Monday, July 30, 2018

Secondary Characters Speak Out: Nisse! Nisse!

Quartz sits in his studio, only does he have a studio? Oh, yeah, he’s got a chair made of crystal which he sits in when he interviews people. 

Across from him on a couch, yes, he’s allowed that anachronism here beyond the third wall sit a trio of bearded men? It’s hard to tell. They’re all shorter than him. Shorter than garden gnomes. One of them has a red cap pulled down low, hiding his eyes. Only his large red nose and long, gray beard are visible. 

Quartz: Right. I understand you’re nisse. You play a part, a very small part in Wind Me Up, One More Time, the scribbler’s intended holiday submission to Nine Star Press. Which she’s taking her usual sluggardly time on. I understand you’re some sort of sprite or kobolds?

The nisse don’t speak. They just stare at Quartz. One of them whispers to another. The two nisse fix their beady eyes on him. 

Quartz: At least you two have eyes. (tries not to look at eyeless one) Not to mention beards. 


Quartz: Not that you all look the same. 
The nisse continue to stare at Quartz. 

Quartz: Well, say something! Or else this isn’t going to be much of an interview. 

The eyeless one lets out a high pitched giggle. All three of them start snickering. 

Quartz: (getting irritated) If all you’re going to do is-

Cinnamon walks straight out of reality past the fourth wall into this interview, as if she own alls of it. Which she does. She is, after all, a cat. 

The nisse leap out of their seats, falling over their own spindly limbs and each other to goggle at Cinnamon.

1st Nisse: Ah, why you beautiful lady! Such lovely fur you have!”

2nd Nisse: Such proud whiskers! Surely you are a queen among domestic cats!

The 2nd Nisse reaches out to pet the queen…only to have Cinnamon hiss at him. 

The other two prostrate themselves, groveling before her. 

The 2nd Nisse backs away, head bowed. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

#QueerBlogWed: Let's Just Talk

On June 27, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at her Wednesday Words prompt a dust bunny, a heat wave, and a blood splatter.

These original characters leaped out of the long neglected ghosts of Poltergeist the Legacy fanfics never written, demanding a voice. They kept talking, spawning a much larger story than I'd planned to write, which I have yet to finish. :)

This is what I've got so far...

The air was hot, moist, and damp, making her russet blouse cling to her arms and full skirt stick to her legs. Aware of her own physicality in a slimy sense, Caitlin chased a dust bunny from the porch with a broom, grimacing at the amount of grime and filth which had managed to gather. 

It was a never ending battle between Caitlin and the dust, must, and other elements of entropy, one she could never win. 

Contemplating the hopelessness of it all, she saw the blood stain, clinging to the stairs. 

Wonderful. More chaos and death. Just what she needed. 

“You can see it?” A hushed voice, warm and wet as the air murmured in her ear. 

“You’re too close.” Caitlin stepped back before realizing she’d just let the ghost know she’d heard her. 

Marvelous. Another deadbeat stalker to follow her, desperate for the help of a ‘medium’. Not that Caitlin was any kind of medium. She kept her back to the ghost, refusing to give it any more attention than she had already. 

“Get lost.” She attacked another dust bunny with her broom, only to have it skitter away through the bristles. “I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“Why are you talking to me, if you don’t believe in them?” Exasperation colored the spirit’s voice, leaking into the air. 

Some of the plants shivered and drooped at the sound. 

“Because you’re a menace to the few flowers I have. If you had any regard for plant life while you were alive, I’m hoping you’ll show some consideration!” Caitlin transferred her broom to one hand and pointed at the pot with the bent stems. “Because once I show any sympathy for one of you, an entire of army of ghosts show up, all demanding help with their unresolved issues!” 

She whirled to face the ghost, jabbing her broom at the despoiler of the virgin plants. “This is all your fault. Why didn’t you try to live a more meaningful life instead of waiting until after death to figure out you were a mess?!”

The ghost’s lower lip, or what looked far too much like a lower lip began to tremble. 
Maybe that had been a bit harsh, even if it was true. Truth was only too often the harshest thing out there. Most people weren’t ready for it. 

Especially restless spirits. 

“You’re right.” This particular spirit’s face sharpened, lines of care appearing above her rounded cheeks, straight, dark hair falling forward across her forehead, the image of a smiling, sprightly pink haired girl with a sword standing proudly in the middle of her black t-shirt. 

Caitlin found herself softening a little more at the sight of that image. Restless spirit or not, she couldn’t knock this one’s taste.

“I should have led a more meaningful life. It’s not the sort of the thing you realize, right? Make the most of the time you’ve got or else you’ll be stuck in an incorporeal state on a grumpy medium’s porch.” The girl raised an eyebrow at Caitlin.

“I’m not grumpy! Just because I’m not all smiles and seances doesn’t make me grumpy!” Caitlin drew the broom in close against her chest. “Besides I’m not a medium! Not everyone who can see spirits decides to make her whole life revolve around that single ability!”

“Defensive?” The ghost raised hands which Caitlin could no longer see through. “I didn’t mean to wither your flowers. I honestly didn’t. You may find this hard to believe, but the last thing I want to do is antagonize a human who can actually see me.” 

The ghost lowered her head, fixing large, dark, almost soulful brown eyes upon Caitlin. They were entirely too much like a puppy’s, the puppy that stares at you silently, pleading with you to take her home. 

Trying to ignore them made Caitlin feel as if she’d kicked said puppy. 

“All right. Fine,” she relented. “What’s your name and what do you want?”

“I’m Minae. All I want is to talk to someone. Anyone.” Dark hair fell forward, shimmering and transparent around her face. “Just for a little while.”

“You couldn’t talk to anyone while you were alive?” All she wanted was conversation. This was almost pitiful. Especially when she had such great taste in anime. 

“Not with anyone who listened or was interested in the same things I was.” Minae made a half hearted gesture toward her shirt. 

Sympathies locked and engaged. Any misgivings Caitlin might have had evaporated in the heat of her fangirly scorn for anyone who couldn’t appreciate that anime. 

“You didn’t have any friends who shared your interest?” Caitlin bit her lower lip, trying not to relive lonely school days past. 

“I didn’t have any friends.” The ghost’s round shoulders slumped, concealed by comforting folds of shirt. 

This stirred further empathy. Caitlin also favored baggy clothing which hid an ample figure, whether said clothing was fashionable or not. 

“Not real friends.” Minae exposed small white teeth in a mouth which looked only too solid. “Just people I spent time with in order not be alone.” 

This brought back memories Caitlin could no longer shove into the back of her mind, memories of surrounding herself with a crowd. Joining in with a group of other girls, smiling, laughing, not really touched by anything which was said. 

She hadn’t disliked any of those girls. Smiling at them, laughing at their terrible jokes had been easy. Almost natural. Perhaps even a little fun. Caitlin enjoyed acting. Here she was playing the part of someone like everyone else. 

Someone who wasn’t her. 

This wasn’t something she’d understood at the time. Not until she met someone who truly looked at Caitlin for the first time. 

(To be continued next Wednesday, August 1, 2018...) 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

#QueerBlogWed: Seashore Poem

On July 4, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt, involving the rocket's red glare, a seashore, and a man with a missing finger.

This prompt, along with own mournful attempt to hang onto shreds of patriotism in the face of increasing shame at the actions of my government, and the reactions of certain friends and family members to them inspired this poem.

Standing on the seashore
Staring at the space between his fingers
The rockets, glare, shooting overhead
Trailing red in their wake
A bloody barrier cutting through the sky

He’s proud of his missing finger
For he lost it defending his country
He’s proud whenever he hears the rockets
He’s proud of who he is.

He says, “I’m not too smart
Not too fancy
I don’t understand any of the things you keep yelling about
Civil liberties or making a country great again
As far as I’m concerned
This country is still great
Our seashores are still beautiful
And I’m proud of my missing finger.

Yeah, I sometimes wonder about what’s going on these days
Mr. Gonzales used to make great tamales at the little hole in the wall in the corner
One day he and his family just left
I saw him drive off in a big truck
His wife was crying
My own little girl asked what happened to his little girl
She’s no longer in school
My little girl wanted to ask to her to come to the seashore
To watch the rockets exploding overhead
That little girl no longer lives in this town
Or in this country
Where did that little girl go?
Mine can’t stop crying
Still the rockets are beautiful
Trailing red, exploding overhead
And I’m proud of this missing finger

Which I lost protecting this country.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

#QueerBlogWed: Fairest Freebie Story

On June 20, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted a prompt about a magical plant, a song, and summer.

All of a sudden, I was back in the setting of Fairest. I could faintly hear Briar, who was once Blanche, singing in the distant. Garnet was sitting next to Quartz in from of their cottage. The two of them listened to her song.

Garnet's sad memories of trying to get their girl back, once she was cursed and lying in a coffin inspired the rest of this freebie story, along with the rage he once felt toward Oriana...

Every once in a while, I think I can hear her singing in the Forest of Tears. 

My hearing isn’t as good as yours was. You’d stop in the middle of your whittling to grumble. 

“It’s hot. We’re sweating. The air is too dry. What’s she got to sing about in the middle of the summer any way?” 

The corners of your lips would creep up into a smile. Don’t think your beard hid it, Quartz. 

“If I were to sing, I’d voice a protest against that blasted sun, making us all sweat. Convince it to hide its face under a cloud, I would. Instead that girl is singing her thanks for light and warmth.”

You’d shake your head, but I saw the moisture at the corner of your eye. I pretended I didn’t. Who’d believe you? All that grumbling, yet that human girl you brought in never failed to make you smile. Not even you could keep complaining. Once you said your piece, you’d stop. 

The two of us would sit there, listening to her song. Something about her voice, distant and it was, made my ears and whiskers tingle with the presence of an etheral world, born of sound and air. 

Creatures of rock and stone like us weren’t supposed to intrude on that world. It rippled in waves around us, brought by her song. 

For a moment, I wondered what it would be like to be a creature of wind and air. 

Did you ever wonder, Quartz? It was so easy for you to be one with the rocks in the mines where we worked, to commune with them in an almost intimate way. Your face would grow slack when you touched your name stone, becoming still as death. 

It would be so like you to be in that state now. Not stone dead in a coffin. 

That cursed apple. If only she hadn’t accepted it from that witch Oriana. 

Greedy cow. She couldn’t handle our girl finding even a little happiness away from her. You’d think it would have been enough to steal her throne and her heart. No, that Oriana had to take our princess’s life as well. 

“There are magical plants growing in the Forest of Tears.” Contrite, lowering her head, she wrung her hands, not meeting our eyes. “If we gather enough of them, I could make a special salve to apply to my lips, turning my kiss into something even more magical.”

“How nice for you.” You looked her up and down. “You’re a queen, aren’t you? I imagine you’ve got countless servants who could obtain the plant for you. Why do you need us?”

“My servants are too afraid to come into the Forest of Tears. Besides, none of them love Blanche the way we do.” She raised her tear stained face. “Please, Quartz. This is a task I can only ask of you and your brothers.”

“What about you?” I demanded, unable to keep silent. “She was devoted to you. Shouldn’t you take part in gathering this plant?”

“Blanche won’t awaken for me.” Oriana fixed her liquid blue eyes upon you. “She might awaken for you.” She tightened her slender hands into fists. Calluses roughened each digit, an unexpected sign of hard labor. “Do you think it’s easy to me to admit this? My love, which drove me to do dark deeds, including curse her, can’t even undo what I inflicted!”

“Maybe that’s why!” Once again, I was unable to keep silent. “You betrayed her, put her in a state of sleeping death with no idea of how to release her! Maybe your love was never true!”

“Garnet.” There was no real reproach in the way you said my name. Just a silent anguish which all seven of us brothers shared. 

You in particular. 

“I’m only too well aware of that.” For the first time, Oriana looked at me. 

How piteous her hollow eyes looked in her pale face. Poor Oriana. If she stir the sympathy of those who detested her, what effect would her beseeching gaze have upon one who loved her?

I could almost hear what this witch had said to our girl. 

“Please. Take this apple. I want you to have it. In memory of the love which once lay between us, take a bite and forgive me.”

Rage curdled into our pity. Our girl wouldn’t have had a chance against her pleas. Not with her kind, broken heart. 

“Is this how you get people to do what you want?” My mouth had a will of its own. It couldn’t stay closed. “The king, your subjects, her, and now us, trying to move us to your will. You’re a witch! Can’t you do anything yourself?”

“Garnet.” You laid a hand upon my shoulder. “We’ll look for the plant. Not for this witch. For our Fairest.”

“Fairest?” Oriana recoiled a little from both of us. “Are you speaking of Princess Blanche?”

“She detested the name Blanche.” You offered the witch one of your stern, measuring looks. Not exactly accusing, just reflecting back everything you saw like a mirror caught within your namestone. “We gave her another. Fairest is our name for her. Not yours.”

“I suppose I deserved that.” Oriana lowered her head, tears running down her cheeks. “If only I’d never…how could I have done that to her?” She started to sob. 

I refused to pity her. Not while our girl lay in that coffin, trapped under her spell. 

In the end, we did as you said. We went out and searched for the ridiculous magical plant with its purple leaves and speckled petals. It bloomed only in the summer, so we toiled in the hot sun, gathering enough flowers for the witch’s potion. 

At times I thought I heard her, singing on the wind, like she had in a summer past. I wondered if I was imagining things. 

You raised your head, stopped where you stood. For a moment, our eyes met. 

Only she didn’t come out of the forest, smiling with flushed cheeks as she had long ago. All we had was the faint hint of song which might have been the wind. 

Oriana took the petals, crushing them in a pestle, which she added a sticky sap to. The mess turned into a purple paste. 

First she applied it ot her own lips. The witch went to the coffin and kissed our princess’s unresponsive lips over and over. 

Nothing happened. 

No, it wasn’t until you applied the paste to your own lips, getting your beard all sticky that the magic happened. You went to our sleeping Fairest and deposited a chaste peck on her cheek. 

This was when her eyes opened. 

Wind stirred, blowing through her dark hair and your beard. You backed away, clutching your chest. I’m not sure if you were looking at her or something else. 

All of the rest of us watched her rise into the air. Darkness swam in her eyes, a terrifying night which none of us dared look at for long. 

When she floated in the air, arms spread wide, while you staggered and fell to the ground, everything changed. 

None of us had the courage to face what our Fairest had become. None of us know what to do with ourselves without her…or you. 

Now you lay in the coffin, only there’s no chance of awakening you. 

It’s not right. You shouldn’t be there. The only thing you did wrong was get attached to a human girl. Every one of us brothers is guilty of that. Why should you alone be struck down for this?

If only there was someone to awaken you. If only someone could bring you back to us. 

We miss you, brother. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

#QueerBlogWed: Domestic Lack of Bliss

On June 13, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a moonless night, a mysterious package, and a lightning bolt.

This Tale of the Navel involving Juno, regular customer to the Navel was the result.

Jupitre gazed up at the moonless sky, a heavy layer of darkness covering everything and everyone below. 

There should have been a lightning bolt, illuminating the heavens. It should have been in his hand, ready to cast upon the mortals shivering beneath him. 

Only now he was one of the ones who shivered. 

Lightning had once been part of him, racing through his brains, his loins, overflowing his  body, shaping him into being one with it. How easy it had been to let go of flesh and sinew, delighting in the electricity throbbing through him, pulsing in his biceps and fists. Quickening with anticipated release upon whatever target he might fancy. 

Only the lightning had abandoned him along with the power of the storm. It played in the sky, hiding beneath the clouds, free of him. 

It had left Jupitre nothing more than a broken, twisted man. 

“Look what I have, dear!” His wife chirruped at him, brandishing a package in his face. “Just what you need.” 

He nodded, watching Juno waddle across their cottage floor to open the package, emptying some of its contents into a pretty little china pot, painted with flowers and blades of grass. 
The kettle sang a mocking tune on the hearth. Juno went to collect it. She carried it the pot, only to pour the contents from the kettle inside. Fumes rose in the air from his tea, quieting some of his rage, the emptiness. This collection of dried leaves from the Navel was the only thing which could fill it. 

A tea his wife made. How pathetic Jupitre had become. 

“It’s so nice to see you all quiet and contented these days, dear, oh yes!” she chattered, lifting the kettle up. “You used to be so discontented, unable to sit still, eyes constantly roving.” She tittered. 

Ah, yes, his eye had been in constant motion, in search of a pretty face. Once he’d spotted her (or him), he’d don a number of forms to seduce or ravage his prize. 

Thus he’d once claimed his wife. What had he been, a bird with a broken wing? Juno had always had a passion for the fragile. 

No wonder she prefered her husband in this weakened state. 

“It’s so much better to stay in one place, appreciating what you have.” Juno bustled around the teapot, putting together a plate of cookies. “That’s the key to a contented existence.” 

Be content with what you’ve got? Jupitre sneered at the dumpy figure, waddling about. Look at you woman. Once you were a goddess, a contender for the title of the loveliest of immortals. Now you’re a fat, middle-aged woman, chattering, making tea. 

“How can you be happy?” He forced his slack, numb lips to form the words. “We’ve lost so much.”

“Ah, but did you really enjoy any of your former glory, dear?” Juno carried the tray over to him. “You possessed all that power, but you had to guard it constantly. Never knew when one of your countless offspring might snatch it away from you the way you snatched our father’s, hmm?” 

She settled the tray on the table in front of him, lifted the pot, and poured a cup of tea. “Really, you were lucky to escape to this quiet life after all the things you’d done, all the people we’d hurt, don’t you think?”

“I don’t,” he muttered through clenched teeth. 

“Shh, dear.” She offered him a steaming cup. “Drink your tea and you’ll no longer be discontented.”

Jupitre took the cup, glanced down at the tea tray. “Three cups,” he said, noting the additional cup and saucer. “Who is it for?”
“Oh, dear, you haven’t forgotten our daughter again, have you?” Juno clucked her tongue in disapproval. “She poured your wine for you once, until you took a fancy to that boy and replaced her with him.”

His daughter. The one who’d once poured his wine before he found his cupbearer. Ah, he remembered that boy with his luminous eyes, glossy hair, and supple limbs, but he couldn’t recall the girl. He’d had many magnificent daughters, goddesses within their own right, battling with weapons, wit, or beauty, but he couldn’t recall one who’d poured the wine for him.

“Hebe.” Juno narrowed her gray eyes, which glistened with a cold, malevolent light. “She was at your side during every banquet until you turned her out for that catamite.” Juno lowered her head to gaze at the third cup. “I always set a place for her at teatime, but she refuses to sit with you.”

Refuses. A child of Jupitre’s refused to spend time with him. Once he would have made her suffer for such insolence. He could no longer remember such malice. The fumes coming from the teacup in his hand soothed his wounded ego, his rage, his discontent. 

He took a sip. It burned, going down his throat, scorching his restless emptiness. Ah, yes, it was so much better when he drank the tea. 

“This makes me so calm,” Jupitre said, gazing down at the murky contents within his drinking vessel. 

“Ah, yes, it does seem to appease you like nothing else.” Juno heaved a sigh and picked up the pot to pour herself a cup. “If only it could do the same for me, my dear.” She glanced up at her husband with moist gray eyes. “If only.”