Shameful musings

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Hello!

It’s been a while, I know. The good news is that I’ve been getting quite some reading and writing done. The bad news is that means I’ve had to neglect the blog a bit. Eventually, I’ll find the happy middle ground I so desperately need. Until then, sporadic updates it is!

Today’s post comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompt series. For this post, I’ll be using the “Shameful musings” prompt as inspiration. As much as I want to write for Provisional Freedom and flesh that out a bit, as well as return to Secondhand Soul to wrap up the story, Ariella just won’t let me go. So, A Vampire’s Bride it is!

Happy reading!

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Creative bravery

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Happy Hump Day!

Meant to try to get something written up earlier in the week, but we all know how these things go. On the bright side, I’ve gotten some reading done and may or may not have found a new favorite book series.

Anyway, on to the prompt!

Today’s post comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompt series. I’m tempted to do a response for more than one of the prompts, but for now I’ll be working with “Creative bravery” as my inspiration.

Happy reading!

~~~

I’ve never been more grateful for mine and my family’s opposite schedules. Though spending the nights alone was beginning to get tiresome – and very depressing – it makes it much easier to keep the vampire attack a secret. Still, there’s that small window of time when we’re having dinner, and my palms get sweaty with the nerves. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like either of them notices my discomfort – my stepmother is too busy recounting some bit of news here or there, and my dad seems to be somewhere else entirely.

“I’m sorry – what were you saying?”

“I heard at the market today that there was some kind of animal attack in a neighboring village.” To be honest, I was hyper-focused on my food, so I missed that bit of news as well.

“What?” I find myself reacting without realizing it.

“Yes. There were a group of hunters out or something a couple of nights ago, and when they didn’t come back, another group went out to look for them. They say it was a grizzly scene – blood everywhere, and they were only able to recover one of the bodies. The other four are missing.” I can’t help but think of the vampire that attacked Layla – could it have been the same one? Or another?

“Do they have any idea what kind of animal it was?”

“I don’t know – they’re still investigating, trying to track whatever did it in hopes of finding the other bodies or maybe some survivors.” My stepmother shrugs. Do they suspect vampires at all?

It’s a relief when they finally retire for the night. My father warns me not to go out tonight, for fear of the animal that attacked those men, and I tell him I won’t. Still, I only wait about two hours after they’ve retreated to their room before grabbing my things – including that vampire’s hatchet – and heading out.

Unwilling to put myself in too much danger, though, I don’t stray very far. Really, I’m only out here in case Niklaus comes back. I can’t exactly risk him showing up inside my home. So I stay hidden at the edge of the forest, just far enough away that we can’t be overheard, but close enough that I can still keep an eye on the house. For the first time in longer than I care to admit, the night holds a very tangible danger. I’m not as comfortable in it as I was the night before, and I’m not sure I like that.

Lost in my own thoughts, I almost don’t hear the leaves rustling around me, despite the lack of wind. As soon as the sound registers in my mind, the hatchet is in my hand and I’m turning in place, eyes scanning the darkness of the trees for the source of the sound.

“It’s just me!” Nadya holds her hands up, eyes looking at the hatchet with extreme caution.

“Sorry.” I sigh, leaning back against the tree. “I assume Niklaus told you what happened?”

“Yes – he wanted to come back tonight but had to deal with the council, so he sent me instead.”

“Why? You didn’t have to.”

“He wants to make sure you’re safe.” So he sent her to protect me?

“So what, the two of you are going to take turns babysitting me?” She winces at that, but doesn’t respond. “This is stupid. None of this would be necessary if he didn’t send me away in the first place.”

“I know.”

For a moment, I’m so caught up in my annoyance that the attack my stepmom mentioned nearly slipped my mind. “Have you heard anything about another attack?”

“Another one?”

“A few nights ago, some men went missing in a neighboring village. No one seems to suspect vampires, but it’s too much of a coincidence.” Settling on the ground against the tree, I relayed the story to Nadya.

“Wonderful, just what we needed.” Her face twists into a grimace of disgust. “Maybe you should go back inside…”

A part of me wants to agree with her, but the other part – the one angry about being kicked out of the castle – refuses. “I’m fine. You’re here, right? Besides, I was able to kill that vampire last night.”

“True. Pretty impressive all things considered – you’re braver than most humans, you know. Stroke of genius, too, that arrow to the throat.” Her voice trails off, thoughtful for a moment, before her eyes focus again and she turns to look at me. “A bit messy, though, and severely inefficient.”

“Forgive me, I’m not an expert vampire hunter.” I roll my eyes, frustrated again. Hunting vampires has been illegal as long as hunting humans has been. No need when the peace agreement guaranteed our safety.

“Do you want to be?” Nadya’s voice is cautious, curious. “I could teach you.”

“What? Why would you want to teach me to hunt vampires?”

“Because if my lesser brethren have really started hunting humans, the peace agreements are off – and you need to be able to defend yourself if Nik or I can’t be there.” She turns thoughtful again – her eyes are far away, in a time I can’t even imagine. “I have a feeling things are about to get worse than they have been in a long time. Besides, you seem to have a natural talent for it, and you’re brash enough to try.”

I’ve heard stories of how bad it used to be – centuries before when we were little more than cattle to the vampires. They killed indiscriminately, and it was only when our numbers had dwindled so much that it put their population in danger that they finally realized how important it is to keep us alive. I can’t help but shudder at the thought of the vampires plowing through our villages and population like that again.

“Can’t hurt to know how to protect myself, I suppose.”

Nadya smiles, giving me a look that says she knew I wouldn’t be able to say no. “Ariella, vampire hunter. Kind of has a ring to it, doesn’t it?”

~~~

Well that took a turn. I feel like it’s been building to this for such a long time, and yet this still wasn’t where I pictured the story going when I first started it.

Oh well. Such is fate.

As always, think happy thoughts!

#100WordChallenge – Secret

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Happy Thursday!

So last night, I accomplished what felt like an impossible task when I started – I made progress (actual progress, oh man!) on Withered Legacy. Can’t begin to describe how excited I am – I sat down for a whole hour and wrote nonstop, thanks to The Most Dangerous Writing App. It was the first time I was able to finish a session without losing my work, so hooray! My muse has been reinvigorated by this progress, meaning another session of panicked writing awaits me tonight!

Anyway, to break up the panic so all my writing doesn’t get done in stress-filled bursts, I’m cooling down with one of my usual prompts! This one happens to be Tara’s #100wordchallenge.

Prompt: Secret

~~~

I’ve never liked keeping secrets, not really. My whole life, I’ve tried to be an open book, and yet here I am – hiding my existence from most of my village and keeping the vampire attack on Layla, and my subsequent murder of said vampire, from my family. I wish I could at least tell my dad, but Niklaus asked and I can’t say no. Our situation is dangerous enough – I don’t need to make it worse.

Niklaus took the body – at least I didn’t have to deal with that. Still, finding the silver lining will only take me so far.

~~~

Ariella’s life sucks (ha! no pun intended) – but then again, it’s not like she’s the only one. Emma went through her fair share of issues, and Videl and Paola are currently no better off. Here’s hoping things start looking up for her soon.

As always, think happy thoughts!

Damned liberty

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Hello hello!

If you haven’t already seen, Reckoning now has a book trailer! Hooray! Check it out at the side bar, or here.

On to the post –

Today’s piece comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompts, as usual. For this one, I decided to go with the “Damned liberty” prompt, as it pretty accurately describes Ariella’s current situation. It serves as overall inspiration for the piece.

It’s a long one, so brace yourselves!

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#ThursThreads – Increased Security

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Hello again!

Even as I write this I have no idea how I’m going to incorporate this prompt into one of my serials. Today’s #ThursThreads prompt is throwing me off, so here’s hoping for the best.

Prompt: “It meant increased security.”

Happy reading!

~~~

“Are you going to say something or just sit there watching me like a creep?” I couldn’t help the words tumbling from my mouth, but they were making me uncomfortable.

Max raised a thin eyebrow in response, a smirk lighting their expression before they waved a hand and turned off my TV, simultaneously flicking on the lights. I had to shield my eyes from the sudden change, ducking my head into my arms.

“That’s much better.”

“I was starting to think you’re not real.” Images of the angel standing around my hospital room, taking me from my mother in purgatory, already felt like long-forgotten dreams.

“Sorry – it’s not every day we let a soul out of purgatory. It meant increased security and delayed me longer than I anticipated. I could only drop by to check on you before having to run back and make sure the gap we used sealed properly and held up against opportunistic spirits looking for a way out.” They looked tired just thinking about it, running a hand through their hair while walking back and forth across the room.

“Speaking of my release, are you ever going to actually tell me why I’m here?” A part of me wanted to ask if they might know what led to me dying in the first place, but I stopped myself. It’s not like it mattered anyway. “And what abilities am I supposed to have, exactly?”

“I can already tell it’s going to be a joy working with you.”

~~~

Maybe next week Paola will get some answers! Be sure to check out the rest of the responses at the prompt link throughout the day – there’s always great stuff to read.

As always, think happy thoughts!

UPDATE: I won with this one! Woo!

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Demonic run-on

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Hello!

First post of the day, but it’ll be a short one! I’m kicking myself because I missed out on last week’s #100wordchallenge. However, I’m going to participate this week and incorporate last week’s prompt into today’s response. It works out, too, because last week’s prompt, Demon, is more theme-based. This week’s prompt is to write a 100 word run-on, so hooray for playing with format!

Here goes nothing!

~~~

Max sits in the dark with me, quiet, observant (expectant?) and though we’re both lit by the light of the TV, it makes them look ethereal, every bit an angel, or even a demon, asking of me what may be an impossible task I don’t yet understand – but I do know that, whatever they want from me, whatever the reason they had for making my mother replace me in purgatory, I’m not going to like it – at all – and I’m going to regret agreeing to it for the rest of my life, however long that may or may not be.

~~~

I’ve never worked this hard to write a run-on sentence. It was fun! Plus, it gave me the perfect breather before picking up Provisional Freedom again.

Stay tuned for #ThursThreads later!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Untold agony

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Happy Monday!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! Today is one of those odd Mondays when I feel like I can take on the world – we’ll see how long that feeling lasts.

This post comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompt series. I missed it last week, and you could probably tell from the lack of a post on my blog. But this week it’s back with a vengeance and I’m probably going to be posting a response for each of  the three, for each of my ongoing serials. Today’s prompt, “Untold agony,” will be contributing to A Vampire’s Bride as inspiration because angst 🙂

Happy reading!

~~~

It only strikes me now, at the sight of my name on the letter, that I didn’t know what Niklaus’ handwriting looks like. My father leaves the room in silence, giving me the space he knows I’ll need to read this.

Ariella,

It was never my intention to hurt you. When I chose you, I never thought that I’d grow to care about you as much as I do, that I’d miss you so much. Knowing what I know now, I should have sent you home after the first night – faked your death and let you be free. 

I’m sorry – for everything. It was selfish of me to keep you here, to hope that this could have worked and resulted in something other than me hurting you. Though loving me is a mistake, I can’t begin to explain how your words made me feel. No matter how long I live, I don’t think I’ll ever forget them. Know that I’ve never felt this way about anyone, never loved anyone as I love you. And I’m certain I never will.

Please understand why I’ve done this. It was only a matter of time before I lost control again – before my parents triggered another episode. There’s no guarantee Nadya will always be around to protect you, to keep me from hurting you. I can’t bear the thought of that happening, and I’d rather suffer through being away from you than allow that possibility. 

Forever yours,

Niklaus

My vision blurs as my eyes hover on his name, but I refuse to acknowledge the coming tears. Rather than wipe my face, I simply stare at the words on the page. How could he possibly think writing this is a good idea? Eyes wandering back up the letter, they settle on the three words that make everything worse. He loves me – and he waited until writing this letter to tell me.

“My brother’s a coward.”

My head snaps up at the familiar voice, eyes meeting a familiar pair of blue. She’s leaning against the door frame, arms crossed as she watches me. “Nadya? What are you doing here?”

“Who do you think delivered the letter? Everyone else thinks you’re dead.”

“Right…” I look away, immediately self-conscious about the tears and furiously rubbing them from my eyes and face. “Well, you delivered it. You can go now.”

Still, she doesn’t budge. When I look at her again, she just stares back. “Why don’t you write him back?”

“Why? It’s not like he’ll come running if I call. Or take me back.”

“You’d be surprised at the running bit.” She smiles, her eyes far away. “He would, you know, come running if you called. I suspect he’d do anything for you.”

“Except let me stay with him.”

“Yes, except that.” Nadya crosses the threshold into my room, sitting gingerly beside me on the bed. “Though, really, he’s doing that for you, too.”

“Then it would be pointless to write. I’d only be hurting us both.” A part of me wants to shred the letter, furious with him, but I don’t. I can’t. The same part that wants to hold onto the letter latches onto Nadya’s words. He would come if I called. “What will happen to him, now that he lost his bride?”

“The vampire council might try to marry him off again.” At this, my heart breaks. “But I don’t think he’ll go for it. He didn’t refuse the first time because of the pressure from our parents, but I doubt he’ll budge this time.” She rushes her words at the look on my face, placing her hand on mine. “Trust me when I say Nik will spend the rest of his days pining for you.”

“And there’s nothing I can do.”

“You can write to him.” Why is she pushing this so hard? “He can come see you.”

“Why are you doing this?” At my question, Nadya looks away. I catch a glimpse of pain in her eyes.

“I’ve…I’ve never seen Nik this way. The little bit I saw of the two of you together was the first time I saw him anywhere near happiness since our parents turned him. And now he’s miserable – beyond miserable. I just…I want him to be happy, even if it’s only temporary. Maybe…maybe you can still make this work.”

I can’t help but think Nadya is more delusional about mine and Niklaus’ relationship than I could ever be. Could it really work if he left the castle every night just to see me? How long could that happen before the vampire council caught on? And would he really do it if I asked him to? That last question, and Nadya’s words, give me undue hope. I’m a glutton for punishment, apparently, because I can’t stop the next words from leaving my mouth. “Maybe I can.”

I want to be with him – unguarded, free to sleep in his arms during the day. Would clandestine meetings and secret rendezvous be enough?

I don’t give myself time to doubt, reaching for my writing supplies.

Niklaus,

Come see me? Even if I can’t stay at the castle, there’s no reason for you to stay away. Your parents can’t get to you here. Please. I miss you, and always will – nothing is going to change that.

With love,

Ariella

Before I can take the decision back, I hand Nadya the letter. She offers me a small smile before bringing me into a gentle hug.

“Thank you.”

~~~

What could possibly go wrong, right?

No matter how I tried to steer this one, there was no keeping those two away from each other. Talk about characters making really, really, really dumb decisions. Anyway, let’s hope whatever happiness they find will be worth the consequences (whatever those consequences may be, still not sure).

As always, think happy thoughts!