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This was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] stardreamer and fills the “Dancing" square in my 2-1-17 card for the Valentines Bingo challenge. This piece is 297 words and complete.

The Best of All Dances

One. Two. Three.

The band plays in three-four time; the music bright and the lighting dim. The ballroom surrounds us but we cling to each other. You follow the movement of the music and I faithfully follow your lead. This is how our love begins.

I. Love. You.

My dress is winter white; the train a whisper across along the aisle. I step to the music we chose together for this moment. Forgoing Mendelssohn in favor of Strauss. I watch as tears of joy streak your cheeks. This is how our marriage begins.

Two. Blue. Booties.

We wanted to wait until they arrived, to enjoy the surprise. Whether we would all dance together to the Pink Lady or to Blue Danube, I wasn’t concerned. Just as long as they’re healthy was what you’d been saying since I told you the news. This is how our son was born.

To. Bed. Angry.

We forgot to keep dancing. The Minute and The Second were retired to make room for all of the minutes and seconds you spent at work and we both spent stressed. I thought we’d grown apart. This is how our separation was born.

I. Miss. Us.

Our son was dancing in the Nutcracker and we are forced into close proximity for the first time in several months. I tightly grasp your hand as we each cry proud parent’s tears. Yours are shed as we hold each other once again late into the darkest night. This is how our estrangement ends.

Three. Two. One.

They play Chopin and Talsur in our memory. We’re to be laid down side by side at the end of the ceremony. We’ve danced through life and death together; this time I’d led, and faithfully you followed. This is how our Waltz ends.

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This was inspired by a prompt from Sara on FB and fills the “The Friendzone Is My Safe Place” and "Gossip" squares in my 2-1-17 card for the Valentines Bingo challenge. This piece is 384 words and I'm wishing my character luck with his frustrating neighbor!

Content notice: foul language.

Less is More

“Stop taking flowers out of my garden to woo people who don’t even treat you right,” yelled Jake Ellis from 334-C. I’d stopped by his stoop to pick a few of the irises that grew there in abundance and that I knew Jake himself used as gifts for girls he dated.

“Uhm…what?” I fumblingly replied, completely taken aback by his abrupt appearance. I wasn’t expecting him to bully open his sliding glass door and hop out onto his patio just a few feet from me as I stopped to pick a few blooms on my way to Maddie’s place.

“Don’t take that bitch anymore of my flowers man! She’s not giving you any, so I don’t think you should be going out of your way for her anymore. Pick ‘em for someone who isn’t going to stick you straight into the friendzone.” Jake looked livid and motioned with his hands for me to throw the flowers down.

“Wha…how would you know about whether or not I’m getting any anything?” I demand.

“Dan told me he asked her out about a week ago and she said she’d like that. So he asked what about you and freakin’ Maddie tells him you’re just good friends. That’s girl for friendzoned and you deserve more bro, you’ve been workin’ on that for months now!” Jake sounded sincerely outraged on my behalf. His fingers flew into air quotes around nearly every other phrase.

I took a long step back and a deep breath in, bracing myself to explain yet again what was and wasn’t happening with me and Maddie Shelley. I’d already suffered through this conversation with my mother, my best friend Eric, my next best friend Jon and his current girlfriend, my interfaith pastor, and now, apparently, I’d get the utter joy of attempting to explain everything once more to womanizing Jake Jones from 334-C on his patio stoop while he stood there in just his Budweiser boxers and judged my life.

Friendship with Maddie was more rewarding and less stress than all of my prior girlfriends combined and if I just didn’t count the asshats who were more worried about whether or not my penis had made her acquaintance yet than whether or not I might be genuinely happy then things felt perfect just as they were.

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January was a HUGE Success with 11 prompt fills and a Single Line Bingo! Thank you to EVERYONE who participated!

This is my prompt card for the February 2017 Valentines Bingo challenge at the [community profile] allbingo site. I combined romantic, heartbroken, platonic, and erotic prompts so there is a blend of ratings, from tame to spicy, for prompters to choose from!

I'm reaching out again this month to friends and family to make suggestions for any word or phrase on the bingo card below that strikes their fancy and I'll write at least 200 words of story based on their suggestion combined with the prompt word they chose. Prompts that have been spoken for will be turned Golden so it will be easy for everyone to keep track of what words have already been spoken for, and I will have all requested fills done by the end of the Challenge which is 2/28/2017.

200 words may not end up being a complete story in and of itself, but I'm using this exercise as a way to increase my writing capacity, so I'm making sure to set reasonable goals that I'm likely to reach rather than crashing and burning right out the gate!

Some stories I've already started that might fit well with this theme if anyone is interested in reading more pieces set within those worlds are:

Foxfire Stables - Pony Play Erotic Novel (Not available publicly, but known prompters may privately request the first chapter!)
C. Herish Whip Master - BDSM Alternative Universe fiction/erotica
Catfish - A snippet about a crossdressing spy/sabotuer
Morning - Time traveling Terrie & his empathetic partner Marv
Someone To Care - We met Zakiya, and left her in a pretty dark place...

Lets have fun and make another Bingo!

Morning-after regrets Drunken rutting Spin the bottle Human Pet Villain Slowly Falls in Love with Hero
Carnal Massage Best Friends Forever Queerplatonic Demisexual Housework
Falling Asleep Victorian Era WILD CARD - Fantasy -Centaur Dancing Adultery
Kneeling I told you so The Friendzone Is My Safe Place A Girl and Her Horse Gossip
Secret Crush Oral sex Chasing bubbles blown by someone else Ace Hero Doesn't Want the Girl Body Worship
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This was inspired by a prompt from Silverfoxy709 and fills the "historical" and "telepathy" squares in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. This made it to 246 words and despite how very short that is, it was unfortunately a complete slog. I started writing on 1/26/17, and finally finished this today 1/31/17. I've no idea why it needed to feel so hard, but that's writing sometimes I suppose.

Morning


“When are you now Babe?” came the wistful message into Terrie’s consciousness. Groggy wakefulness followed as he pried his sleep sweaty head from the moist hollow of his pillow. The room was dark and the air close and thick with the scent of tropical rain and growing things.


I gather my wits enough to send a response back, the communication seeming both harder now that I was conscious of it, and easier, as I could focus my talent on my lover Marv. Sending the telepathic answer six centuries into the future I replied, “I’m in Jamaica, 1490’s, with Columbus.”


“Serious?” I could feel how incredulous he was, the surprise evident in his mental tone and I smiled knowing it was only possible for me to sense the layers of meaning in his words because of his intense Empathy and my unique form of Telepathy. I would forever be grateful for the Pairing that had put me with Marv, allowing my time travel to be guarded closely by the man who loved me, allowing impossible communication between relative present and far flung past. Before Marv I’d always been acutely conscious of how very alone I was while on assignment, and at different times the pressure of living for an extended stretch within the past, in complete isolation from my own time, had become painfully isolating and honestly depressing as hell. Pairing with Marv had changed everything, in ways I’d never have considered, almost exclusively for the better.

~~~Notes~~~


Inspired roughly by ideas presented by Anne McCaffrey's The Talents Universe. Which is entirely incredible and I encourage everyone to check it out. I might reread this myself now that its been brought back into my memory.
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This fill was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] siliconshaman and fills the “Fog,” "Gothic," "Wild Card - Wind," "Regency," and "Gods/Goddesses" squares in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. 567 words – this counts as a "Straight Line" Extra for the bingo challenge since it uses 5 prompts in one fill!

The One Who Cools

The carriage horses’ hooves sounded a muffled beat against the cobblestones as dank fog twined between their fetlocks and blanketed all of New Street. Through the leaded windows of a private gallery the grooms and drivers could watch as the Birmingham Society of Artists laughed and toasted one another in high spirits, the golden glitter of recently acquired Egyptian antiquities on display in the background. Prize of place among the artifacts was the mummified remains of an influential pharaoh’s adviser complete with canopic jars and other funerary paraphernalia. A stable hand coughed, wet and thick, the sound traveling strangely within the growing bank of mist.

The swirls eddied and flowed higher around the horses knees and hocks, as a wind picked up, blowing from the North through the streets of Birmingham. As the night wore on guests inside the gallery began departing, women in their regency finery glittering in the light of newly installed gas lamps that clung to the Gothic architecture of the gallery on New Street, and men in their suit coats and top hats opening the carriage doors politely. An amulet, set upon a low table strewn with several other priceless pieces, silently slipped itself into a giddy ladies reticule as she passed on the way towards the door.

Chatter among the guests was animated as they left the gallery, their spirits alight with the passion of inquiry and the fever for ancient Egypt that had grasped their imaginations. As they wound their way through the evening streets they paid little attention to the howl of the rising North wind, or the fog that was now as high as their horse’s withers and thick like a suffocating shroud. The amulet of fine sardonyx and jasper rattled in the bottom of Ms. Clarke’s handbag, the fine emblem of Qebui seeming to shine in the dim light of a home bound carriage.

The fog had swollen upwards, now smothering even the gas lights that marched along the arches of cast iron lamp posts. The wind had become savage and the horses feared to continue on their journey towards the Clarke estate. Something massive moved within the wind and fog, something old striding through the streets of Birmingham. And as the strange storm enclosed the carriage of Ms. Clarke, the driver swore that directly before his team of horses stood a massive Ram, with upraised wings and upon its neck four fearsome heads. The driver tells a tale of how this beast stood as if frozen in the fog and wind, with waters raging below his hooves, and right as he clambered down from his box to flee in terror into the mists that night, the Ram struck his hooves upon the cobbles, releasing a raging river that overturned the carriage and pulled under the horses.

The following morning dawn arrived bright and clear over Birmingham. A bright new day except for the discovery of Ms. Clarke’s carriage overturned in a puddle of brackish water just blocks from her home, the four horse team all drowned without signs of any further wounds, and Ms. Clarke herself asphyxiated and soaked through as if submerged many hours in her bath. As investigators begin the hunt for her missing driver, another seemingly unrelated complaint is received from the curator for the Birmingham Society of Artists; that of a missing Egyptian amulet believed stolen from their gallery opening just the night before.

qebui

~~~Notes~~~

Qebui - the Egyptian God of the North Wind whose name means "The One Who Cools."

Researching this God brought me to the incredible amulet pictured above created by Deviant Art user warboar, and I knew I had to find a way to work it into a story.
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This was inspired by a prompt from Elzibelle on FB and fills the "captive" and "apparition" squares in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. This fill is 590 words, and is technically an off-shoot from a story snippet I wrote in February 2015 introducing the Witch Queen Shaela, and while I don't think the story is going to go in that direction anymore, I'm still intrigued by the character, and excited her world made a reappearance.

Captive Apparition Divination

The Witch Queens have each possessed their own skills and talents, preferring certain styles and embellishments for their particular magicks. All are tasked with watching fortune and future closely to lead her people forward in prosperity, but the manners in which each accomplishes these royal duties are widely varied. Our current Witch Queen, Shaela, uses a classic tarot & is gifted with intermittent visions through her dreams, both practices of common occurrence amongst the Queens. In general, tarot cards, scrying of all kinds, readings of tea leaves or match sticks, runes and pendulums are all in the most highly favored classes, although some can be quite unique in the manner of embellishments used; Queen Amalyda’s Finger Bone pendulum was known as a gruesome but effective augur. Some scholars find the history of Royal Divination quite fascinating, and prefer to delve into the more bizarre and esoteric styles that have been used and recorded in the Royal Book of Divination.

Used only three times in our written and oral history has been the keeping of captive apparitions. The oldest is Witch Queen Estere who kept the ghost of her mother locked in a bottle of honey spirits, where it was said she had poured herself on purpose after killing her liver with the drink. Gaining the insight of realms beyond our own, while still easily communicating with talented humans, souls trapped between the worlds require a great deal of power to maintain, and raise a number of terrifying ethical questions if they haven’t volunteered for the duty.

The second instance of a similar divinatory tactic used by the Queens was the Crystal Oracle of Witch Queen Fevre. Fevre captured part of her own spirit within a scrying crystal by sacrificing the phallus she had been born with, but couldn’t incorporate into her magick or spirit, and placing it into molten glass. The polished orb was wrapped in layers of magick that protected the phallus from decay, and it was reputed to be both a nearly infallible whisperer of hard times to come, and also to have saved Favre’s life by saving her sanity. Once unburdened by its physical presence on her body Favre was one of the realms most content and happy rulers. The Queen and the Crystal Oracle were buried separately, against common custom, so she wouldn’t need to carry the burden further into the realm beyond.

Finally, the only other recorded instance of captive divination comes from Witch Queen Tuth, who summoned a minor demon and made a fairly simple deal. For agreeing to spend the duration of Tuth’s human lifespan trapped in a locked room of the castle, all reasonable needs and desires provided for but nothing tawdry would be tolerated, the demon would inherit all of Tuth’s powers upon her death. Perhaps a risky strategy had Tuth not been so mightily powerful herself, and had the deal not been so particularly good for the demon. In a lifespan that stretches millennia, where absorbing other’s power is the only way a demon can increase their own, spending the 33 years Tuth reigned as Witch Queen as a pampered house pet was very little for the demon to pay in exchange for what would likely have amounted to centuries worth of risky battles on its own plane of existence. Really, it could easily have counted the whole endeavor a vacation with profit! The deal worked out well for Tuth, the demon, and our Queendom, with the demon parting rapidly the day after Tuth’s death with no fanfare or desolation.

~~~Notes~~~
"Demifiction" seems to fit the genre of this piece best. It's not really a story, but rather a bit of fictitious history for an imaginary world. Possibly excerpted from a text book, or the equivalent of a hobbyist's magazine.
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This fill was inspired by a song prompt from 

[personal profile] callibr8  and fills the “forgotten” square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. 354 words – I'm not really sure what this qualifies as, but I'm kinda digging it, and really enjoyed the writing.

 

Here is a link to the song with lyrics from Callibr8's prompt, "Erased" by Vixy & Tony.

Creatures made of Water to the Ocean must Return 

I left her there beside the sea furiously weeping. I donned back on my selkie coat that she’d kept hidden away from me. Diving deep into the cold blue heart of the ocean who’d been calling. Singing to me a song of home and relentless aching longing.

In the sea I couldn’t tell how she stirred the sky to thunder. How her magic called a maelstrom designed to tow me too far under. In her agony and pain she meant to deal me more the same. For daring to forget her she’d attempt to tear my life asunder.

We’d been tumultuous lovers, meeting in a summer meadow. Where I’d come ashore to walk awhile and reconnect with human fellows. She’d been a maid studying magic’s ways and never meant for a man to know. And the tryst meant to last only a season somehow became her life’s singular reason.

So soon I longed to leave her, though I’d never meant to deceive her. She’d known my nature from early on, but couldn’t bare the fate of being gone. From my memory she’d be erased, when the ocean I re-embraced. So she stole my soul and trapped me in that place.

Our love turned sour, more so every hour. And I searched the sea shore night and day. Once each rock and crevice, cave and cliff, I had finally scoured. Then she finally, in a fit of rage, threw my selkie coat out onto the harbor.

So now I swim in a relentless dim, trying to escape her love sick sadness. Her name I have forgotten, but her sobbing wails they are still haunting. My home coming with the sea usually meant to me such personal gladness. Has now become a tomb as I drown beneath the waves she’s stirred into a whirl with her madness.

Far better it had been, had I come ashore and then, having seen the beautiful maiden on the field. If I had turned and ran away, clutching my skin as though a shield. And never would I have pretended to feel. True love between a woman and a seal.

~~~Notes~~~

This seemed to just flow right out kind of dreamy and slow, and I apologize if its a complete mess. I really enjoyed the act of writing it though, so I chose to just leave it the way it came about.
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This was inspired by a prompt from Marellene on FB and fills the “fog” square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. This piece is 866 words and went a bit off the rails for me to be honest; I was not expecting the story to lead where it ended.

Wedding Wishes

“What are you thinking about?” Mason hissed in my right ear.

“Hmm?” I murmured back distractedly, raising my wineglass to my lips and taking a small sip.

“What’s taken you so far away? You’ve hardly been present through the whole meal, wandered off in your own thoughts again.” Mason looked around the table, our parents and family spread around the large family style dining table that was set centrally in the restaurant. Our cousin, the bride with her handsome groom sat at the farthest end of the table, fawned over by their mix of friends and family.

“Nothing. It’s not important Mason,” I retort in an acid tone. I glare at the fine cuisine that sits cold and congealing on my plate and take a larger than healthy swallow from my wine glass, attempting to push back the bile rising in my throat. I shouldn’t have come tonight; I shouldn’t have believed I’d be strong enough to ever get through this farce.

“Well you better knock it off, mom’s looking at you and I swear if you piss her off I’ll...,” Mason wore a scowl that spoke of the many ways well informed siblings can make your life unbearable, and I glare back, my lips tight with ire and my eyes just beginning to burn with resentful tears.

I push my chair back abruptly, the squeal made by the legs as they hang up on the wooden floor halting conversation momentarily as wedding guests glance up and then hurriedly away. Voices resume their chatter hesitantly the further I get from the table. I rush past servers and other wait staff as I hurry towards the stairs to the floor below, desperate for some air and a moment of privacy to attempt pulling myself together.

As I burst from the restaurant I look west towards the bay. Striding purposefully along the blacktop drive I move further and further away from the Mission Table and towards the gentle curve of Bowers Harbor across the road. Full dark has fallen while the bride and groom’s reception dinner is being held inside the light and safety of the old Inn, and the road as I attempt to cross it is now obscured by fog in both directions. I make it safely across and once I reach the edge of the sand where it turns into the lapping waves of the bay I gulp air liked I’d earlier begun gulping wine.

She’d stolen this from me, all of it. Scott and I had dreamed this up together on the night of our second anniversary, lying entwined on the bed of a cozy B&B in Arcadia, we’d painted a picture of what our wedding would be like, and it had been this, exactly this. I’d always loved the old Bowers Harbor Inn and we’d talked wistfully about being married there, on the grounds with the bay visible right across the street, the sun setting as we said our vows before twilight. We’d laughed about who we could invite to such a small venue, about our two families mingling and eating family style of the expensive cuisine, of spending the night on the Old Mission Peninsula and staying for there for the whole honeymoon, surrounded by the bay.

Then that year at Christmas he’d met my slut of a cousin and three months later I’d been dumped. Love at first sight they claimed, impossible to resist. Now she’d just ripped another dream from my heart. She’d stolen Scott and in return he gifted the whore with my perfect fairy tale wedding. I seethed with resentment and sorrow and a feeling of impending insanity like a storm brewing in the back of my brain. The grief of the last lonely year and the pressure of enduring this entire night made me feel blind and deaf and unhinged.

Looking up from where I’d been gazing sightless over West Bay I realized the fog had shrouded around even thicker, that the lights of the restaurant across the road were now barely discernible, and the road disappeared just a few yards to either side of me. But what became incredibly clear just a foot in front of me was the apparition. The translucent form emerged and I knew her immediately, the ghost of Bower Harbor, she stood in front of me and she stretched out her hand, laid it upon mine, and in a daze she drew me, still sobbing, across the fogged road. She brought me back towards my betrayers; my family and friends who all knew how much this had meant to me and came to celebrate for her instead. Who were all equally culpable in shattering my life.

I let the ghost pull me step by step back to the restaurant Mission Table, once the Bowers Harbor Inn, and before that the home of a woman scorned and betrayed much like me. And I gripped her lifeless ghostly hand and together, together we found solace for each other. Together, wrapped in the fog rolling off the bay, we set it all on fire, and burned my dreams to ashes along with everyone who’d ruined them for me, everyone who’d betrayed us, me and Genevieve.

~~~Notes~~~

The Ghost of Bowers Harbor is a real legend, although mostly debunked, and the restaurant and all named places are all real. I've eaten at the Jolly Pumpkin several times, which is the more casual dining establishment attached to the Mission Table, and I've seen several weddings in progress on the lawn just across from the bay. Its really pretty, like that entire area is, and my husbando is incredibly lucky to have grown up in one of the most gorgeous parts of Michigan.
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This was inspired by a prompt from Wordpress user craserit83 and fills the "spirit" square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. This made it to 366 words and feels reasonably complete.

In Passing

Forgotten in the hallowed halls, forgotten in the cathedral forest, forgotten among their markers of stone. The spirits may all be forgotten, but they’re the ones who haven’t yet received the full pleasure of forgetfulness.

The dreary parchment colored spirit of a Victorian housewife remembers how it was her husband’s fist that put her in the family’s mausoleum, another spirit on the corner of 4th & Ewing was done in by a reckless taxi. The forest is full of hunting accidents, or what’s been made to look like accidents. Easy enough to take Mr. Wellerby’s land if he’s not alive to protest and you appear convincingly bereaved to his family during the services. The endless rows of soldiers’ cemeteries laid out so neat and crisp, like war never is, hold weeping spirits, angry spirits, and those that are simply heart achingly confused.

I wander here and there through life observing my own soul wear thin, translucent, offering bits and pieces to spirits I encounter who are finally ready to take the next step forward. Releasing them from their remembrance of themselves, the horrible death, or merely tragic one, that keeps them chained in place. People say “Don’t let your fears hold you back.” I feel it’s good advice; more ghosts should listen. But they’re all alike in that one regard, all afraid. Of what comes after most often and I have little guidance there, I’m still mostly alive, or of being forgotten. And I can never bring myself to be cruel and tell them bluntly, “Too late. The world’s moved on now. Forgetting is what you need to do.”

The work will ensure I leave no forgotten spirit behind, and that’s a source of comfort. I know the torment of lingering. I’m soon for it as well, based on the way my soul aches with each new gift I share in passing. I’m excited to see what’s beyond. The closest I’ve come was the one and only time I held a new born baby and deep inside, where her soul was growing, I felt part of the truth. I felt memories from half-remembered spirits I was sure I’d met before, long ago, on some forgotten day.

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This fill was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith  and fills the “slavery” square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. 564 words – This is set in the same universe as, and is a rough follow up to, the story snippet “Provisions.

This is for a Dark Fantasy challenge, and there’s some active and referenced abuse happening...

Finder's Keepers

The collar, soft supple leather bolted to the wall by a chain of fine gold lengths, chafes her neck until it forms blisters that seep. His hands caress her flanks in barely there flutters of sensation leaving black scorched skin; cauterized her flesh sizzles and smells of cooking meat. His laugh is soft and intimate and she cries out in agony.

She’s an embodiment of purity, gentleness, and freedom, and to be enslaved in any way is anathema to her spirit. To be made bare to the touch of this evil is enough to drive her nearly out of her mind in fear. What he did with her pain after, the way he used her, that made her feel as if the evil had seeped deep into her own heart and even if she could escape she’d never be clean of it.

He’d caught her grazing in the suburban park she used to meet human children, special girls and boys who still believe the true tales of the wood. That park was no longer much of a wood, but the Human Realm had deserted the wilds in favor of concrete and steel, so she’d adapted to the loss and found new ways to make friends. She never calculated the danger to herself in the new space, how bound by roads on all sides it could become like a small fenced paddock, containing her frightened run long enough to allow capture. Dragging her into his carriage of metal she was helpless from there, her wits momentarily lost to flight fear, and her magic dampened by the iron’s cousin. She’s susceptible to all of the ways humans have to fight and hinder the Otherworldy, and this gave him plenty of ways to make her his slave.

The first time she summoned an Elven boy. It was an unconscious act, one made in mortal peril as the wounds covered most of her hide from where he had grabbed her around chest and rear, and she regretted calling them almost immediately. Now she wishes she’d allowed her own demise that first night, before he knew her secret, in order to have saved herself from enslavement, and all the lives of the children that came after. So many, many, children. He had still been present in the bowels of his den where he had chained her to the wall when she first summoned one of her special friends, someone who she had hoped could heal and free her, but unfortunately it was the unicorn Orissa who helped the human predator find new and easy prey. Watching from the shadows he’d snatched the Fae child as soon as the healing was complete and what he wrought upon the boy was unspeakable. She’d cried in shame for her part in their suffering before it ended.

He delighted in causing her damage so softly. He saved the brutality for the young ones, and laid his hands on her hide only in the most delicate patterns, sometimes taking days to build the torment until Orissa unwilling gave in to his demands to summon a new plaything. She wished for death, which she believed would be the last pure, gentle, and free thing she could ever touch again, because what he had found that day in the park he had kept, the children she called he kept too, and what he kept he utterly destroyed.

~~~Notes~~~

Orissa - Otherworldy Unicorns make friends with any young creatures, including young humans, who they used to see more of before the Human Realm became so inhospitable. Their influence traditionally ends once an individual's "Purity" is lost, which has historically been interpreted to mean virginity, but there are far worse ways to become impure than something as natural as sex and desire.
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This fill was inspired by a prompt from FB user Sarah Becca and fills the “hunter” square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. 365 words – This already has a planned follow up of sorts in "Finder's Keepers" which is the fill I'm working on for [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's "slavery" prompt.

This is for a Dark Fantasy challenge, and there's some frank sexual language and references to Terrible Things happening off the page.

Provisions

She considered how doing what it takes to fly under the radar in modern society sometimes made her feel like the monster humanity had painted her kind for generations. Human law, at best meant to protect their own more vulnerable members, inadvertently made meeting her needs much riskier. So in order to make a fast getaway she brutally aroused the nice policeman, who was honestly just trying to talk the young woman out of “working the streets” for her own safety, until he was so incoherent he couldn’t remember who he was let alone who she had been. Then she left him like that and ran, feeling dirty and cheap.

She preferred to use the Allure only when feeding or hunting and providing a very happy ending indeed when it was of mutual benefit to her and the meal. Using it to trick her way out of being picked up for solicitation seemed low and mean spirited. They weren’t feelings she was particularly used to and she mentally planned on avoiding experiencing them ever again.

But she couldn’t leave this area yet. She’d been sent on a mission from the Otherworldly Council and before she could safely begin her hunt she needed to score a light snack. A quick seduction, fast sex, and an acceptable amount of energy transfer if she lucked into finding a client who liked giving it in any of the ways she liked taking it, and then she’d be ready for part two of her evening. The important part.

As a succubus Carnelle was rarely called upon to complete Council business, only occasional covert operations, frequently blackmail of a human in power set to change their laws in a way that would prove detrimental to Otherworldy kind yet again, but tonight she was hunting a human predator who’d developed a disturbing little fetish for kidnapping and molesting the young daughters of Otherworldly households. How he’d gone from the monstrous habit of molesting children of his own species to those of the hidden realm no one had figured out as of yet but the Council believed this was the area of the world she’d be able to meet him, Hunter to hunter.

~~~Notes~~~

Carnelle - Mostly wishes humans would leave her in peace. As a succubus she has to interact with them much more than many kinds of Otherworldy peoples, since they're her main food source. Drawing energy from sex and sex-adjacent activities, she misses the good old days where she could be a prostitute in peace. Unlike the human stereotype of a monster that devours a man's life force until he is a worn out husk, she only needs the energy raised by a good tussle between the sheets once or twice a week to sustain herself, more if she's planning something stressful like a prolonged Hunt in the human realm.
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This fill was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] thnidu and fills the "alternate reality/universe" square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. They requested a piece set in [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's shared world Schrodinger's Heroes, and here is the tale I've come up with.

This is mostly ridiculous, with an awful attempt at an inside joke, but at 433 words it more than doubled the mark I was aiming for and I'm counting it a win!

Light-Red Science


It had been an unusual dimension where time had moved much slower and left the Alter!Heroes in a relative dark age. There had been a quintessential creepy castle back-lit by lightning and the roar of thunder for farks sake. They’d found Alter!Alex playing mad scientist a la Dr. Frankenstein in the dungeonous basement, and Alter!Quinn, who owned the cheery piece of real estate, was the real life version of Count Dracula; land, court title, fangs, and all.

It was the race through treacherously dark woods on a clichéd stormy night, chased by an angry mob of villagers with their ubiquitous pitchforks, that firmly sealed the door on ever visiting that alternate reality again, but as the group tumbled back into their own dimension the scream that tore the air informed them they hadn’t made it home alone.

Apparently the full spectrum light bulbs that had been used to upgrade the compound were great for scientists prone to spending much of their time indoors, but really quite disastrous for vampires. Alter!Quinn had been exposed for perhaps three, maybe three and a half, seconds but it was enough to leave all of his face and the tops of both hands a startling light-red as if he’d been sunbathing in the Waxahachie sun without protection. The burns were most severe across his nose, likely to blister and peel even with treatment, and the overall hue clashed horrendously with his hair colored crimson and coal.

Kay rushed towards her med kit, while Bailey hit the lights, and the rest worked to steer the vampire towards a soft place to land for the moment.

“Ah, shit,” said Kay, “My burn salve is Silver Cream, which would be overkill for this use on any of us, but on him? Is silver bad for you? That’s a common myt-, uh belief, about vampires in our universe.”

“Unless poisoning me on top of scalding my skin with your magic torches is the goal I wouldn’t recommend that potion,” he replied tartly.

“How about herbal remedies?” prompted Ash.

“Many are fine, just no garlic, please,” begged Alter!Quinn.

“We can always try aloe gel, or even perhaps an infusion made with yarrow,” Ash suggested the well known sunburn cure and one she remembered from summers with her Navajo relatives.

So the team set about moving their newest stray into safe quarters, the lights dimmed all along the way, while Kay & Ash worked on developing a vampire friendly sunburn cure, and they just barely overheard their own Quinn’s quip that the particular shade of rouge his counterpart was sporting wasn’t really his color.

~~~Notes~~~

The idea of all of Quinn's fun hair colors really appealed to me, so here is his Crimson & Coal hair! I also liked the fanon based on him being a vampire because of the t-shirt reading "The sun is trying to kill me."

The reference to Yarrow as a Navajo remedy for sunburn comes from Healing with plants in the American and Mexican West by M. Kay.

Silver Cream is awesome for burns. It was always on stock in the first aid kits when I worked in restaurants.
 

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This fill was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] ng_moonmoth and fills the "guide" square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. We made it to 266 words - hope you enjoy it prompter!

This is for a Dark Fantasy challenge, and it hints at darker days to come.

Seeking

It itched and burned inside my soul, a raw spot that never could be soothed. The rough unfinished home where my Guide was meant to live, an empty burrow dug into my being but never filled.

Between two and twenty went the common wisdom, although there were outliers of course. Children born with a Guide appearing nearly the moment they vacated their mother’s womb, or a wise woman of fifty who suddenly drew forth a Shamanic Second Guide. But I’m sitting here in the dank cellar below my village temple at twenty two years old and there’s no peace for me, no Guide to show my way.

So I’ve gathered up the herbs, the oils, the stones, and I’m choosing what the Temple Mother calls “pure mad idiocy” over waiting another day for a Guide that’s late in arriving. I’ve made my decision to summon myself a Guide in secret, using the spell I’ve researched exhaustively every moment since I turned twenty and was turned away from the Sisterhood bereft. My place was meant to be among the elite of the Temple, not tossed out in the street as Guideless and undeserving.

So I’ll just find myself a Guide. Why keep waiting, bleeding around that hole inside my heart for what apparently never wanted me from the start. There has to be a Guide out there as frustrated as I am waiting for the perfect soul to come along. I can feel that there is, a powerful Guide waiting just past the veil, waiting for me, to heal me inside where I itch and I burn.

~~Notes~~

What I know about this world so far is nearly nothing. We don't even have a character name yet, but their motivation is clear & likely to have unpleasant consequences.

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This fill was inspired by a prompt from shadowdancer1079 and fills the "blood" square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. We made it to 316 words - hope you enjoy it prompter!

This is for a Dark Fantasy challenge, and we're beginning in a pretty grim place. Rough waters ahead!

Someone To Care

Zakiya cared. She cared about the other human girls who cried themselves to sleep at night after their Masters finished feeding, and she cared about the dead eyed boys who sat and rocked side to side, unable to escape the thrall created by the feeding. But she especially cared that no one here discover how much she differed from the other bloodstock. How she secretly longed to be chosen each night, how much she craved the thrall, and the sweet pain of the vampire's bite.

The vampires of this nest didn’t particularly pay attention to their submissives as they fed from them upon rising each night, so she felt safe with her secret so far. She assumed they were still located somewhere in the outskirts of old Milwaukee, as the drive in the van had only seemed to take twenty or thirty minutes after she’d been snatched. She knew Claris and Kevin, they’d been out with her at the Darklight Club the night they were all captured, but she hadn’t been here long enough to learn about any of the other five people who shared the space with her. The blood cellar was down in the basement of what appeared to be a rather nice residential home, probably converted following the Ascension into a lair, and each small pen was made of mesh and pine two by fours, very effectively keeping each human trapped in their own little cell.

Zakiya carefully ran her fingers down the bloody gouges on her neck left from the last vampires careless feeding, wistfully regretting the decision to head into the inner city that night, searching for something she knew she’d never find now; a Dominant Vampire who’d claim her, making her submission count for more than just the forced surrender of humanity to a superior evolution. Someone else to care that she was different, someone to value her awful secret.

~~Notes~~

What I know about this world so far is sketchy, and subject to some rearrangement as I research further:

Vampires require human blood as sustenance, between half a cup to a pint, each night right upon waking. While Vampires can only breed among themselves many find humans sexually appealing as well, so to govern these interactions the Laws of the Ascension only allow sexual relations between Vampires and humans if the Vampire is clearly the dominant partner in the exchange, leading to a common culture of BDSM fetishism.

Since the Ascension of Vampires in 1963 most nests, consisting of 2-12 Vampires each, simply take willing human blood donors as their submissives each night, either frequenting Darklight Clubs to meet willing people, or creating a rotating harem of sorts from interested humans.

In some rare cases Vampires form genuine relationships with the humans providing them sustenance and sexual gratification, referred to as Claimings.

Even more rarely some nests choose to abduct humans and use them like livestock, keeping hidden blood cellars, that are technically illegal under the Laws of the Ascension.

Prompt assisted by this beautiful illustration by Victoria Frances, this is hopefully where Zakiya's story is headed - a happily ever after, after all the pain.

zakiya-love
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This is my prompt card for the January 2017 Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge at the AllBingo site.

I'm reaching out to friends and family to make Dark Fantasy suggestions for any word or phrase on the bingo card that strikes their fancy and I'll write at least 200 words of story based on their suggestion combined with the prompt word they chose. Prompts that have been spoken for will be turned Purple so it will be easy for everyone to keep track of whats already spoken for, and I will have all requested fills done by the end of the Challenge which is 1/31/2017.

200 words may not end up being a complete story in and of itself, but I'm using this exercise as a way to increase my writing capacity, so I'm making sure to set reasonable goals that I'm likely to reach rather than crashing and burning right out the gate!

I don't have any regular story series that I write which are dark fantasy, or any fandoms that I regularly write in, but suggestions can include those if anyone likes.

Lets have fun and make a Bingo!

FogAlternate reality/universeBloodFairy talesCaptive
ApparitionGothicHistoricalHunterChains
TelepathyFearWILD CARD - WINDParanoiaHell
DisappearanceMoansSlaveryRegencySpirits
DevotionGuideForgottenVisionaryGods/goddesses
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A 10 minute timed write with the following prompt: Using a name you've encountered in real life, introduce a new character based on only the name.

Ben was bold. He broke into the barbershop late that evening, and took the shears without breaking a sweat and began lifting lank hunks of hair away from his head, heedless of snarls and tangles matting it close to his scalp, and snipped. Snipped.

Once everything had been reduced to a short cropped fuzz around his head he rummaged through drawers until he grasped a set of clippers. The metal whir and clacking grate of the blades came to life and filled the empty darkness of the barber shop with violent suddenness. Ben ran the unguarded clippers around his head, his free left hand rubbing over and over the stubble until it all felt even and sparse. He didn't bother looking up into any of the mirrors, wasn't sure he would recognize the eyes in the face that might meet his in the mirror. Looks didn't matter to Ben at this time anyway, just the freedom of his skin, the weight of his matted hair falling away after six months of imprisonment. The shorn hair crunched underfoot as he moved the clippers down his cheeks to begin on the ratted beard that had grown in while they held him in the dark cinder block cellar, never letting him get even close to a sense of clean the entire time they had him captive. The clippers struggled and cut roughly through the whiskers, pulling and tearing as much as cutting, but once the stubble on his chin was as uniform as that on his head he dropped them and moved on in search of the barber's straight razor.

There was still so much work between the prisoner he was and the revenge he planned to become.
 

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This bears reposting until it finally sticks for me, since all of 2016 was essentially lather, rinse, repeat.

Originally written 2/28/2015:

So I read something simply astounding today. I simply couldn't find words to express the emotions it evoked within me. I was devastated by its intensity.

Then the most absurd thing happened. Reading this stunning article left me with the overwhelming desire to stop writing. Forever. Never try again. Simply quit. Again. It really is what I'm best at after all; the single action and reaction I've practiced and perfected my entire life.

I read this inexplicably beautiful work about language and place and loss, and then I saw that it had been sent into the world on the same day as my most recent blog post, with its tiny writing sample, and my mind shuddered for a moment then screamed, "Stop right now! Oh my lord, you are embarrassing yourself!" And I cried, because I'm splendidly well suited to that reaction as well.

Then I became stubborn. Obstinate. Tenacious.

Yes, my writing was silly and rather pointless in comparison, lacking in every way the mastery that made the article I'd just read something that will leave an imprint within me that I'll never shake. Of course it was. Of course my work is rough, and kind of crap, and at this point really unfit for sharing about with other literate beings. I've wrote stories from the very first moment I was sufficiently able to read and hold a #2 pencil, but I quit completely in 2005 when I decided that if I couldn't write something publishable, something profitable, then it was a pointless exercise in self indulgence and a waste of time I should instead be spending "adulting around the island, adult, adult, adult."

So after 9 years I started over. I was scared, and rusty, and completely directionless with it, but I sat there and gave myself permission to write terribly. This attempt lasted three months. At which point I allowed life to cajole me into giving up, again. Over and over I come back to the belief  that because what I'm doing isn't lyrical, or epic in scope, or heart wrenching, or whatever the fuck I'm hung up on, that I must stop. That I'm delusional when I begin to hope that writing is a calling of which I'm worthy.

I started over again in January anyhow, with the timed free writes and the prompts and a project I'd probably be ashamed of if my grandmother ever read the stories. And its garbage. Truly awful - with cliches, astonishing grammatical errors, and my continued abuse and overuse of poor little commas. But how will it ever improve, ever grow, ever learn or develop if I keep quitting? Why do I expect such greatness from a skill I've consistently abandoned every time I start to feel ridiculous and foolish?

So my writing is young, and rubbish, and will likely never encompass topics as noble and venerable as those encompassed in the article I read today, but its mine. And writing, badly, hurts just a little less than not writing at all, which is a pain I can no longer handle. So I'm writing. I'll keep on writing. Writing the things that appeal to me, the threads I find that pull me away into the wild, and I'll bring back those stories, and if they're never anything more then something I share with my framily, then that's fine.

It's all fine.
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