Sunday, February 28, 2010

Meeting in the lane

So apparently, I haven't fooled anyone into thinking that I can keep my head in one story for more than twenty minutes. This is further evidence towards their point, and as such, a new story. A bit of introduction is necessary for this one. The story is set in late 1800's Europe, though I need to work on showing that in my dialouge, and stars Mary, a british author on holiday, and Charles, her unlucky suitor/stalker/friend, who, working together, create a fake detective and accidentally make him famous. This is early on in their working relationship.

The man I had collided with was not, fortunately, a stranger. The shaggy brown hair and startled eyes were extremely familiar, coming as they did attached to a beanpole of a man, shabbily dressed, and headed towards the inn where I was staying.
"Oh! Good day, Charles!" I said, trying to regain my composure.
“Mary!” Charles looked startled, nearly falling backwards into the woods as he stumbled to regain his balance. “What's going on? I heard there was a murder!”
“There was!” I whispered, pulling him off the lane towards a small stone bench. “But keep your voice down, I'm not supposed to have left.”
“What happened?” he asked, a little more quietly, glancing back up the road to the little inn.
“The desk clerk was poisoned. Looks like Arsenic to me, but they haven't let me inspect the body well enough to tell for sure.”
“You're trying to investigate?”
“Of course I...”
“Mary, just leave it to the police!” Charles implored, interrupting me. “They know what they're doing.”
“No they don't,” I retorted heatedly. “That inspector is a first class idiot—he's been promoted because of some rich uncle or something, I'm sure of it.”
“He can't be all that bad.” Charles glanced from side to side, making sure we were completely alone. “Can he?”
“He saw my name on the desk register and assumed it was a man.”
“”Well, Augustus is a man's name...”
“Well, yes, but when he came up to speak to me about the clerk's death, he assumed...” My embarrassment took over at that point. I turned bright red, and broke off abruptly.
“Assumed what?”
I took a deep breath, and attempted to continue. “I had to tell him Augustus was my brother, and not, in fact, my lover.” I had to look away as I spoke, trying to hide the burning blush on my face.
“He what?” I should have known better than to tell Charles that. His face turned redder than mine. “Why, that's an insult to your honor—I won't stand for it, I'll...”
“You will do nothing!” I caught his arm, holding him back. “The last thing I need right now is for someone to imply that I lied to a police inspector in the middle of an investigation!”
“But...” He sighed, calming down under my watchful eye. “Right.”
“Thank you.” I gave him a brief smile, before glancing back down the lane towards the inn. “But now he's looking for my supposed brother—he wants to interview him about where he was and what he was doing last night.”
“Oh.” Charles stood thinking for a moment and running a hand through his hair. “Well, that is troublesome.”
“I don't suppose you have a plan to divert them?”
“Not as of yet, no.” I sat down on the little bench with a sigh, momentarily stymied. “I've really gotten myself in deep this time.”
“No joke.” He sat next to me, thinking, before he suddenly stood again. “I've got it!”
“Got what?” I inquired, staring up at him.
“I'll masquerade as your brother!” he said triumphantly.
“Charles, we look nothing alike!” I objected.
“Well, not naturally, no.” he admitted. “But you've caught me before in disguise—I bet I could fool that police inspector!”
“But...” I trailed off. “I don't like it.”
“It's the only plan we've got.” He sat again, shrugging his shoulders. “Unless you've got a better one.”
“Unfortunately, I don't.” I sighed again, brushing the dirt off my skirts. “But do you really think you could pull that off?”
“I said you've caught me before.” His eyes twinkled as he spoke. “I didn't mention the times you haven't caught me.”

Sunday, February 21, 2010

More bits of stories

The nightmares came suddenly, violently, in the midst of what was otherwise normal sleep. There was never a hint of warning beforehand—she always, always went straight into them, breaking the dreaming silence with a world-shattering scream. And she would fight. She would fight the air and the thin blanket, thrashing in an attempt to escape an invisible danger, so violent sometimes that he was afraid she would hurt herself. He always dropped out of the network when it happened, into his body to climb up the little tunnel into the cockpit and hold her, whether to keep her from hurting herself or simply because he didn't know what else to do. And he would stay with her, wrapping her in his arms, until the nightmare subsided from screams to whimpers, from sobs to heavy breathing and a tearstained face. And then he would lay her back down in the pilots seat, gently as ever, more gently than he ever did anything else, more than he ever let her know he could do, and watch, just for a moment, just to be really, truly sure she was fine. And he would climb back down the little tunnel and head back into the network, where he would wait. He would wait until she awoke again. They would both pretend that nothing was wrong.

In the forest there is a ruin, and in the ruin there is a clock tower. And in the clock tower, there is a man, barely a man, more a boy who's rather surprised to find himself taller; but he lives in the clock tower and sometimes, on clear days, he plays the bells. There is only one song he ever plays, and it is the only song that he knows. But he rings the bells, loud and clear, and the one and only song echoes over the ruins, through the forest, and barely, just barely, into the world beyond.
He came from nowhere, the boy-turned-man, who rings the bells on clear days. He flew in on silver wings, in silver fog, and no one saw him but the doves who lived in the clock tower, who live there still. Perhaps he lives off of pigeon's eggs. Nobody knows, really. Nobody talks to him. Nobody has ever talked to him, out of those few that have seen him. He fled from the few that tried. But perhaps he was only afraid, and not a hermit like they think he is, for if you get close enough to see him, (which is very hard, and not many people can), he looks downcast always, like a lonely man.
There are letters that they, those who pass by, have found in hollow trees and the dry places of the ruin. The writing is neat, round, childlike, but readable. The sentences are short and to the point.
Dear you, they say, If you met me, would you remember me? Because if you would not, then I would be glad to meet you. I am alone.
They vary from letter to letter in what words they use, the number of sentences, the greeting and occasionally the end. But they are never signed.
Nobody sees him leave these letters, but they all know it's him, those few who are so downcast to live in the ruins and find them. Nobody else is quite so alone.
The song he plays is an old one, one of those odd songs that everyone knows but no one can remember the words. Sometimes he makes up little variations, playing chords with the bells. Sometimes he gets so far into this experimentation that the song is hardly recognizable, but it is always the same song, the only song he knows. But the last bell—the bell that would be the very last note of the very last verse, the one that's supposed to echo out so the listeners can breath again—is cracked, right down the middle. The last note is never played.

“I refuse to believe it.” Her voice was only half firm, wavering slightly with emotion. “He's not dead. I've heard him, and I can still see him when I'm asleep. He's... stuck, I guess. In the earth's magnetic field.”
“Sam...” Gabe shook his head, putting the mop back in the closet. “I know you've never been wrong before. You were right about Dr. Sarin, and the Puppetmaster, and everything. And we all owe our lives to you. But still...” He trailed off. “His body was destroyed, Sam. There is literally nothing left.”
“So? He's still alive. I know he's alive. I...” She trailed off, sinking down against the locker and putting her arms on her knees. “I can't tell Timothy. It'd hurt him too much. But... I had to tell someone. Seth's alive. I don't understand it, but he is. Maybe I'm really crazy this time.”
“I doubt that.” Gabe said, leaning up against the lockers next to her. “I believe you. If you say he's alive, you've never been wrong.”
“Really?” She looked up at him, disbelieving.
“Yeah.” He pulled the box cap over his eyes. “Don't expect me to back you up on that, though. I'm crazy enough to believe you, but not that crazy.”
“Psh.” She turned away again, smiling faintly. “Didn't figure.”

Again, just some little things I've written recently. I really like them, but didn't really think they were enough to post on their own. Tell me what you think!

Monday, February 15, 2010

It was raining

Raining. It was raining.
He hardly noticed anymore.
The battered leather overcoat had once been fairly waterproof, but age and use and use and use had reduced it to nothing, and water soaked through like sound. He plodded onwards, heading into nowhere, across the wastes. He moved not so much forwards as away.
Mud caked the old trousers, the broken boots, the blistered feet inside. The rivulets of water running down his face ran into his open mouth, and he thought without thinking that he should swallow, and save what little water he carried for later. He stumbled, catching himself half-inches above the ground. The world was mud, and what wasn't was pain, and what wasn't was water and tiredness mixed into more mud, just like the stuff on his trousers.
He didn't know where he was going. He'd never known, not since he set out. He knew precisely, though, where he'd been.
The smell of woodsmoke drifted through the rain, suffering a thousand battle wounds from the piercing drops, but still there. He almost, almost woke up from the trance of one-foot-forward at that, lifting his eyes from the broken, muddy ground to stare blankly at the forest around him, not sure what he intended to see. Nothing, nothing, ever nothing, and he looked back down.
His pack was heavy, slung over one shoulder. It didn't hold much; a little food, a little water, a lot of rain. Two books, soaked through and useless. A needle, black thread. Nothing.
He thought, his mind fighting against the stupor, that he could hear children laughing—somewhere, elsewhere, probably only in his memories. There was little enough laughter there, maybe it could use a little more.
He stumbled again, as his exhausted feet lagged behind where his mind said they should be, and fell this time. He pushed himself back up, wiping the mud from the scarlet mark on his face with a sleeve so dirty it hardly made a difference before he plodded onward, upwards, away.
Always away.

This isn't exactly finished, but I like this part. It's a lot shorter than most of my stuff, but hey.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


“Karen?” His voice was unsure, for once, and she dropped lightly to the ground, listening to the distinctive sounds that her boots made on the pavement.
“I'm here.”
“Good.” He breathed out, relaxing his grip on the railing. “I was worried...”
“Why?” She didn't mean to sound as startled as she did. “Did something happen?”
“Oh, no. Just something I heard on the bugs.”
“What?” She put a hand to his shoulder. “Tell me.”
“Oh, one of the delve guessed you were a girl.”
“What?” She dropped her voice to a whisper. “What did he say—should I do something?”
“It wasn't serious—I think he was drunk, actually.” Jay almost laughed. “Nobody took him seriously.”
“Heh.” She relaxed. “So only drunk people and blind men can tell I'm a girl.”
“Oh, I'm sure I could tell anyway.” The smugness crept back into Jay's voice. “Even if I could see you.”
“You sure?” Karen shook her head slowly. “People have made the mistake before...”
“No, really?” He turned towards her. “They can't have really...”
“They have!” she insisted. She expected him to make some comment on that, but he was silent for a moment, seemingly lost in thought.
“...Karen.” He finally spoke. “What do you look like?”
“Why?” She shifted nervously.
“Just curious.” He shrugged, turning away again. “I just don't know, is all.”
“I...” She hesitated. “I have brown hair and hazel eyes.”
“And... and I'm kinda pale and I'm shorter than you by about five inches and my dad says I'm too muscular for a girl.”
“I don't know,” she turned away. “What do you want me to tell you?”
“I don't know.”
There was a moment of silence between them, as Karen stared out at the winter skyline, and Jay listened to the dull roar of the monorail tracing it's way through the city.
Jay worked up his courage at last. “Can... can I touch you?”
“...What?” She took a step back. “Why?”
“It's... it's the only way I can tell what you look like. Just your face. I'll be gentle.”
“...Alright.” She swallowed hard. He held out a hand to her, and she very slowly guided his hand up to her face, and let him go. She shut her eyes.
“You're shaking.” His voice held something different in it now. “I don't have to...”
“No. No, go ahead.” She spoke quickly, trying not to turn away.
His fingertips rested lightly on her cheek for what felt like forever before they finally started to move. He traced the line of her jaw with four fingers, leading down towards her mouth. He brushed it lightly with his thumb, and moved upwards, gently running his fingers across her skin. She barely noticed that she was clenching her fists so hard that her short nails bit into her skin. His fingertips glided along her forehead, pausing for a second at the base of her hair, then down again, following the curves of her eyebrows and onto her eyes.
“Why are you crying?” His fingers stopped.
“I'm...” She started to deny it, but the crack in her voice defied her. “I didn't want you to...”
“I didn't have to, you could have said...” He sounded genuinely concerned. “I'm sorry.”
“I didn't want you to know...” She tried to keep from sobbing. “I didn't want you to know how ugly I am.”
There was a silence that felt like it lasted for forever, with his fingertips still resting on her face. Then Jay pulled away, for only half a second.
And then he embraced her.
She almost tried to struggle, but he didn't let her, strong arms holding her still against him. “Don't say that,” he whispered. “Don't.”
“You're beautiful, Karen. Who told you...”
“I'm not—I'm really..”
“Don't say that.” He cut her off again, pulling her closer. “You're beautiful,” he breathed into her ear. “I checked.”

Normally, I wouldn't post stuff this sappy on my blog, but hey, it's valentines day. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Shattered Mirror

The old door didn't so much creak open as it banged, and Alice practically lunged inside with the heavy box of decorations. She dropped the box with a relieved sigh. The thick dust that covered everything poofed out in all directions as the cardboard met the wooden planks of the attic, catching the golden light that filtered through the dirty windows. Alice shoved the box up against the wall with her foot, and stood, surveying the scene for a moment.
Janice hadn't been kidding when she'd said they didn't come up here much. The dust now swirling around the air clung to everything, and abandoned spiderwebs glittered in every corner. The ceiling sloped inwards, peaking above the door, with three great beams that corresponded to the big pillars in the library below. A series of boxes much like the one she'd just dragged up the long staircase lined the walls, some with an old copy of a ruined book gracing the top of the pile, and others with less natural adornments, like old tinsel, or buckets. The warm yellow light of the summer afternoon suffused the room, and for a moment, she felt a strange nostalgia, like she was hiding in grandma's attic until far after she should have gone home.
That feeling snapped abruptly as her eyes rested on the floor at the center of the room.
There was a mirror. At least, there had been a mirror—what remained was a mess of fragments, scattered across the floor almost up to the door where she stood. The remains of the frame were missing. But the oddest thing was the total lack of dust on the mirror—even the floor it sat on was coated, but the mirror itself was completely clean. No footprints led up to it, or away from it.
Alice, quite suddenly, had to get back downstairs right this second.
She turned, but the door had closed behind her. She grabbed the handle, trying to open it until she remembered Janice's warning about the sticky lock. She bit her lip, trying to fight down the panic as she twisted the doorknob this way and that to no avail. She was stuck.
“What, leaving so soon?” A voice she knew from bad memories echoed out from behind her. “Alice, I thought we were better friends than that.”
She swallowed hard. “You... are not real.”
“Am I?” She refused to turn around and see him standing there, rising from the mirror like she would rise from a pool of water. “Then why, my dear Alice, are you so afraid of me?”
“You're a bad memory. A figment of my imagination. I'm not crazy anymore, darnit, and I know that you are not real!”
“Of course you're not crazy, Alice. You were never crazy.” His voice was smug, smooth, intoxicating, the perfect gentleman that he wasn't, he wasn't, she knew he wasn't. “But do you really have to take it out on me? I'm hurt.”
“You're a fictional character. I thought you up when I read Alice in Wonderland when I was seven. You don't exist. I know that.”
He laughed, like bells. “Alice, you know I was there before that.”
“So I was crazy before that. I'm not crazy now. Go away.” She clamped her eyes shut, keeping her hand on the doorknob as an anchor to reality. “You're not real.”
“Alice...” His voice was pleading in a way that already had what he wanted, the way he always had. She could feel him stepping across the fragments of the mirror, flickering in and out of reality as he touched them. “What happened? It used to be so easy for you to believe in me—all you needed was a book. Just that, one book, one afternoon—and you knew I was there.”
“I was crazy.” The words came in a half-sob. “Go away. Wherever you've been for fifteen years.”
“I never went away, Alice. You stopped believing, but I never went away. The others did, but you know...”
“Go away!” she shouted, finally whirling to face him. “I'm not crazy, I refuse to be crazy! I'm imagining you because of the mirror and the stress and I must be panicking, that's it, I'm panicking because the door won't open and oh no don't come any closer...”
“Shush.” He put a hand over her mouth, balancing precariously on a shard of mirror. “Now, Alice, dear, won't you calm down? This does neither of us any good.”
He was different than she'd remembered him. The parts were all there—the long curly hair barely held back in a ponytail, the well tailored suit jacket, the ridiculous top hat and white porcelain teacup in one well-manicured hand. But he was different—his eyes were darker, though still half hidden in shadow; his hair was brown now, instead of white, rich and dark like coffee or dark, expensive chocolate, shining like silk as it curled around his half-smiling face. The hat was even more ridiculous, if that was even possible—it had gained bits and pieces of belts and metal and a clock, stitched in to the grey fabric with black as night thread. The coat was a different cut, with flaired sleeves and a tie wrapped around one arm. And the ace of spades winked at her, tucked into his hat band, just as it had been when she had last seen him fifteen years ago.
He removed his hand from her mouth as her breathing returned to normal. “There, that's better.”
“You've changed,” she said breathlessly, trying very hard not to believe her eyes.
“You've changed, and so I have too.” He smiled a little at that, ducking his eyes beneath the dark brim of the top hat. “I am whatever you need me to be.”
“Gone?” She quipped, trying to regain her courage.
“Hah, no, not today.” His smile was a little more forced. “You can see me now. That's a start.”
“I'd rather not, thank you.”
“I'm just going to pretend you didn't say that.” He took a step back onto a different shard of mirror, moving like a dancer. “And enjoy my brief time with you. This, after all, is a rare opportunity.”
“If you so much as touch me...”
“You know me better than that,” he admonished gently. She hated to admit that she did. “We could have tea, Alice, what would you say to that? Just how we used to.” He gestured with the teacup.
“Not happening.” She swallowed. “I'm supposed to be working. As soon as Janice notices I'm not back, she'll come upstairs, and find that the lock stuck. And then she'll let me out, and I'll be fine, because there's no mirrors down there, so you can't follow me.”
“A shame.” He sighed. “My one lucky chance, and it has to be ruined completely by your lovely friend downstairs. Perhaps my friend the cat could distract her for a while.”
“Cat wasn't real either, don't you try to trick me like that.”
“I assure you, Alice, Cat is just as real as I am.” He turned, moving back towards her across the shattered glass. “Would you like to...”
“No. You're not real, he's not real, and you stay away from me!” She flattened herself against the door again as he stepped closer. He sighed again.
“You wound me, Alice, you really do. When have I ever hurt you?”
“Let's see, how about when you made me crazy.” She meant for that to sound exactly as bitter as it did, aiming the words like bullets.
“You were never crazy,” he replied placidly.
“Don't you go trying to trick me like that, I was crazy. I know I was crazy. I have to watch out or I'll go crazy again, and so help me if you take one step closer I will go straight back to that psychiatrist and have you medicated out of existence for good!”
“Rather drastic, don't you think?” He stood a few feet away, seemingly lost in thought. “But you would never do that, Alice. You wouldn't give up your imagination for the world.”
“Try me.”
“I'd rather not.” He spun on one foot, pacing back across the mirror shards. “So you won't have tea, and you won't be civil, and you won't let me bring the cat to see you even. What a disappointingly boring adult you've grown up to be.”
“I'm sane. That's what counts.”
“Oh, Alice, I would so disagree.” He stopped again, then motioned to her with the teacup. “Well, if I can't come to you, why don't you come to me? If you are so sure that I am not real, then show me you have nothing to fear. Three steps.”
“This is a trick.”
“What would I gain by tricking you?” he asked patiently, hands outstretched pleadingly. “Three steps. That's it”
“You're going to pull me through the mirror or... or something, I don't know. No.” She shook her head violently. “I'm not coming over there.”
“Both you and I know that's not possible. If I'm not real, and you're not crazy, then show me that you are not so afraid of a broken mirror. Three steps, Alice. It's not too far.”
“No!” She finally broke down, sobbing. “No, no, no! I don't want to have to do this! It's my first day, and I don't know anyone, and I just moved in and I have no friends and now You, of all people have to show up and I...”
“Shh, shh, I'm sorry.” He moved quickly over to her again, wiping her tears with his purple handkerchief. “Don't cry. I just wanted to talk, is all.”
“Why are you doing this...” she whispered, her words half broken by the intermittent sobs.
“I'm not going to answer that until you can stop crying. Chin up, Alice.”
“Why are you doing this?” She choked back the tears, trying to look him in the eye. “Why trap me here, with the sticky lock and the broken mirror, and on my first day? Why are you even here; I mean, don't you have someone else to drive insane?” Her voice cracked again, and he smiled weakly.
“Come now, come now. Every hatter must have his madness.” He put a hand to the doorknob, leaning in close to her as he balanced on the last shard of the mirror. “It's just that you, dear Alice, are mine.” With that, the door clicked open, she stumbled backwards into the stairwell, and the hatter-the Mad Hatter, her hatter, the one she'd created and played with and loved and gone insane for-vanished into thin air.

It's not Alice in Wonderland fanfiction, I swear. It very heavily references that book, but it's not--the book is a book in this story just as much as it is in real life. Which also implies that this Hatter is not that hatter. He's a little bit... different.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Power in a name

“...That's your name, isn't it.” He cradled the small body in his arms as he made his way across the rocky field. “Your name is Christofori.” The boy started glowing again, and cringed in pain. “I didn't mean anything, don't try!” he said quickly. The glow faded as quickly as it came. “And that's why you did... all that, because you have to grant a wish when someone says your name. You don't have a choice, do you?”
The boy shook his head, the movement barely visible in his exhaustion. Marcus bit his lip, then stumbled, barely catching himself in time to avoid dropping his young friend.
“I'm sorry.” He made his way carefully down the rocky slope. “I... I'm so sorry.”
Christofori didn't respond, shivering in his arms.
“I shouldn't have... I shouldn't have come here. My research—I'm so sorry.” Marcus fought against his own exhaustion as he struggled to get them both back to the cabin. “I didn't realize it would...” He fell silent, contemplating the full meaning of what he'd learned, as he trudged over the barren landscape.
Chris began coughing, prompting Marcus to speed up. A few of the little glowing stars shot up the slope to meet them, circling around Christofori in a panic. Marcus didn't say anything, just kept moving. Not much further to go.
The cabin finally came into sight, and Marcus almost smiled. “Hang on, Chris, we're almost there.” The stars shot to the door, whirling around the knob as they waited for him to arrive and let them in. He very slowly put Christofori down on a patch of clear ground by the cabin wall. The freezing metal of the doorknob stung his hands, and he bit his lip again as he fiddled with the key. The door finally swung open, and he picked the boy up again and brought him inside.
The cabin was warm, luckily. Close to thirty Wishes rushed around him as he carried Chris across to the small bed and wrapped the boy in the thick blankets. Some of them circled around his hands, unsure, and he spoke very quietly, trying not to disturb his young patient.
“He granted too many wishes.” Half true. For all he knew, the Wishes knew the entire story already. “He is exhausted, but I think he will be fine.”
This seemed to comfort the little stars, and they flew back up to near the cabin roof, watching from the ceiling beams as Marcus cared for their young prince. The boy's heartbeat was still strong, and his breathing was fine, though he wasn't responding. Marcus smiled, halfway. At least the kid was finally getting some sleep.
He moved off, leaving the boy exhausted in the too-big bed. Marcus shifted through the cabinets as quietly as he could, looking for something to eat. A can of soup came to hand, and he examined it, checking the expiration date. Close enough. He grabbed the can opener out of the drawer, and as he prepared the soup he watched the little stars circling the boy, unafraid to get too close now that Marcus was out of the way. They darted quickly through his hair, across every inch of exposed skin, trying to see if he was alright. Marcus would have smiled at their concern had it been unwarranted.
After about an hour, the soup was finally ready. He poured a bowl for himself, and one for Chris. What remained he poured into a wider bowl that he set on the small wooden table, waving some of the wishes over with a small motion. Only a few came, as the rest remained around the white-haired boy.
They cleared out quickly enough as he approached, and he shook the boy's shoulder gently. “Wake up, Chris. You need to eat something.”
The boy made a soft, protesting noise, but obeyed, sitting up in the cocoon of blankets. He looked up at Marcus with tired eyes,
“Here.” He handed Chris the soup, along with a spoon. “Eat that.”
Chris obeyed, though Marcus saw a tired tremor in his hands as he held the spoon. “You can go back to sleep once you're done.”
The boy nodded, and continued eating. Marcus looked up to the wishes that resided once more in the rafters. “There's some for you lot on the table.”
The little swarm descended on the bowl, trying the salty broth experimentally. They seemed to like it, and within a few moments the bowl was empty. A few began circling around what remained of his bowl, and with a sigh he surrendered it, watching the tiny stars as they ate.
Chris ate maybe half his bowl before he was too tired to hold the spoon anymore. Marcus took the bowl, rubbing an affectionate hand through the boy's hair. “Go back to sleep. You had a long day, you know.”
Chris nodded wearily, then collapsed again on the bed. The wishes once again conducted their examination of his hair and skin, then, satisfied, they attacked the remains of his food.
“Heh.” Marcus watched them tiredly. “Have to make another pot...” He trailed off, nodding off to sleep in the chair by the little heater. A few of the wishes examined him, though not with the same intimate care that they had their prince, then shot back up to the rafters.

Wrote this in December, and just now got around to posting it. I don't know if I've posted much of this story before, but it's been around for a while. It's not the sort of thing I normally post, mainly because it doesn't have the same sort of emotional power as most of my stuff. Also, the title is lame, I know. Anyway, let me know what you think!