Hand under the ball of his foot, Drystan lifted it off the ground. Then he paused, and looked up at the captain, as concerned as he knew how to appear. “I’m supposed to pick up both of them, ma’am?”

She took a full breath to understand, then she glared at him.

The others started to snicker, and Drystan caught Kelanie smiling before she faced forward to hide it.

“Get back into line, Drystan,” the captain ordered. “Or I’ll give you something to pick up.”

Drystan hesitated, considering whether he should continue the joke. He glanced at Kelanie. Two stupid things would be worth it for two of those smiles.

Looking down at his other foot, he took a deep breath. “I’m afraid I might fall over if I pick them both up, ma’am.”

Legal Theft Flash Fiction: A Word For That (741 words)

“I can smell your bleeding heart from down the hall.”

Vardan looked up at the sound of the other man’s voice, unsurprised at the half smile on Donnemey’s face. His eyebrows were bent together, examining Vardan as he approached in the stone hall. It was such a familiar expression, this false confusion poorly painted over his amusement, that Vardan hardly registered it anymore. There was so much more to dislike about the man than the vaguely insulting lines of his face.

He met Donnemey’s eye dully. “What does it smell like?”

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Wednesday Serial: Farther Part LXVII

Anie fire_handANIE

They didn’t lock the door to the back quarter of the main hall that night. Anie waited for the click of the latch, the groan of the slider bar, when the door shut behind their ragged line, but it never came. The kids were spreading around the room, finding their cots from the night before, and one by one, they all came to a stop. Some of them made it to their cots, sat down. Some of them just stopped in the middle of the room. Anie and Nessim stopped very close to the door. And they all looked at each other.

But no one moved.

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