Camp Q&A, Part 3: So Super Close to the End

Previously on Ever On Word (specifically, here and here), I – and, at her insistence, Annabelle Iole Gray, of “Inspired” fame – got together with the main characters from my next novel (“So Super Dead”) and a whole bunch of questions found via the NaNoWriMo blog.

“Because,” Annabelle inserts, “how better to introduce new fictional folk – to one’s audience, or one’s self – than by means of a totally in-depth author-to-character Q&A?”

Brilliantly drawn character portraits come to mind, but I haven’t decided yet whether to splurge on commissions for that, so … this is what we’ve got to work with.

A big hand, one last time, for the big three of “So Super Dead”: the angry ghost of Brenna Walsh; the Paranormal Reality Channel’s very own Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter; and all the way from Second Earth (better known, here on First Earth, as the moon), aspiring superhero Nicky “Xtra-Medium” Ellenbogen-Jones!

  1. What recurring dream does your character have?

Thackeray: “It’s not a dream. It’s worse, and it’s why I don’t sleep.”

  1. What is the meaning of life to your character?

Brenna: “Didn’t have one. And it’s a bit late to figure it out now.”

  1. If your character wrote a NaNo novel, would they be a planner, pantser, or plantser?

Annabelle: “I’d plan like crazy, only to have my muses hijack everything with their own bright ideas.”

Brenna: “Since when do you get to answer questions?”

Annabelle: “Since I’m the only character here who writes books, that’s when.”

  1. What book does your character pretend to have read?

Thackeray: “Okay, I admit it. Despite my claim to have read through the entire ‘Twilight’ series in the interest of thorough familiarity with all available vampire lore, I didn’t bother to pick up companion novella ‘The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner’. Sue away.”

  1. Someone takes undeserved credit for your character’s work. What do they do?

Nicky: “I mean, they say heroism is supposed to be its own reward, so I guess it doesn’t much matter who gets the accolades at the end. That being said, I’d be so super bummed. This is probably another question that gets answered with ice cream.”

  1. What controversial belief or view does your character hold? Why? Do they hide it?

Brenna: “Is the belief that Thackeray Kyle sucks controversial?”

Thackeray: “I have a disturbing number of fans who would fight you IRL over it, but that doesn’t necessarily make you wrong.”

  1. Your character is at a theme park. Where do they go first?

Nicky: “Aw man, is it Disney World?!”

Annabelle: “Lol, where else? I mean, assuming you’ve just saved the world, what are you gonna do next?

Nicky: “I want pics at the castle! With Mickey Mouse ears! Or Minnie Mouse ears? Whichever. Wherever it is you get ears, that’s gotta be my first stop.”

  1. What’s your character’s favorite name?

Thackeray: “Genevieve.”

Annabelle: “Because?”

Thackeray: “Read the book and take a guess.”

  1. What’s the biggest compliment they’d give themselves?

Brenna: “I’m not big on compliments, but I don’t spend half as much time beating myself up as these other two do, so I guess this question’s mine. Um… Badass moments. I canonically have those. Also, I’m a marginally better person than anyone in that book deserves.”

  1. How does your character feel about bugs?

Nicky: “Not a fan, though it’s illegal on Second Earth to squish them on purpose, since you never know whether it’s a bug bug, or a person whose power is to shift into a bug. So you just gotta learn to live around ‘em.”

  1. If your character could hit a reset button on their life, would they?

Thackeray: “God, yes.”

Brenna: “Not actually. I’m not seeing a do-over that would put me in a more advantageous place. Yeah, my death was all kinds of wrong, but at least it’s put me on a course to somewhere. At least vengeance is something to do.”

Nicky: “I’m kind of with Brenna on this one. Life hasn’t been perfect, but it’s brought me here, so I can only hope that here is where I’m needed.”

And with that, our series of questions comes to an end … reminding me that, oh snap, I’d better take steps toward obtaining a proof copy of “So Super Dead” soon, so I can make sure it’s publication-ready by September! In the meanwhile, here’s a refresher on what the novel’s all about:

So Super Dead cover, remix 02.3, gallery

The ghost: Sure, seventeen-year-old Brenna hadn’t thought much of her life, but she’s not about to take her murder lying down. With one death to live and nothing left to lose, Brenna’s out for vengeance. Trouble is, her murderer’s already dead.

The killer: The reality of TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter, is not the kind one lives to tell about. He’ll do whatever it takes – and take out whomever he must – to keep his secret safe. If only he could get his dead conscience to quit haunting him…

The talker: Agender mutant teen Nicky finally has himmer’s superpower, and s/he’s ready to save the world. …Or, y’know, talk to dead people, since that’s really all s/he can do. But now, caught between a responsibility to Brenna, a debt to a closeted monster, and the inevitability of a super-villainous terrorist attack, Nicky’s scrambling for the right words to bring two lifeless friends peace and prove himmerself a hero. Because if s/he doesn’t, the world’s dead will number far more than one ghost-whisperer can handle.

So Super Dead” – coming this fall!

Advertisements

Camp Q&A, Part 2: Because I’m So Super Nosy

Previously on Ever On Word, I began peppering the main characters from my next novel (“So Super Dead”) with a series of questions found via the NaNoWriMo blog. Because the questions were so numerous, we broke off about midway – meaning that there’s plenty more questionnaire fun to be had in today’s blog post!

“Ahem.”

Yes, Annabelle Iole Gray, co-protag and character questionnaire enthusiast from the “Inspired” novels?

“May one of my characters join in, this time?”

Well…

“Come on! You said!”

I said ‘possibly next time.’ This isn’t even next time; it’s the second half of last time. But sure, go ahead and pick a character of yours.

“HOORAY! And oh no. I don’t know which one to pick.”

How about Avelaine? These are my “So Super Dead” MCs, after all, and if any of your characters can be said to fit the morbid theme, ‘tis he.

“Valid. All right, let’s do this!”

Moving forward, then, let us welcome once again: the ghost of small-town teen Brenna Walsh; reality TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter; and Nicky “Xtra-Medium” Ellenbogen-Jones, moon mutant/up-and-coming superhero. Also, ‘the boy who dances with death’, Annabelle’s Avelaine.

  1. What’s the 140-character version of your character’s life?

Nicky: “Lol, no. There’s a reason I’m not on Twitter (besides, y’know, my planet having already moved passed it). Nothing I say has a short version.”

(Annabelle: “Fun fact: Counting spaces but not quotation marks, that response totaled 140 characters exactly.”

Author Danielle E. Shipley: #GetOnMyLevel)

  1. What important statistic would they want displayed above them?

Thackeray: “It would really put a crimp in my hunting style, but think of all the lives it would save were I too carry overhead a tally of all the lives I’ve taken.”

Nicky: “You’d want that?”

Thackeray: “…Yes and no.”

  1. What’s the first thing they would buy if they won the lottery?

Brenna: “A house in a better neighborhood. Some big city where vampires are too chicken to prey. Even if it’s too late for me, at least my uncle could get out of the sticks.”

  1. What profession do they most respect?

Avelaine: “Professional muse.”

Annabelle: “What, just because it’s the family business?”

Avelaine: “And an overall underappreciated one, at that.”

  1. What childhood injustice did they never get over?

Brenna: “Does 17 still count as my childhood? Because MURDERED.”

  1. How would they handle having a panic attack?

Thackeray: “Oh, I have mild panic attacks with some frequency. People generally don’t notice, because my conscious coping mechanism is go very inconspicuously still and quiet, lest I tear somebody’s head off their shoulders.”

Nicky: “…Yeah, head-tearing would be a worse coping mechanism.”

  1. Your character is burdened with an inconvenient superpower. What is it?

Nicky: “After waiting 16 years for my power to manifest, I might think even an inconvenient power was worth celebrating. Or I’d feel like the universe was mocking me further. Dunno, it depends how much glass-half-full energy I have to spare that day.”

  1. If they died and could come back as any person, animal, or object, what would they be?

Brenna: “Come back as something other than a ghost, huh? That has consolation prize potential… Could I be a werecat? Either one with total control over my shifting, or one that never shifts – that’s just in huge monster cat form, all the time. That would be mildly epic.”

  1. What’s the best meal they’ve ever had?

Thackeray: “It actually didn’t come out that great, but I nonetheless quite fondly recall the first Passover dinner my stepmom ever put together for us, as a revised family unit. She’d tried really hard to make it special, and for that reason, it was. Though subsequent culinary efforts on her part may have been more technically successful, that’s the one I get nostalgic about.”

  1. Where would they stand at a dinner party?

Avelaine: “Is it a murder mystery invite-only casual dinner party/gala for friends potluck? Because, apart from the social aspect, that could easily be my scene.”

  1. Who would they invite to the dinner party?

Thackeray: “My kid sister.”

Nicky: “My best friend, Boomerang. And any ghosts who wanna hang out.”

Brenna: “Those ghosts do not include me.”

  1. What makes a perfect day for your character?

Nicky: “The more perfect I can make someone else’s day, the closer to perfect mine is.”

  1. If given the opportunity, would they want to know how and when they died?

Avelaine: “ ‘There are worse things than not remembering one’s story. Like knowing how it ends.’ ”

  1. What’s the one thing they’ve always wanted to do? Why haven’t they done it yet?

Thackeray: “I wanted to go to a prestigious college and have the accreditations to back up my know-it-all side. But I guess becoming a reality TV star was the path of least resistance.”

  1. What do they tend to joke about?

Nicky: “Oh, all sorts of corny stuff. Humor tends to lean that way, on the moon.”

  1. What’s off limits?

Thackeray: “It didn’t take long for me to get really, really tired of vampire jokes.”

  1. Whose wedding would they cross the world to attend? Whose funeral?

Brenna: “I hope Thackeray Kyle tries to get married, so I can rain all kinds of poltergeist wrath down on his marital parade.”

Nicky: “First of all, that’s not great, Brenna. Second, I should really start making a point of going to funerals. Who knows how many recently deceased could use someone to talk to?”

Thackeray: “Third things third: The odds of me getting married are immeasurably low.”

  1. What impossible choice did they make that turned out to be the right one? The wrong one?

Thackeray: “My choices have been neither impossible nor right. Only drastic.”

  1. Your character now has a hype man (or woman). What would they say to get everyone excited about your character?

Thackeray: “This very much sounds like Nicky’s job.”

Brenna: “Yeah, moon freak. What would you say?”

Nicky: “Dudes. I talked about you guys for an entire novel. What more am I supposed to do?”

Avelaine: “Nothing. Factually, hype is the author’s job.”

Danielle: *looks out at the audience* How am I doing?

And oh, would you look at the word count. Methinks it’s time to call this post a wrap.

“But there’s still 11 questions to go!”

Which is exactly what next time is for. Don’t worry, Annabelle, you’re welcome to join us once again – as I certainly hope this blog post’s readers will. ‘Til then, let’s end on a word from our sponsor…

So Super Dead cover, remix 02.3, galleryThe ghost: Sure, seventeen-year-old Brenna hadn’t thought much of her life, but she’s not about to take her murder lying down. With one death to live and nothing left to lose, Brenna’s out for vengeance. Trouble is, her murderer’s already dead.

The killer: The reality of TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter, is not the kind one lives to tell about. He’ll do whatever it takes – and take out whomever he must – to keep his secret safe. If only he could get his dead conscience to quit haunting him…

The talker: Agender mutant teen Nicky finally has himmer’s superpower, and s/he’s ready to save the world. …Or, y’know, talk to dead people, since that’s really all s/he can do. But now, caught between a responsibility to Brenna, a debt to a closeted monster, and the inevitability of a super-villainous terrorist attack, Nicky’s scrambling for the right words to bring two lifeless friends peace and prove himmerself a hero. Because if s/he doesn’t, the world’s dead will number far more than one ghost-whisperer can handle.

So Super Dead” – coming this fall!

The end of the Camp NaNo character Q&A – coming in some future blog post!

Camp Q&A, Part 1: We Are So Super Doing This

This past month – *waves back at April* – was the year’s first Camp NaNoWriMo. (There’s another camp session happening in July, in case anyone’s interested in signing up. ^o^) And somewhere in there, I came across a character questionnaire—

“Did someone say ‘character questionnaire’?!”

Yes, Annabelle Iole Gray of the “Inspired” novels, I did indeed say that.

“Fun and a half! Where’d you find the questions?”

Fittingly enough, on the NaNoWriMo blog.

“Can I be the one to A the Qs? Ooh, or one of my characters?”

Actually, I was thinking I’d bring in the main trio from my camp project.

“Which was…?”

The refining of my Fall 2018 novel.

“Ah. Okay. I guess that’s… allowed. Just keep us in mind for next time, will ya?”

I shall strive so to do. Now, let’s see what kind of answers we can pry out of Brenna Walsh, Thackeray Kyle, and Nicky Ellenbogen-Jones – the big three of “So Super Dead”!

  1. What does your character do when they think no one’s looking?

Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter: “Kill people.”

(Annabelle, in the background: *spit take*)

  1. What’s the one thing your character would save in a fire (beyond the necessities)?

The ghost of Brenna Walsh: “Would’ve been nice if I could’ve saved my parents.”

(Annabelle: “Well, dang.”)

  1. Who’s on speed dial?

Nicky, aka superhero Xtra-Medium: “Dead people, mostly.”

(Annabelle: “Okay. I’m getting it. This book’s got a theme.”

Brenna: “<_< Did you not read the title?”)

  1. Your character gets turned down for their dream job. What’s their second choice?

Nicky: “If I can’t make a career out of talking to ghosts, there’s always… um… real estate agency? I dunno why that’s the first thing that came to mind, but I mean, I could do worse.”

  1. What would they tell their ten-year-old self?

Thackeray: “ ‘Find a non-vampire-related hobby. Just… trust me on this.’ ”

  1. Where would they want to go on a first date?

Brenna: “First, ew. Second, 24-Hour Pancakes. Third, no.”

  1. What’s the best advice they’ve ever received?

Thackeray: “ ‘Find a non-vampire-related hobby.’ Sorry, Dad. Maybe if you’d been me from the future, I’d have listened.”

  1. What’s the worst advice they’ve ever received?

Brenna: “I’ve lost track. Grownups are always giving crap advice. It’s like they think I care.”

  1. What’s one physical detail they’d change about themselves?

Nicky: “I, ah, well… if I could maybe have, um, one or another kind of standard reproduction system, that would be… special.”

  1. When was the last time they were held? By who?

Nicky: “Oh, my best friend hugs me all the time. He’s demonstrative, like that.”

  1. What’s their favorite thing about their favorite season?

Thackeray: “Winter is quiet. Muted colors. Muffled sound. Nature half in hibernation. I find it restful in a way the rest of the year can’t match. Figures the novel takes place in summer.”

  1. Their wallet gets stolen. What do they do?

Brenna: “Before or after my life got stolen from me?”

Author Danielle E. Shipley: …Before?

Brenna: “In that case, I hate humanity.”

(Annabelle: “My money says that’s her ‘after’ answer, too.”)

  1. Prioritize: Love, money, power, knowledge?

Thackeray: “Knowledge.”

Nicky: “The power of love!”

Brenna: “Waffles.”

  1. What’s something nobody knows about them?

Nicky: “Who my birth parents are, and why they abandoned me and my phone as an infant. Like, the book doesn’t look into it, but low key, you know I’ve got questions.”

  1. What’s in their fridge?

Thackeray: “Whatever my camera crew wants. They’re the ones with opinions on the matter.”

  1. What (creature, object, substance) are they most disgusted by?

Brenna: “Thackeray Kyle.”

(Thackeray: “Way to steal my answer.”)

  1. What’s their second worst habit?

Nicky:Second worst? Um, well, if the first is my tendency to chatter too much, I guess the second would be negative self-talk.”

Brenna: “So… both of your worst habits are talking.”

Nicky: “I’m consistent?”

  1. What are the victory conditions for their life?

Brenna: “There is no winning at life. We’ll see how the rules change once you’re dead.”

  1. In the end, your character fails to save the day. Assuming they survive, what do they do?

Nicky: “See Worst Habit #2. I’ll also probably get ice cream.”

  1. Your character is charged with a crime they didn’t commit. What do they do?

Brenna: “Canonically? Get murdered.”

  1. Your character is charged with a crime they did commit. What was the crime?

Thackeray: “Well, shoot. Sounds like someone found out what I do when no one’s looking.”

And on that full circular note, we’ll pause so as to prevent this post from going on for twice as long. Thanks for what cooperation you had to give, “So Super Dead” peeps! We’ll continue with the questionnaire another day. ‘Til then, let’s remind our audience (of however many plus Annabelle) of the novel’s summary:

So Super Dead cover, remix 02.3, gallery

The ghost: Sure, seventeen-year-old Brenna hadn’t thought much of her life, but she’s not about to take her murder lying down. With one death to live and nothing left to lose, Brenna’s out for vengeance. Trouble is, her murderer’s already dead.

The killer: The reality of TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter, is not the kind one lives to tell about. He’ll do whatever it takes – and take out whomever he must – to keep his secret safe. If only he could get his dead conscience to quit haunting him…

The talker: Agender mutant teen Nicky finally has himmer’s superpower, and s/he’s ready to save the world. …Or, y’know, talk to dead people, since that’s really all s/he can do. But now, caught between a responsibility to Brenna, a debt to a closeted monster, and the inevitability of a super-villainous terrorist attack, Nicky’s scrambling for the right words to bring two lifeless friends peace and prove himmerself a hero. Because if s/he doesn’t, the world’s dead will number far more than one ghost-whisperer can handle.

So Super Dead” – coming this fall!

The rest of the Camp NaNo character Q&A – coming in some future blog post!

Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Will Scarlet's Kiss and Tell logo

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.

“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”

As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn says, “One of his authors describes him thus:

Stolen away as a toddler by a corrupt necromancer and raised as her near-nameless drudge, Kid had nobody to rely on but his own self, until even he and his body began to grow apart. Now this unaging soul roams the earth at will, seeking out the delights of the world of the living before his grown alter ego remakes it all in a more deathly image.

“Welcome, Kid!” Will greets the child bouncing in the air above the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – has anyone ever told you that you look like a young Allyn-a-Dale? ‘Cause it’s uncanny!”

Soul of Kid
As seen on the “Dark Siren”-related Pinterest board, “Bones, Souls, and Hellgates

The adorable boy giggles. Everything about me is uncanny. I’m the bodiless soul of a necromancer! But of course I look like a little Allyn. And of course my body looks like him grown-up. That’s the inspiration behind our characters – from some silly hypothetical scenario Danielle and Tirzah spun out over the phone. Allyn was the Dark Siren, and his younger self was his soul, and I think the knights of Camelot were a team of superheroes, and you were a lovesick maniac.”

“Sounds about right. Getting back to your story proper, what was it like growing up as a forced-labor assistant to a practitioner of death magic?”

“No fun at all,” Kid pouts. “All Mistress Barbara ever did was boss me around. I never got to play outside. I never got to make any friends. I never got to experiment with her books of spells… although I did that anyway, whenever I could do it without her noticing. She wasn’t overly careful about keeping her things warded; or herself, for that matter. Killing her was easy.”

“Um.” Will glances at the camera. “Is this a confession to a murder? Because let me remind you that this is live blog-TV, and I don’t know if I—”

“Oh, it wasn’t me,” says Kid, wide-eyed. “It was my body. That was the night we split, you see – so he could become a more powerful necromancer.” He slumps into his chair – (literally, his ghostly form has sunk partway through the cushions) – muttering sadly, “Souls get in the way.”

“Aww.” Will frowns sympathetically. “So your body hasn’t been much of a friend to you either, huh?”

Voice dropped to an eerie, melodic pitch that sets Scarlet shivering, the soul intones, “The Dark Siren is a friend to no one but death. But,” he goes on more brightly, “I meet other nice people, from time to time. Like the living skeleton I found in Millennium Park! I like her.”

“That’s good. What about ice cream?” Will asks, in pursuit of cheery, death-free topics. “Do you like that?”

Kid pulls a face. “I’m a soul. I can’t eat.”

Will draws back, aghast. “Not even soul food?!”

“Not even corpses,” Kid sighs. “Though those are fun for other things.”

“Haaa, well,” says Will, disconcerted, “there’s time for one more fun thing before we say goodbye. Tell me, what is the biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret involving your co-authors, Tirzah Duncan and Danielle E. Shipley?” A spirited smile. “Or would you rather kiss me?”

“I’ve already tattled on them once,” says Kid, jumping out of his chair. “Kiss me! I’m starved for physical affection!”

“I’ll bet,” says Will, placing a kiss on (and almost through) Kid’s cherubic cheek. In return, Kid’s lips pass through Will’s nose, while his little arms fling around Will’s neck.

“You’re nice, too,” Kid approves. “I hope the Dark Siren doesn’t kill you.”

“Same,” says Will, fondly ruffling the space Kid’s hair does and doesn’t occupy. “Hey, Allyn, how ‘bout a word from our sponsor?”

“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, “is brought to you by The Dark Siren’ by Danielle E. Shipley and Tirzah Duncan – available now as part of the Arcane Arts Anthology!

arcane-arts-cover

Necromancy killed her body, and necromancy saved her soul. Now all this living skeleton wants is for necromancy to leave her the hell alone. But with a disembodied child-spirit hanging around like a too-catchy tune, and a dread dark-artist preparing to sing the world into its final unrest, our heroine’s left with only one real option: Face the music.

“Thank you, Allyn,” Will says. “Thanks to you, too, Kid! And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided here, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”

Young Autumn (Part 3)

A piece of flash fiction, as lightly adapted from an inter-author character interaction with Tirzah Duncan.

Part 1

Part 2

<<<>>>

III

 

T: The questions won’t keep forever.

She decides to let one out, and searches for the rightest one.

She began to ask, why me?

But then she felt she knew enough of the answer, somehow.

 

D: I expect she knows as much of the answer to that as he does.

 

T: One question after another seems wrong for the moment, so—

“Ask me something?

I feel like something should be asked, and preferably answered,

But I can’t find it,” she explains.

 

D: He blinks. “Are you comfortable?”

 

T: “I think so,” she answers.

“There’s a tension of sorts, but it’s a comfortable one.”

 

D: “Are you content?” he asks next.

“For us to be what we are –

Whatever we are –

Indefinitely, and perhaps forever?

Or do you feel the need for more?”

 

T: “I… don’t know,” she says honestly.

“I’m content in it now. I can’t speak for indefinitely.”

 

D: He nods. “I am content for now, too.”

 

T: Her mind brushes on the boy she left behind,

And she wonders what, if anything, ought to be told to him.

It seems that something should, but she’s no concept what.

 

D: “What do you suppose he’d like to know?” he asks.

 

T: She opens her mouth, closes it again.

“I don’t know.”

She looks up at him. “You might actually know better.”

 

D: “He’d want to know of any good feelings.

He’d want to know you don’t feel alone, lonely, broken, bereft.

He thinks he wants to know everything, but that’s less than true.

He doesn’t want there to be unhappy things to know.”

 

T: Her lips twitch, skew sideways. “Yeah.”

 

D: “So any good you can tell him, you should.

As for the rest… Well, you have me for that, now.”

 

T: She watches his face,

Feeling over what he said more than thinking over it.

“Is this— what is it, to you?

‘Cause damned if I know what it is.

It’s not simple, is it?”

 

D: “Possibly simple. Certainly not straightforward.

It may not have a name. Not in this day and age.

One saw such things more, in times gone by.

There were more ways of bonding.”

 

T: “Well.” She muses. “I guess you’re my… exception.

My exception to good sense.”

She grins. “You were that from the time you were my idea.

Every sensible person needs one of those, aye?”

 

D: A smile glints in his eyes.

“We keep the sensible from stagnating.”

 

Epilogue

 

D: “All right. Hungry now. Ready for dinner. Will you join me at table?”

 

T: “Sure. Let me finish my class, first? We’ve been out of time.”

As in outside of it.

 

D: He nods. “I’ll wait.”

 

T: “Thanks. Should just be half an hour.”

She kisses his cheek, that feeling right,

And slips back into time and reality.

 

Her head swims at the sudden scene change,

But it’s no worse than standing up too fast.

A deep, slow breath,

And she’s taking notes again.

Funny, how quickly her brain can snap back to practical.

 

*Confusion* *Feelings*

*Questions* *Relationship stuff*

Oh math okay

Young Autumn (Part 2)

A piece of flash fiction, as lightly adapted from an inter-author character interaction with Tirzah Duncan.

Part 1

<<<>>>

II

 

D: Enough dash-about energy gone to be a boy again and take her hand for walking, as first intended.

 

T: There’s a helluva tingling in that.

In the breath-recovering relative stillness, the great question mark presses upward,

Wanting to turn into actual questions,

But she pushes it back down, because this is too nice to be spoilt by thinking about it.

 

D: Piles of the Autumn leaves burn.

He likes the flames, the light, the smoky smell.

 

T: It feels right. Delight, heat, and question all seem mirrored in the environ.

 

D: Some leaves, newly turned, flutter and fall from overhead.

He plucks one from the air,

Tucks it behind her ear.

 

T: She thinks him beautiful.

Not wrong, and not that she’s been blind,

But also not a thought she’s had so wholly before.

 

D: He thinks her… a delicious Red Apple.

Not to consume, but to delight in.

 

T: No questions, no questions, no questions.

It’s hard for her to keep her practical, straightforward, investigative side down,

But she really, really doesn’t want to be bothered with it just now.

 

D: His free hand’s fingers dance in the air, playing afar with the fire’s sparks.

They take on shapes suggestive of butterflies and dragons.

 

T: That’s better. She lets herself be rapt.

 

D: “Do you ever stop to notice,” he says, gaze on the pieces of blue between the boughs overhead, “what a fantastic young-adult cliché we look, right now?”

 

T: Her lips twitch.

“I’ve been working not to think about it,” she says, meaning more than simply that.

“But wasn’t that true from the first moment of

‘You be a human girl, I’ll be a Fey boy’? So it’s your fault.

Only thing I did wrong was have red hair and blue eyes.

I haven’t even bitten my lip.”

 

D: “Oh, never think I blame you! Though the red hair really is a bit much, Apple, did you have to.”

 

T: “That was all Da!” she protests.

 

But it is cliché, right down to the being confused about how I feel about all this, she thinks, cheeks blushing in embarrassment as well as frustration that such feelings are common to the point of overdone.

Feels like all of YA fed her a line.

<<<>>>

To be concluded on Friday.

Young Autumn (Part 1)

A piece of flash fiction, as lightly adapted from an inter-author character interaction with Tirzah Duncan.

<<<>>>

Prologue

 

D: “Spring is wet and green.

Autumn dying. Winter bleak.

Summer… full of life. Rich with life.

I could not choose between them.

Thinking on it, though, I would walk in Autumn.”

 

He departs, and makes a place to be magic.

 

I

 

D: “Apple,” he calls to her mind. “Will you walk in Autumn with me?

Because life is short, and you are pretty?”

 

T: She laughs, pausing time,

And stepping straight out of her self in class into the Autumn woods.

 

D: “Be human,” he tells her. “Be a girl. And I will be Fey and a boy.

Above all, we will be, and be together.”

 

T: She smiles at the words, so fey themselves,

And something in them sits right in her heart.

There’s a lot else spinning around in her mind, a lot of confusion and second-guessing.

But she shakes all that away, for the moment,

To play along with his words.

 

D: He wants to take her hand and walk.

He wants to take the shape of a wolf and frolic, roll and tumble through the leaves.

He wants both, but can’t have both, not in the same moment.

 

T: Which first, then?

 

D: The wolf. It better fits the antsyness.

 

He frisks near and away, tongue lolling like a too-pleased dog.

 

T: She almost snatches his tail a lot,

And stumble-tumbles into leaf piles and underbrush more often.

Can’t. Stop. Giggling.

 

D: He whirls, leaps,

Comes down with paws on her chest, knocking her down.

Lands atop her, boy-shaped,

Laughs and licks her cheek.

Dashes away again.

 

T: Face flaming, still laughing, she up and runs after him again.

She doesn’t play like this on her own. It’s in her,

Her childlikeness and her silliness,

But it takes someone else unlocking it.

(Her father can access some part of it, but the boy she left behind was the only one to open it up this much.)

 

D: (She’s the only one to do this to him.)

T: (Some sort of mutual play-unlocking connection, then.)

D: (Seems so.)

 

He eventually lets her tackle him.

Leaf-rollin’, leaf-rollin’, barky laughter.

 

T: It feels a strange sort of playing to her, half innocent, half… thrillingly more-than.

 

She drops handfuls of leaves on his head.

In this moment, there is no fear, no suspicion.

There is delight, and heat, and…

Question. Uncertainty, but nowhere directed.

It might be any number of questions, if inspected,

But now it just hems the heat and adds to the thrill.

 

D: He butts his big furry head against her, tail a-wag.

For the moment, everything feels perfect.

<<<>>>

To be continued on Wednesday.