Disbelief

Note: My apologies for the delay, but here’s another little piece of the story.

“I’m still not sure if you’re ready,” Tressa said.

“What makes you think that?” Gwen glowered at her.

“You didn’t even remember that fairies existed…I don’t want to overwhelm you.”

“Try me.”

Tressa sighed. “Well, there’s an army preparing to destroy our home and you used to be the only person who could reason with them.”

“Oh.” Gwen took a long swallow of her coffee, wishing that it was the sort she could get at the bar across the street. “Is that all?”

“And you don’t remember me, let alone them, so how can you be expected to solve anything?” She pressed her face in her hands rubbing it until her palms pressed into her eyes and she saw stars. Finally, she looked up. “It’s like you’re not even you. You don’t know how to stop a war and I bet you don’t even remember how to use your magic—”

“Wait.” Gwen cut her off.

“What?”

“I don’t have any magic. There’s no such thing.

Tressa stared at her with incredulity. “Then what the hell do you call me?”

“I still think that I’m hallucinating. Or still sleeping. And I hope that I wake up soon.”

“I’m a fairy. What more do you need to convince you that this is real?”

“You would actually probably be  more convincing if you weren’t a fairy,” Gwen said and then winced at Tressa’s facial expression.

“What is wrong with humans these days? You see a little bit of magic and automatically assume you’re insane. It’s like you’re so set on reality being crappy that you can’t accept any happiness or wonder that comes your way.”

“That isn’t true,” Gwen said quietly.

“Then why are you so adamant that this isn’t real? That there must be something wrong with you and not the situation.”

“What situation are you referring to?”

“Other than your excessive use of flavored creamer?” Tressa said.

Gwen just stared at her.

“The situation I’m referring to is the fact that you’ve lost a good portion of your memory. That doesn’t concern you?”

Gwen scrunched her face and returned her gaze to her coffee. “Can’t you cast a spell or something to give me back these memories?”

“It isn’t that simple.” Tressa sighed. “Magic doesn’t work that way, Gwen. “We’d have to request a meeting in front of the Fae Council and see if they would be willing to help us.”

“The Fae Council?”

“Yes.” Tressa finished her tiny mug of coffee and leaned forward to set it on the kitchen counter. “Maybe taking you to see more fairies would help to convince you that you’re not hallucinating?”

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Tinker Bell and Coffee

“I’m sorry,” Gwen said.

“No. It isn’t your fault.” She followed Gwen back to the nightstand where they resumed their original seating arrangement. “I’m frightened by the fact that someone could do this to you.”

“Why? Who am I? I wasn’t a fairy too, was I?”

The fairy laughed so hard that she would’ve fallen off her perch on the alarm clock if it wasn’t for the fact that she had wings.

Although she suspected that she was being laughed at, Gwen couldn’t help but smile at seeing the small creature happy for the first time. “I’ll take that as a no then.”

Tressa sighed, wiping tears of mirth out of her eyes. “You were never a fairy, but you do have magic. A great deal of it.”

It was Gwen’s turn to laugh, but more in disbelief that anything. She was the opposite of magical. “I need to call my boss before they mark me down as absent.”

“Alright.”

“Could you maybe go to the kitchen or something? Do you know how to turn on a coffee pot?”

“Yes,” Tressa said, “I’ll go start your coffee for you.”

“Thanks.”

~~~~

When Gwen got to the kitchen, the fairy was just sitting there in front of her Keurig with her hands on her hips, looking as if she were insulted by the thing. “What are you doing?”

“I can’t figure out how to work this thing. Too many buttons.”

“That’s fine. I can do it myself, anyways,” Gwen.

“But I wanted to help,” Tressa said, continuing to stare at the coffee machine and crossing her arms in front of her chest.

“Here. Like this.” Gwen showed her which buttons to push and how to put it in a new coffee pod.

“Oh.” She scrunched her face up. “These things used to be easier.”

“I actually think this one is easier.” Gwen grabbed her container of chocolate caramel creamer, her current fix, out of the fridge. “Do you drink coffee?”

“Sometimes.”

“Well, do you want some now?”

“I don’t think you have a coffee mug my size,” Tressa said.

Gwen pursed her lips and leaned against the corner as the pot gurgled and steamed fresh coffee into a mug behind her. “I actually think I might.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. My mom just sent me my old dollhouse the other week. Weird how good her timing was, right?”

The fairy just smiled at her.

Gwen went to the living room and started digging through a slightly dust covered box. “Unless you had something to do with it?”

“What makes you think that?”

“You’re magic, right?” Gwen rinsed out the tiny coffee cup before using an eye dropper to put some coffee from her own mug into it.

“Well, yes.” Tressa accepted the tiny mug from her. “But we can’t do everything. Each of us has different abilities.”

“Like Tinker Bell and her friends?”

Tressa gave her a blank stare, slowly putting the mug down on the table beside her.

Gwen raised her eyebrows at her expectantly.

“No. We are not related Disney’s recreation of fairies.”

“Well…” Gwen blushed. “It’s not like I have much else to go off of here.”

“Well, I don’t appreciate being compared to a cartoon.”

Gwen took a drink of her coffee, staring into the swirls of a little too much creamer. “You still haven’t told me why you’re here.”

The fairy sighed. “I don’t know how you’ll react.”

Gwen grabbed a different mug out of the cabinet; it was one the sort that you would see in old tea parties on little saucers while the ladies ate their cucumber sandwiches. She sat down at the kitchen table and put the cup upside down in front of her.

After studying the obvious makeshift chair for a few moments, Tressa gently landed on it. Her feet didn’t touch the ground, instead they swung back and forth, her heels gently tapping the porcelain covered in blue flowers.

“I’m listening.”

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Piece one of Gwen and the Fairies

Note: This is a rough draft! Know that anything from names to scenes to what a character looks like is subject to change, but I will try to give you a heads up if anything changes that will affect how you read.

Please feel free to offer feedback in the comments. Tell me what you like, what you don’t like, and what you think needs to change. Thanks and I hope you enjoy!

She used to think that she had a normal life, boring even. Every morning, her alarm clock went off at 6 am and she’d haul her ass out of bed after the first or second snooze alarm had passed and march to the bathroom where she’d use the toilet while mushing her face with her palms in an attempt not to fall asleep while peeing. And then it was time to get dressed, eat breakfast on the couch while watching the news, leave the apartment, and then frantically turn around to reenter said apartment in order to brush her teeth, causing her to run just a tad bit late.

Then, one morning, when Gwen reached over to slap the alarm clock until she found the snooze button, it—no, whatever squishy thing that was on top of it—yelped.

So she shrieked and jerked backwards, causing her head to slam into the wall behind the bed. Rubbing her eyes, blurrily, she couldn’t decide if it was worth the potential risk to reach over to the same side table that held the thing in order to grab her glasses.

“Here,” a small voice said.

And Gwen’s glasses were suddenly being slid onto her face. She gasped when her vision cleared and she could fully see the tiny creature fluttering in front of her.

She, at least Gwen assumed it was female, looked exactly like a miniaturized human, except in the face. The features there were a slight degree sharper with prominent cheek bones, a tiny pointed noise, and tiny pointed ears beneath the curly, long brown hair. And the eyes looked old. Far too old for that unlined face.

And there was the matter of the wings.

They were whirring too fast for Gwen to get a good look at them, but they looked iridescent, like dragonfly wings.

It took a bit of effort for her to resist the urge to swat at the—fairy?—that was studying her face just a foot or less from her.

“What are you?” Gwen finally said.

The fairy winced, flying backwards easily to return to her spot perched on the alarm clock. “This is awful.”

“You’re not the one hallucinating.”

“This is so awful.” The fairy sighed, pressing her face in her hands.

“What?”

“You don’t remember. I was sure that you would, even if the others thought I was crazy.”

“There’s more of you?” Gwen said, then winced at the look on the fairy’s face. “I mean. Of course there are more of you. You can’t be the only fairy in the world. You are a fairy, right?”

She nodded her head.

“Well, um…” Gwen noticed the time on the clock under the fairy’s swinging legs. “I’m going to be late for work!” She frantically peeled herself out of her pile of sheets and blankets to propel herself to the bathroom. She slammed the door closed with her heel as an afterthought to keep the fairy out.

She didn’t want company while she peed and she needed time to process besides.

As she brushed her teeth, she wondered if she should just call into work. She figured that the appearance of strange creatures—i.e. hallucinations—was a damn good reason to take off work.

Besides, whatever the little being wanted was probably at least a little more important than accounting…

When she opened the bathroom door, the fairy wasn’t anywhere in sight. Gwen sighed in relief, sagging against the doorframe. She wasn’t crazy after all, or, at least, not that crazy. But she should still probably call into work and tell them that she was sick. She obviously needed more sleep. Or something.

“I thought you said you were going to be late?”

Gwen clamped a hand over her mouth to prevent the shriek that was surely there below the surface. She didn’t want her neighbors checking up on her. “You need to stop doing that,” she said, glaring at the fairy.

“Doing what?” The fairy glared back at her from her perch on the ceiling fan. She was hanging backwards off one of the blades with her legs hooked over it at the knees.

“Scaring me.”

“Well it isn’t my fault that you don’t remember anything.”

“Right,” Gwen said. “What’s your name, by the way?”

“I’m called Tressa.” The fairy unhooked her legs and did a little flip to return right sight up. She flew to Gwen to return to her place hovering close to the human’s face.

“Why have you been crying?”

“We used to be best friends,” Tressa said. “And now you’ve forgotten about me.”

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Surround Yourself

I’ve steadily come to the realization that I’m currently reading and watching fiction that’s similar to the mood of my main writing project.

Last week, I finished the first draft of a short story that I’ve been working, which is on a much lighter note than the novel I started in November. Shortly after, I finished reading “The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I” by Stephen King and then picked up Dan Brown‘s “Angels & Demons” off my shelf. I also became invested in the TV show The Following.

43615All three of these stories, if you will, are rather dark in nature. I’ve written a review of The Following, but have yet to do so for “The Gunslinger.” And, since I’ve barely started “Angels & Demons,” of course I haven’t written a review for Brown’s work yet. Check out their websites or do some Google-ing of your own, but the point that I’m trying to make is that each of these works can, in some way, be classified in the horror genre.

I can’t stand horror or slasher movies, but I enjoy reading the same genre in book form. (Yes, I’m aware that I’m strange). And I can handle TV shows that freak me out as long as there’s enough plot to pull me in and I have something to distract me before bedtime.

So, if horror isn’t my favorite thing to read or watch, why do I suddenly find myself surrounded by it?

I think it was subconscious’ way of telling me to get back into writing my novel. And yesterday I did start the next chapter of what is already the longest work I’ve ever written. Whether or not King and Brown and Kevin Bacon inspired me to get back to it, I think that it’s benefiting me to immerse myself in this world.

To me, it’s important for every writer to devote as much time as possible to 1) writing and 2) reading. How best do we learn our craft than by practicing it and observing the success of other master crafters? And, especially if you find your self delving into a topic you aren’t used to writing, I think that it’s a good idea to read and watch works that are at least somewhat similar to what you’re working on. I’m not telling you to plagiarize. All I’m trying to say is that it might get you in the right mindset or mood for what you’re working on.

Writing Prompt #7

Today’s Writing Prompt is:

Using either Pinterest or Google, do a search of “abandoned buildings” and use whatever attracts you most as inspiration.

My Response to Last Week’s Prompt:

He couldn’t believe that his friend, Susan, had set him up on a blind date with someone called Dr. Knuckles. Was that a name for a wrestler or an actual doctor? But, then again, his name wasn’t exactly what people would call “normal” either.

And, what was probably the best part, Susan wouldn’t tell him what this person’s first name was. This annoyed Billy as he had a thing for names and it left the sex ambiguous. The latter didn’t really bother him that much since he swung either way, but he liked to know how to act in situations that he had time to think about before they actually happened. He was a planner.

He hiked his hood up over his head as it started to rain, shoving his hands in his hoody pocket. Billy loathed parking downtown and wished Susan had picked a different restaurant for him and this doctor person to meet up.

Billy hoped he/she/whatever wasn’t terribly ugly; he liked to date people who at least resembled humans. He sidestepped around a large puddle, frowning at the muddy leaves collecting in the gutter flow. He hated gutter flow. And gutters. And rain. And having to walk through it all because the city’s idea of “parking” were a couple structures thrown in the midst of the old and new buildings that composed their downtown area.

When the street lamp in front of him shorted, he stopped and stared at it with chin raised, rain spattering his face and running down his neck. Billy wondered if a passing car’s headlights had made it think of daytime or if the city was slacking again.

Then he shrugged and kept walking. It wasn’t his problem and the restaurant was close anyways.

As he passed the building before his destination, he wished they were meeting there instead. Billy stopped again and stared in the windows, part of him wondering if the baristas thought him a perv. It was a quaint cafe and bookstore in one that he could picture himself melting into. He contemplated going in the store and buying some coffee. But, if he did that, he’d never leave the store. He didn’t particularly care what this Dr. Knuckles thought of him. But he didn’t want to insult Susan.

Billy sighed, watching the small puff of white float out of his mouth. He was glad that it was starting to get cold again.

He rolled his shoulders as if stretching before a workout, and then marched to the next building and through the doors of The Bistro.

This is just a small piece of the short story that I’m currently working on, which was inspired by the previous writing prompt. It’s getting pretty interesting so far; cross your fingers for me that it stays that way.

Writing Prompt #3

Today’s writing prompt is:

My Response to Last Week’s Writing Prompt:

(I decided to incorporate this prompt into the short story that I’m currently working on, to make it a new scene in said project. And, I think I forgot to mention that these prompts don’t have any rules. Feel free to change words and pronouns and tenses and to even go off on a tangent that has nothing to do with the original prompt. The idea is to spark some writing.)

When Lily and Lara went back to the kitchen, Lily instantly sank back into her chair and downed the rest of her now lukewarm coffee. She tried imagining that it had liquor in it, but she still felt cold inside. “You gonna make some more coffee, Mom?”

“Why can’t you  make it?”

“I was just asking. You don’t have to be rude,” Lily said. She stood up and poured what was left of the coffee between hers and her mom’s cups before starting a new pot.

“Why do you do that?”

“What? I’m making coffee.”

“You always make it too dark,” Lara said.

“Then why didn’t you make it?”

“Don’t talk back to me.”

Lily slowly counted to 10 as she put her typical sixth scoop of coffee in the filter and snapped its holder into place above the pot. She started the old brewer and thought of the keurig she had at home. When she’d tried to buy one for her mom, Lara had refused; apparently she had some sort of attachment to the old pot.

“You know,” Lily said, “if you had someone to help you, maybe you wouldn’t be so mean towards everybody else all the time.”

“Your father helps me. And what do you mean–”

“Where is Dad, by the way?” Lily said.

“He went for groceries,” Lara said, moving to lean against the counter beside Lily. “We actually played rock, paper, scissors to see who’d get to get out of this house for a while.”

“She’s still painting.”

“Yeah. The doctors say it’s good for her.”

“That makes sense,” Lily said. She managed to pour herself a cup of coffee before it finished brewing, using the trick her mom had taught her where she traded her mom’s cup for the filling pot, winding up with two full cups instead of a mess.

They both put a good deal of creamer in the black stuff.

“It’s…thick,” Lara said.

“It’ll put hair on your chest.”

They both laughed, then stood in silence for a few moments, relishing the rare comfortable silence.

“Mom…”

“Hmmm?” Lara looked at her over the brim of her cup.

“Don’t you think somebody trained at taking care of people would be able to do a better job?”

The silence that followed was much thicker than the coffee as Lara stared at her daughter and set down her cup.

Lily stared back, watching her mom process words that she suddenly realized she would see as cruelty, but it was too late to take them back. And, somehow, she didn’t believe or understand the raised hand until it made contact with her face. She helplessly watched her mug slip from her fingers, hit the floor, and shatter as Lily raised her hand to her now burning cheek.

The two women stared at each other in horror as Lily started to cry.

My Current Projects

Today, I’m going to talk some about my current creative writing projects. I know this week seems rather “me” oriented, but I promise it isn’t on purpose. I think it’s partly the write what you know theory kicked into high drive and partly the need to babble after having been gone for so long.

As I’ve already mentioned (several times), I attempted NaNoWriMo for the first time this year. And, as I explained before, I have yet to finish this novel.

Because I had become so overwhelmed by it, I decided to take a break for a while. But I haven’t stopped writing.

I decided to take an idea from one of the guest writers who visited Western while I was studying there. He told us that he wrote short stories during lulls of his  novel writing. This actually wound up birthing both a novel and a book of short stories. I’ve decided to try doing this in order to keep the little creative hamster in my head running on his wheel.

So, I started a short story yesterday that I’m going to try to finish by the end of December.

It’ll be easier said than done though, due in large part to the fact that this story is going to require some research. Also, I’m going to be hosting Christmas Eve lunch at my apartment this year, so I’m going to be spending quite a bit of time preparing for that. Anyways, I’m going to try to write the story of Jesus’ birth from Mary’s perspective. I’m really excited about this, but I’m neither a Biblical or historical expert, hence the research.

The novel that I’m currently working on isn’t something that most people who know me well would be able to picture me writing.

My main character, Lari, is a serial killer who keeps body parts from her victims as souvenirs, of a sort. But her sickeningly fascinating collection isn’t the focus of the story. She meets a young woman, Susan, who has the most amazing eyes that Lari has ever seen and she, of course, wants them for herself. But, Lari makes a fatal mistake–she allows Susan to become an important part of her life and the quickly become best friends.

The central conflict of the novel is Lari’s struggle between wanting to possess Susan’s eyes and wanting to protect her best and only friend.

I’ve really enjoyed creating this world and the characters in it, but I was so intensely in their heads that I wasn’t entirely present in my own. Honestly, talking about them makes me want to return to their story right now, but I need to get ready to leave for work soon.