Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fashion Advice

“You have the worst taste in clothing, human.” Wisp curled around the closet bar, calmly sorting through her shirts. “I assure you you are not an autumn. Oh dear, is that glitter?”
“My name is Amelia,” she corrected for the millionth time. “Get out of my closet.”
“I'm waiting for the rat to come out.” The tiny dragon gestured to a little hole in the corner of the floor. She felt a little nauseous at the thought, and looked away. “And I decided to take the opportunity to examine your wardrobe. You have very little taste.”
“You don't even wear clothes!” she objected. “How would you even know?”
“I have seen many fashions come and go! I am an expert. I watched Style and You for four years.”
“...You watch television.”
“It is my great regret that you don't own one.” The dragon shook his head. “A pity. I think you would benefit from Our Host Jennifer's wisdom.”
“Oh yeah?” Amelia raised one eyebrow, tugging her favorite shirt away from the dragon's claws. “Then enlighten me.”
“For starters, you are not an autumn. You are a spring. Glitter is so last year, and you seem to favor the 'baggy old lady' style of shirts.”
She blinked. “My shirts are not...”
“And,” he continued, “Your jeans are an unflattering cut for you—you want to emphasize the length of the leg and diminish the hip with your body type.”
“Excuse me?”
“You have no accessories, your shoes are hardly suitable for yardwork, and Oh My Gosh, girl, you need help.” The dragon looked smug.
She stared for a moment. “...Get out of my closet.”

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Brief Explanation: Bird is a chimera (engineered companion/slave) separated from his master by Rolland and those he works for, on threat of killing the people Bird works to protect. Bird is known to be almost completely emotionless, and impossible to provoke. That does not stop Rolland from trying.

“Can you imagine? Can you dream?” Rolland taunted, tossing the killswitch from hand to hand. “I imagine not.”
Bird watched him silently, seemingly impassive, with his long tail sweeping the forest floor behind him.
“I've heard you can't even want. Makes this seem so much emptier.” He sighed. “Taunting you is no good. You can't want to make me stop, can't want to kill me. No matter what I do or say. No matter what I tell you.” Rolland sauntered casually over to the chimera, leaning in close. “I could say that I'm going to be the one to kill you. I could say that you're probably the last of your kind. I could even tell you what King plans to do with your precious master—he's giving her to me.” The captain grinned. “Pretty, isn't she? Not that you'd know. But she'll be mine, and mine alone, my mate—does that upset you?”
There was a soft crack as Bird's feet left the ground, and a loud thump as Rolland's body found the wall behind him. He found himself suspended nearly a foot off the ground, pinned against the wall with Bird's hands around his throat, squeezing so tightly that he could barely breathe.
“You have no idea, do you.” The chimera's level voice was rife with cold steel. “I can imagine. I have always been able to dream. And you cannot hope to understand how much I want.” His grip tightened marginally. “I shouldn't. I'm not built for it. If that makes me defective, then fine. I'm defective. But I do want. And right now, I want to kill you.”
Rolland struggled to breathe, fumbling with the killswitch in his hand.
“You threaten the children. You threaten me. And now you dare to even suggest that you would lay a finger on my master...” Bird's eyes narrowed. “Yes. I very much do want to kill you.”
There was a sudden beeping noise, high and piercing. Bird started, glancing over to its source.
The killswitch.
“Oops,” Rolland choked out laughingly, releasing his grip on the button. Bird stared at the silver device in horror.
“Who?” he whispered quietly, loosing his grip on Rolland's throat so much that the man fell a few inches.
Rolland grinned again. “Mikhail.”

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Dead Spirit

The prison cell at the end of the hall was built almost like an amphitheater. The bars formed a small stage at the center of a wide half-circle of cell, almost completely dark except for the flickering torchlight from the hallway behind them, extending into endless blackness. Perhaps more unnerving were the hundreds of carved symbols, of every color of wood and stone, hanging like gallows from the bars. The prisoner examined it through a swollen black eye, then swallowed hard before the captain shoved him forwards again, closer to the bars.
“Y'think the dead spirit will go for him?” One of the guards whispered to his companion, his free hand edging closer to his blade. “I mean, 'e's kinda skinny.”
“Dead Spirit don't go for bodies, idiot,” the other whispered. “Goes for souls, and then the bones burn up. You've seen it.”
“Yeah, but...” he glanced at the shackled man behind them. “Y'sure 'e's got a soul?”
“Don't matter, numbskull.” The second guard fumbled with his keys. “We just gotta get 'im in before the spirit shows up, and not be 'ere when 'e does. If the spirit don't get 'im, 'e'll just starve. Same deal.” He pried the sticky lock open, and the gate creaked open into the cell.
“Yeah, but... Look out!” The first guard slammed the gate shut again as something white flashed into existence in the back of the cell. “It's the spirit!”
The second guard swore profusely, stumbling backwards away from the bars. “No way no how am I opening that door with that spirit in there.”
“Come on, you two.” The captain spoke up from behind the group. “It's gone. Look.” Sure enough, the cell was nothing but empty blackness again. “Get that door open.”
The second guard fumbled with the keys again, but as soon as the lock clicked, the white returned. He locked it again instantly. “He's watchin' for us.”
“The spirit cannot make you any less alive than the king can,” reminded the captain. “Open the door.”
“'Ey, 'ow's about this?” The first guard spoke up again. “We keep this one in another cell for a couple hours. Once the spirit's gone, we come back, toss 'im in, and run. King don't gotta know 'e's not dead yet.”
“No, we do it now.” The captain pulled his blade. “Or else we'll find how well the Dead Spirit likes the souls of cowards.”
A sudden breeze flowed through the hallway, chillingly cold, coming from the darkness in the back of the cell. The lamps flickered, and one went out. The first guard took a step back in fear.
“Cowardssss...” A thin, raspy voice finally came, echoing around them in the darkened hallway. “Taste of unripe fruit, of sawdust, of old dreams. Perhapsss I should prefer a murderer?” The spirit's tone lilted upwards on the last word, curious and half excited. “You smell of empty pride, and innocent blood. Do come closer, Cap-tain.” The white object began to slowly appear again, resolving itself into the twisted skull of some gigantic bird,with dark patterns carved into the bone. Horns like an antelope's jabbed upwards from the skull, with a net of tangled white string hanging between them, decorated with black feathers and glass beads. It tilted to one side, then the other, as it approached, moving back and forth, up and down with a tuneless rhythm. The other guard took two steps back, mirroring his companion. “Yes, yesss, I smell it on you. Your blade holds nothing but tatters of old soulsss, musty and dry. Do come in, cap-tain.” A claw-like hand of bleached bone appeared from the blackness to reach out for the bars, but stopped short over one of the runes. “I will speak with thee.”
“Dead Spirit, we are honored.” The captain fought to keep his nerve, tightening his grip on the handle of the sword. “We bring you a sacrifice; a rebel and a traitor.”
“He who has spoken to the queen,” The spirit tilted its head again, and beneath the skull the prisoner could see an almost human looking face, painted black save for a row of painted teeth stretching around its face in a hideous grin. “Is he traitor, or is he advocate?”
“Traitor.” The captain narrowed his gaze at the elusive spirit. “He is yours.”
“Are you ssssure you do not want to come in, cap-tain?” The spirit moved silently and smoothly around the bars, bone-clawed hands pausing only briefly over each of the hundreds of runes. “It shall not be painful.”
“This one is yours,” the captain repeated. “No other.”
“Pity.” The spirit seemed to deflate a bit before it stood straight, suddenly towering over them all. “Then he is mine. I allow you to open the door, sssaw-dust-soul. But ssstep not inside.” The bleached bone hands withdrew into the shadow, and the spirit quickly followed. The four men stared after it into the darkness.
“Well,” the captain finally said, “You heard it. Throw him in!”