Friday, May 31, 2013
My second attempt at second person (first attempt not documented here [for good reason!!]). But hey, one must practise to improve, am I right? Though, granted, one does not need to share one's practise with the internet...meh. The internet has so much stupid on it already, it won't notice a little more. - E. Farris
You arrive fifteen minutes late, though you could have been there early, hoping the meal is already started and no one will have the audacity to ask you questions at the table. You sit down quickly between Mary and Quinn, giving everyone a polite smile and then plunging your gaze to your plate. Mary pats your knee under the table, but keeps her expression fixed and neutral, even though you can practically feel her unspoken questions humming against your skin. Quinn passes you the ham, shooting you furtive, asking glances, which you pretend to not notice. And then Clayton clears his throat and shatters the false placidity.
“Late again, Peter,” he thunders at you.
“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir,” you say, cutting your ham into mincemeat.
“A sign of weak character,” Clayton says, punctuating the sentence with a jab of his fork.
“Probably so, sir,” you say.
“Probably?” he roars, face red with exuberance and wine. “I should say definitely!”
You quietly ask Mary to pass the biscuits. She does, glancing at you sympathetically before her face slides back into neutrality.
“Where were you, then?” Clayton demands.
You grimace at your miniscule pieces of ham, cutting them still smaller and wishing it was your step-father instead.
“I was held up at school,” you lie. You don’t tell him about the fire, but you can sense Mary and Quinn silently asking you about it. But they know their father better than you and won’t bring it up if you don’t. The row that would come up if any of you did.
“School?” he questions, as if he suspected a falsehood. “Doing what?”
“Preparing for exams,” you answer, shredding what remained of your ham into impossible bits.
“Mm-hmm,” Clayton says, drawing himself up straighter. “Well, you best learn to keep time at that fancy school.”
“Yes, sir,” you answer firmly.
“Good,” he says and stabs his fork into his ham.
You exhale quietly. That was one bullet dodged. Now if you could only make it through the rest of dinner without ending up with a lungful of lead. You pick up your glass and drink a secret toast to yourself. Good luck and may God rest your soul.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
A description of the same object from two different points of view. Bonus points if you know what the the object is and the general identity of the speakers. -E. Farris
It bled doom. Seeping out of the long, thin cracks like blight creeping across a garden. Inside its encroaching, overpowering walls, shadows swarmed like fleas, clinging to the brown edges of its domain. Then the cover bore down, trapping me inside with the clinging, shrinking boundaries, enclosing me in plunging black hole of no light, no air, no life, no nothing, just panic and closeness, too close, so close, let me out, out, out, out, out! I sprang up, forcing back the entrapping flaps, breaking loose from its tight confines, back loose into the world, free, alive. I ran for my life away from that place, darting up the stairs to watch it from my realm of safety. It looms in the center of the room, my prison, my grave. I have to groom myself for hours before I stop trembling, but even then, even still, I can feel it, sense its dark presence, waiting for me, watching me. I shall never be free of that place, and forever its cardboard existence will haunt me, that death-box, that trap. It bled doom.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Late on a Tiw’s Day, after the last birds of Gilgainy had quieted down, the woman turns right at the fork, stepping away from the nosy village and toward the moorlands where the foxes burrowed. It is a hot Oster-mond night, speckled with white tones of moonlight passing in and out of the clouds and dancing across the scrubby grasses and hard packed road. The woman passes the broken road sign naming the village she has just left, its signage splintered and half buried by brown grass. She had buried her cat at that signpost, long before she buried her brother beneath the hawthorn tree still in the distance.
The woman scuffs her cracked, leather shoe on a stone, stumbling and hastily catching up her long skirts in her hand before she can trip over those as well. She recovers and stops in the road, looking up mournfully at the hide-and-seek moon, remembering another time she had seen the moon thus. She lowers her gaze to the earthly realm and continues along the path, steadily progressing toward the hawthorn tree. She hopes it is still as she last saw it, short and bent, like an old man, not yet in bloom for another month.
Uncertain rain is flicked at her from the scanty clouds, filling the air with the fresh scent of spring. The night birds and crickets are starting to pick up their songs as the woman nears the hawthorn and slows. Her feet hesitate as she steps off the road and onto the dry, rustling grasses. The tree is as she remembers, gray-brown, slightly twisted, and blown almost sideways from strong winds in its youth. But then she rounds the tree and stops, one foot still in the air, eyes widening to the width of the moon choosing this moment to illuminate the dreaded scene.
The entrance to the otherworld is open.
Monday, May 27, 2013
The bald man dashed down the dark streets, dark overcoat fluttering behind him. He hastily pushed his wire spectacles up his sweating nose and dodged around a corner, eyes scanning everywhere. Had he lost him? Or was he ahead of him, waiting?
He raced over the shadowed bridge, breath coming in heavy pants. Quick footsteps sounded behind him and he lengthened his stride in panic. The man ducked into a narrow alley and stopped, leaning against the wall, struggling to catch his breath. His limbs trembled from exertion but he didn’t have time to rest. The man glanced behind him then began to run again when someone dropped down from the roof.
“Been looking for you,” a young man said with a grin, before cocking a pistol and shooting the man in the leg.
With a cry the bald man collapsed against the wall, but the good-looking youth grabbed a bunch of his coat, holding him up.
“Good chase, but now to business.” The youth tilted his head. “Where is it?”
“Murderous,” the bespectacled man gasped.
“Yes, hello. Don’t know your name; don’t particularly care. Where is it?”
“I don’t know.”
Murderous slammed a fist against the man's face, knocking one leg of his spectacles off his ear.
“Where is it?”
The bald man closed his eyes. “Live ever long, laugh more than often, love—”
The man’s phrase ended in a low whine as a fist crushed his face, instantly breaking his nose. Blood flowed over his lips like water. He smiled thinly, as much an expression of pain as a look of satisfaction.
Murderous growled. “I asked you, where is it?”
“Those who dwell in the shelter of the wings of selfles—”
He grunted as he was punched in the chin, blood spraying out of his mouth and splashing on one lens of his spectacles now hanging off of one ear and crookedly catching on his nose.
“You’re annoying, Restri peasant,” Murderous said. “If I had time, this would be fun, but I don’t, so, where is the Key? We want it back.”
“Well, duh. But where is it?"
With a roar of anger the man spun around before hurling his victim against the opposite wall where he hit with an audible crack. The man slid down the bricks, blood trickling from both corners of his mouth. Murderous squeezed off another shot into his prey’s shoulder then came and knelt down next to him.
“I am getting very irritated, old man. So tell me, where it is and maybe I'll kill you nicely.”
“You will never…find it. It is…gone.”
“Gone where?” Silence. Murderous seized the man's shirt and jerked him forward. “Where?”
"Just…gone.” The man smiled at his executioner and reached up a shaky hand, attempting to reposition his spectacles.
"I'd rather kill you. Where is our Key?"
The old man gazed at him surprisingly steadily, peace in his eyes. "Gone."
Murderous snarled and shot the man in the head without looking. He punched the wall in frustration, then leaned over the man's dead body.
"You're an idiot, I hope you know. And very, very annoying." Murderous looked away. "And my last link."
Murderous pointed his finger at the nearest wall as if his hand were a gun, then saw something out of the corner of his eye and tilted his head back toward the old man. A silver chain had fallen out from inside the man's shirt. Murderous picked it up, snapping the chain and inspecting the flat, round pendant. It was plain except for letters scrawling around it in a circle.
"Well, well, well," Murderous said, a grin crossing his face. "You knew more than you claimed. It's not the Key, but it's more than you wanted me to know."
He cackled, stuffing the necklace in his pocket and putting his gun away. He patted the dead man's cheek and straightened. Then the young man leaped up onto the wall and skipped up to the roof. Murderous laughed maniacally, pointing a finger gun at the moon.
"Bang! You're dead," he said before springing away across the rooftops.
Behind him, the moon turned red.