December 31, 2011

Ashes - December 31, 2011

[note: this was written during a writing exercise: we had 20 minutes to write something inspired by the word "ashes". This is the result, unedited, exactly as it appeared when time ran out]

Ashes - Squiddy Geiger - December 31, 2011

Zoe stirred the pot absently. Her mother had warned her not to come here, and she'd been right. She hated when her mother was right. Which was most of the time.

"Almost done?" Jeff asked. She nodded. He watched her stir the pot for a minute, then wandered over to the others.

She didn't think she could do it, but they'd assured her she could, and so far, it wasn't bad. She stirred the rest of the ashes into the plaster; the consistency was good, it held together but was easy to work with, It was ready now. She carried the bucket over to the others.

Jeff tested the consistency and nodded. The others watched Zoe expectantly as they waited for her to begin. She took a deep breath and grabbed a handful of the plaster and started to work.

It was difficult but she didn't dare dawdle. The plaster would only be workable for a short period. She quickly built up the wire frame, covering it with the messy concoction. The bust quickly took shape, thanks to the wires.

As she worked, she thought of her mother. Yes, she'd warned her not to come here, not to be part of this, but she'd always spoken of this ritual as necessary. Zoe hated it but also welcomed it.

She sighed, then looked at what she was doing, and her eyes watered. Without warning, it had stopped being a blob, and was now recognizable , as if the ashes in the mix were lending themselves to the form, forcing the plaster to take her mother's shape - as if the ash remembered its former likeness.

A hand tapped her shoulder. It was Jeff. "You've done it. She'd be proud." Zoe nodded, as she looked at her mother's final resting form.

December 23, 2011

Blade - December 23, 2011

[note: this was written during a writing exercise: we had 20 minutes to write something inspired by the word "blade". This is the result, unedited, exactly as it appeared when time ran out]

Blade - Squiddy Geiger - December 23, 2011

He held the blade up to the light, examining it. LIght, strong, and sharp, it was an excellent weapon. It could be used for defense, or offense. He flicked it up into the air and caught it lazily as it dropped. Balance was good, too.

"Stephen! Must you fool with that thing all the time?" Lena demanded. "Put it away." When he ignored her and continued to play with it, she huffed angrily and went to the kitchen.

He'd had it for five years, ever since he'd won it off that fool card player in Slavna. He'd bluffed him out of a month's earnings, and this lovely little toy. The man had tried to renege, but two King's Own had been there; they'd witnessed the game, and it was fair. The man had paid up.

"Father? Why does Mother hate that knife so much?" Garth asked. The boy was staring at the blade. "It's so beautiful, how cold she not love it? May I hold it, Father?"

Stephen shook his head. "Not yet, boy. You're right, she does hate this blade. And she'd hate me if I let you play with it and anything happened."

"But Father," the boy pleaded. "She's giving Cook instructions for dinner, she won't be out for ages. Please? Just a bit."

Stephen looked at the boy. He was right, she would be a long time, yet. And it couldn't hurt if the boy held the knife for a moment or two. "Ok, but be careful or she'll skin me alive!" He was laughing as he handed the blade over, carefully. "There you go. Feel the weight. And don't touch the edge, just slide your finger this way, never that way. Ok?"

The boy nodded, and did as he was told. Stephen was concentrating on the boy and neither heard the door open.

"What are you doing?" Lena shouted. Both males jumped and Stephen turned towards her. He started to defend himself when she screamed, followed by a high pitched howl of pain behind him.

December 22, 2011

Scarf - December 22, 2011

[note: this was written during a writing exercise: we had 20 minutes to write something inspired by the word "scarf". This is the result, unedited, exactly as it appeared when time ran out]

Scarf - Squiddy Geiger - December 22, 2011

Johnny looked at the audience, who stared back expectantly, a murmur running through them as they waited. He smiled briefly as someone held up a camera and snapped a photo. He hated photos, but it was the price for fame.

He looked down the table at the others. Sabrina to his left, pretty in a blue dress, her hair up tight, with some flowers in the side, above her ear. She smiled back at him, and shook her head. Poor thing thought she could win.

Sheldon was beyond her, resplendent in his Superman costume - a superhero? Hardly. He was doing breathing exercises, preparing himself mentally for the coming battle. Confident, prepared, he was one to worry about.

To his right, Claudio. Poor Claudio, back for his first battle since the mishap. Johnny didn't think he'd have the stomach for it anymore, and was truly surprised to see the Italian here.

Rufus and Eldon, the Twin Menace, were beyond Claudio. They always battled beside each other, against each other, and against all comers, bright red hair a distraction in the afternoon sun. He wasn't worried about them.

At the far end, beyond the twins, was the only real danger to Johnny's title as King. He'd won more battles than Johnny, but only because he'd been in the game longer. His experience, however, was what had Johnny worried. Paul was confident, experienced, and ready.

The announcer finished the introductions, explained the rules, and the final countdown began. Johnny did his own quick breathing exercises, and was ready. He looked down expectantly, and as the bell rang, he dug in, devouring goldfish, defending his title: Long Life the Scarf King!

December 13, 2011

Safe - December 13, 2011

[note: this was written during a writing exercise: we had 20 minutes to write something inspired by the word "safe". This is the result, unedited, exactly as it appeared when time ran out]

Safe - Squiddy Geiger - December 13, 2011

The morning dawned, a beautiful blue and orange as the sun rose, waking the day. Sherri loved this time of day, so fresh with possibility. She looked through the village, checking that nothing had gone awry during the night.

The villagers were mostly asleep, except for Dralgan the street sweeper, and Blatso the garbage man, who didn't have to work for three more hours, but just liked to get an early start. She waved at them happily, but they ignored her, as always. It was ok, she didn't mind.

At the east end of town, something wasn't right, but it took her a few minutes to realize what was wrong; the Frelbdar's house was empty, abandoned. The door was open, and the car was gone. She looked around quickly, trying to find it. At last she spied it heading north on Route 12, moving fast. She sighed, and prepared to intervene.

Just as the car reached the county line, the breaklights lit up as it screeched to a halt, bumper stopping just short of the barrier. Sherri reached down and picked up the car, checked that the occupants were unhurt, then carefully placed it in the Frelbdar driveway. She sighed, a bit hurt that they'd tried to leave, but happy they weren't hurt.

She checked that all else was well in the village. Finally, content in the knowledge that her village was safe, she ran downstairs to see what Mummy had prepared for breakfast.

December 11, 2011

Mortal - December 11, 2011

[note: this was written during a writing exercise: we had 20 minutes to write something inspired by the word "Mortal". This is the result, unedited, exactly as it appeared when time ran out]

Mortal - Squiddy Geiger - December 11, 2011

Elyssa sang softly to herself as she headed to her date. Billy Walters was expecting her at 7:30 at the library. It was going to be so much fun. She'd been looking forward to it since he'd asked her on Monday.

She checked herself in the car mirror. Dress ok? Check. Makeup perfect? Check. Hair presentable? Check. She smiled happily. She would be irresistible - he would be hers.

Such a conquest this would be. The others would be jealous. Billy was quarterback of the football team, class president, and had his pick of the girls at school, but he'd chosen her. The others had proclaimed him impossible to catch, but she'd get him. She'd add hm to her large collection.

As she arrived at the library, she saw the others already going in. They wanted a good view, to judge the catch. She had told them where, but not who.

She went up, and looked for Billy. The third floor was deserted except for the others, spread nonchalantly around the room, pretending to read, or to search for books.

Ah, there he was. She sauntered over slowly, savouring the look he gave her, unknowing of his fate. As he came towards her, he leaned down to kiss her, and as their lips met, she took him. He looked down at his still beating heart, ripped from his chest. The others cheered.

She took a jar from her purse, dropped the heart into it, and left. It would go on the shelf in her room. Another mortal, one amongst many.

December 04, 2011

The End - December 04, 2011

[note: this was written during a writing exercise: we had 20 minutes to write something inspired by the phrase "The End". This is the result, unedited, exactly as it appeared when time ran out]

The End - Squiddy Geiger - December 04, 2011

Jason folded the shirt carefully, and then the pants, tidying them, and placed them carefully in the basket. His shoes joined them, along with the socks.

The clothes were followed by a child's toys: a well-loved teddy bear, a baseball and glove; a small windup car, and a broken GI Joe.

Melody sniffed quietly, and dabbed at her eyes, watching the process. She made him do it; she couldn't. Finally, the basket was prepared. They moved off down the garden to where a pyre had been prepared.

As Jason placed the basket on the carefully stacked and prepared wood of the pyre, Melody cried quietly. He lit the wood, made sure it had caught, and moved over to stand behind his wife. He pulled her close as her soft cries became sobs, wracking her body, tears flowing freely now.

Jason said nothing, also crying. The two watched as the pyred burned furiously. As they said quiet goodbyes to the son they had lost. The symbolic fire replaced the funeral they could not have.

As the pyre burned itself out, they stood, turned and walked slowly up to the house, the cleansing of their souls finished.

50042 words in 30 days

Yes, I did it again. But unlike last year, which was easy, I had to write 13,375 words on Novembe 30th to get across the finish line this year. NaNo 2011 was tough, but in the end, thoroughly satisfying.

And in 2012, I will be writing Book II of this story!

December 03, 2011

Taskmaster December 03, 2011

[note: this was written during a writing exercise: we had 20 minutes to write something inspired by the word "taskmaster". This is the result, unedited, exactly as it appeared when time ran out]

Taskmaster - Squiddy Geiger - December 3, 2011

He pushed the thoughts aside. No time for such things, he had work to do. The thoughts, however, didn't care if he had to work. They invaded his brain, forcing through his attempts at concentration.

He sighed, and listened, as they whispered to him. Ideas, fresh from deep inside his soul.

His muse was speaking to him, and she was not to be ignored. He put closed the file he was working on, and opened another, marking it Ideas. Work would, as was too often the case, have to wait.

It had always been so. He'd been fired from more jobs than he could remember because of her. The bitch was cruel. He'd been fired for being late. He'd been fired for leaving early. He'd been fired for not showing up at all. He'd been fired for being there on time but accomplishing nothing.

He had a special name for the bitch, too. The Taskmaster. When she wanted him to write, there was nothing for it but to obey. He had tried to fight her in the past, but he'd never won.

No, that wasn't quite true. For the two years he'd spent stumble drunk, he'd managed to avoid her. By forcing her deep down into the deepest recesses of his brain, where she couldn't get to him, the alcohol had been a shield; a prison. Unfortunately, it was as much a prison for him.

Again he had given in, and sobered up. And as punishment, she had been relentless for the next year. He'd been sober and clean and unable to do anything but write. After that they'd found a bit of equilibrium - if he let her have her way for a few hours, then she'd let him do what he needed. Except on occasion when she had something exceptional to communicate, like now.

He sighed again, and put fingers to keyboard.