Wednesday, September 26, 2018

#QueerBlogWed: The Shawl and the Memory

On August 29, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a shawl, a game, and a treehouse.

This freebie story for my Work Under Revision; Wind Me Up, One More Time was the result.

Three small heads leaned close to each other within the confines to the treehouse. 

“This is a game devised by Carrot Monster.” Heidi thrust her stuffed rabbit forward for emphasis. “It’s called ‘Find the Shawl’.”

“‘Find the Shawl’?” Heather gave her intended ‘fiancee’ an incredulous look. “If Carrot Monster came up with this, shouldn’t it be ‘Find the Carrot’ or ‘Find the Vegetable Patch’ or something more like that?”

“Of course not. Carrot Monster designed this game for humans.” Heidi pointed out with the strained patience of one who had to deal with Heather’s questions on a regular basis. “Somehwere in this treehouse or within sight of it is one of your mother’s shawls. It’s up to the rest of us to find it.”

“Mrs. Grumple’s shawl?” Grace asked. She’d only ever once seen their teacher, Heather’s mother wear one pink wool wrap, jarring against the gray of her blouse and skirt. “I wasn’t sure if she ever took it off.” 

It wasn’t like Mrs. Grumple to misplace anything.  

“It’s not that shawl.” Heidi lowered her voice for a dramatic pause, a shameless imitation of Nathalie. “It’s a very special one, going back before Mrs. Grumple was Mrs. Grumple.”

“My mother wore it when she was young.” Heather gave Heidi a sour look. “She used to parade around in it long before I was born.”

“Really?” Grace tried to picture Mrs. Grumple being young and failed. 

“Really!” Heidi grinned. “You wouldn’t believe this shawl! It’s got a red, green, and various blues patterned like an eye, with dashes of purple and violet! I’ve never seen so much color?”

“Your mother used to wear something like that?” Grace considered the lean, severe woman in her black shoes, long gray shirts, full blouse with tight, buttoned collars, who scowled at the red jackets over full green skirts or slacks Grace wore on Free Dress Day at school. The only color Mrs. Grumple ever wore was the shawl.

“Yes, my mother used to wear something like that. Yes, she used to like color. Yes, she used to be young!” Heather rose to her feet and marched over to a shelf covered with books, adorned with paper mache animals and picture frames. “Look!”

She grabbed one of the pictures and thrust it under Grace’s nose. 

Two young women grinned back from behind the glass covering. One of them had Heather’s corkscrew curls, tied with rainbow ribbons, matching the brilliant stole wrapped around her shoulders. Yes, it did have a pattern like peacock feathers or a series of eyes, shadowed with violet and purple, swirling with red, green, and various shades of blue. 

The second young woman smiled with Heidi’s large, white teeth, a straw hat perched jauntily on her head, sporting a number of rainbow streamers. 

“Heidi, is that your mom?” Grace blinked at the two happy girls, standing in the middle of an open field. 

“Believe it or not, Mrs. Grumple and my mother used to be inseparable.” Heidi glanced over at Heather. “It’s one of the reasons I’ve known Heather for most of my life.”

“My mother changed after my father died.” Heather dropped her head, not meeting anyone’s eye. “She stopped wearing colors. She also stopped being friends with Heidi’s mother.” 

“I remember that shawl from when I was little.” Heidi closed her eyes. “She used to tickle my mother and Heather’s father with it, doing this dance, singing this silly song about being a peacock. It was fun.”

“She was fun.” Heather pressed the picture against her chest and shut her eyes. “So much fun.”

*Carrot Monster, I’m uncertain if this game is in the best taste.* Theodora, the bear wrapped under Grace’s arm, send this silent rebuke to the manner of stuffed animals to the rabbit lying near Heidi’s knee. *It’s making Heather sad, your own child a little sad, and Grace uncomfortable.*

*The game is already over.* Carrot Monster lay on her side, one long ear stretched out, one button eye fixed upon Theodora. *They’ve found the shaw. Besides the game was never the point.*

*Really?* Theodora retorted in the manner of her child. *Exactly what point could there be to this?*

*For Heidi and Heather to remember happier times with Mrs. Grumple. For Grace to realize there’s more to her teacher than she reveals.* Carrot Monster twitched her nose, a gesture unseen by anyone but Theodora. *There’s power in happy memories and the objects associated with them. Remember that, Theodora Bear.*

Indeed. Theodora would remember. It was a lesson that prove invaluable in saving her child’s happiness in the future. 

Carrot Monster was far wiser than her floppy apperance let on. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Secondary Characters Speak Out: Quartz and Victor

Quartz: Right. (looks over at Victor, unable to keep the scowl off his face at how much taller the vampire is than him) So, M.D. Neu is your scribbler. What irritates you most about him?

Victor: It’s not so much—

K.S. Trenten: (from backstage) Quartz! It’s one thing to call me a scribbler. It’s quite another to use it on someone else’s writer…or author. 

*Victor’s eyes narrow over his shoulder from where the voice came from and sighs.* 

Quartz: Right. (mutters) She’s getting jealous…again. Like she’s the only person ever called a scribbler. (raises his voice) So…M.D. Neu. What’s his imagination like? How would you redecorate his head if you could?

Victor: His imagination is a mix of… there are no real words I suppose. However, he does enjoy the male form quite a bit and he has what I would consider an unhealthy fascination with all things Disney. *dusts off a piece of link from his suit jacket* If I were to ‘redecorate’ I would focus his thoughts on what’s really important. He has a talent for storytelling and if he focused more on what people want; sex, I think he could do quite well. I’ve seen who his inspiration is for some of his characters and I certainly wouldn’t mind having a go at them.

Of course, back to your first question, before we were interrupted, I wouldn’t say the author irritates me. On occasion, I vehemently disagree with his choices, but in the end it seems to work out… for now.

Quartz: That main character you cope with in your story…

K.S. Trenten: (mutters) It’s actually Christopher’s story…

Quartz: Right. (mutters) Another Christopher, taking center stage…figures. What’s something truly annoying about him? Any ideas on how to change it?

Victor: Is she going to be like this the entire time?  *He waves off any explanation or expected apology* Chris isn’t so much annoying, he’s… well if he were under my care I wouldn’t allow all the wallowing and self-doubt. Chris is powerful and we need to harness that power.  The things I could do with him once his powers are fully realized.  The thing with us Dark Immortals is that we are fractured.  That is the one thing the Light understand, they have a strong powerbases.  If I could rein in the whole of North America like Juliet has done… *leans in and stares Quartz square in the eyes* with Chris and his talents it could happen and I wouldn’t have to worry so much about what the likes of Sahin, Betty, Masko, Pedro, and JoaquĆ­n are up to. Cause I’d know.  Chris could help me get there.  *his eyes narrow and his lips pull up in a hint of a smile*

Quartz: Who are they? The scribbler read about Sahin but-
Victor: *waves off the question* Ah, correct, you don’t know the rest of my Lieutenants yet. I suppose the Author didn’t feel they were important until now. Anyway, I would say Chris is a bit too nice. *he shrugs* still I doubt I would change that. It’s quite charming and sweet.  I suppose he reminds me of being human, which I don’t actually mind especially these days.

Quartz: What one’s thing you like about this Christopher? Other then he tastes like chicken?

Victor: He—

K.S. Trenten: One, Christopher is a vampire. I’m not sure if they eat each other in this universe. Second, Quartz, you’re a fantasy character from Fairest. What’s with the contemporary jokes?

Victor: *Crosses arms over his chest.*

Quartz: I’m interviewing a vampire from a contemporary setting. Not to mention we’re kicking down the fourth wall by even talking…so do vampires eat, or drink each other in this universe? 

Victor: Oh, I can speak now? Are you sure?  *Looks at Quartz then over his shoulder to where the mystery voice appears to be coming from.* Yes, we can eat, human food, if we choose to, it has no taste so it’s akin to eating air, I suppose. It’s a talent we have to relearn and practice at to blend in with the humans.  And no, we do not tend to drink from each other, unless it’s during a Calling.

Quartz: Back to Christopher…what do you like about him? Or, at least find somewhat entertaining about him?

Victor: Chris is powerful, even if he doesn’t fully realize it yet. That is why Sahin is afraid of him. I’ve never seen Sahin as scared of anyone as I’ve seen him of Chris. The opportunities with shuch power, I hope to see them more and see what he is capable of.  You know, Quartz, the saying keep your friends close but your enemies closer, that is how I feel about Chris. I want him as close to me as I can get. He’s not an enemy of course, but I want to keep him as close as I can, in case I need him. That is why I allow him and Kirtus to spend time together.

Quartz: If you could change something in this book your scrib…author is working on, what would it be? For that matter, if you could go back and change any one scene in The Calling more to your satisfaction, what would it be?

Victor: For this current story he is telling? Hmm. He has such a favorable slant on the Light. They are far from perfect. If you ask me they are more conniving and backstabbing than any of the Dark. Juliet is not the goody-goody he has shown her to be.  Yes, of course she beautiful, sweet and perky, but there is a darkness there and I’m glad we are seeing more of it in this story. It’s about time. 

A scene in the first book. *Sighs* Oh, there is one scene I’d change in a snap of my fingers, not out of sentiment or anything like that, but pure convenience.  It’s the bit with Daniel. I would completely change that. Why couldn’t it have been Tim or Terrie or one of the other Light.  Nope it was Daniel and that annoyed the hell out of me.  If I could have reached through the pages and Bitch Slapped the author I would have. I wasn’t pleased with that scene.  Good help is hard to find.  Of course I got even, you should ask the author how well he slept for the next few nights.  Oh yes, I got my pound of flesh for that.

Quartz: Any embarrassing stories about Juliet, the head of the Light vampires you’d like to share? Like spilling a drink on Sulla during a party or belching during a sacrifice in honor of Venus?

K.S. Trenten: Must you be so crude? Also, stop picking my brain for historical facts from a different time and places than your own. 

Quartz: Your brain is mine to play with, scribbler and this is beyond the fourth wall, like I said. Well, what undignified moments has your counterpart forgotten about which you like to chuckle over?

Victor: Juliet and her Hippy Magic. Ah there are some stories I could tell you about her, but now doesn’t feel like the right time.  Perhaps, the Author, will find it in him to tell a story about Juliet and I.  Now that would be a page-turner.  *chuckles*

That said, there was this time when Juliet had needed my assistance it had to be maybe 100 years ago, perhaps more, it was before Amanda was around. At the time, I was living in San Francisco. Anyway, she had gotten a little blood drunk and ended up sleeping with a rather important political leader of the time when he was in San Francisco, oh the implications. If it wasn’t for me the newspapers would have had a field day, and I, of course, willing to help, had to… well… do what we Dark do and make it all go away. It was quite the embarrassment for Juliet and when I reminded her of it later, Gregor decided to step in… ah well I moved to San Jose shortly thereafter.  

Quartz: Any plans for the future you’re willing to divulge?

Victor: Sadly, nothing I can speak of now. It was an agreement I made with Author. But, I will say, the universe he has created will not be the same once he’s finishes this new story. Many things will be up in the air and even I’m a bit curious how he’s going to keep all the rabble under control.  I’m also worried that more blood will be spilt and good people will die.  I don’t I have anything to worry about, but the others.  *Victor shakes his head.*

Quartz: Last and most important question. How do you get your writer to do things when he’s being stubborn, distracted, and uncooperative?

Victor: If I knew that, I would have a series of my own stories by now.  As it is he’s waited until Chapter nine, or is it Chapter ten to bring me back into the fray of things. Well, that’s not quite true, but I can’t speak more of it. Promises and all.

*Victor leans in again* Before we depart ways, I want to say you are not nearly as annoying as I had heard and this wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be, which is lucky for you, because legend says Fairy blood is delicious. 

Quartz: (manages to turn a gulp into a humph...barely)  Bet you say that to everyone from reinvented fairytale. (mutters) And yet for all that he's a vampire of the Dark, he's still more cooperative than Map or those bloody nisse with all their demands for rice pudding.

(Various snickers and sounds come from backstage, only this time it's not me...) 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#QueerBlogWed: A Moment of Life

On July 25, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a ceramic village, sunburn, and a pickle.

This freebie story involving the characters from my Work In Progress, The Players Are the Thing was the result...

“Have a pickle?”

Rhane blinked at the dripping green object offered. Her skin prickled with pain, too much exposure to the sun. 

She’d forgotten the world, studying the small ceramic figures and houses in the window, the impression of thatched roofs, looming over tiny, frozen people going about their lives, peering up at the giants staring at them through the window. 

“What are you looking at?” Mona withdrew the pickle to pop it in her own mouth and started chewing. “I didn’t know you liked that kind of thing.”

“I’m guessing you don’t.” Rhane rubbed her aching forehead, fighting resentment over the phrase “that kind of thing”. Not to mention Mona had offered and eaten the pickle without giving Rhane a fair chance to refuse. 

“It’s just a window display with a bunch of miniatures. No,” Mona stopped herself, hearing an echo of Beatrix’s customary contempt for anyone else’s interests she didn’t share. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.”

The taller girl winced, ducking her dark head.

Rhane tried to keep her own mouth from twisting in sympathy. Perhaps Mona was reliving the last time Beatrix had taunted her. Rhane could recall her words only too well.

“Mona, you’re like a puppy dog, aren’t you? Following me around, repeating everything I say.” Beatrix eyed Mona’s black t-shirt, exactly like one Beatrix herself had crumpled on the bedroom floor. “Don’t you have any original thoughts? Or are you hoping I’ll pat you on the head, call you a good doggy?”

Rhane bit her lower lip and winced, on the verge of apologizing herself. Not that she was sure if she’d done anything wrong. 

Mona avoided her gaze. She leaned closer to the glass, peering at the ceramic village. “Actually the details on these miniatures are pretty good. Um, I didn’t mean to say actually like that. I’m not trying to belittle your interest.” Mona blushed and lowered her head. “Sorry. Everything I’m saying is coming out wrong.”

“It’s all right.” Rhane smiled, even though her lips felt heavy and unwilling to move. “You don’t have to apologize.”

“I want to.” Mona turned toward the glass, avoiding Rhane’s gaze. “It’s a nice display. Different than the kind of miniatures we use in games. This is a peaceful little world. Guess I’m not used to that.”

“A peaceful little world.” Rhane tilted her head toward the sky, feeling her skin ache. “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was such a thing?”

“What do you mean?” Mona turned to fix large, anxious brown eyes upon her.

Great. Rhane had to open her big mouth and say what she was really thinking. Well, she might as well say the rest. 

“Even when people aren’t fighting each other, they still snipe at each other. Trying to find  less violent ways to cause pain, to hurt.”

“Hey.” Mona touched Rhane’s shoulder with a tentative hand. “It’s still better to leave our  victims alive. That way we can learn to be kinder and they can learn to avoid us.”

Rhane chuckled, amused out of her funk at this comment. “You’re assuming we’re the villains in this scenario. Not the victims.”

“Well, duh!” Mona tossed back her full head of dark hair, letting it bounce in loose waves over her shoulders. “You and I are way too interesting to be victims while Beatrix is too ornery.”

Rhane smiled at Mona’s innocence as much as at her compliment. 

Victims could be just as interesting as villains. Victims might become villains if they didn’t save themselves. If someone didn’t save them from themselves. 

She didn’t argue, though. Nor did she resist when Mona presented her with another pickle. 

She leaned forward and took a bite, letting the sour sweetness explode within her mouth. 

It was a bit like life. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

#QueerBlogWed: From Earth With Love

On August 15, 2018,  P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt of having an alien on holiday to the primitive planet of Earth share an entry from the alien's travel journal.

That inspired this...

Most Reverend Farce,

We wouldn’t believe the comedy which passes for existence upon this primitive planet. 

First of all, these lesser beings only have use of five senses. Not that they do much with those. They are capable of hearing, yet they don’t listen to each other. They accuse certain members of their alien race of lying, yet the most blatant and obvious liars among them get away with it. These creatures not only put up with their deplorable behavior, they put them in positions of power and trust, only be be utterly surprised when the liar abuses its position. 

We would be recommeding putting together a comedic team and invading, turning the invasion into a business and spirtually paid vacation, only we fear the humour offered by these aliens is too crude and obvious for our discerning worshippers. Besides we would have to cope with the backwater condtions of this planet. 

First of all, these creatures still have gravity. We thought even the most isolationist, technology phobic worlds had achieved some control of it. 

Second, these aliens actually indulge in gender roles for their entire lives, hardly ever changing them, except for a select few whom are regarded with suspicion for doing so. 

Yes, we know. We can’t even begin to comprehend how they manage to lead satisfying lives. 

Last, many of the religions on this planet actually take their faith seriously, if you’ll pardon the blasphemy. We shudder to think of the consequences this petty little world will bring down upon itself for ignoring the Divine Call to Laughter. 

Still we’re glad we can here for no other reason that we appreciate even more deeply how fortunate to be part of the consciousness of our home rather than to exist in serious isolation, trapped in a male or female state without even the comfort of holy humour. It’s something to ponder in those questionable moments of seriousness. 

Yours in Laughter,
Travelling Spud

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompt

On August 8, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt, the phrase 'outside my window'.

This poem was the result...

You wait outside my window
A hungry reflection of myself
A shadow that vanishes if I look too close
Or perhaps I’m the shadow
Wasting an existence that you covet
A hollow echo of your deep, resounding need
I move to your desire
Never delivering your satisfaction
While you wait beyond the glass
Crying out for more.