Hope everyone had a marvelous Thanksgiving (for those who celebrate). The break made me terribly lazy, and this whole week was basically me resigning myself to being unable to reach 50k for NaNoWriMo. I made it just over half, and I know there’s no way I can make up the words I need before the end of the day today. Alas, there’s always next year. I did, however, get a lot done even if I didn’t finish. I’m in a good place as far as my writing process goes, and I’m getting ready to start rewriting/editing what I have so far. So in a way, I accomplished what I wanted for the month. Huzzah!
Thanks to this crazy month, I’ve fallen behind on my blog writing and slacked on both my flash contest and participating in others’. Here’s my official “I’m back in the game after being MIA” post. Videl has once again sneaked her way into my brain, so you’ll be getting a peek at where she is and what she’s up to. I was inspired by this week’s Master Class prompt over at OurWriteSide. You should check it out and take a look around their Write section – there are awesome prompts to play with left and right. The prompt I chose was “Severed Conduits” and it serves as both the title and inspiration for the following piece. I’ve placed links throughout so you can peek at the other pieces I’ve written on her.
“You’ll have to cut ties with everyone – no family, no friends – for the duration of your contract.”
I sit, uncomfortable, as Marcus explains the rules – the conditions – of my new existence. A part of me regrets how I parted ways with my mother and grandmother. I yelled at them, looked at them with so much hate. And now here I am, with a demon pacing back and forth in front of me as he reads off a checklist. The rest of me still feels nothing but righteous fury and a sick satisfaction at knowing I broke my grandmother’s heart. After all, she’s to blame for my current situation.
My bloody hands stare back up at me as his words sink in. I try to forget why they’re bloody, but the thoughts of the terrifying woman and my temporary deafness will haunt me forever. “Wait – duration of my contract? As in, there’s an end to it?”
“Eventually.” He shrugs, the shoulders of his well-tailored suit crinkling only slightly. I’m not sure what I thought demons would look like, but it wasn’t like Marcus. Impeccably dressed and carrying himself with an air of authority, he reminds me more of the types of people I met while I was trying to find a job after college – recruiters, headhunters. He pushes his glasses higher up the bridge of his nose. “Either you die, or he lets you off the hook.”
“How often does that happen?” I tried to wipe my hands on my jeans, but the stains won’t disappear.
“Hasn’t yet.” Another shrug. “And there’s no use trying to clean them.” He gestures to my hands with his pen. “They’ll always be stained. It’s your mark.”
“We all get something that signals us as his – in your case it’s the blood on your hands.”
“What’s yours?” I stand, unable to let myself sit and squirm anymore. Despite what he said, I can’t help but continue to surreptitiously try to clean my hands.
He removes the glasses, and his eyes change. Before, they were a pretty normal, if unusually bright, shade of green. Without the glasses on, his eyes get darker, the color of the iris spreading into the white until every inch is covered in a green so dark it’s almost black. It even spills out the corner of his eyes, staining the ends of his cheekbones.
“And you can hide it?”
“Yes. We have to, in order to go about our business.” He replaces the glasses, offering me a cold smile. It’s only now I notice how lifeless his eyes are – despite the artificial brightness in them.
“So how do I…?” I look at my hands again – at how the dried maroon smears have faded and become one with my skin. It’s almost easy to recall memories of finger painting as a child. Like back then, the stains go from underneath my nails to nearly my elbows.
“You’re a bright girl – figure it out.” A raise of a perfectly groomed eyebrow. Will I carry myself so perfectly after this is over?
I can only describe the sound that came from his mouth as the most dignified snort I’ve ever heard. “Think less conspicuous. We can’t exactly draw attention to ourselves, and I’d say wearing gloves in the summer will do just that…”
He taps the rim of his glasses with the end of his pen.
“How do your glasses work?”
“They deploy a glamour. Tricks your brain into seeing what I want you to see.”
“Then what about jewelry?” Suddenly, the weight of the bracelet and ring my mother gave me for my birthday is impossibly heavy in my pocket – how are they still there, and how hadn’t I noticed before?
“That would be much better.” Another smile. My hand automatically goes into my pocket. It’s almost like it’s acting autonomously. All I can do is watch as I offer up the ring – the bracelet hanging from it – with two fingers. “They’re beautiful.”
“Th-Thanks.” My hand shakes as I hand it to him. It’s almost intrusive, like he’s examining my most private thoughts as he inspects the jewelry, and I fight the urge to look away. If I don’t look at him, he won’t see how much it hurts to let go of my mother.
“They’ll do.” They’re unbelievably warm – almost too hot to touch – when he hands them back. On instinct, I put the ring on my left middle finger and the bracelet on my right wrist. Almost, instantly, the bloodstains disappear. Although they’re gone, I can still feel them on my skin, fresh as if I just bathed in blood. “You’ll get used to it.”
Well, I hope you liked it! Feel free to leave some comments/thoughts – I love feedback 🙂
Friendly reminder: Keep a lookout early tomorrow for a fresh start on the #TuesFlashFicTrain. This will mark the start of round two and a brand new story – bring your imaginations!
As always, think happy thoughts!