Random Post – The Runner

Even though it’s not even raining out, I just want to stay under the cover of blankets with a warm cup of coffee and read, write, or more likely sleep. It’s a drowsy Saturday for me, even though I tried to start the day off right by staying awake this morning instead of staying in bed. I even did Zumba (even though my ankle’s still not up to par and I felt too worn out to complete the hour). In my continued effort not to fall asleep in the middle of the day, I’ve participated in #FlashMobWrites challenge again this week.

This contest is super fun, and this time I was able to fit both prompts into my response.

Prompts: “angel in disguise”, “the devil never”

Enjoy!

~~~

The Runner

The sounds of fall were everywhere – children laughing among the rustling of leaves, the wind picking up just enough to make the trees sway. With the breeze came a chill down my spine, prompting me to burrow deeper into my scarf and pull my hat farther down. It really wasn’t that cold, but I wasn’t built for this weather – I craved the warmth and, during the winter and fall, basked in what sunlight I could find. So that’s exactly what I did as I awaited my mark – sat on a particularly sunny bench in a seemingly random spot along one of the park’s many walkways.

Just as the thought of my mark crossed my mind, the rhythmic steps of a jogger caught my ear. Strong steps – determined, skilled, would very clearly try to outrun me if it came to it. Thankfully, he wasn’t that kind of mark, and this wasn’t that kind of assignment. I hated those assignments. With a deep breath I stood from the bench and hid in plain sight, knowing that he wouldn’t see me even if he looked right where I was standing. He wouldn’t see me until I wanted him to.

I took two steps forward – to the man, it would seem like I’d quickly gotten up from the bench – and made him knock into me. Feigning surprise, I fell back.

“Ow!”

“Oh, I’m so sorry! Didn’t see you…” The jogger looked at me with concerned, grey eyes, reaching with one hand to help me up as he pulled out his headphones with the other.

“No, no, it’s my fault.” But I took the offered hand anyway, smiling gratefully. He was much colder than a human was supposed to be, the shock of recognition running through me affirming him as my mark. He was attractive, too, though I should’ve expected it. The devil never gave me targets I wouldn’t feel some attraction to, though I still hadn’t figured out why. “I’m a complete klutz – should’ve been more careful.”

“You’re not hurt, though, right?” He didn’t notice the shock – no one ever did. Instead, he was completely focused on my appearance. I knew what I looked like to him – to humans in general, when I let them see me – an angel in disguise. The assessment wasn’t too far off, though angel wasn’t the word I’d use.

“I’m fine. Sorry I’ve interrupted your run.”

“I was practically done, anyway.” He looked off to the side, nervous now as he ran a hand through his hair. I knew he was looking at the coffee shop across the street behind me. “Listen, I feel really bad about knocking you over – can I make it up to you with a cup of coffee?” Being one of the devil’s runners was almost easy sometimes.

“You don’t have to…”

“Please, unless you have somewhere to be?”

I pretended to think about it. Sighing, I “gave in” and responded, “Sure, why not?”

~~~

That’s it for this post! If you’re interested, check out the contest – submissions are open until midnight PST.

Friendly reminder: Voting for #TuesFlashFicTrain is open until tonight at midnight EST! Show these awesome writers some love and keep a lookout for the winner appreciation post on Monday!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search on sayingimages.com

Random Post – This was harder than expected…

Hello!

NaNoWriMo is in full swing and I’m glad to report that I made my word quota for day one! Good thing, too, or I wouldn’t have been able to get this post up!

I really wanted to get this up before NaNoWriMo started, but oh well. This was one of those prompts (courtesy of Our Write Side’s Coldly Calculating series) that really got me and I couldn’t help but write a response for it. The prompt presented a really interesting challenge and I really enjoyed finally figuring it out and finishing the piece. I’m pretty proud of this one.

Too bad I couldn’t get it up before Halloween! Here’s some post-Halloween horror.

Enjoy!

TW: Blood and Horror

~~~

Silence

When I woke up, it was quiet. At least, I thought it was. My surroundings were spinning, my temple throbbing with a pain I could only describe as someone taking a drill to the inside of my skull. My vision was blurred, and it was a few moments before my eyes focused again. I was met with the sight of my bloodied hands holding me up from the floor as I struggled to stand. The blood was still warm, and I wasn’t sure if it was mine or someone else’s. My mouth tasted of copper, and I tried spitting to get rid of the awful sensation, but that only produced more blood.

It was a struggle to recall the events that led me here. For some reason, all I could remember was the smell of sulfur – a stench that now made its way to my awareness, only making the warm, stickiness of the room even worse, somehow magnifying the discomfort I already felt.

I willed myself to speak, to call out, but no voice left my throat. I’m not sure why, but that set off a panic that the sight of blood hadn’t. Clearing my throat and grimacing at the renewed copper in my mouth, I tried again. Had I lost my voice? Somehow, I didn’t think that was it. Now that I was aware of my surroundings, the silence unnerved me. It was unnatural. My stomach sank as I raised a shaky hand to my ear and snapped my fingers.

Silence.

Calm down. Calm. Down. All I could do was repeat the words in my mind over and over, until my heart slowed down and my breathing came easier. I tried to ignore the silence as I finally stood, looking around the room for some kind of exit. There was a door a few feet from me – the only one that I could see in the dim lighting. Without a second thought, I booked it for the door. I expected it to be locked, but met no resistance and nearly fell backwards.

On the other side of the door, the hall was poorly lit and lined with pipes. No windows led me to believe I was underground somewhere. I called out into the hallway, but I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Was my voice even carrying? My throat hurt when I spoke, so I knew I was making sounds, but they probably didn’t get very far. This did little to comfort me. Without many other options, I pressed my back to the wall and began to slide along, my eyes darting everywhere, trying to take everything in. I did my best to feel any vibrations in the wall, but my hands were shaking. Every moment of silence dragged out, and I struggled not to give in to the panic. I was scared to round the corner.

Biting my lip, I tried to make myself move, thinking the taste of blood would jolt me forward. You’ll be fine. Just go.

I should have listened to the fear. Why didn’t I listen?

Around the corner, I met a sight right out of my nightmares. It was a woman, bloodied, dirty, her waist-long hair matted all the way down her back. In one hand, she held a large knife. Just like everything else, it was stained and rusted with blood. She scraped at the wall with it – over and over and over – it should have made noise, but it was like watching a silent horror film. I must have let out a sound – a whimper, a cry, I couldn’t be sure – because her head snapped towards me and faster than lightning she was an inch from my face, mouth open in a silent scream. Her eyes were black holes – and yet I knew she could see me. Before I knew it, I was on the ground, scrambling to get away as she looked on, mouth still open, jaw practically unhinging. She moved towards me, her movements more like twitches than steps.

I turned and ran, unable to tell if she was chasing me, but fairly sure I had no choice but to keep going.

~~~

I never thought it’d be that hard to write someone without being able to describe what they hear. Still, though, it was fun!

Here’s to a good kick-off to NaNoWriMo!

As always, think happy thoughts!

#ThursThreads – The clock is running out…

Hello!

Just a quick post. It seems like new story ideas always pop up at the worst time. I’ve been trying to keep my focus on Withered Legacy but sometimes a prompt comes along that just feeds my other ideas. This week’s ThursThreads prompt was one of those. Ever since I wrote The Runner a while back for FlashMobWrites, I’ve been curious to develop that character further. Why did she become the devil’s runner? Where is her story going? The following piece semi-answers the first question. Thankfully, I’m ahead enough in my NaNoWriMo project that I can afford to divert my attention for a bit.

Prompt: The clock is running out.

Enjoy!

~~~

Sold

I stare between my mother and grandmother – how could they do this to me? Ten minutes to midnight – the clock is running out on my freedom. There’s no escaping my fate, and them telling me what would happen when the clock strikes twelve didn’t help to ease my ever-increasing panic.

“Why?” My voice breaks on the word, and I try not to look at my mother. It’s not her fault – she didn’t sell my soul, even though she knew about it all this time and chose only now to tell me. Instead, I focus on glaring at my grandmother, unable to hide the fury and betrayal in my eyes.

“Videl…” She has the audacity to look ashamed, to look sorry. “I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Bullshit. You knew full well what you were doing.” Five minutes. “Who sells their unborn granddaughter’s soul – to the devil, of all things – and doesn’t know what that would entail?” Were her powers – her eternal youth – worth my life?

My mother, full of sorrow, tries to comfort me, and for a second I consider pushing her away, too. Why wait twenty-five years to tell me? ‘We wanted you to have a normal life’ is a shitty excuse and she knows it. I was barely my own person now – having only just established my life apart from them. Soon enough I’d lose myself to someone – something – else.

“I need to be alone.” One minute.

~~~

Check out the other responses throughout the day at the prompt link for some awesome stories!

Friendly Reminder: #TuesFlashFicTrain is wrapping up its first story! Don’t forget to check out the poll post and vote for the ending 🙂

Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search on tumblr.com

#ThursThreads – Saying Goodbye

Hello!

This’ll be a pretty short post, since I don’t have much to talk about. NaNoWriMo is going way better than it was last year, although I’ve yet to write a single word towards that project today. Here’s hoping I can pump out the necessary words to get back on track before tomorrow. So far I’ve been doing alright, so I think I’ll be able to manage.

Part of NaNoWriMo is how super busy we all are, so I’m thinking I’m going to postpone continuing the contest until it’s over. It’s hard enough for me to remember to prepare the posts and find time to meet my word count, so I know it’s hard to find time to work on your project and participate in flash contests at the same time. There’s only so much we can take, so #TuesFlashFicTrain will be on a brief hiatus until December.

Despite NaNo calling my name, I found time to work on this week’s #ThursThreads prompt (part of why I haven’t gotten around to digging into my word count yet today).

Prompt: “Tonight she is forced to say goodbye.”

Enjoy!

~~~

“Videl, wait!” I ignore my grandmother’s voice behind me, opting instead to shut the door to my bedroom in her face. If things were different, I’d be nervous of the chewing out my mom would have ready for me for disrespecting my grandmother.

“You have no right to expect her to listen to you!” My mom’s voice floats through the door as she berates my grandmother. “Because of you, tonight she is forced to say goodbye to ownership of her own life!”

30 seconds.

Whatever else my mother or grandmother say is lost to my ears, as a strange, deafening ringing replaces any and all sounds. It triggers the biggest headache I’ve ever experienced, bringing me to my knees and making me forget where I am as I clutch my head with both hands. My throat hurts, and I know I must be screaming my lungs out. My eyes sting with tears, and I try to focus on anything but the pain. Eyes locked to the space between my door and the floor, I watch as footsteps overtake the space. Are they trying to get in? Do they hear my screams?

Everything’s burning – my skin is on fire I can’t see. It hurts to breathe, but I keep doing it, unwilling to let myself lose. The air sears my chest, my lungs. I taste blood. What’s happening to me?

When did I close my eyes?

When I come to, I’m alone in a dilapidated, run-down version of my bedroom.

~~~

Videl is quickly growing on me (I’m already eyeing another flash prompt I want to answer with her), but I’m trying not to get too carried away before I finish with Emma and Malakai. Now that #WOW555 isn’t running anymore, I’ll need to find a new weekly prompt to feed their story. Here’s hoping!

Friendly reminder: Still looking for votes on a title for the #TuesFlashFicTrain! Check the ending and vote for your favorite!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Update: Another Honorable Mention! Yay!

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Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search on quotesgram.com

Back from NaNoWriMo

Hello!

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.

Enjoy!


Severed Conduits

“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.”

“My 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?

“Gloves?”

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!

#ThursThreads – Cooperation

Happy Thursday!

So the deadline for #TuesFlashFicTrain has come and gone once more, with no submissions. I’m considering opening the window to accommodate schedules. Maybe two days just isn’t enough time to get the word out, so I might extend it to be a whole week. What do you think?

In other news, I’m back in the swing of things as far as participating in flash contests, so here’s my post for this week’s #ThursThreads contest. It’s Videl again, and a direct continuation of Monday’s post for OurWriteSide’s Master Class series.

Prompt: I’m willing to listen.

Enjoy!

~~~

Marcus does an about face and walks out of the room, leaving me behind staring at my hands. The bloodstains are invisible now, but I can still feel them – a constant reminder of how I gutted that woman.

“Are you coming?” The demon leans back into the doorway, tone annoyed. “We don’t have all day. Well, we do, but that’s not the point.”

It’s clear he isn’t going to wait for me much longer, as his footsteps echo down the hall. Unwilling to sit in the empty room alone, I quickly push myself to catch up with him.

“You’re going to be difficult, aren’t you?” He glances sideways at me, and I can’t shake the image of his green eyes turning almost entirely black, the color bleeding out of his eyelids. “I can already tell.”

“Can you blame me? I’m not here because I want to be.” Thoughts of my grandmother bubble up in my mind, and I find myself absently touching my bracelet. “I didn’t sell my soul – someone else did.”

He jots something down on his clipboard. “To be honest, I can’t tell you what happens if you don’t cooperate, but it’s probably not fun. For you, anyway.”

“Not like it matters if I’m willing to listen or cooperate, right? Won’t I be forced to do as I’m told?”

His next words shoot a bolt of fear through me.

“The boss likes rebels, actually. He won’t force you – he’ll make you want to do it.”

~~~

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite mini-stories I’ve got floating around. Let me know what you think in the comments & don’t forget to check out the other entries throughout the day – all the contestants are pretty awesome writers!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search on picturequotes.com

Random Post – Delicate Dreaming

Happy Hump Day!

Brace yourself – this is a pretty long post.

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