WOW 555 – Wanting

Happy Friday!

Not much to report today. I’ve been doing more reading, and am glad to say that I’m almost caught up to my Goodreads challenge (100 books for the year). For some reason, I just can’t seem to break the “1 book behind schedule” slump, and I’m only on book #4! Arg.

Anyway, this weeks’ prompt for Wendy’s WOW555 was pretty fun to work with, and has spawned a new idea! Not only that, but I think I’m going to try to keep this idea going from week to week, doing what I can to fit the prompts provided by the contest. I really want to explore these two characters, but I have too much on my plate to dedicate a novel to them (plus I should really be concentrating on Withered Legacy), so a series of shorts sounds like the way to go. Who knows, maybe it’ll be more some day.

Anyway, here’s the prompt: Write a story in which the main character gets something you’ve really wanted. In my case, that’s a second cat. My current cat needs something/someone other than me to attack once in a while.

So, here it is!

~~~

Malakai

“What exactly am I supposed to do with a cat?” The animal in question stared at me, judgmental as if he knew I was talking about him. Cats never liked me anyway, I thought my mother knew that. “Can’t we just take it to a shelter or something?”

“He’s your familiar, silly!” My mother picked up the animal and placed him in my lap. At our feet, her own cat, a grey tabby with a penchant for violence, Circe, curiously watched as this newcomer was petted by her owner. Circe had always been evidence that cats literally hated me. I had the scars to prove it. “Every witch needs one.”

“I was under the impression I got to pick.” The thing was purring, though by no means snuggling up to me. Again, his eyes locked onto mine, and I felt more than uneasy. The blue was a stark contrast to his shiny black coat – pretty clean for a stray. I picked him up and placed him back on the floor – let Circe deal with him.

“No, honey, they choose us. And this one has been following us around for a while. I already have a familiar, so he’s clearly attached to you.” She was right about one thing – the cat had been stalking our house for over a month. He followed me from school, keeping up with me on my bicycle no matter how hard I tried to escape. Even if I lost sight of him, he somehow managed to be at my window when I eventually made it to my room each evening. If I didn’t leave the house, he would chill in the yard. My mother even shared Circe’s food with him.

“I had hoped for a bird or something. Maybe a raven.” Again, the cat’s ears perked up, his face turning towards me with what I could only describe as annoyance. Twitching his tail, he turned away and swatted at Circe.

“Like mother, like daughter I guess. It was about time, too. Upper level training starts next week – I was getting worried you wouldn’t be able to.” A familiar was required to begin the last phase of training. If one didn’t pick you, it was a sign that your magic hadn’t matured enough. “Anyway, you should try to get along, Emma.”

She picked up Circe, who was preparing to start a fight, and left the room, closing the door behind her.

“Get along, she says.” I narrowed my eyes at him. “That’s entirely up to you.” Turning my attention to my homework on the bed, I looked away.

“What kind of witch doesn’t have a familiar at eighteen, anyway?” The voice, distinctly masculine, came from behind me. “Pass me a blanket, will you? I’m freezing.”

The cat was gone, in his place a very lean (and very naked) young man, hair and eyes a familiar black and blue. Without thinking, I whipped my comforter at him and scrambled to reach for my dagger.

~~~

There you have it! Emma and Malakai – we’ll be seeing much more of them in the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to it!

Don’t forget to check out the other entries on Saturday, as they are sure to be awesome. If you’re a writer, consider submitting! You have until 5 PM CST.

As always, think happy thoughts!

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

WOW 555 – Oppression

Happy Friday!

How’s the week been treating you guys? Were you among the lucky ones who got Monday off (if you’re in the States)? Or, like me, did you draw the short straw? Whatever the case, Martin Luther King, Jr. day is a day for remembering a great man. MLK Day is more of a whole week, though, in my opinion, as civil rights issues get brought to the forefront in response to the day. However, it shouldn’t only be this week, or on MLK Day that people come out of the woodwork and put on their civil rights helmets – we should be striving for civil rights every day, non-stop, around the clock. Whatever civil rights issue is closest to your heart, take it and run with it!

So, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., this week’s WOW555 prompt dealt with oppression:This week’s prompt is to tell us a story in which your main character experiences oppression…they must recognize what is happening as oppression at some point in the story.

This proved more challenging than I thought it would, as I was trying really hard to stay within the parameters of the challenge I set myself up with last week – sticking with Emma and Malakai and advancing their story. In my efforts to do so, I’m not entirely sure I hit the mark on this one, but here it is anyway.

~~~

The Rent

It’d been a solid two days since Malakai took up residence in my room, and there was no getting used to the sight of his sleeping form behind me in the mirror. He didn’t have the greatest control over his transformation in his sleep, so I set him up with a sleeping bag on the other side of the room. Seeing him in his cat form, snuggled into the sleeping bag like a human, was almost comical. The shapeshifter was in human form at the moment, bare chest exposed just slightly as it rose and fell with his breathing.

“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll pretend to be your familiar, in exchange for help with this curse – how about it?” His voice floated through my subconscious. Why me? My magic was okay, but not great – obviously, if I couldn’t even attract a proper familiar. Besides, curses can’t be reversed unless the caster chooses to free you. All I could do was provide him some protection.

Cerce mewed, causing me to jump. Her paws reached out from under the door. She’d spent the better part of the last two days trying to get at Malakai. The sound woke him, and he stirred behind me.

“What time is it?”

“Late. I have class in an hour or so. Were you planning on sleeping all day?”

“Isn’t that what cats do?” He chuckled at his own joke. “But no – I have research to do.” Malakai was determined. The caster had apparently provided conditions for ending the curse, but Malakai kept those to himself, unwilling to bend to the caster’s wishes.

“Do what you want – just don’t let Cerce in here and don’t let my mother see you.” I stood and walked out, but not before catching a half-hearted salute from Malakai in the mirror.

It wasn’t until arriving downstairs that I noticed we had company – of the most unpleasant variety. He saw me before my mother did.

“Emma! How are you? How’s your training going?” False kindness dripped off his every word. He couldn’t care less how a witch’s training was going.

“Good, Mr. Hoffmann. Thanks for asking.” There was no love lost between us. I hated him. But, I couldn’t do anything for fear of retaliation. Very few places would rent to witches.

“As I was saying, Alana, your payment is overdue.” He handed my mother a paper. I took it from her – we already paid rent.

“It went up from last month – this is more than you charge the rest of your tenants!” I spat the words before I could stop myself.

“None of the others are like you.” Hoffman shrugged. That phrase grated on my nerves. We were the only witches in the complex.

“It’s okay, sweetheart.” My mother walked over to the kitchen counter to fill out a check. She turned her attention to Mr. Hoffmann. “Here’s the remainder, sorry for the trouble.”

He left with a satisfied strut.

“We deserve better.”

~~~

Well there you have it – oppression in a world where witches are an every-day occurrence. Don’t forget to check out the other entries on Saturday and vote for your favorite! And, if you’re a writer, keep an eye out for the call for entries and submit a response 🙂

As always, think happy thoughts!

Image credit: Image found via Google Image Search on rebloggy.com.

WOW 555 – Sleep

Happy Friday!

This week flew by for me – can’t believe it’s almost February. With time going by so quickly, I’m having trouble getting to everything I want to have done. The new year has been a whirlwind for me so far. Maybe February will bring a little more stability.

One thing that has been steadfast and on schedule for me, though, is Wendy’s WOW555 contest. Every week I’ve been able to make time for each prompt, thankfully, and it’s been a lot of fun – especially now that I’m dedicating WOW555 to a specific pair of characters and trying to tell a bigger story.

This week’s prompt: write a story in which sleep plays a specific role.

Enjoy!

~~~

Curses

“It took you long enough. I was beginning to get bored.” After the day I’d had, the last thing I needed was Malakai’s snark greeting me when I set foot in the door. With a glare at his half naked body (he’d taken to wearing only the pajama bottoms I gave him – an article long left behind by an ex-boyfriend), I walked past him and to my desk, dropping my bag in the chair. “You alright?”

“No.” School had been less than ideal, and I blamed Hoffman. His visit earlier soured my mood beyond repair, tainting the rest of my day.

“Trouble in paradise?”

“A witch’s life is hardly paradise.” I scoffed. “Any luck with your research?”

“Not really. Didn’t find anything I didn’t already know.” He gestured to the book in front of him, stolen from an occult library the previous day. “I probably won’t get anywhere until you resume your training at the academy – they have extensive material on curses.”

“Great.” I mumbled, turning to the math textbook I pulled out of my bag. Opening the book but unwilling to work on the assignment, I continued. “Remind me again why this curse is so terrible? It’s not like it’s the end of the world.”

I could almost hear him growl. “I’m a shapeshifter, Emma – that means I should be able to shift into anything. Anything. And I’m stuck as a cat! That witch basically locked my powers and now I’m useless…”

“At least she didn’t force you to stay in cat form – then you’d be beyond screwed.” I shrugged. “Why did she do it, anyway? Witches don’t dish out curses lightly – it takes way too much energy.”

He’d been avoiding this question since we first spoke. Before agreeing to help him, I made him drink a truth serum from my mom’s supply (I can’t brew to save my life) and interrogated him. By the time I got around to that question, the potion had worn off, and stealing another was too risky.

He was reluctant to answer, avoiding my eyes. “I stole something from her.”

“Must have been important. What was it?”

“A map.” He must have hidden it somewhere, because he was empty handed when he came to me. As if reading my mind, he continued, “But she took it back when she caught me.”

“Why? I mean, why did you steal it?” My attention fully on him, my math book lay abandoned on the desk.

“My sister. She’s been hidden from me and cursed to a millennium of sleep by that witch, and it would have led me to her.” He was frustrated, and from the emotion in his voice, I knew he spoke the truth. My eyes softened, sympathy replacing the bitterness.

“More curses?” I sighed. “What did your sister do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well you’re lucky. The witch went easy on you.”

“Yeah. So lucky.” He rolled his eyes before shifting into cat form and leaping out the window.

~~~

Well, I hope you guys liked it. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the entries on Saturday and vote for your favorite! If you’re a writer, consider submitting – you have until 5PM CST.

As always, think happy thoughts!

Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search: imgkid.com.

WOW 555 – Focusing on Feet

Happy Friday!

I’m falling way behind on my reading – and I’m not thrilled with that fact. Hopefully next week will bring a little more stability. If anyone has any tips on organizing and scheduling – I’d be eternally grateful.

Thankfully, though, I’m not as behind on my writing as I could be, so I’ve at least managed that. And Malakai and Emma are still going strong, thanks to Wendy’s WOW555 prompts. This week’s prompt: you have to include the phrase “focus on the feet”.

I had some trouble figuring out how to include the exact phrasing in a way that felt natural, so hopefully I succeeded. You tell me.

On to the story!

(From Castle in the Sky – a movie I desperately need to see)

~~~

Exercise in Persistence

“It says you have to focus on the feet.” Malakai’s voice floated over from across the room. He was the very image of leisure, lying on my bed as he held the book a foot above his head, reading the passage from my most recent assignment. “Imagine them coming off the floor, hovering at first – it’s a mind over matter thing.” He made it sound so simple.

“If it’s so easy, why don’t you do it?”

“I’m not a witch. Only way I’ll fly is if I shift into a bird – which I can’t do anyway.” The last part of his sentence was bitter. “I’m starting to understand why you don’t have an actual familiar yet.”

“Shut up.” I gave up for now, sighing and deciding to try again later, when he wasn’t such a distraction. I snatched the book from his hand, glaring daggers at him. “And change back into a cat. My roommate could walk in any second!”

Wouldn’t that be a sight? A half-naked guy lying on my bed while I tried and failed to learn levitation. Jaci, the roommate I’d been assigned at the academy, was nice enough but I didn’t want to risk my secret getting out. I dropped onto the bed beside him, keeping the book open on my lap, scanning the passage for something I might have missed. The footnote said meditation could help, but I didn’t see how I’d be able to focus long enough to meditate with Malakai around.

“Seriously, though – how long do you think you can keep this up?” I wasn’t sure if his concern was sincere, or if he only cared how long he’d have access to the academy’s library.

“Long enough. I made that collar for you, didn’t I?” I gestured at the cat collar that rested on the nightstand. Once I heard I’d have a roommate at the academy, I knew we had to do something about Malakai’s lack of shifting control in his sleep. After some researching and a lot of testing, I figured out an enchantment that could block his brand of magic, placing it on collar so he could wear it in his sleep. “It just takes me a little longer to get it right – that’s all.”

I was frustrated – this wasn’t the first time since getting to the academy that I was having trouble keeping up. Malakai knew that, and I think he did feel sorry for me sometimes, but he teased me more often than not. Negative thoughts weren’t getting me anywhere, though, and I could already feel the tears prickling behind my eyes. I’d yet to let Malakai see me cry, and I wasn’t about to start now. Unfortunately, he noticed.

“Sorry, Emma. I didn’t mean to upset you.” He sat up, reaching over to place a tentative hand on mine.

Outside, I could hear Jaci’s voice. Malakai was a cat again, moving to bump his head against my arm, curling up next to me.

~~~

Don’t forget to check out the other submissions and vote for your favorite on Saturday! If you’re a writer, consider submitting here.

As always, think happy thoughts!

Image Credit: Found via Google Image Search on pinterest.

WOW 555 – Romance

Happy Friday!

How’s everyone doing? Preparing for Valentine’s Day? Gonna join the masses in watching Fifty Shades? However you spend your weekend, don’t forget the most important thing: OD’ing on chocolate! But really, don’t forget that Valentine’s day is a day about love, and (in many countries, like my native Colombia) friendship. So spend the day with people you love – surround yourself with the warm & fuzzies!

Seeing as this week is Valentine’s Day, it made sense that Wendy’s WOW555 prompt would have something to do with the holiday. That’s right up my alley too – I’m a sucker for romance and the only thing I love more than reading it is writing it! Perfect timing, too, because I was beginning to wonder how I would work in some romance to Malakai’s and Emma’s lives.

Prompt: Your story must include some form of romance.

So, without further ado, some romance.

~~~

Moonlit Escapades

The moon was full, lighting up the small clearing in a flurry of muted greens. Spots of white-tinted yellow indicated the dandelions that dotted the grass, where Malakai sat in his human form, engrossed in another book. We discovered the secluded area after Malakai decided we needed more privacy – both for his benefit and mine. Jaci had come close to discovering both our secrets one too many times.

“Find anything useful yet?”

“No – shouldn’t you be concentrating?”

I remained quiet, trying again to concentrate on the feeling of weightlessness in my feet, muttering the chant that should have lifted me off the ground. I was quickly losing my patience, and Malakai’s exasperated sighs twenty feet away weren’t helping. “We need a break.”

“We can rest when we’re dead.”

“Overworking yourself won’t save your sister. And I’m not getting anywhere frustrated.” I walked over to him, taking the book and dropping beside him, leaning against a large boulder. “Take a break. I’ll keep looking, Go hunt for mice or something.”

“You’re hilarious.” He practically ‘harrumphed’ as he crossed his arms and sat back. Ignoring his petulant attitude, I did my best to distract myself from my predicament by focusing on his.

This particular tome was old, and in a language I didn’t recognize. “You can read this?”

“No. I was working on a translation.” He handed me the rest of his material. The notebook he was transcribing into was impressive, his neat script filling every page.

“You should have told me – I can help.” My mom used a lot of old books from across the globe in her healing practice, so she was handy with spells that could manipulate language – a skillset she made sure I mastered before reaching the academy.

“Oh?”

“Hold still.” I moved to kneel in front of him. Placing both hands on either side of his head, I focused on the enchantment my mother taught me, whispering the words. A minute later, I handed him the book. “There. Try again.”

His eyes widened. “I can read this now?”

“Yeah. But it wears off after a few hours.” I sat back on my heels.

“Thank you! You’re absolutely brilliant.”

I barely had a chance to blush at the compliment.

“Who’s out there?” Branches rustled and the voice called out to us again. A campus guard – my secret would be out.

Malakai grabbed my wrist and pulled me in, crashing my lips onto his. I caught myself on the boulder when he tugged my waist with his other hand. Shocked, all I could do was respond, my lips tentative against his, hand wandering from the boulder to his bare chest. The guard coughed, and I sprang away. Half-lidded blue eyes watched me, and I struggled to turn away.

I stammered an excuse, and the guard dismissed us with a warning before continuing his patrol. I hardly looked at Malakai as we gathered our things, my stomach twisting with something I didn’t want to acknowledge.

~~~

Hope you guys liked it! And don’t forget to vote on Saturday for your favorite entry! If you’re a writer, consider submitting!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Image Credit: Found via Google Image Search on lovequotespict.com

WOW 555 – Keep On Keeping On!

Happy Friday!

Hope the week has been going well for everyone! And, to those of you who celebrate it, happy Chinese New Year! Also, those of you doing Lenten promises – best of luck!

Not much to report this week, other than still being severely behind on reading. Seriously, I really need to do something to light a fire under my ass. Thankfully, though, I haven’t been slacking on writing (sort of) and have been able to make time for Wendy’s WOW555. That being said, Malakai and Emma are still going strong! I wonder how long I can keep up their story with the prompts. Luckily, the last few haven’t been too difficult to work into their lives, so we’ll see how this goes.

So, this week’s prompt was: your story should incorporate the concept of spirit in some way.

On to the story!

Image from Legend of Korra, Book Two: Spirits

~~~

Keep On Keeping On

I couldn’t help tapping my pencil on the desk – bored, my mind anywhere but on the current lesson. The professor – an aging man with horn-rimmed glasses and a tweed suit – lectured about the benefits of astral projection. I was still struggling to levitate, not that I was admitting that to anyone but Malakai.

“Psst, Emma. Are you alright?” Jaci caught my attention as she nudged me, whispering so the professor couldn’t hear. Concern furrowed her brow. Despite being roommates, we weren’t very close. At least, I didn’t think so, yet she was always looking out for me. I thought about letting her in on my secret, but every time I came close, I backtracked.

“Just tired…” I stopped tapping the pencil, yawning for effect as I looked back down at the book. Under the desk, I could feel the warmth radiating from Malakai’s cat form. Our familiars were expected to follow us around, for the most part, so it wasn’t weird to see some animals in class once in a while. For whatever reason, Malakai chose to come to class with me, when he should have been continuing his research.

I didn’t give it much thought, figuring he’d do whatever he felt like either way. Class ended soon after, with an assignment to practice the incantation for projection. I dreaded practicing yet another skill I wouldn’t be mastering any time soon, but I did my best not to show my despair, smiling at Jaci when I told her I’d be heading back to the room for a nap.

“Finally! I thought that class would never end.” Malakai turned back almost before the door shut behind us.

“You didn’t have to be there, you know.” I didn’t look at him – it became increasingly difficult to look at him after that night in the clearing. If he noticed me acting differently, though, he didn’t mention it. Probably better that way.

“Figured I might learn something.” I saw him shrug out of the corner of my eye.

I sat on the bed, pulling out my notes on levitation and re-reading them before settling into my usual routine of trial and error. “Like what? It’s not like you can do that kind of magic.”

“True.” He sat on the bed next to me, before letting himself fall back, arms outstretched. “But that class is on spiritual energy manipulation, which is probably what that witch used when she cursed me. As a shape-shifter, my entire ability revolves around being able to control my own energy similar to how you would do it for levitation and projection. I figured it couldn’t hurt to sit through a few lessons.”

“I guess.” I slid off the bed and onto the floor, assuming my usual position. Last time had been close, so I latched onto that hope now. With steady breathing, I murmured the incantation, until I felt my whole body tremble, before the sinking feeling hit my gut, and I landed with a thud.

~~~

So there you have it! Let me know what you think, and don’t forget to check out the other entries on Saturday and vote for you favorite. If you’re a writer, consider submitting!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search on wallpaper-kid.com.

WOW 555 – A Moment of Growth

Happy Friday!

Today, I’ll be cutting straight to the chase – I have very little to report. Same old, same old, still working on reading more/writing more/discipline, etc.

This week’s prompt for Wendy’s WOW555 left a lot of room for interpretation – more than usual, I think – so it was a bit hard for me, especially with the added constraints of continuing Malakai and Emma’s story. Hopefully, I didn’t fail too terribly.

Prompt: Choose whatever kind of story you want to tell, but show us a moment of growth.

Here goes!

~~~

A Request

My heart skipped a beat, my face breaking out into a smile despite the dull pain on my backside courtesy of the four foot drop. When my eyes snapped open, they were met with Malakai’s, wide with surprise.

“You did it!” We were back in the clearing – a bright, Saturday morning sun shining down on us. Malakai had the latest curse book in his lap, though he wasn’t paying much attention to it. “About time.”

I glared in response, though I knew he didn’t mean anything by it. “Shut up.”

It was the first time I’d been able to levitate that far up off the ground, without having to meditate. After that first minor success in my room, it started coming a little easier to me, as if whatever dam blocking my ability suddenly developed a few cracks, the trickles of water beginning to spill through. Every day since then – it’d been about a week – I got a few inches higher. “I think I can go higher…”

“You probably shouldn’t push yourself.” Malakai went back to his book, flipping the page.

“You’re one to talk – when’s the last time you slept?”

“Cats take naps during the day.”

“You’re not a cat.” I sighed, taking a momentary break to walk over to him. “So what have you found out? Anything useful?”

“Only that I don’t need the caster to break the curse, nor do I necessarily need to follow her rules.” That reminded me – he still never told me what the conditions for his curse were, only that he refused to comply. “There have been cases reported of people breaking their own curses through sheer will power…or with the help of particularly powerful individuals.”

“So what? You’re just going to sit around and wish really hard for the curse to go away?”

“No – that would be a waste of time. I’m going to go with plan B.”

“How many witches do you know?”

“One.” He smiled – a cheeky smile, the smile of someone about to ask for a favor they know they have no business asking.

“No – are you insane? I can’t even begin to figure out how to break a curse. Maybe you haven’t been paying attention over the past month – my magic isn’t even up to par with everyone else’s here. I have to work ten times harder just to try to keep up.” My rant completely unfazed him, and he simply continued to watch me.

Now standing, he leaned back against a tree and crossed his arms. “Are you done?”

“Mal-”

“I think you’re the one who hasn’t been paying attention.” He raised his hand, twisting his wrist around to examine the cat collar. “How many people do you think could have done this? Or that language spell the other night. Imagine what you’ll do when you do catch up to everyone. Don’t sell yourself short, Emma.” He closed the book, handing it to me. “Think about it? Please?”

~~~

So there it is – hope you enjoyed it! Don’t forget to check out the other stories on Saturday and vote for your favorite. If you’re a writer – submit!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Image credit: Found via Google Image Search on awesomestjohns.com