20 stories tag

coldsaturn tagged me on a 20 stories thing on tumblr, which looked fun 🙂 I did the more literal version of this on tumblr, doing just the first lines. FIND IT HERE. And then here I’m doing longer excerpts so you can get a feel for the story, and know where to read the whole thing online (where applicable).

I have a hard time knowing what my last 20 stories are because my shit is all over the place and most of it is unfinished, but I tried to get the major recent stories, the more memorable stories that I wrote a while ago, and some from back in the day. Most of what I found is actually not released online and/or not finished. ALL of the stories below are original works. Most (but not all) are LGBTQIA and/or female MC. No particular order on the below, except sort of vaguely newer toward the top.


Rules: List the first lines of your last 20 stories. See if there are any patterns. Then tag 10 of your favorite authors!


IMPORTANT NOTE: only one of the excerpts has a trigger warning on it and that’s the first one due to doing this chronologically. You’ll see the warning. Skip that one if that is an issue for you; the rest of them will be fine for you.


+    +    ONE    +    +


A story with no end **IMPORTANT! TRIGGER WARNING FOR ANOREXIA!** this is not yet released. It’s something I started to write to examine my issues with anorexia and also how I’ve worked through it (and continue to cope with it). Started June 14, 2015. I’ve thought of posting these as parts on my blog.

Part 01 – retrospect

I don’t know when it started. Maybe it had always been there, or maybe it developed slowly over time.

What I know is that a picture of me around Fourth Grade shows a chubby kid with a frizzy perm and thick glasses, and pictures from when I was 12 show a girl with skinny legs that were so white they disappeared in the flash, except for the ever-present bruises. I was always a klutz since I was a kid; collecting bruises and cuts and sprains the way most kids did Cabbage Patch dolls or, later, Pogs.

I know they called me anorexic when I was 12 or younger, because I remember people asking me if I was. I didn’t understand the question, mostly because I didn’t fully understand anorexia. Then, as I came to get a vague idea of what the word meant, I didn’t understand why anyone assigned the term to me.

The ladies who were anorexic were thin and beautiful, and I wasn’t.

* * *

I remember how proud I was of my collarbone. It was so beautiful, the way it stretched my skin. I loved that I couldn’t make it disappear from prominence, no matter how I moved my shoulders. I loved the beauty of my skeleton pushing to my surface.

The lines in my ribs were amazing. I could feel the indent beneath the lowest ribs, and looking in the mirror I could easily see where each rib was. I could count them if I wanted, or run my fingers along them comfortingly. A musical instrument beneath my skin; strumming with life and a promise for a better future.

When I laid down to sleep, I could look down my body and see that the elastic of my underwear stretched taut across my hip bones, coming nowhere near my stomach. It was sublime, because I didn’t have to try to achieve it; it just happened on its own. I could place my hand against my lower belly and it would rest beneath the line of elastic without touching. I can’t remember anything more comforting than that at that time. Sometimes I rested my hand there, feeling so proud. Even when I breathed, the slight movement of my hand didn’t make my knuckles graze that fabric. My hip bones had done their job, as had my stomach. They were elegant, curved downward like that, keeping me safe.

Sometimes, I imagined how pleasing and comforting it would be if my stomach caved in so far it touched my spine. I loved that feeling of hunger; the tightening of my stomach, the ache in my back, and the knowledge that I didn’t have to eat. I wouldn’t have to unless I felt like it.

There was power in that. I had conquered that annoyance of being human; the enslavement of our bodies to food.


+    +    TWO    +    +


Veils – Not released, not finished. This is a f/f cop story I started writing/plotting late 2012/early 2013. One of the main characters is a Muslim woman who wears a hijab, although she doesn’t show up in the below excerpt (but that’s part of the reason for the title Veils). A transwoman also features prominently in the story. My plan was to try to make it a diverse cast, but I want to make sure I write everything as authentically as I can so I need to do more research before I can finish. 

“Squad 8620.”

Roswell grabbed the radio from the center console. “Squad 8620 able.”

“We have a suspicious activity call at 2615 32nd. Caller says they see a lot of people come and go for short periods of time. Mostly men. Suspects narcotics.”

Roswell recognized the 911 dispatcher’s voice. Kara. Always calm, even during the high speed chase that nearly turned fatal last year.

She flipped to a new tab on her computer screen and scanned the notes. The call was thirty minutes old; must’ve sat in queue while everyone was tied up with the rush of priority ones. The caller wanted to be anonymous. No surprise there. People got real touchy about narcotics calls. Probably a neighbor. The notes said five men had been in and out of the house already that morning and it was only 1026 hours.

Guess this meant she’d have to hold off on OTL a bit longer. The banh mi she’d hoped to grab would have to wait.

“Copy,” she said into the radio. “I’m on my way.”

“Copy.”

Other call traffic popped up on the channel. As always, Roswell kept an ear open to what was happening, even as she checked the flow of traffic as she drove. She still remembered her FTO telling her when she came on the force how the use of force continuum wasn’t confined to weapons and takedown procedures. Even the marked squad and uniform held some level of intimidation; a fact which she saw the most on the streets. Drivers often slowed to a crawl when they noticed her, which was a pain in the ass at times. But she’d rather that than they take off speeding and put someone’s life or safety at risk.

At the moment, a middle-aged man ahead of her was doing his damnedest to go negative five miles per hour. At the next intersection, she waited for a bicyclist to pass before turning right and taking one of the side streets.

A message popped up on her screen and she checked it automatically. It was a direct message from the precinct desk.

Ros … what is smarter than a talking bird?

Oh good God. Morrison had gotten into the Laffy Taffy again. Roswell turned left onto the next street and typed back one-handed.

what

A spelling bee!

Roswell was horrified to hear herself choke out a short laugh at that. As if Morrison knew, a message came quickly:

You laughed didn’t you don’t lie

Roswell snorted. No way in hell she’d ever let Morrison know. She typed a joke from memory instead:

what did one eye say to the other?

What?

between you and me something smells

HA

Shaking her head to herself, and glad no one was there to see her grin, she looked fully at the road. The few times she’d had a ride along, the civilians had seemed surprised by the level of multitasking officers did on a daily basis; capable of listening to the radio in the background for important information, checking the computer for 911 call notes,  typing database searches or notes with one hand, driving, while also watching the surrounding area for suspicious activity.

Today, she listened as the channel covered half the city’s precincts. The calls were mostly property crimes; thefts, shoplifting, and some burglary reports, with vics discovering the garage burglaries when they got up that morning and not calling until they were at work and settled in. There was a robbery or two and a few mental health calls in other precincts.

The other channels covered the higher crime precincts, where the heavier air traffic required fewer precincts to a channel so as not to confuse or overrun the information. As long as there wasn’t a help call, everyone continued on their way. She hoped to never have to hear that bone-chilling alarm tone for the rest of her career, but she knew she would.

It would happen again. It always happened again.


+    +    THREE    +    +


Incarnations This is the fantasy series I keep talking about that I started when I was 12/13 or so.  More info here. Note: I removed world-specific terms and replaced them with American ones in the excerpt below.

“What [the hell] is this?”

Vikenti stared at the body coated in a thin, shimmering layer of magic. Beneath the translucent film the young man looked pristine and untouched. The forest rustled around them, leaves and branches caught in a warm wind. Annoyingly pleasant, considering the month’s worth of work staring Vikenti in the face. On top of the rest waiting for him back at [police headquarters].

“It’s the latest.” Keiran glanced up through a fall of dark hair from where she crouched near the edge of the clearing.

“You can’t be serious,” Vikenti said flatly. “I’m not even done with the last.” He patted around his coat and pulled a [cigarette] from an inner pocket. He extracted one and waved toward the body with it. “Give that shit to Farmer.”

“Can’t. DC Zima’s orders say give them all to you.”

Vikenti thought about grumbling that the Deputy Chief wasn’t here so whatever she wanted didn’t have to make its way back to her unless Keiran told her. But it was only a daydream. Come report time, Zima would notice if it listed Glen Farmer instead of Vikenti Shaw as the investigator.

Keiran turned back to studying the crime scene that Vikenti glowered at from outside the perimeter Keiran had told him to avoid. The woods crowding Selin were utterly ordinary, as far as Vikenti was concerned, so it pissed him off to see something that was going to be a pain to decipher. Somehow, these things were less annoying when they happened in already abnormal locations.


+    +    FOUR    +    +


In the Company of Shadows written with Santino Hassell. All the info + download for free at my site. This entry for the 20 stories tag can be done two ways, technically. Actually, three. So let’s be technical! But I’m including smaller excerpts because of this.

ORIGINAL VERSION OF EVENFALL:

The Fourth Floor Detainment Center would look innocuous enough to an outsider, were any ever allowed inside. The Fourth was large and sprawling with winding halls leading off into separate holding areas. The sections looked exactly the same despite the fact that they served very different purposes. Each corridor was silent and sterile with fluorescent lights glaring down. The overall appearance was very much like an institution or a hospital.

There was no way of knowing that deep within the Interrogation Center in the northern wing, blood-curdling screams were silenced by soundproof cells. Or that the walls and floors weren’t made of tile for aesthetics but rather because it was easier to wash away the blood that often stained them. There were no indications that within those halls, people were dragged back to their cells or sometimes carried to the freight elevator– an area that typically had one destination: the incinerator in the basement of the Tower.

The staff were just as deceptive. Psychiatric doctors on Fourth existed for the sole purpose of reading the inmates; figuring out what made them tick and what the best tactics would be before proceeding with appropriate interrogation and punishment. Medical doctors on Fourth were entrusted with the duty of keeping the inmates alive until the Agency was ready to dispose of them.

DIRECTOR’S CUT VERSION OF EVENFALL:

To an outsider, the Fourth Floor Detainment Center would look innocuous.
The thought revisited Chief of Staff General Zachary Carhart each time he
descended from his office in the Tower to pay a grudging visit.

The Agency considered the Fourth to be a necessary evil, but unease snaked
through Carhart whenever he strode through the shining white corridors.
Each section of the Fourth was silent and sterile, giving nothing away of what
happened behind the soundproof doors of each cell. That deception was no
better than in the Maximum Security wing. There were rumors, but other than
the guards and physicians who attended to the inmates, most of the Agency’s
staff was unaware of what truly happened behind those walls.

Carhart knew. He knew that the inmates ranged from enemy captives to
Agency employees who had committed an infraction serious enough to
warrant punishment. And he knew about the mental torment used to tame
one of the Agency’s most infamous assassins. A man considered so wild, the
Agency kept him on the Fourth between his uses. The same man Carhart had
been maneuvering to free for the past six months.

FIRST CHAPTER I WROTE BY MYSELF IN THE SERIES (DC version, Chapter 1):

The Johnson’s Pharmaceuticals compound loomed before Boyd.

He had been born and raised in Lexington, and the compound was not far from his neighborhood of Cedar Hills, but he had never been to the compound before. Sprawled in the northern part of the city behind a towering gate and surrounded by trees, it was one of the few locations that had escaped the bombs. The third world war had exploded not too long after Boyd’s birth, but the effects lingered even now. He had never seen the city any other way than it was; desolate, crime-ridden and destroyed in places but rebuilt in others.

Johnson’s Pharmaceuticals was a reminder of the inequity of Lexington. Private businesses were almost nonexistent while large corporate entities dominated. Drug manufacturers in particular had profited from the war. Survivors suffering from trauma or lingering sickness were charged exorbitant prices for the chemicals needed to thrive. While most people could hardly afford a roof over their head, companies such as Johnson’s had enough money to spend on sprawling compounds and private security firms.

There had been a time when Boyd had strong opinions about those facts, but the inclination to care had long since faded.


+    +    FIVE    +    +


Julian Files set in the past of the In the Company of Shadows world, following Julian Jones and Cedrick Beaulieu, the Beaulieu family, and other cameos. You should not read this until you’ve finished Fade. Originally started who knows when. 2012ish I’m too lazy to look lol Julian’s pansexual so there are implications of him being with, or having been with, various people.

Thursday May 12, 2005
Lexington, PA

Even on the far end of Crandall Park’s sprawling playground, shrieking kids disrupted the otherwise calm morning. Julian’s fingers twitched and he resisted for the third time reaching for his pack of Winstons. He’d have gone for it anyway if the adulterating mom across the way didn’t give him the evil eye every time he touched his pocket.

Jennifer Groves, twenty-seven years old. Whitebread America mistressing it up with a certain Latino charmer named Joaquin Padilla. Julian doubted she knew he was the PI who had given her husband the racy photos of the two of them going at it like horny teenagers against a window of the White Oaks, but being as she recently stopped smoking she knew a fellow nicotine addict when she saw one. Not that her attempt to go clean living was liable to last long, once good ole Chris Groves was done raking her through the divorce proceedings.

It never ceased to amaze Julian how stupid so many people were. What made them think being in a mid-range hotel made the windows any less transparent when they decided to play out their little fantasies? And so many of them had the receiving partner facing the window, too. Made his job a whole hell of a lot easier to get the money shot.

He considered whipping out a smoke anyway just to fuck with her, when he noticed Cedrick approaching.

The man was a conundrum. He wasn’t bad looking by any stretch, but he easily could have been forgettable. Stocky build, average height, brown eyes, brown hair… Nothing stood out at a glance. In a photo, he would have been the guy in the background no one thought to look at twice.

The gift of anonymity.

Julian wished he had the same, at times.

But in motion, that was when all the little bits came together and made Cedrick recognizable. His easy, loping gait. The smile that seemed ever ready on the edges of his lips, and that goddamned infectious grin that popped up at the least expected moments. Made his whole face light up like a Christmas tree, and at times even made Julian fight a grin in return.

The trademark Beaulieu not-yet-smile was in place as Cedrick strode toward him slower than normal, and when all the trees and kidlets were out of the way Julian saw why.

He raised his eyebrows and flicked a glance down at Cedrick’s side.

“Brought the kid, huh?”

“Couldn’t get a babysitter.” Cedrick rested his hand around Boyd’s skinny little shoulders, pulling him against his thigh like some sort of tall dog. The fond smile aimed down at him probably wouldn’t have looked out of place in those circumstances, either. “Can’t say I’m sad about it, though. I don’t get enough time with him as it is.”

Cedrick dropped easily onto the park bench next to Julian, and soon it was the both of them who stared at Boyd.

Truth be told, the kid creeped Julian out. Like Cedrick, his photo op impression was different than his video. He was a cute kid by looks alone: fine blond hair, huge eyes an unusual amber; a skinny little thing with pouty lips. He hovered in that childlike androgynous zone of not seeming resigned to any gender entirely.

Maybe if he smiled once in a dinosaur’s age it’d be fine but he was like a little alien. He stared at people like he was dissecting their motivations, filing it away in some five-year-old version of Enemy vs Friend, or maybe he was just trying to figure out what the fuck was going on around him. Julian might have thought he was slow but he’d seen the kid write and draw well beyond his nephew who was four years older. And when the kid talked, which wasn’t often, there were times his sentence structure and astute observations were like he was twice his age.

Julian sometimes wondered if the kid was going to turn into a serial killer someday. If so, he should probably make sure he wasn’t on the kid’s hit list.


+    +    SIX    +    +


Tayla/Liani (aka the Snakes) back story book, unnamed, unfinished, and unreleased. Another spin-off from the ICoS world, this one focuses on Tayla and Liani’s relationship, from when they met to who they became (and probably through 1/27 or beyond). Originally started in 2008 then started again on March 30, 2014. Oh, this is f/f. I need to double check Tayla’s dialogue isn’t toooootally ridiculous, and need to do more research for Liani, so this is currently stalled.

“Laugh.”

Liani ignored the English word at first, the same as she had ignored the sound of movement behind her. The Siti Nurbaya bridge had a fair amount of foot traffic at this time of day, and more than one conversation had come and gone behind her.

She continued to stare down at the water not far below her; a dusky blue against the brighter reds, blues and whites of the boats docked on both sides. The railing she leaned against had once been red as well, before time and weather had worn the paint away in large patches to the dull grey metal beneath. She could feel the warmth of it even through her clothing, and drew in a breath of air tinged by the Indian Ocean.

Her gaze was just lifting to the rustling green trees when she was rudely thrown out of her reverie by a harsh shove on her shoulder.

“Are you daft? I said laugh! Help me out here!”

Startled, Liani looked over. Her hijab covered part of the view before she shifted and she had a clear view of the transgressor.

A young woman whose skin was the sort of sun-crisped brown of a naturally pale person was staring at her defiantly. Her jaw was tightened and arms crossed sharply in front of her to lean against the railing in a mimicry of Liani’s pose. Her hair could not be seen beneath the dark brown hijab wrapped amateurly about her head. Liani noted this must be someone who recently started wearing it, as she clearly didn’t know how to wear it properly. Her eyes were the palest blue Liani had ever seen in person. Liani barely had the chance to notice faint freckles across the young woman’s face and note that she looked to be maybe seventeen, about Liani’s age, before the young woman discreetly shoved her on the shoulder again.

“Get on it!”

“What…”

The girl’s gaze darted subtly past Liani’s shoulder, and before Liani could do more than start to turn her head as well, the young woman snapped her arm around Liani’s shoulders and dragged her closer in a half-hug. A large pair of dark sunglasses materialized out of nowhere and hid her pale eyes. She tipped her face toward the water and ran a bizarrely comforting hand along Liani’s upper arm.

“Fuck’s sake, fine,” she muttered grumpily under her breath. “I’ll console you, then. Jesus, not a good actor among the bunch ever– don’t look over,” she yanked Liani closer, “just, I dunno, stare down all morosely at the water like you were already doing. Wanna put in some tears too, that’s fine. They’re coming so you gotta act natural, right?”

“Who–”

To Liani’s further surprise, the girl switched seamlessly into Indonesian. Her accent was heavy and she was mostly mumbling mundane commentary tourists learned, but the cadence was just right. Liani felt herself leaning closer to the young woman, straining to hear the words despite herself, and she remained this way even after she vaguely noted the heavy footsteps of a small group of people rushing past.

There was a beat in which the woman kept mumbling– “saya tidak mengerti, jam berapa sekarang, bisa tolong diulangi, saya harus berlatih bahasa Indonesia saya…” — and then, with the faintest shift of her chin toward where the people had departed, she relaxed and fell silent. A huge grin aimed in Liani’s direction.

“Well,” the woman said cheerfully, back to English. “You’ve been a right help. Good to see chivalry isn’t dead, this day and age. Let’s continue that way, yeah?”

She pushed Liani lightly in the direction from which she’d come. She had an accent but Liani was too distracted to be able to analyze it properly.

“What are you–”

Liani straightened and hazarded a glance back, toward where the footsteps had receded, but the woman was already tightening her grip on Liani’s elbow and pulling her along faster.

“Don’t break the spell, doll. Let’s keep on. I’ll fill you in a bit once we’re not broadcasting it to the world, here.”


+    +    SEVEN    +    +


That moment in the rubble another back story spin-off of ICoS, this time Lou/Boyd. I wrote this for an anthology for The Slash Pile back in 2011. m/m, finished.

“You’re gonna fall in that water one day and I ain’t gonna do a thing to stop it,” Lou called up to Boyd. It was a lie, of course. He knew he’d end up jumping in the filthy water in some ridiculous and unnecessary rescue attempt but he figured he’d keep that part to himself. “Get your ass down here, man. It’s gettin’ cold.”

“You’re such a wuss,” Boyd said from atop his favorite pile of rubble. Crater Lake spread before him; stagnant water that filled a massive hole one of the bombs had created just off center of the city.

When he looked down at Lou, the sky silhouetted him. The sun was setting behind the clouds, turning the ever-present grey to deeper silver. The half-crumbled buildings lining the street framed him perfectly as he balanced on a looser chunk of concrete, one hand held out as counterweight.

It was that teasing grin Boyd gave him that had probably done Lou in all those months ago– the way it stretched Boyd’s full lips and made his golden brown eyes spark. Boyd’s blond hair swirled in a stirring of wind that Lou couldn’t feel down here on the ground, and with it Boyd tilted his head to look out at the water once again.

“I’m waiting until I can’t see the color anymore.”

Lou made a face at Boyd and kicked a rock into the water. Crater Lake was nothing but foul-smelling water that slowly killed the scavengers and Ferals, as far as he was concerned. They were the only ones stupid and desperate enough to drink and bathe in it. But Boyd loved the browns and greens of it; the way it stained a near-red at just the right moment of sunset and looked nearly black afterwards.

He wanted to be irritated with Boyd but he couldn’t be, not entirely. Not when he looked at Lou like that.


+    +    EIGHT    +    +


Dead Rain another original book, first conceived of in NaNo 2012. Contains m/m canon, f/f likely. Fantasy. The book is around 40% finished. Not yet released. 

The faint flicker of light was nearly consumed by darkness. Era lay still, her gloved fingers curled around the binoculars as she watched. Waited.

The second sentry was long gone by now; this much she knew from the messages left behind. It was cool and quiet but she had the patience to wait.

Upon arrival of the third sentry, she studied him as closely as she had all the others before. She came to the same conclusion:

Trained. Alert. Doing their job well.

When the third sentry looped back to the first, she packed her belongings and left.

The forest towered around her, accepting her into the comforting hush she had grown accustomed to in the past few years.

Without Shine at her side, the presence of the trees was far less grand. She didn’t see the trembling of their spirit, nor feel the cooling heat of their energy tingle along her skin. But she could feel them over her, sheltering her; watching every choice she made in the placement of her feet, and deadening the sound as if the forest, too, wished to protect her.

It had felt this way since the moment she had met Shine, and for that she wondered how much was a shift in her perception, how much was merely her imagination, and how much was the spirit of the forest reacting to one who would shelter its kind.

Although she was immeasurably careful on her trek, paying close attention to every sound out of the norm, it still felt like her journey was not as long as it should have been. Soon, she crested the small hill that showed their cave.

The entrance was unassuming: a patch of deeper black framed by a glimpse of rock overcome by grass and brush. Vines trailed over the hole, partially shielding it from view. She pushed her rucksack higher on her shoulder and ducked to keep the vines from catching in her hair.

When she entered the cave, her right hand buzzed faintly, as it always did. She rolled out the kinks and ignored it.

She didn’t need to trace the resonances here; she knew them all by heart.

The charmed rocks Shine had placed along the floor at intervals sucked up the excess sound, turning what would have been a study in echoes into the quiet skritch of her worn boots on cold stone.

The main passageway continued to the left, but Era ducked into the hidden break in the wall on the right. As she passed through the slim corridor, she could always tell where Oz’s obfuscation marks ended because the darkness receded quickly.

From ahead, light shone as faintly as it had on the walls of Teraset: blue that did little more than tinge the surroundings, shifting in and out of the shadows in candle flame flickers.


+    +    NINE    +    +


The Witching Tree another unfinished work started in the last few years, around 2012/2013. Another f/f story, also fantasy but this is more urban fantasy. I may change this beginning.

“I heard it again.”

“Pass me that vial,” Cara said absently. “What?”

“The footsteps behind me as I walked Lanie. But when I turned, there was nothing there.” Kacie handed the vial to Cara, then returned to propping her chin on her hand. She lounged against the edge of the desk while she waited for her computer to finish its analysis. “What do you suppose it means?”

“That you need to distinguish the difference between leaves skittering across the path and people walking up behind you.”

“Hmm.” Kacie rocked back and forth in her chair. “It’s true there were a lot of leaves.”

“That’s all it is, Kace.” Cara moved down to be eye-level with the larger container, her dark brown gaze intent through the safety glasses.

“Kind of disappointing, isn’t it?”

“Not really. Here, help me a sec.”

“Sure.” Kacie stood up, the chair rolling back when it hit the backs of her knees. She leaned over next to Cara. “What do you need?”

“Steady this; I don’t want to lose a drop and I’ve been butterfingers all day long.”

Kacie obediently held the beaker while Cara carefully poured the liquid inside. A chemical process started the second the liquids interacted, but Kacie wasn’t too interested in it. Not until Cara was finished with her current work. Before then, it was a whole lot of unrelated equations. When the vial was empty, Cara sat back and held her hand to her chin thoughtfully. She seemed to have forgotten Kacie’s existence, so Kacie returned to her chair with a sigh.

The day was dragging by so slowly. She was aching to go home, even though there really wasn’t much waiting for her there. Except Lanie and, hopefully, not a kennel full of shit. Still, she felt an odd need to be there, even beyond her urge to make sure her dog was happy, well-fed and hydrated. It was like she was always forgetting something more important she should be doing, but the actual thing never made it to the surface of her mind. Cara said it just meant she was restless and a perfectionist, which was probably true.

Kacie flipped between programs on her computer and saw that the two analyses would be another five hours for one, and eight for the other.

“Good God,” she groaned. She flopped dramatically down to one arm and rolled her forehead back and forth over it.

“Just go home,” Cara said without looking away from the beaker. “Justin’s gone today anyway. No one’ll notice.”

“Except you.”

“Yeah, and I don’t give a shit. You’ll just be wasting your time waiting for that crap to finish.”

“It’s true.”

“So go.”

Kacie grinned. “You don’t have to tell me twice.”

“I already did,” Cara muttered.


+    +    TEN    +    +


DeliveranceI wrote this for an anthology for The Slash Pile in I think 2012. Read/download it for free on my site (link is in the title). This is unrelated to any other series, ICoS included. The Luke in Deliverance is NOT Luke Gerant from ICoS.

Luke waited at the front of the store, idly examining a can of colored hairspray that seemed to have some sort of knock-off Japanese cartoon character on the label. It was already fifteen minutes past their meeting time but given that everyone ran on Fiji Time, including his confidential informant, it wasn’t unusual.

Two Indo-Fijian teenage girls walked into the store, hardly glancing at him as they headed toward the back. Their hijabs hid their hair but not their smiles when they saw the new stock of embroidered denim skirts on display.

Most of the businesses in this area of Suva were owned by Gujarati, which was likely why his native Fijian CI had chosen it. English was spoken everywhere but in these stores, Hindi was understood more often than Fijian. That, and it was large enough for him to hide in a corner.

A native woman appeared at his side, dark freckles dotting her face with her curves hidden beneath the old t-shirt and sulu she wore. Her hair was cut in a short afro and she grinned when she drew up beside him.

“Ni sa bula vinaka. E rawa ni’u vukei kemuni?”

Luke glanced down at her in assessment. She didn’t work here, that much he knew, but her ploy worked at a glance. It wasn’t unusual for the employees of businesses to hound the white visitors who stepped into their stores, primarily because they were oftentimes tourists and they would spend a whole lot of money if they got the help they needed.

She must be the new go-between. The secretary, Luke often referred to them, even though Jone didn’t think that was as funny as he did.

“Io,” he answered, setting the hairspray down. He leaned idly against the corner of a wall near him and didn’t need to look around to know no one would overhear them. “Au via raici Jolame.”

She was definitely the secretary, since she recognized the code name he used for Jone. She grimaced faintly and shook her head in the manner of someone who had to inform a customer that the item they were looking for was not in stock. “Vosota e sega ni mai cakacaka ‘o koya.”

Luke sighed and nodded, pushing himself to a stand as if it was a mild inconvenience. Their eyes meeting for a moment told another story entirely. ‘Jone didn’t come to work’ meant in their world something a whole lot more alarming than the man felt like staying home sick.


+    +    ELEVEN    +    +


The Edge of Reason just a random story I felt like writing. October 18, 2014. A little f/f.

It was the way things were when the music slowed and eventually stilled. She picked up each piece that had fallen apart, carefully so as not to disturb the delicate threads holding it all together as gossamer strands, and in her palms the pieces shone a dull gunmetal grey. Some of the parts still tried to move, not realizing yet the time had come and gone when it was a working unit. When it was whole. The pieces twitched the way all living beings twitched at the end of their life; broken and unmended but so very certain that it wasn’t that way at all.

Tell me this isn’t real, she had asked them the moment her toes had first touched the water, but of course they could not say those words because the base truth of their existence was that they could not lie.

She had wished for many things, once. But then the music had slowed and eventually stilled, and she could wish for things no more.

#

The water was as still as the dead, or at least as still as Julienne had once believed the dead to be. She had later learned there were so many things happening inside the body, as many things in death as in life, to the point that calling the dead ‘still’ was a misnomer. The dead writhed, or at least the body did, but perhaps the soul itself was still.

The water was as still as the soul.


+    +    TWELVE   +    +


Never Odd or Even – a random story I wrote because I wanted to write a story that had a lot of palindromes in the names and title. Just because. April 7, 2013. A little m/m.

He would never understand why he had agreed to this.

“This door is green,” he said blankly.

Silis looked up from the long box he was in the middle of opening. The box cutter’s blade paused at the threshold of breaking through the plastic tie.

He grinned. “I know. Nice, right?”

“That’s… not the word I was looking for.”

JJ stared at the offending door in distaste. It wasn’t even a nice shade of green. It was some sort of weird hybrid of cucumber and snot. It looked like puke. It was pretty much just puke.

“I got it at a discount,” Silis continued proudly.

“Was it free?”

“No, why?”

“Then it wasn’t discounted enough.”

A scowl was his answer. Silis snapped the blade through the rest of the tie and dug his fingers into the box to open it.

JJ kicked the door with a sullen sort of air and then turned to look around him. The sun was blazing like a motherfucker in the sky, if the phrase could even be used for that. Really, according to heathens who liked to dally in a curse or two like him, what didn’t a motherfucker do? Except, often, literally fuck their mother? He didn’t think he’d ever seen it used properly. Like, ‘that motherfucking incest book.’

He smirked to himself. Note to self: find a book about incest. Write a review like that.

Check and mate.


+    +    THIRTEEN    +    +


The sky story – This is unnamed, except called “Wabash Review try”. I think I was writing this for some contest I found, which may now be called the Sycamore Review. I have no idea tbh, this is from around 2002.
She had never truly appreciated the beauty of the sky until that moment. It had always just been something hidden behind the crowded buildings, or lost beyond the smog. To her, the sky was the source of annoyances like rain when she forgot her umbrella, snow when she had to go outside, wind when her hair was finally perfect, and lightning when she wanted to watch TV. More than anything, if she thought of the sky at all, it was merely an association with frustrating weather. But why should she have felt any different? Born in a city, the ‘skyline’ was more building than sky, with the buildings being far more interesting to her anyway.

And maybe her life would have continued that way, maybe not. She couldn’t say for certain, because standing in the field with the grass dancing around her knees, she wondered if she had ever really known the sky at all, or if instead in that cardboard-cutout city she had only ever known a plastic ceiling with holes for water.

It felt like that. It felt like what she had known had never been this. Had never been this majestic

“It’s beautiful,” she whispered, and found herself sitting down, falling down right there where she never would have sat before. The grass folded beneath her weight, the surrounding grass blades tickling her as they waved in the warm summer breeze.

Lorelei understood the impact of that pastel sky and smiled sidelong at Helen collapsed within the field. “I know,” she answered softly, and turned to watch herself.


+    +    FOURTEEN    +    +


John the Wizard I set myself the goal in October 2015 to do Inktober every day and write a short story about the art I did. I literally did one single story because I suck. This was that story.

The only way John could pass the exam was by cheating.

He wanted to become a wizard with the hopes that he would be able to see the world, but it hadn’t been going so well for him. He was in his finals at school, everything resting on this last full day of skill testing, and he hadn’t been doing well. His first attempt at conjuring darkness had somehow resulted in silver glowing smoke trails, and when he tried to fix it he ended up with a pool of blood. No one was sure where it came from, and everyone very specifically Did Not Ask.

He hadn’t known how he was going to pass the test, the one that would give him his Wizarding License At Large. Trying to distract himself, he looked all around and saw her. Laurie, the supermodel student with the large cat. It was another one of those things people specifically Did Not Ask About, which was fine with him. John liked cats, for all that he was allergic to them. Something the wizarding world hadn’t yet fixed.

The thing about Laurie was that she was brilliant; she’d passed all her tests faster than anyone else, and she was nice as well. So nice that she was the only one to walk over and talk to John as he hovered at the back of the class, worrying over what to do next.

“Want help?” she asked him, and he looked at her in surprise.

“Why would you?” he asked.

A yellow bus full of wizards-who-had-already-passed-the-test flew by, making such a racket he almost didn’t hear her answer.


+    +    FIFTEEN    +    +


Winter Prayers I wrote this….. I have no idea how long ago. I was in college so sometime between 2001-2005. It was going to be part of a doujinshi collaboration but the collab never happened. So now I have this random story. Not released.

When Jessica was seven, her father walked out of the house and never returned.

She stood by the door, her hands pressed against the cold glass, her breath fogging her view of that large world beyond. She was certain that if she waited long enough, if she looked hard enough, if she was a good enough little girl… He would be there. She longed to see his tattered brown briefcase, his work-worn smile. She wanted to see him wave again, like he used to, with just the slightest of twitches in his upraised hand and a sparkle in his eyes she could see even across the lawn.

She wanted to hear him laugh.

She wanted to see him smile so kindly at her when she asked him why the world existed as it did. She wanted to see him again, hug him again, cry on his shoulder again…

But no matter how long she waited, no matter how many years passed, her father never returned.

She watched for him still, her faith as strong as a disbeliever turned religious. She knew that she just wasn’t looking hard enough. Her father was down that street, inside that café, across that stadium… Everywhere she was, her father was. He was waiting for her to find him.

He was waiting, for her.


+    +    SIXTEEN    +    +


The Other Side of Truth this is a super old story too, way early 2000’s or honestly, I may have written this in high school so it’s possible it was late 90’s. Not released. It was about vampires.

Her breath was harsh in the near silence, her heartbeat a resounding drum she couldn’t ignore.  It was funny, really.  How often had she wondered what it would be like to feel the blood running through her veins again?  How many times had she stared out the window, wishing for the bittersweet touch of humanity just one more time?  Of course, at the time she had stood at that window, her fingers brushing back the heavy curtains and her eyes dark and solemn in the shadows of her haven, she’d had no idea it would come to this.

Hunters.

She had heard of them.  How could she not have?  Jensen spoke of them all the time.

Beware the Hunters, watch for their sunglasses, they have yellow eyes, you’ll know when you see them.  

It wasn’t that she hadn’t believed him, but rather that she’d thought there was no point.  She was a vampire, or as close to that as existed in reality.  She drank blood, but not straight from victims.  Hers came in deceptive little brown paper packages that arrived at her door every morning at 5 am.  Her carrier was an overweight middle-aged man who seemed unable to decide if he was bitter or cheerful every time she unlatched the eight locks on her front door, needing to use her skeleton key for two of them.  He would smile at her, a distant smile that never reached his eyes, and though his tone was light, his words were dark.  She never knew how to deal with him, so she just stayed silent, letting her long dark hair shield her expression and the darkness from her haven swallow all but the pale glint from her skin.  


+    +    SEVENTEEN    +    +


The Memory Remains – this was originally written July 1, 2003, as a Gundam Wing fanfic I wrote planning to submit to a contest. But I got too carried away with the worldbuilding, and ran out of space to add in all requirements of the contest (ie, happy ending ^^;;) so I finished it super quick to get it done in time, then decided the ending was way too abrupt. I always liked the sort of fantasy world it was in though so I’m (slowly) changing it to an original story. This is with the new names copy/pasted in, but with the original horrific fanfic writing I did back then.

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.”

“What’s he doing?”

His whisper was loud and echoed in the abandoned room. Dust swirled around their feet as they walked between the broken, haunted pews. Pieces of stained glass clung fiercely to the windowpanes in places, the rest of the once beautiful windows scattered like a shower of glittering razor blades across the floor. The cross at the front of the building had fallen to its side, propped against the wall as if carefully thrown away, as contradictory as it seemed. Dark stains spattered every surface of the room, a kaleidoscope of struggle, a collage of blood. The air was heavy, and the more Derek looked around, the more he believed he had no right nor wish to be there. The memory of the Old Religion hung suffocatingly in the church, a testament to the fact that even the mightiest of empires could fall, and crush all its followers in the process.

This was not a chapel, this was a graveyard; as much for the religion as for its people.

“Praying,” his companion said in a droll tone. Derek spared him an annoyed glance before he turned, craning his neck as he searched for the source of the murmur echoing across the room.

“It has been fifteen days since my last confession.”

They turned past the bloodied statue of the Virgin Mary and stepped over her hands held in prayer, long ago broken off and thrown to the side. Behind the altar, hidden in the deepest shadows, stood a single confessional. Its walls were covered in blasphemous graffiti; its floor was stained with blood. The doors had long since been ripped from the hinges and the faint scent of musty incense permeated the corner. Derek stared speechlessly at the leader of his revolution, kneeling humbly in the confessional with his forehead pressed tightly against his white-knuckled hands held out in prayer. Dust sprinkled across his long hair and the deep black of his clothing, but that was not what caught Derek’s attention.

“There’s never been anyone there,” Derek’s companion Rem said in a soft aside, nodding his head toward where the Father should be sitting. “Only his past, and the demons that brings.”

Derek nodded dumbly, staring at his leader. He felt emotionless, stunned by this revelation; not only that Avery Turnell actually existed, but that he was truly of the dead Old Religion, and that he would be so strong a believer as to delusionally believe that confessionals could work in the first place, let alone without a Father.


+    +    EIGHTEEN    +    +


 
DIaMOnd lAce guys, we’re going reeeeaaaal old skool here! This was my 2001 NaNoWriMo book, the very first NaNo I ever did. It was also f/f, and kind of problematic, but also sort of interesting. I had the whole thing online at one point. I can add it again if people want but I haven’t reread it in forever and I’m sure it’s shit. Just sayin. Also, the title had that specific weird caps for a reason, I wasn’t just being obnoxious lol 

Concerning the Twisting of the Diamond…

::Enrika::

I’ve always hated winter.

I hate the way it smells, I hate the way it feels, I hate the memories it brings. I hate the way my breath can be seen, how everything is frosted, and how the sky is the same color as this stark cold ground beneath my feet. I hate the word winter, the way I sound saying it, and especially the way she sounded when she would whisper it at night.

She loved winter.

She loved everything about it, just like she loved everything about me.

Back then, I think I didn’t mind winter, because every time I walked onto that driveway and saw her car, I would remember her. I would hear her laughing and look back, seeing her shining eyes through the window. Her hand was pressed against the windowpane, her smile large and contagious.

And she always murmured the same three words…

“I love you,” she’d whisper… “I love you….”

But she’s gone, and I’m here… standing in the cold… wishing I could erase this season from existence.


+    +    NINETEEN    +    +


My One and Only – My One and Only!! You guys! I actually legit loooove this story, even though it needs to be edited. I’m not sure when I wrote it originally. I think it was late 90’s/early 2000’s. Explaining this would = spoilers so I’ll just share the start. The only thing I’ll say is I wrote this when I was super into V:TM.

I see her standing in the twilight, dark hair misting down her soft white shoulders like a distant waterfall. She laughs and fidgets, almost as if she can feel my presence. I watch her every night, now. And I think she knows.

She would have seen me once, had I not been hidden. She looked straight my way, and her beautiful green eyes shown in the moonlight like emeralds rising out of the sea. I would have caught my breath, if I breathed. If I were human still. But as soon as the moment came, it was past, and she was talking once more to him. To this man she may love but who doesn’t love her back. She will never see the one who truly loves her, for I will never show myself to her innocence.

She turns once more in my direction, lingering on the shadows concealing my form. I do not move, but it wouldn’t matter. She will never see me unless I want her to. Her eyebrows furrow down, her porcelain face takes on a puzzled expression. Her right hand begins to reach my way, and I almost step back. She cannot see me. She cannot! I have not willed it so….

He pulls her hand away, and she jumps with a shake of her head. Safe. Still, I do not like being saved by that man that is only using her. I’ve seen him with other women, other women who he says are his ‘one and only’. James, his name is. It disgusts me to share the name, although at least I can say it was the middle name given to me as a child. Now that I am of the Kindred, I rarely use that middle name. It has become as translucent as the human I used to be. A ghost of my past that I will never again reach.

Erika turns to James with a smile plastered on her face, and it is the first time I know that she does not truly love him. Why are they together, if neither loves the other? I would not waste my time on someone I did not love. I would not stand here, watching her perfect being, if it weren’t for how I felt about her.


+    +    TWENTY    +    +


Wicked – omgggg I TOTALLY forgot about this one! It was an interesting idea that I got out of nowhere one day. I’ve sort of integrated part of the idea into Dead Rain now, but it could still be intriguing to use the same concept in the original place, in this story. I’d change the name though, that’s lame. Anyway this was from… idk, tbh. I would guess maybe 2001-2003, if not late 90’s.

The bottle was cold in her hand, but she didn’t care. Trembling, she swiftly popped two pills in her mouth and dry-swallowed, tipping her head back until her dirty blond hair brushed her shoulders.

“Can’t… stop…” she rasped, her hands twitching as she tossed the pill bottle aside then carefully grabbed a plate from the sink. Water filtered through the grime on the dish and splashed haphazardly across the counter.

“Can’t… shaking…”

Her voice was harsh and breathy in the near silence, with only a distant clock ticking time away and the TV droning softly in the living room nearby to break the stillness.

Alone….

She didn’t feel alone.

She was…

Alone….

“Can’t… can’t stop….”

Her fingers jerked, her arm quaked, and the plate dropped to the floor with a resounding crash. Her trembling hands pushed the hair from her closed eyes. Her breath was overly loud, but not nearly as deafening as her heartbeat prowling in her chest. Stepping carefully away from the shards, she tried to force herself to calm down.

Stress was causing her vision to swirl and limbs to shake. But she would be fine. She was always fine. As long as she let herself relax, the feelings of anxiety would recede and she could carry on like normal.

She was fine.

She was fine.

It was just…

Sometimes….

Sometimes she remembered what it was like to laugh as the blood sprayed across her chest, dampening her cheek, staining the carpet—

“Stop it!” she hissed desperately, closing her eyes again and taking deep, cleansing breaths.

“I am fine. I am better. I am at peace…” she whispered, opening her eyes to cross the kitchen floor and find the broom. “No one can hurt me. I’ve been forgiven. I am at peace….” Her voice was as brittle as her hope.

A shadow moved languidly from the corner, spreading across the floor. It jerked, shifted, then began to stretch itself thinner and thinner until it spanned the kitchen room. In the blink of an eye, it was gone as fast as it had appeared.

“I am fine. I am better. I am….”

She turned and stared at the plate on the floor with a heavy sigh.

“I am losing my mind….”

Puffing her straggly bangs from tired eyes, she began to clean up.


* * * NOTES * * *


That was super fun because I had to dig through really old archives of my old ass stories to find things for this. I have written stories more recently than some of these really old ones like My One and Only, but mostly they were super short things in writing group and/or I don’t know where it is, but most of these really old stories listed are ones I remembered all these years and always wanted to continue and/or liked. So I figured it was more interesting to include super old stuff that was finished or had more written in it, than just the paragraph or two of writing group prompts.
My One and Only is one of my favorite old skool stories I wrote. I think one reason I love it is it’s the kind of story that gets creepier the more you read. I definitely should revise that story and share it or send it in somewhere for fun.
PS: if you wonder why Domino is not on this list, it’s because I can’t find the parts I know I’ve written of it, and even then I hadn’t technically started the first chapter.
If anyone is interested in reading more from any of these excerpts where it isn’t released, let me know. I may be able to share more, or may not be able to, but you may as well ask if you’re interested 🙂
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