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Short Story Sunday – “Black Ice”

Black Ice

The road was slick with the freezing rain that poured down from the dark clouds, and Bert shouldn’t have been as surprised as he was when his car began to slide out of control from the black ice on the road.

His mind went back to his driver’s education class, and his feet moved automatically, pumping the brakes while he did his best to keep steering in the direction that he wanted to move. One of his hands flew to the hazard button, smacking it on, despite the fact that no one else in their right mind was on the icy roads at this time of night. His windshield wipers were working overtime, doing their best to clear away the sleet that hindered Bert’s line of vision as he tried to regain control of his old Jeep.

For the first time in years, Bert’s mouth muttered prayers to God, hoping He would still listen even if the last time Bert had set foot in a church was Christmas three years ago. It appeared that God had not abandoned Bert, just like all of those teachings and psalms said He wouldn’t, for the Jeep eventually cruised over to the shoulder of the road, the vehicle’s speed finally starting to slow down. Bert’s sigh of relief was interrupted when his Jeep thumped into something, halting it into an abrupt stop.

Bert stared out of his windshield, the wipers moving madly, and he squinted to see what he had just hit. There was no other car around, nothing that could indicate it had been some sort of animal, and he started muttering to God about why He would help Bert’s Jeep stop if only to kill a person with his bumper.

He shrugged deeper into his winter coat, tightening his scarf and securing his gloves, before opening his door to the fierce cold. He trudged through the snow to look in front of his car, hoping that whatever he had happened to hit hadn’t been alive in the first place. Maybe he had collided with a rock or a street sign that had gotten loose from the winds.

Bert’s breath stopped as he stared at the prone figure in front of his Jeep. Despite them camouflaging in with the snow, there was no denying the woman’s feathered wings stretching out from the backs of her shoulders.

Maybe Bert should start going back to church.

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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Scribbles

 

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Scribble: Common Grounds Cafe

Just a little something that I was typing up to get some writing exercise done. This is probably part one in a mini series. Enjoy! Critique is always appreciated.

Diana Winters was the Common Grounds Café’s new barista, and she apparently didn’t look like the type who could keep up with the daily onslaught of caffeine-deprived customers. At least, that was what her coworker Colin said when she showed up for her first shift.

“You don’t look like the type who can keep up with the daily onslaught of caffeine-deprived customers.” He snapped his gum between every word.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, glancing at her apron and slip-resistant shoes. “I’m wearing the uniform correctly, right?”

“It’s not the uniform.” Colin blew a large, pink bubble. It’s pop made Diana jump. “You look too… nice.”

“Erm, thanks?”

He shrugged and angled his thin torso toward the front doors. Already there were silhouettes and shadows of people huddled in the dim lighting of the early autumn morning, all waiting for their first caffeine fix of the day.  The opening manager, Michael, was slowly unlocking the doors. As he opened them, Diana heard Colin say, “You’ll see.”

Diana’s eyes widened as Michael was nearly crushed behind the door when the crowd surged over the threshold. Customers formed a loose line in front of Diana’s register and five of them began ordering at once. Colin tapped Diana’s arm, snapping her out of her stupor, as the customers cut each other off and began to grudgingly form a proper line.

The woman who won the honor of being first in line raised a thin drawn-on eyebrow at Diana. “Large skinny mocha latte with three extra shots of espresso.” A credit card was shoved in Diana’s face.

“Of course,” Diana said, her eyes glancing at her screen and touching the options to correspond with the woman’s order. Her register mirrored the order screen behind her, and she heard Colin moving around the containers of cups and flavored syrups to fulfill the order. “That’ll be six dollars and seventy-five—“

The woman dropped the credit card on the counter. “Whatever.”

Diana swiped the card through the register and the woman snatched it back. Before Diana could ask if the customer had wanted her receipt, the woman walked over to the end of the counter to wait for her drink, all while staring at her cell phone. Impressively, the woman didn’t bump into any tables or chairs.

“Medium mocha-caramel iced coffee, light on the ice.” A five-dollar bill and a couple of ones fluttered onto the counter. Diana hadn’t even caught a glimpse of the man’s face before he followed after the first customer to wait for his drink.

“Large French vanilla—“

“Um, please, hold on a minute,” Diana said to the third customer while she desperately tried to remember the second customer’s order to input it into the register. She ignored the man’s sigh and the nausea in her stomach as she hovered over the flavor options.

A larger hand deftly tapped the mocha button and the caramel syrup option, swiftly finishing the order. Colin snapped his gum again as he tossed out the receipt that had printed, and he grabbed the medium-sized cup to start processing the second order.

Diana took a deep breath and, with the words, “May I take your order?” ready on her lips, glanced up at the third customer. She blinked and stared at the translucent yellow wings protruding from the young man’s back.

“You ready yet?” the man asked.

“Oh, yes, I’m sorry,” Diana said. “Thank you for waiting—“

“Large French vanilla coffee, cream, extra sugar.”

Diana did her best to keep up with his rapid words, marveling at the sight of his wings. She snuck glances at him while he was waiting for his drink and, judging by the familiar nod that Colin and the customer exchanged, he was not a new customer to Common Grounds.

Although her mother warned her about getting a job in an establishment situated on the Dimensional Crossroads – for who knew what kind of strange creatures passed through the realms of time and space – this was precisely the reason as to why Diana joined the café’s team. Diana wanted to meet extraordinary folk, and Common Grounds was the place to do so. Nestled in the center of the Dimensional Crossroads, Common Grounds was where all sorts of people, races, and creatures stopped for a cup of coffee as they passed through the area.

After all, that was where Common Grounds Café had gotten its name.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Scribbles

 

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Scribble: Metamorphosis 2

A companion to this post (from a year ago!), these are more 100-word drabbles about “Downfall” sharing the metamorphosis theme. Hope you enjoy them!

Mutation

He believed that the Magics of the world were pretty much done going through revamps. Why try to improve something that already worked well? There were few mutations having to do with the Magics in this day and age, and he was fine with that. He was content with being an Air Mage; he didn’t need to try to figure out how to work the others as well. When he had just started at the School, a classmate had died trying to harness the power of all three Magics. He saw no reason to try to repeat the failed experiment.

Adaptation

“A Mage must always adapt to his or her surroundings,” was one of the first lessons he had learned while at the School. Being an Air Mage, he had reign of the most flexible form of Magic, and he was forever thankful for its ability to help him adapt to any landscape. It mattered not where the class practiced, for the winds were always present and willing to help him try to defeat his classmates in friendly sparring bouts. He did have difficulty adapting to teamwork situations, however; perhaps that was one reason why she and he were always clashing.

Revision

Revision was definitely needed. Biting the guy had only succeeding in giving her a lousy taste in her mouth when her fangs had ripped through flesh. Not only that, the bite hadn’t affected the enemy as much as she had wanted it to. Instead, he just threw some Fire Magic in her direction, and he narrowly missed her. She had rolled away from the man, snarling and growling while she mentally tried to revise her original plan. Wolves were creatures of Fire as well, so the Magic wouldn’t affect her too much, but she would rather not have singed fur.

Variation

Air Magic had the most variation among the Magics of the world. After all, Air could be a breeze to cool down the hottest day or a fierce twister ripping up everything in its path. True, it could not alter the ground like those who practiced Earth Magic nor could it destroy like a Fire Mage, but Air could certainly be inventive enough to survive in the Magic world. He was curious if the Spiriters’ connections with the Elements were similar. His companion’s Spirit partner was of Fire, but she wasn’t as stubborn as some of his Fire Mage classmates.

Shift

He had once asked her if it hurt at all to shift. Honestly, she had to pause to think of a response. She had been shifting all her life. Her older sister had liked to joke that she had been born in her wolf form; she was so used to transforming. Physically, shifting had never hurt. Mentally, however, was a different story. It hurt to lose the extra power that her wolf form granted her, but she knew it would hurt even more if she stayed so long as a wolf that she forgot how to transform back into herself.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Scribbles

 

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Caught Up

Caden: “Forgive me if I’m being too curious, but may I ask why you were all in Akyna to begin with?” … Luyu: “No, you may not ask.”

Hi everyone! After skipping yesterday and being very confused by my word program’s way of counting my words, I’m all caught up to today’s goal of 10k words (with 14 extra words)! I started off great, just typing away, but by the end of it, all I was doing was asking myself, “NOW how many more words?” and “Am I caught up yet?!” I should have stolen Rachel‘s idea to grab a sticky note, write something along the lines of “Keep writing!” on it, and stick it over the corner of the computer where it shows the word count.

So after I was all set and done, it got me thinking. Am I getting bored of my novel? Shouldn’t I be more excited about writing this thing? If I was, I wouldn’t want to stop writing it, right?

I think that’s just the kind of writer I am, though. I’m much more sporadic and I usually do not write the same story every day. My mind goes in all sorts of directions and detours, and I’ve been doing very well these past two weeks about sticking with “Downfall.” I know I like the novel. I’m enjoying the characters. I’m not entirely sure where they are taking me, but the ride has been interesting so far and I have a vague idea as to the ending, at least.

I’m not so sure about Caden, the main character. I like his personality, and he’s fun to write, but he has a problem with getting distracted from his curiosity. He had his own goals at the beginning of the story, and now he’s on a totally different tangent. The goal is still in the back of his mind, of course, but he doesn’t have as much of a desire to fulfill it at the moment. Not only that, but his attitude toward “the other race” changed quite quickly since the beginning. He was never truly prejudice against Spiriters, but with the way he was raised, I still think he got used to them too quickly.

Well, we’ll see what happens at the end of this draft. Happy blogging, everyone!

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Home

 

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Why Writers Are Not Mathematicians

Rachel: “This is why we write. We like English, not math!”

So, usually as I’m writing for NaNo, I pause every once in a while and highlight the words I had written for that particular session to see how far along I am. Let’s use today for example. Rounding the numbers, I was at about 7000 words, a little ahead of my daily goal, and I needed about 500 to reach today’s goal. You with me so far? Okay, so I wrote for a bit, then paused and saw that I had about 200 words, which would logically make my NaNo total about 7200 words. However, upon seeing the whole of my NaNo, I apparently had about 7450 words for it.

… What? How does that even remotely make sense? How did my 200 words turn into an increase of 450 for the story? Which count do I believe?

On one hand, I’m like, “Hey, I only need about 50 more words!” On the other hand, I know I did not write that much just yet. For NaNo’s sake, where it counts the story as a whole, I’m going to update my word count based on the amount of words my Word program claims my novel has rather than just add on my daily count to the previous scores. I just hope the NaNo validator at the end of the month agrees with my Word document!

Happy blogging, everyone!

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Home

 

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On Par

Caden: “Look, I’m trusting you all not to kill me anytime soon. Can’t you trust the same of me?”

I’m a touch over 7,000 words into my Camp goal, which means I’m on par for the month so far. Hopefully I can keep it up until the end!

I plan on writing a post at some point giving a few more details about this novel, or at least writing a bit about the characters (especially since there have been a couple of posts where I quote them at the top). However, I’m afraid I must keep this post a bit short, because I’m pretending to have some semblance of a social life tonight. 😀 Actually, some of my coworkers and I go to a sports bar and grill that has 25 cent wings on Monday nights. Yeah. We’re cheap. Me, even more so, considering I get free water with the wings instead of an actual drink, haha!

On a last note, I’m liking this little writing routine I have. Whenever I first get the chance to relax and go on my computer or laptop (affectionately called Jarvis and Pip, respectively) for a couple of good hours, I write my story, getting up to the goal I want, then I come and post here. I get my writing done and reach out to a community of other writers, whether their blogs are about books, food, or dogs.

So, thanks to this community, and whatever genius decided to create WordPress. Happy blogging, everyone!

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Home

 

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Writing and Cleaning

Durail: “What is your business, mage?” Caden: “You ask me that now?!”

My Camp NaNoWriMo characters are on the move. They just performed a daring escape and are on their way to hop the border to enter the next country. The main character is Caden, an Air Mage, and he’s only truly met a handful of the others, while a couple of characters, like Durail, Caden just glanced at while the group fled from their pursuers. Only when they got a break did Durail think to ask about what Caden was doing with them.

The novel is called “Downfall” (for now, anyway), and is about the clash between two different types of magic and people. One are the mages, like Caden, humans whom learn Air, Fire, or Earth magic as they get older. The others are Spiriters, a people whom are connected with an animal spirit guide since birth. The spirit guides themselves are connected with a main element, although the only point to that seems to be to give them an advantage or disadvantage against mages and their magic. Each element is weak or strong against the other two; therefore, if one has a spirit guide with an affinity to Fire, then he/she will not be as affected by Air Magic.

I’m enjoying the idea of the story and the characters, although I’m not entirely sure where the story will end up. Each character has his or her own goals, despite a few of them getting distracted from said goals. There are definitely a few parts I dislike, such as how quickly Caden came to trust the Spiriters he’s hanging out with, but I’ll deal with those scenes when I edit the book. I only wrote about 400 words of it today, while my daily goal is 834 (considering I’m going for 25k rather than 50K). However, yesterday I got ahead and was only five words off of today’s goal.

That’s right. Five. I was only five words away from having two days’ worth of NaNo word counts, and I didn’t even notice.

It was nice, though. I wrote about 400, still ahead, and got halfway to tomorrow’s word count.

Then Rachel and I cleaned. A lot. Our room is still a mess in some areas, but we had a lot of fun on our little cleaning spree that started due to me trying to find a bug on my then-messy desk, but I digress. Spring is coming, everyone; it’s time to clean!

On that note, I hope everyone else’s writing is going well!

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2013 in Home

 

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