Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happily Ever After; Part Two

Write at the Merge; Week 9

The prompt: A fat, wet snow fell here this weekend, and while I knew we’re already turning our faces towards spring, I want you to draw your inspiration from a snow fall and a secret revealed.

I'm trying something a little...well, crazy here this week.  I have been writing and linking up to several prompts every week.  I've combined prompts and I've written separate stories to the individual prompts.  This week my goal is to write one story, and split it into parts.  Each part fitting one of the prompts I use.  It's my hope that each part stands alone, yet makes one understandable tale all together.
Part one is here 

Princess Meeribel leaned on the window ledge of a tower in the farthest reaches of the palace of the Realm of Windmore. The first snowfall of winter was throwing its white shroud over the castle grounds. She saw her life reflected in the bland and featureless landscape.

"Milady?" Katten, her maid puffed into the small room, “Milady, the Prince wishes your presence at dinner.”

Meeribel’s shoulders slumped, she had hoped Prince Arlord might take this one meal without her. She felt as trapped in the palace as she had slaving for the herbwife and Witch Willin in the farthest reaches of the realm not so long ago. Wearily she turned from the window, “Thank you, Katten. Please tell my husband I shall join him shortly.”

She left the tower behind, stopping briefly at her apartments to drop off the shawl she’d worn in the cooler space, freshen her hair and face. No need for the Prince to know she was unhappy.

“Milord, I apologize for my late arrival, I lost track of the hour.” Meeribel conjured a bright smile for her husband. “I hope you didn’t wait too long.”

“Ah! My Princess, not long at all.” She nearly winced at his obvious lie. The gravy had practically congealed in the bowl and the fluffy concoction of fruit salad had lost its fluff. “Come, Meeribel, sit.”

“Thank you, Husband,” she murmured as she took the seat next to him.

The serving maids heaped portions on her plate that were far too large for her poor appetite. She spent most of her meal pushing food from one side of her gold edged plate to the other. Arlord ate heartily, telling her of his day, seemingly unaware of her disinterest.

She nodded in the appropriate places, or said a word to show she listened. But, she was sure she’d be unable to remember any of the conversation.

Suddenly, Arlord was silent. She lay her fork on the table, and met his eyes. He had been watching her for some time without her knowledge.

“Milady, will you not tell me what bothers you? You smile, but it never reaches your eyes. You accompany me, but you are not with me.” Arlord pinned her with his gaze, gently demanding an answer.

Meeribel looked at her hands, then back to her husband. “Milord…my Prince. I have a confession to make.” She breathed deeply, determined to tell the truth with as steady a voice as she could muster.

Arlord waited patiently as she composed herself.

“I have deceived you, Arlord. I used a potion to make you love me so you would take me away from a life I hated. I thought I could be a good princess and a good wife. I was so very wrong. I made a terrible mistake.” She raced through the words before she lost her nerve.

Arlord looked at her for a long moment, his chin resting on his knuckles. He finally spoke, and Meeribel held her breath, awaiting her punishment. “My Princess, since you have made your confession freely, I shall offer my own confession.”

As Meeribel blinked in confusion, Arlord continued. “I admit, I made an error by accepting your cup of tea. My own witch was absent that day. She rejoined us, you'll remember, several days later. She immediately made me drink a rather nasty brew to counteract the effects of your own.”

Meeribel gasped, “but, why then..”

Arlord raised a hand to quiet her, “Since I had been proclaiming my love for you through half my realm, it seemed more prudent to just marry you than look the fool.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happily Ever After Part 1

Trifecta: Week Sixty-six

I'm trying something a little...well, crazy here this week.  I have been writing and linking up to several prompts every week.  I've combined prompts and I've written separate stories to the individual prompts.  This week my goal is to write one story, and split it into parts.  Each part fitting one of the prompts I use.  It's my hope that each part stands alone, yet makes one understandable tale all together.
So?  Here goes nothin"!

Congrats to all of our winners.  Check them out if you haven't already.  And give some love to our Featured Trifectans this week, your mug may be up there next.  On to the weekly challenge.

DOCTOR (noun)

a : an eminent theologian declared a sound expounder of doctrine by the Roman Catholic Church —called also doctor of the church
b : a learned or authoritative teacher
c : a person who has earned one of the highest academic degrees (as a PhD) conferred by a university
d : a person awarded an honorary doctorate (as an LLD or Litt D) by a college or university
a : a person skilled or specializing in healing arts; especially :one (as a physician, dentist, or veterinarian) who holds an advanced degree and is licensed to practice
b : medicine man
Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.

This week's challenge is community-judged.
  • For the 12 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.  
  • In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link.  To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post.
  • You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
  • Voting is open to everyone. Encourage your friends to vote for you, if you wish, but please don't tell them to vote on a number.  The numbering of the posts changes regularly, as authors have the ability to delete their own links at any time.
  • You have 12 hours to vote.  It's not much time, so be diligent! We'll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.
This week's word is doctor.  

Meeribel was a shepherds daughter in the farthest reaches of the Realm of Windmore. Her father was widowed and poor, unable to raise a young girl. So, he bartered his daughter to the local herbwife for a breeding ewe.

"Ye'll larn 'ow ta be a fine ly-day 'ere," he said as he led his prize ewe away. 

Meeribel smiled shyly at her new "grandmother".  

The old woman's eyes narrowed, "Dun be asmilin' at me, ye sassy git!  I give me bes' lambie maker away fer a pair o' workin' arms.  Start workin'!"  

Meeribel's smile faded to confusion. "Is that 'ow I'll learn ta be a ly-day, Grandmother?"

"I ain't yer granny!  An' if ye wants ta be a ly-day, afta ye finish tha chores here, get up to Witch Willin's.  If'n ye dust an' sweep her porch, mayhap she'll learn ye ta be a high ly-day." She nearly doubled over with screechy laughter.

So, Meeribel began a life of servitude to a crotchety old herbwife and an equally crotchety old witch.
She did learn to speak and act like a lady.  

She also learned the use of herbs from the herbwife. And the use of spells from Witch Willin.

Which came in handy when Arlord, Prince of the Realm, wandered into the farthest reaches of Windmore in search of a wife.  

She stole the correct herbs from the herbwife.  She ripped a page from the spellbook of Witch Willin. Then she spent an entire night concocting the perfect potion.

The morning of Prince Arlord's wifeless departure, she used the potion to doctor a cup of tea for his highness.  
She smiled shyly as she offered him a farewell drink for his journey.  Sighing, Arlord accepted the brew. One more more common girl trying to catch his attention. 


Meeribel waved gaily at the herbwife and Witch Willin as she left the farthest reaches of Windmore.  She leaned into Arlord's embrace as she congratulated herself on her brilliance.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Jog

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

 100 words inspired by the song , I Won’t Back Down, by Tom Petty and Deb.

Mary and Duke are old friends, you can read more about them at  Vigil and Each Alone and New Beginning

He'd lagged behind, sniffing a tree trunk, investigating the innards of a shrub.  The sound of rushing feet attracted his attention.

He watched with mild interest as the strange man knocked her down.  Head cocked and tail wagging, he tried to grasp this new game. Until he caught the scent of her fear.

 Instinct launched him across the grass to the struggling bodies.  his teeth grasped the male's arm and pulled.  The man screamed and swung at his head. He didn't back down. Another lunge and deep growl convinced the man to leave.

 "Good Duke!" Mary sobbed into his fur. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Murphy's Law, of Course

Storch-BadgeMaster Class: Week 7
This week, to keep things interesting, I asked Steph to choose the first line from the fifth chapter of any book of her choosing. She chose Three Junes by Julia Glass. The first line of the fifth chapter is as follows:

“Clever how the cosmos can, in a single portent, be ingratiating yet sadistic.”

Use this line to start your stories. Please be sure to include the sentence in quotation marks.  Congratulations Steph!

"Clever how the cosmos can, in a single portent, be ingratiating yet sadistic."

The day began as most, the grating alarm insisting that I get out of bed.  After long minutes in front of the mirror, I deemed myself ready to greet the world.

Shivering into the winter morning, I cajoled the car into drive.  A quick stop at the corner convenience counter for a glorified hot chocolate pretending to be cappuccino, and my daily scratch off lottery ticket.  Then back to the almost warm front seat.

Since I had some minutes to spare, I sipped my over sugared brew and grabbed my lucky penny. I always used the same coin to scratch the silvery mask from the ticket.


Not enough to quit my job, but perhaps an impromptu vacation was in order. The car rocked along with my happy dance as I planned my sun and fun break.

I called off for the day so I could trek to the closest lottery office. Closest requiring a three hour drive to the Big City.

Halfway to my destination, winter threw the inconvenience of heavy snow frenzied by heavy wind. I belatedly remembered the winter storm warning from the morning news.

Travel quickly became travail as traffic slowed to a crawl on the freeway. Visibility was reduced to a few feet beyond the hood of my car, and evidently for the car behind me.

The seemingly gentle bump sent me spinning across the lane and over the edge.  It wasn't a long drop by any means, and at least the old beast landed upright.  But after a quick trip outside of the car, I could see there was no getting back to the road.

I considered trying to flag a ride. But who would see me?  Or worse, who wouldn't see me and ram me unprotected back to my car.

So, I huddled into the barely warm front seat. And the snow continued.  And the wind. It wasn't long before the reduced view became no view.


I think its been three days now.  I start the car occasionally for heat, but the fear of carbon monoxide keeps me from running it very long. There's snow for water, but not even a candy bar in the glove box to eat.

I haven't heard a snowplow, or any other traffic sounds.

As I consider the cost of medical care for frostbite and starvation, not to mention therapy for post-traumatic stress, I'm pretty sure the sun and fun vacation is off.

I hope my job is still there when the spring thaw finally uncovers me.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hidden Things

Trifextra: Week Fifty-six

This weekend we are playing another type of word game with you.  Below are photos from the 33rd page of one of our very favorite books, Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge.  What we want you to do is to scour the page (click to enlarge), choose 33 words, and reshape those words into a piece of your own.  Your piece does not have to tell an entire story.  We just want to see what you can do with this particular word bank.  Punctuation is up to you.  Use whatever you need, whether or not it appears in the photos.

The urgent sensation flapped through her mind on thin wings

She shouted it down, then carried it to her cupboards

Where they collected in comforting blankness

Hollow umbrage hidden by the cedar door

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Trifecta Week Sixty-Five
EXHAUST (transitive verb)
1a : to consume entirely : use up <exhausted our funds in a week>
  b : to tire extremely or completely <exhausted by overwork>
  c : to deprive of a valuable quality or constituent <exhaust a photographic developer>
2a : to draw off or let out completely
  b : to empty by drawing off the contents; specifically : to create a vacuum in
3a : to consider or discuss (a subject) thoroughly or completely  
Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.

Eyes lust locked.
We contemplate the next move.
Neither planned on being here.

We have our together.
In other lives.
In listless love.

Hesitant touches.
Seasoned with want and guilt
We exhaust the whys.

We draw breath together.
Having chosen with our bodies.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sacrificial Dance

Write at the Merge Week 8

This week’s prompt combines an Ayn Rand quote with an image of one of Edgar Degas’ famous ballerinas.
Remember, you can use either — or both — portions of the prompt in your response and your word limit is 500. Once you link up, check back Thursday to see what other members of the community submitted.
the quote:
It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.
—Ayn Rand

How bad is it that a ballerina led me to an entirely different kind of "dance"?  I don't know, but it did.  As for the quote, I think it's in there...

Jimmy laid forty dollars on the table in front of him. That's all he'd spend tonight. He hadn't planned on going, but it was payday and his buddies practically dragged him along.

"C'mon, dude!  You worked hard for that scratch, you gotta right to enjoy it."

"Yeah, but I promised Sheila, no more titty bars.  We need the cash for bills 'n food."

"You needa get some balls, Jimbo.  Tell 'Shrilla' get off her dead ass 'n get a job."

"Well, maybe for one beer."  He didn't bother explaining how hard Sheila worked at home.  Cleaning up after two kids running wild all day.  And trying to have supper ready for him when he came home.  

Besides, what could be wrong with having one beer with his friends.

A couple of shots of Jack later, and well into the second pitcher of Miller's, Jimmy decided, not for the first time, he agreed wholeheartedly with his "buds".

He pulled a fourth twenty from his pay envelope and caught the closest waitress to change it for ones.  He'd tucked more than he remembered into one or another g-string.  And the show wasn't over yet.  Maybe that hot bitch with the shiny, black hair down to her ass would be back.

It was after midnight when he lurched to his car. Somewhere in his stupor he knew he'd blown half his check on booze and lap dances.  Sheila would be pissed. They'd have another fight, the kids would wake up crying. 
"Shit." He rubbed his hands over his face, then started the fuzzy ride home.

The house was dark, Sheila must've given up waiting for him and gone to bed. That meant the argument would start first thing in the morning. "Shit."

He fumbled his key into the lock and shuffled as quietly as possible to the kitchen.  Maybe, she'd left a plate for him in the fridge.

The back door popped open and the kitchen light blazed, causing him to whack his head inside the refrigerator.
He swung around to see his wife standing just inside the door.

"What the hell, Sheil! I thought you were in bed."

"Yeah?  And I thought you were gonna give up titty bars. Guess we were both wrong, huh."

"So, where the hell you been?  Where're the kids?"

"Kids are at my mom's.  I got a job."

"What job got you workin' this late? I don't want you workin' some gas station!  It ain't safe!"

"Oh, no, not a gas station."  She pulled several rolls of ones out of her purse.  "Look familiar, Jimbo?"

Jimmy's eyes flickered between anger and shame.  "Where..."

Sheila smirked as she stuffed the bills back into her purse.  "You won't bring home your money, I will."

"And, here, brush this out for me, will ya."  She tossed a long haired, black wig over his shoulder. "I know you like it."

Monday, February 18, 2013

Slices of Secret

I think this piece stands alone, it is related to the post found here...

Master Class #6

Once again, we’re trying something new. Shannon was asked to pick any fiction book, turn to page 77 and give the seventh sentence as the prompt. This week, you will use the sentence somewhere within the body of your story. You can not use it to open or end your story. Please use bold font on the prompt sentence so that it can be found easily. Shannon chose Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians” and the prompt is:
He felt like a safe cracker who – partly by luck – had sussed out the first digit in a lengthy, arduous combination.

Liam strode purposefully to his rooms. He squashed the urge to run.  No reason to attract undue attention. His prize would mean little to anyone else, but that didn't mean it would be safe.

Once behind locked doors, he lay the loosely wrapped package on the stained counter top. Hesitating only a moment he unfolded the paper.

Liam felt a mixture of excitement and dread as he appraised his find. A slice of muddied green stone, the copper band around it badly corroded. He carefully pulled the last bits of metal away.

He pulled a worn velvet lined box from the room's only closet. Inside were nine more green slices graduated in size. The smallest was the outermost piece of a rounded stone. Within each slice, the image of a woman, her mouth wide in a scream, was imprinted.

"Who are ye, I wonder. And why does my Annie keep three of ye, and hunt for more," Liam spoke to the images laid out before him. He could feel the spell in the stones.  They pulsed erratically in the dim light.

Curious, he arranged the slices by size. Then stacked them one atop the other, ending with a rounded end-piece. He picked the pile up as a whole and could feel the pulse strengthen and grow steady.  The pieces tried to hold themselves together.  He felt like a safe cracker who – partly by luck – had sussed out the first digit in a lengthy, arduous combination.  What power might he gain if he could gain control of those bits that his Annie held?

Liam tightened his grip, his movement caused the pieces to shift and lose their hold on each other.  They reverted to the erratic rhythm.

Somewhat unnerved, Liam laid the ten slices carefully in the box, making sure to shuffle them out of order.

"Don't know who ye are, yet. But I'd as soon you didn't be asneakin' up on me at midnight before I find out."  He closed the lid and returned the box to the back of the closet shelf.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Trifextra: Week Fifty-five
For this weekend's challenge we're asking you to include some hyperbole in your piece.  It doesn't have to be the whole piece, but it needs to be in there, and we're looking for 33 words, as usual.

"Its just a little spider."

"The size of a softball!"  I pulled my feet clear of the floor.

"Or a quarter..."

"A quarter pounder! See! The cats just packed their bowls and left!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Am Not Afraid

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Whee I got to pick the song this week!  I chose John Wayne by Billy Idol, you can see it here:

 I'm not afraid,” he’d said.

He didn't understand. It wasn't a matter of his fear, it was a matter of his choice. A choice that changed everything between them.

She turned her back and walked away.

“I am not afraid,” she told herself, “I am not afraid of being alone.”

It would be better that way. No hearts to distract her. No one to tie her down.

Tonight, it changes. I keep my soul to myself. No more pretense of normalcy.

She mounted the waiting pony, clutched the familiar hilt of the ancient sword.

Just you and me, my love.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blech Magic

Alrighty then, I couldn't resist.  One silly story inspired by three prompts.  (I may have pushed a bit on Lance's 100 Word Song, but I couldn't get "disaster" out of my head.)
So, here's my bit for the 100 Word Song, Write on Edge, and Trifecta.  

Concrit Away!!

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

100 words inspired by 311′s Beautiful Disaster.

Write at the Merge; Week 7
This week, be inspired by the sense of smell. It’s said scent is the strongest tie to memory, and aroma is a powerful force—for good and awful! Is your nose engaged? Now I give you the word Elixir:
elixir |iˈliksər|
a magical or medicinal potion: an elixir guaranteed to induce love.
• a preparation that was supposedly able to change metals into gold, sought by alchemists.
• (also elixir of life )a preparation supposedly able to prolong life indefinitely.
• a medicinal solution of a specified type: a natural herbal cough elixir.
ORIGIN late Middle English: via medieval Latin from Arabic al-’iksīr, from al ‘the’ + ‘iksīr from Greek xērion ‘powder for drying wounds’ (from xēros ‘dry’).
Trifecta: Week Sixty-four

Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.
This week's word is dwell.  

Blech Magic

All she needed to accomplish in this phase of her testing was a simple fireball. She hadn't counted on the sensory effects of the elixir the Master Mage had insisted she drink.  

It not only caused double vision, but enhanced the odor of the several unwashed bodies assembled to watch her performance.

Trying not to dwell on the smell, she focused on wand-play and incantation. The fireball finally formed in her hand.  The deep breath of relief she took was her undoing.

The vomit infused disaster she'd created, though ensuring her expulsion, had at least cleared the room of stink.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Old Acquaintances

 image courtesy of leo.jeje (via Flickr Creative Commons)This image and These words from "Some Night" by FUN: I found a martyr in my bed tonight
She stops my bones from wondering just who I am, who I am, who I am
image courtesy of leo.jeje (via Flickr Creative Commons)

Tiger Eyes – Master Class 2013 #5

Congratulations to Carrie!  
In keeping with “changing it up,” when I asked Carrie for a line from a novel, I asked her to give me the last line. That’s right class, this week, you have to END on the prompt, not begin with it. Carrie chose Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes, which ends with:
Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

and on to the story...

Liam hunched through the afternoon downpour.  His footing was sure on the rain slicked rocks as he climbed the rise toward the abandoned chapel. At the foot of the cracked and weather warped granite steps he stopped to survey ruin. The walls were mostly intact, the turrets not all crumbled. 

He mounted the first six stairs. Before he could reach the topmost step, a rush of air pushed him back. Leathery wings spread wide, framing a bestial face. The features were the same shade as the walls of the chapel. The cheeks and forehead were similarly marred by the erosion of years and weather.

"Thou shalt not enter this holy house, Liam Braden."  Its voice was as eroded as its face. 

"Ye're not serious, are ye?  Tis my family land, gargoyle."

"Thou art unclean. Thee may not enter."

"Unclean?  I'm soakin' wet!"  Liam attempted to side step the creature.

A rock hard hand gently blocked his move. "I am sworn to keep the unclean out of God's house. Thou hast partaken of human flesh, Liam Braden." 

"Ah, that. Well, they was already departed this world. It's not like I slew them meself." 

"And thou hast committed murderer." 

"Self defense."  Liam countered. 

The wings spread as the monster stood to full height. "The murder of thy Father and Mother were not self defense, nor the killing of thy siblings!" 

Liam sighed, "No, but I was under a compulsion.  It was not me fault."

It was the gargoyle's turn to sigh. "A geas set upon thee as the price for the dark gift thee chose to cheat death.  Thou cannot deceive me."

"Alright. Ye've got a point. But, honestly, how holy can this place still be?  None have worshipped here for centuries. And besides, I helped me father raise ye to the tower. T'was meself that named ye. Cedric."  Liam grinned.  "Ye were marvelous! All grim power and stony strength."

"Thee was a good boy then, Liam.  Cedric, yes, I remember."

"Then let me in, old friend. We'll reminisce."

Cedric pondered a moment. "My strength is not what it was, I am lonely. Against my judgement, I bid thee enter Liam Braden."

Together, they walked into the nave. Liam was surprised and unexpectedly pleased to see the stained glass behind the pulpit was intact. The weak light of the dreary day muted the once vibrant hues as they tinted the decomposing body that lay across the podium.

He glanced sidelong at the creature next to him. "Ye've been entertaining?"

"Badly behaved youngsters.  They thought to practice the black mass.  In fact, summoned a demon before I could rouse myself. I had to put a stop to that."

"And the others?"

"Fled. This one chose to martyr herself for her demon."  Cedric gazed sadly at the corpse. "A wasted effort. I sent it back to Hell anyway."

"I see."  Liam eyed the remains hungrily, "Perhaps I was sent to help ye cleanse the house.  I could, oh, dispose of that bit a mess for ye."

"Ghouls!"  Cedric rolled his stony eyes. "Alright then.Maybe that's the way its supposed to be."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Trifecta: Week Sixty-Three

This week's word is:

1: a trodden way
2: a track specially constructed for a particular use
3a : course, route
  b : a way of life, conduct, or thought

Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.

The forest floor was thick with decaying leaves, the gnarled trees that shed them yearly loomed over an often followed animal trail. She trotted south along the track for several hours, stopping regularly to verify that she still had the scent. 

She came to a fork in the trail, one leg still pointing south, the other veering to the east. 

East, she could make out the first blush of sunrise. Her ears sorted the clicks of beetles scuttling in the deadfall and squirrels scurrying in the canopy.  The forest's daytime crew, roused by the morning clamor of robins. 

South, darkness retained its grip. Yet, no night thing scuttled.  An unnatural hush crowded the bedimmed trail. Trees bent, limbs stretching down, as if to block the way. 

She cast a envious glance to the east, then chased the scent into the shadowed silence. Her path had been chosen for her long ago. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Wedding Feast

This is the first chapter of my work Work in Chaos, the one I post bits and pieces of about the internet.  
It introduces Annag, of Clan MacClarren, long before she takes the name Anne Marie.  Shortly before her life changes.  Forever.  I haven't pinned an actual time or geographical location yet.  I'm still researching and changing my mind.  A lot.  But, here it is....

A slight breeze ruffled Annag’s already unruly red curls. She’d stepped outside the crowded stone house for a moment to take a final look around. She leaned against the outcrop she’d known all her life. The smell of the clan‘s sheep filled her nose. This was her last night on the moors of Clan MacClarren.

Soon the small party from clan MacGoulan would arrive. After a feast and music and dancing they would gather her and Taog, along with her few belongings, to begin the journey back to his home.

It was a fortunate turn for her. At nearly 20 years, she was considered old for marriage. The limp form a childhood injury had made her an undesirable choice.

It had also been a benefit. She was marrying a man she had grown to love. Taog had been sent to train with her father, Donnchadh, chief of her clan. A warrior however, Taog was not. More a bard and dreamer. She had more skill with weapons than he had acquired. It was a joke between them, he’d raise the babes and she’s protect the family. During his time with the clan, they had talked and laughed and dreamed together. Her father upon seeing the budding romance, saw a way to bind the two clans together as well as finally finding a match for daughter.

Taog had slipped behind her as she took her last look of home. He knew she was excited yet anxious about the changes that were coming.

“Are you sure, love? Can you make this move” he asked. She leaned into him as he wrapped his arms around her, one hand sliding to the swell of her belly.

“Yes, of course. I’m just nervous. I haven't met any of your family but your brother.” Sionn made her uncomfortable, he was twin to Taog in looks, but his personality was completely opposite. “Besides, its a bit late to change my mind now.” She laid her hand over his. Protective of the small life within.

Taog knew how she felt about his twin, he chuckled, “he grows on you. He’s not as tough and surly as he seems. Well, mostly not.”

She laughed with him, turning to face him. She gazed into his eyes, a dark blue that made her think of deep water. She wanted to look into them forever. His thick black hair curled tightly against his head, unlike her own temperamental locks. She lace her arms around his neck and pulled his mouth to hers.

“Oh sweet lass, you’ll make us miss the party if you start that.” His voice made the words a caress. She held tighter, trying to pull him to the ground.

“Annag! Come in girl, the MacGoulan will be here soon”, her mother, Mara, called. Annag reluctantly pulled herself away. “You've been saved,” she whispered, “this time..”

As they returned to the chief’s house, the clan hounds greeted them with wagging tails. The wonderful smell of roasting mutton caused her mouth to water as she opened the door. Her younger sister, Danae was following their mother from hearth to table, helping as best as her small size allowed.

“There you are, girl! Sneaking about with that young man again, I see.” Her mother teased. “Think you would have learned a lesson from that.” She gestured to Annag’s rounding middle.

“I take full blame for the state your daughter finds herself, and I’ll pay the price.” Taog pretended chagrin, for only a moment. He laughed merrily, “I take that back, the lass is to blame. It must be that red hair, all over the place, it blinded me.”

“Oh really, you will blame me? The price you will pay is not what you expect, I think.” She punched him playfully. “Remember, I’m much better with the broadsword than you, and I’m not afraid to use it!”

He grabbed her hand before she could strike again, “but my harp and my voice will soothe you. And the babe.” He grinned, “which is good, because your singing will just scare the poor thing.” He let go her hand and ducked quickly behind a table before she could plant another blow.

Mara shook her head, but inside she felt warmth. The chatter between the two reminded her much of the way she and Donnchadh had been years ago. They still loved one another, but the job of keeping the clan together took much time and energy.

She interrupted their play by assigning them tasks to get ready for the arrival of Taog’s brother and the few others that would escort the couple back to MacGoulan clan home.

Her happy mood was only slightly marred by the thought of her eldest daughter going away. She chided herself, “MacGoulan is only a two days trip. I can visit her and my grand babe whenever I wish.” That thought kept the tears away. Though she knew there would be no stopping them when she watched her daughter’s back walking away.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Trifextra: Week Fifty-three
For the weekend prompt we're asking for exactly 33 words of dialogue.

"Shh!  Did you hear that?"

"Hear what?"

"Sounds like someone whispering."

"You're nuts."

"Screw you! Listen!"
"So what're they saying?"

"It sounds like..."are there any spirits that wish to speak with us?""

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Boy

Week #4

This week's book is the  Margret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, whose opening sentence is:
We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
here is my offering;

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. I'm sixteen now, so me and Gram and some of the men is on roundup.  Roundup is where we go out to the old, hardpack trails and find other peoples looking for a safe place to stay.  Cause most places isn't safe. That's why the fedment wants everyone to live in partments under they law.

But it got night so we stayed in the gymnasium.  That's what Gram called it.  She said it was a part of schoolclass where kiddos practiced sportplay.

I never had school. They stopped when I was two. Gram said a lot of things stopped when the sick came.  Gram said a lot of peoples died.  Like my dad, and big sis.  I don't remember them.

Gram is got a freespace. Fams get they own househome to live in and a little dirt to grow veges and berrifruit. Some fams share they dirt to grow beefs and porkers for food. And some grow different kinds a woolies to get they hair for making wear and covers. And we use they milks for soapbars.

Mama says they used to be mallmarkets to get all that stuff for money.  I don't understand what she means.  We trade things we make good for things other people make good.  I seen money, but it doesn't look like it's good for anything.

Gram shows new people stuff they can learn to make so they can trade for what they don't.  Sometimes partment people sneak out to trade stuff the fedment give 'em for freemade stuff. They say our foods is better tasted than what they get.

They bring tronics and metals and meds to trade. We dont make many meds. We use herbleafs. But sometimes that's not enough.

Metals get made into pretties or tools. We use the tronics to hear netspeak. That's how we know its time for roundup.   

Peoples get on the freenet and say they going to find space and what way they is going. The bad part is bandies listen too. Sometimes on roundup we find peoples robbed and dead. Sometimes we help peoples get away.

The peoples that lived will come to Gram's freespace or keep on to find they own.  We hope they get luck.  Some just go to the partments so they don't have to work dirt. 

Working dirt is hard, but I get all I need from it.  Gram showed me growing and puttinup.  And I can make my own wears and covers from woolie hair. I can cut it off the woolies and spin it. Then I can weave and knit for pieces of wear.

Sometimes I trade my makes for tools to make dirt work easy. Sometimes I trade for pretties.  Mama trades for books if she can find 'em.  She tries to show me how to see the words. Its hard, but I can know some of 'em. 

She says I need to know more so I remember how to make stuff. And learn to make new stuff. So I try hard as I can.  I seen pics of stuff I want to know how to make. Mama has lots of pics. Sometimes they make her cry. She won't say why.

One of the fams here has a girl kiddo I like. She makes pretties and she makes good wears. She can know a lot more words than me too. She helps me know some. 

I hope when I get my own househome and dirt she will like to work it with me.