Thursday, September 30, 2010


Hey, y'all! :) Here's that short story I said I might post. As you may've guessed, I decided to post it. Enjoy! :)

Bloody little things have a sense of humor.

I dropped to the ground and rubbed my now-numb ankle. I couldn't believe I'd made such a newbie mistake. You don't step in faerie rings. Period. I kicked myself mentally. I wasn't at the top of my game. According to protocol, I should've alerted headquarters, made for the nearest base, and let them replace me with a fresh agent. One that hadn't been in the field for five days and counting.

I was tracking a rogue band that had escaped a reserve just outside London. One of the nicer ones, as far as faerie reserves go. Not one you'd expect stuff like this from. Some radical activist idiot had infiltrated the ranks and left a back door open, two plus two is four, home base sent me to nip this little thing in the bud before the media got wind of the affair.

Technically speaking, I'm the best agent on the force. I've paid through the nose to get here, too. Nobody should have to make the kinds of sacrifices I've made. You might say I sold my soul to the devil. But I'm the best.

I hadn't slept since I took the case. I was going on forty-eight hours without food. But I was hot on the trail.

The band I was tracking was a particularly dark one. They'd left an unmistakable trail of carnage and mayhem in their wake. Like I said, they had a sense of humor. A dark one. So tracking them wasn't exactly difficult. But catching them sure would be.

I stood up once I'd recovered some feeling in my foot. It would be weeks before I was a hundred percent.

True, I'd made a stupid mistake. But so had they. They were getting careless, which meant I really was getting close. It would've taken then five minutes to dissolve the ring, and they didn't make a habit of leaving rings just lying there, especially with someone on their tail. They were in a hurry.

The magic would dissolve on it's own within the next twenty-four hours, but when one can, one should keep to protocol. I reached into my small, streamlined pack for a strobe. Red for active. I turned on the flashing light and dropped it in the circle. The boys in the back room were particularly proud of their strobes. It'd taken years to develop one that didn't implode or disintegrate or turn into a swarm of butterflies, bats, biting flies, pterodactyls, et cetera upon touching the enchanted ground. Those had been some interesting missions.

I examined the state of my supposedly-magic-proof leggings and moccasins. Both had dissolved into nothing below my left ankle where I'd stepped in the ring. Lame. I had an extra set in my bag, but not the time to put them on. I tore off the other shoe and threw it into the circle, just to be spiteful. I was tired. And, besides, I'd look daft in just one shoe.

My long green split skirt was tattered, wet, and covered in mud, along with a thin film of a dry, glittery substance. I sneezed. Faerie dust. I love my job, I thought. What I didn't love, however, was the clown costume I had to wear to work. Culottes, hunter green, that had replaced the earlier model, an ankle-length skirt, when headquarters finally figured out that it was impossible to run in the stupid things. A flowing, blousey white top with a low collar, under a tight leather jerkin. A leather skull-cap of similar make completed the ensemble. I looked like a lunatic warrior princess that had taken a wrong turn, fallen out of a fantasy movie and landed in modern-day England.

The whole outfit was seeped in magic, mostly of the warding and protecting variety, and mostly of my own doing. The leatherwork was alive and crawling with faintly glowing letters, which only I and a few others could see. When I wasn't on a mission, I was on high demand at headquarters and the academy both for warding. Headquarters had even offered me a job as a mage, when I was fourteen. I had declined, wanting to get my full turn in the field before I retired to an office, but I knew that when I had served my turn running missions, I had a nice, long career as a mage (probably even Head Mage) to look forward to.

A funny thought occurred to me. It's a good thing there aren't any boys on the squad. As slow as things go at headquarters, it would take forever for them to design a uniform. And the mental image of a guy dressed like this? Too good. But there are no boys on the force. Girls between the ages of twelve and seventeen. Something about faeries and little girls; I'll retire next May. But you don't care about that. Back to the story.

I kept walking, watching my step, through the dark, dank forest, waving my slender, feminine sword through the undergrowth, half to clear myself a safe path, half out of boredom. Boredom in the field is a dangerous thing.

Slowly, the trees thinned and I came upon open wheat fields and pasture land. I allowed myself a smile at the simple beauty of the view. Up ahead and to my left was an old man driving a team of oxen, who were pulling an ancient-looking wheat binder. He wore a flimsy straw hat, which he tipped at me as I overtook him.

“Ho, there, girlie! What be a Fae Hunter doing out this far?” he called to me in a thick Irish brogue. There were deep lines in his leathery skin.

I put on my best dealing-with-regular-people face and replied, “Just chasing down a rebellious brownie that ran off from his assigned house.” The standard cover-story. Brownies were always running off. Of course, I hadn't been put on a mission like that since my first week on the force. But he didn't know that.

“A brownie, eh?” Just as he said the word brownie, the sun came out from behind the cloud. A stray sunbeam got caught on his hint of a smile and a bright, blue light reflected back out at me. My eyes got wide, and I stepped back a bit, feeling for my sword. I tried to keep my reaction cool, but he caught it anyway. A slow, malevolent smile spread across his face, revealing a mouthful of gemstone teeth. The straw hat became an intricate silver circlet, two emerald-eyed serpents devouring each other's tails. A symbol I'd only ever read about, seen lame pen-and-ink reproductions of. The symbol of the Unseelie court. The man's eyes began to change color wildly, like a kaleidoscope at hyper-speed. His face bubbled and swelled, the tan leather turning to milk-white satin, and became that of a young man. Only, he couldn't be a man. His face, his features. He was like a sculptor's masterpiece, a dream, an angel, or else all three at once. His hair, now jet black, flew up and grew longer, like it had a mind of it's own, and settled back down again just above his ears in jagged, razor-cut strands. The rags he wore for clothes became a pair of black breeches and a black tight-fitting shirt that came to a point on eat the waist and the wrists. There were laces at the v-shaped neckline, but they were undone, allowing the two sides of the collar to fall away from his perfect chest.

The oxen writhed and became fae horses, midnight-black velvet with red eyes. If you closed one eye, or squinted at them, or looked out of the corner of your eyes, they could look like a griffon or a phooka or a lizard or an owl or a toad or a kitten. They whinnied and reared, sensing their master's channeled intensity.

All of my years of training, every novice-level magic class, every lecture I'd ever heard told me not to do what I was about to do, but I did it anyway. I had to. I looked into his eyes, which had finally settled on a light, shimmering silver. And he held me in a vice grip. I felt like a field mouse held trapped in the gaze of a cobra, a rabbit trembling, motionless, before a hawk. I could hear his demon whispers inside my head. I screwed my eyes shut and reached for my communicator.

“Home? Home base, this is Ophelia to home base, I.D. number 4192514. Do you copy?” I sobbed, “I need immediate backup. Code Red. Repeat, Code Red.” There was static on the line, and the device began to fizzle and pop. With a flick of his wrist, he sent it flying down the road. It bounced twice, and shattered to pieces on the hard-baked earth.

Silly human, he whispered and screeched and crooned inside my head. Nobody's coming to help you.

I tried to reply, but my tongue got in the way and the words tripped out of my mouth in a mumble.

What was that? He grinned, enjoying my misery.

I took a deep breath and rallied my strength. “But I was...chasing a...”

A what? A little, mischievous band of spritelings? Of course you were. Because I allowed you to think you were. His voice was honey-sweet in my mind, as if he were speaking to a small child.

“Who-who” I gasped.

Prince blah blah blah of the blah blah Unseelie blah blah blah...does it really matter? He snickered.

Prince! Impossible. I reached for my sword.

Oh, please don't. Don't make this hard on yourself, you won't- his voice trailed off.

Disregarding him, I wielded the sword, stumbling, tears blurring my vision, coaxing my feet into some semblance of a battle stance.

He sighed and rolled his eyes. With a snap of his fingers, he persuaded my faithful sword to morph in to a silver, emerald-eyed snake, which I found myself holding by the tail. It whipped it's head around and bit me on my wrist. Liquid fire shot through my veins. I gave a burbling cry of pain.

Gasping, summoning everything I had left, I spat out a string of words, the strongest magic I knew. I had been warned against ever using them, promised they could kill me, told to save them for the absolute extremity. They bit and stung in my throat and made little blisters on my tongue and the insides of my cheeks and the roof of my mouth. The words dripped off my tongue and took shape on the air, conjoining to become a golden arrow that dripped poison like nectar from it's head. I touched the fletching with my fingertips, stroking it, begging it to fly true, then said the final, guttural word that set it flying. The magic would've killed a weaker person.

But he laughed. A laugh that filled the air like bells and drums and broke my heart into a million little pieces, and the laugh became a blue-and-silver-and-black flame that engulfed my puny, pathetic little arrow, that had seemed so powerful only a heartbeat before. And the fire burned my arrow to ashes, and the fire and the ashes became a swarm of horseflies with onyx eyes and wings that crowded about my ankles and the hem of my skirts and crowded each other to bite me.

He strode towards me and grabbed hold of my wrist. I didn't have the strength left to fight him off, nor to fight the wave of desperate longing for him, for his arms to hold me, that washed over me, as if I was nothing. This was a magic entirely new to me, and I had no knowledge of how to defend myself against it. This was his doing.

He touched my cheek, softly, almost tenderly, and ran one finger down the side of my face, tracing my jawline. It was like fire and ice, burning and freezing an angry welt on my face, that smoothed over into a shint, white scar in seconds. Silent tears streamed down my face, salt screaming in the still-healing wound, bathing his hand.

I collapsed into his arms, and he kissed me.

And I felt everything, my very life, the blood in my veins, slipping away from me. My heart, my mind, my soul, hopes, dreams, fears, past, present, future. Everything about me, ebbing away like the tide. Hungrily, greedily, gluttonously, he consumed me, and then I was no more.

Wheeling high overhead, I hung my head in disappointment. I dropped to earth to rest on a fence post. Ever since I had first smelled the stench, heard the song, of death hanging about the girl earlier that day, I had been following her, hoping for a good meal whenever she met her demise. Don't hate me for it, it's just my job. I'm a vulture. It's what I do.

Of course I was disappointed when I saw that all that greedy princeling left behind was a smoldering pile of glittery dust. Cheeky thing, to steal another's meal. I watched him wipe his mouth daintily. He ran his tongue over his gaudy teeth, and the glittering gems were transformed into a bleach-white Hollywood-perfect smile. He gave his clothing a reproachful look, and it obligingly morphed into an expensive suit; black slacks, white shirt, black jacket, black tie. He lifted the circlet from his head and flipped it over his wrist, where it quickly shrank into an unassuming Rolex. A wink turned the high-strung, flighty fae horses into a sleek, black sports car, which rumbled to life and purred like a kitten when he smiled at it. He straightened his tie (which caught and refracted the light suspiciously like diamonds, or faerie dust) got into the car, and drove away.

Meanwhile, a little ways off, in the wheat field, a little, mischievous band of spritelings danced in a ring.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hiya! It's me.
Though, you know, who else would it be? I wonder...
For me, it really hasn't been that long. My last post seems like it was fairly recent. Or, at least, not too terribly much has happened since I last posted.
Well, I started school. Guess that's technically a 'big deal,' though exactly why, I'm unsure. Yayy for aggravating text books. Boy, do I have a couple of whack-jobs this year. The curriculum I use believes in exposing me to all different viewpoints and letting me decide for myself what I believe. Pretty cool, sometimes. Opposing viewpoints=good, grumpy old guys who argue back and forth and call each other names in the name of 'theology' and 'politics'=not so great. Woohoo.
And then, there's chemistry. I adore chemistry. And I'm not being entirely sarcastic. I'm actually, honestly enjoying myself.
So far, I've read The Scarlet Letter and an Edgar Allen Poe short story. Both enjoyable to the utmost. At least I can always count on literature to be a blast.
There was that awesomely wonderful (and this time I am being sarcastic) youth group meeting. One of those 'you people are all crazy and I kinda want a time machine to skip the next hour and a half,' nights. Some things never change.
Oh, and last weekend. Hehehehe. Joy stayed over Friday night so she could go with me Saturday morning. Me and two recipes of my blondies were enlisted to accompany Grandma to a luncheon she was putting on for her church's nursery volunteers. Dawn and Nikki were both there, being nursery workers, but Dawn opted to hang withe kitchen help and assist with the waiting and bussing of dishes. But of course Nikki was dying of boredom, and as soon as she could possibly get away, she came in begging us to need her help. I love my little cousins. We had a blast.
After clean-up, Grandma dropped Nikki off at her house and drove Dawn, Joy, and me to the beach. Of course Nik wanted to go really bad, but she had a dance practice.
Being that last weekend was VA Beach's annual Neptune Festival, the traffic was AWFULLLLL. Most of our reason for going was the sand sculpture competition. The international sand sculpture competition, with seasoned competitors from all over the world. Apparently, we have one every year. Go figure!
But Grandma couldn't find a place to park, so she kicked us out of the car at a red light. We went down to the boardwalk. The crowds, like the traffic, were impossible. There was no getting close enough to get a satisfactory look at the sculptures. We did the best we could, while elbowing through the vicious mob and fighting to stay together. Then we made our way back to the general area where we'd been dropped off to call Grandma. She still couldn't find a parking spot. She told us she'd just drive around until we'd had our fill, and then she would pick us up. Well, of course I had to go and do guilt over that, because she wanted to seem the sand sculptures even more than we had. So I told her we'd wait as long as it took, and to call us when she found a spot. We agreed on that, and me and the girls walked down to the water to wait.
Boy, was that a mistake. Oh, it was great at first. We held our flip flops and walked in up to our thighs, running away every time a wave came along that would be big enough to get our shorts wet. And then I saw him. I swear, I SAW...umm...a guy. A particular guy, who, well, let's just say that randomly running into him on the beach was NOT first on my to-do list. I froze, stared at him, and said, "Joy. Please tell me I'm crazy."
And, of course, she replies, "DUDE!! You're absolutely insane! No way!!!"
Not exactly helping me convince myself I was wrong. The head, the hair (or lack thereof), the ears, everything. I'm telling you, it was him. And he was with a girl. Hahaha. No. Well, thank heavens, he stood up and turned around, which is when we saw the tattoos. It wasn't him. Thank you, sweet merciful heavens. I tried to go back to having fun. We all did. Poor Dawn didn't have a clue what was going on. And then Mr. Imposter and his girlfriend started making their way towards us. Well, I think they were just making their way to shore, but they were right in front of us, and we decided not to risk it. We turned and started walking back up to the boardwalk.
Called Grandma again, she really couldn't find a parking spot. So we decided to just leave. Ugh, just getting back in the car was a pain in the rear. Either her directions weren't clear, or I really am just an idiot, or something, because we couldn't seem to communicate at all. We went from fifth street, to seventh, then back to sixth, where we waited next to the bus stop for like, ten minutes. I don't know what came over me, but it was all I could do not to get on that bus. Just to see what would happen. I literally made Joy grab hold of me so I couldn't. Just imagine what an adventure that would've been. Eventually, we wound up stopping on third, then going to second, where we FINALLY met up with Grandma. Got in the car, made a stop at 7-11 to stave off the impending dehydration from the whole ordeal, went HOME!!!
Church on Sunday was as is to be expected. I helped in the first-and-second grade class, then wound up walking with Noah after church. He's so much fun. Then hung with Haley for a while, who was home from college on a visit. Then took Isabel and Corinne home with me to work on a dance. There's this big contest coming up, where you submit a video, and we're doing a dance to the Flyleaf song Cassie, but more on that later.
Had a blast working with them, as usual. Joy's gonna work with the other half of the group, then we're gonna all get together to shoot the video.
Then all three of us headed to the church for women's Bible study, same as every Sunday night. It's changed considerably since the last time I posted about it. No more boys, no more Stephen. A widely varying crowd, often involving mostly girls, two of which are under five. Two are between five and ten, one of those being obsessed with armadillos. Two are older than ten, and therefore require minimal babysitting. Our only boys are, occasionally, Brandon and his little brothers, and Noah, a fantastic little kid who just happens to be blind. Okay, so Brandon doesn't exactly require babysitting either, and neither, for the most part, does his thirteen-y-o brother, but they do make our lives difficult-er. And then, half of the youth group girls go. Me and Joy, plus Corine, Isabel, Tabby, and occasionally Tori. Oh, and sometimes the pastor's three darling boys. (Please note:voice dripping with sarcasm.)
But last week we had one of the under-fives, a three-year-old named Emmy, and Noah. Emmy spent most of the time pretend-cooking for me, bossing me around, coloring, and dancing around. Noah, however, found an evening's pastime playing with my iPod. Now, I have a third gen shuffle, the one with the controls in the headphones. Except I was playing it through a speaker, so the controls were just in the cord. But they aren't easy to operate. He got it figured out, though, and he hd a blast. Developed quite a taste for TobyMac.
And now, my friends, I've gotta be going. G'night!!! :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Cast

So I realize that, even with the little list of characters over to your right that I try to keep updated, things get a little confusing. I'll use a new name without any explanation at all, talk about somebody I haven't in a very long time, et cetera.
So I decided to give y'all the full run-down.
Family. Nuclear: Mom and Dad, Andrew, Anne, and Riley. Extended, Mom's side: Grandma and Pawpaw (with whom we are currently living), Uncle Bubba, Aunt Ruthie, and cousins Dawn, and Nikki. Extended, Dad's side: Nana and Papaw, Aunt Becky, Uncle Jared, and cousin Cara, Uncle Andy, Hailey, and Cal. Even further extended, Dad's side: the Ohio cousins, mainly Spring and Lynn.
Friends, youth group, girls: Tabby, who's relatively new to the group. Tori. Corine, who's become something of a little sister to me. Isabel, the youth leader's daughter and a dear friend. Haley, who very recently left for college. Them, along with Joy and myself, sort of make up the core group, as far as girls go. We're super-close, but the neat thing is, we're not clique-ish at all. We work really hard, when new people come in, to make them part of the group as fast as possible. Initiate them, sort of. The people we're working on right now are Cali, Danni, and Mandi.
Friends, youth group, guys: Stephen, alternately pretty cool and the bane of my existence. Brandon, I guess you'd call him my best guy friend. His little brother Paul, the anti-social one. Aaron, the future marine. Josh, the class clown. His little brother Pete, the miniature Josh, minus the angst. And that basically covers it.
I don't really have any friends outside of youth group, which is kinda lame, but oh well. C'est la vie. And that about covers it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Give UP!!!

Yeah, so, it's been almost two months. I give up telling the story of the youth trip from outer space.
So, short version. Dinner. Hung out with Tori, Joy, and Corine. Met everybody else back at the eiffel tower. Rode Dominator one last (crazy, insane. mad, wonderful, terrible) time. Rode home. Amidst much singing of the Journey and the Banana Phone, many discussions about the walruses and the sniffing of sheep tea. Somebody reallllyyyyy needed to go to sleep. Aand it wasn't me.
Since then, wow. That really was a long time ago. Found an abandoned litter of kittens, nursed them back to health. Our three precious babies are doing wonderfully. I'm seriously going back through facebook posts to remember this stuff. Watched Planet 51. Hated it. Discovered that they make bottle warmers for the car. Oh, the things you learn, volunteering at the Crises Pregnancy Center. Went to the beach with my youth group. Well, my girlfriends and Brandon. Got turned into a lobster. Decided, along with Joy, that Matt Smith needs to come ride the golf cart with us. But only if Anne's driving. Did a fair amount of writing, mostly on my new story Troubadours & Turncoats. Also wrote a short story, Jeweltone, which I just may post on here. Played backyard survivor (relay races, archery, gummy-worm eating contest, mud pies, Titanic Ice Contest, and more...) with my family. Go blue team!!! Had the annual summer vacation high-stakes Monopoly tournament with Andrew. He won. Went to the evil dentist's office. Discovered just how much I like the half-way stair (see why here). Went to see the new Karate Kid and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Karate Kid had slightly-less-than-fun side effects, but that's nothing new...
Entirely destroyed my bedroom. Mostly because my dresser keeled over and died. Spent a week living in the wreckage before I (well, Mom made me) get up the courage to clean it. It was an all-day affair. Had a really painful dream involving zombies and line dancing. Not. Fun.
Had a pool, erm, excuse me 'ool (Ood?) party with my youth group. Well, my girlfriends, Brandon, and his little brother. It's possible we scared everybody else away...then all us girls went home with Tabby for a random, no-particular-reason sleepover. She lives in this gorgeous log cabin wayyy out in the middle of nowhere with her grandparents, who insist we all call them Grandma and Papa. It was so much fun. :) We played Imaginiff, talked about nothing, and watched (or, slept through) Rattatoullie.
Started back to regular midweek Bible studies. Which means same-old-same-old youth group routine. Furiously taking notes, trying to be sociable, dealing with stupid people, woohoo. Also means back to after-Bible-study band practice. Which is always a party. Not.
And, I think that's it. Very "Lemme 'splain. No, would take too much time. Lemme sum up." I'll be back on soon. :) Ttfn!
(P.S. Don't you love how Tigger was the father of text-speak?)