Interludes 2

It has been 4 weeks since my first interludes post, so I thought it was a good time to do one again. To be fair, I hadn’t planned it, but it fit in the schedule, which meant I went with the flow. To be honest, I’ve had a really hard time lately to get the right inspiration for the flash fiction. And I think I know why.

It’s almost November, which means NaNoWriMo is coming up. For those who don’t know what that is, I’ve mentioned it in the previous interludes. It’s basically a challenge to write a novel in 30 days. A novel is seen as at least 50 000 words. Now, of course a decent fantasy novel is more like 100k words and more. So NaNoWriMo would be a perfect motivation to get a good start on the new novel.

‘Wait, what?’ I hear you say. ‘A new novel? Does that mean your first one is finished?’

Well, heh, no. My WIP 1 (“Work In Progress”), which doesn’t even have a title yet, is not finished. Not at all. I’ve been having difficulties continuing on it while thinking on the outline of the new one. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably set it aside for now, to pick up again once I gain more skill as a writer. It has many characters and 4 ARCs. My limited skills aren’t good enough to tell this story as it needs to be told. So I’ll write other things frist, and get back to it once I feel like I can.

And I will definitely get back to it, as I’ve got a masterplan in my head which will interconnect all of the next novels I’ll write. I’m not saying anymore on that because it’s useless at this point. I’m so excited to start writing the second novel though! It already has a (temporary) title: “Tear of the sky”. It’s awesome, at least in my head. I hope to be able to put down that awesomeness in words. I’ll keep you posted on the progress for sure.

As for November, I’d like to write a bunch of flash fiction beforehand. That way I can keep the blog posts going on a regular base. I’m already ahead a few chapters of Nadec, so I’m pleased with that.

That is it for now. There might be a short post before the beginning of NaNoWriMo, to check in with you all and let you know what to expect during that month. As for me, I’ll just continu staring into the void where all of the stories take place.

 

Nadec ch 5: Laughter and tears

The empty look on Wyny’s face only added to her fit of hysterical laughter. Whenever it eased down into giggles, she made the mistake of looking at him again and that set her off once more. After the fourth time, she managed to keep from looking in his direction. The giggles scattered into an occasional chuckle. Her cheeks and belly ached. She wiped away the tears which had rolled from her eyes, unstoppable. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d laughed this hard. In fact, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d laughed out loud before meeting Wyny.

‘Okay, okay, I’m all good now. I’m sorry for my… outburst.’ She still didn’t look at him, and a snort escaped her. ‘I shouldn’t laugh at you so hard, I know it’s just cultural differences and all. Or should I call it realm-differences? Thank you anyway.’ She wasn’t sure why she thanked him, and he probably understood even less.

‘You are quite welcome.’ His voice sounded serious, not a single hint at the mocking he must be doing. Her head shot up, all snorts and giggles gone.

‘I am not quite sure what okay means, but I assume you have had a lonely life and thus many unleashed emotions. You saved my life several times now, and for that I owe you a debt. I will gladly absorb all the emotions you hurl at me. I hope that will help you feel better by the time we have to part ways.’

She blinked. She noticed that her jaw hung slack, so she shut it and swallowed the accumulated spit. That man! That man… The nerve! How did he suddenly turn into a shrink! She was just about to say something particularly nasty when he spoke up again.

‘As for my Squares, I did not have the time to call for them when the Blurghs were upon us. They do not take that long to appear, but sometimes it can be too much. Here’s what I could have done.’

He stood up, not caring about his glorious nakedness, and held the L-shaped sticks on the short ends, holding out the longer ends. Kinda like holding a gun, Nadec thought curiously but still furious at what he’d said. What’s he going to do, shoot out imaginary bullets? A grin started on her face but stopped midway when the stick did just that! Except that the bullets weren’t imaginary, and they weren’t bullets. The end of the long side seemed to grow before a piece dislodged itself and shot away. His sticks were shooting cubes!

‘See,’ he said, ‘I could have easily hit their red spots, to turn them around before they got close enough. If only I had a few more moments longer, and was not feeling so sick from… what did you call it? Ah, shifting.’

He gave her a look she didn’t quite understand, and slapped the sticks together, the shorter lengths on the opposite sides. Quicker than she could follow, he folded the sticks—the Squares?—on itself a few times. Before she could blink, his hands were empty. He looked at her with an intensity she couldn’t place. That deep stare stirred up butterflies in her middle. Her mouth felt dry. With a massive effort she tore free from the gaze. Why was she breathing so fast?

‘I need to be alone. Come Kitty.’ She picked up the lead and the cat jumped on her shoulders.

‘Wait! Don’t go! Did I say something wrong? Do you need something?’

‘No! You’ve done enough. Just… just stay here. I’ll be back soon. I just need… I don’t know. Stay.’

With that she turned around and walked off, Kitty on her shoulders and her thoughts all jumbled. She didn’t understand why she felt so confused. She wasn’t going to get a hunky other-realmer get to her with his silly words, was she?

‘Lonely. Urgh, I’m not lonely. I’ve got you,’ she muttered, while accepting and returning the feline’s headbuts on her cheek. ‘I don’t have unleashed emotions. What the hell. He has no idea what he’s talking about. Some king straight out of a fairy tale, what does he know!’

Yet she couldn’t stop her mind from returning to the events which had led to her being recruited by her current employers. She hadn’t realised she’d stopped walking until the sound of snapping branches startled her. Her head whipped to the source of the sound but her tears-filled eyes prevented her from seeing sharply.

A blurry figure, a blackness, rammed into her. A yell escaped her before a sharp pain on the head preceded the loss of consciousness.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This story is part of the quirky continuing story, temporarily called Nadec. To read the story in its whole, the previous chapter with this one attached, go here. Thanks for reading 🙂 This chapter was a little bit less ‘action-packed’ than the previous ones, but it gave us a little hint at Nadec’s past. I don’t know about you, but I have so many questions! New chapters will be released every Sunday, so check back in weekly. Or subscribe to get a notification for every new post. Ps: today is the first time I’ve written multiple chapters. Which means that I already know what’s going to happen in the next one, and it’s pretty exciting! At least, I think so, haah.

Threat

Under normal circumstances he would speak his mind, but with a gun against his head, he preferred to crack a joke.

‘What are you gunna do, Jerry? You gunna fire at will? You should cut the bull-it’s not your style. Maybe try a shot instead of that beer.’

He heard Jerry groan, and Will grinned. I suppose speaking my mind and some puns works as well. The pressure on his head lessened. He heard a sigh and it dropped completely.

Jerry moaned, his head lowered.

‘You need some more practice,’ Will told him, clapping him on the back. ‘Here, how about that shot. Vodka or rum?’

‘Pointing a gun at people isn’t really something you can practice, what if I mess it up on the day? I mean, what if she is a smart-ass like you? How can you threaten someone properly if they don’t get scared? The gun won’t even be loaded. Maybe I just shouldn’t do it.’

Will rolled his eyes while pouring out the rum. Here we go again. They’ve been through this little back-and-forth a few times today. Jerry makes up his mind, then starts to back off, then Will gives him the answer he wants, which starts the whole thing up again.

‘Cheers.’ Grimacing from the strength of the shot, Jerry continued: ‘Perhaps I should give it another try heh. Convince her to sign the papers, without threatening her by using a gun?’

Previous times, Will had answered this with ‘Yeah, but you’ve tried that, how many times now? Ten times? And it’s been over a month? It doesn’t work.’

Time to break their conversation loop.

‘That doesn’t work, not the way you’ve been doing it. I have another idea. It might sound crazy, but hear me out. I know you met her on a wild night and it only took you a few days and a lack of sobriety to pop the question and do the deed. And yeah, I know you didn’t really want to commit and all, but maybe, just maybe, you could give it a try and see if you’d get along? Now don’t give me that look! Here, have another drink. Maybe try to hear her out, listen why she doesn’t want to sign, instead of yelling at her from the start. I’m telling you man, women respond better to people who listen to them.’

‘You mean, I should actually try to get to know my wife in hopes of convincing her to agree to the divorce?’

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Okay, okay, this one sucks, and I apologise. I had not much inspiration for flash fiction, my mind is all on my other works in progress. So I went to a website which gave me a random first line, and this was it. Hey, at least I managed to come up with something! 🙈

Darkness

It was dark and wet. Bobby lay curled up in excrement, his own and the other’s, huddled against the walls. At least this corner gave a small sense of safety. He had tried sleeping, but hadn’t managed more than a little bit of dozing off. Why was he here? It was all so confusing.

When they’d taken him away from his mom, he hadn’t realised what was happening. Before he knew what was going on, he’d been put in a different room, away from her. But he could still hear her screams, and he kept yelling for her as well. There were others in the room with him, and he vaguely knew they were also screaming. He’d shrieked until exhaustion took him. The next day, his wails of despair continued, in echo of his mom’s.

A few days had passed by and the cries had slowly abated until they’d stopped completely. He got hungry, the one meal a day was not enough to satisfy his young body. Bobby had begun to seek comfort with the others when the gate had opened. They’d just stared at the ramp behind it, which seemed to open into a dark hole. Wide-eyed, Bobby had backed away until his backside hit the opposite wall, and still he tried to get further. Then they’d started prodding and pushing him. When that didn’t force him forward quickly enough, hard blows assaulted him. His whole body got hit, painful blows flew everywhere. Panic overtook him and he stumbled, trying to get away, tripping in his scared flight. He didn’t remember what had happened after that.

Sudden bright light hurt his eyes and he blinked several times, trying to see something. He lifted his head but stayed in the corner, his corner. Soon after that, he could hear shrieks close-by, and an utterly terrifying smell assaulted his nostrils. His whole body started to shake with dread. They came for him, prodding him along, closer to the howls and those penetrating scents. The air vibrated with terror. He slipped on the floor, colouring his beautiful white hair into a dirty red.

All the noise was too loud, too strange. He cried. Some of the sounds had a rhythmic quality to it, but it wasn’t his language so it couldn’t soothe him.

If he’d understood, maybe he would’ve fought harder to escape.

‘Ten more calves to go after this one.’

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I don’t have much to say about this one, except that it’s close to my heart. This is what I imagine the short life of a bobby calf could be. It breaks my heart every day.

Nadec ch 4: The squares

The last one of the Blurghs stumbled away in the direction where the other one had gone. Nadec knelt on the ground next to Kitty, congratulating the cat for jumping against the knob in precisely the right way. It looks like the practice they’d been doing had paid off. Nadec didn’t think Kitty would’ve been able to jump as powerful when they’d only started the training. Purring loudly and giving all the head bumps, he accepted all the pats, ear scratches, and belly rubs with visible pleasure.

Booping the cat on the nose, Nadec murmured to him: ‘We better check on our walking trope-friend.’ Chuckling at her own joke—the man really was the stereotype of a prince charming from a faraway kingdom—she walked over to what looked like a car-sized ball of brown yarn. Granted, only the size of a really small car, but it still made her sigh and roll her eyes.

‘How often am I going to have to save this guy?’ But she still took her serrated knife from her boot and went to work on cutting the threads.

An hour later she finally saw wrinkly and quite hairy flesh through the slim ropes. Of course the first part of his body to come upon had to be the middle. Gritting her teeth, she moved to a different part of the tangle of yarn. She was not going to expose his balls first! Estimating where his upper body was, she started cutting in that new area. When she’d finally managed to expose his head, she couldn’t stop a sniff of relief.

‘Good, you’re not dead.’

‘What was that!’ he cried out, terror on his face.

‘Relax buddy, you’re fine.’ She sounded more calm than she felt. He hadn’t even tried to defend himself during the fight! While she had been struggling to hit the knob on the Blurgh in front of her, he’d just been standing there like a stupid with a stick. His Blurgh hadn’t hesitated in turning around and sprouting its threads from its ass. Nadec had to concentrate on her own fight too much to help him so by the time she’d managed to make hers stumble away, Wyny had been well and good rolled up.

Before she had been able to engage the large and bark-like-skinned creature, Kitty had decided that the ball had become too large to play with. So she’d jumped up against the Blurgh a few times until she’d hit the sweet spot, the red knob which numbs them enough to stumble off in confusion.

‘Why didn’t you fight?’ she demanded of him while still cutting. Okay, so maybe she couldn’t manage to keep the calm face. Stupid man, giving me so much trouble, I’ll need to buy a new couch, heck, probable need to find a new apartment too.

‘You’re not going to cost me my perfect score too, I’ll keep you safe until you get back to your stupid kingdom, what was it again, Parallelogram, wherever that is, no matter how long it takes, but it better not take too long, fuck, there’s still my deadline, how am I going to explain that, …’ She kept on mumbling, not noticing the stunned look on his face.

‘Paralelo,’ he cut in, swallowing visibly because of the fierce look she gave him. ‘I don’t know how to use a stick, or a sword.’

Before he could continue, nadec burst out: ‘What do you mean, you don’t know how to use a sword! Doesn’t everyone in this realm use a stupid sword?!’ So much for the sword-swinging gorgeous trope-king he was supposed to be.

‘No, of course not, swords are useless.’ Nadec grunted in agreement while he continued, sounding more confident with each word.

‘I told you I am the master of the Squares, defender of the Triangles, chief of all Lines.’ With that, he lifted his newly freed arms and made some strange movements. Out of nowhere, a solid wooden Square appeared, floating in the air between them. With a few more movements, the box turned into two four-sided sticks in an L-shape.

‘These are my weapons.’

Once again, Nadec couldn’t do anything else but laugh, this time until she cried, her cheeks and abs hurting but unable to stop.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This story is part of the quirky continuing story, temporarily called Nadec. To read the story in its whole, the previous chapter with this one attached, go here. Thanks for reading 🙂

Wind

Whenever I have something to say about the story I’m posting, I usually put it at the bottom of the post. This time though, I thought it was better to put it at the top because it might be too confusing otherwise. What you’re about to read is an excerpt of a short story I wrote a while ago, called “desolation of the wind”. This story has been submitted for a contest, so I may be stupid for posting a bit of it now. BUT, I don’t really expect to be on the list of nominated stories, so I estimate the risk pretty low. Once they’ve made their list public, which should be sometime this month, I’ll know I’m not on it for sure, so I’ll then post the whole story on the blog for you all to enjoy (at least, I hope you’ll enjoy). It’s a bit more abstract, this story. The goal of contest, and the new magazine it was for, is to illustrate the damage humans are causing the planet. I hope the excerpt will make at least a little bit sense, and it would be awesome if you’d let me know whether or not you’re keen to read the whole story. EDIT: the contest people have published their shortlist, and mine isn’t on it. I won’t put it up on the blog just yet though, as I might try to submit it to others. ps keep an eye on the aftermath website, I think we’re going to see some great stories there soon!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The wind kept whirling around itself, slow-seeming from afar but in reality as fast as it’s ever moved before, going inland in a steady but horrifying pace. It destroyed and it wept, helped by the Air and the Water. It wept for all the needless ravage it was causing, but it also wept for all the needless ravage which had been caused by the humans. It understood its ultimate purpose now. It knew what to do. It was going to fix the problem, it would destroy all the humans and rid the planet of its vermin.

Oh wait, but what was that? The wind immediately stopped its churning and evaporated most of its anger. It stopped struggling against its inner sense of wrongness for the destruction it was causing, let go of its siblings, and puffed into a quiet and softly touching breeze. The breeze ruffled the clothes of the few ‘humans’, no, no, these seem to be the real humans. Their frightened expressions changed to a mixture of relief, their bracing posture relaxed again. They went back to planting new trees.

The wind was at peace again. Not all humans are destroyers, not all worked against the planet. The wind whirled around these humans for a little bit, playing around, toying with the dust. Dust? There shouldn’t be any dust here, it suddenly realised. This used to be a lush area of trees, plants and animals. The wind felt the Air and the Earth agreeing with its indignation. The Air conveyed a feeling of suffocation, the Earth an imprint of lost. Sadness welled up in the wind again, making it expand, and it quickly abandoned the humans in search of a good place, lest it lost its temper again.

The wind continued its never ending journey, across drab, dead-looking plains which used to be abundantly green and full of life. It flew across man-made structures, several with those high pipes sticking out, emitting all the wrong components for the Air. There used to be tall grass here, stretching from horizon to horizon. On and on the wind blew, getting more agitated with every passing different area, each time flying slightly quicker and gathering in one of its siblings. It couldn’t hold back the memories of what it all used to be, and again it started to spur the Air and the Water to shed tears for what was lost.

Pumpkin spice

A murder had happened here, the body parts spread around in a gruesome pattern. Jack used his foot to nudge the closest one. His wrinkled face scrunched up in disgust, left hand involuntarily moving through his hair.

“I’ve got no time for this,” he mumbled, “not today.”

He crushed down the memories which were trying to surface. Not yet, he thought, not yet. He quickly looked around for a sign of the killer and picked up his pace. It didn’t take him long to cross the rest of the park towards the local bakery. The smell of pumpkin spiced goodies assaulted his nostrils and he firmly stepped down on the memories again. Too soon to break down.

“Morning Jack,” the man behind the counter said, trepidation obvious beyond the surface of his words. “I’ll get your order.”

He disappeared before Jack could nod. Soon after, the door opened again, but it was a woman instead of the man.

“Here you go, her favourite.” Silent voice dripped with the sadness her shining eyes couldn’t conceal. “How are you going, today?”

He couldn’t reply because the memories, those cursed memories, were threatening to overwhelm him. This time they almost won. Without saying anything he turned around. Outside, he almost ran for it. Carnations in one hand and the baker’s treat in the other, he hurried to another side of the park.

Ten minutes later, it felt like a lifetime, he could finally drop to his knees in front of her grave. The flowers went onto her grave, the pastry as well, removed from the box. He dropped a handful of cat food on the ground next to him. A cat appeared, eating contently. Stroking the cat’s back, Jack spoke softly towards the grave, a hoarseness in his voice which wasn’t usually there.

“He still doesn’t want to come home with me Emy. I found some colourful feathers earlier though, red, orange, green. So he’s taking care of himself. But he misses you, immensely. So do I.”

Those last 3 words came out in a croak. Tears exploded from his eyes, as if happy to break free. He let the haunting memories finally overtake him.

Nadec ch 3: blurgh-woods

‘This is wonderful!’

The voice coming from her bathroom sounded as if on the verge of climax. Nadec grunted in recognition. A good hot shower can do that to a person, she knew the feeling well enough. Especially after spending a lot of time in the other realm, where the only option of washing yourself is usually a cold stream or nothing at all. Extremely inconvenient when she was on her period.

She went back to staring at her computer screen. 20 words. Great, only 480 more to go. She vaguely wondered if this was going to be the beginning of the end for her blog. Will her 24 followers now revolt because she missed her deadline? That thought did not help her writer’s block at all. And that last one made her stiffen, realising what she’d called it. Well fu— Her couch exploded.

She managed to jump from her chair quickly enough to cower on the ground. Debris landed on top of her, mostly pieces of fabric and wood. Not wasting any time, she grabbed the halberd from its place behind her, changing in her realm-gear in record time.

‘Kitty!’ Panicked, she looked around, followed by immediate relief at seeing the grey cat run towards her, meowing. ‘I know buddy, this sucks.’ She slipped on his harness and put him on her shoulders, ran to the bathroom to get Pagewyn. Before she got there, he came through the door, his eyes wide, water dripping from his wet hair and his body. Naked again.

Nadec shook her head, trying but failing at keeping the nngggh sound in. That man had no right to be so good-looking and wet.

‘Hold on to me,’ she snapped, bending through her knees, moving them against each other while shifting her hands over them. She felt Kitty balance himself, meowing softly. Feeling guilty for doing this to him while his training hadn’t been completed yet, she hoped he’d be fine during the shifting.

The next moment they were in the woods, trees all around them. Nadec looked next to her and was relieved to see that Pagewyn had complied to her command. When he let go of her shoulder, he turned around and threw up.

‘Sorry buddy, shifting twice in a short period of time can do that to you. Eventually one gets used to it though. Now, where are we?’

Because she’d had to hurry up to get away, she hadn’t been able to pinpoint a precise location. She didn’t recognise anything around her, but that was okay. The woods  looked the same almost everywhere anyway. Ah, there we go, she thought, looking at the two creature running towards them. It appears that we’re in the Blurgh-woods.

The blurghs running, or stumbling—whatever you want to call it—towards her were about half again as tall as she was, which made them as tall as an average ceiling. Their skin colour imitated a bark, with browns, grays, and even some greens. Nadec felt immense relief at seeing the leaves they used to cover up some body parts; they didn’t always had those and it was too distracting. Their faces were twisted knots and dents, vaguely looking like a human face but you’d need to have a lot of imagination to see it.

‘Hey Wyny, I don’t know if you’ve ever fought these guys, but it would be nice if you could give me a hand. I mean, of course I can do it myself but I’ve got to keep an eye on Kitty as well, she’s not trained well enough for it. Here, use this stick.’ She frowned at him.

‘Hold it out.’ She took a few good swings towards the stick. Her ever-sharp halberd cut through it almost without any resistance.

‘There, just use it now like you would a sword. The trick with these guys is to numb them and they’ll just turn around and stumble elsewhere. Do you see that red-brown coloured area on the side of their body? The one that looks like… you know… a lady’s part?’

She could see him colouring a bit at that and felt oddly satisfied for it. He’s been making me blush often enough already, she thought with a pang of pleasure.

‘Just try to hit that with as much force as you can, and that should do the trick. Oh, but do try to stay away from their—woaah here they are!’

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is part of a continuing story, if you’d like to read all the previous chapters, on this page they’re all attached to each other.

Trap

‘Is it a trap?’

They both looked at the orange in the middle of the path. Then they looked at it each other and shrugged simultaneously. Moving in the opposite direction, they circled the fruit.

‘It doesn’t look like a trap,’ one of the sisters muttered.

‘No, it doesn’t. But neither did the mango.’

The joined each other at the other side of the orange. The tallest one moved towards it.

‘What are you doing?!’

‘Kicking it.’

‘No! Remember what happened when you kicked the apple!’ She shook her head. ‘Of course you don’t remember, they did a proper job then. They deserved to win, that day. ’

The youngest stopped moving towards it and stepped back. Frowning at her sister, she took the bow from her back and nocked an arrow. An eyebrow shot up while she looked next to her, questioning.

‘Fine. Shoot it, we’ll see what happens. Ugh, if only we could  ignore it. Just, let’s walk back a bit further. I haven’t done well yet, protecting you.”

With a grin, the tall one stepped back several steps alongside the other woman. She hurriedly nocked the arrow again and let it fly, before her big sis could say anything else. They both ducked as soon as the arrow let loose. It hit, perfect shot. Nothing seemed to happen.

‘At least it’s not trigger-fire,’ she heard whispered beside her. ‘I’ll get your arrow, you stay here. You’ve been the victim often enough.’

She walked up slowly to the pierced arrow. Cautiously, she pulled at the arrow. It was stuck in the ground but after a few good tugs it came loose, orange and all. Even more careful, she touched the orange slightly with the tip of her smallest finger. Nothing happened, so she moved to slide it off the arrow, squeezing it first. From the moment it was freed, a sparkling purple cloud flowed out of it, and she looked up in disgust.

‘Siestasmoke. We lose again.’ She collapsed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Inspired by finding an abandoned orange while on our way out of a nearly empty mall. I asked my partner: ‘is it a trap?’

Hope

The phone rang. Despite the sharpness of the ringtone, resonating more urgently after each short break, it stayed unanswered. The high pitched sound was heard five times, ten times, up to 20 times before silence filled the house again. The imagined echoes of indignation, sparked by the ignored call, hung in the air.

But contrary to what it seemed like, it hadn’t been ignored. It had been heard, and it had sparked hope. Such a strange emotion to feel in an utterly despairing moment as this. The otherwise banal occurrence of an unsuccessful search for communication had the potential to turn into a blessing. The mere lack of correspondence as a beginning of a message to the other side.

Water fell from the sky in a cold torrent of muscle-clenching stabs, hundreds of tiny pricks battering her face and bare limbs in an relentless manner. She tried envisioning it to be like the stream of hot relaxation, as provided by her shower earlier. Her mind couldn’t be fooled. Shivers assaulted her body, but that was the only movement it could make.

She tried to dig in her fingers to the the lawn underneath. Nothing she did could force any sort of action in her sprawled out figure. Part of her clung to the desperate joy of still being able to feel the grass and the mud caressing her skin. She felt the neighbour’s kid’s baseball poking her lower back like a festering tumor. The phone started ringing again. Hope.