Friday, April 26, 2013

Memory Trivia

This is my entry for Flash! Fiction over at Rebekah Potupak's blog! It's SUCH a fun picture today! There's still time to get yours in! It closes tonight at midnight (ET). 100 words exactly this time...tricky, but fun. Enjoy! :)

Photo courtesy of Mensatic, Morguefile

Memory Trivia
I grunted. Stupid ladder. My hips protested each step. I was too old for this. Mable was going to be wrong this time for sure. As a retired Memory Caster, I knew the difference between clear and cloudy.

The day I met Mable was as clear as glass. She spoke to me first, no question. I looked up. The sky was a beautiful blue, but I wished the projection worked from the bottom of the tree.

Finally. I watched the scene unfold. Dag’nabit! Laundry duty for another year! Perhaps I should concede defeat. Her memory was better. No! Next year…

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A horse?

I wrote something fast for Wakefield Mahon's Motivation Monday last night. I probably should've been doing something folding laundry, but I didn't. I usually get my ideas Monday night and write it Tuesday morning (it's not due until noon people - get yours in!), but now that I work on Tuesdays I have to rush it.

It needs editing and I shouldn't even put it up, but I like the idea and thought I'd share. It's got promise. :) The prompt for this one (as always) is the beginning. Specifically, "I saw four men on horseback" (I added the quotes in mine - it didn't have to be dialog.) and the idea of an apocalypse/end of the world that someone survives...or, at least, that's how I read it. The apocalypse idea is just his thought on the prompt, the only requirement is the beginning words. I like this contest because it's the longest one. I get 500 words to play with! Shockingly, I only used 387. (I was obviously half-asleep!)

“I saw four men on horseback.” I stammered as I passed through the gate, panting.

The guard on duty – Jerod – looked at me as though I’d taken a leak on his foot.

“Seriously. They were coming over the hill from the west…” I pointed back the way I’d come.

“Son, ya’ don’ even know what a’horse looks like. I’m sure it was jus’-”

“No! They were horses! I’ve seen pictures!” I had, too. One of the books in the nursery had a picture of a horse in it.

“I’m sure ya’ have.” He looked back the way I’d come. “West ya’ say? Well, sun’s settin’, in’it? Sometimes those shadows look a bit odd…”

“There’s nothing on that hill to cast a shadow! Nothing! They were there.” I could feel the heat in my eyes and I blinked furiously. It wouldn’t do no good to waste water. I bit my lip. Now this was a pickle! “I know sometimes I make out like I seen things when I didn’t. But this time, I really did!”

“That’s what ya’ say every time, Marcum. Now, it’s not as though I don’ believe ya’, exactly. Perhaps you did see something, but it weren’t no men on horseback. There ain’t nothin’ out there. Not no more.” Jarod scuffed his foot in the dirt and took a deep breath, but let it out without saying what was on his mind. He jerked his head toward home, “Get yourself home. Your Momma’s probably worried sick over ya’.”

I hung my head and tramped off down the path, kicking rocks as I went. Stupid. This whole place was stupid. We were just waiting to die. Food and water were scarce, everybody sick with something – any moment we were gonna be toast.

That’s why Papa left. He was gonna find some others – bring back help. Something must’a happened. He’d been gone two years now. I kept scouting to see if I could find some trace of him. I felt like I could hear him call my name sometimes.

I froze.

I did hear him.

I turned back the way I’d come. Four men on horseback. Papa!

I ran. Papa practically jumped off that great big creature – bigger than I could’ve imagined – and held his arm out to me.

He was home.

We were gonna make it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Winged Victory

Oh my goodness! What a week! This is my entry for the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower. One of my online writing buddies, Anna Meade, is getting married! (You may remember her from the Behind the Curtain flash fiction contest I entered.) Several of her writer friends - Laura James, Miranda Kate, and Rebekah Postupak - decided to give her a flash fiction shower! And I was invited!!! Well, it wasn't easy. The following story is my 8th attempt... As I said, it's been a week. :) Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

Okay...I lied... This is actually attempt number seven. I went back to it after I almost posted attempt number eight. I heard back from a dear, dear friend of mine and she told me to fix the seventh, as it was better. (Don't worry. I think I may do something a bit longer with number eight.) So... After frantic fixing of number seven to fit the parameters and get it in on time, without further adieu...

Oh. Wait. I'm supposed to write a toast too... :D  I'm sure you can be patient enough to wait through just a few more lines before you get to my story, right? No? Oh, do be patient. A Toast to the Bride and Groom: May you always remember to seek the other's best. Enjoy every moment of every stage of this life together. It's worth it!

And now...coming in at 715 words...for the beautiful couple...
ebook: yes

Winged Victory by Alissa Leonard

I smiled.
“…Until death do us part, and forever after. I choose to be united with you in this great adventure.
My soul to yours as we pass through the forms,
‘til we reach perfection on those distant shores.
That was going to ruffle some feathers, figuratively and literally. No one had spoken the words of soul-binding in a millennium.
Justin’s answering grin was all I could’ve hoped as he repeated the last line. We hadn’t told anyone of our soul-binding; they thought it was just a wedding. A marriage contract only lasted one life cycle. Soul-binding was forever.
Before anyone could stop us, we raised our hands, palms to palms, and spoke the Word of Binding together, “Abashai-oli.” We stood there, grinning stupidly, for a few precious moments before the cacophony started.
My mother was the loudest. The shriek she let out as she mantled her wings and raked a furrow in the perch could’ve shattered glass. Father tried to calm her and had his hand nearly snapped off for the effort. They didn’t get along now that she’d passed to her avian form.
Justin, bless his heart, turned to the minister and said oh-so-calmly with that smile still on his face, “Could you please present us, so that we may greet our guests?” Like the chaos below the dais wasn’t even there.
The minister, Justin’s Uncle Charlie, stared dumbfounded for a moment before clearing his throat. “I now present Mr. and Mrs. Justin White. You may kiss the bride?” He said it like it was a question. We leaned forward…
A hand clawed into my shoulder and yanked me backwards. “I’m certainly not going to let you seal that soul-binding with a kiss, you needle-brained half-wits!” Aunt Myrtle, mother’s sister, croaked into my ear. “Your mother is so mad she’s molting!”
“No!” I reached for Justin’s outstretched hand as he was pulled away. Our fingertips brushed momentarily. My vision filled with feathers and I was buffeted backward. I raised my arm to cover my eyes. Stupid bird-brained raptor instincts! I should’ve never invited Mother! Sometimes it takes a couple years to adjust to a regeneration. It hadn’t even been one since hers.
“Let go of me!” I heard Justin cry. Then some thumps. Then Mother gave an undignified squawk and shot into the sky. I dropped my arm. Justin was standing there with a fistful of tail feathers!
I giggled, somewhat hysterically, until Cousin Bart barreled into him, knocking him to the ground. “Hey! You are ruining my wedding!” I screamed and stomped my foot, slapping Aunt Myrtle’s hand from my shoulder. “That is enough! What is the meaning of this!? This is our decision!”
Mother was circling wildly above. Perhaps she overreacted because she was so young in this avian form? All the grandparents were sitting on their perches calmly. Even Janice, Justin’s niece who tragically regenerated two years ago, was still on her perch – although noticeably agitated. Grandpa Clarence, the only grandparent still human, was actually giggling – in a wheezing kind of way.
Father stood. “Sophie, you know the stories of heartbreak – two individuals bound together through human and avian forms for the rest of their lives. There is a reason it is…discouraged. When our bodies change, sometimes our hearts do as well. You clearly haven’t thought this through…”
“That’s where you’re wrong. Justin and I have been in the archives. Yes, many soul-bonded stumble about, causing havoc in the human timeline. None of us want another Trojan War! Pietre and Julianna even had that awful public display once – What did the humans call them? – Ah, yes, Romeo and Juliet. Stupid humans, dying for love ever since. Most soul-bonded survive the trials. They’re still together, nearing perfection in both forms. Odysseus and Penelope couldn’t have remained faithful for so long without a bond that ran deeper than mere affection. A soul-binding is a commitment to seek the other’s best in every stage of life. That may look different at different times, but it’s worth it.” I glanced at Justin, rising from the ground. “He’s worth it.”
He gave me his thousand-watt smile. No one stopped him as he reached his hand to my cheek, leaned down, and kissed me.
Mother shrieked from the sky and flew off. I smiled.

If you'd like to read the rest of the entries, you can see all of them HERE. :) Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Question and Answer

I should be sleeping, but instead I wrote an entry for Motivation Monday! WooHoo! Thanks Wakefield Mahon for hosting the longest flash fiction contest I know about... And I didn't even use all 500 words today! (376) SHOCKING! :) The prompt, as always, is the first line: "If I could [forget] one memory..."  Enjoy!

“If I could forget one memory? Why do I have to pick one?”

“It’s a question designed to force you to order your memories and determine your priorities and such. It’s like picking your favorite color or something.”

“Why would I want to forget my favorite color?”

“I said ‘it’s like’…it’s a simile…nevermind. Maybe you can think about it like an anti-favorite. Choose an anti-favorite memory. One you want to forget.”

“Well that’s just stupid. I can’t just choose to forget a memory.”

“It’s a philosophical question, Randy, there’s no need to get peevish.”

“Philosophical? You want philosophical? If I pick one memory, then that changes all the other memories! All of them! We live a life in sequence, you know, all those butterfly-flapping-their-wings-across-the-world-changes-everything stuff.”

“I’m not asking you to decide something never happened, I just wondered if you ever wanted to not remember anything in particular.”

“Oh. Well, no. Even if something’s unpleasant, it teaches you something. If I were to forget it, then I’d be doomed to repeat it, right? That’s how the saying goes, Charlene.”

“You know too many sayings… Okay, what about your worst memory? What’s that?”

“When my Dad died. That question was easy.”

“Well, wouldn’t you like to forget that? All that pain?”

“That would be awkward. Me walking around not remembering my Dad was dead. I don’t think that would go over well.”

“Good point. That would be problematic. Ooooh! What about your most embarrassing memory?”

“Nope. Not telling. But I’m not forgetting either. It reminds me to have some humility.”

“There has to be something you don’t want to remember.”

“Charlene, you’re the one who wants to get all philosophical. Fine. I’m a product of my memories, the good and the bad. They’re what make me who I am, and I’m good with that. Sure, I’ve made mistakes, but I’d like to think I’ve learned from them. I’d like to think I’ve done the best I could with what I’ve been given.”

“Randy, I just need to know what type of memory you’d like to forget so that I can check it off on my survey for psychology class!”

“Ah. Well, could we just forget this conversation ever happened?”

“So, ‘awkward interaction with an acquaintance’ it is. Thanks.”

Monday, April 8, 2013

As She Lay Dying

This is my entry for Monday Mixer over at Jeffrey Hollar's blog! I haven't entered this one yet (I've started several, but never finish them in time! Plus, the words he chooses are HARD!). Anyway, here it is! :) 150 words exactly (as required) with the required words: hummock, capsule, truculent, and esoteric.

He trudged up the hummock in painful slowness, leaning on his shovel with each step. His body was old and weak. He reached the spot and began to dig.

He remembered the day he buried the capsule here. He had been young and truculent and looking for adventure. He found her instead. She tempered him. She had made the decision easy, giving up his old self and taking on human form forever. He had planned to die here with her.

He would have. Truly. But they took her from him too early. He couldn’t protect her. He’d tried.

As she lay dying, in his moment of weakness, he told her his plan. She disagreed, spoke of forgiveness.

He sat, panting and holding his box etched with esoteric writing. It was heavier than he remembered – the weight of the universe, the key to the rest of himself.

Could he do it?