Not this again!
Our dear Miss Beckie has been under the weather but is working on her prompt. It will be posted the next time we have an open day.
Till then, we hope that Miss Beckie Louise gets well soon! :)
Monday, October 31, 2011
Not this again!
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 10:31 PM
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Kimmydonn's Choice: Picture 1
I could smell the dumpster beside me. It wasn’t as bad as some I’d slept near, or worse, in, but decay was definitely in the air. Or that might have been me. Was I decomposing? Slowly being leeched away to feed some lower life? That might be good, actually, that would mean I was worth something.
I didn’t think I was worth anything, to anyone.
Pulling my coat a little higher over my head, I ignored the bright sun that beat through the holes in the frayed fabric. It was not early in the morning. I should be getting up and trying to make something out of the day. The effort was pointless; It was worth as little as I was.
The sun hit me full in the eye and I snarled, clutching my hands to my eyes. A loud, shrill cry of a bird reverberated in my ear. It must have been sitting near me, just like the princess in one of those cartoon fairy tales. All right, fucking Disney, you win, I’ll get up.
The bird was still sitting on the back of the bench when I slowly lowered my hands. It cocked its brown head to the side and trilled again.
“Yeah, I’m up,” I told it in a croak.
It chirped once more before fluttering off.
How did I get here? How did I go from the high rises of Wall Street to the park bench?
Right, the bitch got the money.
Rubbing my stubble, scratching in places, I pushed myself off the bench and went in search of work. My long thin fingers had never been used to much besides paper, pencils, and keyboards, but they were learning to do all sorts of things now. At this moment? They were peeling away the top layer of cardboard to see what was left in the pizza box in the dumpster.
How did it come to this?
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Alby Mangroves's Choice: Picture 1
How ironic that the clouds in the sky reflect her mood better than she can express it.
They both think they know her better than she knows herself, but they don’t.
She knows perfectly well what goes on when they don’t think she’s listening: the backbiting and snapping, both of them sinking to new lows, daily. She’s old enough to understand the jibes, though the hate... well. She can never understand how much hate a married couple can have for each other when they used to be so sweet. Sickly sweet, in fact.
Parents. Who needs them, right?
Friday, October 28, 2011
Bronwyn’s Choice: Picture 1
Aimee wandered around her grandfather's barn. She let out a small snort at the thought. It wasn't her grandfather's anymore. Just before his death, he signed the property over to Adam because that was the only family he had. She looked at the rough wood beams that were over a hundred years old. Everything was still in good shape. She got to the back of the barn, near the rear entrance and notice the old wagon wheel. The metal band on the hub was dark brown red with rust and the wood was pocked with age and root. Aimee reached out a hand an touched the hub.
"Did you know that wheel was from when your great great grandparents come west?" Adam asked quietly. Aimee looked over her shoulder at him. She had not heard him come in to the barn. He leaned against one of the stall doors, with his hands in his pockets.
"I vaguely remember my grandfather telling me that." Aimee turned back to the wheel.
"Your great great grandfather, Clovis, wanted to move out of Kansas City and start his own ranch. Since the government was giving away land to those who claimed it, he brought his young wife, Margaret, out west. Your grandfather said that he built this barn." Aimee could hear the admiration in Adam's voice.
"Yes, and the old hay loft was their home for three years before Clovis finished the house. He wanted to give Margaret a home with real windows."
"Sometimes, I sit out here just looking over the property and try to imagine the three month trip they took. The dangers and trials they faced. I'm always in awe of the strength they exhibited to get to their destination."
"Near my cousin's place on the Colorado plains, there is still tracks made by wagon wheels. I remember being a young girl and wondering if they were Clovis and Margaret's." Aimee slowly stroked the wheel again before dropping her hand and turning to Adam. "Do you think they were happy living here? They both grew up in Saint Louis. To give up the city and move to the wilds of the Colorado mountains, is a drastic change."
"From what your grandfather said, they loved it here. They wanted to have a place would proudly be passed down through the generations."
"But now you have it, not my family. All because of my mom's death." Aimee watched as Adam stepped closer. He raised his hand and brushed his fingers against her cheek.
"Your grandfather told me once that he made a mistake about your father, but didn't know how to fix the damage." Adam held his hand out to her. "I think you should come in to the house there's something you need to see."
After looking at him for a few moments, Aimee placed her hand in his and walked with him in to the house.
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 10:58 AM
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 6:53 PM
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
KekahJ's Choice: Both
He sat smoothing his hands over the orange fabric that covered his thighs as he waited, the chains that bound his wrists making a soft clinking sound. He took a deep breath and released it in a sudden puff as she finally walked through the door. He smiled at her, but it was the bronze haired boy she carried on her hip that really made him grin.
“Hi,” he said softly as she sat down, setting the little boy down on the bench next to her.
“Hi,” she answered, her voice distracted as she dug around in the diaper bag.
“How have you been? I’ve missed you,” he said, trying to catch her eye. The baby started to whimper and he looked at the child helplessly, unsure of what to do. He stretched out his hands hesitantly, but was stopped as usual by the chains that bound his hands. He pulled them back and rubbed his wrists absentmindedly, the sting of metal at his wrists dull compared to the pain in his heart.
She sighed and plunked down a handful of brightly colored Legos in front of the boy who immediately squealed, clapped his hands, and snatched a couple of them up in his chubby fists. She smiled at him and kissed the top of his head as she ruffled his hair. The boy grinned up at his mother.
He sighed, his heart heavy. How easy it was for her to appease the child. This boy, his own flesh and blood, was practically a stranger to him. He had no idea how to soothe him, how to make him smile, or even what his favorite toys were.
Three years was a long time.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 12:44 PM
Monday, October 24, 2011
Miss Beckie Louise's Choice: Picture 2
Today we were going on a school trip to the museum of unusual things. It was going to be oh so fun. Not. It was a doss around day where we get out of normal boring lessons and pretend to be well behaved and see exhibits for art, not like I enjoyed Art. I couldn’t draw for anything. I always got remarks on my drawings like “You can do so much better” and “Concentrate please!” It seems that the teachers don’t understand that I can’t draw. I do try but if you don’t have talent then they presume that you’re not concentrating.
They should just sit with me and watch me draw. I try really really hard. I even find it relaxing but the end product just looks awful.
Right now we, meaning the class and I, were sitting on the coach on the way to the museum. I was sitting on my own, as usual. I was such a loner as kids my age would say. I didn’t have any friends. I’m shy and that automatically makes people presume that I am “up myself” and too good to mingle.
We were nearly there, and the class was getting antsy and were so totally ready to get off this piece of transport.
Not even five minutes passed before we pulled up outside of the museum, and the hooligans that we were ran off the coach and inside before the teachers could react. I ran as quickly as my little legs would carry me and I came to a stop at the first exhibit I saw. It was a what looked like a thousand or more crayons standing up. the colours were amazing and it was kind of inspirational, I mean if standing up a few thousand crayons was art, then what was considered as not art?
I got out my disposable camera and started taking pictures of the exhibit. It really did inspire me for my future art lessons. Suddenly, I heard a beep followed by a message over the over head speakers.
“All students from Neverfield High School please report to reception where your teachers are awaiting. I repeat, can all students from Neverfield High School please report to reception. Thank you.”
I heard many groans of other students who were nearby followed by their feet thumping against the marble floor heading towards the reception. I stayed where I was. Call me a rebel but I was so enthralled by the exhibit that I just didn’t want to go.
Time passed by and there was another overhead message.
“Can Stuart Francis please go to reception where your teachers are waiting for you. That is Stuart Francis. Thank you.”
“Ah damn it!” I exclaimed before i turned around and nearly walked into someone. I looked up and came face to face with my art teacher.
“What are you doing here?!” she shouted at me.
I kept quiet and she grabbed my hand and started to pull me back to reception.
“You are in so much trouble, young man!” she said.
“I’m sorry Miss, but the exhibit was really interesting,” I told her.
“Well ... it doesn’t matter!” she snapped. “You should have ran off. We have to take you all back to school where you will stay for the rest of day in detention.”
The rest of the day at school was boring, but I’ll tell you one thing I did do ... I drew. Art became all about perception and I just drew what I interpreted and that was all my teacher wanted me to do from the start. I’m glad I went on the trip. Even though it ended as a disaster, I still really enjoyed myself.
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 10:44 AM
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Jessypt's Choice: 2
Title: The Bright Side of Blight
“Race ya!” Cass shouted over her shoulder as she sprinted out the door and onto the sidewalk. Her feet pounded the pavement, slipping into an easy rhythm, as she ran as fast as she could.
She could hear him gaining on her, and even though she was running hard, she knew he would pass her. He always did.
“Is that the best you’ve got, hot stuff?” Jack sassed as he tugged her ponytail, smacked her spandex-covered bottom, and passed her easily.
She growled and pushed herself harder. She hated losing.
They ran like that, teasing and shouting, him slowing enough to let her catch up and then speeding up to give them both a little push.
As they rounded the bend, almost at the two-mile mark, she called out. “I gotta slow down.” Her breath was coming hard, and her heart was beating wildly. She slowed to a jog and then a walk, and Jack immediately circled back to her.
He looked at her in concern. She rarely walked during their runs. “You okay, baby?” he asked as he fell in step beside her.
“Yeah. Just- got a stitch in my side,” she said, leaning forward and putting her hands on her knees. After taking a few deep breaths, she stretched her arms over head and started walking, bringing her heart rate down and getting her breathing under control.
He bumped his shoulder against hers and grinned. “Is that the best you could come up with?” he asked. “I know you hate losing, but geez.”
Her fist connected with his shoulder, and she glared.
“Ow. You don’t have to get violent.” He rubbed his hand over the spot she’d hit and then quickly wrapped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her back against him.
She smiled, leaning into him, and kept walking, him wrapped around her, until he let go and moved back in step with her.
It was the same game they’d played for years – her throwing down a challenge, him beating her, her beating him, and then him groveling his way back into her good graces – and it never got old. Nothing between them did.
They walked at a casual clip, hand in hand, enjoying the cool fall air and the chance to take in the nature around them; it was different than the dry heat they were used to in South Texas. They’d moved to Boulder just over three months ago, and in many ways it felt like they’d been there forever. Things were comfortable and familiar but still unknown.
“Check that out,” Cass said, pointing to an overgrown path leading through the trees.
Jack could see the familiar glint of adventure in her eyes and couldn’t help but smile. He loved her free spirit; it was one of the things that had made him fall in love with her when they were just kids.
“Let’s go,” he said, tugging her towards the path. He pushed aside tree limbs and sidestepped the debris scattered along the path. He took in the way the dirt was heavily packed, even though it was covered in old leaves, sticks, and rocks. It was clear it used to be well traveled, and something about that got his adrenaline flowing.
He looked back at Cass as she trudged along. She seemed content and thrilled all at the same time. She loved being outdoors, and he was glad they’d decided to take the plunge and move. The prospect of leaving their family and friends behind to start anew had been daunting, but it all seemed worth it as he took in the pink flush of her cheeks and the brightness in her eyes. He was still baffled how he’d gotten so lucky, but he wasn’t going to overthink it. She was his, and he’d do anything for her.
When they got to the top of the path, they both stopped.
“Wow,” Cass breathed. She took in the rundown playground in front of her. An old slide was laying on its side, its metal legs long rusted and bent. A dilapidated blue and red merry go round sat on the far side near a large tree, and a teeter-totter with no seats rested with one end haphazardly in the air. But it was the swing set that caught and held her attention. It was tall and covered in rust and graffiti. The chains holding the swings were knotted in a precarious mess.
Everything about this place screamed desolate, empty, and long forgotten, but there was an undercurrent of life, as well.
This place had a story. Many stories.
Cass looked over at Jack, lost in thought, and slowly made her way across the playground. As she passed each item, memories of her own childhood flooded her mind.
She and Jack, along with each of their siblings and friends, had played at the neighborhood park, similar in many ways to the one they were standing in, practically every day for years.
In their park, they had experienced the highs and lows of childhood. It was the place where Jack had pulled her pigtails, and she’d started crying. He had gotten in so much trouble. His mother made him color a picture and give it to her the next day.
Of course, he wasn’t the only mischievous one. She’d pushed him down and stolen his bucket and shovel when he wouldn’t let her play with it. That time, she was the one that had to apologize, and it wasn’t a picture but a plate of cookies.
She chuckled at how that plate of cookies had led to Jack’s life long obsession of finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie. He was still looking. She was still trying.
They had cried and laughed so many times in their park. In some ways it had became sort of a second home – their safe place. It was the place where she’d first realized he really liked her. He was hanging upside down on the monkey bars, calling her name and doing flips and other tricks. He was such a showoff. She’d rolled her eyes but couldn’t stop smiling. She could feel her cheeks heating, just remembering the way he’d made her feel even then.
When she’d finally gone over, he’d touched her burning cheek and told her she was pretty. She’d told him he was being silly, and with a playful growl, he’d wrapped his arms around her waist and tried to lift her up. Caught off guard, she pulled back; he’d lost his balance, fallen off the monkey bars, and broken his arm. He’d tried to be brave, but she could tell he was in pain. Using all the strength she’d possessed, she’d wrapped her arms around his waist, letting his weight rest heavily against hers, and walked him home.
He got another plate of chocolate chip cookies out of that, she mused as she looked over at the man she’d loved her entire life. A light breeze stirred and ruffled his blond hair.
She looked at the tall oak tree on the far side of the park. Its leaves had just begun to change, and the reds, oranges, and yellows were stunning in the morning sun. It was under a similar tree in their park that he’d held her, running his fingers through her hair, after her dad had walked out on her and her mom. It was the place he’d asked her to the freshman dance, where they’d shared their first kiss after he’d asked her to be his girlfriend.
She felt warm arms envelope her, and she instantly leaned into him, wrapping her own arms around his.
He brushed his lips against her temple, and she shivered. “Are you thinking about our park?” he asked softly, his voice almost dream-like.
She nodded, her ponytail brushing his chin as she bobbed it up and down.
“Me, too. I miss it.”
They stood like that – together, wrapped in their thoughts and each other – until Cass broke the silence.
“It’s such a shame.”
Jack didn’t respond right away. “Maybe. But maybe it was just waiting for us.”
She turned around inside his arms and looked up at him, her head cocked slightly to the side. “What do you mean?”
He smiled softly, his lips turning up in that perfectly familiar way. “I just mean, maybe it just needs someone to care, to fix it up.”
She turned back around and surveyed the grounds and then to face him again. Her arms slid around his waist and she grinned. “I like that.”
They stayed for another hour, talking and dreaming, planning and scheming. They talked of clearing out the path, planting flowers along the way, and getting new playground equipment. They wanted it to be brightly colored just like theirs had been.
“Maybe we can even have a smaller play area for little kids,” Jack said, waggling his eyebrows before winking at her.
She arched her own eyebrow, putting on her best stern face. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
He grinned. “Only with you, baby,” he said as he leaned in and brushed his lips against hers.
She giggled. “Someday.”
As the sun rose higher in the sky and their bellies rumbled, they made their way back down the path. They paused at the end and looked back, big smiles plastered across their faces. They were ready to build a new park, place of their own in this new little town, and something about that felt right… perfect.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Alby Mangroves's Choice: 2
Time stands still in this haven, for some more than others.
The gentlest reminder that the day is getting older rolls across the sky in fluffy white tufts.
Offshore, lying motionless under crystal clear water, he waits.
He could easily stroll among the vacationers and dispatch them one by one without fuss, but where’s the fun in that?
Later, he’ll climb aboard their boat, seduce the woman with his glittering smile and bottomless eyes, fuck her into oblivion as he drinks down her life, then vanish overboard with her bloodless corpse.
Calm beneath the sea, he watches the clouds glide.
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 4:00 PM
Friday, October 21, 2011
Muse Calliope's Choice: 2
Savannah stepped into the circle, breaking it with an audible pop. Trinity threw up a shield on reflex, surrounding the ghost in a veil of compact magic, but it was like using tissue paper to cage a lion. Savannah actually glanced over her shoulder to frown at Trinity, as if trying to shield the ghost – as oppose to breaking the circle – was the stupid thing to do here.
"Relax, little witch," the crazy chick said, smiling in a not-at-all reassuring way.
The ghost watched Savannah as though she was a mouse and he a hawk, but the girl seemed completely indifferent; she just began toying with her hair and cocked her head to one side. "I thought...I couldn't summon you, Jes. I tried over and over again but you wouldn't answer me. I felt...I knew you had died, that they had died, and I called you but...why did I have to have a demon conjurer summon you? Why wasn't I enough?"
The ghost, much to Trinity's surprise, didn't burst from the circle and wreak havoc, with "havoc" being code for murderous rampage. Nope, instead ghost boy just kept staring at Savannah, the craving in his gaze bordering on all-consuming hunger. He took a step towards her and Trinity, standing across the room, gasped.
This time it was the vampire that cast a sardonic look Trinity’s way. “Savannah is a necromancer, Miss Shade and the ghost – a former Bard called Jester – he is a friend of hers; there is nothing to be feared.”
Trinity blinked and fought the urge to roll her eyes. Of course the crazy chick was a necromancer. Actually, sarcasm aside, it did make a little sense. After all, before Aoife decided she wanted that particular power wiped from the earth it was common for necromancers, who spent more than half their time seeing and speaking to people no one else could see, to lose touch with reality and go a little bit eccentric. Moreover, it explained why she going around with a beastkin for a bodyguard; beastkin were known even to humans as savage, vicious warriors and about as tameable as a tornado. Plus, thanks to their almost instantaneous healing ability and a
Berserker mode that made the Tasmanian Devil seem like a kitten in comparison, they were not only virtually indestructible, but they gave most Noble Fae warriors pause. It also explained why she’d taken a vampire as a lover; vamps were just a little bit dead, so it makes sense he’d be attracted to a necromancer. What’s more, their relationship had the added bonus that ninety-nine percent of ghosts were repelled by vampires – something complicated and having to do with the ghosts being truly dead while vampires hovered between. Personally, Trinity thought the ghosts were just plain jealous of vampires and didn’t like having the latter’s victory over death, such as it was, flaunted before them.
Still, necromancer or not, Trinity was none too thrilled to have the crazy chick hijack her summoning. It was like that time in high school when she got accused of copying the homework of the kid seated next to her when in actuality Sebastian Ducharme had been coping her. So very unfair and incredibly more annoying.
Inside the circle, Savannah reached out one hand and laid it against the ghost’s chest. “You’re not so young, Trinity,” she observed, her tone neither insulting or complimentary, simply stating a fact. “Have you ever witnessed a necromancer use her magic before?”
“No, they were few before I was born, so few I thought your kind extinct centuries ago.”
Savannah nodded. “Yes, all the others are gone; there’s only me now. Necromancers...my energy is like pheromones – I can control it to summon ghosts in general or, um, key it to draw a specific ghost. I’m also able to...ah...”
“Ghosts are drawn to her and obey her,” Croix cut in, simplifying the explanation. “She’s like the Pied Piper but with energy instead of music.”
“You are wrong,” the ghost whispered. He raised one hand and gently ran his fingers along Savannah’s jaw line until he cupped her cheek. “There is music to Fi–”
“Savannah,” the crazy chick broke in, turning her face into the ghost’s palm. “It is Savannah now, Jes. Has been for a century or more.”
The ghost frowned. “You are named for a city now?”
“It was a place of...rebirth. Jes, tell me what happened. How have you died? And why wouldn’t you answer my calls?”
“I saw the stars, fy frenhines, like diamonds and silver flame locked in a velvet sky. I saw the stars and they were like dancers twirling maidens in silver and white gowns across a midnight ballroom. I saw the stars and they were like sparkling birds taking flight to Heaven.”
Trinity rolled her eyes and snorted. “Is he for real? Do all ghosts talk like that?”
“I told you, little witch; Jester was a bard,” the vampire chastised. “His words, his voice, his language are his magic.”
“I thought Bards kept close to the Courts nowadays?”
“Most, but not all,” Croix explained, shrugging. “Once upon a time, bards were all about the travel; they would have territories and go all around collecting news and spreading messages and such. Since Lyr’s death, however, only a few have defied the decrees and continued on as before. Jester was one of them.”
“I was on the beach, fy frenhines,” the bard continued, apparently oblivious to anyone else but Savannah. “The sea roared and whispered against the sand and the moon...the moon was lost to a veil of clouds. I was standing there, on the edge of sand and sea, looking up at the velvet sparkles, and then...there was pain, only pain, and then darkness and...then nothingness.”
Frowning, Savannah glanced towards her vampire and beastkin, her confusion plain. “Are there beaches in Prague?”
“There is a river, lumina mea,” Dumitru answered, “but no sea.”
“Then how did Jes go from dying a beach on the sea to being a ghost being bound here in landlocked Prague?”
“What I’d like to know,” Croix put in, “is how his body was buried in our homeland’s soil.”
“Um, am I still needed here?” Trinity interupted. She’d had just about enough of being the odd man out at this crazy person convention and, no, seeing the last necromancer alive work her magic was not worth her time. She needed to get out of Prague, and soon; it was not the place for Fae.
“True, Prague is not the place for Fae,” Savannah agreed and Trinity frowned, sure she hadn’t said that last part out loud. “It is, however, a place to hide from Fae. And, yes, you are still needed here, Trinity.”
“Until I know what befell my friend, I cannot risk your leaving.”
“And then? What happens to me after you have your answers?”
Savannah looked away from her ghost then and stared at Trinity with eyes that suddenly spun with power and shadows. Being a necromancer was rare, sure, but that was a natural ability, like running or mathematics; it was a matter of strength and endurance that drew on a mix of innate capability and practice but had as much to do with power as a dog’s bite or a serpent’s poison. Power was something else altogether and right then it burned in the crazy girl’s eyes like an inferno. It was the first indication Trinity had that the necromancer was more than just the last of a species. Apparently, she had one hell of a secret Trinity was positive she wasn’t going to like.
Three hundred fucking years old - she really should have known better that to jinx herself.
A/N: To be continued next week!
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 9:42 PM
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Burntcore's Choice: Both
Melanie watched in awe as Dayvid ran his fingers across the incredible piece of equipment. There were more dials and switches than she had ever seen before. She had no idea that sound mixing and synthesizing were so complicated. His hands moved with precision, like a conductor in front of an orchestra. It was quite amazing to watch.
And the music ... the music that poured from the speakers in his studio was perfect. It had a solid, thumping bassline, the kind you’d feel in your bones and the treble tones were just right, higher without sounding tinny. Too often she had listened to music on someone’s stereo when they had the treble set too high and it was like she was listening to the music through a tin can.
The vocals wove smoothly through the bass and treble, meshing into a solid wall of sound, a wall that moved and udulated as the song progressed.
Melanie closed her eyes as the music wrapped around her. She was transported to another place, another time, all from the magic that Dayvid was creating. The bassline was her heartbeat, the treble were the flowers and the trees and the clouds around her, the vocalist was an angel, guiding Melanie on her way.
She opened them when she felt Dayvid’s hands cupping her face.
“Where did you go?” he asked softly, the music he had been working on going through playback.
“Where your music took me,” she replied with a blissful smile on her face. It had been an amazing experience.
Dayvid smiled and kissed her gently on the lips before he stood. “I’m about done here so we should be able to get out of here soon.”
“Okay,” she replied. Initally she thought she would be bored out of her mind when she agreed to come to his studio to wait while he finished up some work. She never thought she’d be transported the way she was. Melanie was almost reluctant to leave now, knowing what magic could be made in that small room.
“For you,” Dayvid said as he handed her an orange daisy.
“Where did you get this?” she asked in awe, taking the pretty flower from him.
“I bought it earlier for you, before you arrived.”
Melanie felt her body heat up all over and she couldn’t stop the smile that burst from her face. “It’s perfect. When I was listening to your music, I was picturing these flowers.”
“Were you?” he asked, stepping closer to her again, running his hands through her hair.
She nodded as she sniffed the flower’s center.
Dayvid gently pulled her hand holding the flower from her face and captured her lips with his. Melanie heard the music soar once more, taking her away to that place again, except now she wasn’t alone. Dayvid stood by her side, his hand in hers, as they walked towards the field of daisies.
Music really was a powerful thing.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
KekahJ's Choice: 2
The sun was almost blinding as it reflected off of the still water that stretched as far as the eye could see in any direction. He blinked in the almost harsh light as he surfaced from below deck, mug of strong coffee in hand.
Even after having been at sea for two months, it still took him a moment to get his bearings when he came on deck each morning. He was determined not to use the compass, though. Whether he liked it or not, he was a sailor now and he needed to start to think like one.
The cruel, taunting words of his father echoed in his head and he mentally pushed them down, determined not to let them deter him. This was his boat, even if his father had paid for it and practically forced him onto it, it was his. He would not fail.
He stared out across the rail into the ocean and thought for the thousandth time how ironic it was that he was here, given how much he hated the ocean. He hated everything about it. In fact, if he was being honest, he hated water in general.
Someone stirred behind him, pulling him from his musings, and he turned to see his first mate winding up the rope that was part of the deck’s massive rigging.
“Morning, Captain Barlowe,” the young man nodded to him, as usual never quite making eye contact.
“Good morning Mr. Hanson. Were you on duty all night?” he asked. He immediately wished he hadn’t asked that question. As captain, his crew’s duty schedule was something he should know. It was too late to cover up his mistake though. He saw the disdain in the other man’s eyes as he nodded.
Captain Barlowe lifted his chin and stared down his nose at the mate for a moment before moving on down the deck. Deep down he knew it wasn’t fair to treat the man this way, but it was the only way he knew to maintain his dominance over his crew. A crew that had been bought and paid for by his father, not hand selected by himself, as was traditionally done.
A little further on, his second mate was busying himself readying the sails to be unfurled for the day. He nodded curtly to him, but said nothing as he passed. He passed a few more men whose names he couldn't recall before he finally reached the dining room.
Like the rest of the quarters belonging to the captain, the dining suite was richly appointed with fine tapestries hanging from the wall and soft, plush carpeting beneath his feet. It was in stark contrast to the rest of the ship. He sighed heavily and sat down at the head of the mahogany table, grateful that he’d soon have something in his belly besides the strong, acidic coffee that was now churning in his stomach.
After a few moments, he furrowed his brow in confusion. Normally by now, his meal was in front of him. What could have possibly been the hold up? Annoyed, he pushed away from the table and crossed the room to the door that led to the ship’s kitchen. He was even more puzzled when he found it completely empty and devoid of the wonderful smells and sounds of food being prepared that it should be filled with at this hour.
“Hanson!” he shouted, stepping back into the dining room.
It was a few moments before the first mate appeared. “Yes Captain?”
“Please go and find out where Cook is, and more importantly where my breakfast is,” he said tersely.
Instead of jumping to action like the captain expected, Hanson continued to stand in front of him, shifting his weight nervously from one foot to the other.
“Is there a problem?” Captain Barlowe asked, his voice measured.
“Well, begging your pardon, sir, but if you’ll recall the cook spoke to you yesterday about the food shortage. We’re on rations now.”
The captain’s face contorted for a moment before he worked to smooth his features once more and place a patient smile upon his lips. “Yes, I recall the discussion. However, I was unaware that it extended to myself.”
Hanson’s eyes grew wide and once again the captain could see hatred flash in them before he recovered himself and nodded. “I’ll go speak to the cook, sir.”
Captain Barlowe shook his head at the situation and began pacing across the soft, thick carpet as he waited. Behind the closed door to the kitchen, he could hear the cook banging around as he began to prepare the captain’s meal. To think that the crew actually thought that he, the captain, would go without food. The idea was preposterous.
He smiled as the cook finally entered the room, tray heavy with food. The captain sat down and picked up his fork.
“Now that’s more like it!” he exclaimed as he shoveled a forkful of eggs into his mouth. The cook eyed him but said nothing as he set the tray down and left the room.
A short time later, he was full almost to bursting as he made he way across the deck. He rubbed his stomach absentmindedly as he looked out across the water. How he hated the ocean. He wondered when they’d finally make land. He would have asked someone, but again, this was something that he probably should already know. His thoughts turned to his bed as he pondered taking a nap before lunch.
He was so busy planning out the rest of his nap fiand food filled day, that he didn’t even feel the rope slip across his legs. Before he knew it, he was dangling upside down by his ankles, suspended from the ship’s massive lower yard. His head swam and his stomach churned, still full from his recent meal.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw several crew members approaching him. Embarrassed but grateful, he called out to them. “You there! I seem to have gotten my feet tangled in this rope. Who left this about? That was very careless, very careless indeed. Well, no matter. Help me down now.” As he finished speaking he noticed that none of them were springing to his aid as he’d expected. Instead, they were standing, arms folded across their chests, watching him. So they wanted to have a little fun at his expense, did they? Fine.
“Okay, yes. It’s all very funny. Your captain has gotten himself tangled up. Ha ha. Let’s all have a good laugh about it ...” he trailed off as he saw more men approaching. In fact, men were coming up from below deck. For the first time, his stomach twisted in fear. What was going on?
Hanson stepped forward. “Did you enjoy your breakfast, Captain Barlowe?” he asked, his voice twisting his name and making it sound like a dirty word.
Captain Barlowe gulped. “Why yes, I did, thank you.” He paused as realization dawned. “I’m sure you’re all a little hungry, and I’m sorry about that, but cook has assured me that you’ll have a wonderful meal in no time. Now come on. Cut me down. We’re wasting time. Some of you have duty posts to be manning!” he cried, a note of desperation in his voice.
Hanson smiled, but it was more like a leering grin than a true smile. He stepped forward and pulled his knife from his belt. But instead of cutting the captain loose, he turned to the second mate who had also stepped forward, another length of rope in hand.
Quicker than a flash, the second mate wrapped the rope deftly around the captain’s arms and torso, binding him tightly. Captain Barlowe thrashed and fought, but it was no good. He was outnumbered, and these men were strong. The kind of strength that came from spending ones life aboard a ship lugging heavy ropes and sails around all day. The kind of strong he was not.
“We’re not going to sit by and let you eat all the food while the rest of us starve,” Hanson sneered, his face inches from the captain’s. “This is what we call a mutiny!” he cried, and with a flourish of his knife, he severed the rope that was holding the captain aloft. Arms bound helplessly to his sides, the captain hit the deck hard, head first. He blinked as the world grew smaller and smaller and blackness closed in.
When he came to again, he was still bound tightly, arms to his side. However, as he thrashed around helplessly, he discovered that he now lay on some sort of wide board, the ropes binding him securely to it. He peered at the men gathered around, desperate to find a sympathetic face; someone who would realize he hadn’t really been that bad of a captain, or even someone who would just take pity on him. He found no such person amongst the crowd. Instead he found only the haggard, weather beaten faces of men who had known only endless days of back-breaking, hard labor their entire lives. The kind of work he had never known and never been forced to endure, even for a day. No, he would receive no sympathy here.
Despair gripped him, and he found himself babbling in order to try and save himself. He wasn’t even sure of the words that were spilling forth from his mouth as he pleaded with them. His cries fell on deaf ears. This was a jaded crew and he’d never fit in with these men from the beginning. But he now realized that when he had refused to assimilate and become like them he’d isolated himself completely. Then when he’d refused to endure the hardships they were forced to withstand, like food rations, he’d signed his death warrant.
Two of the biggest men in the crowd hoisted the board up over the side of the ship. Terror gripped him as he realized what his final fate would be. He would die amongst the waves that he despised so much. He would spend eternity in the very ocean that he had hated his entire life.
He screamed as the icy tendrils of water lapped at his toes and then up his legs. The board hit the water with a final splash, and for a moment it floated, suspended on the surface of the water. In that moment, he let himself hope that he might make it. Could he lie on that board and float to land? He almost dared to believe he could. But then, slowly, the board began to tip and he felt the water make its way through his clothes and skin and it seemed even to seep into his bones.
The board slipped further and further into the water and it wasn’t long before he was surrounded by nothing but blue. The only sounds were his gurgling and garbled screams and soon even those went silent as he sunk further and further into the hateful, dreadful deep blue sea that claimed him at last.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Destiny Cullen’s Choice: Picture 2
I hate the cold, Julia thought as she was sitting in the abandoned school house, in one of the old wooden desks. She don’t know how Andy talked her into coming here. The abandoned school house has many horror stories parents tell their kids. One in-particular is about a teacher who accidentally killed one of her students she put in the time out closet.
Julia had a feeling someone was behind her and she quickly turned around. She sighed in relief as she just saw the decaying wallpaper and not some murdering ghost. Julia’s eyes wandered around the classroom taking in the moss and termite infested wood. A draft blew in through a broken window and chilled her to the bone. She pulled her jacket tighter around her, cursing herself once again for being here in the first place.
There was a figure in the corner of her eye and she turned to see who it was, bonce she turned her head there was no one there. A chill ran up her spine, chilling her more than the draft. “Screw this, I’m outta here.”
“Hey! You made it!” Daniel said walking in through the door. Julia glared at him, “Why did you want to meet here? It’s freezing and not to mention creepy.” As if on cue the sound of glass breaking sounded in the distance.
Daniel smirked. “Exactly! It’s almost Halloween, you need to get into the spirit.”
“Don’t even start, Daniel! You know I hate Halloween. Let’s get out of here. You’re buying me hot chocolate.” Julia made a move to go through the door but Daniel didn’t let her get by.
“Ah, I don’t think so.” He straightened his back, making himself taller and more threatening than Julia has ever seen.
She eyed him carefully. “Move out of the way,” She tried to sound firm but her voice cracked. Daniel just stared at her with an evil smirk covering his face.
“You need to let me out of here. I can’t be here after dark.” Julia started to panic, her heartbeat was frantic and her eyes were searching for anyway out of the room.
“That’s where you’re wrong. Sundown is in about,” he checked his watch with
“Enough time for what?” she whispered.
“We’ll tell you as we get you to where we need you.”
“We? What is going on here, Daniel?”
“Come on in guys.” Three guys from our school suddenly appeared behind him. Dread settled in her stomach when they all smiled at her.
They grabbed Julia by the shoulders and forced her outside. She couldn’t think or move to stop them. The panic was like a haze in her mind clouding her reactions. It wasn’t until they were away from the school house and deep into the woods that her mind came back into focus. A huge rock came into view and they stopped right in front of it.
“Tie her to the rock. The rope and spikes are on the other side of the tree.” Daniel said with excitement. They let go of her arms at the same time and her fight or flight reflexes kicked in. Before they realized their mistake, Julia made a dash into the woods.
As Julia ran she heard Daniel’s laugh echo around her. “Run, Julia. We’ll find you before you can get out these woods!” The chase was on and she had to get out before sunset.
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 10:27 AM
Monday, October 17, 2011
Miss Beckie Louise's Choice: 2
Why it looks so nice outside and cold I have no idea. It just doesn't make sense to me. With the weather
being what it is, it should be nice and warm. But nope, here I am, sitting down at my desk, with nothing
to do, and sporting a very nice wool jumper. It kept me nice and warm. It was heaven to wear. Nice and
snugly. My favourite top ever!
I was sitting in my room and it was freezing. I was meant to be doing some writing for my fanfic update
but I was too cold to do anything. I just sat there with my hand pressed together to try and warm myself
up but to no avail.
I wished it was warm.
I looked out my window and sighed. Why can't we have the heat as well as the weather.
It was stupid.
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 11:09 AM
Sunday, October 16, 2011
After our break for Week 73, we are rip roaring and ready to go to start Week 74 of the Writing Photo Prompt Challenge blog with two new writers and a slight line-up change.
Please welcome KekahJ and Alby Mangroves to the blog!
We are also introducing an "Open Mic" day for Sundays, where people who may have an interest in participating in the blog but don't have the time to do weekly prompts can still participate. Email or tweet me (firstname.lastname@example.org or @burntcore) if you are interested in writing a prompt for an Open Mic Sunday.
It takes a big time commitment to do the prompts every week and without our great group of writers, this blog would not exist. Kimmydonn did a lot to make this process as streamlined as possible, and her efforts are shown every time a prompt is posted.
Thank you for your continued readership of our blog. We hope you enjoy your stay here! :)
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 1:22 PM
Friday, October 7, 2011
Our beloved Kimmydonn is taking a step back from writing for awhile so I have stepped in to run the blog.
One of the things we needed to do is spur up interest in the blog again. So once we finish up Week 72, the restructuring of the blog will be done during Week 73. Starting on Monday of Week 74, we will have a slightly modified line-up and lots of great prompts. :)
I am looking forward to keeping the blog going and seeing what kind of great ideas and stories we can create with the picture prompts.
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 10:24 PM
Monday, October 3, 2011
Miss Beckie Louise's Choice: 1
The sun was finally out. If only it came out a bit more often. I couldn't wait to try out the new hammock that my Dad had put out last weekend. It was already 9 am and I hated lying around in bed. It made me feel lazy, but if I was doing nothing anywhere else, it seemed okay.
So I got changed and put on my favourite summer outfit, a red and white patterned dress, before making myself some breakfast and getting a mug of coffee. Terrific way to start the day.
Soon, I got out the house and into the garden. I sighed and smiled at the cloudless sky. Perfect.
I got settled on the hammock before pulling out my favourite book out, Cargon: Honour and Privilege by Kimberly Gould. It was amazing. I just love the world that Eve lives in and makes me think about how I want to be Eve and play the game and get the new start in life that she gets.
Time passes by quickly and before I knew it, my parents had joined me outside and were talking amongst themselves.
After I finished my book, I got out my next favourite, Shades of Atlantis by Carol Oates. Again, just an amazing book and I couldn't wait for the next one to come out. It was a rumour around the Shades fandom.
The day passed by and I couldn't have been happier.
The perfect weather, with the perfect clothing, and the perfect reading material.
I just love perfect days.
A/N: Now then, the books in this prompt are actually real! With Cargon being our own Kimmydonn's book and Shades of Atlantis by a fellow twific writer, Alitriona. She also has another book called Ember out. All three books are available for Kindle and paperback depending where you are!
Posted by Miranda Gammella at 1:07 PM