Drabble: Time to Work

timetowork

For the song prompt “You Know My Name”; exact drabble. Thank you for reading, likes/shares and comments are always gratefully received.

There’d been other career options, post-military service but this one had unexpectedly presented itself and he was good at it. Also it paid exceptionally well.

It was a job with certain risks and inconveniences but he had the skills and connections. He’d perfected choosing the right clients; those who were genuine, could pay, and could be trusted to keep their mouths shut.

There were better, safer, jobs, ones in offices instead of on damp rooftops, but on the whole there were far worse jobs.

A car door opened on the street below. Time to work.

He lifted his sniper rifle.

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Micro Fic #4

microfic

Written for various challenge prompts:

Six word prompts

Dream:
Sun, sand, lapping waves; total contentment.

Nightmare:
She smiled, revealing sharp, deadly, fangs.

One sentence prompts

Start
Later, he’d look back and see that this, this single seemingly inconsequential action, was where it all began.

Fool
He fiddled with the bowtie, feeling like a fool; he’d honestly rather defuse a bomb than try to make small talk at some obnoxious gathering of the rich and privileged.

Exact drabbles (100 words)

You Can’t Be Serious
“Vampires.”

“I know what I saw.” Her face was serious, no hint of her usual sunny disposition in her tight lips and narrowed eyes. It seemed less and less likely that she was playing a trick on him and more and more likely that she was delusional.

“You can’t be serious.”

She nodded fervently. “I am. He is a vampire.”

“Vampires do not exist,” he protested, trying to reason with her. “They’re mythological creatures, fictions of our subconscious, symbols of our deepest desires and fears; sex, death, blood.”

“They don’t exist?”

“No.”

She pointed behind him. “Tell that to him.”

An awful dream

She climbs into his bed, her feet and hands freezing as she cuddles up against him. He turns, pulls her close. She’s shaking, and not just from the cold.

“You’re freezing.” He kisses her hair, wraps as much of his own body around her as he can. She shivers violently against him and he says nothing more, just whispering comforting noises.

When she’s warmer and calmer, he asks what’s wrong.

“I had the most awful dream.”

“What about?”

She shakes her head. “I can’t say. Not while it’s dark.”

So he simply holds her, and they both sleep until morning.

 

Thank you for reading! Likes, comments, and shares are all welcome.

Fic: Storm in a Coffee Cup

stormcoffeecup

This was for the Reddit Writing Prompts suggestion: “A Starbucks Batista has given you Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino with soy instead of a Caffè Vanilla Light Frappuccino with no fat milk. Make this as tragic, heart-wrenching and miserable as possible.”
I took this to mean make it hilarious or, if I were tagging on AO3, “crack treated seriously” (definition here)

Storm in a Coffee Cup

Do you ever have days where nothing goes right? When the hot water has run out and the bus is late and it starts raining the moment you realise you didn’t bring an umbrella? It was one of those days but for a brief moment there was hope.

The delicious smell of coffee, the ringing of the registers, the bright chatter of the people waiting for their caffeine fix, the warmth of the Starbucks store drying out my clothes made me feel calm and relaxed. Everything would be fine once I got my favourite drink. Caffe Vanilla Light Frappuccino with no fat milk. This simple pleasure would put my day, my life, back on track.

I reached the counter. I placed my order. I took my drink with a smile. I walked to the door. I took a sip of the drink –

What in in holy hell was this? This….this….monstrosity! I nearly choked.

It was a frappuccino, cool and refreshing, and that was all that was right with it. Instead of the smooth, comforting, vanilla, its warm taste evoking both cookies eaten by roaring firesides and soft ice cream under a blazing summer sun, there was chocolate. The complete opposite of vanilla. Double chocolate, sticky and thick.

That was bad enough but my woes were not yet at an end. There was denying it. The milk was not no fat milk. To my despair it was soy, a pseudo milk, an affront to true milk lovers!

Worse, there were bits in it. Small hard beetle like pieces. On closer inspection these proved to be more chocolate but the damage was done to my psyche as well as my tastebuds.

The muddy looking drink seemed to taunt me as I beheld it in all of its erroneousness. What had I done to deserve this outrage? This disgusting concoction was surely some sort of divine punishment.

I took another sip to be certain. Was there even caffeine in this thing? How could I go about my day without caffeine? It was impossible! I wanted to weep.

I shoved my way back to the counter and brandished the offending cup at the barista. “This,” I declared, “is not what I ordered. At all!”

He looked unconcerned. “Right. Sorry. What was it you wanted?”

It didn’t matter any longer. The moment had passed. I shook my head sadly and forced down another gulp of the mixture. Who am I to question the will of the coffee shop gods?

_ _ _

I hope you enjoyed the fic! Comments, concrit, likes/reblogs are all welcomed.
For the record I’m a basic “just give me a coffee with milk”, or sometimes a cappuccino and I had to google the hell out of the various coffee options!

 

 

Fic: Blood is Thicker

ficbloodisthicker

Summary: An abusive husband has gone missing.
For the prompts “This is your fault”, “Blood is thicker than water”, and genre: horror
Warnings: offscreen character death, references to domestic violence

“It’s nice your sister has come to stay with you,” the police officer said, after apologising that the latest lead, a sighting of her husband in a casino, had not panned out.

When she first reported him missing the police weren’t that interested in looking for him. He was an adult male prone to disappearing off for long weekends and coming home with other women’s lipstick on his shirt or a black eye for getting into a bar fight.

Oddly he never beat up other women. Perhaps he was afraid they’d fight back or report him. She never did. “This is your fault,” he always said, and he had a hundred reasons why (she didn’t have sex with him enough, she made him angry, she deserved to be kept in line). Nor could she leave him (he swore he would hunt her down and kill her slowly).

When her sister visited and saw her black eye, though, she knew things were going to change. Two weeks later, once her injuries were – for a time – healed, her sister had returned with a suitcase and a toolbox. Like a dutiful wife, she had cooked and when he’d come home, the two women sat him for a nice long chat.

She’d let him isolate her from her family and friends, and it was only her sister’s sudden determination to build bridges that had saved her. Blood, they said, was thicker than water. Perhaps it was true. But enough water and bleach had finally gotten the kitchen floor clean.

The lilac bushes should do well this year.

Ficlet: Naivety

She’d known that he’d disagree with her, but this tirade had been unexpected. For the 30 days of fiction meme  Prompt # 6 write a scene with people talking, but without any actual dialogue

naviety

 

She’d known that he’d disagree with her, but this tirade had been unexpected. He hadn’t stopped yelling as he paced the room – now he leaned over the table and told her, in no uncertain terms, how disappointed he was in her.

She’d stayed seated this whole time, arms crossed defensively, but now her anger caught flame and she was on her feet, cursing at him in English and French alike – that got his attention, he looked stunned, actually stepped back to regard her with surprise.

She laid out the reasons she’d done it, she explained, point by point, ticking them off on her fingers, why it was the only logical choice. Finally, with contempt in her tone, she described some of the worst case scenarios had she done otherwise.

He sat, defeated, while she remained standing. He smoothed at his hair, straightened his tie. He wouldn’t apologise, that was a given, but she hid a smile as, in a cool, measured tone, he conceded that there was no going back on it now. He began making suggestions, most of which she would ultimately disregard.

Still, she retook her seat and nodded, pretending she cared about his opinion, occasionally interrupting with a clarification when he – inevitably – got the facts wrong.

Five minutes later he seemed to have talked himself out – not to mention talked himself into believing he was in charge, more important than he really was – and dismissed her.

She missed his predecessor and hoped he might return soon and oust this jackass, before his naivety got someone killed.

Thank you for reading! Concrit is appreciated.

Fic: Eye of the Beholder

eyebehold

Summary: One person’s art is another person’s rubbish.
Previously posted to a personal journal for the 30 days of fiction meme prompt #5 write a scene entirely in dialogue

“It’s a very interesting piece.”

“Interesting? How?”

“Well…it’s symbolic. Probably.”

“Of?”

“I don’t know. Stuff. Things that other things are symbolic of.”

“Oh, that’s deep. Unlike the colours.”

“It’s a watercolour. That’s actually a more difficult medium than oils, you know.”

“Incredibly difficult by the look of this.”

“It’s…abstract.”

“Putting it mildly.”

“I mean that it has few connotations beyond what you, as the viewer, bring to it. It allows you to form your own opinion on the piece and any themes within it.”

“I see. I have an opinion.”

“Yes?”

“It looks like a four year old painted it and then the cat piddled on it.”

Fic: Friendship

Ficlet from the WRE WiP. On duty at the call centre, Romaine and El talk about friendship, giving insight into their dynamic – and El’s relationships.

After the caller hung up, Romaine watched El for a while. At last she leaned back in her chair, rolling her head around her shoulders.

“You okay, Rommie?” she asked, catching his eye.

“Just thinking. We get a lot of calls about broken relationships, broken friendships, and issues that wouldn’t be so bad if someone had a close confidant to talk to. I’m used to being mostly alone but calls like that one make me wonder if I need more friends, or if the chances of finding someone who won’t stab me in the heart – metaphorically – are so low that it’s not worth the risk.”

Woods. He didn’t speak the name aloud; his ex-partner, whose inaction at best had led to Romaine getting shot.

El spun her chair around. “This job makes you think about things,” she said. “About your own life. And it’s good to reflect. But don’t let it change who you are. If you like being alone, so be it. And if you want friends then hey; I can’t promise never to piss you off, but I’m generally loyal and aren’t we already friends?”

Romaine blinked a few times. “Sure.”

“Sure?” El repeated, mock horror in her tone. “One word answers like that can be a sign of insincerity you know.”

“You took me by surprise.” Romaine shook his head. “How do you know when you’re friends? How do you know when you’re in love even? Or if you meet someone as a friend and then suddenly you’re dating?”

El shrugged. “I guess you just know? Things can develop gradually and no-one has to say ‘Hey, want to be friends’ because you just are. There’s no proposal, like when you get engaged, not for friendships. As for love, well, I distrust the idea of love at first sight. You have to get to know someone whether you’re dating or befriending them. There is the ‘I love you’ moment in a romantic relationship but love…that’s a big and complicated word. I love my parents, my sister, my nieces, and pizza, but all in different ways.”

The phone rang and she answered. Romaine got an email and as he opened it, he couldn’t help noting that El’s boyfriend hadn’t got a mention in the list of her loves.

 

—comments, shares, likes, are all much appreciated—-

 

Ficlet: Harvest Celebration

Inspired by some prompts at One Sentence Only (Table 25b), a summer themed ficlet for Lammas/Lughnasagh/Lunasdagh, as a priestess prepares to lead the ritual for the harvest celebration.


Lammas/Lugnasadh Comments

Magickal Graphics

The heat of the fire was scorching even in the hot summer’s day air, like dragon’s breath against her skin. On the spit nearby the wild boar was cooking nicely. Bread, salad vegetables, cookies sprinkled with sugar, were all arranged on a table ready for the feast.

The boughs of the trees moved in the gentle breeze, carrying the scent of smoke, food, and wine to every house in the small town, beckoning everyone to join the harvest celebration. Most of the inhabitants were already there, having fed their letter with expressions of gratitude and wishes for the future, to the flames. Now they were adding to the offerings of food and drink, gossiping, laughing, playing alongside the excited children, or sitting in what shade could be found to await the ritual.

The village herbalist was one of the latter, sat in the shadow of an old oak, and knitting a blanket as she watched the games with a warm smile. Her teenage son, shirtless, was flirting with young men and women alike, though not with any seriousness. The mood of the day was light and happy.

As priestess, she’d made libation this morning, a mug of bitter tea and one of sweet mead, a cup of wine and one of ale. She’d thanked the gods for their blessings, not least the weather that had brought sun and rain in quantities enough to grow sufficient crops and sustain the livestock. The days were growing shorter already and despite the warmth of the day she knew winter would approach and they must soon prepare for it.

The door to the Elder’s office opened and he moved slowly across the open town square to join her by the fire. She bobbed a respectful greeting to the man who’d been a lawyer in his youth, a professor in his middle years, and was now the leader of their settlement. He was known for both his wisdom and compassion.

He returned her greeting, an open hand over his heart, honouring the woman who spoke with the gods.

“I was writing my letter,” he said. “Forgive my lateness.”

“The sun is not yet at its zenith,” she returned with a grin. “You are right on time.”

He cast the parchment into the flames, closed his eyes as it burned. Then he drew himself to his full height and clapped his hands.

“Gather around,” he called. “The ritual begins shortly.”

Soon all eyes were on her and she took a deep breath. “Welcome all to our harvest celebration on this glorious day. We honour and invite the gods to join our feast day.”

A poem followed, one written long ago for this occasion, the words flowing from her tongue easily for she knew the rites by heart. Then a longer prayer and, finally, the casting of the powder into the fire.

The fire leapt in response, crackling, and sending bright multicoloured sparks and a plume of white smoke into the air. She was no longer startled by the reaction though it never failed to impress her. Everyone applauded.

“Let the feast begin,” she said.

People needed no further encouragement, swarming off to fill their plates and glasses.

The Elder offered her his arm and she took it, moving with him to the table where the innkeeper was serving drinks. The blacksmith, proud of their new hobby, was already setting up the archery targets at the edge of the square, while some people were talking of going to paddle in the river.

It was going to be a lovely afternoon.

 

prompt words: dragon, fire, cooking, smoke, trees, house, poem, sugar, lawyer, shirt, wild, respect, shadow, open, professor, door, hobby, knitting, writing, office, tea, bitter.

Fic snippet: Juliet

Opening paragraphs from my first novel WiP, working title “Juliet”

“Marry me,” Juliet said, unable to keep the desperation from her tone.

Sean bowed his head, staring at the grass which was still damp with morning dew. “You know I cannot.”

Juliet’s heart sank. Sean was her oldest friend. He had conducted her marriage to Dayne, the first such ceremony he had ever performed. He had blessed her daughter Sophia when she was born, and was her godfather, loving her as if she were his own child. He had comforted Juliet when she was told of Dayne’s execution, and carried out a memorial service for the man they’d both cared about. Now, in this hour of greatest need, he was unable to help her. Prayer would not be enough.

“I would if I could.” Sean took her hand. “But clerics are now forbidden to marry.”

Neither he nor Juliet had expected the new rule to affect him. He was a loving and compassionate man, but he had never felt desire for anyone. The people of the community were his family, none more so than Juliet. Many clerics however preferred to take a spouse and now most had been forced to surrender their titles. It was a strike against their authority and talents. The queen could not yet destroy the clergy completely but each new law she passed further diminished their influence.

Queen Edda. The bane of Juliet’s life and fast becoming the ruin of her homeland.

Ficlet: A Foolish Fantasy

a-foolish-fantasy-sa

A ficlet taking place in the Sorceress Apprentice world. Pre-canon, a young Bryony watches Emeri at the annual Summer Dance and indulges in a foolish fantasy of being his dance partner.

The Summer Dance, held at the solstice, was one of the most important festivals for the village and the ritual fire dance was the highlight of the celebration.

Bryony watched as Emeri held out his hand to his sister, Sabrina, to join him for the dance. They were so elegant and refined. Emeri was rarely the tallest man in any gathering but he had an undeniable presence, and Sabrina, almost as tall as her brother, drew many an admiring glance.

Logically his dance partner had to be Sabrina, another clan member. Traditionally the dancers were of equal status, and intimates of some sort. Emeri had no wife to dance with and there was no-one else present who was even close to his social rank.

Despite this, Bryony chewed at her lower lip as the music began, longing to be the one to dance. To be partnered with the sorcerer himself. It was a foolish fantasy, childish when she was almost a woman now, but she couldn’t help herself from imagining being in Sabrina’s place.

Kerine clapped along with the music and Bryony joined in with her sister, their mother beaming and fanning herself against the heat of the flames. Bryony had once mentioned her attraction to Emeri and her mother had scoffed. Kerine had gently reminded her that whatever all those love stories Bryony read showed, it didn’t mean that life worked that way.

Of course Kerine was right. Besides her lowly status, Bryony was almost ten years younger than Emeri, and while her skill with a needle was something she could be proud of, her education was lacking. What could a non-magical girl offer such a man as the village sorcerer?

After the dance had finished to thunderous applause, Sabrina linked her arm with Emeri’s and they wandered around, talking to the villagers. Bryony curtsied, heart in her mouth, when Sabrina stopped in front of her.

“What a beautiful dress,” Sabrina said, running her gaze over the emerald green silk. Bryony had purchased it cheap because of some damage to the fabric, carefully cutting and stitching a dress from the best of the material and covering the rest of the marks with elegant embroidery, the highlight being details picked out in metallic threads that caught the firelight as she moved.

“Thank you, my lady,” Bryony said, adding, “I made it myself.”

“It is exquisite,” Sabrina said and Emeri gave a smile.

“The stitching is remarkable,” he agreed. “It is truly beautiful.”

They’d moved off then to talk with the blacksmith, little knowing the effect of their words. The warmth in a giddy Bryony’s cheeks was not merely due to her proximity to the fire.

Bryony went to bed that right reliving every moment of the dance, skirting the flames across from her partner, the music’s tempo increasing and her steps more frantic until at the climax of the dance she was in Emeri’s arms and the villagers cheered them on.