Saturday, March 31, 2012

Alby Mangroves Week 97: Sojourn to the Sphinx, August 1798

Alby Mangroves

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Alby Mangroves's Choice: Picture 2

Sojourn to the Sphinx, August 1798

Under the bright Giza moon, Tanya’s vampire skin glistens like antique relics.

Strolling along the base of Khufu’s great tomb, she digs her toes into the still-warm desert sands and draws in the ancient breath of Egypt’s dead kings.

The French are camped nearby—Bonaparte’s army, victorious in a great battle days ago—and the stench of rotting flesh sits heavily on the breeze, though the bodies lie interred under shifting sands.

Avoiding drunken sentries, Tanya creeps in the dead of night to visit an old friend, Hor-em-akhet, the serene limestone sentinel even older than she, but not nearly as well preserved.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

MCGT Week 97: A Thousand Cranes

Here's the first post of one of our newest authors!


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MCGT's Choice: Picture 1

A Thousand Cranes

The diagnosis came after months of denial.

Months of pretending I was okay, that the weight gain was just me aging and not a grapefruit sized tumor taking over my insides.

Sitting in my hospital bed, I laid back against the pillows, wishing for more time even though I knew once the sand slipped through the hourglass, there was no flipping it over.

“Anna, how are you feeling today?” My favorite nurse, Lisa wandered into my room, ready to take my vitals for what would end up feeling like the hundredth time of the day.

“You know, about the same.” I tried not to share my depression and loneliness with anyone, but she gave me a look that told me she knew I was lying.

“The only way you’re ever going to beat this thing is to believe you will, you know?” she replied, her motherly southern twang making me feeling even crappier.

“You see enough stuff. Don’t need mine to clutter your shelf, too.”

“Hey, this is the part of my job I like.” Winking at me, she patted my leg as she left my room, commenting that she might have something that would cheer me up.

I sat and mindlessly watched another episode of Judge Judy, trying to sleep off the pain the meds didn’t manage to contain. I must have dozed off because I woke up to a cacophony of high pitched voices coming from the hallway.

“Miss Anna, Miss Anna,” I heard shouted from the doors, as they swung open. Lisa stood trying to corral my sixth grade music class, who each appeared to be carrying a tote bag.

There were my fifteen students, huddled around my room with huge grins on each of their faces.

Lisa stood before them all, telling each of them to open their bags.

Suddenly my room was filled with an eruption of color. Paper origami cranes tumbled out of my kid’s bags, in every size, and color.

“Your principal called me, letting me know that they wanted to participate in the Cranes for Cancer project. Each of your students and quite a few parents and teachers all folded these for you.” She handed me one bag filled with the multi-colored birds.

“Miss Anna, did you know that there’s a Japanese tradition that says if you give someone a thousand cranes it will bring them good luck?” Sarah, the smart and often tattle-tale of the group said, looking extremely proud of herself for knowing this.

I couldn’t help the tears that flowed down my cheeks as child after child handed me their bags of cranes. My emotions couldn’t be contained; I was so touched by their gesture and hugged each of them fiercely as they gave me their offering.

The room was filled with the joyful buzz that only children can bring to you.

Lisa returned, placing a small CD player on my table, and told me the kids had wanted me to hear the concert I’d missed because of my illness. They all sat on the floor around my bed as we listened to their often off-key attempt at playing a medley of holiday tunes. I clapped enthusiastically for their performance once the CD ended.

We all talked for a while and I repeatedly inquired if they were being kind to my substitute, Miss Taylor. I was regaled by various stories and mishaps that had occurred in my absence, but seeing them all together made me remember why I was here and had undergone the surgery and subsequent chemo I’d be dealing with for months.

These kids and music were my life.

Before they headed off towards the bus, I told them all that I would be there to see their spring concert in a few months. There was one thing I always did, and that was fulfill my promises. Making that vow, I knew I’d fight my ass off to survive this disease, or at the very least the next few months.

“Feel better?” whispered Lisa, tucking the blanket back up around my body.

“Much,” I replied honestly, sitting up I gave her a hug she didn’t see coming. “You’re really good at your job. Thank you.”

Smiling, she didn’t comment. Just hugged me back and left the room. Leaving me to reflect on the fight I had ahead of me.

Thanks to Kimmydonn for betaing this for me. Much appreciated.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

KekahJ Week 97: Colors


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KekahJ's Choice: Both


Colors can evoke such strong emotions. There are happy colors like orange and red and bright, sunny yellow. Those are the colors that, when you see them, make you want to smile. They’re used in advertising to send a message of cheer and joy.

Then there’s colors like purple and blue that make you take a deep breath and let it out slowly while you reflect on your life. They’re calming, mellow colors.

Then there are the colors that seem sort of neutral; greens and browns and and lots of shades of white. Those ones seem to take on the mood of whatever color they’re paired with. Sort of like chameleon colors.

Isn’t it fascinating how colors can send such a strong message? Or how they can trigger such intense memories? Take green, for example. Whenever I see a particular tint of green, I can’t help but be reminded of my grandma’s old kitchen floor. It was made up of this green linoleum with flecks of gold in it, and I remember spending hours playing on that floor while grandma stood at the kitchen sink doing any number of tasks; snipping beans, washing dishes, cooking dinner; always humming a tuneless song while she worked.

And the color pink? There’s a certain shade that always reminds me of my first boyfriend. He brought me a single pink carnation on our first date. He gave it to me, palms sweating, hands shaking, and I thought that he hung the moon and stars. For years afterwards, long after our relationship had bloomed and faded, that carnation hung upside down on the mirror on my dresser. The brilliant pink had faded to a soft, dusty shade, but I didn’t throw it out until I went away to college.

Then there’s the color gray. It always reminds me of drizzly, rainy days. The ones where the sky looks like it’s been wrapped in someone’s old gray nightgown; the fuzzy flannel kind. Gray reminds me of curling up in front of a crackling fire with a good book while the wind outside whips the branches against the window. But no matter how dark the gray sky turns, I’m safe inside my nice warm house.

Colors are amazing. Nothing else can set a mood or convey an emotion as quickly or efficiently. What would it be like to live in a world without color? To live without the brilliant blues and sparkling purples; or soft pinks and deep sensual reds? Things just wouldn’t be the same.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome Our New Authors

There are some new faces around. The blog has two new authors that are starting this week!

Please help welcome MCGT and SydneyAlice to the PPWC blog. They will be alternating Thursdays, with MCGT starting out this week and Sydney next. Click on their avatars on the right side to get to know them. :)

I will still be posting, but in a limited capacity and as needed.

Right now, I'm trying to plan something special for our 100th week and our 2 year anniversary 104th week post!

Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kimmydonn Week 96: Calm


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Kimmydonn's Choice: Picture 2



There was nothing like it. Nothing in the world. This was his time. He set out and left everything else behind. If he was lucky, there wasn’t another soul on the lake and he could row out far enough to leave even land behind. The shore became a distant memory and there was only him and his reflection. Well, and the fish, but this wasn’t about the fish.

The peace and still of early morning would lie on the lake and wash over him. Here there was no wife, no crying babes, no duties.

A swan broke the still surface of the lake, leaving a delta of wake behind her.

“Good morning, feathered friend.”

Madelac bent her long neck in blessing at the visitor. She was happy to share her lake, to give him all the moments he needed.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Alby Mangroves Week 96: Anticipation

Alby Mangroves

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Alby Mangroves's Choice: Picture 1


It’s his eyes that give it away- the reason for Edward’s sudden stillness.

Bella sees the intent in them, black and focused, and her stomach drops through the floor.

As Edward nears her, she stops breathing, too.

“I just want to try one thing,” he murmurs.

Desperately wanting, she watches his mouth, the slightest grin hiding in the corner.

He can’t fool her though; he trembles as she does, while their would-be kiss hangs in the air between them, thicker than velvet.

The whisper of Edward’s mouth on hers is so soft, the barest glance, but she comes alive inside.

Friday, March 23, 2012

WANTED: Writers for the PPWC Blog!

Do you enjoy writing? Do you enjoy writing based on photos for inspiration? If so, we could use your talents!

The requirements are simple:
You must be 18 years of age or older due to some of the adult themed pictures and posts.

You have to be able to commit to either a weekly or biweekly prompt schedule. 

The stories can be original or derivative (fanfiction) and on any subject matter or length.

For each prompt, you get two pictures. You may use one or both for your prompt in your story. You would receive the pictures in your email the week before the prompt is due.

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in and want a bit more information, please email me at or find me on twitter @burntcore

Muse Calliope Week 96: Trinity Part X - Faerie Protection

Muse Calliope

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Muse Calliope's Choice: Picture 1

Trinity Part X - Faerie Protection

Fionnuala, long lost Queen of the Winter Court of Faerie, had apparently hidden the door to her quarters at the back of the supply cupboard located on the opposite end of the palace dungeons. It actually rather ingenious, Trinity supposed; after all, it was rather unlikely that it had ever occurred to anyone that a Queen would have the entrance to her private quarters in the freaking dungeons of all places. Then again, for that reason alone it would have been one of the first places Trinity herself would had searched. Apparently Aoife was not as genre savvy.

Fiachra noticed her look and shrugged. “The door moves around the palace, usually taking the place of some other door and blending in. Only someone loyal to Fionnuala can find the blast thing.”

“If it moves around, how do you know where to look? Or when you’ve found it, for that matter?”

The princeling threw another of his trademark grins Trinity’s way, clearly indifferent to her indifference. “Today the door is white,” he observed, gesturing towards the banged up yet otherwise ordinary door he’d led them to. “Last time it was my own bedroom door. Once it was a garden gate and I vaguely recall it replacing a walk-in freezer a few times. The door itself doesn’t matter so long as hinges of some kind are involved. The real magic lies in the knob.”

Trinity blinked. Stepping slightly to one side, she glanced around Fiachra and got her first look at the knob in question. Despite the age and wear on the door itself, the knob was a brilliant blue prism that seemed to sparkle with an inner light. Not exactly the most subtle thing she’d ever seen, but then she supposed the Fae predated neon signs.

“Don’t look so worried.” Fiachra chastised. “Only the loyal see it as it truly is; for anyone else this is the door it is meant to be. Really, Fi perfected this trick when we were children. She used to replace my closet door at night so after we’d been tucked in, I could stuff some pillows under my blankets and go on over to stay up half the night telling stories and trading magic lessons.”

Before Trinity could comment, Fiachra shook his head and got on with things, opening the door and ushering her inside. Fionnuala’s room was …not what Trinity had expected. A massive bed sat atop a stout dais, its headboard against one wall, a loveseat and two armchairs made up a sitting area tucked into one corner, and a long, heavyset desk was piled high with books and various baubles on the opposite side of the room. That was it for the furniture, all of it white. The walls and carpet were white too but the ceiling was painted with a gorgeous mural that did for Celtic mythology what Michaelangelo did for Christianity. The mess on the desk excepted, the only blatantly personal touch in the room was the comforter on the bed; some sort of patchwork quilt the blended dark and light hued patches to form a snowflake pattern. Coupled with the teeming pile of stuffed animals, most of them jungle beasts, that spilled over to sprawl over the floor, it gave the bed an almost human quality.

“The patches on the quilt are all from pieces of clothing belonging to Fi’s friends and family here at Court,” Fiachra informed Trinity absently as he moved across to the desk and began to look through its horde. “My mother would kill to get her hands on it; do have any idea the spells she could work with that thing? The leverage it would give her? Unfortunately for her, Faerie would never allow anyone to take Fi’s belongings from this room.”

“And how, exactly, would Faerie stop them?”

Another flashy playboy grin. “Look behind you, lady love.”

Frowning, Trinity did as he bade and promptly cursed. The door had vanished.

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

A/N: To be continued soon!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Jessypt Week 96: The Secret Garden


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Jessypt's Choice: Picture 1

The Secret Garden

“Come on Addie! You’re taking too long,” Meg shouted over her shoulder at her best friend.

“I’m coming, okay!”

Meg rounded the corner and paused, awestruck as always at the prospect of what lay just beyond the green door. Addie came to a sudden stop as she, too, saw the door.

“What is this place?” Addie whispered, barely able to tear her eyes away from the door to look at Meg.

Meg turned to look at her and grinned a grin of pure mischief and make believe. “My secret place.”

And with that, Meg took a step forward and pulled a large, rusted key from the back pocket of her favorite pink jeans. Reverently, she inserted the key into the equally rusted lock and slowly turned it, eliciting a series grating clicks.

Addie had taken a step forward and was practically pressing Meg into the door.

“You ready?” Meg asked as she looked at Addie’s wide eyes. Addie didn’t say anything, her voice failing her, and nodded instead.

Three steps back, a turn of the knob, and the girls stepped inside the open door. Flowers of every shape, height, and color welcomed them. Step by step, the girls inched forward, sucked into a world of possibility.

Together, they spent the afternoon fairy hunting and climbing the old Sycamore in the middle, stopping only to eat the bagged lunches Meg’s mother brought them.

Later that night, as the two girls lay side by side, they whispered of magic and the possibility of new things to come, plotting and planning what the next day might bring when they once again turned the ancient lock of the big green door.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kimmydonn Week 95: Home


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Kimmydonn's Choice: Both


The station turned lazily in the black. Julia should have been watering her hibiscus, but she was feeling lethargic. How could weightlessness be so heavy? It was counter-intuitive. A mere nudge would send her flying across the tiny room, away from the window she lay on, but she is rooted to the spot, rooted to the blue orb below.


How she longed for the colours, the smells, the sounds. It was so quiet here. The inhabitants are the only real source of sounds, and Zack’s snoring is going to drive her insane. They’re the only smells as well. As much as everyone tries to keep themselves clean, there is a stale sweat smell that never really goes away. And the colours. Julia’s cubby, the closet she sleeps in, holds the few personal belongings she was able to stash away, and her flag is probably the brightest colour in her day. Red and white, it seems to shine in the artificial light. Everything else is blue or grey or black. Even the planet below, cold and blue.

She shivers and closes her eyes, pushing just far enough to wrap her arms around herself. Her mind turns to home, to the badlands, the canyons and coulees cut through the stratified layers of earth. The bright sun washes out colour in a different way. Not black and blue and grey, but yellow and brown and white. Reds and oranges are common.

Both places lack one colour. Green. Opening her eyes with a sigh, Julia swivels in midair and kicks off the window toward her greenhouse. Smiling at her hibiscus, she waters it and marks it on the log book above the growth chamber.

One more day. One day closer to home.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Alby Mangroves Week 95: A Once and Future Gift

Alby Mangroves

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Alby Mangroves's Choice: Both

A Once and Future Gift

“It’s lovely,” the shopkeeper muses. He handles the little round locket carefully, scrutinizing it under the loupe.

“I found it down by the old bridge,” replies the boy, all expectant eyes. “Is it worth anything?”

Buffing the tarnished gold, exposing the delicate vine filigree embossed on its surface, the shopkeeper smiles, the boy’s enthusiasm infectious. “How about fifty dollars?”

Easy money for a scavenged trinket, thinks the boy, his face lighting up. “Awesome!”

Later, the shopkeeper examines his acquisition, gently lifting it open.

“Plus que ma propre vie...” he reads, knowing someone once cherished those words, and someone will again.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bronwyn Week 95: Fresh Starts and Memories

Bronwyn Keith

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Bronwyn’s Choice: Both


Fresh Starts and Memories

Bernadette walked down the old retired rail line, dragging her toes in the red and gold leaves that covered the ground. She was still surprised that she agreed to this adventure. It's one thing to meet a stranger in a coffee shop, but to meet one you knew from Twitter in the middle of the woods was probably a bad idea.

He probably won’t show, anyway. So what do I have to worry about, she told herself.

She had been chatting with Ethan for almost six months. They met through someone they both interacted with on Twitter and quickly hit it off. Soon they were sending each other emails and text messages. One late night, Ethan admitted to Bernadette that he lived in the same town she did. But with over twenty thousand people living in Delta, she didn’t know if she had ever met him. The name was familiar from her childhood but that didn’t mean anything. A month later, he suggested they meet in person. Bernadette agreed immediately and suggested this beautiful place in the woods just west of town. It was a spot that she used to sneak off to while in high school. It surprised her that he knew the location.

As she got closer to the clearing, her heart lifted in joy at seeing the familiar spot. It had been over ten years since she last visited. The old tree was still there, with a branch low enough to sit on and a perfect spot at the base to sit. The roots were far enough apart that two could sit side by side. She spent many hours sitting there with a book. As she sat at base of the tree to wait for Ethan, she pulled her knees up to her chest and rested her forehead on them.


She lifted her head at the sound of the husky male voice. She had not heard any rustling of dry leaves to let her know he arrived.

"Ethan?" She asked as she rose to her feet and looked him over. A snug dark long sleeve shirt covered his upper body. She wanted to run her hands over that muscular torso. Snug jeans encased his legs and they covered black biker boots. Her eyes traveled back up and noticed his dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Bernadette could have sworn she knew him, but she didn't know from where.

"You look beautiful, Bernadette. Even more beautiful than I ever remembered." Ethan walked closer and she could feel his eyes roaming over her body.

"What do you mean by remembered? Have we met before?" She paused at his comment. What if he was a stalker and wanted to hurt her? Her mind whirled with possibilities, each one more dire than the last.

"Relax, Bernadette. I'm not going to harm you." His voice softened, as if he sensed her distress.

"I'm relaxed." The words even sounded unsure to her ears.

"You're as tense as a frightened rabbit." He chuckled quietly. "We knew each other in high school. But at that time I went by a nickname."

Bernadette stared at him, trying to figure out who he was. She tilted her head from one side to another, hoping that it would give her an idea. He smiled big at her, clearly enjoying her confusion. But his smile jogged her memory.

"Ed?" Bernadette whispered, not sure it was the same person.

"Yes, Bernadette. It's me." He stepped closer and put his hands on her shoulders.

"But you are going by Ethan now. Where did Ed come from?"

"As you know by now, my given name is Ethan Daniels, but growing up everyone called me Ed."

"Did you know that it was me when we chatted online and over text messages?" She was angry at the thought that he knew this whole time and never told her.

"No. I figured it out when I saw you." He took a deep breath. "I wondered when you suggested this place, but I wasn't sure until I saw you." Her anger dissipated, but in its place sadness took hold.

"I'm sorry, Ethan." Bernadette looked down at her wringing hands, tears threatening. They had a summer together the year she went to college. But her father intervened and said Ethan wasn't good enough for her. After that, she never heard from him again.

"Why are you sorry?" He asked quietly, lowering his forehead to rest against hers.

"My father was awful to you."

"That was fifteen years ago, Bernadette. He was partially right." He squeezed her shoulders when she tried to protest. "No, he was. I was a kid from the poor side of town that would never go to college. It was either crime or low paying crappy jobs waiting for me."

"Obviously he was wrong about all of that. You work as a consultant, at least that is what you told me." She pulled back a little to look up at him. He gave her a small smile.

"I am a consultant of sorts, but we'll discuss that later." He looked over her shoulder at the tree. "One of my favorite memories from that summer involves that old tree."

"It's a good thing it can't talk. The stories it could tell." She smiled as she looked fondly at the tree. She could easily see them as the young adults they were. Him standing next to the tree wearing a baseball cap kissing her while she sat on the low branch. It had been her first kiss and the start of a fairy tale summer.

"What are you thinking about?" He whispered as he wrapped his arms around her middle and rested his chin on her head.

"The first time you kissed me. What about you?" She relaxed in to his embrace, slightly surprised at how comfortable she felt with him. They only had one summer together and it was a life time ago.

"I don't think you want to know."

"Of course, I do."

"I was remembering a picnic we had under this tree." He dropped his head to her shoulder and nuzzled her ear. "A very special picnic."

Bernadette felt herself blush at the memory. It had been late in the summer, only a few weeks before she left for college. They sat on the blanket and discussed their future while feeding each other and holding hands. Next thing she knew, they were kissing and he slowly lowered her to the blanket. He had been so caring and thorough when he made love to her that first time. The clearing was already a special spot before that day, but after it was even more important to her. But after a couple of summers being home from college, she quit visiting the spot because it made her lonely. She shook her head to dispel the memories and turned in Ethan's arms.

"What now? Do we start all over or pick up where we left off? Assuming you want to be more than friends, that is." Bernadette said in a rush.

"How about we take it one step at a time? We have a lot of catching up to do." He pulled away and moved to the tree. He sat at the base and patted the ground next to him. "Come sit and we will talk. Then we will go from there."

She smiled and quickly moved to sit next to him under the tree. Not every day was a girl given the chance to rekindle the flame of first love. Hopefully it will last longer this time.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Muse Calliope Week 95: Adjustments and Adjournments - Trinity Part IX

Muse Calliope
Surprise - it's Thursday!

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Muse Calliope's Choice: Picture 2


Adjustments and Adjournments - Trinity Part IX

Trinity ended up in what she assumed, given the massive desk occupying the corner of the room and the thick, leather bound books lining the walls, was a study of some kind. Likely because of the ball and the large number of masked guests floating about, someone had gone to the trouble of clearing off the top of the desk and Trinity had no qualms about taking advantage of the large, flat surface. With her arms braced against the edge, she hefted herself up backwards and slid back until her knees hit the side. She then proceeded to go about fixing her stupid gown's bodice.

"Well, I must say this is not what I expected to find in here."

Trinity froze. Slowly --very slowly-- she rose her head and turned to look in the direction of the voice. It belonged to the man leaning in the doorway, arms folded across his chest, an arrogant tilt to his head. He was costumed in a black tuxedo and a long flowing black cape with a black half-mask covering his brilliant, green eyes. Short, spiky black hair shot out from his head and his skin had a silvery sheen to it, marking clearly him as one of the Fae. He watched Trinity like a snake would watch a mouse, waiting patiently for her to reply.


“Wardrobe malfunction,” she gave by way of explanation, gesturing down awkwardly at her half-fixed bodice.

One eyebrow arched. “Indeed. And who might you be, little bird? Not one of the Fae ladies of this Court, that I know. So who? One of the Under Fae, perhaps? Daring little feat that would be.”

“What is the point of masks and masquerades,” Trinity countered, fixing what she hoped what a mysterious smile to her lips, “if identities are known so easily?”

The stranger grinned and stepped further into the room. “Are you saying you do not know who I am? Oh, foreign to this Court you must be indeed.” He dipped then in a flourishing bow, the sort of bow that would have put both Dracula and the Phantom of the Opera to shame by comparison. “His highness Fiachra, Prince of the Winter Court, son of her majesty, Queen Aoife, and Knight of the Fae realms at your service, milady.”

Trinity was beyond screwed. What had she done to deserve such bad luck – blown up a mirror factory in a past life?

He spun around then, giving Trinity his back for a moment while he fetched something from behind one of the books at the far end of the room. That was when she noticed his cloak and what it was he had embroidered in blue on its back. Clearly, he was well established in his mother’s affections to be so bold.

“I thought the emblem of the Queen was the Striking Serpent,” she commented quietly.

“Last I checked it was indeed,” Fiachra confirmed, tossing a grin over his shoulder as he rifled through whatever it was he had in his hands. “But I happen to loathe snakes for a whole slew of reasons, not least of which being my mother’s love for them. Thank the gods, I inherited my father’s bear instead.”

Trinity frowned. “Beg your pardon?”

His highness snorted and shook his head sadly, casting an almost disappointed look in her direction. “Careful now, love, you’re showing yourself to be of the Under Fae; everyone in the Noble class knows about our familiars.”

“I had a lazy governess,” she explained coyly, adding a mischievous smile and nonchalant shrug for good measure. “She must have left that part out.”

Fiachra’s chuckle was like dark chocolate, smooth and deep with a hidden hint of bitterness. It made Trinity shiver but she said nothing, barely resisting the urge to rub her arms. “We of the Noble class have whole species of animals we share an affinity with. You know about Artemis and her hounds? Pied Piper and his rats? Laverne and her pigeons? Same basic idea. Mother has snakes, I have bears.”

“If your affinity is for bears, why is it a griffin that is stitched on the back of your cape?” Trinity slid off the desk as she spoke; she had a feeling she might have need of the mobility shortly.

“Would you believe it’s a tribute to a breed made extinct by my mother’s pettiness?”


“Ah, I thought not.” Fiachra sighed and replaced whatever was in his hands back behind the books. He moved to another shelf further to the right, took something else out from behind the books, and started to rifle through its contents. “You know,” he continued, “most of us have mundane beasts as our familiars; any magic or myth attached to them is rare and more often than not accidental.”

“That’s …fascinating.” That sounded false even to Trinity’s ears, but Fiachra just snorted and rolled his eyes.

“Your usual jobs must have limited contact with people,” he noted drily. “You would never have survived this long otherwise. As I was saying, true magical creatures are rare and usually limited to the Royal bloodlines. Would you like to guess who claims the griffin as their familiar?”

“You …” Trinity blinked, then shook her head in disbelief. “Your mother has necromancy banned and all of its naturally inclined mortal bloodlines wiped out. She has griffins hunted into extinction. She casts sun elves out of Court and bans red hair from her presence. Short of making renting a billboard, she’s made her loathing of … the princess very plain, and you would go around Court wearing the image of the princess’ familiar on your back?”

Fiachra grinned. “What’s the point of living if it’s without risk? Besides, as her son, I’m immune to her wrath. More or less. Aha! Found it.” He held up a long, antique looking key with a triumphant grin. “Alright then, Miss Mystery, what’s say you and I take a little trip to my sister’s rooms? Much to my mother’s dismay, Faerie has not been as inclined as the Fae to accede to her leadership. Consequently, my sister’s rooms have remained most annoyingly out of her grasp.”

“You are Aoife’s only child,” Trinity pointed out. “You don’t have a sister.”

“Actually, since I, like so many, have a father as well as a mother, I happen to have three half-siblings floating around, much to my misfortune. In this case, however, I was referring to my step-sister. Under Fae, after all, do not just pop up at a Noble ball with no one noticing without a patron of some kind granting them protection. The list of Fae who would be so daring is short. Very short; there’s only one name on it.”

So much for secrecy. Trinity kept silent and fought to keep her face blank, as much good as it would do at this point.

Fiachra grinned. “Fortunately, most Fae are too busy courting favour to notice an Under Fae playing at Nobility slipping away mid-ball. Shall we adjourn to my sister’s quarters now? Unless, of course, you’d prefer to remain here and explain your party crashing to my mother’s guards.”

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

A/N: To be continued soon!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

KekahJ week 95: Escape


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KekahJ's Choice: Picture 2


She sighed and leaned her head against the windowpane. The glass was cool against her cheek and the warmth of her breath created a hazy mist that obscured her view. She reached up and swiped a hand across the glass, clearing away the moisture. However, her view wasn’t improved much. The train was almost completely shrouded in a thick, swirling mist.

The landscape that zoomed past her window was breathtakingly beautiful, but the fog made her uneasy, as if she’d be unable to see something, or someone, approaching until it was too late.

She glanced nervously around the crowded compartment. She’d already memorized the faces of everyone present, but she studied them again, partly from nerves, and partly out of habit. As she finished, she sighed, looking down at her watch. She wondered if they’d reach their destination on schedule. The train had left the station a few minutes late, something that had nearly sent her into a full fledged panic, but they’d made good time since then.

Her stomach growled and she wondered if she could chance grabbing a sandwich from the cart at the next stop. She tapped her foot nervously for a moment, then slid it backward until she felt the bag she’d shoved under her seat. Her nervous fingers fidgeted with the zipper as she pulled out her wallet and surreptitiously counted her money again. There was no need. She knew exactly how much money she had down the the last cent. It was money she’d scrimped and saved and stashed away for weeks in preparation for this day.

Despite her constant fear, she must have dozed off at some point, because when she opened her eyes again, the train was slowing and pulling into the station. The fog was less dense here than it had been out in the open country, but it still swirled ominously around the train as it slowed to a stop. Her fellow passengers began to stir, many of them preparing to depart. She envied them their looks of boredom. For most of them today was a day like any other. Just another leg of their daily commute. One more exercise in tedium. For her, it was the flight of her life. Everything was riding on this day, this trip. She’d painstakingly planned out every aspect of this day, every detail, and now there was no turning back.

She yawned and stood, stretching quickly before retrieving her bag from beneath her seat. Her stomach growled again and she decided that if she was fast, she’d have enough time to grab a bite to eat before the train pulled away from the station again.

Once off the train, she glanced around nervously. Every stranger that passed her made her jump a little. She pulled her sweatshirt tighter and tried to melt into the crowd. She was relieved when she reached the sandwich cart and there was no line. She quickly mumbled her order and waited impatiently as the man prepared her sandwich. It seemed to take forever. Behind her, the train emitted a shrill whistle, warning passengers of its impending departure. Finally, the man placed the sandwich in her hand. She turned and jogged back to the train.

The gray mist still swirled around her, and she had one foot on the platform when she felt the hand on her arm.

“Don’t make a scene.”

It was impossible to describe the complicated mixture of emotions that flooded her at the sound of his voice. It was a voice she’d know anywhere. A voice that stopped her dead in her tracks. Her hands became unable to grasp anything anymore, and her sandwich fell to the ground, lost and forgotten in the swirling mist.

He pulled her back away from the train and propelled her along the platform. She kept her head down and followed him without incident. It would do her no good to resist anyway. If there was anything that time had taught her, it was that compliance always yielded the quickest, least painful outcome.

The train whistle sounded for a final time and the train began to move again, pulling slowly away from the station, unaware and unsympathetic to the fact that she was no longer on board. She watched it leave as silent tears began to stream down her cheeks. All of her planning, all of her thorough preparation had come to this. She’d been so cautious, as careful as she knew how to be, yet it was still all for naught.

She wanted to let the despair she felt take over. She wanted to give into it, to scream and yell and stomp her feet, but she couldn’t afford to feel that much. She couldn’t afford to have emotions anymore. So instead, she did what she always did. She swiped at her tears, drying them on the sleeve of her jacket with her free arm. She took a deep breath, and she replaced all of the feelings; the hope, the despair, the anger, the pain, even the strange relief she’d felt; and she pushed them back down to the tiny place deep inside where they lived. Once they were safely locked away, she let the numbness spread.

She was good at this part. She’d done it countless times before. If there was one thing she knew how to be, it was numb. By the time they reached his waiting truck in the parking lot, her face was a blank, unreadable mask. He seemed pleased by this. He smiled at her as he opened her door. She did not smile back. She knew what was coming, and even the numbness couldn’t keep all the pain out.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kimmydonn Week 94: The Day After


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Kimmydonn's Choice: Both

The Day After

So whatever happened to me hadn’t left Donnie unscathed. Not if he was in ICU. I was still gaping at Jeanne, my brain sluggish.

“I don’t know,” I told my roommate honestly. “I have no idea what happened last night, just that I woke up with my pants around my ankles this morning.”

It was Jeanne’s turn to gasp and stare. “What were you doing?”

I shook my head. As relieved as I was to know that Donnie hadn’t simply abandoned me in a drug-induced stupor, I wasn’t forgiving enough to go running to him at the hospital. He had still gotten me high, horny, and drunk.

“I’m going to take a bath,” I muttered, passing Jeanne and pushing open the door to our bathroom. I saw myself for the first time. Holy crap. Whoever had taken advantage of me was not gentle. I had a big blue bruise on my cheekbone beneath a nasty scrape. There was a cut near my hairline, very small, but a long streak of blood ran down my temple into my ear. My eyes were sunken and ringed in purple. I hoped it was just exhaustion and not a pair of shiners. I started the water for the bath.

As I undressed, I found more damage—mostly scrapes and bruises. A lot of dirt. It had been ground into my knees and breasts, my chin was one brown smudge. Disgusted with myself, I stepped into the ankle deep water, letting it rise as I lowered myself gently.

A hundred tiny wounds screamed in unison as the water hit them and I winced loudly. I groaned again when my butt hit the porcelain. It was one big bruise as well, apparently. I slid further, putting more weight on my shoulder and dunking my hair. Using my toes, I turned off the water and tried not to cry.

What kind of person was I? Why would I give any man such complete control over me, even one who claimed to care about me? I rubbed water over my face, rinsing away dirt, blood and tears. Then I slowly washed my hair. The act was always calming, soothing. Massaging my scalp pulled out some of the weariness and aching that had accompanied the rude awakening in the park.

“Mel?” Jeanne asked through the door. “Do you need anything?”

“Yeah, a recording of last night. You happen to follow me and get one?”

She snorted. “Nope. I’m heading out, that’s all. Anything I can pick up?”

“Um...” I pulled myself out of the water and opened the medicine cabinet. “Yeah, some more Tylenol.”

“You got it. I’ll be back in a while.”

“See ya.” I wrapped myself in a towel and collapsed on my bed, planning to recover some of the sleep lost the night before.

I’d never been one for remembering my dreams, but I woke with the afternoon sun in my window and a strange sensation. I had a memory of holding Donnie’s hand while he made love to me. That in itself was odd. He often fucked me but was rarely as gentle as this memory. Our fingers brushed softly against one another, as did our hips, his chest on my breasts, his cheek against mine. Instead of being held and positioned for maximum penetration or to aim for my g-spot, or whatever other ambition he had for that session, he lay against me, still, barely moving. I felt my entire skin ignite at the touch and now, awake from the dream or memory, I tingled all over.

I put a hand into my hair trying to hold onto the sensation. Was that last night? Couldn’t have been. Why would he get me high to be gentle with me? And if he had been, who had been so careless and rough?

I rose and strode to a mirror. The circles had been just that, and they were minimal now. The cut in my hair was practically invisible, and the scabbed scrape on my cheek looked like it was already nearly healed. I rubbed it gently and half the dried tissue came away, leaving bright pink skin in its place. I didn’t look too bad, actually.

How bad was Donnie? Jeanne had said they weren’t sure he was going to make it and he was in ICU. He had to be hurt pretty bad. I dressed slowly, not sure I wanted to see him. He had let this happen, whatever had been done to me last night. At the same time, I wanted to know what had hurt him so badly. Perhaps his injuries were the only reason I hadn’t woken up in his bed, in his arms.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Alby Mangroves Week 94: The Pull

Alby Mangroves

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Alby Mangroves's Choice: Both

The Pull

Heidi’s herded fish are convenient, but nothing beats the hunt, and adrenalin-laced blood pulsing to a frenzied heartbeat.

Under the ultraviolet strobes of the dance club, Demetri sees what he wants.

The graceful ribbons of her veins light up like iridescent tattoos over her throat and chest.

Even when he closes his eyes, he senses their hypnotic rhythm.

He imagine slicing through delicate flesh and sucking one of those pulsing ribbons into his mouth, specks of blood settling on his skin, like the dust from a butterfly’s wings.

He catches her eye, smiles, and she is snared in his web.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

KekahJ week 94: Weekends


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KekahJ's Choice: Picture 2


Weekends are becoming my favorite part of the week. I love that we wake up to the sound of each other’s breathing as we slowly stir, arms and legs tangled and intertwined. We stumble to the kitchen and I start a pot of coffee while you grab the newspaper off the front porch, looking left and right to make sure no one sees you in just your boxers. Then we cradle our warm mugs in our hands and climb carefully back into bed, dividing the paper up as we huddle under the covers for another hour or two, or three. That’s the best thing about our weekends: there’s no schedule. We just do what feels right.

Later, when our stomachs remind us that we should eat, we smile at each other as we throw the covers back once again and trudge back to the kitchen. It seems like there’s always leftovers or last night’s take-out to be found in the fridge. You fix us plates and I grab an old blanket from the closet, spreading it out over our still unmade bed. This time when we make our trip back to bed it’s with piping hot plates in hand. We sit cross-legged on the blanket, and our bed becomes a picnic table.

Stomachs full, we pile our plates into the sink, unconcerned about when they’ll get cleaned, or who will clean them. Those are the concerns of a weekday, not our weekends.
Sometimes we feel like showering, hot steam running down our backs, other days we skip the shower; deciding instead to climb back into bed to either read our favorite books or finish our newspaper.

When the rays of sunlight that filter through our bedroom window become the rusty orange of early evening, we bring out the movies, selecting one from the collection we’ve amassed over the years. There aren’t any that we haven’t seen at least a dozen times. We can, and do, recite the lines from memory, but it doesn’t matter. They’re timeless, sort of like I wish our weekends were. Soon enough they’ll be other demands; kids, soccer games, oil change appointments, trips to the grocery store; but for now, these are our weekends.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

107_yroldvirgin Week 94: Fingertip Memories


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107_yroldvirgin’'s Choice: Picture 2

Fingertip Memories

Every centimeter of your skin, every square inch of flesh, is burned into my memory.

Fingertips that have sought out creases and crevices behind knees and between bent elbow. The flat expanse of your stomach, the soft swell of your hips. Where your thigh meets the softest, sweetest parts of you that I know so well. I know it all so very well after many years of studying your every move, breath, arch of your back. So many years of playing around the edges and more, giving and watching you receive, mouth open and eyes closed, neck straining towards the headboard and your own fingers, preoccupied with taut sheets bunched in your white-knuckled fists.

Yes, I know every last part of you by taste, smell, touch. Tender embrace and glorious laughter. Spent, shaking, lethargic afterwards, but so on fire during the moment.

After all of these years, to say that I want you is not enough. Want is a young man’s mantra. I am older. Wiser. I no longer simply want. I need.

I need.