The car rumbled absentmindedly to itself as its teen aged driver guided it down the road. It was Saturday night and the road was the locally accepted weekend make out area. The branches of the trees on either side of the road arched the road to intertwine tightly with each other like children playing London Bridge or Red Rover. The branches clasped each other so tightly that headlights were necessary whenever one drove the stretch. The young man driving chatted amiably with his companion and the car wondered if the boy was himself tonight or impersonating his older brother who sometimes “double booked” an evening with two young ladies, at which point the younger brother would take advantage iof the considerable shared resemblance between them and spend the evening with the second young lady, his older brother having left with the first some time ago. The car had seen this happen several times. Suddenly the car stopped, unable to move. The car heard both passengers gasp in response to the abrupt stop.The car tried gamely to respond when the boy tried to restart the engine, but to no avail. The girl quipped that he didn’t have to pretend to be out of gas. And then from second to the next the temperature plummeted and the car felt their breath fog the windows. There was a woman approaching them now, appearing from the shadows as thoughtlessly as a human might walk through a doorway. She wo a cloak with the hood pulled up. Beside her paced two huge dogs easily the size of Irish Wolfhounds, with luge spikes protruding from the necks, tje boy redoubled his efforts to start the car, apparently they were close enough for him to see that the collars weren’t collars either. The car strained bravely against the invisible barrier and then suddenly it was gone. The car was able to make its engine turn over, its headlights blazed to life and they peeled away, leaving the sinister woman and her dogs behind in a cloud of exhaust, The car feverishly hoped that the young man’s next date was it was far from here. The incident had taken a few years off her factory warranty.
Rain lashed the windows outside the high rise office building. The man sitting behind the hand crafted desk was one of the wealthiest men in the state of Washington. His classic profile had appeared several times on the of Forbes and Gentleman’s Quarterly and even though fifty five was the youngest anyone ever guessed him to be he was still the most sought after man in the state in spite of the the fact that he was never seen with same woman two weeks in a row there was no shortage of women hoping they would be the next to catch his fancy and dozens of them had tried and failed to keep it.
Jared Aconite drummed his fingers in time with the rain. The thug was late, perhaps that meant he’d finally had some success in finding where the boy had the others. He watched his reflection shimmer in the water running down the window. Water is more revealing than glass, the image reflected in the water looked very much like the man standing behind the window except that the reflection had pointed ears. It is in the nature of running water to show truth and if Jared’s middle aged office assistant had walked in and seen his reflection in the window just then she would have seen for what he truly was, an elf.
Though he passed for a human every day thanks to his innate abilities it was nothing more than a ruse. He wore the glamour as easily as some humans wore makeup. Jared saw the hireling creep through the office door behind him and slink guiltily to a chair. Jared knew even before he had turned around that that waste of breath and magic had failed, again.
“You are here, but the boy isn’t ,why is that?” The thug stared at his boots and muttered something under his breath. Jared was on the other side of the desk before the other man could blink and seized him under the chin forcing their eyes to meet, the younger elf tried to flinch away but couldn’t break the vise grip that held his chin.”When I ask a question I expect more than just a grunt which any prehistoric human is capable of, I asked where is he?” The punk whined,”I don’t know I followed him to the National Park parking lot and he was just gone.” Jared put down the letter open he had been thinking of stabbing the ill bred cretin with and smiled,”You managed to find a useful sliver of information in spite of your usual ineptitude, for that you may live another day.
The nameless thug scurried like a frightened rat from the and Jared sitting down at his desk again began picking the dirt out from under his nails with the previously discarded letter opener. Good help was hard to come by and he couldn’t risk that witless slug screwing everything up now,sighing in resignation he dialed a number from the phone on his desk.
I have had a work in progress in my head for about a decade now. The original seed idea came from a short story assignment in tenth grade English class. It has gone through many rewrites already and I am not even through with the first draft. I was forced to start from scratch twice because lightning struck the computer I was using at the time. Since then major draft changes are emailed to two very good friends who back up their hard drives frequently.
My characters have distinct voices in my head. I have told this to some people and they seem to think I’m crazy, but that’s how my writing process works. I’m currently trying to settle an argument between everybody about how the story should proceed. The problem is that they are all talking very loudly! I have spent weeks trying to make sense of the babble to no avail.
An my mom’s suggestion I have decided to write a series of vignettes featuring each of the principal characters and what happened the day before the novel starts in the hopes that it might get them to stop trying to talk over each other. I have decided to post them to the blog to get feedback. This will be the first time this story, even little tiny bits of it, has been seen outside of a few people and hope it’s well received.
The last day of class is always the longest. Most of the students tremble visibly with the effort to stay on task for that last hour. The tension is palpable because now after a whole semester they are almost basking in the light at the end of what has been for some of them, the dark and gloomy tunnel of a chemistry lab. There are no careless spills, all workspaces are neat, tidy and dry, a definite change in the first few weeks when two of the tables had to be removed because of permanent acid damage. Fortunately no one was hurt and the offending students were removed from the class.The day after the incident would probably stay forever etched in the remaining students minds. The teacher, someone usually known for their eloquent explanation, kindness and laughter was brusque and gravely serious. The fact that a chemistry lab was never to be used as a playground was drilled into their heads even more thoroughly than it had been on the first day of class and that was possible The worst part was that there was never a raised voice, only an extreme sense of disappointment. Classes continued fairly normally after that but everyone showed new levels of concentration and attentiveness to detail so that on the last day of class there was not even a speck of dust to be found out of place. When the bell rang everyone gathered their backpacks and shook the professor’s hand as they left. Not a single one of them was the same person who had walked through that door at the beginning of the semester and maybe that is the whole point of school.
Even though this is a writer’s blog fiction rarely finds its way here despite the fact that I would characterize myself as a fiction writer mostly because I find it difficult to write in a short story format which is what blogs lend themselves to. I have never taken a chemistry class and my entire life largely because I might be the one who spilled acid on the table because of my disability. The basic setting of the story and a few of the keywords were provided by StorySpinner.com I would recommend that as an excellent tool to fight off the dreaded writer’s block.
On a cold day in November I found that which I will treasure. The sky was a bright bright blue, bluer than ice. The sunlight that day was weak and almost sheepish in its light, still I had thought to go for a walk. The snow crunched under my feet like powdered diamonds. The trees which had once seemed warm and friendly now appear downright hostile and scary.
In the distance I see a small house with smoke trailing slowly out of the chimney top. I walk around to one of the windows with its glazing of frost overlaying the pane and peer inside. The small one-room cabin is deserted. On one arm of the thread bare couch a bright red wool blanket lies folded. There is a small table playing at Sentinel in the middle of the room, like the last acolyte devoted to a forgotten faith. In the corner of the room where wall meets ceiling a lone Weaver spider spins its web trying desperately to survive the winter. I smile at the spider and wish it well though I doubt it will be there by the end of the month. There’s something about it though, its web glistening in the sunlight like living frost. I pray a futile prayer for the spider that it may live to see spring.
Walking around the back of the cabin I find the most unexpected sight. A small greenhouse half buried under snow. Inside the greenhouse are roses, blue roses as a matter of fact at first I think the roses have turned blue because they have somehow frozen despite the heat of the greenhouse. On further inspection it occurs to me that they really are blue, a blue only a few shades shy of black. Carefully I pick one of the roses, ever mindful of its thorns , or so I thought.The pad of mine from catches the edge of a stray thorn and I immediately put it in my mouth hoping that none of the blood has fallen on to my clothing. Too late I realize the rose in my hand is now spattered with blood. I look down and nearly drop the fragile flower in my hand.
The flower was indeed changed. At the tips of the petals there is now the smallest hint of red. My fingers gently skim the flowers surface in what is probably a vain attempt to remove the blood which has altered its unique perfection. To my surprise when I pull my fingers away nothing comes with them. It’s almost as though the rose had soaked up the blood as soon as it fell.
Back at home I turn the heat up and put the rose clipping in a small flower pot because it is far too cold to plant in the ground outside yet. Watering it three times a week soon becomes habit and I find myself hoping that this fragile beauty will make it through the winter to spring, I was also still silently cheering for the Weaver spider, the lone inhabitant of the cabin whose greenhouse this amazing flower had come from.
Spring eventually did come around and miraculously the rose made it. I have watched the roses for years now. Like the first rose, all of the succeeding generations are blue with red tips. Sometime around
the second year it had been planted in the ground, the roses began to climb. Now my house is covered with them. The other odd thing about these roses is that they don’t die in the winter but continue to bloom as though doing otherwise would be admitting defeat.
I went back to the cabin recently. Surprisingly, the Weaver spider or at least one of her daughters is still there. The couch is still threadbare and the table still stands guard over the room. There worea few things different though. The red blanket had been spread across the back of the couch instead of folded this time, and on the little table stood a picture frame of antique silver which contained sepia toned photographs of a man and woman on either side. There was one last thing that I found on the table Lying just in front of the frame was a blue rose with red tips.