Category Archives: Flash Fiction
This is a brief introduction to Kadri’s character from Kestrel. I’ve been doing a lot of work with her and her story lately, and it’s given be some perspective into the flaws of the story line. I love Kadri, she’s fabulous, though her ability to shut down emotionally unsettles even me. Enjoy her.
“I shot him. It wasn’t the most rational thing to do, but he was there, and I fired without batting an eye. I still don’t feel bad about it. In fact, I don’t feel anything. Adrian was a traitor; if I didn’t shoot him, someone else would have, and probably for reasons that didn’t benefit “The Cause.” They’d have shot him in cold blood, probably for money, drugs, or information. Not that I’m saying my principles were noble or anything. I’m just saying Adrian was the bad guy—at least he was in my story, and who are you if you aren’t the hero of your own story?
I’m getting a little off track. I shot Adrian once through the left eye as he held a knife to Talmai’s throat. I could have talked him down.
“They’re not ‘people,’” he said. I had heard that so many times it made my stomach churn. Not just because Talmai was an Ularian. I’m a clone. So was Adrian. As far as most humans are concerned, we’re not people either.
So I shot him. Talmai turned out okay, aside from a small cut where the knife had been pressed against his neck.
No one can tell me that we’re not ‘people,’ no matter what kind of ‘person’ we are. Human, Ularian, hyper-efficient enhanced human clone—people are people. But that notion is just the reason I’m here.
After all, if you’re not the hero of your own story, who the hell is?”
Yesterday, I posted the writing prompt for Friday entitled Burnt Offerings. Since Inkwell meets every Friday night, I decided to toss it at the other Inkwellers. So, we wrote awhile, and this is what I came up with; unedited and unabridged.
The corners of the photo curled at the edges, the image bubbling and distorting the cherubic face pouting at the camera. The sepia tones burned black as the infant’s face was obscured, burnt black by the flames. Elizabet kicked a stray piece of wood at the fire, embers and ashes exploding upward and dying as they fell. She drew the back of her hand across her tear-streaked face, leaving tracks of soot over her cheeks. The photograph gone, she dropped a lace bonnet into the fire.
“What do you feel this will accomplish?” Avery’s voice jolted her back to some semblance of lucidity. “She was my child, too, Liz.”
Elizabeth whirled around, rising and turning in one fluid motion. Her eyes lit on Avery, leaning on her infant daughter’s open casket. Without a second’s hesitation, her hand flew, striking him full in the face.
It was the resounding crack more than the impact that stunned him, his cheek flowering a brilliant red. “You’ll be sent off if the guests see you like this,” he snapped. “You aren’t the only mother to mourn a child.” Avery, her husband and her love turned cold since the death of their child, left Elizabeth alone with the casket.
She sank to her knees with a sob and resumed dropping tiny Christening clothes into the fire, piece by piece.
“You’re going to get better.”
Phaedra wanted so badly to keep that promise. Tully’s smile, however grim and skeptical, it was still an encouraging sight. She smiled so rarely since she got sick, and it broke Phae’s heart. Her friend, the beautiful, vibrant blond who had turned a dismal bakery into a smashing success in just a few weeks, and now—now Phaedra saw her fading.
Phaedra suggested a trip to the hospital in the city—Ylios insisted they take the trip. The bakery wouldn’t suffer any more than it had, he said, it could stand to be closed a little while. Besides, Phaedra could use some time away from The Willow, he decided.
Not that she would disagree. She loved the bakery, but it wasn’t her old life. Ylios was a good man, and didn’t have many years left. He deserved the help that Phaedra could offer. And he loved Tully. Everyone loved Tully.
“There’s a hospital in the city, Tully, and there’s a doctor there who specializes in studying lungs,” Phae state, unfurling a page she’d pulled off of a wall by the market, spreading it out on the table with her palms, flattening it down. “He could help you.”
Tully leaned forward, tired eyes scanning the page, and she plopped backward, closing them again. “I can’t afford that, Phae.” Her voice rasped, the hitching sounded painful.
“Ylios and I are going to pay for it. Between the two of us, we can manage, so don’t worry alright?” Phae murmured and rose, going to get a fresh rag for her forehead. Wringing it thoroughly, she settled back beside Tully, mopping lightly at her forehead.
“I can’t let you–”
“It’s a good thing I wasn’t asking permission, then.” Phae noted and set the rag aside with a sigh. “Please, Tully. You don’t want to die in the attic of a bakery, do you?”
Tully winced, her eyes darting aside, stiffening against the topic.
“I shouldn’t have said that,” whispered Phae after a long moment, one of her hands curling around the other’s.
Finally, Tully glanced up at her, her eyes glassy and glistening. “I don’t want to die at all, Phae….” Her voice broke, hands lifting to cover her eyes as she let out a sob. Despite the coughing fit that followed, Phaedra drew Tully close, and cradled the girl against herself. It was the hardest thing she ever had to do, waiting for Tully’s response.
“You could let me take you. What could it hurt at this stage, Tully?”
The blond lifted her head, her face pink and blotchy, sniffling and coughing a bit more delicately than she had a moment before. Her eyes lifted, locking with Phae’s. “Alright.”
Phae’s shoulders sank as the relief hit her like a wave. “Thank the gods.”
The carriage ride was grueling, long, and bumpy. The rain made dismal any hope for decent timing, and Tully—Tully only slid deeper into her illness. By the time they arrived, her breaths were shallow, wheezing, and her fever refused to recede long enough to bring the blond into any sort of clarity, even for a moment. Phaeda had a pit in her stomach; she knew it was her fault. If she had left Tully at home, maybe she would have recovered….
No, she wouldn’t have, she thought to herself. She would have died in that bed, and there would have been no hope for her at all. This may be a long shot, but at least it’s a shot.
The carriage lurched to a halt, and the door was opened by the driver, the roar of the rain intensifying now that they were open to the elements. Phaedra helped Tully sit up, and stepped backward out of the carriage, under the umbrella the driver was kind enough to hold out for them.
“It’s just a short walk to the hotel, Tully. Lean on me, alright?” She said softly, the backs of her fingers drawn gently over the other’s searing hot skin.
Tully, weak and wobbly, slid slowly across the seat, reaching for Phae a bit feebly. “When… will the doctor come?” she rasped, letting out a bark of a cough while quickly turning her face into her shoulder.
“As soon as he can. I’ll tell the inn master to send for him right away,” she assured, an arm sliding around Tully’s back, supporting her as she all but toppled off the carriage step. “Careful. I’ve got you.”
Tully turned fevered eyes up to Phae once they were safely under the umbrella, and forced a small smile. “You always do.”
“Ladies, if we may?” the driver requested, getting drenched by the downpour, the glower almost making Phae smile.
“Come on, let’s get inside.” Phae led Tully slowly, much to the irritation of the coach driver.
Once inside, the driver tilted his hat to them, and left them at the threshold, all too happy to be jogging back to his canopied driver’s seat. With a crack of the reins, the carriage rumbled out of sight, curtained by the black sheet of rain.
It was an agonizing few steps to the registration counter, and when they got there, Tully’s forearms leaned heavily on the surface, grateful for something stationary to keep her propped up. Phaedra was wonderful for all she was doing, but Tully didn’t feel right about making the woman bear all her weight.
The burly man behind the guest book gave his mustache a little twitch of distaste as he looked between the women, no man in sight.
“One room er two?” he grumbled, beady eyes darting between the taller, dark haired woman, and the sickly blond clung to her arm.
“One,” Tully answered quickly around a weak cough, dropping her forehead onto her arms as she continued coughing at the floor.
Phae could feel the innkeeper’s beady, judgmental eyes boring into Tully, and her back went rigid. “One room.” She threw a square of folded bills onto the counter. “Two beds. My friend is sick, so if you could waddle a bit more quickly to that key board there,” she motioned to the rack of hanging keys, “we’d be very much obliged.”
“Where’re yer husbands?” he asked in a mock-conversational tone, wandering to the rack and pulling down a set of keys.
“Dead.” Phae snatched the keys from his hand and tipped an imaginary hat as she led her companion from the counter, and slowly up the stairs.
“Dead?” Tully asked as they crested the stairs. “You didn’t have to lie. It would have worked out.”
Phae glanced down to her and opened the door to their room.
“I wasn’t lying.”
***Note*** I wrote this in a hurry at 4:3oam. I’m tired and it’s terrible, and I’m sorry. There are many faults, and I’ll fix them eventually.
“You haven’t even flinched.”
Phaedra’s eyes flicked up to catch a dreamy smile on her friend’s lips, before glancing back down again. The gash on her forearm pinched together at the top when Tully pulled the thread taut, tying off the third in a series of stitches.
“Would you rather I were howling in pain?” asked Phaedra, her voice soft as it always was, though for once a light humor crept into her tone. The woman was always so severe, Tully couldn’t help but worry for her sometimes.
“Of course not,” replied Tully, pressing the point of the curved needle through the split flesh. Still, Phae didn’t react. “I just… admire your strength.”
She was still smiling. Phaedra gave her head a light shake. Tully baffled her sometimes. It was a long fight to get out of that colony, free from the fences and the locks, and crossbows trained on them every second of every day; still, Tully smiled. Even when they were captured, bound and carted off to that awful place, Tully still managed to smile. There were tears, tantrums, fury from everyone else, dozens of others all desperate for answers….
Tully tried to stay on the bright side.
Phaedra wasn’t aware of any bright side.
Their lives had gone completely out of control, all because they had chosen to share an inn room while Phaedra helped Tully find a cure for that awful cough she’d had. Fortunately, the cough was alleviated, but they had hardly gotten their things packed to go back to work at the bakery, when the door came crashing off the hinges—
Phaedra shook her head and sighed. Going back to the bakery seemed useless now. Would they go so far as to wait for Phae and Tully where they worked?
“Done.” Tully started packing up her first aid kit, and Phaedra lifted her arm to look over the other woman’s handy work. The stitches were clean, and the cut wasn’t even bleeding through the gaps.
“Thanks,” murmured Phaedra, and grabbed a strip of cloth that had been torn from Tully’s underskirt, starting to wrap the newly-sewn arm. “Where did you learn to do that, anyway?”
A sad smile was cast over Tully’s shoulder as she tucked her things away. “I wasn’t always a baker, Phae. Somehow, I don’t expect you were, either.”
Their eyes met, and a silence passed between them, understanding and steadying. Something in that silence earned a smile from Tully, and Phaedra’s eyes fell to the fabric on her arm.
“No. Not always.”
SO! I discovered my old Fiction Press account! I have everything on there that I’ve posted on here, PLUS my NaNoWriMo 2008 winning piece! (Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s incomplete and AWFUL, but it shows I’ve made a little progress. But just a little.)
For your viewing (and laughing) pleasure, I give you Katie Fox: A Wonderland of Awful Prose.
This one is largely dialog. And crap. I wrote it in half an hour, and haven’t bothered to revise it. I don’t know if I will. I just needed to get something out of my system, and here it is. Enjoy. Or flame it mercilessly. Your call. =]
She broke me. I lost myself inside of her; her eyes, the curl of her hair, the curves of her delicate hands. In that night, I had known her, held her, kissed her, fucked her. It would be wrong to say that I loved her as a man loves a woman. I loved her body, but not her soul; her lips, but not her heart.
I loved the idea of her.
But in those quiet morning moments, I felt almost attached to greater things, brought from the wastelands, in to an oasis. Though, outside in the arid desert, reality haunted us. I was with her though, and slowly, in a roll, I draped an arm across her middle, letting my fingertips drag so lightly across that flawless flesh… and her breath hitched. She was awake. I felt a perfect, delicate hand curl around my— throat.
I grinned. “Good morning, beautiful.”
A pistol was cocked near my right temple, and I couldn’t stop myself from snickering.
“You always had a terrible sense of humor, Declan,” she murmured, and I heard her free hand rummaging around in my things, thought, amused as I was, I didn’t dare look. There would be no hesitation in that pretty little trigger finger.
“Always about the money, isn’t it?” My hands felt no need to stop caressing her, drifting down her belly, and over the gentle mound of her sex.
“You and I have nothing to do with money. Stop touching me,” she snapped.
“Don’t sound so cold.” I was still grinning, and it earned me a swift crack from the butt of her gun. Gold and green stars exploded in my right eye, the taste of copper flooded my mouth. “Fuck,” I spat, smearing my hand over my lips.
“You’re worse than a toddler,” she murmured, unfazed as she tugged her skirt over the swell of her hips.
“Does this mean we don’t have time for another go?” The look she gave me stung, but her hesitation told me she was considering it.
“Next time, Declan!”
I smiled a bloody-toothed smile, and she rolled her eyes, pulling on her shirt and tucking the bills she had just folded into her waistband. “You’re getting to be an expensive whore, Dove.” I winced and waited, but the pistol never fell. Testing the waters, I glanced up, and she was gone. Leaping from the mass of blankets on the tent floor, I burst through the flaps to find Dove settling into my horse’s saddle. My horse.
“Sorry, Dec.” No she wasn’t.
“We’re in the middle of the goddamn desert, Dove. Be reasonable.”
“She can’t carry both of us. I’ll send a coach this way.”
“Lying bi–” She took off like a bat out of hell.
Heaving a sigh, and with the sand scorching my bare feet, I headed back into my tent to escape the sun. I’d rather sweat my balls off in layers than stand in the desert naked for any length of time.
Tugging open a small wooden box by our makeshift bed, I brought a tightly rolled cigarette to my lips, letting the bloodied tip rest there while my hands sought out my pants. The pants that contained my lighter. The pants that were not there. A pang of panic punched me square in the sternum and I started fumbling about with the swathes of fabric tangled about the floor.
“Bitch! Made off with my lighter….” I huffed and snapped the tobacco stick in half, pitching it roughly to the ground, as I once again exited the tent.
And by ‘tent,’ I mean my new canvas dress.
She broke me.