momebie: (Batwoman signal)
Two things I'm thinking about that make the post I wrote and deleted last night about my hair look as stupid and avoidant as it was! (This is still stupid and avoidant, but in a way that's much more interesting to the rest of you, possibly.

1.) Pronunciation Book
This is a spiral I dropped into this morning after [ profile] theemdash linked me to this Daily Dot article about a YouTube channel called Pronunciation Book that had recently gone from merely teaching pronunciations of words to a count down to something that seems jumbled and sinister and is fucking fascinating. It looks, as Em said at lunch, like writing as an extreme sport.

From what I can tell, the rest of the internet is also interested. 4chan's /x/ forum has come up in many of the articles and message board postings I read this morning. (I'm not linking to that, because I feel like 4chan is the LAST place I should go on my work computer, heh.) Many message boards have threads that are pages and pages long dedicated to figuring out what happened, locating the position of broadcast, and decoding strange clicks. Most people seem to have written it off as an ARG or a viral marketing campaign (possibly for Battlestar Galactica?), but I'm less interested in what it's counting down to than I am in the story that's unfolding in bits and pieces of rough translation and transmission. Someone has kindly pulled together some of it into a semblance of story:

Em and I have decided to forego the interest in clicks and triangulating location and such and just focus on the words. We're going to pull apart the sentences that have been leaked in a seemingly pellmell way and see if we can't reorganize them in a more or less linear narrative. (Or non-linear narrative, given that there seem to be two timelines going, but at least we can try and find a Plot A and Plot B.) We're working from a list of transcripts that she found of the videos so far.

So, there's a bit of madness you can step into if you like.

2.) NPR and Capes
I'm still mainlining Smallville. I'm actually almost finished. I have three episodes left in season 9, which I'm sure I'll get through tonight, and then I start season 10, which I'll probably complete by this weekend. My thoughts on Superman through the lens of Smallville will come later, but right now I just wanted to establish I am living firmly in the Mainlining Smallville Headspace, which means I tend to place the template of that fantasy over what happens sometimes. I've also been listening to NPR as I drive lately. Something about the break up made me less inclined to listen to my music all of the time. (Though I don't know why. I finally live in a world where the most important person in my life doesn't give me shit for what I listen to. Maybe it's residual fear or something.) So it shouldn't surprise any of you to know that this morning I was listening to a story about PTSD and wondering how different it would be if it was happening in a world where Superman existed.

Would they, for instance, instead of pulling someone who had served in the army in Iraq for the piece, pull one of the Joker's victims? What would socioeconomic speculation look like in a world where capes were more or less big business? How many fluff pieces can we run about acrobat clinics for kids suffering a loss? Would the rafting race between Cuomo and Bloomberg, meant to draw attention to the Adirondacks as a vacation spot, be instead about Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon? How different would Comic Con look in a world where the people we dress up as are real? (Okay, my initial feeling about that one is 'not that different', because yada yada cape comics and the way they speak to their readership and how deeply they can touch us and alter the context through which we view the world. I would strongly argue that the hope brought to people by cape comics isn't any less now than if they were real, it would just be more widely validated. And that's a whole other post, isn't it?)

THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT KEEP ME UP AT NIGHT. And things I might implement as a story telling exercise. I don't know, I haven't decided yet. I'm going to collect my thoughts and make a more substantial post, probably to the Big Girl Blog.

So uh, good afternoon, internet. What stories are you distracting yourself with today?

momebie: (Torchwood Gwen collapse)
TITLE: Opalescent Dinge
AUTHOR: [ profile] momebie
SUMMARY: Just because you can fly doesn't mean you can get away.
PROMPTS: Shattered glass.
A/N: A bit literal, but that will happen. The more I think about Burst the more I think I might make it YA. It's not my general inclination, but it just feels right for some reason. I don't know. I should probably come up with an actual story first.

“We’ve lost them,” Cody said.

“We haven’t.” Her voice scratched its way up her throat and sounded battered when it finally escaped.

The train shuddered to life around them and started to pull away from the station. Outside the window Taylor could see a brightly lit atrium and then more windows. It mustn’t have been later than noon--too late for the going to work traffic and too early for the coming home traffic--but there were a lot of people milling about and waiting for trains. Every one of their stray glances hit her and felt accusatory. They knew. They knew that it was her being hunted. There was a man in a black suit at the back of a group of old ladies. They wore bright colored scarves and talked animatedly with their hands, which made him stick out even more.

‘We haven’t,” she said again, and pulled her feet onto the seat, wrapping her arms around her knees and burying her face between them.

“They’re not on the train. They won’t catch us.”

“It’s not hard to find out where trains go. They’ll beat us. They’ll catch me. I can only...”

“No,” Cody said. He grabbed her fingers and squeezed them between his own. “No, don’t you leave me, not now.”


And then there was nothing to say and no voice to speak it. Her thoughts shattered with the pieces of her and every single one of the birds just wanted up and out. There was an open window three seats up. Each of the birds fought against the other to escape it and stream into the open empty spaces of the train station.

A shot echoed around her and she heard it bounce through fifty sets of tiny ears. There was another and some part of a wing twinged as the pain spread through every one of the birds. Up, she thought, out. There has to be a way out.

The flock swooped down toward the open doors, but more shots were fired. The people waiting below her started screaming and running for the exits themselves as she flitted and dodged them at shoulder level. Not there. Up, out. So the flock turned up to meet the fast approaching glass ceiling, blinded by the sunlight.

Hitting the glass hurt. It hurt more than the bullet-shorn wing. It hurt over and over and over again as she tried to apply enough pressure to just crack it. It hurt so much that soon she couldn’t think about anything else but the pain and the glare of the sun and how she needed to escape. Another bullet hit the ceiling near the edge of the flock and broke through the glass, leaving tiny bits of it to fall back down to the platform.

She refocused her efforts on the pane with the hole in it and soon the bits of her were streaming through the broken ceiling pane. She left feathers and bits of skin behind as she got caught on the sharp edges and tangled in the metal supports, but it didn’t matter as long as most of all of her escaped the station.

Once free the flock dove towards the street and then steadied out at the second floor level as it frantically beat its tattered wings towards a copse of trees peaking out from around the buildings in the distance. When she made it the flock landed at the base of a scrawny birch tree and coalesced.

Taylor’s jeans were torn and she was missing a shoe. There were scrapes all down her neck and arms and a wide gash on her left calf. Every part of her felt bruised and sore. Breathing hard she looked about, trying to see if anyone had noticed her. There was no one around. No one. Not even Cody.

She pulled her knees to her chest again, dropped her face into her hands, and sobbed.
momebie: (Trigun Wolfwood mercy)
For today's [ profile] thewritinggame prompt we were to pick a primary or secondary color and then write something to evoke it without actually mentioning it. The fun part is where you lot read it and guess what the color was. I think I've made it easy for you. I hope anyway.

TITLE: The Way I Remember Being
AUTHOR: [ profile] momebie
SUMMARY: She'd hold her breath if it would help.
PROMPTS: Guess the Color
A/N: I was talking to [ profile] theemdash the other day about the reason I like watching Skins. It's because it reminds me of what it felt like, to me, to be a teenager. Where everything was large and all consuming and every feeling was greater than every other feeling and how the world might end if it changed ever so slightly. So here's one of those memories. Sort of. Memories never really filter the way you think they will at the time.

It feels like the end of the world.

It’s not, and she knows it, but that doesn’t stop her chest from feeling like it’s caving in with every exhale. It doesn’t stop the humidity from feeling like it’s weighing her down and pinning her to the sand beneath her.

The sun is setting on the opposite side of the island. In the direction she’s staring the sky has already slipped into gloaming, but the edges where the sun is still managing to reach and stain are slightly lighter, slightly more bruised looking. The clouds are scraps, slowly tearing the sky to shreds as they drift south.

It’s the waiting that is the real killer. She’d hold her breath, let her lips and cheeks slowly turn from healthy to dim as the oxygen pushed against the base of her throat, trying to escape and get to where it was needed. She’d hold her breath if there was anyone there to notice, but there’s no one.

That’s why she comes to this place. A short trek across faded and splintered wooden boards and she’s suddenly in a whole new world of tossing dune grass and pelting sand and crashing sounds as the battered shore shrugs off the waves. Even when there is someone there who might notice, they don’t. Everyone is looking for an escape.

So she lets herself feel like the world is ending. She notes the different hues as the color slips from the sky, the last shred clinging to the darkness as long as it can. She embraces the dreadful stain of feeling, because one day she’ll be able to use this.

As she unclenches her fist, blood rushes back into her fingertips and paints her unvarnished nails the same color she’d seen in the sky and reminds her that nothing ever ends, not really.
momebie: (Angel Sanctuary setsuna torn)
I cannot find the word processor file that contains all the writing I did on the Dickbag Angels a couple Nanos ago. This is slightly distressing, because it was something I had very much planned to return to. On the other hand, I could only make it better if I was forced to start over, right?

TITLE: Goodnight, Sleep Tight
AUTHOR: [ profile] momebie
SUMMARY: I'm putting out the lamps, find your own way back home.
PROMPTS: And I'll Make You Go
A/N: I'm not religious, but I still don't think I'll ever get over angels.

Araqiel sat cross legged in the sand at the edge of a glass still sea. His hands were clasped in his lap. He was not being patient, because he did not need to be patient. Or perhaps he only knew patience and therefore could not differentiate this waiting at the end of everything from the waiting he had already been doing. Whatever the case was, he was reasonably certain that there would not be an end for him, merely another change in scenery.

He had been by himself on the edge of the glass still sea for a thousand years before Seraphiel finally came for him. Seraphiel appeared in a sudden, localized clap of thunder and lightning that danced just above the reflective water. The resulting light was breathtaking, twice. When he had fully formed he hovered over mirrored surface. He studied Araqiel with dispassionate eyes.

It did not have to happen this way, he said. )
momebie: (Default)
TITLE: Some Men Are Made
AUTHOR: [ profile] momebie
SUMMARY: Something old, same thing new.
PROMPTS: Something that's lost, horologium.
A/N: And this is an odd little thing. It came from several different places and almost no place at all. The first watch is something like this and is late 18th C. in origin.

I'm sorry, he said. But if this bauble belongs to you I would appreciate it if you would wait until morning. Most unseemly, sneaking into men's bedrooms this late in the evening. )
momebie: (NNoD Caleb smoke)
TITLE: Still, Life After
AUTHOR: [ profile] momebie
WARNING: Character injury.
SUMMARY: Aed doesn't depend on others and he doesn't know why they depend on him.
PROMPTS: "write a still-life"
A/N: This was really hard to pull out once I settled on the scenario, which is unusual for me. I don't know if that works for or against it. Also, in case Snow In Florida is confusing: it's the future! Weather patterns be damned!

Every time two men stand toe-to-toe there should be seconds at their sides. Rajin has brought one. From fifty paces their long black coats appear to hang on them like Spanish moss clinging heavy to dead trees. Aed has tried his damnedest to come alone. )
momebie: (X-Men Charles/Erik leaving)
So there's this blog I should follow and constantly forget about. People link me to posts on it all the time and every time I see one I think 'oh, that's clever and amusing, I should follow him'...and then I don't. Because I'm me. BUT, via a post this morning on [ profile] getyourwordsout I now know that he does flash fiction prompts every Friday, which is AWESOME. This week's was based on the old 'put your ipod on shuffle and name the story after the song that comes up' bit, so I felt compelled to play along. This is what I came up with. I'm not going to post it back to his blog, but it's part of that one story about the girl who can burst into birds, so I'll put it here with no shame at all.

If you wanted to hear my voice you’d simply play back any of the hundred voice mails I’m certain you save on your phone when I leave them. I think you wanted to hear your voice. )

And for those of you NOT familiar with Murder By Death, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!? this is the song I named the piece after. (No, really, sometimes I want to kiss [ profile] sweetnovicane on the mouth for introducing me to their music.)

momebie: (Batwoman Kate/Renee kiss)
Yesterday while I was being stupid and manic at work I told [ profile] theemdash that I was looking up 1920s slang so I could write a horrible poem about this thing I can't stop thinking about, and because she's an awesome friend she was all 'OMG DO IT', even though she has no idea what any of it means! This amused me, so I told her if she won Nano I'd post it for her mocking pleasure. It's a good thing all my friends are jerks, because I don't think nice people would find that motivating. (Not that I think she wouldn't have won on her own, but it's funnier this way.) Here, without further ado, is a shitty poem I wrote due to being overinvested in stupid things. I hope you all enjoy mocking it as much as she does.

Bootlegging Baby Grand

A live wire on the giggle water,
her fingernails made the tinktinktink
noise of a warming bulb
against thick, brown, stolen bottles.
If not for our son I would leave you
for Jane, who is soft in the light as well as the dark.
, she meant to say.

Vorpal, halcyon, glow.
Always warming--
no, I mean,
she never set the bedsheets on fire.
Balled up beneath her Jane looks a soft quiff.
“Doll,” I say, and wait,
because I’m not sure which one I want to answer less.

“Get your leaking chassis off that floor.
I didn’t go upstate so you could make
a mess of this place.
Stop it. Stop it,” my voice raised to wake the
dead soldier, shattered on the floor where he fell
asleep on the job. Still, she’s contrary.
“I’ll bring the bulls, bunny.

They’ll have the goods out.”
Taking her time to cool, tickticktick.
He came for you and you weren’t here.
There’s paint everywhere.
I didn’t anticipate--I’ll get the rags,
but he made me promise you’d see the mess.

“You’re not answering me, doll.”

I never lied to you,
and that’s not a check I could cash,
even if the bank wasn’t closed
for good. For the best. It was
only a matter of time before the debts
we abandoned caught up with us.
“How funny that mine caught up with you first.”

How curious that yours should be strangling me,
when all it has taken tear my attention away
is the

momebie: (Torchwood Scifi super base)
Over on twitter [ profile] getyourguns was musing about how X-Men: First Class had been labeled as Fantasy at the Scream Awards, because she considered it to be more Science-Fiction instead. [ profile] matthewbowers responded to her and said that Science-Fiction and Fantasy are rarely crossed together. He contends that each has a set of tropes and themes that you never (or hardly ever) find in another. Insinuating, I think, that if something is mostly fantasy in essence you would be remiss to call it science-fiction regardless of the extra trappings or themes that read that way. And then there was kind of a dog pile of people telling him how wrong he is, which I feel bad about, because I think we're all dealing in semantics.

Art, by its very nature, will be interpreted differently by everyone. What I see as fantasy or sci-fantasy another might call science-fiction and another yet still may just call speculative fiction. I think that there's always going to be a certain amount of subjectivity in any attempt to place a genre on something. What I do not think is possible to ignore though, is the fact that for better or worse science-fantasy has become an actual genre term that people use. In some ways it doesn't matter whether or not I AGREE that something is science-fantasy, just that someone else thinks it is and has named it so. After all, I cannot tell you how many times something vaguely Victorian has been labeled steampunk and I've wanted to throw up my hands and go home.

What I AM interested in, however, is where people draw those lines. For instance, [ profile] getyourguns thinks space is one of the science-fiction shorthands, while I think that a focus on or use of technology would be a more concrete one. I know that pointing at an apple and saying it's a banana doesn't make it so, but if it came off an apple tree and was long and curved and yellow I'd be inclined to admit that it did share certain characteristics with a banana that made it a new breed. Because no matter how many times we go around about it, if I find a different collection of themes and tropes to be more one than the other, another person and I can argue till our faces turn blue that they actually aren't and no one will budge. So I thought I'd get a hive mind going about it and see where the discussion takes us. There is no right or wrong answer here, and I mean that. (Though, feel free to argue amongst yourselves.) You can tackle all of them, or cherry pick the thing(s) you find most interesting.

* How do you define straight up Science-Fiction (hard or soft)?'
* How do you define straight up Fantasy (urban or dark or high or anything)?
*What themes or tropes do you find common in Science-Fiction that you think never appear in Fantasy?
*What themes or tropes do you find common in Fantasy that you think never appear in Science-Fiction?
*What do you believe a successful blending of the two would be?
*Do you think it's possible to blend them at all?
*Are there any works of art (movies/books/tv shows/cartoons/oil paintings/sculptures/hair collections...) that you feel DO successfully blend the two? [Aka, show your work for extra points.]

If you think there are any other questions that would add another layer to the discussion let me know and I'll add them to my list. I'm leaving this post unlocked, because I think it would be interesting to get a larger sample. Send your friends over! Anonymous commenting is on until someone starts being a jerk.
momebie: (Mighty Boosh Vince Still My Heart)
So, it happened. I was voted off in the Second Round poll. But I feel like placing 18 (based on the vote tally at the closing of the poll) in an original pack of 250 or so is a pretty awesome thing. It's definitely better than I thought I'd do by, ooooooh, 200 or so. That's not a unique feeling for the competition though, and since I don't feel like I have a lot of unique feelings I'm just going to focus on myself for the time being.

Here are some numbers that I find interesting, because sometimes Em rubs off on me (oh baby):
Entries: 23
Fiction: 20
Entries in the BDESFN 'verse: 3
Entries in the Steampunk 'verse: 3
Entries in new 'verses: 14

That's a lot of new head canon, guys. When I go back and look at the last several years of writing--the three since I started working with the Steampunk characters in particular*--I look at a lot of empty space. I look at a lot of time spent feeling inadequate and unable to relay the worlds in my head to people outside of it. I look at a lot of time sat in front of blank documents and a lot of half finished stories that I just lost passion for before I got to the editing stage.

The bottom line is that I LOVE creating worlds and I love research and I love getting to know my characters, but I have a hard time carving out which parts of the story to keep or not keep and actually sitting my ass down to FINISH things. Teaching myself to do that was one of my goals for this year and I think that's the greatest thing I've taken away from all of this. For twenty some odd weeks (roughly) in a row I sat down and made something happen. I tugged at my brain and things actually came out of it. Sometimes things I liked quite a bit. And that bit is invaluable. I'm going to try and take that training and run with it as I complete that first draft of The Steampunk this year (if it kills me) and get working on the BDESFN in earnest.

Basically, thank you Idol, you've given me a lot. I'm glad I let [ profile] bewize convince me to try this crazy thing. I'm glad I let [ profile] theemdash talk me out of quitting weeks ago. I'm glad to have gotten to know all of you. I think most of you who want to be friends with me have probably already asked, but if you do and you're feeling hesitant, please go ahead and just let me know. I don't bite until the third date. I like biting! It's like kissing but with a winner!

* My god, it's been three years since I started working on The Steampunk. And look what I have to show for it. This is my whole point.

In news altogether unrelated to writing, Brendon Urie is still in the universe being REALLY FREAKING ADORABLE and I almost can't take it. Like, just seeing him smile fills me to the brim with joy and I wish I knew why because it makes me feel seriously predatory and creepy when I think about it. BUT I MEAN, JUST LOOK AT HIM.

momebie: (Architect William)
Original fiction.
~1500 words.
The Steampunk-verse.
For [ profile] theemdash.


“Do you think I made the appropriate impression?” William fiddled with the lace at the end of his sleeve and looked about the crowded parlor room, scanning it to find Jon Henley. He’d wanted to please him. It was important to William to become someone important, which he fully believed Jon could do for him.

“I think you made an impression,” Edmund said.

He was rather brazenly wearing a smug grin that William felt was definitely inappropriate for the occasion. Then again, he admittedly didn’t quite know what was appropriate for the occasion, hence the question. Sometimes he hated everyone he knew.

“Smooth,” Nate said. He donned his hat and started patting about the lapels of his jacket, searching for his cigarette case. “Not quite as…worldly as you could have been, though.”


“I’ve found, in my dealings about the Opera house, that it is polite to kiss the knuckles of your betters when you greet them.” He found the cigarette case and pulled one out, tapping the tip of it gently on the smooth silver back absentmindedly. “Did you kiss him, Mr. Claxton?”

Edmund choked around a laugh and William felt his ears going red. The silk lining of his jacket suddenly felt as constricting as any male corset. “He’s not my type,” William said.

“It’s hardly about types, my good man,” Nate said. “And I’m off.” William watched him disappear into the crowd.

Edmund crowded in next to him and draped his arm across William’s shoulders. “I’ll buy you a whole bottle of that disgusting Sarmillian plum wine you like so much if you do it.”

“Once a man has tried to kill you with a priceless vase, it’s a little late for first impressions,” William said.

“Don’t you think it’s time we left for the evening?”

William looked at Edmund, who was still carefully composed and smug. “Sod it,” William said. He stalked through the parlor and out into the foyer, leaving Edmund behind. When he finally found Jon Henley the man was surrounded by other people. William stood at the edge of the group for a moment, composing himself. He then did something he had told himself he would never do and let a stereotype get the better of him. He flounced into the center of the circle, letting his cane lead the way.

“Mr. Claxton,” Jon said, eyebrow raised.

“Mr. Henley,” William said. He reached out and grasped at Jon’s naked hand, holding it firmly in his gloved fingers. “It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance this evening. I look forward our next meeting.” And there, in front of everyone, William brought Jon’s fingers to his lips and gave them a quick, dry kiss. Then, without looking up into Jon’s face again, he bowed his way out of the circle and shot for the door.

“Dandies,” he heard Jon say behind him, and the crowd laughed: quietly, politely, conspiratorially.

“I’d say you’ve left an impression now,” Edmund said, clapping his hand down on William’s shaking shoulder and wheeling him off the porch and down to where their horses were stabled.

“I think,” William said carefully, “that if I work for him, I’m going to become someone different than who I mean to be.”


It had been a whirlwind six months, working for Jon Henley as one of his Architects. William learned more than he thought there was to know about the way politics worked and how to get people to do the things he wanted. Edmund was still the deadliest blade in their group, but William had become the most graceful, and as such had made himself as useful to Mr. Henley as he imagined he could be.

And he was the most graceful. He prided himself in being carefully put together at all times. He liked the way Jon looked at him when he first entered the room. He felt petted and approved of whenever Jon would give him one of his slight nods. “Thank you,” he assumed it to mean. “You’re perfect.”

The fact that that woman had joined the group did not make things different. Her golden hair and her demure lips and the swell of her hips were nothing when compared to the sword William kept in his cane. Feminine wiles did not a conspirator make. So why did Jon now nod in her direction when she entered the room. As if she’d done more than sleep with Nate Ayre and frustrate that Dawes boy. Not that he couldn’t appreciate anything that frustrated Derek Dawes. But still….

William needed to do something drastic. He needed to get himself noticed again. And since carving her heart out and delivering it to Jon with the evening report seemed a little drastic, he settled on something a little more subtle.

“Mr. Claxton,” Jon said, as William entered the main drawing room on the airship. Jon was already seated, preparing for the unmooring that he had never really gotten used to.

William noted the distinct lack of an appreciative nod and straightened up. “Mr. Henley,” he said, stepping forward. He leaned in and grasped Jon’s forearm, pulling him forward in his chair. Then he swooped down and left a small kiss on Jon’s cheek.

Jon froze. William smiled and leaned back, releasing his grip on Jon’s forearm. There was a cough at the door and William turned, taking a step to the side, just in time to see Tom Bridgman back out of the room with a tip of his hat. William smiled at him. After all, there was nothing unusual happening, just a guard dog greeting his master in the appropriate manner.

The silence between them evaporated as the airship’s engines were cranked and prepared for takeoff. William watched as Jon slid back in his seat and gripped hard at the arms of his chair. “The report, Mr. Claxton,” he said in a tight voice.


They were drunk. Edmund disgracefully so, but William wasn’t far behind him. Technically they didn’t have nights off. The job of revolutionary wasn’t one that came with an office or routine, so in general it suited them to be as sharp as they could whenever possible. Some nights though, some nights you just needed to let your hair down.

The necklace at William’s throat was spinning, receiving a message. “You,” he said, pulling at the waist of the woman closest to Edmund. She giggled and fell back into him. He gave her his widest, most charming smile and said “do you have a looking glass on you, my dear?”

“You’re still the prettiest in the land, Will,” Edmund crowed, and pinched the breast of the girl in his lap. She shrieked compliantly.

“No,” William said. “I believe it’s the boss.”

“Ah, that familiar stirring in your heart, then?”

“Almost surely,” William said. The girl handed her mirror over and William took it over to the fire. He unbuttoned his shirt down to his stomach and pulled it and the lapel of his jacket aside, holding the mirror up so that he could clearly see his left collar bone. There they were, the familiar raised bumps on his chest in the code that only the Architects knew. Morse code for the devil himself. “I believe we’re being summoned,” he said.

“Let the bastard bring his arse down here where it’s warm and comfortable,” Edmund said.

“The bastard shouldn’t have to bring his arse anywhere.”

William turned around quickly, almost tripping over his heel. “Mr. Henley,” he said. “Jon.”

“Has this fine young man come to join the party?” said the girl in Edmund’s lap.

“I’ve come to join nothing. You are needed, Wilson,” he said to Edmund. “If you’re finished polishing your saber you can clean yourself up and meet Mr. Bridgman outside.”

Edmund frowned and stood, carefully pushing the girl from his lap. She gave a small pout, but he tapped the end of her nose with his finger and spared her a smile. “I’ll be back for you,” he said. To Jon he said, “you could use a little polish yourself, careful you don’t tarnish.” Then he stomped from the room.

Jon stared at William expectantly. Do something, William thought. You have an audience. What would get the greatest reaction?

“What a pleasure this is,” William said. He tripped forward toward Jon as foppishly as he could manage in his already disoriented state. “You are always welcome in our home.” With that William clasped Jon’s neck in both of his hands and dragged him bodily forward, laying a wet, welcoming kiss on Jon’s lips.

The girls clapped and cheered. Jon stood very, very still as William let him go and stepped back, grinning for all the world like a street mutt that had just found a bone.

“You forget your place, Mr. Claxton. And you do it often.”

William let his lips fall, drawing himself in and trying to look more serious. “You forget that you wouldn’t have your place if I knew mine.”

This bit of fiction was written for the Second Chance Topic: No Man Is a Hero to His Valet at [ profile] therealljidol. I realize this is kind of ridiculous, even for me, so you know, let me know if you were amused. As always, all comments and questions are welcome.
momebie: (Sisyphus has never had a gf)
I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Oh, I had the usual string of dream jobs on hold: astronaut, paleontologist, famous author, etc. I just never actualized them in my mind as solid possibilities. I was mimicking the people around me, as all children do. Until about the age of 17 it didn’t occur to me that I might live through my senior year of high school. It’s not that I was suicidal—that came later—it was merely that the idea of being an independent human being, separate of the structures I’d built for myself, didn’t appeal to me. So I dismissed the thought. Time would stop.

Of course, time didn’t stop. In the last ten years I’ve gone from ignoring the idea of the future to dwelling on it too intently. I can’t sleep some nights. (I didn’t sleep last night, which is why you’re getting this instead of more fiction.) There’s a tag in this journal for ‘the dreaded future’ for a very good reason. The future terrifies me. It terrifies me because everything is going to change and I am going to have to be the one to make some of those changes and I am ultimately responsible for where I end up. That crushing responsibility, above all else, is what I believe in now.

I took a lot of philosophy and religion classes in college. It was the only way to productively work through my fear of free will and how it related (poorly) to my Calvinist theological upbringing. If things are predestined and predetermined, why spend so much time dragging myself through life? I still haven’t found a reliable answer to that one. My solution was to eschew theology altogether, which is a tailspin of a feeling if you were raised with all of the comforting, violent, gilded words of a specific religion.

At that point it was the existentialists that caught me. In them I found the desperate explanation of life that I’d been looking for. It’s all on me. Regardless of whether there are gods in the sky or the earth or the perfume ads they stuff into women’s magazines, I’m still responsible for myself. I have to create a meaning. I have to create myself every day. Every day. Sartre is my boyfriend and Camus is my mistress and even though it means that sometimes I don’t sleep at night, I’m most comfortable when living through the illusion that I’m in control.

And it is an illusion. The world is large and dense and sometimes it feels like it doesn’t matter how much of a path I manage to forge through the brambles, the Universe can come through and just as easily drown me out through no fault of my own. As a child I was taught that it happened to the people Noah didn’t have room for. It can happen to me. So even though I’ve built myself a world of lonely, commanding words, I have to leave room for eventualities. I’m not hedging my bets as much as it sounds like I might be, but in a lot of ways I still am and always will be a little girl, pretending to know what I want to be when I grow up.

There’s a tattoo I’ve been planning for several years now. And those of you who know me will raise your eyebrows and go ‘a tattoo? you want every tattoo’, which is true, but this one is special. This one I’m reserving for a moment when I take one of those large, startling leaps. Right now I go back and forth between deciding whether I want to get it when I move across country or when I graduate grad school. Both are things I’m feeling compelled to do. (Don’t you find that sometimes, as you’re making your way through life, certain decisions feel like they travel in well worn grooves in your soul? They come to you and you wonder in what life you’d ever choose the other option?) I haven’t settled on a design, but I know exactly what it will say.

Some marble blocks have statues within them, embedded in their future.

It’s a quote from the Alan Moore comic Watchmen. (Yeah, not only am I an insufferable pretentious douchebag, but I’m also an insufferable pretentious comic book geek. You all probably noticed that by now, though. I just really like Batman, okay?) I wish I could share the panel the line comes from with you, but I don’t have my copy on me and my quick Google search hasn’t turned it up. (Thanks to [ profile] edincoat it's now at the bottom of the post!) Long story short, one of the characters realizes time as being simultaneous, so he doesn’t feel he’s moving through it linearly so much as bumping up against events as they happen at all points. And I don’t have a giant blue penis, but sometimes, in spite of everything I believe about making me me, that’s how I feel. I’m a blank slate. I’m an ornate statue. I’m a weather worn, pock marked rock. I've blinked out.

I am already who I’ve made myself, and sometimes that futility will just keep you up nights.

This post was written for Topic 25: Uncarved Block at [ profile] therealljidol. I know there's been a lot of meta lately about fiction vs. non-fiction and how some people feel like they don't really get to know those of us who write fiction. I'd be interested in knowing if you feel like this tells you more about me than my fiction did. As always, I welcome all comments and questions.
momebie: (Cowboy Bebope Spike/Julia)
Original fiction.
~1500 words.

This entry follows directly after this post. Though, if you missed it, you might need some of the information from this interlude.

. . .

“There is something I do want to know, if we're done with the questions,” Mattie said.

The Or across the table put down her pen and crossed her hands over the pad, blocking Mattie's vision of the words that were written there. “Yes?”

“Who are you?”

“What do you mean? I'm Or.”

Mattie shook her head. “No, who are you really? Because if you were Or I'd be able to see your halo. Unless you people have learned how to hide parts of your souls along everything else you've fabricated.”

The Or looked down at her hands and smiled. “Why didn't you tell your male friend there was something wrong? Don't you want him here to save you?”

Do I need saving? )

This post was written for Topic 24: Bats in the Belfry at [ profile] therealljidol. Please let me know what you think. All comments and questions are welcome.
momebie: (Sisyphus has never had a gf)
Original fiction.
~1700 words.

Or crawled up onto the table and made herself comfortable. The pillow for her head always seemed to be a little too far away on its extendable metal arm, which kept her stretched and at attention even when she was lying down. The doctor joked that he would improve that in the next model. The Dolls that looked like her would be taller by just a couple centimeters. Not enough to be noticeable, but enough to make them more comfortable when they were being poked and prodded.

“And why should they have all the comfort when I'm the original?” Or leaned forward so that he could apply sensors to the base of her neck. “Shouldn't being real have some perks?”

“Ah, my dear, but that is a perk,” he said. “Being alive is incredibly discomforting. It's how we can tell ourselves apart from the Dolls.”

“About the only way if you get this to work.”

“Sit still,” he said. The doctor smoothed her hair back before applying the electrodes to her forehead. “Besides, they still won't have souls. We can't fabricate that. We don't even know if we'll be able to teach them to learn. They may just stumble around being the you from today. Be glad that's not a fate you have to endure. )

This post was written for Topic 23: Pass the Ammunition at [ profile] therealljidol. This week's piece is an interlude in the universe I've been working with. It's set in Or's point of view instead of Mattie's, but it's information you'll need later, I promise. Man, I cannot wait until I can revamp this whole thing. This week at LJI we have three way intersections! I'm working with [ profile] cheshire23, whose piece can be found here, and [ profile] basric, whose piece can be found here! Please go and let them know what you think.
momebie: (Inception JGL alone)
Original fiction.
~1700 words.
This week on LJ Idol is another intersection. This fiction entry has been written to correspond with the non-fiction entry that [ profile] comedychick has written. You can read hers here. I highly recommend that you do.

This story is another installment of the ongoing serial. It follows directly after the last LJ Idol post.

. . .

They didn't have to cover a lot of distance to get back to the headquarters, but Mattie had never been on a motorcycle before so the trip felt like it lasted for ages. The wind fingered wildly through her hair and coarsely brushed her exposed skin. She shivered and clutched tighter to Chet, burying her cheek into his back and closing her eyes. The sound buffeted around her and she let the landscape create itself in her mind. It was there, somewhere between flying and fainting, that she realized that this little trip into someone else's life could get her killed. She found that, when she really thought about it, this wasn't a possibility that scared her.

Mattie had never given a thought to the notion that she'd live even this long. )

This continuation of ridiculous fiction was written for Topic 22: Playing the Odds at [ profile] therealljidol. All comments and questions are welcome.
momebie: (Death Note Light/L fight)
Original fiction.
1300 words.
This post can be read in conjunction with [ profile] yachiru's entry for this week, for she is my intersect partner. It's not integral, but you should read hers anyway, because she is rad.

One shot was fired, but after that all Mattie heard was the beating of feet on soft earth and the rasping double breaths that she and Maynard were taking. Maynard wasn’t keeping up as well as she’d hoped he would. She stumbled over a root, unable to see in the minimal moonlight that was dripping through the forest canopy.

“Stop. Stop!” She reached out and caught the trunk of a small tree to try and slow her hurtling body.

Maynard came up just short behind her and collapsed to the ground, his legs giving way. “I’m sorry, I’m-“

“You’re shot. Just stop. Let me think.” Mattie paced around Maynard. “We were close to the bridge, so we have to be close to the river, right? These greenlands would jut up against it.”

“I hope.”

“Okay. I don’t think they’re following us. Or if they are they’re being really damned stealth about it. Let’s head this way, make it to the shoreline, and then see what we have to work with.” She bent down to help Maynard up. With his arm draped over her shoulders they continued on to the west in near silence, which Mattie was grateful for. She didn’t feel like talking, and even if she did she wouldn’t have anything to say.

Maynard wasn’t large, but Mattie wasn’t accustomed to carrying people of any type, so by the time she heard the soft licks of running water her arms and back were almost numb. As they broke out of the tree line she saw that they weren’t far from one of the walking bridges. Unlike the bridges built for vehicular traffic, with their retinues of armed guards checking for paperwork, the walking bridges weren’t guarded by anyone. The powers that be assumed that if anything happened, the fisherman and loiterers would report it. After all, it’s just what good citizens did. Mattie squinted, trying to see into the distance. For now the bridge appeared to be empty. Mattie sent a quick prayer up to the First Diviner and hurried across the small beach and down to the concrete path underneath the head of the bridge.

“Fancy a swim?” Maynard said, as she propped him up against one of the concrete struts. He got half a laugh out before wincing and curling in on himself. “I may have been lying about being able to run.”

“So I noticed,” Mattie said. She cursed herself for not having thought to bring a phone, or even a jacket, as they left her apartment. She sat down heavily next to Maynard. “I’m all out of ideas.”

“If Or called ahead and told them that we’re coming, they might be anticipating our arrival.”

“Anticipating our arrival and sending out a search party are two different things.” She dropped her head into her hands. “Diviner’s Breath, what are we going to do?”

“Well I wouldn’t sit there like that, you’ll freeze to death.”

Mattie looked up. There was a stranger there, silhouette backlit by the light thrown from the lamps on the bridge, and standing just outside of the shadows. “It’s nothing,” she said. “We’ll be out of here before you even get your pole set up. You don’t have to worry about us scaring the fish off.”

“That’s considerate of you,” he said, stepping into the shadow so Mattie could make out his features. “I don’t want to impose, but your friend there? That doesn’t look like nothing.” He dropped down to one knee and slid his backpack off his shoulders and onto the ground in front of him.

Mattie leaned in to study him. She pretended to be taking stock of Maynard’s wounds. The man was in all black and about Maynard’s build, with short blond hair and pale skin. “I said we’re not going to bother you.”

“That’s good,” he said, his voice light. “I want to get this over with as quickly as possible.”

“I would hope that in return you won’t bother us,” Mattie said. She pulled her lips tight and tried to look down her nose at him in disapproval, even though he was hovering above her.

“Yep, I’ll get out of your hair. Let you get back to your little date,” he said. He pulled something from his bag and placed it on the ground between them. It was a grey, round disc, with buttons flush against its outer flanks and the word ZILCH clearly marked on the top in bold, white letters. “Just as soon as I fix your boyfriend there.” He pressed one of the buttons and the disc began to hum. A faint green glow crept out from under it.

Maynard coughed and Mattie instinctively reached up and brushed his hair away from his wet forehead. “Lean back,” she said to him, keeping her voice low. “I don’t think he’s going to hurt us.”

“He couldn’t do much more to me,” Maynard said. Mattie pried his fingers away from where they were gripping his shins and pushed him back.

“Hold this,” the man said, and passed Mattie the disc. She gripped it gingerly by the edges, trying to keep her fingers away from the light. “The name’s Chet, by the way.”

“Chet,” Mattie echoed. He tugged up Maynard’s shirt and slowly pulled the gauze away from the wound. The area underneath was a horror scene. Blood was clotted and clogged around the hole, and smeared around his abdomen and chest. Mattie looked away. “How did you find us?”

“Our special friend bugged you. When we saw that you had deviated from a path that would bring you to us, we set out to find you and bring you back.” He took the disc from Mattie and held it over Maynard’s wound. As she watched the blood started to dissolve. The hole even seemed to close up some. “I can’t heal him entirely here in the field, but I can get it started. We’ve got a ways to go since not all three of us will fit on my motorcycle. I didn’t expect there to be two of you.”

“She didn’t tell you about both of us?”

Chet didn’t answer. The light on the disc turned red and he hit one of the buttons, turning off the humming sound. He reached around to place it in his backpack. There was a soft beep. “Yeah, there’s two here,” she heard him say. “Send another cyclist.”

“What did she tell you?” Mattie had been told many, many times in her life that she shouldn’t push people for answers, but all things considered, she felt like she deserved to know.

Chet sat down cross legged next to Maynard and ran his finger lightly around the wound. “She said there would be a girl. She said you’d have tattoos. Important tattoos.”

Mattie self-consciously pulled at the strap of her shirt to try and cover her marks. “They’re not important at all. They’re willful.”

Chet leaned forward over Maynard, who was slumped against the strut with his eyes closed. Mattie couldn’t tell if he was paying attention to them or not. “Sometimes our will is all we have,” Chet said softly.

Above them Mattie could make out the sounds of an engine. It chugged for a moment and then stilled to silence.

“That will be the cavalry.” Chet got up and pulled his backpack over his shoulders. “Let’s go, sleepy pants,” he said, and pulled Maynard up to his feet. Maynard let out a soft groan, but he didn’t seem to be in as much pain as before.

Mattie hung under the bridge for a moment before following them up into the light. She felt like she was standing on the edge of a cliff. Any wrong move could drive her back into the hands of those who wanted her. She heard voices murmuring above her. “Here goes nothing,” she said to herself, and stepped out into the open.

This continuation of ridiculous fiction was written for Topic 21: Open Topic at [ profile] therealljidol. All comments and questions are welcome.
momebie: (Yellow gun)
Oh hey! I didn't give up! I owe Em and Stevie cookies for telling me not to. It seriously came easier than I thought it would. This LJ Idol entry follows immediately after the last one.

Original fiction.
~1000 words.

Mattie helped Maynard climb into the back of the cab as Or pre-paid the driver and told him where to take them. “Are you sure you don't want us to take you to the hospital?” Mattie whispered.

Maynard shook his head. “This is the most exciting thing I've ever been a part of. You think I'm going to let you run off with that mysterious woman and have all the fun?”

“I'm sending you to a safe house outside the border of this node,” Or said, bending over and sticking her head into the back of the cab. “Hopefully our shooter is just after me for the time being and you can play clueless. If you're accosted tell them that I broke in, that I held a gun to your head, anything.”

Mattie nodded. “Yeah, we'll do that.”

Or stood for an extra several moments and looked at Mattie. She was hanging halfway out of the back of the cab in a way that seemed incredibly uncomfortable. Mattie found herself shifting forward towards Or, ever so slightly.

“Or,” Maynard said.

She tilted her head and squinted. “Yeah, sorry. I'm going. I'll meet up with you in a couple of hours. Do not leave the safe house under any circumstances.” She slammed the door and stepped up onto the curb. The cab pulled away.

Mattie watched the apartment blocks and houses as they went by. She thought about how she'd never really noticed them before, even though she'd looked at them all hundreds of times in her daily comings and goings. They suddenly seemed prominent, as if they were asserting their will onto the landscape. Mattie felt like they were trying to teach her something.

The cabby turned the radio on and it began playing an old Jazz standard. Someone's girl had done 'em wrong. She was the direct cause of his affair with the bottle. “Is there anything that women don't get blamed for?” Mattie asked.

Maynard scratched his chin and pretended to be confused. “I'm sure I've never blamed a woman for anything.”

“Except for when I dumped the coffee all over the floor.”

“I didn't blame you for that. Though, I suppose I should have blamed Or, which would have been about the same, all things considered. It was her that startled you that night, wasn't it?”

Mattie stubbornly stared away from him and didn't acknowledge the comment.

“You think she knows?”

“I think I could I could probably write a set of encyclopedias on the things she knows that I don't.”

“That's part of the attraction, isn't it?”

Mattie shook her head. “Not really.” Because it wasn't. Her infatuation had started so long ago that it wasn't possible for the two things to be related. Not in a way that made sense, anyway. Then as an after thought she said, “you won't tell anyone, will you?”

“You mean, will I rat you out to the people who apparently just shot me? No, that's not something you need to worry about. Not even if I could see your halo.” He squeezed her elbow and she smiled at her reflection in the side window.

The cab pulled to a stop outside of a warehouse building. Mattie looked at the cabby, confused. “This isn't outside the node.”

The cabby gripped the steering wheel and stared forward. “This is your stop, young lady,” he said.

There was a knock on her window and when Mattie turned she was staring down the barrel of a small handgun. It had an infinity symbol at the tip of it. She felt Maynard shift away behind her.

“Get on out now, girly,” the man behind the gun said. “I think you've got some things to tell us.”

“I don't have anything to tell you!” She locked the door. The man cocked the hammer.

“The thing is, precious, I think you do. But I'm not above shooting you or your boyfriend. Now don't let's be silly. Get out of the cab!”

Mattie heard someone choke and turned her head to see Maynard hovering off of the back seat, his arm wrapped around the cabby's throat. “Drive!” he shouted. “Drive now or I will kill you, and it won't matter how much money you've been paid!” The cab lurched forward and the man with the gun let out two shots. One of which shattered the back window.

Maynard was thrown back against his seat and the cabby leaned forward into his steering wheel. “You touch me again and I'll have your balls,” he seethed. “I don't owe you nothin'.”

“No,” said Mattie, “we owe you. Now take us where you were supposed to.” She was thrown into the door of the cab as it took a sharp left turn. When she pulled herself back upright she could see another car gaining on them from behind.

“We're only a short way off from the bridge!” Maynard shouted. “We'll never get through clearance looking like we're evading the authorities though.”

The cabby took another sharp corner and launched Mattie into Maynard's side. Maynard yelped as her elbow hit his wound. “Stop,” she said. “Stop!”

The cab skidded to a halt at a red light. They were in the outskirts of the node. There were few buildings to hide in, but more wooded park area to get lost in.

“I can run,” Maynard said, guessing at what she was going to ask.

“Good,” she said. “We're going to have to.” Mattie scrambled with the lock on the door before she finally got it to pop up. She launched herself out of the cab just as the car following them came around the corner. It didn't have enough time to stop. Maynard was on her heels. There was a screech of tires and the crumpling, mangling sound of steel collapsing on itself. Without looking back, Mattie ran for the tree line. Her lungs started to burn as she gulped for air.

This continuation of ridiculous fiction was written for Topic 29: Whisper at [ profile] therealljidol. All comments and questions are welcome.
momebie: (SH Watson Deduce his case)
Original fiction.
906 words.

If you're keeping track, this bit of story follows directly after my last LJ Idol post.

. . .

Or was out of her chair the moment Mattie started screaming and had her hand clamped tight across Mattie's mouth in a matter of seconds. “Hush,” she said, letting the final shh sound linger. “Breathe. We can't help him if we lose our heads, and that will only get the rest of us into deep shit.”

Mattie nodded her head and swallowed down another shout. She was shaking, she realized. When Or released her she said, “is he dead?”

Or moved around the bed. She placed her fingertips to the side of his neck and leaned over his half open lips. Then she moved down and pushed his shirt up his chest. “I need you to go into my jacket and get the the metal cylinder.”

“Is it safe?”

“No,” Or said. “Nothing is safe anymore.” When Mattie hesitated she said “he will die if we don't do something. Go.”

Mattie dropped to her knees and crawled across the living room below the sight line of the bare windows. She pulled Or's jacket off the back of the couch and rummaged around in both outside pockets before checking the one inside the lapel. The metal cylinder in question was about the size of a magic marker. It was cold and smooth. She clutched it in her palm as she crawled back to the bedroom.

Or held her hand out and Mattie placed the cylinder into it. Mattie watched as she flicked one end around like she was unscrewing a cap, and then shook the thing several times. She passed it over Maynard's wound. The glow was dim at first, and Mattie was sure her eyes were playing tricks on her, but it grew stronger, and as it did a picture formed in the space above Maynard's body. It flipped and flickered, like it was at the bottom of a pool of water.

“Mirror imaging retinal activated guise elector,” Or muttered. “I tell it what I want to see and it maps and recreates the image using phosphorescent and electro-luminescent nanotech. The MIRAGE software is still being developed, but it's good enough for a bullet wound. Do you have any tweezers?”

“I-” Mattie tried to understand what Or had said, but decided it would be best to leave the epiphanies for non-life or death situations. “Yeah, yeah.” By the time she returned with them Or had used one of her pillowcases to clear up some of the blood and was manipulating the picture above Maynard's body with her hands. Mattie handed Or the tweezers.

Maynard inhaled deeply and choked. He had a coughing fit that made his whole body jump.

“Hold him,” Or said.

Mattie nodded and sat down on the bed next to Maynard. She rested her hands on his shoulders. “Hey, hey,” she said. “I'm here. You're going to be okay.” She pressed one of the pillowcases into his hand. “Squeeze this.”

“It hurts,” he said, and coughed again.

“Tell him to stop moving or I'm going to remove parts of his appendix instead of this bullet,” Or snapped. Maynard groaned and shut his eyes, but he held still. When she had the bullet she said, “the hole's relatively small. We should be okay if you have some gauze and a way to hold it down. Clean it with alcohol if you have any.”

“I might have some alcohol,” Mattie said. “Where are you going?”

Or was back at the computer desk, wiping the bullet down with some tissue and running her magic metal wand over it. “Look,” she said. “If we want to get out of here any time soon he needs to be fixed and we need to know where to go. I'm taking care of one of those things already.”

Maynard pushed against Mattie's hands until she let him sit up. “I can handle the clean up, I think,” he said. “Have to make up for that unmanly display.”

Or turned to look at him. “You might be okay, Waiter Boy.”

“How do you know I'm a waiter?” he said.

“You wear it well,” she said, and then turned back to her device.

Maynard looked at Mattie, who shrugged and took the bloody pillowcase out of his hand. “Your vodka's in the freezer, yeah Mat?”

“Yeah,” she said.

Maynard stood up and pulled his shirt over his head, wincing as he stretched. He left the room and Mattie waited until she could hear him banging around in the kitchen before she spoke again. “Know where we're going yet?”

“Hm,” Or said.

Mattie slid off the bed and went to hover behind Or in her desk chair. She was holding a small, yellow piece of paper in her fingers. The bullet and metal wand were set to the side of the keyboard. “What is that?”

“A prayer.”

Mattie felt her stomach turn over. “The bullet was blessed? They can't just shoot people anymore, they have to apply some apocryphal force to it all?”

“Not quite,” Or said. “It's a prayer of freedom. Whoever made this bullet, at least, wants to be set free. It's likely that we weren't the intended targets.”

“That doesn't make any sense.”

“You haven't seen Not Making Sense yet, kid.”

This continuation of ridiculous fiction was written for Topic 19: Mirage at [ profile] therealljidol. All comments and questions are welcome.
momebie: (Cowboy Bebop Vicious bleed)
Original fiction.
~1100 words.

For those of you following along, I've finally named The Waiter. We're calling him Maynard. This follows closely after my last LJ Idol entry, which can be found here.

* * *

Maynard ran his finger across Mattie's collarbone, pausing over the small, round tattoo just below it. The touch tickled. She squirmed, pulling away slightly, and he took it as an invitation. His lips followed the line as his fingers pushed the strap of her bra down her shoulder. Mattie wasn't sure what she was feeling, but none of those feelings were sexy. Or needed. Or wanted. She just kept thinking about Or and her heavily lidded eyes and light skin.

“Mayn,” she said, and placed a hand flat against his chest.

Maynard stopped and pulled back. He propped himself up on his elbow and looked down at her. One of his fingers traced its way down her side, as if he was afraid to let her go. “Yeah?”

“I'm sorry, I just.”

“No, it's fine. It's fine.” He leaned in and kissed her on the nose. “I know I don't glow for you. I'm just trying to be the perfect distraction.” He nipped at her chin and she laughed, pushing him over as she sat up.

“It's not like I glow for you either.” She straightened her bra strap and sighed. “What are we doing?”

“Killing time,” he said. “Slow and easy.”

“Just the way it was meant to die,” she said.

“Is there something eating at you, Mattie my girl? You seem farther away this evening.”

“Nothing.” She sighed and flopped back on her pillow. “Everything. You weren't far off when you asked if I'd seen a ghost. I have. I've been seeing it for a week now, here and there. It won't leave me be.”

“Is there anything for it?”

“Not really. I've been...censoring myself since I was very young. Things happen sometimes that I don't know how to deal with, so I lose them. I make the decision to cast them to sea so I'm not weighed down by them.”

“Except they're never really gone, are they?”

“No, not really. I pretend I'm fine for long periods of time, until something floats to the surface and reminds me of who I used to be.”

“That sounds lonely,” he said.

“Sometimes loneliness is just a part of surviving.”

Maynard opened his mouth to answer, but anything he might have said was drowned out by a pounding on the door. “What the hell?” he said finally.

Mattie shrugged and tumbled out of bed, finding her balance as she went. There was more pounding as she made her way through the kitchen. “All right already!” She opened the door with the chain on, giving her two inches of space to investigate.

Or was on the other side. She placed her face right against the crack. “Let me in,” she said. “You have to let me in.”

Mattie didn't think she had to do anything, but Or seemed to be legitimately startled, which threw her. She closed the door, undid the chain, and then opened it again. Or rushed in and slammed the door shut behind her, redoing the chain and throwing the deadbolt.

When Mattie turned around Maynard was in the living room. “What is going on here?”

Or turned to look at him. Mattie was suddenly aware that neither of them was wearing very much. Or raised an eyebrow, but she didn't bring attention to what she may have interrupted. Instead she pulled off her red gloves and shucked her black pea coat, dropping her things onto Mattie's couch. “I'm sorry for the interruption, but I seem to have gotten into a spot of trouble.”

“Okay,” Maynard said slowly. He ran his hand through his hair and and looked helplessly at Mattie for a moment before returning to the bedroom.

Mattie stood in the center of the living room, her arms wrapped around her waist, and waited for an explanation. Or huddled on the edge of the the couch and looked Mattie up and down. The corner of her mouth turned up and Mattie suddenly felt warm.

Maynard returned then, and chucked a shirt at Mattie. “Right,” he said. “Who are you, and what's this about?”

Or waited until Mattie was clothed again before answering. “I'm being tracked,” she said.

“Tracked? You mean followed.”

“No, tracked. Like an animal. I'm sure they mean to kill me eventually as well.”

“What the hell,” Mattie said, echoing Maynard. “What have you done?”

“I haven't done anything, yet. But those fuckers are going to get theirs when I get to the bottom of all of this.”

“The bottom of what?” Maynard flipped his hand in Or's direction. “Mattie, what is going on?”

“I don't know,” she said. Because she didn't. To Or she said, “how did you find my apartment?”

“The same way I find everything. Research, Mattie, research. Please keep up, because I don't want to die tonight.”

“No one is going to die here,” Maynard said. “I'm going to turn the light on. All of us standing here in the dark is ridiculous.”

“No!” Or leaped up from the couch and grabbed his wrist. “No, don't. I don't want you to draw any attention here. Not until I can find out who it is exactly that I'm dealing with. Does either of you have a computer?”

“Yeah,” Mattie said. “In here.” She led Or through to the bedroom and turned on the old desktop machine. “I barely use the thing.”

Or sat down in the desk chair and then looked back at Mattie over her shoulder. “I find that hard to believe,” she said.


“Why do you have one of the Diviner's Marks tattooed on your chest?”

“That's not—”

“It most definitely is my business. Especially now that they're trying to kill me.”

"Why would the Diviner's be trying to kill you?"

Instead of answering Or slapped the side of the computer, which was being slow to start. “Come on!”

Out in the living room Mattie heard glass break. “What the hell?” she said again, her voice tighter in her throat this time. It seemed to be the only response she could muster to the mad alternate universe she'd just been dropped in. Before she could make it out of the room Maynard trundled in and collapsed against her. She swayed under his weight. It took a moment for the wetness between them to register. His shirt was wet. She pushed him away and saw that there was a dark, rapidly growing stain on the front of his shirt.

When she looked down she saw that the front of her shirt was now wet as well. The stain looked dark purple in the bluish glow from the computer screen. Maynard stumbled backwards onto the bed and passed out.

Mattie screamed.

This bit of fiction was written for Topic 18: Jetsam at [ profile] therealljidol. Thank you to [ profile] paragraphs for helping me name The Waiter. All comments and questions are welcome.
momebie: (WS Bucky Awake)
Original Fiction.
896 words.

This follows pretty immediately after my last LJI two posts. If you missed them Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

. . .

They sat in the relative silence for a few moments. Mattie willed the Universe to give her more time and a sharper wit and fewer reservations. The world continued to happen around them in a more or less normal flow. “I don’t believe I’ve seen you around here before,” she said.

Or didn’t answer right away. Mattie appreciated the fact that she was letting the moment hang between them a little longer. She stretched into it. When Or finally answered the words were quiet and halting. “I used to live here, many years ago. I don’t suppose you would remember me. Now I’m back on business.”

“What kind of business brings you to a place like this?”

“I’m investigating a series of disappearances. One of the victims was originally from my jurisdiction, so the local IF have had to let me have the run of the town here. They’re not pleased about it.”

“Most people tend to be distrustful of outsiders.”

“Most people here do,” Or said.

Mattie stood up. She dropped her cigarette onto the ground and stepped on it, squashing out the hot orange tip. She was standing several steps below Or, which made her seem a full head shorter. Or was looking down at her in the same way Mattie’s mother used to look down at her if something in the house had gone broken or missing. The look wasn’t exactly accusatory, but it was curious, probing. It made Mattie uncomfortable. “This person who went missing, who was it? I haven’t seen any notices.”

“No, you haven’t. No one has. I don’t think it’s a person they’re really concerned with finding.”

“Was it a criminal?”

Or considered the question for a moment before she answered. “No. At least, not by our laws. Your city has some rather…interesting ideas about who is a criminal and who isn’t. It’s the only city that still has Idealism on the books as a criminal offense.”

“We do like our traditions.”

“Quite,” Or said. She dropped her cigarette onto the step below and moved down to where Mattie was, just above street level. The butt lay undisturbed, sending up a miniature smoke signal into the darkness.

Mattie quelled the urge to stamp it out. “Am I being interrogated?”

“No, but I wouldn’t mind if you answered some questions.” Or stepped in close and Mattie could almost feel the light from her halo. It made her delirious to think that this soft, gentle light that settled about Or’s cheeks was invisible to its owner. All she wanted to do was reach up and skitter a finger across the curve of Or’s jaw.

Instead she shoved her hands deep into the pockets of her jacket and said, “what kind of questions?”

“Do you remember an old man who used to sit on these steps? One with tattoos that represented the Diviners’ Trials?”

Mattie eyed the doors of the Diviner’s House. “I don’t think this is the place to discuss this.” She was much too old to be dragged into the Head Diviner’s office and whipped for associating with the wrong sort, but that didn’t mean the leaders didn’t have ways of getting to her.

“Your apartment then?”

“That’s forward of you. I assume you have a hotel room of your own, if you really don’t want to discuss it in public.”

Or shrugged. “It’s most likely bugged. Besides,” she stepped closer and Mattie had to force herself to stand her ground. “I know you have some questions you’d like to ask me as well.”

“Why would I have questions for a complete stranger?” Mattie said.

“And here I thought you were a bright girl.” Or stepped down onto the sidewalk and Mattie tried not to shiver at the loss of her light. She stood and looked up at Mattie for a few breaths, but when Mattie didn’t respond she turned and started to walk away.

Mattie watched her go, trying to force the words out. “All right,” she said, unsure of whether or not Or could hear her. “You can come by.”

Or didn’t turn around. “Ta!” she shouted, as she continued her retreat. Mattie watched as one of her red gloves flitted up over her shoulder in a quick gesture of dismissal. Framed against the dark of the street and faintly illuminated by Or’s halo, the color looked ominous. It placed a single welt mark on Mattie’s future.

She took a deep breath and exhaled, trying to calm her nerves. She didn’t know when she’d started gently vibrating, but now she couldn’t get it to stop. She was so preoccupied with cataloguing the various ways in which Or made her uncomfortable that she didn’t hear her waiter friend come up behind her.

“What are you doing out so late?” he said. “You look like you’ve seen another ghost.”

Mattie jumped and let out a short yelp. “Diviner’s Sorrows,” she said. “Don’t sneak up on a girl like that.”

He merely smiled and held out his hand. She pulled hers from her jacket pocket and gripped his fingers tight. More tightly than she’d meant to.

“Hey, hey,” he said. “Remember to breathe. You’re not drowning.”

“I don’t know,” she said. Mattie looked down the sidewalk in the direction Or had gone and imagined she could still see the shadow of her frame. “If I am, will you pull me out?”

This bit of fiction was written for Topic 17: Open Topic at [ profile] therealljidol. All comments and questions are welcome.


momebie: (Default)

February 2017

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