Tainted fortune

Hello!

So my last bout of productivity was somewhat short-lived. At least on here. Behind the scenes I’ve been working on restructuring Withered Legacy and that’s going better than I expected! I even have what might pass for a poor excuse of an outline, which is a lot for me, so yay! Here’s to getting more writing done!

Today’s post is inspired by  Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompt series. Provisional Freedom is still kind of in limbo while I figure out what’s next for Paola. In the meantime, though, there’s plenty of angst and personal drama to explore with her, so the story will consist of smaller moments – less grand than the overall stories of Videl, Ariella, and Emma. Maybe that’s what her story will be  – despite the supernatural, she’ll try living a normal life. We’ll see.

Prompt: Mused mourning/Tainted fortune

~~~

Is it weird I can’t remember how my mother died? Ever since I saw her in purgatory, it’s like that experience replaced the memory. My dad never talks about it, and I can’t bring myself to ask. Max would probably know, but something inside me stops me from asking them. Maybe it’s better not to remember. The anniversary of her death is coming up – I only know that because of the date stamp on her grave – and the closer we get to it, the more my dad shuts down. It’s been about a year since I came back, and I’ve done the math. It happened on the anniversary last year.

In small ways, I’ve tried to reassure my dad it won’t happen again. I don’t even know why I did it in the first place. Still, the look in his eyes when he realizes what I’m trying to say isn’t one of relief.

At Max’s suggestion, I’ve been spending more time at home. Maybe I’ll go back to school, too, but I don’t know how that could work. How would I be able to focus on papers and homework when none of it matters – at least not to me. To be honest, I’m surprised my father hasn’t been more vocal about a return to a normal routine. After all, it’s been a year.

Pa?”

“Hm?” He looks up from his morning newspaper. It’s like this every morning before he goes to work. I make breakfast and we sit together in silence. It’s not awkward or uncomfortable silence – it just is.

“I was thinking…that maybe, um, it’s about time I go back to school.” My eyes wander around the room as I speak, unwilling to meet his when the suggestion registers.

“That’d be great, mija.” As always, his eyes carry a melancholy kind of tranquility, but there’s hope there, too. Is it wrong to give him that hope, when it’s only a matter of time before I have to disappear? “Have you given any thought to your major?”

“Not really, no. To be honest, I don’t know if I’m ready to go back yet, but I think I should try.”

He reaches across the table and places a hand on mine. “Whatever decision you make, I’m here with you.”

I wasn’t really expecting this to turn into an emotional moment, but the words catch in my throat and the beginnings of tears prickle behind my eyes.

“Just let me know when, and we can start looking at schools.” My dad squeezes my hand for a split second before standing. With a smile, he places a kiss on my forehead before heading out to work.

~~~

And that’s it for now. The beginnings of something resembling a plot! Woo!

As always, think happy thoughts!

#100WordChallenge – Future

Happy Hump Day!

I’m having an oddly productive week. It’s a welcome change from the last few, but I’m not sure how long it’ll last. Don’t want to jinx myself by saying I’m back, but here I am. Today’s post comes from a prompt series I haven’t played with in a while – Tara’s #100WordChallenge over at Thin Spiral Notebook. If you’ve never seen it, give it a shot! It’s a fun time and always a good exercise.

Prompt: Future

~~~

Before this whole immortality fiasco, I never gave the future much thought. At least, not any more than the average high school student does, you know? And now it’s all I can think about – it keeps me up at night.

What happens when my dad dies?

What happens when hundreds of years go by, and I’m still here?

I don’t want to think about millennia.

Max is the only one that I can talk to, but even they’re at a loss as to how to comfort me. Angels never give their own lives or eternity much thought. They just are.

~~~

And that’s a peek into Paola’s anxieties. Stay tuned for where the story goes next!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Borrowed Happiness

Hello!

I’ve started off the week on the right foot, so hopefully it holds! Had a pretty productive weekend so I’m hoping that carries over into the next few days. We’ll see.

Today’s post comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompt series. Now that I’m only juggling two serials instead of three, I’m hoping to alternate every prompt response. Since my last one was A Vampire’s Bride, today’s will be Provincial Freedom. I’m still not sure where Paola’s story is going, but hopefully she reveals it to me soon. She’s a bit more difficult than the others, but I guess that’s understandable, given her circumstances.

Prompt: Borrowed happiness

~~~

Max has been making more of an effort to check in with me. Not that they have any news to report about my condition, but it does make me feel better – like I’m not alone. I’ve also taken their words to heart – about my dad worrying about me – and have made a similar effort to spend more time with him and less in a radioactive wasteland. After all, isolating myself isn’t really helping me cope. My dad has even started smiling again, something I hadn’t realized was missing until I started paying attention. I want to kick myself for letting it go on this long. How long since I came back from the dead? A few months? And all this time I just kind of ignored him.

“I’ve got it. You can go watch TV. Your show comes on soon.” I move to clear the table, a smile on my face at the look of relief and gratitude in my dad’s eyes. I guess it’s the little things.

“You sure, mija?” He places his dishes on the counter by the sink.

“Yeah, it’s okay. I wash them faster anyway.” My sleeves are already rolled up to my elbows. He gives me a kiss on the forehead before retreating into the living room. His happiness is almost contagious, and I find myself smiling at nothing in particular.

“You seem to be doing better.” Once, the unexpected sound of Max’s voice would have made me drop the plate in my hands. Now, I just take it in stride and wait until I hear the TV in the other room before responding.

“A little. Yeah. It’s funny, though. I can’t help but feel I’m living on borrowed time, you know? Like this fleeting, tiny joy has a time limit on it. Or it doesn’t really belong to me.” It’s a feeling that’s been nagging me for a while. My dad is happy now, but I can’t stay here forever, can I? He’ll notice eventually that I’m not aging. And even if Max fixes my immortality problem, I’ll still be leaving my dad behind.

“It’s what you make of it that matters, Paola. Don’t get hung up on its potential brevity.”

“Easy for you to say. You’re an angel. You don’t have these problems.”

“You’re right, but I’ve been around for a long time. Watched a lot of humans waste their lives worrying.  There isn’t much you can do about your current situation, so just make the best of the time you have with your dad. You’ve been given a second chance. Don’t squander it.” They lean against the counter, arms crossed, watching me through serene eyes. I’d kill for that kind of serenity.

~~~

And we slowly continue to inch forward. After writing this I have a bit of an idea of how this will move forward – how Paola will make the best of her time. Here’s to coming prompts providing the necessary inspiration 🙂

As always, think happy thoughts!

Life goes on

 

Hello!

It’s been tough trying to get back into writing, but I’m slowly inching my way back. I have gotten some stuff done, but have little to show for it considering it’s the stuff I don’t post here. Not to mention I just haven’t been feeling the prompts lately. Nothing’s jumping out at me, but I feel like that’s more a problem with my motivation than anything else. I just need to power through it.

So power through it I will.

This post will chip away some of Paola’s outer layers and give us a better look at her as a character. Here’s to some meaningful development and figuring out where her story will take her now that she’s helped Videl.

Prompts: Surly/Unpleasant, Chilly demeanor  – courtesy of Our Write Side, as usual, & “You can’t be here.” – #ThursThreads

~~~

“You can’t be here. You know that, right?” It’s been months since I’ve heard Max’s voice, and to be honest they’re the last person I want to see right now.

“Pshh. What’s it going to do, kill me?” I look at the signs warning of radioactivity everywhere. There’s no one for miles because of those signs. And nowadays I find this is the only place I can go to for some peace of mind.

“Fair point. But wouldn’t your father be worried?” The angel approaches, settling onto the curb beside me.

“He doesn’t know. Obviously.” Shooting a glare at Max, I continue. “And no one is going to tell him, right?”

“Of course not. But you should probably reconsider your new hobbies.” They cross their arms before leaning forward to rest against their legs. “Last thing we need is people getting suspicious and catching wind of your, um, condition.”

“You say that like it can be fixed.” As if immortality can be turned off with a switch. Believe me, I’ve tried. “But fine. I’ll be more careful or whatever.”

Silence hovers around us for a beat before they speak again.

“I haven’t abandoned you. You know that right?” Max doesn’t wait for me to respond. “You’re a special case, Paola. It’ll take some time to figure out how to help you, but I will.”

I don’t respond – there’s nothing I can say – yet angry words linger in my throat.

Max stands and reaches out, offering me a hand. “I promise.”

~~~

And that’s how you kill three birds with one stone. I don’t mix prompts often, but when I do it’s because I’m hella lazy.

Dont’ forget to check out the other submissions to the prompts!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Too Late

Hello!

And I’m still easing back into it. On the brightside, it’s good to be participating in #ThursThreads again!

Prompt: “But it is too late.”

~~~

I can only watch as Lucifer and Marcus take Videl away. They’ve asked me to watch over her mother while Max returns. Left on my own, I take a seat beside the older woman. Hopefully she doesn’t wake up.

But my luck has never been stellar, so…

“Who are you?” She sits up with a groan. The woman looks around, her eyes falling on the summoning circle and widening as I assume she remembers the events that led her here. “Where’s…?”

“The witch? She won’t bother you anymore. My name is Paola.” I offer her a smile, but we’re both uncomfortable.

“And my kids?”

Mami!” Lucky for me, Max appears a few feet away, a little girl in tow and a baby in their arms. The little girl rushes to her mother, who seems to forget I’m here.

“Eva – are you okay? Are you hurt?”

“No…no. Max watched over us…” She smiles up at the angel.

Max hands her the baby. “We’re sorry we had to take them.”

“Thank you.” There’s a blind trust in her eyes. “Where’s Videl? I want to see her.”

“You can’t. Though the witch is dead, Videl must still abide by Lucifer’s deal with her.”

“But-”

“It is too late to change the contract. I know that’s why you agreed to this in the first place.”

Discouraged, she doesn’t say anything else and just leaves.

“So what happens now? With me?” Am I expected to return to my normal life?

“That’s a good question.”

~~~

This finally ties all loose ends regarding Videl (at least with her origin story) and sets up a perfect jumping off point for a Paola-centric story.

Be sure to check out the other responses at the prompt!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Two Word Tuesday – Ennui

Happy Friday!

Almost decided to forego putting up a post this week, but here I am! And for once, it won’t be for A Vampire’s BrideSecondhand Soul is quickly approaching its end (maybe that’s why I’m dragging my feet on it), so here’s to keeping it moving forward. Still not sure if Provisional Freedom is going to continue past its end, either.

Today’s post comes from another Our Write Side prompt series, Two Word Tuesday.

Prompt: Ennui/Boredom

~~~

It’s hard to concentrate on what Max is saying. I’m not bored, not really, I just care less about what they’re saying than I do about why Marcus seems so uncomfortable. Does he think Videl and I don’t notice his fidgeting? That his eyes – those terrifyingly deep pools of molten, green-tinted tar – continue to dart my way? He seemed fine when he first walked in, and I have a feeling this goes deeper than the fact I stared at him. Why have I made him so uncomfortable?

Max mentions purgatory, and my awareness returns to him. “Wait, what?”

“Were you not listening?” They’re annoyed, the first hint of emotion I’ve seen from them since they pulled me from limbo.

“Sorry.” I look away from Marcus and Videl. “I zoned out.”

“I said – we intend to trap the witch in purgatory. She’ll be stripped of her magic there.” Right – some kind of witch was giving both the angels and demons trouble. Something about a deal with the devil. To be honest, I don’t want to know more than I need to, so I didn’t ask questions.

“How are you going to do that?” Now I’m interested.

“That’s where you come in. We pulled you out to help us. Your mother is a placeholder. She’ll take her place.”

“I thought you said I’d be going back? And why couldn’t you just pull me out and drop the witch in? Instead of my mother?”

“Subduing the witch isn’t easy, and no one here is immune to her magic. Except for you.” Max crosses their arms. “Purgatory has that effect on people – its energy lingers on souls that have been pulled out. A nice side-effect is that your being near her will dull her magic. Not to mention you can’t be killed.”

“What?” This would have been nice to know.

“Did I not mention that?”

“No, you didn’t.” A new tension enters the room. A part of me wants to say ‘screw it’ and refuse. It’s only the look on Videl’s face that stops me. There’s a desperation behind her carefully controlled demeanor. Besides, I don’t think angels pull souls out of limbo for fun – especially if we can’t die after. That witch must be really bad if it’s worth the risk. With a sigh, I continue, “Whatever – as long as my mother gets out of purgatory.”

I’ll figure out what to do about my immortality later.

“She will.” Max directs their attention back to Videl. “Lucifer will take care of the specifics – leading your grandmother into another deal, trapping her in the summoning circle. She can still use her magic even when she’s trapped, so that’s where Paola will come in.” They turn to me. “You’ll be protecting Videl’s mother. We don’t want the witch doing anything that might hurt her when she realizes she’s trapped.”

“And us?” Marcus finally speaks.

“We’ve received word that the witch won’t be working alone. Seems she’s managed to get some angels to turn coat.” Max says this like it’s no big deal, but Marcus’ face makes it clear that it is. “So you’ll be standing guard, making sure no one interferes. Lucifer might be strong, but he’s just an angel, like me. He’ll need the protection from our siblings.”

“Great.”

“And Eva and Mikey?” Videl’s eyes glance to the ceiling.

“I’ll take care of them, keep them away from the danger.” Max’s voice is actually comforting, and I wonder who Eva and Mikey are that they’re so important. “I’ll go let Lucifer know I’ve told you the plan. Your grandmother is preparing for the summoning ceremony as we speak. She’ll probably do it in the next few days.”

At that Max disappears, and I’m left with Videl and Marcus, the room as uncomfortable as ever.

“I’ll take you home, Paola.” Videl stands from her place beside Marcus, shooting him a look I can’t decipher. Now that the angel is gone, Videl and Marcus’ marks have disappeared. Videl’s arms are clean of any blood, and Marcus’ eyes look normal – a vibrant green not unlike mine.

I don’t argue and simply follow her out the door.

~~~

And we’re one step closer! At least there’s a plan in place. Probably a plethora of plotholes, too, but oh well. Someday I’ll get around to cleaning it up.

As always, think happy thoughts!

No Escape

Happy Friday!

Clearly last week’s momentum didn’t carry over to this week, but that’s okay! As long as I get something down, the week is a success. Not to mention my day job was more stressful than usual this week, and that had a lot to do with my lack of motivation for anything else. Anyway, the writing goes on!

We’re straying from my usual prompts to contribute a piece to Our Write Side’s Coldly Calculating prompt series. I’ve done a couple of pieces for it in the past, so it’s not entirely new. This week, with Master Class MIA, I didn’t think I’d get around to writing anything until I saw Coldly Calculating. The prompt is too good to pass up, and fits quite nicely with Secondhand Soul/Provisional Freedom.

So here we go! To continue our deviation from the usual, this piece will be from more than one POV – Marcus’ thoughts will be joining Paola’s.

Prompt: Behind the eight ball.

Happy reading!

~~~

I know Videl said not to stare, but it’s kind of hard not to. She walks in first, hers and her partner’s voices preceding them. Marcus – I think that’s what she said his name is – walks in after her. His eyes immediately call my attention – two pools of ever-moving greenish-black liquid spilling out and onto his cheeks. Somehow, his eyes are hollow but there at the same time. It’s an unnerving effect, to say the least, and I can’t’ help but be trapped in that unnatural gaze.

Even though his eyes should be impossible to read, the terror is clear when he looks at me. Why is he scared? Marcus’ entire body tenses, and he’s frozen in place at the door, ready to bolt.

“Marcus? Are you okay?” Videl turns toward her partner. She looks like she wants to touch him, but holds back.


Videl’s voice barely registers in my mind.

The girl looks at me, but not with fear. Her eyes are wide and she tenses, but I assume Videl warned her about my eyes. Too bad nobody warned me about hers. When was the last time I saw those eyes? That face? I can’t even bring myself to look at Max for an explanation. Do they even know? Would they have brought the girl here if they did? Something tells me Max wouldn’t care one way or the other.

When Videl turns to look at me, concern clouding her eyes, I want nothing more than to run. Her voice hardly registers, and the silence draws out for longer than I care to keep track. It’s not until Videl moves to stand in front of me, blocking my view of the girl that I finally come to, the urge to get away still deep in my bones.

“Marcus? Hey, look at me.” Videl’s words are whispers, for my ears only. When my eyes meet hers again, I force myself to relax. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s…it’s nothing.” Maybe a part of me always knew I’d have to face what I did again eventually. Is it like this for all of us? There’s no use worrying Videl about it, not right now. “I’m fine.”

I’m clearly lying, but Videl must see something in my face that reassures her. She’ll ask about it later, of course, but for now she lets it go. When she turns, she addresses the girl. “Sorry about that, Paola  – he’s, um, self-conscious. I did tell you not to stare.”


“Sorry.” I tear my gaze away from Marcus, but there’s something deeply uncomfortable about the way he’s standing. There’s a new tension in the room, like we’re all waiting for something to snap. Beside me, Max places a hand on my shoulder, though it’s not very reassuring.

~~~

And they finally meet! I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to work in their connection to the overall conflict. We’ll see how it goes.

As always, think happy thoughts!