Hopping on the train!

Hello!

I really need to do something about my lack of posting here. Honestly, I’m not sure how to get back into it. Things have been busier than usual between work and my hobbies (guess who’s thinking of becoming a Zumba instructor?), and that’s made it difficult to participate in my usual prompts. On the bright side, I am still working on Withered Legacy. I also finished a short piece for OWS Ink’s summer lit journal!

So here we are with my first shot at my own prompt, Friday Flash Fiction Train. And because I was struggling with coming up with an idea for it, I’m combining it with Two Word Tuesday.

~~~

“Do you always write such boring work?” The TA’s words cut through me like a chainsaw. He looks up at me from the book – my book – with eyes colder than steel. He pushes his glasses up his nose, still watching me. Waiting for my reaction.

I snap and reach across the desk before snatching the book from him. “Fine. I’ll rewrite it then. To be less boring.”

It’s rude, but I don’t wait for a response. This week has been worse than most and this is the last thing I need. I struggle not to cry in front of him, as the stress finally reaches its breaking point. Despite my abrupt head start, he still manages to cut me off before I can exit his office.

“Dana, wait. It was a joke!” He’s all smiles now, the apology in his eyes as the steel cracks under my reaction. “I was kidding. I’m sorry – I didn’t think you’d take it that hard.”

“Are you f…kidding me?” I’m nowhere near relief, and it’s everything I can do to keep myself from reacting even worse.

“It’s great! I’ve only made a few suggestions. One more round of editing and you can submit it for review.” Still, his words do nothing to appease my annoyance and the sudden bout of tears waiting to let loose. “I’m sorry, really. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“What exactly did you think was going to happen?” I narrow my eyes at him, wondering if he’s already forgotten how stressful this coursework is. He was in my shoes last year. How could he possibly think this is okay?  “Or was your TA a sadist, too?”

Maybe I crossed a line, but I can’t bring myself to care. I’ve known Grant for years. He should know better than to think I’d be okay with a joke like that, even under ideal circumstances.

“Sometimes, yeah.” He smirks and it does nothing to better my mood. “Can I make it up to you? Honestly, I feel really bad for upsetting you like this.”

“No.” I adjust my satchel before opening the door and walking out.

~~~

As writers, we all know that initial flash of anger when someone just insults and dismisses our work. At least, I do. Let’s hope others hop on the train!

As always, think happy thoughts!

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!

Tainted Treasures

It’s been a rough week. I was in a car accident on Tuesday, the most recent and worst one I’ve been in yet. Thankfully no one was hurt, but I’m still a bit shaken over it (as morbid a thought as it is, I feel like I’m running out of lives). The entire ordeal is a huge pain and I don’t very much feel like ever getting behind the wheel of a car again (though I know I don’t have much of a choice). So I guess you could say my car (which I only just bought in October) is a tainted treasure now.

Anyway, in an attempt to keep my mind off the awful that is dealing with the aftermath, I’m going to try to write a little bit. I haven’t revisited A Vampire’s Bride since January, so here’s my attempt at moving that story forward a bit. The prompt, as usual, comes from Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday series and serves as general inspiration.

Prompt: Tainted treasures

~~~

When Niklaus leaves, I almost don’t notice. He’s careful not to wake me, but a soft kiss on my brow triggers my awareness and I open my eyes in time to see him close the door. Though I want to reach out, ask him to stay longer, I know that’s impossible. And asking would make it worse. Outside, sunrise is only a couple of hours away – he stayed until he absolutely had to leave.

Though I’m still tired, I’m aware enough that I need to change before my father wakes. I still haven’t told him what I’ve been doing with my nights, and this isn’t really the best way for him to find out. So I remove Niklaus’ shirt, taking it and his cloak and hiding them under the bed. My neck wound is still wrapped, too, and it’s only then I realize I’m going to have a hard time continuing to hide this from my father. My hair can only do so much – it’s only a matter of time before he notices the scar it’ll leave behind, even if I manage to avoid him noticing the bandages.

I gather some water in a bowl, light a candle by the small mirror in my room, and go about checking my wound. Like I told Niklaus, the blood made it look worse than it really is. It’s a nasty-looking scratch, but nothing life threatening. With some clean cloth I re-wrap the scratch, coming up with a less terrifying explanation to give my father.

Once I’m satisfied with my bandaging job, I change into a new shirt and move on to pulling my weapons back out from under the bed. They’re in desperate need of cleaning, too. Holding them close, I settle onto the floor and go about the task as carefully as possible. The hatchet doesn’t require as much care as the crossbow, though. I’m careful to clean every crevice, and I double check the weapon for any damage. Dropping it was a stupid move, and now it’s scuffed at the handle.

“Dammit.” In all the years my mother used this crossbow to hunt, she never let it fall or get damaged. The thought hits me harder than I expect, and the stress of everything just comes crashing down. My head hurts, and I can’t stop the tears that well up. Unfortunately, that’s how my dad finds me.

“Ariella?” I nearly drop the weapon again at the sound of his voice. Startled, I turn around to look at him. “What happened? Are you alright?” He rushes over, crouching beside me as his eyes scan my neck before returning to the crossbow.

“I’m…it’s fine. Just that the crossbow is a bit damaged.”

“And what’s this?” He brushes my hair away, catching on to my attempt to hide my neck.

“I…I was hunting. It’s just a scratch. It’s fine.” I hope he doesn’t pry but I know that’s asking for too much.

“And how did it happen?”

“I said, I was hunting.”

“Ariella.” His tone is all reprimand, and I realize it’s been years since he’s spoken to me like that. Since he’s had to. The word is like a whip, and I’m transported back to my childhood. “Tell me.”

Though I don’t want to, I look him in the eye. “I was hunting vampires.”

~~~

And the truth comes out! How will her dad react? I have no idea yet – hence why I ended it where I did.

Anyway, if you’re stuck in your writing endeavors, be sure to check out the rest of Our Write Side’s prompts! There’s something for everyone!

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!