Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Double Speak (830 words)

They were watching Catia’s fangs again as she spoke. Their gazes drifted down when she opened her mouth, and they met her eyes again on a pause, a little too purposefully. Over and over again. Catia touched one tooth with her tongue and glanced uselessly at the mirror behind their little table. She could guess at how each fang must cut her smile, twist her expression. But she had never seen them.

Before they had sunk in below her other teeth, her reflection had started to smear. In low light, she was nothing but an annoying smudge. The sort of thing that made her want to spit on the glass and scrub it with her cuff. In brighter lights she was a shadow that should not exist. Disconcerting. Stomach-turning, and impossible.

She had avoided daylight for months, just to keep herself believing that she was more than that shade in the glass. And to keep the others from seeing the strange way her skin bent the light even under their eyes.

And yet, the most irritating aspect of coming back from the dead was that no one believed she hadn’t gone evil.

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Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Carefully (1113 words)

Catia liked breathing. There was something pleasant about the liquid feeling of a breath, pulled gently over her tongue, warmed in her chest, pressed back out. It was soothing, the gentle tug on muscle. It rooted her into the world, with the sweetness, sharpness, spice, sourness hanging in the air.

But she didn’t need to breathe, and just now, it seemed selfish.

The crash and roar of the rockslide had shocked her out of two or three breaths. The sudden darkness and the ringing in her ears made her forget for another long moment. She blinked, and waited, perfectly still. The ringing died down. Her eyes slowly turned the darkness into gray, shifting shadows. Fynn’s breaths began to echo in the newly shortened space.

“Catia?” Fynn called.

She took in air, just to respond. “I’m here.”

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Gwendoogle – Ask Me About Transylvania

GwendoogleAnswers served with a clock I didn’t realize was ticking

Annie C. searched: Where did you go?
I was prepared to answer this question much more blithely before I realized that I last posted more than a month ago. For instance:

Most recently I went to Laguna Beach. It was wonderful, as well as a little surreal as an East Coast transplant. It seems more like a location on television than anything in reality. I got very sunburnt, because I am a walking piece of white bread. Thanks for asking!

But after forty-seven days of unexplained absence, I owe you more than that. As much fun as it would be to tell you all about my undercover mission to Transylvania privately funded by a paranoid, philanthropic billionaire…

Honestly, Annie, I didn’t go anywhere. I sort of went everywhere. Five days a week, I now hold down a job which I love. Slightly less often than that, I go out with friends to see a movie or knock down as many bowling pins as possible in two hours. A lot of nights, I’ve been getting my new boyfriend caught up on Game of Thrones and Firefly, while he thinks up what he’s going to ask me to watch in return. I’ve gone to the beach, San Diego, and Disney Land. I’ve had faraway friends drop by for drinks and nostalgia and inspiration. I’ve made plans to see family in the very near future.

All in all, with a shiny new car and a fully functioning driver’s license, I have rediscovered my old College Days problem of being an extroverted writer: I crave company, and need to protect my writing time from my own tendency to burst out of the house at every opportunity.

I am starting to develop rules for myself:

  1. Don’t go more than three days without three good hours of writing time. You won’t be happy.
  2. Don’t sacrifice good sleep to see friends. You need to be well-rested to sit still and write. Caffeine is only halfway effective.
  3. Reading time is essential. But is not writing time.
  4. You can leave the house to write. There is no reason to feel like a shut-in when Starbucks has delightful outside tables in the shade and your new home in Southern California is always breezy.
  5. Don’t get sunburnt. It’s not like it inhibits writing, but it is strangely distracting.
  6. Remember that while you love writing, and it makes you happy, yes, sometimes you run away from it, because it’s hard and seeing the new Captain America movie with good friends is easy.
  7. Remember how much you hate running away. And how good it feels to kick butt.
  8. Kick butt. Kick all the butts. (Apply this rule sparingly in other areas of life, please.)
  9. Make your own rules, and don’t feel weird that you have to drag yourself into alone time when so many other writers are dragging themselves out to be social. All writers are weird.
  10. Get carried away. But maybe not with this list, which has gone on too long, and is not actually productive writing, you guppy.

TL;DR – I’m doing that adult thing where I learn to budget time, take care of myself, be productive, and stay rested. As much as I say I love learning, I’m being pretty slow about this lesson. But I haven’t forgotten you. Don’t forget about me.

Any other extroverted writers out there?

Fiction: Wake – Part Four

Wake Part Four

The gravel crunched, echoing back into the cave. Counting footsteps, Eytan stared into the dark. When the four of them appeared in a loose line, he wasn’t surprised. The first man had a heavy sword at her hip, and passed Eytan without realizing. The woman behind him, a shadow in her dark leathers, caught the glint of bare steel in Eytan’s hand and murmured one word to pull them all to a stop. The other two stopped immediately, glints and echoes ten feet back and Eytan stayed where he was, borrowing some of the bulk of the stone wall while he stared at them.

“Lost, sister?” Eytan asked, and kept his voice low so that it was mostly echo as well.

The woman didn’t answer, tilting her head to get a better look at him.

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Gwendoogle CXLIII – Travel Plans

Gwendoogle

Answers served with a dose of optimism

MadamLibrarian searched: Would you ever go to Antarctica?
I can think of approximately 6,479 situations in which I would go to Antarctica:

1. A eccentric millionaire named Frank invites me to join him on an expedition to the southern continent after learning how much I love winter weather. I am clearly useless on their quest to find the lost alien civilization under the ice, so I tell the rest of the party that I’m only there because I fell asleep in the box of parkas by accident. When pressed, Frank tells the party that he needed someone who would remain cheerful while we were all freezing our rear ends off.

2. A very old stone is found under the ice, carved with an Ancient Greek phrase which simply says, “I’m only half the contest.” It makes a lot of people curious. Dozens of teams make their way south. I get to go because I can read Ancient Greek and crack Stargate jokes.

3. I win a ticket to go on a cruise around the Cape Horn. A freak storm drives the ship horribly off course. The ship is beached with an iceburg through the hull. Most of the crew were lost. The passengers and I learn how to survive from a friendly tribe of penguins.

4. McMurdo is hiring new staff for their post office…

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Gwendoogle Part CXXXII – Organizing My Conspiracy Theories

GwendoogleAnswers served from Southern California. Holy Cow.

Kate Kearney searched: Why is organization so hard?
If you’ve been reading my blog over the past week, then you probably know that I have spent the last six days driving from the house that I have lived in since I was nine years old, to an apartment on the entire opposite coast. What you might not have realized, is that I was driving a cute little four-door Chevy, and that everything I now own was packed into the trunk and the back seat.

Everything.

And eighty-five percent of those things are either clothing or books.

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Five Text Messages

At 2:09 this afternoon, I sent the following text message to five people:

I PASSED.

I received the following responses:

YEAH YOU DID. :-D

YAY!!!!!! You remembered the blinky blinky button!

WOOHOO! The party is ON!

Wahoo…. *in a British accent* I say, that is fine.

YESSSSSSSSS!!!!

Today is a good day, not only because I am now licensed to drive a car, but because I live among excellent people. :)

 

Today’s Stress-Free Post is Brought to You by Random Thoughts

1. I own one hundred and twelve pounds of books. I don’t imagine a lot of people know how many pounds of books they own. They probably just count them. Or count the shelves they’re on.

But I’ve weighed them for shipping, and now, I’m inordinately pleased at the idea of having almost enough books to constitute a full adult human.

2. I am beginning to realize how dangerous it might be for me to be able to drive a car by myself. I could decide to go places.

And then go.

Without telling anyone.

I could just show up anywhere. Speaking of which, what are you making for dinner?

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Today’s Stress-Free Post Brought to You by Panic

I don’t have any clear memories from the first time I drove on a public road. My father had just spent an hour, directing me around a parking lot, and I had taken every corner with the wobbly coordination of a baby horse. I felt ridiculous, frustrated and bored with my frustration. I didn’t count, but I must have driven that circle at least a dozen times. Then he told me to go ahead and exit the parking lot, turn let and take us home.

I only remember going around one curve on the way there, and I know for a fact that there were two more, a four-way stop at the bottom of a hill and another left hand turn into my driveway. I couldn’t tell you if there were other cars on the road, or what speed I was going. I only know that when I got home, my hands shook for half an hour.

It only took three minutes to drive home.

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Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Pick Up the Pace (640 words)

“Where is your human?” William asked.

Clarissa shot him a look as she reached the top of the hill, making it clear that she had noticed his lack of greeting, but she said nothing. She let the look linger to further impress upon him that the word he should have used was “friend.” Everyone was trying to shake off the old phrasing and lose the quiet implications that humans were things they could own.

William blinked back at her, expression unchanged as he leaned against the side of a rock twice his height. Unmoving, and as square-shouldered as he was, he managed to make it look like he was supporting it instead of the other way around.

“She’s coming,” Clarissa said. She held in a sigh. She hated it when her best glares didn’t even leave a scratch. “I know there’s no real argument about who is faster – our kind or theirs – but it turns out, when you wake a human up at midnight and ask her to hike a mountain, the answer is quite definitive.”

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