Wednesday, August 28, 2019

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompts

On June 26, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving an orange rose, making plans, and something stolen.

This poem was the result...

An orange rose rests upon her breast
Just a few shades brighter than her curling hair
A brand is in her hand or is it a blade?
Its shape changes depending on the opponent she faces
An array of would-be warriors and sorcerers confront her
Wearing human and not-so human faces
She accepts their challenges, one by one
Seeing schemes in ruby, russet, or purple eyes.
Even as her own glow with the demon within
What of her own plans as she guards the gate of everyone’s desire?
Shaped long ago when she had a human heart
Determined to recover what was stolen was from her
Never understanding the price of such a quest
Now she’s trapped in a cycle of battles
Compelled to face every challenger who’d pass through the gate

No longer aware of what she’s fighting for. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Secondary Characters Speak Out: Oriana vs. Iama

(An uncomfortable Quartz sits right in front of a red curtain in between a guest in either corner. In the one on the left sits a fair-haired woman upon a silver chair, wearing a fur-lined purple cloak. In the right sits a tall, lean woman in sleek, ebon gown covered with golden netting upon a gold throne. Both of these women have been guests before. Quartz doesn’t look happy to see either of them again.)

Quartz: As if having Oriana here once wasn’t bad enough. I’m not sure what the scribbler is thinking, having two evil enchantresses here at once!

Oriana: What is the meaning of this, Quartz? Why am I sharing the same space as this interloper, this sham of a sorceress?

Iama: Don’t steal my own words from me before I utter them. I existed long before you flickered in the mind of our creatrix, you sniveling, pathetic excuse for an enchantress!

Oriana: Oh, and stealing another enchantress’s tricks isn’t pathetic? The heart transforming into an apple was my spell, my magic long before you fumbled with it!

Iama: As if any woman worth calling an evil enchantress has any use for a heart. Mine, at least was pure gold, like everything I touch. Not a withered, ugly green thing which makes maidens shrink away. 

Oriana: (drawing herself up) It may have been green at first, but it was red and delicious when I offered it to Blanche.

Quartz: (finally seizing a chance to get a word in edgewise) To think, you acted all remorseful about the curse when you last here. Now you speak as if you’re proud of it!

Oriana: What are you suggesting, Quartz? (She rises and advances upon the dwarf.) Are you implying that apple wasn’t red and delicious? 

Quartz: (trying to hold onto his courage and not shrink away) That’s not the point-

Iama: Dwarf, my heart’s apple is made of gold. (She gets up and stalks towards Quartz.) How is that not superior?

Quartz: (huddling in on his seat) I wouldn’t know-

Oriana and Iama: Here! 

(Both enchantresses move at the same moment. Iama brandishes a golden apple under Quartz’s nose while Oriana holds out red one in an aggressive offering.)

Oriana: This is the apple that took your precious Fairest away. Has there ever been an apple of such wicked enchantment as this one?

Quartz: (holding onto his courage and his scowl) No, which is why I hate the sight of it. Here I thought you were sorry for what you did to your beloved Blanche, but all it took was the company of another evil enchantress and you’re reverting back to your former self!

Iama: Don’t ignore me, dwarf. Don’t you dare disregard my apple. (to Oriana) You say yours took away this Fairest. What was she, one girl? Pah! Mine enchanted and enslaved room after room of admirers!

Quartz: (trying not to shrink back) I thought losing your heart, err, apple happened after you started turning people into gold. 

Iama: It matters not. This apple holds greater sway than hers ever did. 
Oriana: I see. You value quantity over quality. (She smirks.) My apple may have enchanted only one girl, but my Blanche was the fairest of them all. She was worth hundreds, no, millions.

Iama: Fairness matters not. Not in value or beauty. My Nathalie is unparalled in both, unrivaled by any other girl or princess. 

Oriana: (glowers) Blanche, no, Briar may no longer be mine, but I have yet to see a girl who was her equal.

Quartz: This may be the first time you’ve said something I’ve no desire to argue with. 

Oriana: Except for maybe Princess Rose.

Quartz: Whom I still have yet to met.

Iama: See? You yourself doubt your own claim. I do not. My Nathalie remains unrivalled. My apple claimed her as a victim, so my apple is superior. 

Quartz: Only your apple didn’t claim her, well, I suppose it sort of did. In a symbolic fashion. 

Oriana: Don’t take her side!

Quartz: Don’t expect me to take your side!

Oriana: Ah ha! That means you believe me to be a far more evil enchantress than she. 

Iama: Bah. I was and am your superior in every sense. 

Quartz: Look, I’m really not a good judge of who’s more of an evil enchantress than whom. You need someone who’s spent time in a seriously wicked woman’s company in ongoing stories, someone like…Christopher!

Oriana: Christopher?

Iama: Who is this Christopher? 

Quartz: Why, he’s from the Shadow Forest, a shifting dreamscape of magic and concepts taking form, yes, he’s the perfect person to judge your apples! Plus he’s Happily Ever After?

Oriana: Eh?

Iama: Exactly what does that mean?

Quartz: That he’s far more likely to come to a satisfactory conclusion to this argument than me.

Iama: If this Christopher is all you say he is, we shall go to him. 

Oriana: We’ll let him decide whose apple is superior. 

(Both women disappear. Quartz sags into his chair.)

Quartz: Forgive me, Christopher, my lad, for what I’ve unleashed upon you. At the same time, I didn’t lie. You are from the Shadow Forest. You’ve handled Duessa Ashelocke. You should be able to handle those two and their squabble. Right?

(No one answers. Quartz wipes his brow, looking a little guilty.) 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompts

On June 19, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a middle-aged woman, a rainy day, and a sign.

This Wind Me Up, One More Time freebie story was the result...

Rain trickled down in streams along the window pane of the gift shop, blurring Christina Weaver’s sight of the streets of Verity. The bright red of a stop sign was visible amidst the gray, vivid against the paleness. 

In that direct lay the school where Vivian Grumple taught, wearing a blouse and skirt as colorless as the sky, teaching math or history in a way which sucked all the excitement from the subject.

Had she truly become so dull or was her dullness deliberate? Once Vivian had been all about finding the excitement, the heart in everything. 

“What does it all mean?” She’d make this demand of her teachers, Christina, anyone who couldn’t move fast enough. “Why do we learn these things?”

It was to learn this why that Vivian had followed Morisotte off to a distant land, the same land which the artist returned from with her daughters, Nathalie and Grace. 

Vivian returned to, only completely altered. 

“The world isn’t willing to answer my questions.” She looked away from Christina, refusing to let the other woman touch her. “Sometimes it’s better to learn when and where to hold your tongue. I’m going to teach this to the little girls of Omphalos, so they’ll be prepared for what waits outside, so it won’t take them by surprise.”

Gone were the rainbow shawls and bright colors Vivian once wore. She dressed in gray, stiff, high colors and long, tailored skirts, which gave Christina the impression of a military uniform. 

Vivian was at war with someone or something. Whom the enemy was she wouldn’t say. Marrying Fred Grumple seemed more like a tactical decision than anything.

“There’s something to be said for old-fashioned values.” Vivian looked down at her hands. “You can hide behind them. You can use them to confound other people’s expectations.”

Rare were the moments when she and Vivian spoke, especially about things that mattered. Only her daughter, Heidi was reaching out for that lost past, by reaching out to Vivian’s daughter.
The two girls became friends. They talked about starting a business of handmaking their own toys when they grew up. Even getting married.

“What utter nonsense.” Vivian sniffed, not quite meeting Christina’s eye. “Two girls can’t get married.”

“It sounds familar, though, doesn’t it?” Christina dared to tease her old friend. “Remember when we used to talk about getting married?”

“We were just girls.” Mrs, Grumple gazed down at her wedding ring. “Sooner or later, girls grow up. They’re forced to become women and forget their dreams.” Her lower lip trembled. “Even if they fight against that fate, the world will force them to.”

“No one forced you to do anything, Vivian.” Christina reached out a hand to touch her friend’s arm. “Did they?”

“There are places where boys can just kick little girls whenever they feel like it. Adults allow it because they’re boys.” Mrs. Grumple clenched her hand into a fist. “There are places where a woman is shamed in public for trying to protect her daughter from a pervert. I thought if I asked the right questions, got people thinking, I could change these things, but people don’t want to change.” She raised her quivering fist in front of her face. “Morisotte is a fool for missing out on a life with her daughters in order to change such a place.”

Vivian walked away without speaking a single word. 

They hadn’t talked since that day, only to exchange a few words by chance when their daughters met. Too many unspoken things lay between them. 

If only they could talk, really talk again. Christina missed talking to Vivian. Only Vivian didn’t seem to want to speak. 

Not to her. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Paula's Prompts: Wednesday Words

On June 5, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt, 'You find a pair of binoculars, but whenever you look through them, you see the future, not the present.'

This story was the result...

I picked up the binoculars waiting for viewers, ready to see what lay below the tower. Hoping to get a closer look at the green hill and the monument standing upon it, I raised them and focused on her proud figure. 

Only the statue was missing her head. Sprayed across her torso in red was the word, “LIAR”. 

“When did that happen?” I lowered the binoculars. The statue receded into the distance, but I could see the haughty lifted chin of the town founder. Yes, she still possessed a chin along with a head. 

“What exactly was that?” I raised the binoculars to my eyes, only to see the decapitated monument, the word “LIAR” and another smaller scribble beneath it. “TYRANT”. 

“Neat, aren’t they?” A girl grinned at me, exposing a gap in her teeth. “Those particular eyes don’t see what is. They squint out what’s to come.”

“You mean these binoculars can see the future?” I might have my doubts about our town founder, but I wasn’t sure if she’d earned a beheading. Not that I wasn’t certain all this was some prank being played by the kid grinning at me.

“One possible future.” She placed a finger upon her greasy, freckled nose. “This is the future that’s most possible for you right now.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I didn’t bother to hide my suspicion. 

“Why, the future is always changing, isn’t it?” She winked at me. “You might make a decision to change what you just saw.”

“Oh, I will, will I?” I bared my teeth in a pretense at a smile. “Why would I do that?”

“Didn’t seem like you liked what you saw just now.” The girl gestured to the binoculars. “Those give you a sneak preview to prepare yourself for what’s to come. Maybe to stop it.” 

“You want me to stop that?” I gestured to the statue. “How am I supposed to stop an act of vandalism.”

“Don’t know.” The girl shrugged. “Maybe you’re to stop it or maybe you’re to think about why it happened, eh? It’s up to you.” 

She sauntered away to talk to someone else, who was lifting a pair of bincoulars to her face. Were all of them like the ones I’d just used? Offering us glances of what was to come? Warning us about what might happen? 

I shivered in the chill breeze, trickling its way through the tower. Once more I gazed at the figure of the founder.

Why would anyone want to take her head? Why would she be called a liar and a tyrant? 

I wasn’t sure of that either, but now I was going to try to find out. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Paula's Prompts: Wednesday Words

On June 12, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt, "Have you lost your country?"

This poem was my response...

Have you lost your country?
The land you once believed in?
Have no fear, 
Patriotism Inc is here
To free you from all your sorrow and sin. 

We’ll eat your doubt, all that makes you unsure
Such thoughts are meat and drink to our kind
Leaving you with pure, unblemished faith
A receptive, welcoming mind. 

Oh you’ll sing and stomp out all doubt
On every trembling face you see
You’ll pledge your loyalty with a shout
A devoted servant of the state, conflict free! 

So don’t worry about your troubled mind
Patriotism Inc is here to soothe your soul
Draining complex thought is nourishment to our kind

While you’ll be left devout and whole.