Tag Archives: romance

The Staircase by Amino

A friend of mine from the Write Write and Write TinyChat room (where I spend most of my noveling Novembers, because my lovely acquaintances there explode with sprints and wars <3) took a post from my series, Writing Life, and wrote a short story from it!  =O  I do so love being useful.

Really, it’s fantastic.  She wrote the piece in about two hours, with a quick editing run-through.  For something so quickly put together, I’m surprised how well it reads.  The main character’s voice comes across as very measured and nostalgic, almost conversational, as if s/he is just so destroyed emotionally that s/he can’t help but be detached from his/her own life.

Beautifully emotive if a bit lengthy in some of the narrative, The Staircase is very effective in pulling empathy straight from your guts.  The pain and utter sorrow that this person’s loss instills is very easily felt through the bulk of the story.

Fans of true love and subtly-presented tragedies, this one is for you.

Visit Amino’s blog!

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LfBH – 14: Parting Ways

An intensely rocky start back into LfBH, so I hope you’ll forgive me.  A more action-packed piece will be up on Monday.  Thanks to everyone who enjoys LfBH for your patience. <3  LfBH is nothing without you.

+~+~+

There was little time. The skies, even here, were a dismal gray, as if Blackford Hill was reaching out to offer its misery like a plague upon the people of the small village. Every time a guard entered the village, he brought with him a depressing silence that lasted for hours after he left. Phaedra knew that their presence was wearing thin on the residents here, and so, once they were healed enough to move about safely, she proposed they leave.

Felix was unhappy. He knew his father would be looking for him. He knew that this wasn’t over for him, and if Silas insisted on tagging along (which he knew he would), then things would be very dangerous for him, indeed. As far as the young Count was concerned, his life had been thrown away the moment he set the flame to that temple. The gallows were the place for him, but Silas had a chance at a new life.

Tully, on the other hand, was eager to be out of here; eager to be as far away from their prison hellhole as humanly possible. She wanted to go home. She wanted to be where it was safe, warm, and dry. She wanted Phae and a life of their own.

Standing at the mouth of the village, where the only broad road led in, the stonework ending at the edge of the populated area and melding into packed dirt, Phaedra shouldered a crude canvas bag with a single strap over her shoulder, and glanced to Tully.

“I’m ready…” Tully responded to the wordless request. “I don’t want to leave them behind, Phae, can’t they come with us?”

Phaedra sighed. “They’re a liability to us, just as we are to them. It’s safer for everyone if we split up. We need the best chance possible at not being picked up again.”

“I suppose that means we’re not going back to The Willow?”

“Tully…”

“It’s fine, Phae… it’s fine. Let’s go, alright? We’re losing daylight.” Tully turned to face the road, just as Silas came bounding up behind them, a hand falling heavily on Phae’s shoulder, accompanied by a good-natured laugh.

“Thought you’d run off just like that, yeah? I don’t think so,” Silas laughed as Felix sauntered up beside him, and cast his eyes away.

“We didn’t want to make this any harder,” Phae explained, and gave a faint smile as she turned. For as skeptical as she had been of these two men during their first hours together, she had gained more respect and affection for them during their time here than she had expected. They were good friends, even Felix, the mouthy pain in the ass. It was because they were good friends that they deserved a fair chance; it would be selfish to hold them back by traveling with them.

Tully threw her arms around Felix and kissed his cheek. “If we ever go back home, I’ll find a way to let you know. You can come visit. You’d love the bakery, Felix.”

Felix’s cheeks flared a bit red and he smiled faintly. Friendship had never been something he had been good at, but with Tully, it was so easy. She a sweet person with good intentions and a love for just about everyone.

“I’ll come visit with you, I promise. At the bakery, or elsewhere, I’ll find you when things settle, Tully. Maybe Silas will be with me.” Another faint smile.

“Don’t look so grudging. He likes you. Let him stay. You need someone to support you, Felix. You can’t possibly let yourself be miserable forever. Let him enjoy your company, and for the love of the Gods, try to enjoy his, hm?”

Another dark blush from Felix and he laughed. “It makes me feel guilty.”

“You shouldn’t. Go. We’ll talk again soon. I promise you.” She shoved him lightly, and turned to take Phaedra’s hand, a slight wave behind her to signal their departure. Tears sprang to her eyes, and she inclined her head, as if doing so would keep them from falling.

“It’s for the best,” Phaedra stated yet again, giving her hand a little squeeze. “It’s safer for all of us if we split up. And our work will take us to places where they have no business being.”

Sniffling in finality, Tully brought her hand across her eyes and nodded. “I know. And Felix has business with his father. I just hope he comes out of it in one piece.”

Phae gave a grim nod, and kissed her beloved’s fingers. “We all will.”

Felix cast a glance to Silas, his eyes sliding over him head to toe, and he gave a very bare, helpless smile. If Silas were ever to change his mind, Felix knew that it would be now and he would be left alone. Silas was a good man, and he knew that he liked him, but how could the Count expect someone like Silas to suffer his upper-class woes?

“That was hard, yeah?” Silas drawled, drawing on his cigarette and tossing it aside.

“Smoking is disgusting…” Felix muttered and turned toward him, pulling his cap over his head and meandering alongside Silas.

“I know. So, what’s the plan, Count?”

Felix rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know. Go to my father. Kill him. Take what he doesn’t deserve and try like hell to do some sort of good with it, I expect. We need to do something about Blackford Hill.”

Silas slipped a hand discreetly into his and tugged him between two buildings, where he promptly stole his lips in a reassuring kiss. “Let’s do that, then.”

Felix swallowed hard and stared at him, before he dropped his eyes to their clasped hands. “Let’s,” he breathed with a faint nod. “Yes. Well, to my father’s then.”

With a single glance back to the departing women as he came out of the narrow alley, Felix drew a breath and pulled Silas down the road in the opposite direction.

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LfBH 12: Stitches – revisited

Do you guys remember Stitches?  It was the first flash fiction I wrote involving Phaedra and Tully.  A Letter from Count Malrais was the first, and together, they sparked Letters from Blackford Hill.   I had to add and alter a bit, but here’s Stitches, revisited.  Enjoy. <3

~+~+~+~

“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 rifles 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. Fiona was left at the edge of the woods, lifeless. Phae knew Tully was pushing back the pain that dwelt there; the pain that exploded from her love when Fiona took that bullet. 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?

The small town they’d stumbled across in their escape had no knowledge of the horrors of Blackford Hill. They knew only that the government had a compound there, but were left in the dark about what was held within it. The soldiers made it clear that they would shoot anyone on sight if they came snooping around. Now, huddled in yet another inn room, together, though this time accompanied by Silas and Felix—two married couples on holiday? Could they pull that off?—Phae submitted to Tully’s pleas to stitch the gash in her arm, and rub balm on the bruises and scrapes.

It killed Phae to see the blond’s arm wrapped up in blood-stained linen. Tully deserved so much better.

“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. Torn and used clothing was suddenly a luxury she’d never appreciated before. “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.”

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LfBH 9.5 – Trials: Phaedra

Tully had told me to keep my head about me, but it was getting harder. Every time she came back inside, in pain, cold and naked—Every time I saw that look of terror on her face when they came in for her—Every time they came for her… I was just letting it happen. The treatments they gave me were different; I couldn’t even stand beside Tully, or with the other girls, young girls who didn’t do anything to deserve this madness.

“What to they do to you when they take you?” she asked one night, curled up in my bed with me. If we were being punished for being together, then we saw no reason to do something that determined we deserved it.

“The same things they do to you, I suppose.” I wondered if she felt me cringe at the question.

“They return you with similar injuries, but they never lead you toward the places they take us. It’s always the same routine… but they lead you toward the overseers office.” Those bright blue eyes turned up to me, and I tried to ignore the way they bore into me. Questioning. Insisting. “You’re lying, Phae. Why?”

I heaved a sigh, my body tight as I tried to keep the nonchalance as apparent as possible. “We’re in a detention camp, Tully…. What do you expect they’re doing to me?”

A pause, and finally she lowered her eyes. I relaxed as her head fell back on my chest. “It just seemed odd.”

I squeezed her gently—always gently—and twirled my fingers slowly through her hair. It was left at that, and I was grateful.

###

“Phaedra!” The bark startled me, and everyone else, from sleep, and I bolted upright in bed, eyes wide.

“It’s really too early for this,” I muttered, rubbing my bruised forehead as I swung my legs over the side of the bed. Tully clutched desperately at my shirt, the fabric pulled taut as I tugged away. I heard the faintest, muffled sob, and I knew she was crying into the pillow. It had become routine at this point. No matter how many times I heard her cry, it never hurt any less to know I had to ignore it.

“Get moving,” the guard seethed, his words a growl, lips pulled back over his teeth.

“The overseer’s dogs truly are out in full force today,” I flashed him a smile, “Commendable.” The stars that flashed before my eyes were expected, the chain mail gloves he was wearing were not. I could hear Tully’s screams… somewhere muffled in the back of my head… My vision blurred and the stars cleared, and I realized I was on the floor. Forcing myself to my knees, I looked for her, searching in a disoriented sweep of the room. She was on the bed, Fiona and three other girls pinning her to the wall as she slumped against them, giving in to the restraint.

“She’ll be fine,” Fiona whispered, but Tully’s hysterical sobs didn’t cease.

Hauled to my feet by an iron grip, I felt the world spin beneath me as I fought to gain my footing. Not that I was offered much of a chance to do so before I was shoved forward by that same mitt-like hand. As soon as it released me, the floor slipped from under me, and I went to my hands and knees, hissing at the pain. My knees were already bruised, and now the heels of my hands would match them. Pushing myself up without any help, I staggered onward until my head cleared and I could walk without incident. It was a small victory.

Trudging across the boards that were laid over the muddy ground, I followed the trail to the overseer’s office, a gun muzzle pressed into my back. These games were getting old. These power struggles and taunting, the guns and knives, the screaming residents of Blackford Hill….

No. Not residents, victims.

There were those who deserved their place here, certainly. Rapists, child molesters, those sorts of people. A woman cheating on her abusive husband may have been a moral threat, but how could those who sympathized let her be imprisoned? Was she not entitled to happiness? And the men and women like Tully and me, what moral threat did we pose? We don’t breed like rabbits. There’s no “man of the house” to keep we “silly women” in line. No dutiful wife to cook and clean in a household with two men. The reasoning was asinine, and frogs would rain from the sky before I let them take Tully from me.

“Phaedra Trowden, bastard daughter of Lord Adrian Trowden of Kersa.” The overseer’s voice rippled through me, and I thought my skin might slough off. The chair turned, and a woman in her early fifties stared back at me. The day I’d met the Overseer, I was stunned that it was a woman who could commit such atrocities against good people—I had wanted a fight that day. But she didn’t say a word to me.

‘Take care of her,’ was all she said to my guards. The thought they’d break me. They thought it would be that easy. Since then, every beating and interrogation had been worse than the last. Even lying perfectly still hurt like hell at this point. Though I never let them get the better of me, and when I looked at the overseer, chin tilted up, she glared at me and stood.

“You don’t deny this?”

“Should I? Adrian Trowden has no part in my life. But I was his accident, yes. What are you getting at?” My eyes narrowed, and she met them with equal force, the hatred bubbling between our gazes had even the soldiers shifting uncomfortably.

The overseer stood stiffly and tugged the hem of her jacket to straighten the front. “Let’s not play childish games, Ms. Trowden. You and I both know that you have no claim to any titles, and yet you still carry your father’s surname. There are two reasons a bastard child retains the family name of the father: to be sacrificed as penance to the clergy, or to be sent into the guard. We both know you hardly fit the bill for a life of piety.”

My eyes rolled themselves in an involuntary criticism of her stupidity, and my hands found my hips. “You’re implying I’m an agent in the city guard? I spent a short time in the capital while I was helping my companion recover—“

“You mean your lover.”

“I mean my companion. She was ill. We live above a bakery in Shand, we work for the man who owns it. I’ve never been in the city guard.”

“The King’s guard?”

“No. Nor the local guard, the reserves, or the Holy Order.” My glare never faltered. I didn’t have to know this woman to hate everything about her. Even her eyes were hard. “Whatever reason my father had in giving me his name are unknown to me. I’ve never met the man, and I don’t particularly care to.”

The overseer drew a breath, hands tucking together at the small of her back. “Take her to her knees.”

I knew what was coming, but I didn’t fight it. The butts of two rifles struck each of the back of my knees, and I hit the floor, refusing to go to my hands. It took all of my strength to hold in the moans of pain that welled within me, but she didn’t deserve the satisfaction.

She saw that. And grinned. “You seem well trained to handle interrogation.”

“Am I? And here I thought I was acting out of spite,” I returned, my voice quaking just slightly.

“I want to know who you are, Ms. Trowden. This is your last opportunity to offer the information freely.” She began pacing slowly around me; I watched her feet taking slow methodical steps.

“Go to hell.” I closed my eyes when I spotted a soldier stalking toward me, rifle raised.

Not her head!” The blow didn’t fall. “I want her conscious for this, imbecile!”

I relaxed just slightly, and let my eyes flick open. The soldier had fallen back to his position.

“Apologies, Madam.”

A laugh burst from me, and I lifted a hand to cover my mouth. “Madam? Honestly?” She stared flatly at me, and I dropped my eyes to the floor as I snickered. “A ‘madam’ is the woman who runs a whore house, am I wrong? It does seem fitting, given the nature of this place. How many whores are here, exactly?”

My laughter was not going over well. The woman made one motion before clasping her hands behind her again. The same soldier came behind me and caught me across the back with… I glanced back, coughing, gasping, spittle coating my lower lip. The object was a short wooden club like night patrolmen carried. Outstanding. This was going to be a long session.

“You say you work in a bakery. What do you tell your employer when you have to take long absences?” She leaned close to my face, despite the fact I was still choking while my lungs tried to remember their purpose.

“For what?” I wheezed. The club hit me again, striking my side and I doubled over, clutching my ribs.

“You know.” She smiled. “You know good and well.”

“I work… in a bakery…”

“For an old man who doesn’t know which end is up most times, yes, Ms. Trowden, I know. I’ve done my research. I’ve been giving you the opportunity to be honest with me. And I also know the only reason you’re allowing these treatments—“

Beatings.”

“—is to avoid giving us motive to harm your—what did you call her? Companion?”

My stomach sank. It was only a matter of time before they would use Tully against me, I knew that. I was just hoping I could stall a little longer. They would hurt her. I knew they would. And not like they hurt me. Tully was disposable, but they had dug up enough dirt on me to make me interesting. If I was interesting to them, then I was worth torturing an innocent person over. Not that that was anything new.

“I’ll tell you everything.” My voice felt disconnected from my mouth. “But not yet. I want Tully’s injuries taken care of by a real doctor…. And I want three days to recover.”

An exasperated sigh sounded above me, but I knew she was contemplating it. “You’re in no position to be making demands, Ms. Trowden. Do you think this is a game?”

“Isn’t it? I’m not asking for much…. Full disclosure in exchange for three days and a doctor. You’re interested… because you know what I’m tied to…. you just need to hear me say it.” I shakily forced myself to stand, knees weak and wobbling, one arm protecting my ribs. When I was finally at her height again, I saw the amusement in her face, and the satisfaction that I was backed into a corner. “Kill anyone you want. I’m not saying a word without those three days and that doctor.”

She laughed. I wanted to vomit. “Fine. Take her back to her barracks and summon a doctor. Your friend will be tended. You have no right to the doctor’s services, so I hope you can recover enough in three days to speak. Once you’ve disclosed your little story… I reserve the right to beat that girl to a pulp if it doesn’t satisfy me. Understood.”

“Yes… Madam.” Still I afforded a grin…. and her smile disappeared as she gestured the soldiers to drag me out.

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LfBH 9.3 – Trials: Tully

Author’s Note:  It’s short.  I’m incredibly dissatisfied with this installment.  9.4 will be better, I hope.  Blah.

~~~~

I wanted to blame her.

So intensely, I wanted to push all of the blame for our capture onto Phae; for bringing us to the capital, for booking a single room with a single bed, for not knowing of this threat in the first place. I’m selfish. I know that. All of those things, she did for me without even having to be asked. I could have died, and it’s because of Phae that I didn’t.

Now, standing naked in the center of the compound, I could only focus on this hardship. The waves of freezing cold water hit me over and over, and the girls around me created a chorus of high-pitched squeals and yelps with very bucket thrown. I was screaming, hugging myself against the cold, my skin pale and tight as gooseflesh raised along every inch of me. All this suffering…. and yet I felt detached, a ghost outside my body as they tortured it.

Never-ending torrents of water pelted us, and we were not permitted to move from where we stood. I watched a woman crouch to the ground, curling in on herself, only to be yanked up by the hair by one of the guards. She screamed and I could do nothing.

Phaedra would have done something.

Perhaps that’s the reason I feel such animosity toward my best friend, my love…. She takes action where I step back in fear. I don’t know where that part of me went, but I do remember there were days once when I could stand up for what I loved or be willing to die making my point.

I miss that part of me.

And in that field of filth and mud-spatter, I missed Phae.

They had tied her up when they took me; shackled her to the bed frame, and with much incredible effort, at that. Phaedra terrified me with her strength and will to fight, impressing me constantly since we arrived. The woman I had met in the bakery had been so docile and kind, caring for me in the darkest days of that sickness. The Phaedra I knew here, in this awful detention camp, was filled with fury and willfulness. When others bowed and cowered, she stood in defiance—and was always beaten for it, but never before she got her shots in on a few of the guards. They were growing weary of her, and that was oddly satisfying to me.

It seemed like forever until the water stopped, and a guard pointed back to our barracks. Aching and shivering, we hobbled along to each of our bunk houses. It was becoming routine, with these sessions always serving as my time to contemplate… always feeling just outside myself enough to link my thoughts together.

Once inside, I knelt beside Phae and let out a sob, her free arm coming to slide around me and pull me into her warmth without a word. She may have been shackled to the bed, but her affection was far from lacking.

How could I have ever blamed her…?

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One Room or Two?

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.”

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Flash Fiction! – Felix

Felix

To those who seek to put this terrible event to record;

My name is Felix. Count Felix Alran Malrais III. It was by my order that the Temple of Satreas was burned. I pen this letter now so that the reader may know my commitment to my actions. I wish not to apologize, nor to grovel and beg for my life; the noose that awaits me at first light will not deter me.

My guards burned the temple at my order.

The rumors that catch the wind like sparks from that fire spread lies and perversions, and if the last thing I do is quell those rumors with a shocking truth, then so be it. As if to say they rule the lives of those in devotion to the Great God, the priests of Satreas refused to perform a wedding ceremony for me and the one that I love.

Loved.

It wasn’t enough, this public humiliation and refusal. My intended was not befitting of my station, nor was he some vapid woman licking my mother’s shoes and fawning over trinkets to gain favor. He. Yes, he. ‘Let the rabble do as they please, but the Aristocracy must always set an example.’

They called us impure. Should that have bothered me? It didn’t. Purity holds no weight with me.

It was when the priests of Satreas assaulted the servants’ village of my father’s estate, dragging my help out one by one, combing every family for him, my Dacian, that I knew I would have to punish them, make an example of them. I thought they would only humiliate us further in some trivial way, but instead they took Dacian. For four days I hunted for him, interrogated every priest, tore apart the temple and the outlying buildings, ransacked every room….

Dacian’s body was found on the fourth day in the pond, swollen and pale, floating in the weeds—I’ll never forget what he looked like when he was dragged out for as long as I live—incidentally, that won’t be very long, will it?

I never thought that heartbreak could lead to such uncontrollable fury, and yet, I knew what I was doing. The order I gave to my guards was deliberate. I wanted the priests of Satreas to suffer as I had suffered—as I knew that Dacian had suffered.

I knew that my request was unorthodox and would be met with disfavor, but such violence from the priests of a temple my father commissioned—I never thought….

No. I never thought.

The Temple of Satreas is now a pile of rubble and cinders, still smoking. I feel no remorse. Tomorrow I hang, hopeful to greet my Dacian in the next life—a better life.

Signed,

Count Felix Alran Malrais III

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Filed under Letters from Blackford Hill, Writing

Novel: Fiction or Non-Fiction?

My boyfriend and I had the following conversation at 3am, and now I’m curious as to how other people view the term “novel.”  His argument is that some definitions of the word are vague on whether it’s simply fiction or if it works in non-fiction as well.

He’s in green with no name, I’m Snuff Film Sweetheart in bold, with purple text. I apologize completely for the train wreck of AIM text… it really just refuses to format properly.


someone asked me today if a novel had to be fiction

i was discribing nanowrimo to him


wikipedia seems to agree with me that the answer isnt completely certain, whats do you think?

Snuff Film Sweetheart

Merriam-Webster says it’s fiction.

2novelnoun
Definition of NOVEL

1
: an invented prose narrative that is usually long and complex and deals especially with human experience through a usually connected sequence of events
I’ve always considered novel to be fiction.  It just seems weird to lump non-fiction into the ‘novel’ category.

does it? they call political commentators “novellists”

does that definition identify it as fiction?

i guess it depends on how you interpret the word invented


Snuff Film Sweetheart

I think the word invented is pretty straight forward.

cant a non-fiction book be an invention of the author?

Snuff Film Sweetheart

A non-fiction book would be derived through experience.

In the definition, they aren’t speaking of the physical product of a book being invented.  In that case, it would technically be applicable to a non-fiction work.

But the invention is the prose narrative.

The actual subject matter.

arent those two different things?

Snuff Film Sweetheart

The book and the narrative, or the narrative and the subject matter?

the narrative and the subject matter

Snuff Film Sweetheart

The narrative would be relaying the subject matter.

So, in this case, they tie together.

right, so in the case of non-fiction writing, the narrative is an original creation of the author

Snuff Film Sweetheart

But the subject matter isn’t invented.

It’s a recount of experience.

true

Snuff Film Sweetheart

The subject matter can exist independently of the narrative, but the narrative can’t exist independently of the subject matter.  It’s just a tool to relay that which as been experienced or fabricated.
I’m sorry, experienced/researched, to be technical

So I think in saying that the prose a non-ficton author puts on paper is considered his own invention is kind of stretching the definition of the term when used in the context Merriam-Webster has.

And it’s 3 am, so I could be off the mark and jaded by opinion

—-

wikipedia defines narrative as fictional or non-fictional

Snuff Film Sweetheart

Narrative IS fictional or non-fictional.

But a novel is generally defined as a work of fiction.

but it’s a relevant opinion, and i think that’s the point, its an ongoing debate so no most sources won’t directly define the word novel as fictional or non-fictional

even nanowrimo is vague: “In short: If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel too.”

but it also says they define it as fiction

Snuff Film Sweetheart

So that’s not vague at all. XD

true


i’m not convinced tho, it seems to me that fictional and non-fictional narratives have the same roots, going back to early 18th century romantic works

Snuff Film Sweetheart

Wikipedia also makes it pretty clear that modern use  of the word “novel” differs from more archaic usage.

If you read through the timeline, the word novel has grown into what’s mostly accepted as a means of encapsulating fiction.

that probably has a lot to do with the rising popularity of fiction

Snuff Film Sweetheart

Likely, but still valid.

yeah, it is

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Filed under Writing

Fiction Press Account Retrieved!

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.

Enjoy. Lol.

4 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction, Writing

Shedding Skin & Starting Over

Prompted by a thread started over at PaganSpace, I got thinking about the possibility of starting over.

Not just a new blog, new screen names, new Facebook, but a whole new life.

Have you ever had the urge to just drop everything, pick up what’s precious to you, and run away?  Start over somewhere fresh, where no one knows you, no one has ties to you, and your former life as ‘nobody’ doesn’t apply?

Have you ever felt like you were playing an extra in the film of you own life?

I have to say that I absolutely have felt that way on a multitude of occasions.  Sometimes life isn’t what you expected it to be.  Things didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to when you planned them.  Sometimes, the only logical thing to do is to just leave, and try again where you don’t have the stigma of who people think you are hanging over your head.

It’s not logical, obviously.  We have families and lovers and friends and jobs and pets.

But if you wouldn’t hurt anyone by leaving, would you?  Would you start a new life somewhere else, where you could be someone else?

I would.  Hell, maybe when I’m not poor anymore, I will.  Who knows.

Anyway, just some food for thought.  <3

Maybe someday, I’ll actually write about writing again.

12 Comments

Filed under Life