Finding Purpose

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Happy Monday!

So my posting has been sporadic again. I really am trying to post every day, but that proves harder and harder the more I try. On the bright side, I have been working on A Vampire’s Bride outside of here. I’m trying a new approach! Rather than try to type out the story from the start, I’m writing it by hand. This way I don’t have to be in front of a computer screen all the time. So far so good, so we’ll see how it goes.

Today’s prompt comes from Let Me Help You Write on Tumblr and will go toward Provisional Freedom‘s word count!

Enjoy!

CW: Assault, violence, and some language.

~~~

Although Marcus said I’m still welcome at the house, I’ve been trying not to rely on him and Videl as much. I don’t want to make him uncomfortable, and to be honest, knowing what I know now, it makes me uncomfortable to be there. So that’s how I now find myself wandering around on my own, one of the few times Max’s attention is elsewhere. They don’t usually tell me where they go when they’re not with me, but on this particular occasion they mentioned something about having to check on another charge.

The city at night is a completely different beast. Urban exploration was never my thing, but now that I have all this time to kill, I’ve had to get creative with my past times. It never occurred to me that I might not be the only one out at three in the morning. Turns out, the night life is much more active than I anticipated. Still, even if I’d expected this level of activity, nothing could have prepared me for an attempted mugging. Not against me, mind you.

The victims in question are a couple of women, probably a few years older than me. Going by their clothes and smudged makeup, they were likely headed home from a night of dancing and general fun, until some asshole in a mask decided they made easy targets. Scared, and probably still a little drunk, they’re incoherent but it’s obvious they’re scared out of their minds. One of them shakily tries to hand over her bag. When the asshole doesn’t take the bag and instead tries to approach them, gun in hand, I have a whole new understanding of what’s happening.

My blood boils, and before I know it, I’m walking over.

“Excuse me, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” I’m sure I’m the farthest thing from an imposing figure, but my words make the man stop anyway. The mask doesn’t hide his eyes, and I can see a momentary lapse of fear and confusion. And then he realizes he’s talking to a girl who’s five-foot-nothing.

“Stay back! I have a gun.” He points it at me.

“Oh, what, are you going to shoot me?” Behind him, the women are on the ground, shaking.

“You sound awfully sarcastic for a person with a gun pointed at them.”

“Well what can I say? You don’t scare me.” I shrug, keeping my eye on the women. As I keep the man’s attention, I motion for them to get out of his reach. Though they’re both scared out of their wits, one of them manages to pull the other up before running together behind a dumpster. I’m so focused on them, I almost don’t hear the gunshot.

I’ve never been shot before, so I’m not sure what I expected. It’s not painless, per say, but doesn’t hurt nearly as much as a gunshot should. When I look down, there’s a hole in my sweater, but no blood. “This is my favorite hoodie, asshole!”

He fires again, making yet another hole. At this point, I don’t even bother sitting still. Walking toward him, I clench my fists, ready to knock his teeth down his throat. He empties his gun, and in a desperate play to get me to stop, he throws it at me. I almost laugh before my foot meets his groin. When he doubles over, I back hand him, his blood spraying the concrete.

I didn’t realize how much I’d pent up my anger and frustrations until I started wailing on him. When I stop, it’s only because Max shows up.

“I think that’s enough, Paola.”

“Bastard deserves to die.” But I do as they say and stop, taking two steps back to admire my handiwork. He’s trembling, muttering something about how sorry he is.

“Be that as it may, you don’t need his blood on your hands.”

“Ha! Too late.” My knuckles drip with it. I look over at Max as they kneel down by the women. I let them handle it, considering I’m probably a bit more terrifying than the man with the gun had been. I watch a Max places a hand over their foreheads, and both faint into their arms. “What are you doing?”

“Wiping their memories and taking them home. We don’t need rumors about a bullet proof girl running around. Stay here, I’ll be right back to deal with him.” And with that, they’re gone. As much as I don’t feel like sitting around, I stay.

When Max returns, it’s with reprimands at the ready. “That was reckless.”

“As reckless as pulling a tainted soul from Purgatory?” I wipe my hands on my ruined hoodie.

“Paola…”

“What? At least I helped someone. Would it have been better to let it happen?”

“No, but-”

“But nothing. I helped those women, and I felt good doing it. Maybe I should do it more often. Put this immortality to good use. Punish scum like him.”

“What you should do is get some sleep. We’ll talk about this in the morning.” Their words had a tone of finality, and I was tired of arguing with them anyway.

“Fine.”

~~~

Paola, vigilante extraordinaire? Maybe!

As always, think happy thoughts!

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Intimidation

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Sup!

Didn’t think I’d get a post up, but here we are 🙂

Today’s inspiration comes from Plots and Prompts for All.

Prompt: “If I wanted you dead, this room would be a lot quieter.”

~~~

Standing at exactly five feet and two inches, I’ve never thought of myself as particularly intimidating. No one has ever cowered before me, shaken in their boots at the sight of me. That is, until now. I guess it helps to have a gun.

“Are you going to kill me?” He tries to maintain eye contact but his eyes won’t stop flicking to the gun. It’s the fifth time in as many minutes that he’s asked me that.

“If I wanted you dead, this room would be a lot quieter.” Grabbing him by the shoulder (no small feat, considering the foot he has on me) I pull him into the chair. “Now shut up. I’m the one asking questions.”

To be honest, I’m surprised I’ve made it this far. My bravado is holding up better than I thought, and going by the apprehension in his eyes, I’m doing a good job of hiding how worried I am. How terrified. I’ve never killed anyone before – I don’t want to start now. He relaxes in his chair, comforted by the thought that I don’t want to kill him. “Ask away.”

“What do you know about the Flamel Project?” Even saying the words out loud makes my stomach turn.

“Enough to know that you’ll die if they find out you’re snooping.” It isn’t technically snooping if my family runs the project, if I was once supposed to carry that legacy. But I don’t tell him that.

“You let me worry about that. I need to know what phase it’s in. Have they started human trials yet?” As one of the scientists on the project, he should be privy to that kind of information. My suspicion is confirmed when his eyes finally look somewhere other than mine or at the gun. Despite the resolve in his jaw to keep his mouth shut, a flicker of doubt – and shame? – passes through his eyes. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

I struggle to hold back overwhelming horror. It helps that I’ve concealed my face with a scarf and glasses. Still, it’s not long before my hand begins to shake. In an effort to keep him from noticing, I lower the gun.

With a sigh, I continue. “I don’t know how they convinced you to participate, but know that – whatever it is – it isn’t worth it.”

Holstering the gun, I turn to leave. There’s no point in continuing the conversation, I have what I need.

“What are you going to do?” I don’t expect him to call out to me. When I turn back, there’s a hint of hope in his eyes.

“Whatever I can to stop it.” Before I can leave the room, he speaks again.

“Let me help you.”

~~~

This is bits of a story that has been sitting on the back burner for literal years. It’s probably not going anywhere, but the prompt fit. And it helped me reach my goal for today.

As always, think happy thoughts!

Absolute uncertainty

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Happy Friday!

So I’m going to try to respond to at least one prompt a week while I’m in this limbo. This week, my favorite: Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompt. A little late, I know, but better late than never (words to live by!).

Since I’ve updated both Provisional Freedom and Secondhand Soul pretty recently, today’s post will be going toward A Vampire’s Bride. To be honest I’m pretty lost as to where I’m taking all three stories. SS is pretty close to the end, I think, but the other two are as much in limbo as I am. Then again, what else is new?

If you need a refresher or you’re new, check out the complete story from the beginning here!

Prompt: Absolute uncertainty

Here goes!

~~~

“And you’re sure I can do this?”

“You already killed a rogue vampire by yourself, without training. You’ll be fine. From what we heard, they’re barely a fledgling.” Nadya looks me up and down, occasionally adjusting my hatchet and double-checking my quiver of arrows. “Besides, it’s about time you put your skills to the test.”

Niklaus stands off to the side, letting Nadya fuss over me. I look to him for help, but he shrugs. “She’s right.”

“If they’re just a fledgling, why did the council send you two after them? Seems like a waste of the vampire royals if you ask me.”

“We volunteered. They want to keep these attacks as little known as possible. The fewer vampires that know about them the better…don’t need others getting any ideas.” Niklaus finally walks over and gets Nadya to leave me alone.

“But-”

“No buts.” He takes both my hands, raising them up to his lips and kissing my knuckles. “You’ll be brilliant. Nadya and I have every confidence in you.”

“And  if you need us, we’ll jump in.”

“Yes – I won’t let you get hurt.” Niklaus places a kiss on my forehead, as if to punctuate his words. He’s much more liberal with his affection now, and that puts me at ease, at least a little bit. If he’s confident enough not to put up a fight at the thought of having me take down a vampire, then I should be a little more confident in my skills, right?

Still, I’ve never been less sure of anything in my life.

It’s not long before I’m following them out of the woods in the opposite direction from the path home. They came prepared with horses, knowing I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them on foot. We ride for what seems like a couple of hours before we’re near a neighboring village I’ve never been to. It’s quiet – quieter than a sleeping town should be. There’s a strange tension in the air and I wonder if, behind the closed doors and windows, the people are actually asleep. It’s not hard to imagine them huddled and scared.

While the vampires were trying to keep the knowledge of the attacks contained, rumors spread pretty quickly among the rest of us. Most people didn’t believe they were actually happening, at least not in my village. According to my stepmother everyone thinks it’s animal attacks. Even she doesn’t bring up the possibility of vampires. My father doesn’t either, but I wonder if that’s out of courtesy for my feelings.

“According to the report we received, there have been three separate attacks over the last two nights.” Nadya maneuvers her horse ahead of Niklaus and me.

“Smell that?” Niklaus stops his horse, holding out a hand for me to stop mine. Ahead of us, Nadya turns around to face us. “It’s fresh.”

“It is.” I know they’re talking about human blood, their sense of smell infinitely better than mine.

“Can you pinpoint where it’s coming from?”

“Yes – this way.” This time, Niklaus takes the lead and Nadya rides beside me. As we continue to make our way through the town, my eyes focus on the tension in Niklaus’ shoulders. He gets stiffer the longer we continue, and I wonder if it’s the smell of the blood or the danger. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Here’s hoping I can live up to their expectations.

~~~

What lies ahead for our fledgling vampire hunter? At this point, I still have no idea, but that’s to be expected. Here’s to more prompts moving us forward.

As always, think happy thoughts!

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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