A to Z 2017–T is for Tempest

This is one I will almost definitely need to revisit later. It hints at something that could easily become a full-length fantasy saga, and I want to know more of the story!

T is for Tempest

Tempest ran through the forest. She was getting soaked, but the storm gave her the opportunity she needed to escape. She just couldn’t stay in that place a minute longer.

In the chaos of the preparations, all the girls had been hurried into basements and lockrooms. They said it was for their protection. But nothing they could ever do would make her feel safe within those walls. She would rather take her chances with the storm itself.

When the wind blew a branch through a window, the guardian had handed her the keys and told her to see that the younger ones were safe. She did as she was told—those children were as safe as she could make them. Then she told them she was going to help the guardians and left.
Left completely. Not just the young ones, but the center itself.

Now she ran with no plan to get away from that prison. She didn’t know how long it would be before her absence was noted. She wanted to be as far gone as she could before that happened.

Branches and other debris blocked her progress as she ducked between trees. Even before the rain started, winds had shaken the normally still forest. Some obstacles she jumped or climbed over. Others forced her off the path and deeper into the woods. Between the storm and the trees, Tempest soon found herself quite lost.

Still, she continued on. She would rather die in the storm than serve the false truths of The Order.

WOULD YOU?

Tempest stopped abruptly, looking around in panic. Had they found her?

Seeing nothing, she started on her way again. Though she preferred the storm to submission, she still wanted to find someplace dry and secure.

TEMPEST

She stopped again, listening.

WOULD YOU INDEED DIE IN THE STORM?

“If I had to,” she said, again searching the trees trying to find the source of the voice. “I would rather die than go back.”

ARE THEY NOT GOOD? HAVE THEY NOT CARED FOR YOU?

Tempest thought. “They clothed me. Sheltered me. But they teach lies.” She paused. Tempest had long felt a truth within her own heart, but had never spoken it aloud. “Their own doctrine says that lying is wrong. So, no. They are not good.”

The voice, sounding from all directions at once, laughed with surprising levity.

AND IF YOUR OWN DOGMATIC BELIEF IS WRONG? WHAT THEN?

She stopped looking then and stood as if staring down an enemy. “I would rather follow a truth that I feel and later learn that I’m wrong, than follow a lie that feels dead to discover that it is true after all.”

THEN COME, TEMPEST. COME FIND SHELTER AND TRUTH.

She knew it was true. Felt it in her heart and her bones. And she knew that if she continued this way, she would find a cave—an earthen shrine to the one that spoke her name.

Tempest started walking and knew the owner of that voice was with her. “Who are you?” she asked. “Who calls me?”

I AM THE GOD OF STORMS. MY FOLLOWERS CALL ME TEMPEST.

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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A to Z 2017–R is for Run

R is for Run

Marcus looked up as the sun slipped behind dark clouds. “Uh oh. Guys, I gotta go. My mom will kill me if I get caught in the rain.”

After a brief round of, “see you later, man,” and one, “I’ll call you after dinner,” Marcus started home. He wasn’t too concerned. The forecast this morning said it shouldn’t start raining until after eight and it wasn’t even five yet. Still, the forecast wasn’t always right, and those clouds looked pretty bad.

As he walked up Juniper Lane, one block over from the park, he slowed just a little. I really couldn’t hurt anything to take a couple extra minutes just in case Mary Braxton was in front of her house. Right? He had plenty of time to get home.

He passed Mary’s house—the one on the corner with the red front door and dark green shutters—but didn’t see her. Well, it’s not like he’d planned it. Just hoped. Oh well.

But as he crossed Maple to the next block over, he heard his name.

“Hi, Marcus!” He turned to see her head poking over the top of her backyard fence.

He doubled back. “Hey, Mary!” He fought to keep a stupid grin off his face. She was definitely the prettiest girl in the seventh grade.

As he neared her house again her head dropped down and she came out the gate. “So,” she said, “what did you get on the social studies quiz? I only got 82. Forgot to study the bicameral houses stuff and got their powers mixed up. Oh, hey. Are you going to the dance next week? Jennifer asked me to spend the night that night afterwards, but I thought maybe we could all hang out together since you’re probably hanging with Dave and he’s kind of Jennifer’s boyfriend. I definitely caught them kissing after school the other day. Oh my god her mom would totally flip if she knew. Their family is super strict.”

As Mary rambled on, Marcus allowed the stupid grin to take over. She wanted to go to the dance with him! “Wow,” he said. “Yeah, Dave and I will probably hang…” Marcus cut off abruptly as thunder rumbled overhead. “Crap! I really have to go.” He started walking away, backwards. “Talk to you during lunch tomorrow?” He didn’t wait for an answer before he turned and started running toward home.

It was only two more blocks to his house, but he hadn’t realized how dark it had gotten while he was talking to Mary. This was definitely going to be a bad storm… and definitely bad for him if he didn’t get home quick.

The wind whipped the trees and he ran faster.

He turned up Elm Avenue just as the first fat raindrops fell from the sky. “Crap!” he yelled again as he made a beeline for his house… third one on the right with the green roof and grey trim.

It was already too late. The clouds opened up and soaked him to the skin almost instantly.

He pulled open the front door and stood dripping in the entry as his mother came around the corner holding a towel. “I told you not to get caught in the rain,” she said. “You know what happens.”

“I know,” he said as he dried his face and hair. “But believe me, I ran!”

She took the towel from his hands. “I can see that. Do you have any idea how long it takes to get your face back on.”

“Sorry,” he said, looking up from the towel in her hand.

 

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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Reflected – Blog Hop January 2017

“I want this. I can do this. Nobody can stop me.” She stared at unblinking eyes. Hard eyes. Dark eyes. She focused so intently on those eyes that everything else seemed to fade.

The effect was ruined as a grin crept across that face.

Alice leaned toward her own reflection. “You’ve got this,” she reassured herself one more time.

She’d always known if she played her cards right she’d be in a position to make changes. Now here she was.

She squared her shoulders as she turned from the mirror, then flicked off the light and left.

rainy womanAlice took the number 10 cross-town bus and walked the remaining six blocks to her destination. She was glad for a few minutes in the rain-washed air—her confidence had slipped a little as she bounced along on the less-than-pristine city bus. Staring at her own bulbous reflection in the driver’s security mirror had her questioning reality.

Her thoughts tumbled end over end as she walked, and she wished she didn’t feel like shrinking. But fear didn’t stop her. Her glossy Oxfords swung out rhythmically, followed closely by the pin stripes of her trousers. The slight reflection in the wet pavement of the sidewalk followed her precisely, clicking along at an identical energetic gait.

When she reached 1832 Duchess Avenue, she paused to again check her image in the wide brass trim beside the door. She looked warped around the edges, but not overly flushed from her walk. Good.

Alice tugged at the heavy glass entry and stepped inside. Mr. White nodded absently from behind the security desk as he tucked away his pocket watch. The affectation didn’t seem out of place considering the man’s tidy whiskers.

A green light dinged on, and she took a deep breath as she boarded the elevator. She counted the floors as they passed like a school girl reciting her lessons.

The plush carpeting of the 14th floor absorbed the sound of her footfalls when she stepped out toward T & T Enterprises. The silence tried to make her feel insubstantial, but she shook off the sensation as she approached the receptionist.

“He’s expecting me.” She didn’t wait for an answer from the mousy woman, merely turned toward the gilt-framed mirror on the wall.

She swallowed her nervousness as she eyed her reflection. There would be no going back. She turned when the door opened.

“Alice,” Lewis greeted her with a warm handshake. “You’re early.”

“I’ve made my decision,” she said as he led her past the heavy walnut door into his office.

Once they were alone she spoke in a rush, fearing that any delay might cause her to lose her nerve. “Tell Mr. Hatter I’m going, Lewis,” she said. “Through the Looking Glass. Into Wonderland. I can’t just see the other side and not act.”

From the corner of her eye, she thought she saw him smile.

“I won’t let that woman win. I need to take down the Red Queen.”

 

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

Links

perpetualbloghop

I hope you’ll take the time to read the other stories in this Hop. These are some great writers and wonderful people. And if you like what you read, I hope you’ll consider joining their lists too. The world is a richer place when there are more stories to tell.

  1. Reflected by Elizabeth McCleary **YOU ARE HERE**
  2. Veronica by Jessica Kruppa
  3. Last Stop by Erica Damon
  4. Jesse and Tyler by Bill Bush
  5. The Poisoner of Time by Karen Lynn
  6. New Stork Inc. by Katharina Gerlach
  7. Pocket Heart by Juneta Key
  8. Oh Baby! by J. Q. Rose

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Friday Fiction – Rainy Night

This is more of a scene than a flash fiction. Raw writing inspired by the storms that blew through during the night.

raining-690930_1280Thunder rattled the windows as the rain hammered a tattoo against the roof. The dog whimpered and pressed against my leg for reassurance.

“Grandma used to call a storm like this a gully washer.” I scratched idly at his ears as I talked. My voice along with the physical contact seemed to calm him. A little. Maybe. “I remember when I was a kid and we sat out on the porch watching the rain. It was kind of amazing.”

I smiled down at Old Gus and patted at his side. “You probably wouldn’t have liked it, but I thought it was pretty cool. We sat in those rocking chairs and just watched the storm. It was almost like it was something alive.”

Gus settled at my feet and started snoring lightly. It was hard to say whether it was my narrative or the fact that the storm was letting up that finally helped him settle.

I woke with a start, disoriented; sure that the storm was picking back up. But no, Gus wasn’t back to whining, and there was no tell-tale patter of rain on the roof.

I wondered what had woken me, and realized it must be the crick I got in my neck from falling asleep sitting up on the sofa. I stood and stretched, careful not to disturb the still-sleeping hound at my feet.

I headed toward the kitchen to warm up a cup of coffee when I heard it. A scraping, tapping sound coming from the front window. A bird maybe? Something had gotten trapped out in the deluge.

I flicked the switch and opened the front door. Warm, humid air assaulted me, heavy with the loamy smell of wet earth. I looked left and right, hunting for what might have been the source of that odd sound. There was nothing obvious.

After a moment of hesitation, I stepped out to do a more thorough search. Something might be hurt out here. I’d feel bad if I found a dead animal in the morning that I might have been able to save tonight.

I walked the length of the long veranda, briefly pausing to push on the very chair I’d sat in with grandma all those years ago. The memory made me smile.

It was clear there was nothing on the porch, so I stepped down the wide stairs to look behind the bushes. A flashlight would have helped, but I didn’t want to go dig one out of the kitchen junk drawer.

Just as I was prepared to write the whole thing off to my imagination, I heard it. Something was definitely there, behind the rhododendrons.

I pushed the bush to one side to try and get a better look. Whatever it was must have been hurt. It didn’t dart out when I disturbed it’s hiding place.

“Great,” I said to myself. “It’s probably going to eat me.” I leaned in anyway, certain now that I could see what appeared to be a small furry animal, cowering.

“That may not be wise.” I jumped, yelping, and managed to get thwapped by the wet bushes as they sprang back into position. “I fear my … ah … pet may not appreciate your ministrations. He is not fond of this planet’s weather.”

I felt myself go weak in the knees as I struggled to comprehend the small body, large eyes, and green flesh of the being that stood before me.

He flashed what I assumed was a smile. “I fear the rain has disrupted our travel plans.”

Copyright Notice: Please note that this is mostly unedited, raw writing. I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story. Please do not copy, quote, or post anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.