Saturday, December 31, 2011

Alby Mangroves Week 84: Messy

Alby Mangroves

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Alby Mangroves's Choice: Picture 2


Bella needs practice.

It’s not as easy as it looks to hold something so fragile without sinking fingers into flesh as though it’s nothing but soft dough.

As she draws the remaining blood from her kill, Bella relaxes her stranglehold just shy of crushing its ribcage and lowers the carcass to the ground where it sprawls limply.

Carefully, she withdraws her hands from under the doe’s skin, feeling terrible for causing the poor animal more pain than necessary.

Her fingers drip with its blood, globules of it already drying, blackening around her short nails.

Next time, I’ll be more careful.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Muse Calliope Week 84: Cinderella Balls - Trinity Shade Part VI

Muse Calliope

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Muse Calliope's Choice: Picture 2


Cinderella Balls - Trinity Shade Part VI

One minute Trinity was standing in front of Savannah in some sort of living room and the next she was sitting on her butt in the middle of a vacant parking lot, a thin layer of snow covering everything in sight. Croix stood beside her, towering over her with an amused grin that was just the teeniest bit smug. Trinity decided then and there she was going to get back at the brute come Hell or high water.

"Come, ma petite, do not glare at me so," Croix rumbled, a laugh trickling beneath his deep, deep voice. "Such travel can be...a surprise for those who've never done it before."

Trinity, in no mood to be polite, grunted and got to her feet, carefully brushing the snow off her pants as she did so. "So, where are we and why are we here?"

The beastkin's smile sharpened, his amusement evident. "Oh, we're in Ireland."

Trinity froze, positive she'd misheard. "Ireland? We … that's not possible."

"And yet, nous sommes ici."

"WHY?" Being in Ireland was bad - very bad - especially if you happened to be Fae and never got around to declaring your allegiance. To be fair, since Aoife was playing at being Queen and Fionnuala had vanished without a trace, declaring one's allegiance to the Winter Court was...difficult. Trinity had every intention of declaring her loyalty, thank you very much, just as soon as Fionnuala deigned to make an appearance and save them all from her stepmother's insanity. Tit-for-tat and all that.

"Because the mask ma reine seeks and which you have agreed to recover on her behalf is here."

Trinity should've taken her chances with the guards and gotten out of Prague on her own. Stupid survival instincts.

"Tonight," Croix informed me, "we have a, comment dites-vous, fact-finding mission; a ball."

"A ball," Trinity echoed.

"Oui, we must attend the Cinderella Ball."

It was official; Trinity never should have taken this stupid job. If she ever managed to get out of this mess alive she was never, ever going to take another job that had anything to do with Prague.

"The Cinderella Ball? As in the ball Aoife throws every year? THAT Cinderella Ball?"

"Yes, that one."

If Trinity had been of the fainting persuasion she would have done so right then and there. "Why in the name of all the gods would I go anywhere near that ball? Near that witch? Did I happen to mention that I'm undeclared? Aoife gets one whiff of me and it's off with my head."

Croix chuckled, completely unaffected by Trinity's mounting panic. "Je pense que vous avez mélangé vos histoires." He paused, thought, then sighed. "Pardonnez-moi, ma petite; I lapse. What I said was that I think you mix up your stories. The head chopping is in Alice in Wonderland, this is Cinderella."

Trinity huffed and cast a baleful gaze on the beastkin. "And what, pray tell, does that mean?"

Croix grinned. "Well, ma petite, it means that you are about to be given a beautiful gown and glass slippers to wear. It means that you are about to have your hair styled and face painted. It means that once you are made ready I will collect you and escort back here where we will -"

"Ride a former pumpkin-turned-carriage to the ball?" Trinity interrupted.

"Don't be absurd," Croix chastised, sounding genuinely affronted. Weird. "We'll be riding that." He gestured with one hand to something behind Trinity.

Sighing, she turned and promptly lost her ability to breathe. The first thing she noticed was the horses. Slender, graceful animals, they were a pure, snowy white with silver manes, tails and hooves, that last peeking out from a feathery fringe of fur. Their eyes were ice blue from lid to lid, which Trinity found just plain eerie. All in all, they were practically ethereal and Trinity would swear they glowed with a soft silvery light.

Delicate thread-like silver chains harnessed the four beasts to the most stunning carriage Trinity had ever seen. If she didn't know any better, she'd have said it was carved from ice. It was like someone had take the world's largest, most intricate Christmas tree bulb and placed it atop a slim wagon. With unbelievable detail carved on its exterior, the fragile carriage boasted two seats - one on either side - and was crowned by a complex snowflake. The whole affair was transparent with the shimmering, wet look one normally only saw from sunlit ice, and breathtakingly gorgeous.

At that moment, Trinity knew without a doubt that she was completely, utterly and irrevocably screwed.

Three hundred fucking years old - she really should have known better that to jinx herself.

A/N: To be continued soon!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Burntcore Week 84: Freedom to Live


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Burntcore's Choice: Both

Freedom to Live

All of my life, I have felt like I lived in a glass bowl where everyone watched my every move. It was maddening. I had no privacy, no sense of self. Anything and everything I did was commented on, critiqued, and criticized. I had all the freedom in the world but never felt so trapped.

It wasn’t even my own doing. I have rich parents who made themselves into quasi-celebrities due to their money and being seen at various Hollywood parties. Rubbing your nose with real celebrities and actors apparently makes you famous. It’s stupid, if you ask me, but they never would.

My parents got to feel important by seeing their names and pictures in glossy magazines. I got to feel like I lived in a fishbowl. I hated having the cameras snapping pictures of my every move, seeing my clothing choices for the day critiqued or praised for being “in” or not. What I chose to wear was what I chose; I never really put much thought into it besides making sure they were clean.

My parents hoped I would be more interested in the limelight so they could keep their fifteen minutes of fame going. They tried to get me on some reality show and some bit part in a CW show. Despite my protests, they insisted. I went to the audition but I never went in to read. I sat out in the lobby and watched all the wannabees until I got bored and went to the library.

It never ceased to be a point of contention with my mother who titters and tsks when I don’t show the proper appreciation for all the opportunities she and my father arranged for me. Apparently, telling them time and time again that I had no interest in acting or being on camera didn’t sink in.

It won’t matter for much longer anyway. I just turned eighteen and just finished high school. My parents didn’t have any more control over me and my plans to move out are almost finished. I didn’t have a job yet, but my trust fund became accessible as soon as I turned eighteen so I had means to be able to pay my bills. While I hated that money made my parents into camera hogging freaks, the same money gave me my freedom.

Earlier today when my parents were at some society function, I went to the bank and converted my entire trust fund account into a regular bank account, one that only I had control over. If I left it in a trust, there was a chance my parents could freeze my assets, which they probably would do as soon as they realized I left.

Next, I bought my own car. The car I had been using was in my father’s name and so that was going to be left at the house. The car I bought is far from new, but something I picked out and something much more practical. Oh, and insurance too. While some may think I’m some irresponsible trust fund baby with a silver spoon just because of how my parents act, I do have the ability to think for myself and make mature decisions.

With so many steps in place, the urge to finally break free is almost overwhelming. I have to do this the right way, though; otherwise my parents will track me down and try to bring me back. If they don’t know where I went, they can’t drag me back. Somehow, I would let them know I was okay so they wouldn’t worry, but I couldn’t let them find me.

I just needed to wait until they thought I was leaving for college, to the college that they picked out taking classes that they thought would help me land acting gigs, rooming with the daughter of one of their friends, a girl that I couldn’t stand. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

I wanted to go to college, but to the one I chose. It wasn’t good enough, according to my parents. Despite the fact it was the only college in the state that had the program I wanted. It was immaterial because it wasn’t what they wanted.

What they didn’t know is that I applied to the college I wanted, and was accepted. I had my class schedule all set up, a student loan to my name (which will be paid for with my trust fund), and a roomie that I didn’t know from Adam but seemed pretty cool based on our few email conversations.

This was an opportunity for me to start over. No one would expect to find me where I am going. With a new haircut and color, and shortening my name, I hoped I could find some real freedom in anonymity. It’s sad when your biggest dream was to just fade into the crowd.

I was even looking forward to dorm life, despite the fact that my new living space was going to be smaller than what my closet was at home. This kind of life was more normal. God, how I longed for normal. I couldn’t wait.

I had my bags and boxes packed, ready for the move, in two piles. One pile, the smaller one, was what I was actually taking with me, and the other was the rest what my parents thought I was taking with me. I knew I could get away with this since my parents knew I would be leaving for college. My dorm room would only fit so much and I was happy to be free of the trappings of my parents influence by taking just the bare necessities. If was going to the college they picked out for me, I was going to be staying in a sprawling townhouse with plenty of room for all the crap that they thought I should be taking.

Again, their thoughts and opinions, not mine.

I couldn’t wait to put my own decorations in my own dorm room. I wanted color and verve, something besides the beige existence my parents seemed to see fit to thrust me into. I couldn’t wait to live my life without their opinions and thoughts holding me back, or being dragged into something I wanted no part of. Finally, I would be free of the cameras that followed my parents around. Finally, I would be free to live.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

KekahJ Week 84: The Night that Changed My Life


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KekahJ's Choice: Picture 1

The Night that Changed My Life

I shiver and pull my coat around me a little tighter as the wind rips though the branches above me, making their dry leaves shudder. Not wanting to be out in the cold any longer than necessary, I fish my keys out of my pocket, readying the right key to fit in the lock. Just as I’m wiggling the key into the lock, I hear another sound. It’s faint, but distinct. It’s a whine.

I stop and turn, trying to determine where the sound is coming from. For a moment, I see nothing, and then a small movement catches my eye.

“Oh,” I say to myself in shock when I see it. It’s the scrawniest most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen. It’s fur is matted and wet, and I can tell that underneath it’s pathetic coat it’s not much more than skin and bones. It has the overgrown paws of a puppy with a lot of growth still ahead of it. But all of these things, the thing that sticks with me the most is its eyes. It has big, beautiful blue eyes.

“What are you doing here?” I ask the poor creature. In answer, it shivers and takes a step toward me. I’m not, nor have I ever been, a dog person, but there’s something about this poor thing, especially its piercing eyes, that has me unable to turn away. Besides, it’s freezing out here. The thing will surely be dead by morning if I don’t let it inside.

“Well, come on then,” I tell it, sighing as I motion towards the open door. She looks up at me, and I swear her blue eyes are grateful as she slinks through the door into my warm apartment.

Thirty minutes later, I’ve determined it’s a she. I’ve got a fire going and she’s curled up in front of it on one of my best blankets after lapping down two bowls of milk and eating all of my left over chicken. She looked like she would have eaten more, but I wasn’t sure if she would get sick after having gone so long without food.

I settle down on the couch with a book, but after a few minute she begins whimpering in her sleep, and I can’t help myself. I go over and curl up next to her on the blanket, wrapping my arms around her and running my fingers around her still damp fur. I know then that I’m in trouble. Apparently I’m now a dog owner.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

107_yroldvirgin Week 84: What the Heart Sees

Please give a warm welcome to our newest prompter, 107_yroldvirgin! She is alternating Tuesdays with Destynee.


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107_yroldvirgin's Choice: Picture 2


What the Heart Sees

It’s hard to say when things started changing.

Little things here and there. Words that once were reassuring slowly began to feel like suffocating…permanence. Most girls would feel safe and secure, but she couldn’t ever let it fit. That second skin of his arms around her weighed her down and she couldn’t ever really bring herself to accept it. To be comfortable with it all.

It had unraveled quickly after she’d received notification that her internship had gone through. She was leaving. It was final. And suddenly his arms felt less like encasement and more like regret. But she couldn’t let herself dwell. Her mother had always told her that following her dreams and being independent were the things that really mattered in this world.

“You’ll never see,” he’d told her as she packed her things, fighting back tears and that feeling deep in her gut that maybe she should stay. Maybe he was enough. Maybe living in one place with one person; waking up to his face every morning and sharing a sink where they brushed their teeth would be enough.

They’d be that couple that everyone talked about in quiet whispers as their hearts yearned and ached for what they had. Those smiles and cute words spoken in front of friends. Stolen glances years and years later.

Or they’d be the ones their friends spoke over dinner about, in quiet hushed tones as they dissected exactly how it had all gone wrong.

“You’ll never see,” he’d told her again as he grabbed his coat and slipped his arms inside, turning to face the door while his hands ran over his cheeks sadly and his ears tinged red, “you’ll never see what you had right in front of you. Until it’s too late.”

And now she sits, outside on a cool morning, clutching coffee in her hands and pondering what her choices had afforded her. She was seeing the world. She was living her dream. And yet, as she looks around her, she can only feel that pull of sadness as other couples lean and whisper, eyes caught in some kind of trance as their fingers press against each other’s… or against cheeks… or curl into collars to pull them closer.

She holds a picture of the two of them, both fair-skinned, and light eyes, but their hair a direct contrast to the other. Their smiles so bright. Their bodies so close together. She lets the corner of the photo flutter in the morning breeze as she waits for connection on her computer, the small café being one of the only spots in the city where she can get free wifi. The coffee becomes cooler and finally turns icy as she waits.

As her heart beats with the hope of a small green light appearing on her screen.

As her ears strain to hear the sound of his connection to Skype like he’d promised after she’d emailed him.

And her eyes well with tears as the sounds and lights meet together just once before she clicks on the icon to show her face to him.

His appears on the screen and his eyes…they are hopeful… as are hers, squinting against the happiness and fear she feels so deep inside. Because she finally sees. He’s right in front of her. And if he’ll have her, she’ll be back in his arms once again. Because what she thought she wanted was fleeting, but he? He is forever.

She can see it in his face as she leans forward and touches a finger to the screen, smiling soft and timid before she speaks.

“Hey, baby. I’ve missed you…”

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jessypt Week 84: I Choose you


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Jessypt's Choice: Picture 1


I Choose You

The sun had just started to dip below the horizon when the last of his promises rang out loud and clear.

“I choose you. I choose life with you.”

She smiled, her heart overflowing with love and the promise of the life before them. The minister looked at her, but her eyes never left the man, her best friend, her partner in life, in front of her.

“And, Muriel, your vows please.”

“I’ll love you every day of forever, Max,” she said.

His eyes sparkled and danced with happiness as her fingers tightened around his. She wanted to dip her head as her cheeks flushed a warm pink, but she didn’t. She wanted him to see the sincerity and truth that she’d seen in his eyes reflected in hers. She wanted him to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he was her everything.

“From the minute you walked into my life I knew there was something special, something different, about you. In the four years we’ve known each other, the three and a half we’ve been best friends, and then two we’ve been together, you have come to mean everything to me. I love you. I love our friendship, and how you love me uniquely.

“And so, today and every day thereafter, I choose you. I choose life with you.”

As she finished, unshed tears glistened in her eyes, in his eyes, and in the eyes of their dearest friends and family. For they knew the hurdles these two had overcome --time, distance, a war, and a life-threatening illness-- to be and remain together.

“Max and Muriel,” the minster said, slowly drawing their eyes away from each other, “It is by the power vested in me by the state of Minnesota, I pronounce you husband and wife,” he paused and turned to Max. “You may kiss your bride.”

Max grinned, wide and bright, the boyish grin of a young man about to kiss the girl of his dreams for the first time. He released Muriel’s hands and ever so gently took her face in his hands, fingers splayed across her jaw and cheeks, and pressed his lips tenderly against hers. There was no need to be greedy, to wildly claim her in front of others.

She was his. He was hers.

They had chosen each other. They had chosen life with each other. Forever.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Kimmydonn Week 83: I’ll Watch Over You


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Kimmydonn's Choice: Both

I’ll Watch Over You

Lisa settled on the couch, placing the bowl of popcorn between herself and Ford. An early night. When was the last time they’d wrapped before eight? It helped that they were shooting outside. The idyllic countryside wasn’t as idyllic after sunset. Also, the dairy farmer wanted his Jersey’s back in the milking barn.

“So, what are we watching?” Lisa asked, tucking her feet under her and leaning across the popcorn into Ford. He was pudgy enough to be very comfy. She sat up straighter when she saw herself on the screen. Years younger, but her, eating popcorn. It was a little disconcerting when she was doing the exact same thing now. She even looked around for the giant hand prop that had been used to make the shadow.

Once she was certain she wasn’t having a flash-back and was actually watching the fourth full-length feature she’d been cast in, she leaned more heavily into Ford, even pulling his arm out and over herself.

“I can’t believe you’re watching this. You know the only reason this movie didn’t give me nightmares was that we filmed it out of order?” It was a lot less real when it came in disconnected skips. Her mother had been worried about Lisa working on such a dark film, but after the first week, it was obvious the process wasn’t scarring the twelve year-old. It had launched her career, actually.

Lisa had never watched it. Her mother had forbidden her attending the premiere; the movie was utterly inappropriate for her pre-teen daughter. Later, Lisa had never really sat and watched her films outside premieres and film festivals. She didn’t have the time.

“Too scary?” Ford asked. “Wouldn’t want to give you nightmares now.”

Lisa jumped when the sound of a door slamming was followed by her own scream. The scream was echoed as she let another go in the hotel suite.

“Shit,” she cursed. “Maybe.”

Ford tightened his hold on Lisa’s arm, promising to protect her from even imaginary dangers. “Want me to change it?”

“No. Not really. I’ve never seen it.”


Lisa shook her head. “I was too young at the time and just never went back. Ewww.” Little Lisa’s corpse face was projected over the real one. That day in make up had been the worst.

“I’ve seen this one a dozen times.”

She looked up at Ford, confused.

He shrugged. “I like horror films, and you are so creepy in it.”

He’s right. By the end of the film the audience discovers that the little girl is the one killing everyone rather than the victim that keeps barely escaping.

“At least there’s nothing scary about tomorrow,” Lisa mutters, sinking into his side again.

“You mean you aren’t going to attack and eat Bessie? Damn, I was looking forward to that.”

She laughs and poke him in the ribs. “Just don’t let me fall asleep in the middle. I’ll have nightmares for sure.”

“I’ll watch over you.”

Alby Mangroves Week 83: Christmas Eve Memories

Fitting post today by our dear Alby. Our apologies in the delay in posting. We've been busy in the Christmas spirit with family. :) Hope your holiday goes well!

Alby Mangroves

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Alby Mangroves's Choice: Picture 2


Christmas Eve Memories

Evening would descend around four in the afternoon, darkening skies shooing the kids inside. We’d pull our sleds home and leave wet boots on the threshold, then waddle indoors like overstuffed penguins to be undressed by our mothers, piece by piece.

Mittens were joined by a long piece of elastic that could be threaded through the sleeves of my winter coat. When I took it off, the mittens would hang limply from the sleeves like wet paws, dripping on the floor.

The very air seemed different, heavy with anticipation.

I remember lying in bed, unable to sleep for the excitement.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Burntcore Week 83: Weekend Warrior


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Burntcore's Choice: Both

Weekend Warrior

He faded into the background Monday through Friday, behind executives and managers and other suits, toeing the line to get the job done. He was just a courier, a person paid to do their biding. He didn’t mind it. It was just a job, it didn’t define him. No one that he worked for defined him. He defined himself. He was person, not a thing, and not easily shut into some shallow, single-sided label.

He defined himself through his music, his art, his actions, his words. For those that got close enough to find out, they would see the man behind the crisp, white button down shirt that was a part of his required dress as a courier. His job paid for his apartment and allowed him to do the things he wanted to do. So if he had to wear corporate clothes and fade into the background, he would. It didn’t change a thing about him/

It didn’t change the sleeves of tats that he had under his shirt or his pierced nipples, or the fact that he always had guitar pics in his pocket. It didn’t mean that he had his guitar with him at all times, but he found the pics soothing and would practice in his head while waiting for a run or going up or down an elevator. It didn’t change the fact that he couldn’t wait to get home to be welcomed by his little fuzzy dog, Joe.

The weekends was when he came alive. He slept in until the sunlight peeked through the slats of the miniblinds. Then he took Joe to the park where girls cooed over how cute the dog was. At night he played his guitar at a local club, flirted with the punky waitress with the pink and orange hair.

This was who he was. He wasn’t just the courier, he wasn’t just a faceless shape in a sea of suits, he was Paul. Paul the Musician, Paul the artist, Paul the owner of Joe, Paul the friend, and if he played his cards right with the waitress, Paul the lover. None of these exclusively defined him. They were all a part of who he was.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

KekahJ Week 83: The Meadow


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KekahJ's Choice: Picture 2


The Meadow

The mist shrouded the meadow, twisting into unfamiliar shapes. It made the place I once loved look strange and foreign. Even the trees, the trees that had been my friends my entire life, looked different. It was as if they didn’t recognize me, as if time had changed me into a stranger to them. Or maybe they did recognize me. Maybe they remembered as well as I did.

Despite the foreboding I felt, I continued to walk out of the depths of the forest and into the meadow I once called home. Unfamiliar plants brushed against my legs. How could everything have changed so completely? Even the sun, once a warm golden orb high in the sky, seemed hostile. It was as if the light reached the meadow floor, but the warmth did not.

I tried not to think about how long it had been, but it was impossible to stop my brain from automatically doing the math. Two years. Two years since the fateful day that had changed my life forever. Before I knew it, I was standing in the very spot it had happened. Maybe my subconscious had led me there. There was nothing left to indicate that this was the spot, but every fiber of my being told me that it was.

I wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or disappointed that no physical remains of that day were left behind. What had I expected? To see crimson blood still staining the reeds? To see the meadow grass still trampled down and flattened from the struggle? Of course not. Nature had reclaimed the spot that would always hold such significance for me and made it as unremarkable as the rest of the meadow.

After a moment, I began to pace around the meadow again. Had anyone else been here? Did anyone else know? I couldn’t help wondering what had happened in the aftermath of that day. The memories that I’d worked so hard to repress came crashing down on me now. Unable to stand on my own any longer, I sought the comfort of a large boulder. I wiped the sweat away from my forehead with trembling hands as flashes of the day assaulted me. Soon, the sweat that poured down my face was mixed with tears. Why had I come here? This was a mistake.

The snap of a twig had me on my feet in an instant. Without thinking I fled, fear propelling my shaking legs as I sought safety. My heart raced as I tore through the forest back to the comfort of my car. The terror I felt, whether real or imagined, was enough to convince me of the foolishness of my return to the meadow. I had mistaken the once beloved meadow as a place I where I was still welcome. I would not make the same mistake again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jessypt Week 33: Love, Fertility, and the Promise of Good Luck


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Jessypt's Choice: Picture 1


Love, Fertility, and the Promise of Good Luck

I heard the bright notes of the shahnai and the steady beat of the tabla loud and clear in the cool night air. The festivities had been going on for hours, and from the sound of things, they would probably go on for another few. Somehow, we’d managed to escape the oppressive crowd of people - my new relatives, mostly - to get a breath of fresh air.

My feet ached from standing all day. I closed my eyes and leaned back against the wall, relishing the reprieve I knew would be short-lived. I breathed in, the smell of incense, cooked meat, and flowers thick in the air. It was familiar and comfortable, and I couldn’t help but smile at how much my life had changed over the last year.

When Father brought Atul to our home and presented me, I knew immediately what was happening. My girlfriends and I had talked extensively about future matches. I knew I had a choice, of course, but I also knew my parents knew me better than anyone and wanted the best for me. When Atul took my hand in his for the first time, I was nervous, but his smile and twinkling eyes immediately put me at ease. The subsequent weeks and months of casual outings turned into intimate embraces, soft-hungry kisses, and countless conversations about our future. It wasn’t always perfect; we’d had our fair share of arguments, but I couldn’t have asked for a better man.

The sound of footsteps crunching on the gravel walkway alerted me to his presence. I looked up and saw the face of the man I had grown to love beyond measure.

“Hello, my sweet,” he said, as he squatted in front of me, placing his hands on the tops of my legs. I could feel the warmth seeping through the thin material of my sequined sari. I knew tonight would be a night of firsts, and my heart began to thrum loudly.

“Hi,” I said, leaning in to press my lips to his. It was short and soft; this wasn’t the time or place for anything more.

“Are you ready to return? I’m sure our guests are wondering where we are.” He waggled his eyebrows and smirked.

I giggled. Tonight would definitely be interesting. I took another deep breath and nodded my head. “Let’s go.”

He stood up and extended his hand to me. The delicate, gold bangles around my wrists and up the length of my arms tinkled as I placed my mehndi-covered hand in his. With a tender kiss to the inside of my palm, he wrapped my arm through the bend of his arm, placed my hand on the crook of his elbow, and led the way back to the celebration in our honor.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kimmydonn Week 82: Out of Step


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Kimmydonn's Choice: Picture 2

Out of Step

Lisa emerged from the dark cinema, blinking to adjust her eyes to the late summer sunshine. Her independent effort seemed well received. It wasn’t hers alone, of course, and she smiled at Jason, the screenplay writer and director who walked beside her.

There were one-man shows, but very few one-man films. This was a one-woman film. The only break from Lisa relief through the hour-long film came in the form of a plane overhead and the people emerging on the streets after a siren rang ‘all clear.’

Many of the other people exiting the cinema had tears in their eyes. Some were old enough that they might have been children during the Second World War. Every one gave Lisa another burst of pride, and Jason seemed to take it the same way.

“We did it!” she told him, nudging his arm.

“You did it. It would have been nothing without you. I still don’t understand why you’d do this when you could be making another million in Hollywood.”

How could he not see it? How much more impact could this movie have than another blockbuster with no plot beyond “hero meets heroine?” She would go back to California and do another one of those. Her standard of living required her to do one or two a year, but it also afforded her the leisure to pursue projects like these, ones that meant something.

The people on the street, both from the cinema and passersby, were not unlike those of Hollywood, all gliding along in the same direction at the same speed. She and Jason jarred against them, making waves.

“Ms. Campbell! A picture?”

“Sure.” She linked Jason’s arm to pull him into the shot. Ford, never far away, held a parasol to shade them. She thought she’d adjusted to the glare, but her face relaxed from squinting. “Thanks, Ford.”

Jason kept pulling away from her. “They don’t want me in the picture.”

“I want you in the picture. This is our day.” He did pull away though, and Lisa’s lips pursed at first in irritation and then in amusement. They wanted her to fit her mold, stand in front of the camera, alone. Just like her character in the film, she would never fall in step.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Alby Mangroves Week 82: Purple

Alby Mangroves

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Alby Mangroves's Choice: Picture 2


This is the way I envisaged it.

I thought I could lie among the purple and sink into the warm blanket of memories.

I imagined closeness to you was only as far as the reach of my hand.

I expected it to be as clear as though it happened yesterday, fresh as the smell of spring bulbs opening on a frosty morning.

I close my eyes and whisper, “I love you, Edward.”

Instead of the golden sun reflected in your endless eyes and the purple blanket of flowers under our bodies, I see the crimson red of my death approaching.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Muse Calliope Week 82: Mermaid Shoes

Muse Calliope

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Picture 2

Muse Calliope's Choice: Picture 1

Mermaid Shoes

Dumitru waited until Croix had teleported away with the Shade before approaching his mate, his loving mate who was right then casting a not-so-loving glare in his direction.

"I am so mad at you right now," she informed him coldly, "I could scream! How could you do that? And then to go and blame me! If I wasn't moments from passing out I would kill you so dead even skeletons would be impressed."

Dumitru snorted and crouched down in front of her, gently tracing her jaw with the pad of one finger. "Come now, lumina mea, is that truly what has you so fiery? You were upset with me even before we went to that castle and I would think you would be pleased we now have a Shade in our...acquaintance."

"I'm fine, Tru," Savannah asserted, jerking her head out of his grasp. "Just tired from Jes. And the Shade in our acquaintance was your doing, not mine; I wouldn't have cared one way or the other what she did."

"Ah, but now we have someone who can fetch your mask, does that not please you?"

"What would please me," she said coolly, "is Aoife's head on a platter. What would please me is my father alive and well and still on his throne. What would please me is not having to run and hide and cower like a field mouse before Aoife's owl. Needing set up this elaborate hoax just to trick a Shade into our service so she can run this suicide mission for me...well, that most certainly, most absolutely, most positively does NOT please me."

Savannah, like most Noble Fae, had a specific type of animal she connected and identified with, sort of like a witch's familiar except that it pertained to the whole species rather than a single beast. Savannah was one of the few Noble Fae that actually had more than one such animal; she had three, only one of which she made common knowledge. The significance of this tidbit, however, was that whenever Savannah got angry or upset or whatever, the quartet of such animals she kept around her nearly constantly got themselves riled up in her defence. This meant that while Dumitru was crouching there in front of his mate one moment, in the next he was sprawled on his back shoved there by the tiger-sized black cat that had come charging in and inserted itself between him and her.

Dumitru, unlike Savannah, was most decidedly not a cat person.

"It's okay, Oz," Savannah cooed soothingly, wrapping her arms around the cat's massive neck and buried her face in the soft fur around his ruff. If Dumitru hadn't known cat and woman had been together for the past seven hundred years or so he may have been just a tinge unsettled by how close they were.

Actually, even knowing that he was still unsettled. And before you get the wrong idea; Oz, short for Osiris, was a Fae cat and as such was about as personified as a cartoon character, minus the walking on two-feet and talking bit - communication was more telepathic. Anyway, Oz and Savannah had been best friends since she was a child; it was hard to compete with that sort of bond. Not that Dumitru thought of it as a competition.

Which was entirely besides the point. Right then Dumitru was simply annoyed that the furball got the hugs while he got the cold shoulder. After all, the cat had stayed home, nice and warm.

"Don't be upset with Oz," Savannah chastised. "He would have come if he were able."

"What would you like me to say, lumina mea? That I am sorry? It would be a lie; I am not, nor will I ever be. This has gained us a valuable ally and allowed us to finally set in motion plans to regain some of your artifacts."

When Savannah refused to acknowledge him, Dumitru sighed. Clearly it was time to bring out his secret weapon. Sighing, he got to his feet and went to fetch the box.

"I have a gift for you, lumina mea," he told her, holding it out.

She eyed the box as though it might bite her. "You're trying to buy my forgiveness now?"

"No, I am trying to give you a gift. Will you just accept it, lumina mea? I promise it will not bite."

Savannah sighed and tugged halfheartedly on the box's oversized green bow.

"Lumina mea, please."

With obviously forced enthusiasm, Savannah tore off the box's wrapping and lifted its lid. With much more geniune enthusiasm she smiled and lifted one of the open toe, platform pumps with metallic stiletto heels from within. The shoe was encrusted with crushed sapphires and glittered like the ocean in the moonlight, somehow managing to stay just this side of gaudy. Savannah stared at the shoe, that smile tugging at her lips even as tears brimmed in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks.

"Lumina mea? Why are you crying?" Dumitru gently ran the pad of his thumb over her cheek, wiping her tears. "Do you not like the shoes?"

"They're...they're the mermaid shoes," she murmured, her hands trembling as she handled them like treasure. " found the mermaid shoes."

Dumitru smiled. "Once upon a time," he began the old story, "there was a beautiful princess whose father offered to give her a gift. He told her to ask for whatever her heart most desired and vowed to move heaven and earth to retrieve it for her. 'I want to be a mermaid,' she told him. When her father asked her why, she answered, 'Because the ocean is freedom more so than anything else. Birds can fall from the sky, horses can only run so far, ants can dig only so deep but the ocean does not have any limits. I want to be free, Da.'

"Bound by his promise to his daughter, the king scoured the land looking for some way to grant her desire. He had every magic user that could be found brought before him, but none could give an answer. The princess had all but despaired when, finally, a shoemaker stepped forth and proclaimed he had the answer. Kneeling before the throne, he offered the princess a pair of shoes that glimmered with the captured power of the oceans. Hesitantly, the princess slipped the shoes unto her feet and, for the first time, was truly free. The king rewarded the shoemaker handsomely and everyone lived happily ever after.”

" remember my fairy tale?" Savannah sounded incredulous. Dumitru tried not to be hurt by that.

"When I was recovering from your stepmother's poison, lumina mea, you told me fairy tales all the time," he reminded her. "The Mermaid Shoes and Snow White were the only ones you ever told more than once."

"Oh. Those...those are my favourites. Snow White...she defeats her stepmother and lives happily ever after in the end. The princess with the mermaid shoes..."

"She gets to be free," Dumitru finished for her. Smiling just a bit he reached out and gently brushed her hair from her face, careful to keep his touch as light as possible.

"Why?" Savannah asked suddenly, her head snapping up to pin him with a killer glare. "Why are you giving me the mermaid shoes?"

Sighing, Dumitru sat back. "Lumina mea, it is our anniversary tomorrow. That is what the shoes are for."

"Oh. I forgot."

"It is alright, lumina mea," Dumitru assured her. He stood and in a single fluid motion hoisted Savennah, shoes and all, into his arms. "I am sure you will find a way to make it up to me."

"Will I?" Savannah asked, her tone teasing and light, all of her earlier mistrust and confusion suddenly, almost instantly, gone. Dumitru doubted she'd even remember anything but the shoes and what was about to happen. The thought sent a flash of sorrow through him, but he ignored it. He loved her, she loved him, nothing else mattered. Simple as that.

"Yes," he told her. "You will."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Burntcore Week 82: Sanity


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Burntcore's Choice: Picture 1


This was my favorite place, high above the city. When the noise in my life and in my head proved to be too much, here is where I came. I could still hear some of the noises of the city below me but it was a comforting murmur instead of a deafening cacophony that I normally heard.

Everything looked so small from where I sat, and it put it all in perspective. Any problems and issues were all diminished, no matter how big they seemed before. I was able to maintain my sanity this way, not letting anything get too overwhelming.

Lord knows I needed by sanity.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

KekahJ Week 82: The End


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KekahJ's Choice: Picture 2


The End

“Bella,” Jane called. “I’m leaving. Are you coming?”

Bella sighed and closed her eyes, pulling the covers over her head.

“Bella!” Jane’s voice was impatient now. Bella heard her footsteps drawing near. “What the hell? What are you doing?” Jane rounded the corner and stood in Bella’s room. Bella could hear the toe of her high heeled shoe tapping impatiently.

“Sorry, Jane,” Bella murmured from under the blanket.

Suddenly the blanket was yanked from Bella’s grasp, light flooding her vision, making her blink.

“Why aren’t you ready?” Jane demanded.

Bella sighed and pushed herself up into a sitting position. “I’m not going. I don’t feel good.”

“Bullshit,” Jane barked. “It’s him again, isn’t it?” She didn’t wait for an answer. “Dammit, Bella, this is ridiculous. You need to work. Forget about him.”

Bella sighed again and flopped back down on her pillow. “I know. I can’t. I’m sorry, Jane, I just need some time. Please.” Her voice was a whisper and she felt tears pricking the corners of her eyes. She hated herself for crying over him.

Jane’s expression turned sympathetic. “Okay, honey.” She leaned over and stroked Bella’s hair. “Just stay home and rest tonight. It’ll be fine. You’ll feel better soon.”

Bella nodded but didn’t say anything. Jane leaned in and kissed her forehead and Bella smiled. Without another word, Jane stood and left. Bella heard the door close and she was alone again. She tried to take a deep breath, but didn’t seem to be able to fill her lungs with enough air to feel comfortable. For two days it had felt as if there was a crushing weight on her chest. It was over. It was really over. She knew now that she had to face that fact. The past few weeks had been like a fairy tale, but now the dream was over and she needed to come back to reality.

She thought back to two nights ago when she’d decided to show up at his place uninvited. He always told her that one of the things he loved about her was her spontaneity. But when he’d opened the door to find her standing on his doorstep, his face grew hard and she’d known right away she’d made a mistake.

“Bella,” he said, his voice barely a whisper as he tried to close the door as much as possible to keep her from seeing inside, but it was too late.

“Edward?” A woman’s voice called from inside.

Bella’s face fell and she felt her cheeks growing red. “I’m sorry, I just, I--” she stammered almost incoherently.

“Bella wait--” he called.

She was already racing down the stairs to the lobby, wishing she’d never come, wishing she’d never met Edward Cullen. The next day he called her, but she avoided his calls. She didn’t want to hear what he had to say, she already knew what he had to say. It wasn’t like she had any room to be angry with him. What kind of a hypocrite would she be?

Suddenly, she regretted her decision to stay home. With a huff, she threw the covers back and stood. She caught her reflection in the mirror. Had she lost weight? Her already small figured seemed somehow smaller. She sighed and made a note to herself to eat something before she left. She glanced at the clock on her bedside table and decided she didn’t have time for a shower. Instead, she headed to her closet, pulling on the first thing her fingers found.

Minutes later, she was walking down the street, high heels clicking on the concrete as she made her way to where she knew Jane would be.

“Jane!” she called, running the last few steps to catch up with her roommate.

“Bella!” Jane cried as she turned toward her. “You came!” The two girls embraced and Bella felt better already. “It’s been slow so far, but I think things will pick up. I’m so glad you changed your mind.”

Bella stepped back and nodded. “You were right. He’s not worth crying over.” She felt a tiny, painful tug somewhere in her chest as she said the words, but she ignored it.

It wasn’t long before Jane climbed into a passing car and was gone, leaving Bella alone. She leaned against the side of a building and felt her stomach growl. She cursed herself as she remembered that she’d forgotten to eat. She wondered if she could grab something before it got too much later. As she contemplated what to eat, a car slowed to a stop in front of her. She smiled as the driver rolled down his window. He grinned at her. He was decent looking; long blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. The car was nice. She’d definitely seen worse.

“Hi,” she called as she approached the vehicle.

“How are you doing, beautiful?” he called, nodding at her. “Looking for some company?” he asked, slinging his arm casually over the passenger’s seat.

“Sure,” Bella smiled, pushing thoughts of food out of her head and switching over to the place in her mind where she went every night.

“Get in, sweetheart.” The man’s voice was smooth like honey. His teeth glinted in the dim light of his dash and Bella smiled at him again as she placed her hand on the doorknob. As she lifted the handle, she stopped. It was almost as if her hand refused to work. Puzzled, she switched hands, but she still couldn’t open the door.

“What’s wrong, darlin’?” the man asked.

Bella felt her face grow warm and felt a trickle of sweat run down her neck. What was wrong with her? She felt nauseous. Edward’s face swam before her and suddenly the idea of spending even a moment with the blond man made her so ill that she stumbled backwards away from the car. Sweating, she wretched into the gutter. The blond man shouted in disgust and his tires squealed as he peeled away from the curb. Tears streamed down Bella’s face. What was wrong with her? She made her way into the restroom of a nearby convenient store and splashed cold water on her face. Immediately she felt better, so she returned to her post.

Twice more she approached awaiting vehicles, and twice more she found herself unable to get in. Sick and weak and frustrated, she finally gave up. She took off her stilettos and walked home, the pavement cold but somehow comforting against her bare feet.

Tears blurred her vision as she approached her door. What had she gotten herself into? She thought back to her life before Edward. It hadn’t been perfect, but at least her heart hadn’t hurt like it did now. At least she’d been able to do her job. Now what the hell was she going to do?

She fumbled to fit her key into the lock, not noticing the small piece of paper that was wedged between the door and the frame. Finally, as it fluttered to the ground, it caught her eye. Heart heavy and weary, she bent down to pick it up. The paper was thick and felt expensive. It was folded in half once and when she opened it, her breath caught in her throat. She read the words over and over as she stood barefoot on her front porch.


She jumped as the voice sounded in the dark. She whirled around and her heart clenched when she saw his face as he stepped out of the shadows. A sob caught in her throat. “Is this from you?” she asked, shaking the paper at him. She knew the answer before she saw him nod. “Oh Edward,” she cried, launching herself at him. “I couldn’t do it. I don’t want to do it anymore. Please tell me that you mean it.” Her voice was desperate, and deep down she knew there was a chance that she’d misunderstood his words and that she’d be rejected again, but she didn’t care. Everything hurt, and she just wanted him to hold her.

“Oh baby.” Edward’s voice was gruff as he wrapped his arms around her, enveloping her in his warmth and scent. “That’s all I wanted to hear. I’m going to take you away from this. All of this. You don’t have to do any of that anymore. I love you.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Destynee Week 82: Lifesaver

Destynee Cullen

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Destynee’s Choice: Picture 2


The way the clouds danced across the sky was hypnotic. The tranquil blue turned into haunting grey as the clouds continued their dance.

Amanda stood by her bedroom window just staring up at the sky. No one knew but this was the day she finally decided to do it. She looked down at the razor blade sitting on the window seal and took a deep breath.

Tracing her fingers over it, she thought of the consequences of her actions.

Her mom would be upset for a few days but that just means she could milk it for all its worth. It’s a small town and that means she would get the attention she always loved so much. The attention she loved more than her daughter.

Then there was her friends, but she stopped answering her phone a long time ago and they finally stopped calling.

Figuring she had nothing left to lose she took the small razor blade in her hand and poised it at her wrist. She wanted to look at the sky once more before ending her life. Maybe she could take some beauty with her before she went six feet under.

As she lifted her head up to look out the window but what she saw made her drop the razor in surprise. There was a little girl outside her window watching her with confusion.

Amanda didn’t know what to do, she couldn’t think.

The little girl walked over to the window and bent down to where Amanda couldn’t see her. She leaned forward to see what she was doing when the little girl popped up causing Amanda to let out a small scream.

The little girl laughed and clapped her hands. Amanda put a hand over her heart to try to keep her heart in her chest. The little girl smiled at her and put her hand on the glass.

“Come play with me!”

Her small voice was muffled but Amanda smiled for the first time in God knows when. She nodded and the little girl clapped and ran around the house.

As Amanda slipped on her coat and headed for the door when she stepped on something. She looked down and saw the razor blade. She bent down to pick it up, and she looked at it as if it had the answers to the universe encrypted on it.

“Are you coming,” the little girl asked as she banged on the window.

Amanda’s lips curled and nodded. She walked out of her room and tossed the razor in the trash before heading out the front door.