July 17th, 2004

Hearth

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

Blog-A-Thon! First post!

Theme: Remember those one-word prompts you guys gave me? I'm using them. Freewrites on your prompts every half hour.

State of the 'song: I have yummy granola and Kenya Peaberry Rukira coffee; I am treating myself this morning. I am also wearing a shirt that says "qapla' klingon". Success to the Klingon. And success to the Shadesong.

Incentives: Story from me. Graphics work from zarhooie. Custom illustration from swisscheesed. A sketch from museumfreak. For donations of $10 and up.

Current total is $951. I'm beginning to have hopes of actually getting near last year's record.

How to donate:
* Directly at RAINN's website! That is the preferable way.
* I've set up PayPal! You can PayPal me at paypal AT shadesong.com.
* By check; my mailing address is linked to from my sidebar, but it's friends-locked. If you're not on my friends-list, as me and I'll e-mail it to you.

Please sponsor me. RAINN is an excellent cause that's close to my heart.

Ready... set... go!
  • Current Mood
    excited excited
Hearth

Church

I'm not religious; I only go to church for the stained glass. That, and the silence. The hush of the church is comforting... the outside world, the modern world, is so full of chaos and clamor. It is soothing, healing to the spirit, to sit quietly for a while. The well-worn wood of the pew as my fingers graze it, the flicker of candles, and most of all that stained glass... vibrant colors playing over the entirety of the church, shifting with the movement of the sun, caught in glittering dust motes.

We are not vulnerable on holy ground, contrary to popular belief... and this place is my greatest solace. Balm to my weary soul.

Or lack thereof.

-------

Current total: $966
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com
Hearth

Onomatopoeia

Napalm: "Okay, so what should my sound effect be?"

Johnathan: "Sound effect?"

Napalm: "Yeah, for my fireballs. Should it be like a whoosh? A fwoom?"

Johnathan: "Dude. You're not on TV."

Napalm: "But I can say it.I can toss a fireball and say wha-BAM! Or whatever."

Johnathan: "You are such a dork."

Napalm: "Yeah, but I'm a dork who can blow shit up."

-------

Current total: still $966
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com

Send your friends over to donate!
Hearth

Frosty

You can't get through to the castle at the center of the city. No one can. It's been abandoned for centuries now.

Why can't you? There's a sort of barrier around it. The closer you get, the colder it gets. First a simple late-autumn chill, then deepening... goose bumps, your breath hanging frosty in the air. Then colder, colder, falling toward zero. Then colder. So cold that it hurts. It seems to wrap around your very bones, harden your skin...

Most people don't get that far. The ones who do generally turn back when the ice starts forming on their skin. Then under their skin.

You're welcome to try it, of course. :)

-------

Current total: $996. So close to breaking a thousand!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com
Hearth

Sleep

When we sleep, Joseph wraps his arms around me. I am thankfully accustomed to spooning, but this is different. He does not let go and roll over. His arms enfold me all night, shifting position with me. I'm like a security blanket or a beloved stuffed animal.

Something to be cherished.

I'm a restless sleeper; when I'm half-awake, I watch him, his face at rest. I'm tempted to run a hand down his arm, or across his jawline, or across his bare chest... but I don't want to wake him.

Beauty. I am desired by beauty.

And I drift back to sleep. Safe.

-------

Current total: $1,001! Keep it coming! Help me beat last year's $1750!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com

Tell your friends!

Note - this should be a given - I am so not reading my friends-page today. Heh. So point me to anything you want me to see.

I'm having a lot of fun with these prompts. You can give me more here. And no, I'm not using "fucktabulous" or "waffletastic" :P

Also - sponsor other bloggers! rhiannonhero, satia, theferrett, and zoethe!

I'm having lots of fun. Then again, this is only hour 2.
Hearth

Uhrwerk

I had a clockwork doll once. Not much use. Wind it up and it simply walked, kept walking, until it hit the wall - and it still continued to shuffle its feet in mute futility. It wore a dress, which I often removed to better admire the gears beneath the translucent skin.

I took it apart one day. I'm not sure why. I tumbled silver gears into my hand and tipped it back and forth, watching them shift and sparkle in the afternoon light.

They were sharp. When I drew one across my arm, blood welled up behind it, a glistening trail. Mesmerized, I did it again... a curve, an arch. It didn't hurt nearly as much as I'd thought it would. It was fascinating. I sketched designs on my arm, patterns in deep red, like a morbid sort of mendhi, like fine lace.

It was so beautiful.

-------

Current total: $1,011!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com

I have energy today, because I've been keeping my mind and body active. Between posts, I've been scrambling upstairs to work on Elayna's room. Go me!
Hearth

Tea

(I'm cheating. This is prewritten, from Issue #4. If the general consensus is that this is cheating, I'll add on another post.)

Bram enters the balcony area of the Library. Donna’s having brunch with Jeramie, and she notices Bram right off and waves him over. “Morning, Donna, Jeramie,” Bram smiles, handing her the packet.

Donna: “Good morning! Well, almost afternoon, but would you like some tea anyway?”

Bram hesitates: “I don’t want to interrupt…”

Donna: “Don’t be silly – here, sit.” She pats the chair next to her. Bram sits obediently. Jeramie nods at him coolly; Bram nods back hesitantly. Donna: “So how are you? Still having the dreams?”

Jeramie: “Dreams? Prophetic dreams?”

Bram: “Oh, not prophetic, no. I just … my friend Laurie. She died. In the Purges. And I’ve just… been dreaming a lot about her lately.” The pain in his eyes is obvious. To Donna: “Only one dream so far this week. I’ll be okay.”

Donna smiles softly, obviously still concerned, and squeezes his hand.

Jeramie’s cell phone rings. He rolls his eyes and answers it. “Yes? What, she’s there?” Pause. “Does she have the entourage?” he asks heavily, clearly weary. “No, it is not a hostage situation. Don’t worry about it. I will be there shortly. And tell Brendan to try not to soil himself.” He flips the phone closed with an aggrieved sigh.

-------

Current total: still $1,011.
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com
Hearth

Scimitar

"Whoa! Look at this!" Napalm lifted a scimitar off the wall, gave a few practice swings - which revealed him to be very unpracticed indeed.

Tessa sighed. "Put that down before you put someone's eye out."

"Aw, Mom..."

"Is he always like this?" Donna asked, amused.

"Pretty much."

Donna walked over to Napalm, who was still handling the scimitar and... making lightsaber noises. "Aisling - do you have any experience with a scimitar?"

"Nooooo..."

"With any kind of sword?"

"No." He lowered the scimitar reluctantly.

"Then let's find something else for you, yes?"

"Nunchucks."

Tessa sighed. "Napalm, for once in your life will you cut it out and act your goddamn age?"

He looked back at her, and she was surprised to see fear in his eyes. "Defense mechanism, Tessa," he said sadly. "I just... I'm freaked out, okay?"

Tessa walked over and hugged him, stroking his hair. "It'll be okay, hon."

"What if it isn't?"

"Have faith," Donna said. "Julia and Fenris are born warriors, we have the Kirayth... Our people are trained, we have a plan, and we are going to win this thing."

He pulled back from Tessa, worry plain on his face. "What about Lyric?"

-------

Current total: $1,036! Keep it coming!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com

Currently working on what will likely be the most difficult post of the lot.
Hearth

Tangle

"This is actually fun for you?" Julia muttered, trying to sort out the tangle of yarn.

Capri grinned in response. "Knitting and crocheting? Yeah. Donna taught me how when I was like seventeen."

"It seems pretty boring."

Capri shrugged. "It's repetitive, yeah, but it's soothing. You can let your mind wander and still be doing something, instead of just looking out the window and screwing around on the web."

Julia threw the yarn-tangle on the floor, growling in frustration. "Where are the scissors?"

"Scissors are not an option, hon! I need that yarn intact."

Julia watched Capri - deft little hands. She despaired of learning how to do this stuff, and wondered why she even wanted to. "What are you making?"

"Scarf."

"For who?"

"You," she smiled, eyes on her work.

"Oh!" Julia bent, picked up the yarn. "Um... thanks," she said, resuming her struggle.

Capri gave her a sidelong look and grinned. "You're welcome."

-------

Current total: still $1,036.
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com

Dude, forget about the post I referenced working on in my last post. It would take hours to get it acceptable. I know I'm turning out possible-crap, but that one's important...

Send your friends over here - and sponsor fellow bloggers rhiannonhero, satia, theferrett, and zoethe!

Remember - there are incentives! Donate $10 or more and get
* Graphics work from zarhooie
* A custom illustration from swisscheesed
* A sketch from museumfreak

Dude, serious bargains, okay?

Remember to send me your e-receipt so I can keep track of you!

Now go donate! :)
Hearth

Baklava

I watch her layer the phyllo. She works slowly and precisely... she's done this many times. I watch from the kitchen table, ignoring my homework.

Sheet, sheet, sheet, then the mixture; sheet, sheet...

No one makes a good baklava these days, she says. Everyone rushes. You musthave patience for this.

I don't know that I'll ever learn patience. Watching her, I want to... I want to wear an apron, I want my hair perfectly coiffed, I want to do this work until my hands cramp because if I do, I will have produced something. My mother will bring the baklava out for dessert and people will ooh and ahh when they taste it, and my mother will smile with quiet pride.

I don't know if I'll ever have the patience for it, though. I want to skip to the part where everyone's complimenting me. I want to skip to having something without doing it.

She glances over at me and raises her eyebrows, and I hurriedly pick up my pencil, devote myself to homework, limiting myself to occasional glances, watching my un tiring mother from the corner of my eye.

-------

Current total: $1,051. Yay! Donate more, please!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com

Clarification - all of my posts today are fiction.

I go eat lunch now.
Hearth

Australopithecine

Kala watched the australopithecines from the safety of the city wall, and wrinkled her nose in disgust. "They are never going to get socialized."

Nalen shrugged. "It'll take time."

"Why does it have to take time?"

"They're growing. They're learning."

"But the Dasaroi were born like this." She gestured to herself, to him.

He regarded her seriously. "Kala... they made mistakes with us."

"They made mistakes with Tal, you mean."

"With us. We should not have been born adult, immortal. They... their gods are taking their time. Moving slowly, and correcting as they go."

She snorted in derision. "They will never be like us."

"That might be a good thing."

-------

Current total: $1,066.
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com

Dude, this prompt was a pain in the ass. I challenge any of y'all to do this one.
Hearth

Silence

Lyric speaks only when absolutely necessary.

Napalm and Johnathan will be bantering for hours. Adam and Tessa make small talk. But Lyric is silent, always silent. She watches, smiles, but she seems incapable of speaking any more than she has to.

It's not something you'd notice at first, of course. Who notices lack of speech? But once you've noticed, you can't not be aware of it, and it gets to feeling kinda eerie.

I wish she'd say something. Anything. "Can we stop at McDonalds?" "Gee, it looks like rain." Anything. You can't know someone who's silent. But maybe she prefers it that way.

I start as she touches my arm, and it's clear that I've thought this too loud, that she's caught it. She smiles softly and says, "My silence is my self-defense."

-------

Current total: still $1,066. Donate! Donate!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com

Song is "And So it Goes" by Billy Joel, of course...
Hearth

Closet

"Sooo... everyone knows, right?"

Ryan laughed. "Yeah. I came out of the closet when... well, when I got here, really. Michael Halloran became my first lover."

"Michael?" Julia asked, confused.

He looked over at her. "Yeah. Michael. Our Halloran's big brother."

"His... ohhhh."

He gave a small, strained smile. "Yeah. Michael. First person to die in the Purges."

"I'm... so sorry. If I'd been here..."

"You were what, 12? Nothing you could've done, dear. I've accepted it. Had you been 20, 30 at the time..." He sighed. "I might hate you. But you were too young to do a damn thing about it." He paused. "She made me watch."

"Alanna..."

"She made me watch. She brought three of us in there, me and Kristian and Jeramie. To teach us a lesson. Remind us what would happen if we stepped out of line. She brought us there, and she tried to seduce him and when that failed, she had Janos shoot him in the head." His voice was tight - with anger as much as with grief. "I still have nightmares. And... that was my first love."

"I don't know what to say..."

"Nothing to say. I'm okay, Julia. Now! I don't have a serious boyfriend right now; Kieran and I are really just friends with benefits."

"Kieran..."

He regarded her closely. "That is not a problem for you, is it? That he's bi?"

She was taken aback. "No! Oh, no. I just - he has you, and he has Capri. I don't know why the hell he wants me."

"You are his destined bride..."

"Oh, fuck that shit."

"I'm kidding," he laughed. "Yeah, that was it at first. But he really is getting to know you as you now... and he's every bit as smitten."

"Whatever," she muttered, and looked away.

-------

Current total: $1,086
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com


Also sponsor fellow BlogAThonners correspondguy, rhiannonhero, satia, theferrett, and zoethe!

EDIT: Dude. I am *so* fucking up my HTML. Wait until 2 AM, just wait.
Hearth

Yellow

He laid a hand on hers. "Jessa, love. Stop mutilating the flowers."

She scowled and rubbed her hands on her jeans, leaving powdery yellow pollen smudges. "I'm nervous. When I'm nervous, I mutilate vegetation."

Marcus took her hands in his. "It'll be okay. The worst that can happen is him saying no."

"Yes. That. My best friend, my other love, saying no to fathering my child."

"Helping you conceive your child."

She rolled her eyes. "Marcus - he is not going to see it that way. He'll know it. Intellectually, he'll know it. But his heart will be different. He'll... he'll probably say no anyway."

"I don't know about that. He loves you."

"And he walked away from me years ago, because he couldn't bear sharing me. And I'm going to break this, this silent truce, to ask if he'll father a child for me and my husband? I'm insane for even considering this."

"What time is it?"

She looked at her watch. "Dammit - five til. I've got to get going. Wish me luck..."

-------

Current total: $1,106. Let's keep it going! :)
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com


Remember, donate to me and you get the following incentives...

* A story from me that I spend more than 10 minutes on.
* Graphics work by zarhooie.
* A custom illustration by swisscheesed.
* A sketch from museumfreak.

So! Donate today!
Hearth

Hairbrush

100 strokes every day, with her little wooden hairbrush.

She had no mother, and no women who took an interest in her upbringing; she got all of her information from books, magazines. Thus, she had been informed that she must brush her hair one hundred strokes before bedtime, every day.

She sat at her vanity and began. At twelve, she was finally growing into the vanity, the furniture... it had been far too mature for her before now, heavy and dark. She thought that it may have been her mother's, but she'd never asked.

Stroke, stroke, flyaway bits glinting gold.

The vanity would likely last forever. She took very good care of her things, was quiet and methodical. She'd grown up too fast, Olivia had once said. But her father thought she was perfect. She smiled, smug.

She finished and quickly braided her hair back for bed; turned out the lights, slipped under the covers... and begged silently, Please don't let me have the nightmare tonight...

-------

Current total: still $1,106.
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com


Yeah, this sucks. I'm okay with that. I just totally stalled on this one, prolly because I've written three straight without getting up and walking around. I'm going to get up and walk around now.

And regarding quality - these are ten-minute freewrites, so they're gonna be pretty uneven!

Also. My meds make me perpetually tired. So. I really hope yendi can stay up late with me. He's not back in ATL yet, so this leaves me without much a diversion, which is a Problem. 5 hours til I get him back,...
Hearth

Fingernails

He had grime under his fingernails. Always. Gods only knew what
he was doing all the time... had to be more than just tinkering with
his car. He was clean, mind you. The dirt was just a permanent
fixture by now.

He had the hands of a working man. Callouses. Rough fingers. The
novelty of those hands.... I trembled when I felt those fingers cross
my bare belly. Catch on the fabric of my bra. Twine in my hair...

And the fingernails, yes, when he drew them down my back, or along my
hip, and I had to clap a hand over my mouth so's not to wake my
roommates.

*sigh* There's just something about a blue-collar man.

-------

Current total: $1,131!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com
Hearth

Aliiiive!!!

"It's aliiiive!!!"

Tessa looked up skeptically. "That is not something that I want
to hear in relation to my dinner."

Johnathan peered into the kitchen, where Napalm was doing very strange things that were possibly related to food preparation. "Um, hey, Tessa?"

"Yes?"

"You ever seen Better Off Dead?"

"Yeeeessss...?"

"Okay. You remember the dinner where the food like, crawled off the plate?"

"Right. I'm ordering pizza."

-------

Current total:
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com.
You know you want to.


And it's raining... gonna start e-mailing the nonposted bits to myself so's not to lose 'em should the lights go out...
Hearth

Butterfly

Capri gasped as the monarch butterfly landed in her lap, vivid against the lavender dress. She stayed as still as possible... but it flew away within seconds anyway. "Hey," she yelled, and ran after it.

Jessa laughed. Nothing like a day at the park for a hyper nine-year-old. She gave Fenris a sidelong glance. "She has your hair, you know."

"The whole city might know... bet you wish she's been born a blonde. Or with dark hair, like Marcus."

"I love her hair. Sometimes it looks coppery, sometimes so much darker..."

"She has nothing of her father."

"His love," she said sharply.

"Physically, Jessa." He sighed, looked out toward Capri. "Are you ever going to tell her? That I 'helped'?"

"I... don't know. I'm sure I will. Just... not now." She touched his arm gently. "I love you, Seth."

He stood, dusted off his jeans. "Yeah. I know."

-------

Current total: $1,171!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com.
You know you want to.


I'm singing along with "Ice Ice Baby". Help.

Also! Please sponsor fellow BlogAThonners correspondguy, rhiannonhero, satia, theferrett, and zoethe!

manifestress's blogging along with us. Not for charity. Just for solidarity. She's slightly insane, but we love her.

I promise there are non-Shayara ones coming up. Fiction and Crow.
Hearth

Illuminated

There are joys in being a librarian, Donna reflected. Chief among them the obvious - the books themselves.

Not just a librarian. The Librarian. And this Library dwarfed that of Alexandria, containing works from before humans walked the earth.

Donna walked the aisles every time she could get away from her other responsibilities. She trailed her fingertips along the spines of worn leather volumes, of cheap paperbacks...

Her favorites, though, were the illuminated manuscripts. Paint on parchment, beauty living long after the artist's death. An art that has died forever. She doesn't dare to touch the pages too much - but whenever she can, she sits at a table in the very back of the stacks, turning crackling pages very carefully.

-------

Current total: $1,246!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com.
You know you want to.


Be a part of the magic! Give me writing prompts!

It's 6:00. That's when people eat dinner, right?

I want Double Stuf Oreos. *sigh*

Next two are non-Shayara.
Hearth

Fiction

You can pretend this is fiction, if you want to. If you have to. There are parts of me you don't want to see... that, if you see, you'll fervently wish to regret.

It's all fine and good to read a horror novel, watch a scary movie. But only as long as you can convince yourself that these things don't exist in real life. That this is pure fantasy, pure escapism.

You are attracted to the dark in me. And I have told you what I am, but you won't believe me.

Your kind never do.

You think I'm a daffy goth kid, or a role-player. Maybe you think I believe it, and you think I'm kinda nuts, but still kinda hot.

You brought me home; you invited me in.

You can pretend this is fiction, if that makes it easier.

Just close your eyes.

-------

Current total: still $1,246.
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com.
You know you want to.


Dude, if you can't donate, you can still help - send your friends over here!

Also check out my fellow Blog-A-Thonners - correspondguy, rhiannonhero, satia, theferrett, and zoethe!
  • Current Music
    Counting Crows, "She Don't Want Nobody Near"
Hearth

Crow

Seven for a secret never to be told, and this I can never tell. The blood sinks into my skin, and I know how Lady Macbeth felt.

"She just fell," I practice saying.

She just fell.

I need to believe it.

One landed next to her. A crow. One for sorrow. What's the next? Two for joy. There is no joy to be had today, none at all.

Three for girls and four for boys, and who knew which it was that she'd been carrying? Only that I could not let it come to term.

I hadn't meant to kill her.

I didn't think I'd meant to.

Five and six, silver and gold, the ring I'll get rid of as soon as I can. As soon as I can manage to do it without raising eyebrows.

I hit her and she fell down.

No. Just - she fell.

I need to believe it.

A secret never to be told.

-------

Current total: still $1,246. Don't stop, guys!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com.
You know you want to.


Remember - there are incentives!

* Story from me.
* Graphics stuff from zarhooie.
* A custom illustration from swisscheesed.
* A sketch from museumfreak

And a NEW incentive - first three people who donate after this post and send their receipts to me and velvetglove get a new custom LJ design.

Dude, how can you pass this stuff up? Go donate now!

http://www.rainn.org/donate.html
Hearth

Blue

He heard her scream from a block away, and it managed to push through his own shock and panic.

Blue, her shield was blue; it crackled around the desperate little girl with her back to the wall.

The little girl who was in immediate danger of being killed by the Hounds.

To this day, he doesn't know how he did it, how he took down two Hounds on his own. Shock. Adrenaline.

He does remember convincing her to take down the shield so he could get her out of there... seeing blue shimmer away to reveal the desperate skinny kid, this girl who'd just seen her parents killed by the monsters that almost killed her as well. Her eyes were as blue as that energy.

"Can you walk?"

"I... I don't..."

"Listen. We need to get out of here. Can you walk?"

She shook her head mutely, trembling.

"Okay. I'm going to pick you up, okay?"

"Okay."

And he hoisted her in his arms, feather-light, and he almost doubled over in pain as it hit him. A soulbond slamming through him, his mind melded, intertwined with hers, and gods, he had to get her to the Library...

-------

Current total: $1,251.
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com.
You know you want to.

Please?
Hearth

Ritual

It has become a ritual for her. Returning home, returning to her room. Closing the door.

Removing one boot at a time. Lining them up very precisely. Removing her gloves and laying them on the dresser.

Sitting at the vanity. Taking out her supplies. Spoon and lighter and....

Watching powder melt to liquid. Feeling the heat on her skin.

Drawing it up with the needle.

Autopilot, almost. She no longer takes note of the individual steps. They blur in her mind, sometimes. This night could be any night.

Carefully tying off above her elbow.

Finding the sweet spot with the needle and gods, it's almost like sex, and sometimes it's better... she bites her lip as she feels it hit the bloodstream.

She licks the spoon.

-------

Current total: still $1,251. C'mon, guys!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com.
You know you want to.
Hearth

Bliss

She didn't know how to dance before I met her. Weird, since she only speaks in song lyrics. I think it's because to her, music is language. Why would you move your body to language? I mean, we don't dance when we ask what's for dinner.

This is my job. She's my job. That makes it sound bad, but... it's really not. She's such a nifty... kid. I just want to give her more music. More words, y'know?

Anyway, I taught her to waltz.

Yes, I know how to waltz, wiseass. My mom made us all take dance classes -

Okay, I am not gonna talk about that. Hell no.

Anyway. I taught her to waltz. She picked it up right away... comes of living your life in music, I guess.

She hasn't stopped dancing since.

Well, I mean, she breaks for food and stuff. Okay, she doesn't dance every day. Dude, you know what I mean.

She's dancing now. "Pure", by the Lightning Seeds. She's spinning around, laughing, and her dress is swirling out around her...

Her bliss may be the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

-------

Current total: $1,261
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com.
You know you want to.
Hearth

Perfect

"We should have waited," Olivia sighed.

Steven arched and eyebrow. "For...?"

She gestured at the girl curled up on the sofa with a book. "Her. Katrianna."

"Oh. To be our little puppet queen?"

"Of course! Alanna... well, you should pardon me for saying this..."

"Oh, you don't have to tell me. Trust me, I am well aware of her shortcomings... she's become a spoiled petty tyrant. She's out of control. Her habits are... well, appalling."

Olivia smiled wryly. "And we're stuck with her, unfortunately."

"Yes."

"Whereas Katrianna... you've done a wonderful job with her."

Steven's smile had genuine warmth for once. "Thank you. I'm quite proud of her. Strongest talent in recent memory."

"Not just that - her behavior. So mature, so self-assured. Disciplined."

"Thank you." He sighed. "I suppose this is what comes of being raised by strangers. This little beast that Alanna's become. Still - she's better than Contessa. Contessa was useless. Had we known, we could've aborted her and saved Katrina the pain of childbirth."

"As I remember it, you were not very interested in sparing Katrina pain," she reminded him softly.

He shrugged. "If that's what it took, that's what it took." He smiled, reminiscing. "She was beautiful, wasn't she?"

"Surely," Olivia replied drily.

"At least she gave me Katrianna before she died." He looked at the little girl fondly. "Strong, and a lady. The perfect child."

Across the room, Katrianna smiled smugly.

-------

Current total: still $1,261
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com.
You know you want to.

And tell your friends!


yendi's home! Yay!

And with this I hit the 12-hour mark...

(This one ain't great, I know. But I really like the next one.)
Hearth

Puzzle

Barbara frowned. "This doesn't make sense."

"What?"

"I'm doing this jigsaw puzzle. And... it keeps moving."

"Um. The pieces are moving?"

"The picture is moving."

I looked over her shoulder. It took a minute for it to register, really - the image was changing so very slowly. "What's this supposed to be of?"

"A garden. But it's not. It's somewhere... inside."

"Okay. Yeah. That's... weird."

"Well - help."

"Help put it together?"

"Yeah."

I sat and grabbed a handful of border pieces.

She glanced up at me as she clicked pieces into place. "So where were you tonight?"

"Bar with the guys after work."

"You've been at the bar with the guys a lot lately."

"Well, sometimes I'm just working late. Busy season."

"Uh-huh." She concentrated on her puzzle pieces. It was about half-done now. Sides and top.

"Why so curious?"

"I don't know, I just - hardly see you these days."

"Well, you're not lonely."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean - Jason's been coming around a bit lately, hasn't he?"

She looked up sharply. "Jason's one of my best friends."

"Oh sure. I know that. It's just that you seem to be seeing... a lot of him."

"Yes, well - if I wasn't lonely, I wouldn't be doing a damn jigsaw puzzle on a Saturday night, would I?"

I peered at the picture. It looked familiar, a bit. "I suppose you wouldn't."

She stared at the puzzle intently. "Greg?" she said in a small voice.

"Yeah?"

"This... is our apartment."

"Yeees..."

"No, I mean in the puzzle. This is our apartment. This is us. See? That's you, and the table - I guess I'm at the bottom of the puzzle. God, that's fucking weird. I can see you moving."

"Barbara?"

"Yeah?"

"Has today been a good day?"

She looked up. Puzzled, if you'll pardon the expression. "I suppose."

I nodded. "I'm glad you've had a nice day."

She clicked another piece into place, and another. And her eyes widened as she caught my movement in the puzzle before she caught it in person. She looked up slowly. "Greg?" she said, her voice small and querulous.

I sighted down the barrel of the gun. "I am glad you had a good day, Barb," I said softly. "It would truly suck to die on a bad day."

I fired.

I was unsurprised to see that the remaining puzzle pieces were red.

-------

Current total: still $1,261. Please please donate!
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or paypal AT shadesong.com.
Hearth

Yes

"Yes," she said quietly, and winced. "Yes."

The steel was so cold. She struggled to regulate her breathing - wouldn't do to gasp and fuck it all up.

"Are you still okay?"

She tried to keep from shuddering. "Yes."

"Do you still want this?"

"Yes."

And he bent to the task again. She whimpered, brought a hand to her mouth to muffle her little cries. Almost. Almost. He'd said so.

She made a choking sound as the stubs were pressed into her back. "Oh please God no..."

He stopped. "No?"

"No, no, keep going..."

"We can still stop."

"I want this!"

"You're sure?"

"Yes."

He nodded and went to work, smoothing the salve into the wounds, around the stubs. And then the needle... oh, God... stitching flesh like silk. She passed out.

She woke to him wrapping bandages around her torso in an intricate pattern. "We're done?" she whispered.

"We're done. Come back and see me in two weeks. Do not try to remove the bandages yourself."

She nodded. "Yes. I understand."

He grinned. "Would you like to see them?"

"Oh, yes!"

He walked her to a full length mirror - and slid another behind her. She gasped. So beautiful. Small and perfect and new.

His smile was gentle. "Do you like your wings?"

"Yes."

-------

Current total: still $1,261.
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or PayPal me at paypal AT shadesong.com.


(This was going to be a sex thing. Knifeplay. But it turned into something else.

I'm convinced that this sort of thing is going to be the next level of body modification.)

Donations are slowing down. C'mon, y'all, I'm busting my ass! Show me some love!

A reminder of the incentives:

* Story from me.
* Graphics stuff from zarhooie.
* A custom illustration from swisscheesed.
* A sketch from museumfreak.
* A custom LJ design from velvetglove.

All this for the low price of $10 and up!

Also, the satisfaction of helping RAINN - which in turn helps survivors of sexual assault.

This is a most excellent cause, y'all. Please support it.
Hearth

Redolent

"The air was redolent with the scent of magnolia...Aaaagh!" Toni drove her hands into her hair in frustration.

Sara laughed. "What is it now?"

"Magnolias. Fucking magnolias. I have to be all poetic about them."

Sara peered over Toni's shoulder. "Redolent?" she snickered.

"Y'know what I want to write? 'The air stank of magnolia, like the distinctive aroma of rotting corpses'."

"Little harsh."

"I fucking hate magnolias."

"You're writing a Harlequin novel. You must pretend to be in love with magnolias. And with Fabio."

Toni groaned. "I need a new gig."

-------

Current total: $1,281
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or PayPal me at paypal AT shadesong.com.


(This one is short because museumfreak & friends came to visit. :) )

Support my fellow BlogAThonners correspondguy, rhiannonhero, and satia!

Congratulations to theferrett and zoethe, who just completed their 10PM-10PM shift!

Keep donating, guys! *hugs*
Hearth

Anxiously

Kieran paced anxiously. "They should've been here by now."

"Relax," Donna smile. "Any minute now."

"That's supposed to help me relax."

"Oh, Kieran. Sit down. Please."

He sat, clasping his hands to keep from jittering, and gave her a slightly desperate look. "This is it, Donna. Meeting Tiala."

"Meeting Julia."

"Yes. Meeting Julia. My love..."

She sighed. "Kieran. Do remember that she knows very little of her past - and even so, she's not likely to want to jump into a relationship with you. She doesn't know you. And really - you don't know her."

"I know Tiala."

"You do not know Julia."

John tapped the doorjamb gently. "Guys? They're here."

Kieran stood, smoothed his pants, and walked toward the door.

-------

Current total: $1,291.
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or PayPal me at paypal AT shadesong.com.


(This is also short. They're still here.)
Hearth

Fraught

Napalm: "Dude, I so wanna be a superhero."

Johnathan: "Is this a spandex kink thing?"

Napalm: "No!"

Johnathan: "Because if it is, I really don't wanna hear it."

Napalm: "No. Totally no. I just wanna zip all over the place saving lives. Looking all gallant. I want to triumph over a world that is fraught with peril!"

Johnathan: "You have *so* practiced that speech."

Napalm: "Have not!"

Johnathan: "Have too."

Napalm: "...maybe a little. But dude, really. I think it would be awesome. You need to do it too!"

Johnathan: "What would I do? For this superhero gig?"

Napalm: "You could... drop anvils on people!"

Johnathan: "Like in cartoons?"

Napalm: "Yeah! Heh. We could call you RoadRunner. Your battlecry could be "meep meep!"

Johnathan: "...okay. You need to get the hell away from me right now, or your world is gonna be 'fraught with peril'."

-------

Current total: still $1,291.
Donate at http://www.rainn.org/donate.html or PayPal me at paypal AT shadesong.com. Please?



Keep giving me one-word prompts!

http://www.livejournal.com/users/shadesong/1986816.html