Posts Tagged ‘mother’

Changeling

Posted: December 30, 2013 by writingsprint in Fantasy, The Wizard's Family
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

changelingKit started toward the boy, then stopped. He didn’t know what to do. He felt angry. Then he felt confused. He felt furious! Lady put her hand on his shoulder, but he slapped it away and ran over to the boy.

The boy had just finished capturing another firefly. He turned quickly when he heard the footsteps running up behind him. The boy took a step back, completely forgetting about the jar. Fireflies started to escape. The other boy became very still. “It’s you,” he said.

“Who are you?” Kit asked.

“I’m Kit. I took your place after Lady and the Master came for you.”

Kit looked back at the maple tree. Lady was gone. He looked around, trying to see whether she hid somewhere else or had flown away, but she was nowhere to be seen.

“You have to go before my parents see you.”

“They’re my parents! I want to meet them.”

Kit started toward the house. The other boy grabbed at his arm. Kit spun and pushed him so hard he fell to the ground.

He felt the power rising up inside him. Kit breathed. He didn’t want to start throwing things or breaking things. Lady and Master would be angry… but it didn’t matter. He didn’t care. He wanted to go home.

“What’s going on? Kit? Who are you talking to?” His father and mother came running outside. His father held a carving knife. He was tall – really tall, towering over him, with arms of ropy muscle. His hair was curly and brown.

His mother stood at his side, with alert, bright eyes. She saw Kit, the false Kit laying on the ground, and gasped. “Get away from my boy!” she cried. She scooped up the false Kit and backed up toward the house.

His father stood between them, holding up the knife. “What’s going on?

“It’s a changeling. They want to take our baby!”

The changeling wrapped its arms around his mother’s neck and started crying. “Help me, mommy!” it wailed, diving into the role.

Kit cried, “I’m not a changeling! He’s a changeling!” Hot tears ran down his face. His own family was hugging another boy. Kit’s heart tore open like a living wound. Like blood, he could feel the power spilling out all around him and he couldn’t do anything to stop it.

His father looked confused. He couldn’t seem to bear to attack him. He waved the knife but didn’t come closer. “Go away! Leave us alone!”

Kit pointed, and kept yelling, “He’s a changeling! He’s a changeling!”

Kit felt an insubstantial something spring from his hand to the changeling. In the moonlight he saw it pour like a stream of hot air, splashing all over the changeling’s body. It squealed in terror, writhing. Kit’s mother almost dropped the boy, then wished she had, as it changed from chestnut hair to hairless, and fair-skinned to gray. It’s ears pointed. The changeling’s glamour was gone.

Kit’s mother screamed a bloodcurdling sound that made the night shudder. The changeling broke free and ran, crying, “Not my fault, master! Not my fault!” Kit’s father started toward Kit. Desperate light shone in his eyes.

Kit backed up fast. “I’m your son! Father, they took me!”

“Where’s our baby?” his mother yelled at him.

“I’m your baby!”

His father seized him by the arm and twisted it so hard he almost broke it. He cried, “Give us back our son!”

“We’ll cook him on our fire until it gives him back! That kills changelings!” his mother said.

No. This couldn’t be. This couldn’t be.

Kit just reacted. He threw his father a dozen feet. He landed hard on his back, coughing and moaning. His mother ran at him.

Kit ran into the darkness, crying so hard he could barely see. He wished for trees and branches to get in his mother way. He didn’t want to. He had to. He knew what would happen if he didn’t. He heard them tangling behind him. Trees skittered out of his way. Kit might as well have had his own path to run through.

“Where is our son?” his mother screamed. “Give us back our son, you demon!”

Kit ran forever.

Far in the shadows away from the cabin, Lady sniffed back tears, her hands clenched in fists, as she watched Kit run off. He would be easy enough to find, especially under tonight’s moon. She had hated taking him as a baby, years ago. It could only have ended this way. It didn’t make it better.

Master Vrajitor stood next to her. Lady’s stifled a tremble in her voice. “It worked. Now we’re his family. He has no one else to turn to. He’ll need us more than ever.”

“You did well, Lady. This was an excellent plan. Bring him back to the tower by morning.”

“Yes, master Vrajitor. What about the family?”

“They are nothing. The boy is all that matters.”

Lady said nothing. The Master took her hand to kiss it. It took every ounce of strength Lady had not to snatch it back, as well as memories of pain at this man’s hands. She bowed her head, and summoned a sweet smile.

The Master flew away. When he flew out of sight, she shuddered. Lady wrung her hands over and over, trying to scrub off the feeling of his touch.

Advertisements

Sometimes Your Answer Is Inside Your Problem

Posted: November 12, 2013 by writingsprint in Adrift
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

sea stormA cloudy morning gave way to an afternoon rain storm. John tied himself to the raft with bungee cords and his belt. Waves tossed the raft in every direction, but by some miracle it never tipped over. He couldn’t imagine how. Again and again he would get thrown forward, backward, and the raft would tip upward until he was face to face with a spinning horizon. Then the raft would drop, the wave would crash on top of him, and he would see sky again.

Sheets of lightning ripped overhead. Thunder hammers pounded his eardrums. John screamed back at it. He thought his ears bled. The world split into black and white flashes, world positive and photo negative. He wanted to go home. He cried for his mother and for God.

“Do you remember?” his mother asked him.

John saw her in the sky, behind the lightning. She was holding his favorite bedtime story books. A wall of water slapped him. John gagged.

“What did I tell you?” she asked patiently.

“It isn’t real,” he shouted. The lightning tried to drown him out. He still heard the words.

She nodded. “That’s right. Count to ten. It’ll go away.”

He asked her the same thing he’d asked then: “What if it doesn’t go away?”

“Count to ten again. Only stronger.”

John started counting. Lightning blinded him. Thunder cracked the world. He got angry and counted louder.

“Good job, honey. Keep counting.”

He reached ten.

Mother Nature refused to be outdone. The raft went up on the biggest wave yet. John thought he could see his house from here. When the wave came down, the raft went flying, and so did John. The pathetic knot he tied with his belt didn’t hold. Neither did the one he tied with his tie. The bungees did, but the clips were bending.

He was too weak. Three days with almost no food and water.

“Don’t panic, honey. What did I tell you?” she asked.

He couldn’t remember. The raft was flipped over. How would he get it back up in this mess?

He started counting.

“That’s good. Think. When nothing’s working…”

Thunder struck him again. John shook his fist at the sky and got a mouthful of water for his trouble.

“Getting angry doesn’t help,” she said firmly. “Look at me!”

He looked up. He had one hand on the handhold of capsized raft, two bungees tied around his arm that were dragging him under the waves, and clothes that were dragging him under. Behind the flashes of lightning, in between the clouds, he saw her patient face. She’d always been good that way.

He said, “Sometimes your answer is inside your problem.”

“Give it a try.”

John dove under the water. He couldn’t see. Everything was muffled. He groped around, swimming in ink, and came up inside the raft. He could only see slivers of light when the raft hopped off the water. At least now he was next to where he had tied off, and the bungees weren’t dragging him under.

He grabbed hold of one side of the raft and hopped into it. He tried to pull it under. Like before, the raft fought back and popped back up. It landed flat. John’s mother clapped her hands with the sound of softer thunder.

“Good, Johnny! Good!”

“Thanks, mom,” he mumbled.

Lightning flashed. The thunder rolled again. Softer, again. He had a long way to go, but the storm was leaving.

John held on. He drank rain water while he could. The food was gone. All the supplies. Tomorrow would be a hard day.

Tomorrow.

Dueling over Champagne

Posted: August 24, 2013 by writingsprint in Choices
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

galaThe fundraising gala leading up to auditions was one of the most sought-after events on the Coronet City calendar. The guest list was a who’s who of the most dazzling personalities in the system, and many from outside of it. The dancers and their families walked among the guests, introducing themselves and thanking the guests for their generous donations.

“I look forward to giving you a wonderful show. Thank you,” Jeana said, hugging an elderly gentleman and his wife. He smelled like rosemary and good cigars. His wife gave her a light kiss on the cheek.

Her mother scanned the crowd as the couple walked away. “Well then, that’s almost everyone.”

Jeana sipped her champagne. “I’ve been ticking them off in my head. There are three left, and they’re all occupied with other people right now.”

“There’s plenty of time. We should just enjoy ourselves and make our way over to them.”

Jeana tasted an hors d’oeurve of beef wrapped in bacon. Just the right amount of crunch. Simple, perfect. She hoped she’d meet the chef after the serving courses were over. She bit down on the toothpick when she saw Miss Tallus making nice with one of the leading bankers in Coronet. Jeana let out a hotter breath than went in. “I do see someone I’d like to talk to.”

Her mother snorted. “That’s funny. Do you want me to come along?”

“Hmm… nah. You can just watch if you want to.”

Jeana kept her champagne, to keep the pretense of being civil. She walked up from behind the banker, so that Miss Tallus could see her coming. Miss Tallus flinched just enough for Jeana to notice, since she was looking for it. She gave Jeana a look that said not to join them. Jeana smiled and came over.

“And this is one of our principals,” Miss Tallus said warmly. “Mr. and Mrs. Verona, meet Jeana Lysset.”

“A pleasure, but we already know each other. How’s your son’s fencing coming, Mr. Verona?”

“Very well. He placed second in the district competition last year, thanks to you.”

“That’s great. Tell him I said hello.”

“I will.” He and his wife bowed properly, since Jeana was highborn. “My lady,” he said.

“Good sir,” Jeana replied, and returned the gesture. The Veronas excused themselves.

“You need to learn something about courtesy,” Miss Tallus said.

“Pleasantries… we bowed… I can’t think of anything I missed,” Jeana said.

“You weren’t welcome.” Miss Tallus kept smiling as people walked by. Jeana sensed her feelings. She was furious.

“We’re old friends. I hadn’t had a chance to see them until now. It isn’t my fault I came up on them from the blind side.”

“That’s very funny. I trust that, now that you’ve said hello to your friends, you’ll move along?”

“Not at all! We’ve never had a chance to talk. I always wanted to talk to you about dancing. Politics. War. Sports. Smoothie recipes.”

Miss Tallus smiled a hard, angry smile. “Enough, Jeana.”

Jeana stepped closer, and smiled, too. “Sorry to take away your schmoozing time. I’m sure everyone here wants to know how great you are, and when you’ll shake the dust of Corellia of your feet and go back to dancing among the stars. It’s not like there are people counting on you to help shape them into dancers.”

Miss Tallus stepped closer. With their smiles, they looked like friends sharing a joke. “It’s not like they have the Force to help them dance.”

“I can dance circles around anyone at the school and you know it.”

“Not without the Force.”

“Bullshit!”

“Not without the Force. You know that it helps you.”

“No.” Of course it helped her. Jeana wouldn’t concede the point.

Miss Tallus lifted her chin. “Adri Corrino, and girls like her, don’t have that advantage. You and your lightsaber. To you this is a hobby. To girls like Adri, it’s their lives.”

“I love it as much as they do.”

“I don’t care how much you love it. Every dancer who ever lived loves it. I hate your privilege. You’re not a dancer; you’re a Sith. I won’t let you just walk away with the lead.”

“The final round’s a panel of judges. I deserve that spot, and I’ll get it,” Jeana said.

Another group of donors came to say hello. Jeana and Miss Tallus stood side by side and pretended to be best friends. It was the hardest part of the night for both of them. Ten agonizing minutes later, Jeana raised her glass, bowed, and took her leave.

I like how this scene turned out. We finally learn why Miss Tallus (and I’m not too hot on that name, either) despises Jeana. We also get to see them somewhere other than a room with hardwood floors where people are training. The part that bugs me is that the story is getting bigger. I need to keep it focused. Hmm.

Choices

Posted: July 14, 2013 by writingsprint in Choices, Fantasy, Science fiction
Tags: , , , , ,

sword dancer

Jeana stalked into the gym at her family’s house. Her eyes blazed. Every step flared with barely contained rage. “No one talk to me,” she said. The training droids and her sparring partners didn’t say a word. She waited for her mother to comment. Nothing, yet. She followed a scalpel-straight line from the entrance to the locker room. The clatter of the door slamming behind her echoed for seconds after she was gone.

Her mother Jessica laughed. “Sorry, everyone. Jeana’s going to be on fire today.” She handed her daughter’s favorite light saber to Snow, one of the trainers. He gulped. She said, “Low power, setting two. Don’t worry, everyone. She likes you, so I don’t think anyone’s going to die today.”

Inside the locker room, Jeana went straight to hers and started changing. Her mother demanded strict discipline when it came to fighting. She had ten minutes until it was time to start. Her dance teacher was the same, only worse. Much, much, darkly, blackly, clawingly worse.

She put the bag with her dance clothes in the locker. Jeana was about to change worlds from dance class to what she nicknamed Sith class. The two were alike in a lot of ways. Passion. Grace. Precision. Jeana touched the curled edge of a picture inside her locker door, of her first solo, when she was twelve. Her chin trembled. They also shared pettiness, jealousy, and heartbreak. Her heart vibrated between sadness and rage. Jeana sighed, and her heart chose both. A few tears fell. She kept moving. In moments she had replaced her dance clothes with her training armor.

Jeana walked back into the training hall. “Bad day at class?” her mother asked.

“Mom… I said don’t talk to me.”

“Use that attitude on your training partners, young warrior. Not with me.”

Her mother tossed her the saber. Jeana looked at it funny. “Setting two? We’ve been doing four.”
“At four you’re going to kill somebody today. We don’t have any throwaway partners in here.”

Jeana cracked a grin. Some light seeped into her bitter heart. “You can always make me laugh.”

“Laughter’s good for balance.”

“And balance in the heart means passion with precision,” Jeana recited. “Someday I’m going to get you to lose it, and just see what happens.”

Her mother smiled nervously. “Oh, honey. Just make sure your helmet’s on when that day happens.”
Jeana walked into the center ring. She filled her soul with the fury she still felt, only now she set it to the melody of a song they’d been dancing to in recital practice.

It was a good day sparring for Jeana, a rough one for her partners.

What? I already did a post called “Choices”? Well, here’s another one.

The photo is from Desktop Nexus and is used without permission.

Scene from a Hospital Room: Marie

Posted: September 26, 2011 by writingsprint in postaday2011, postaweek2011, Writing
Tags: , , ,

Marie came to her feet slowly as her parents and brother walked into the room. Her body still ached all over. Her legs felt rubbery. She went to hug her mother, and her father reached his arms around both of them as she did. “Glad you could make it,” she whispered.

They let go and she hugged her brother, who smiled a goofy smile and gave her a light kiss on the cheek. Marie smiled. He’d never done that before. He’d never been an uncle before, either.

“How are you doing?” her mother asked.

“Good, fine.” She hugged her thick bathrobe around herself. It was the terrycloth robe from home, her favorite, and it made the antiseptic, tiled hospital room feel cozy.

This scene is part of Voice Week from Be Kind Rewrite.

The Moonlight Walkway

Posted: February 7, 2011 by writingsprint in Fantasy, postaday2011, postaweek2011, Weird, Writing
Tags: , , , ,

At the end of one of my brainstorming sessions I wrote, “The image of a darkened room, then one single candle, held by someone whose face I can barely see. I guess I’ll write that one next time.”

The room was dark like the inside of a cave. Carli reached out, wondering in a dreamlike way if she would touch the smooth, bumpy, damp surface of stalagmites.

She was about to call out when someone lit a match in the middle of the room. The light jabbed her eyes. Whoever was holding the match was silhouetted by the flare, and Carli couldn’t tell if they were a man or woman, old or young.

The room was a library. Books hugged the wall and disappeared in a vault overhead that went out of sight. The dark felt like invisible hands reaching down to pull her up into it. Carli couldn’t help hunching lower. She tried to make herself smaller and stay out of the web of darkness above her.

The match lit a candle, and the candle bearer turned. It was a woman. Carli could see a dress and the curve of her waist and bosom. The candle was dim enough that she could only see hints of her face in trickles of red light.

“I’m here for the boy,” Carli said. “Help me find him.”

“The master wants the child. The master will have what he wants. He will have the child’s soul.” The woman’s voice sounded like a cold whisper. Carli remembered it from her first night in the house; the voice by her bedside that she couldn’t quite hear.

“Help me find him.”

The candle light flickered and Carli had a brief, better look at her. She looked like a chamber maid. Her eyes and mouth were folded with the sad lines of a mother who had known loss. “The path is closed to flesh without the master’s bidding.”

“The threshold to the other side is in flesh and ice, spirit and cold,” Carli quoted. She pointed at the candle. “Flesh will walk by spirit’s light.”

The maid swallowed. That was all Carli could see, but if the sudden cold that prickled her skin was any measure, the woman was terrified. “I can take you to the master and your child. I can guide you through the dark places but only flesh can restore you to flesh.”

“I know.” Carli nodded and held out her hand. She was jumping without a parachute. Dr. Marcus was breaking speed records to get here, but even if he got here in time, if he couldn’t revive her, they would both be trapped on the other side. “Take me to my son.”

When you write something like this, and a pillow falls over on the couch next to you for no reason, it makes you jump!