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!

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!

Tainted beauty, marked soul

Hello!

Posts on consecutive days? Unheard of! Don’t get used to it, either. Today is a special occasion, since we’re closing out Secondhand Soul (for now). That’s not to say we’re bidding farewell to Videl and Marcus – there’s still a lot of unresolved issues there. Just that we’re bringing Videl’s origin story to an end and shifting focus to Paola and her troubles for a while.

So let’s get on with it! The prompt I’ll be using is another of this week’s Master Class prompts at Our Write Side.

Prompt: Tainted beauty

Happy reading!


When I wake up, I’m alone. There’s no way to tell how long I’ve been out, or even where I am. The room is small – more of a closet, really – and there’s a single light hanging from a chain. It swings back and forth in a non-existent breeze, shifting the shadows about the space. It’s cold, forcing me to huddle in a corner and hug myself in an attempt to conserve warmth. I’m so consumed by the cold I almost don’t notice the oddest part of the room – it doesn’t have doors or windows.

How the hell did I get here? I push through the cold, the nerves prompting me to get up.

“Hello? Can anyone hear me?” My voice bounces back, grating on extra sensitive ears. Panic threatens to overtake me, and I’m no longer sure if I’m shivering from the cold.

~~~

I’ve never felt so useless – as a human or demon.

Videl has been lying there for the better part of a day, with still no improvement. More of her skin has turned to purple-tinted charcoal, the infection – at least, that’s what Max called it – spreading so that it covers her entire arm, most of her leg, and even a portion of her face and neck. It’s probably covering even more under her clothes. As I watch, her arms turn bloody.

“How’s she doing?” Max enters the room behind me.

“I don’t know. She hasn’t moved. The infection doesn’t seem to be actively spreading anymore, but it’s also not receding.”

“The stasis I put her in won’t let it spread. She’s safe for now. Take comfort in that.” They place a hand on my arm. “I spoke to my father, but there’s nothing he can do, since her soul belongs to Lucifer.”

“So what do we do now?”

“Hope she can fight it off on her own. She’s resilient. I have faith.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“I have a feeling she’ll surprise us. Especially since she was able to wield an angel blade.”

“It nearly killed her!” Turning around, I walk away from her and across the room.

“The operative word being ‘nearly’. It definitely would have killed you. For someone who’s soul belongs to my brother, hers is surprisingly pure. Likely because of the circumstances under which it came to be his in the first place.” Max smiles, like they don’t have a care in the world.

~~~

“Hello!!” My throat is raw, and the word ‘hello’ has lost all meaning. I’ve punched the walls I don’t even know how many times, but still I’m trapped.

The damn light won’t stop swinging, nearly hitting my head each time I pass under it. My frustrations getting the better of me, I grab the lightbulb and yank it out of the ceiling, plunging myself in darkness. I’m not sure if this is better or worse than before.

As my eyes adjust to the dark, sparks twinkle in my vision. I blink, hoping they’ll go away, but they  don’t. It takes a moment for me to realize the sparks aren’t in my vision, but in the air around me. I try to get close to one, try to reach out and touch it. It burns when I do, triggering a blinding light that forces me to shield my eyes.

When I open them again, I’m not in the dark anymore. Instead, I’m in another room, this one more of a large chamber. I feel like I’m being watched, stalked by something urging me to move forward. My steps echo on a floor that seems made of black opal as I approach the center of the room. There, a body floats in mid-air. I don’t recognize her until I get close enough to touch it – it’s me, but her skin is incandescent, letting off a soft glow that lights the area immediately around us. Something about her exudes purity, and I’m not sure how, but deep down I know what she is.

It’s my soul. The very thing that got me into this whole mess in the first place. She’s pretty, innocent, and I almost resent that fact. She’s everything I’m not and will never be again. I want to touch her, but I have a feeling it’ll burn worse than the spark did before.

A sound off to my left makes me turn. There’s a figure at the edges of my soul’s light, hovering just out of reach. I can’t make it out, but something inside me twists with fear and a sudden urge to protect my soul at all costs. The longer I watch it hover, the more difficult it becomes to figure out exactly what it is. All I can make out are two eyes, but they’re not focused on me. They’re focused on her.

When it launches itself at her, I don’t know what else to do but intercept it. We collide and fall to the floor with a thud, as what feels like tendrils of smoke wrap around me, suffocating me. I can’t move, so I stop struggling. Above us, as the darkness overtakes me, slipping inside me and seeping into my skin, my soul continues to hover.

At least she’s safe.

~~~

“Videl! Videl!” My whole body burns, but I latch onto the sound of Marcus’ voice. Something light touches my face, prompting my eyes to open. I have to blink several times before I get used to the light, but I immediately know where I am. Beneath me, my bed has never felt more comfortable. As my vision clears and the burning stops, Marcus’ face comes into focus.

“H-Hey.”

He pulls me up in response, wrapping his arms around me in an embrace I never thought I’d feel again. “You’re okay.”

“I think so?” I look down between us, noting that my hand – the one burned by the blade – is tinted in dark purple, almost black. “What happened to my hand?”

Marcus pulls back, uncertainty in his eyes. “It’s not just your hand – the infection left its mark.”

I follow his line of sight to the window by my bed. In the reflection, I notice that a portion of my face is the same color.

“Good to see you’re feeling better.” Lucifer’s voice distracts us, and we both immediately stand at attention.

“Relax.” He waves his hand, as if dismissing the formality. Lucifer smiles as he watches us sit back down. “It looks like I got more than I bargained for with you, Videl.”

“What do you mean?”

“That blade is a demon-killer. One-hit kill, so to speak, but something in you fought back. All it managed to do was pull your demon nature from your soul.”

“So am I…?”

“Don’t get your hopes up. Looks like you patched yourself back up again. Still a demon.” This time, he smirks. “Be more careful in the future, though, will you? I doubt it’ll work like that a second time.”

“Yes, sir.” I only let a second pass before I ask, “My family? Are they okay?”

“Yeah – Max took your siblings back to your mother. They don’t remember a thing.” The news that my siblings won’t recall any of the time I spent with them hurts, but I know they’re better off. Marcus seems to sense this, taking my hand in his. The gesture doesn’t escape Lucifer. His eyes flick to our hands before looking up at us again. “I’ll leave you to it, then. The witch community is in a frenzy over what just happened. I have some damage control to do.”

“You don’t have any assignments for us?”

“Not yet. For now, lay low. Don’t need the other demons thinking they can split their souls like you did.” He narrows his eyes at me. “I’ll call you when I need you.”

“Yes, sir.” We both stand and bow before he disappears.


And that’s that. Like I said, this isn’t the end of Videl’s story, just the close of this arc. I’ll definitely be visiting them again later, especially in Provisional Freedom. And, of course, this’ll get its own novella someday. Consider these serials very rough first drafts 🙂

As always, think happy thoughts!

Brazen whispers

Told you I’d be back! ICYMI, check out this morning’s post on why I’ve been MIA.

As usual, today’s post comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompt series. As I’m writing this bit, I haven’t actually written my response (I usually do that after my blurb at the top of posts), but I’m hoping this post brings an end to Secondhand Soul. I know, that kind of comes out of nowhere, but I really think I can end it, or at least bring resolution to the grandma story line. Introducing Paola brought about a whole new set of issues for our characters, so I think it’s time to wrap up Videl’s origin story and get into a little more of what’s going on with the other characters. If the story as a whole feels rushed, don’t worry! I intend to eventually go back (with all my serials, not just this one) and flesh the stories out into novellas (my real ambition is visual novels, but that’s a whole different monster I’ll take on in the future). Of course, they’ll be available for free.

Anyway, to the fiction!

Continue reading

An update!

Happy Friday!

So I’m pretty awful, I know. Last night was the first time since my last post that I actually sat down to get any writing done. Some of that is due to writer’s block, but most of it is due to plain laziness and a complete and total lack of motivation. Not to mention it’s hard to sit down to write when I could be playing with a puppy instead.

Just look at her!

Ada
Ada aka The Potato (check her out on Twitter!)

So as you can see I have extremely valid (read: bs) reasons for why I’ve been absent. Anyway, here’s hoping to slowly easing my way back. As usual, my comeback will be due Our Write Side’s prompts.

And speaking of prompts, check out the Flash Train’s new incarnation!

Keep a lookout for a prompt response later today!

As always, think happy thoughts!