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"What I'm feeling right now is the burn of the thaw,
when your icy hands fill with warmth and all you feel is freezing fire before everything returns back to normal.
It's growth, it's healing, but it still hurts in a way, and I've been under ice for so long I don't know what normal is supposed to be."
The Sun Rises
Haha, what if I wrote a fanfic over an even more obscure character?
Fandoms: Super Smash Bros., Minecraft
Summary: A lone butcher villager is all that remains of a plains village––until the fighters arrive. (A story about the butcher villager in the Minecraft World stage.)
Rating: Rated E10+ for Everyone Ten and Up
Warnings: Implications/references to death
Genres: Angst & Friendship
Word Count: ~1.2K
The butcher wakes up, ties their apron around their waist and leaves their modest house for the day. There are chores to be done: attend to the farmland, see to the livestock and clean up around the house.
Maintaining the farm area is the most strenuous chore: pulling up the weeds, digging up the carrots and potatoes and beetroot, cutting the wheat with a sickle the butcher occasionally sharpened on the old grindstone. The Sun is especially hot today, and sweat beads on their brow as they grab and cut through the wheat with a practiced hand. They can never be as good as the old farmers, but they have gone through the process enough.
A tied-up bundle of wheat in their arms, they make their way to the pens, humming softly to theirself to fill in the quiet. The baaing of sheep and mooing of cattle breaks the silence as the animals eagerly crowd the fence gate. The butcher weaves through the bunch and sets the wheat down in the middle of the pen. They allow theirself a moment to watch the livestock feed, patting those near the villager.
It is afternoon, now. The butcher pays no mind to the soot accumulating on their hands as they pick up the bones from the skeletons that burned once the sunlight shone. The bones crush easily in their calloused hands, and it doesn't take long to spread the bone meal on the crops. They leave the rotten flesh of the scorched zombies on the ground to decompose. They used to care about getting rid of it, but no longer.
They watch the Sun set through their browned glass window, fiddling with an iron nugget between their hands. Once the sky burns red, they go to bed.
They have nightmares of long-past events. They have dreams of what-ifs. They wake up, having already dreamed it all.
The Sun rises.
The undead burn as the butcher leaves their house, no longer able to be afraid, one reason or another. There is no wheat to cut––only some beetroots to uproot. After checking the animals, they cook the beetroots into a fine soup and relax on their house's stairs.
Then, there is a shout, a shout that bellows and booms across the plains to the mountains. "Kirby! Steve!"
On the worn path before the villager's house, two figures materialize: a short and pink mob the butcher has never seen before and one with dark brown skin and purple eyes. For whatever reason, the purple-eyed one is familiar to them.
"Three, two, one––go!"
The two clash, faster than the villager can process. They bob and weave, hit and slash, mine and build––until the taller one falls and the round one claps.
"Kirby wins!" The thunderous voice calls out before the two disappear just as quickly as they arrived.
The butcher drains the last of their soup and goes to bed. They are aware that they should care more about the peculiar situation they witnessed. They can't care regardless. They have a nightmare about zombies, about doors being broken down, about defenders falling.
The Sun rises.
The voice returns, announcing new names. "Captain Falcon! Lucina!" The butcher goes about their day, avoiding the area of trodden grass in front of their house as the two new ones engage in a fight. They walk closer to the old houses of the village as a result––much closer than they would prefer. The houses' cobwebs glisten from the shower during the previous night, and the butcher cannot help their gaze from wandering back to the decaying wood and crumbling stone. They remember names, one mentally attached to each and every dilapidated build. They wish they didn't.
The two are done by the time the butcher has finished their rounds, with the sword-bearer beaming victoriously before they both vanish. The villager worries the shinied iron nugget in their hands as they look to the sky. It is simmering into a deep orange, the ripe color for the undead to begin their prowl. They briefly consider staying outside, but decide against it as they head inside.
The Sun rises and rises and rises...
The fights continue, sometimes with new participants and sometimes old. The butcher gradually begins to watch the brawls, oohing at stylish moves and wincing at powerful hits. Still, they maintain their routine. They find a new path to take away from the rest of what was once a village. Life settles again into a groove the villager can follow through without much thought.
Then, it is shattered again when a fight ends, and yet the fighters don't disappear. The purple-eyed one helps their fallen combatant up, a yellow-furred and long-tailed creature, and then approaches the butcher sitting on the stairs.
The villager looks up. The purple-eyed one––Steve, the villager has been able to determine––shifts on their feet.
"Yes?" the villager ventures, their voice a croak from disuse.
"You..." Steve says, trailing off. "You seem lonely in this abandoned village."
The butcher cants their gaze down. "It wasn't abandoned."
The silence stretches. "Would you like to join us?" Steve asks. "For dinner, at least?"
The villager takes a single look across the entirety of the village: caved-in roofs, shattered windows, that still lingering scent of death. There is nothing for them here.
The villager nods and takes ahold of Steve's outstretched hand. A feeling of weightlessness overtakes the butcher, and their vision flashes into white until the colors drain back in to show a nicely decorated lobby, full of all the fighters. There is an enormous sound of chattering that fills up the entirety of the space as Steve leads them all to a dining room, and it continues on into the meal. The butcher listens to explanations, to stories, to singing, to laughing, and it is all beautifully loud. The villager laughs theirself, when they can't even recall the last time they did.
Dinner is eventually finished, and the villager is brought back to their house. "Would you want to join us tomorrow?" Steve asks as the Sun sets.
The butcher nods, a hole in their chest filling in. "Yes, I would."
The Sun rises.
The villager learns new names and new faces, all of them happy to greet the butcher when they arrive to the Smash Mansion. The villager creates grand meals for the fighters, finding the fun in cooking for others once again. They talk. They laugh. They find happiness again. They finally cry and let theirself grieve.
Eventually, they find theirself at the livestock's pen. It only takes one swing of an axe to break down the gate and let the animals out. The livestock graze as the villager takes the last of their belongings from their old house, taking care to close its door gently. They let out a breath as they look at the house one last time. Then, they turn around and grab Steve's hand as the two vanish, returning back home to the mansion.
The Sun sets.
random little story based off an odd thought i hadkatiebirdie
that thought being "huh, what if people confessed non-romantic love the same way they did romantic love?"
It was 6:30 in the afternoon and Lydia was fifteen minutes from the sweet release from her shift when a pile of bouquets rolled into her check-out aisle. The mass wobbled from one side to the other by a few inches, as though attempting to assess the little hallway of converter belt and snacks. The flowers dropped onto the belt, revealing the man holding them. He was about her age--likely a college student considering 90% of the people currently in the store were college students, including Lydia--with black hair, brown eyes, and a vaguely furious expression.
Lydia glanced down at the bouquets, which were probably half of their pitiful stock. Five father-child bouquets, two uncle-niece/nephew bouquets, and one co-parenting bouquet. Huh.
“Huh,” said Lydia.
“Literally all of the freshmen I know have fucking terrible parents,” the guy elaborated, because people loved elaborating to her for some reason. Archie never had weird purchases elaborated to him. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but today Felicity’s dad sent her text demanding she paid for rent at their house over break. Like, what the fuck?”
She winced reflexively at that, because what the fuck indeed. Picking up one to punch into the computer for the price, she hazarded, “And the Uncle ones?” In for a penny, in for a pound, even if that penny was unwillingly given.
The guy’s expression lightened up a little. “Oh, their parents are fine, they’re just in another country. I’m gonna apply for alternate guardianship.”
Much closer to what she was used to. Lydia punched in the code for those as well. She wasn’t going to comment on the co-parenting one--people platonically co-parented all the time, it wasn’t her business--but then when she set it in the bag the guy immediately leaned over and snatched out the only vaguely romantic flower in the bunch, blushing. A flower that only read as romantic when you over-thought it.
She simply had to take a crack. “If you’re trying to avoid things turning into First Comes the Baby we’ve got romantic bouquets too, dude.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said the guy, face going even redder as he shoved the flower into his pocket.
Lydia shrugged. Not her problem. “That’s $56.74. D’ya have a loyalty card?”
The guy did not, but he must have either been better off than most college students or had been saving up, because he didn’t flinch at the price.
Two weeks later, the guy came back and bought two celebration bouquets and a “will you go out with me?” bouquet, plus chocolates.
“Congrats,” she said, and in a move of great Heraculan effort did not say more.
The guy still flushed and avoided eye contact when signing his name in the card reader.
Word count: 502 words
Tags: Angels and demons, siblings
You and others had been given the task of capturing a group of demons that had taken a liking to possessing human bodies and freezing them to death. Technically, it wasn't your fault.
But even if your soul trembles at that kind of thought, you cannot help but feel that you were away from your sibling fo far too long.
The moment that Tamiel fell, you felt it in your core. Your halo burned against your head and your wings itched with a distant panic that did not belong within you.
Your inmediate thought was that your twin was dying (and you were right, in a sense).
Tamiel had fallen to the abyss, their wings scorched and their halo breaking its holy form.
You made yourself seem untroubled. You weren't worried about your twin, you were dissappointed on a fellow watcher for falling to the sins of the flesh. You closed your soul and continued with your duties without showing your attachment. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts
(and you berated yourself for letting your other one out of your sight. you wondered if their wings ended up useless. you wondered if they were in pain)
You wanted to see them.
And when you got out of your superior watchers many eyes in an unsaid and mostly unfelt concern that you would fell along your other, that's what you did.
You went down to the Earth, folded your wings, camouflagged your halo and started searching for them amongst the other fallen.
You found them in a forest clearing. Even when given up their holy form, you could still feel them near you. You had spent too much time by their side.
Seated on a burned trunk they were, and you inspected them. Their wings were black as charcoal, the left one in the worse state of the two, and you wanted to caress them. Their hair was, although still long, shorter than yours now, the tips burned and uneven, partialy covering their face.
They now had horns instead of a halo, the tips almost touching on a circle but not quite and your soul aches and regrets to have forgone your disguise when you felt them near.
That, coupled with a cuestionable human wear, made them look ragged and wild, a dangerous creature that still blended between the dark forest, almost unrecognizable from what they were before.
You do not want to search for their face. They don't move when you arrive, your presence lowering the temperature of the clearing even more, but you know that they know that you are here.
You spent several minutes in silence and with each passing one you feel more out of place, your clear and big aparience a striking contrast on your other's. You were starting to suspect that they were ignoring you on purpose so that you would leave until you heard a small, hoarse voice.
'Are you here to lecture me, holy one?"
I feel like I have all the thoughts of the world sometimes, and that there is no way I could fully articulate it all, that some emotions and feelings cannot be described but only felt, by actually experiencing––
like a drive back home with friends at night as unfamiliar beats sound off from the radio, and you wonder as you stare at the night sky what it would be like to be able to see all the stars and galaxies,
like the morning after a night of crying and wondering and hurting, like hearing the laughter of all your friends after a joke, like taking the time to breathe in and out and feel your chest rise and fall...
How can I describe the unique experience of living?
You ever just write whatever comes to mind and are just perplexed by what's been written?supermario
What I wrote:
<button class="btn btn-light btn-sm btn-block" type="button" data-toggle="collapse" data-target="#postSeg438245" aria-expanded="false" aria-controls="438245">
</button><div class="collapse" id="postSeg438245">
Tell me of the fairy golds,
the blue snowflakes and ribbon-rose,
tell me of film records and flicker songs,
of dark days spent in shiverthorn.
I want to hear it all,
to soak it in like honeycomb,
I want to feel the summer breeze,
to feel the flowers of spring.
I want to be alive
in ways I've never before
to see the mountains glazed,
to see the rivers rumble.
I want to be it all
the tornadoes that fling
and the storms that sing––
I want to scream it all out.</div>
Haha, what if I wrote a fanfic over an obscure character?
Fandom: Super Mario
Summary: Foreman Spike reflects on a past golf match with Mario.
Rating: Rated E for Everyone
Warnings: Nothing, really.
Genre: Pre-Friendship? Not really a genre, but I don't know how else to describe this.
Word Count: 641
Even though he would yap at the other workers for lollygagging, he found himself taking his foot off the gas pedal and watching the two for a bit. Although he heard of Mario and Luigi through the newspaper and TV, it had been a long while since he actually saw either of them in person. In fact, the last time had been when Mario had invited him to golf.
It had been a nice, sunny day with a cool breeze, although that had done nothing to make Spike any less annoyed as he had walked up to the plumber, who was leaning on his golf club and chatting it up with the princess of that strange Mushroom Kingdom. After the princess left his side, however, Mario noticed him fast, and turned to him with a wide smile.
"You made it!" he exclaimed.
Spike let out a mirthless bark of laugh. "Yeah. So what's your deal?"
Mario tilted his head. "'Deal?'"
Spike scowled. "Actin' all buddy-buddy with me and inviting me to go golfin'."
Mario stopped leaning on his club and stood up straight. "It's been a while since we've seen each other," he said. "And you mentioned once you like golf."
Spike grumbled as he shifted the bag of clubs on his back. He couldn't deny that. "Whatever," he settled with. "Are we startin' soon or what?"
Spike had agreed to the golf game on the belief that there was a catch––that Mario was going to get revenge on him in some way for teaming up with Bowser or all the other times Spike had tried to bring Mr. Famous down a peg. Once Mario did anything of the sort, Spike wasn't above using that dirt against him and proving to everyone that he wasn't as great as so many claimed.
Yet with each stroke and birdie, Mario just smiled and clapped and said "Way to go!" to each player. Even when all the total scores were added up and Spike was deemed winner (naturally), the red-capped fellow just patted his shoulder. "Bravo!" he congratulated.
Spike frowned. "Grazie," he returned without thinking.
"Would you want to join our next golf match?"
Spike huffed. Mario had to be toying with him (right?), and he didn't appreciate that. "No, I'm good."
There was a quick flash of disappointment in the plumber's eyes, but a smile replaced it just as fast. "It was nice to see you again!" he said as Spike left, more confused than when he had arrived.
Spike had been bitter for a long time about Mario, about how he had just joined the job Spike had been working for years, only for Mario to get so much acclaim for saving a woman from some primate. He got so riled up over it, he even took up Bowser's construction job offer just to get back at him. Yet as the years passed, it got harder to hold the grudge when Mario had been so willingly friendly to him, even after he (admittedly) went too far.
Spike hummed, turning his attention back to the controls and pushing down on the gas. He would call Mario and see if he would be willing to catch up after so long, but for now...
He had work to do.
In Hell I'll Be In Good Company
A bit of an outdated headcanon used in this fic, but hey.
Summary: While in a Nether Fortress, Steve contemplates a Wither skeleton.
Rating: Rated T for Teens
Warnings: Some violence; Discussion of death; Death of a mob
Word Count: 623
Steve grunted as he stood up, still gazing at the creature. He found it odd how passive the mobs would become once they realized they couldn't get to him––he would even say they looked peaceful, curious, examining him like he did with them. But he also knew the moment the wall was down, the mob wouldn't hesitate to kill him.
"You gonna stay there?" he asked.
Of course, just like every other mob, even with the intelligent testificates and piglins, the Wither skeleton didn't understand him. It simply watched him.
He raised his diamond sword, making it gleam in the light of the lava source in the middle of the room. "You know I've killed thousands of you, right?"
It mindlessly opened and closed its jaw, showing off its few remaining hole-ridden teeth.
He lowered the weapon, his faraway gaze dropping to the floor. "And you've killed thousands of me."
It clattered, and Steve took it as acknowledgment of his words.
"You don't know that, though," he continued. "As far as you know, this is the first time you've ever seen me."
He paused a beat, eyeing the creature. It was a miracle it could even stand, let alone walk and run. Its bones looked brittle enough that Steve could just reach over and snap any with ease. It would be a bad idea, however; instantly, whatever had overtaken the skeleton would seep into Steve's skin and make his muscles feel like they were being chewed into. He knew how painful it was to die that way.
A pang of guilt and pity hit Steve. "I know words don't really mean much to you anymore, but I'm sorry this is what you've become. I... I really am."
It said nothing in return.
"Maybe... Maybe I can make it up to you. One day." He let out a long sigh. "Another world. Not this one. The world, not just this one, it's still so... damaged. It's recovered so much, but it still needs to heal." Steve glanced to the right hallway, which opened up to reveal hundreds of blocks of Nether wastes. A distant grumble emanated from the red fields.
He then closed his eyes, took a breath and opened them again, raising his sword once more. "Well, I have a temporary solution for now, at least."
One sideways swing was all it took for its skull to fly off, its body crumbling and breaking off into soot and ash. Surprisingly, the skull didn't turn to ash, and instead clanked against the brick flooring and rolled, stopping next to the hallway wall. Steve raised a brow as he took down the wall and made his way to the skull, bending down to look at it. As the Wither skeleton was dead, its withering effect had died with it, letting Steve pick its skull up without any pain.
Steve stared into its sockets. "It has been a while since I've defeated the Wither," he mused. "I guess you could consider that another temporary solution."
Knowing that it truly wasn't a solution at all to the world's hurt, he tucked the skull underneath his arm and began his walk out of the fortress, thinking of the past the whole while.
Turbamentum, Chapter One, "Death and Gyoza"
“This is obviously foul play,” I say, clicking my pen to take notes on the clipboard I’m balancing on my arm.
“That’s the obvious assumption. Ties to Illium, violent cause of death- it seems simple enough to figure out it was a murder, and why he was killed,” says Willoe, examining the body with me.
Let’s take this back a step, shall we?
My name is Staeza Namer, and I work for the Citadel, a company that tries to keep the world’s peace when it comes to supernatural affairs. In this company, I’m a Lily, and I’m no ordinary Lily.
I’ve been solving the mysteries and murder cases of the Citadel for about two years now, ever since I stumbled on a cold case and brought the culprit to justice. And I’m d/mn good at my job if I say so.
The lady helping me look over the corpse is Willoe, and she’s been my assistant for about a month now. She’s still getting the hang of looking at pictures of dead bodies for work, but she’s coming along nicely.
Today starts the twenty-fourth case I’ve been assigned, and it’s a doozy.
CASE 24: VOPARE VEX
Victim’s Name: Vopare Lumina Vex
Victim’s Age: 40
Victim’s Race: Sylph
Victim’s Job: Violet
CAUSE OF DEATH: Violent blow to the back of the head and neck
Suspected foul play due to relation to Illim Vex, the current Venus and head of the Citadel
Seems simple, right? Find out who has issues with Illium or Vopare, interview, and bring in the culprit!
Well, no, this is a murder case involving a direct relative to the head of a company that is spread around the world. Nobody with the guts to pull a murder this bold would be dumb.
And that’s where I come in. It’s my job to find out who did this and why, and bring the story to a close.
I stand up from the crouch I was in and walk over to the restaurant across the street, flashing the tattoo on my wrists to the guards outside the door for entry. Inside stands Illium Vex, current Venus and leader of the lovely Citadel, their arms crossed in anger and grief.
“Find out anything useful yet?” they ask me, frowning.
“Not yet, except that we both agree this was intentional. We’ll need to do an autopsy and further examination before I can say anything concrete. Except…”
“The alley the body is in- it’s in such plain view of the street. I would say this was just a murder to be a murder, but Sylphs like you could usually take such traumas to the head and survive. It makes me think that the killer was rushed for a chance to strike.”
Illium sighed sadly but nodded. “Good deduction. I expect a detailed report from you soon, as always.”
“Of course, Venus!” Willow and I respond, taking our leave.
As we step out onto the streets of Tokyo, Japan, I see the streets that haven’t been closed off flooded with people enjoying the night. “Want to go to a gyoza place I know around here?” I ask Willoe, knowing she isn’t busy.
She thinks about it a second before nodding, allowing me to lead her towards the crowded streets. “It’s good, I promise.”
“I trust you Stae, don’t worry. Your memory is so good I’m sure we won’t get lost, and it’s too crowded for us to get jumped. Well, and I don’t think anyone would try and attack you when you’re so tall.” she said, standing on her tiptoes so try and reach my height. I laugh and bend my knees a bit while I walk to look shorter.
The streets of Shinjuku are lively and bright with hundreds and thousands of faces, and it’s a sight I’ve seen almost every night since I started living in Tokyo five years ago. The city always fascinated me, and it still does. But I wasn’t lying about that gyoza place- it’s a hidden gem.
As we finish the short walk, I take Willoe’s hand and pull her into the alley, and then into the small restaurant. The lady who runs the front of the store quickly recognizes and greets me. Willow tries her best to return the lady’s greetings, but her broken Japanese was barely enough to get the point across. I laugh, and she blushes and gently hits my arm.
“You’re right-” she says fifteen minutes later. “Hidden gem. So good.”
“I know, good food is something Japan is not lacking.”
“You’d think after living here for a month I’d be less clueless about this stuff, but even know I can barely hold chopsticks without getting a sad and concerned glance from you or a local.”
I throw my head back and laugh, my chest shaking. “That’s to be expected when you only come out to go grocery shopping! Well, that’s not true, I drag you out sometimes.”
She frowns and points her chopsticks at me. “You know, I’m older than you.”
“By what, two years? Three?” I tease, taking another bite.
Willoe and I aren’t officially together, but we’ve spent many nights like this since we’ve started living together for our job. I would have made it official, but I think we’re both worried about going too far.
She laughs with me for a bit before sighing and saying, “Yeah, yeah, and you’re the genius when it comes to actually solving the cases anyways.”
“Shh, no self-deprecation! I wouldn’t be able to focus as much on the cases if I didn’t have you here to help me, and I probably could have solved more if I had chosen to take a partner on sooner.”
“It’s not often you admit stuff like that,” she says, eyeing me as she sips the tea she’s been drinking.
I stick my tongue out at her and continue eating.
It isn’t long before we’re both full from the gyoza and tired from the long workday. After paying for the meal, we both stand at the edge of the alley against the busy sidewalks.
“We could go home…” I start to say. “Or we could explore.”
Willow looks at me with an exasperated expression. “Not today Staeza, I’m ready to crash.”
“Alright, fine, home it is.”
Sometimes, we sit in our yard, and we stop.
We take a moment to listen.
We take a moment of our vast time and we use it to see.
We look up and see a bird in a tree.
A squirrel buries a nut before running away from me.
The clouds roll by.
The sky feels a little less high.
And we stand up and begin again.
Read The Dreaming : Chapter 1 : Page 0 For Free | Queenie Chan - Online Manga & Comics-Prose
The Dreaming (by Queenie chan)
If any of you are looking for Halloween reading, this is it.
Twin sisters are sent to a boarding school, but things take a quick turn as they realize that not only does the vice principal have a strange prejudice against identical twins, but students at the school have gone missing in the past - vanishing without a trace - and a sealed-off room in the school is guarded by a strange and disturbing painting....
I discovered this manga by accident when I was in 8th grade - the school library had the first volume, but none of the others, and I'd forgotten about it for years until a conversation with my boyfriend brought back the memory of reading that haunting manga. Thankfully, the premise was specific enough for me to find it again and the only thing I regret is reading it directly before bed.
An excellent super-natural thriller, very well paced, I could gush about this story for days. It feels like an old ghost story you'd tell around a campfire.
Those of you sensitive to gore will be pleased to know that there's virtually none at all, the horror relies on the storytelling and atmosphere, which I absolutely adore. There's a reason this stuck in the back of my mind for over ten years, and if you're looking for some chilling reading material this halloween, I can't reccomend The Dreaming enough.
(by the way, it reads in the western order - I kept reading it backwards by mistake xD)
(Warnings: unreality, horror, usage of second-person)
There is a very popular band with many songs out that are considered classics. It has many fans who await their albums to be released and discuss the meanings behind the lyrics.
No one else seems aware of it. You try to ask for information or even just point out the strange qualities surrounding the band and its songs, but you just get glazed stares like those of fish until you're done speaking, and then the other person talks about a different subject, like you had never said anything. No one cares––they just want to enjoy the music.
You find yourself slowly being consumed by these answerless questions. You cannot explain why you care so much. You have to know. Why does everyone like these songs so much? Why have you never heard anyone say they didn't like or hated this band? What was even the band's name?
It's late at night and hailing. You're in bed, trying to sleep despite the pounding of ice against the roof. It somehow reminds you of one of the band's songs. You spring up from the bed into a sitting position, so fast that black spots appear in your vision. You grasp for your phone and open your music app, scrolling rapidly through your one and only playlist made exclusively of the band's songs.
You play one of them. Unknown to you, it is nothing but discordance, screeching metal and scratches and yelling so loud that it is a wonder no one else wakes. You stare up at the ceiling, mouth slightly open and a daze to your expression as the song trails off and the next one plays.
You eventually fall asleep. The hail ends. You can't even remember what you had been worrying about for the past week. All is peaceful.
Irrequieto, Chapter One, "Birthday Cupcakes"
Her sweet black cat, oblivious to her plans, simply began to settle in. Again, Dev smiled and then proceeded to pick up Lil and set her back on the floor. She had fallen asleep on her favorite couch while waiting for her parents to get home, and her cat had great timing because she heard the door being unlocked now.
Jumping up and managing not to trip on the cat, she ran to greet her parents.
“Devain!” Her father yelled excitedly when he saw her, smothering her into a hug.
Dev sighed into his chest, but this was normal for him. No one else, not even her mother when she was stern, called her Devain. Only her dad did. She always guessed it was a form of revenge, seeing as his name, Triman, was equally as strange. The only one spared was her mother, Allison, who had the most normal name under the sun.
But this wasn’t the most important thought on Dev’s mind. As her mother gave her a kiss on the head, Dev turned to the table that could be seen behind her, completely set up with flatware and plates.
Her mother laughed. “Dev, it’s your birthday, what are you doing setting the table?” she asked.
Laughing as well, Dev sauntered over to pet Lil. “I was bored! I had nothing else to do before you got home, so I thought I’d just get it done, y’know?”
Her parents both nodded in agreement before getting settled in. Like they had said, it was Devain’s fifteenth birthday, an event that she had been waiting for since she turned fourteen. She loved her birthdays since she always got to have cake and not do chores. But aside from that, she also liked getting older. She knew one day she’d resent it, but not yet.
Allison laid out cupcakes she had gotten earlier and waved Dev over to the table along with her father. She stared down at the red cupcakes and green icing and winced. It looked like a Christmas party. But, her mother always insisted on green icing. “Like your eyes,” she would always say. Fifteen cupcakes, each of which would be eaten in the next day or two, one for each year of her life, sat on the table in a single row. A candle adorned the cupcake in the middle of the line of bakery treats.
Her father smirked as they all settled in. “Better make a wish before I take it!” he joked. He said that almost every year, and Dev knew it was her cue to make a wish. But as she blew, her head emptied. The wishes she had been planning to make floated out of her head unexpectedly.
She tried not to frown as her parents clapped. Grabbing the cupcake, she pulled out the candle and took a big bite, ignoring the strangeness of the occurrence. It happens, she supposed.
The rest of the day seemed to fly by her. A book from her mom, a succulent from her dad for her presents, Howl’s Moving Castle for the birthday movie, and chicken for dinner. It was pleasant and calm, exactly what she had hoped for.
Later that night, she sighed as she changed into pajamas and laid in bed. “Another successful birthday,” she said, to no one in particular.
Right as she started to drift off, her eyes closed, she shot up as a hand nudged her arm.
“What-” she yelled, frantic and unable to see in the dark room.
“Shhh!” she heard. Dev wasn’t about to shush just for that, but she quickly recognized the voice as her father’s.
“Dad?” she asked, annoyed. “It’s almost midnight, what do you want?”
He chuckled and pulled her out of bed. “Follow me.”
Irrequieto, Chapter Two, "The Field of Mailboxes"
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Devain grumbled as her dad led her out of bed. He stopped and flicked himself in the forehead. “Almost forgot!” he said to himself. “Devain, change into some sturdy clothes and shoes, and meet me by the back door.”
Dev opened her mouth to argue and ask questions, but he shushed her again and noiselessly slipped out the bedroom door. She grumbled, but did as asked, slipping on simple cargo shorts, tennis shoes, and a black t-shirt with Leviathan, her last name, printed on it.
Yawning, she walked out to meet Triman, who was standing in the backyard. The moon was bright tonight, so she could see easily without a flashlight.
Her father smiled when he saw her, then led her towards the line of trees that separated her house from the incredibly large field next to it. Frowning, Dev followed.
“Dad,” she started, “What did you get me up for? Where are we going?”
He chuckled. “You act like you haven’t been asking your mother and I to explore the tree line for years,” he simply responded.
“Yeah, and I’m glad I get to check it out, but why? It’s only fifteeen feet wide, and it’s the middle of the night.”
“Well, that’s because our destination is on the other side!” he gleefully responded, pushing aside a thick, low-hanging branch from a tree. Behind it, a narrow but well-worn path weaved through the bushes and underbrush to the other side of the line, the field.
Utterly confused but curious and trusting of her dad, Devain followed him through the foliage. The trees seemed to flow around her without a breeze, sending a shiver down her arms.
It didn’t take long for them to break through the trees on the other side. As she took a look around, she gasped. “Dad, what-” she asked, reaching out in front of her.
Her dad smiled and set his hand on the mailbox. One of many, so many that she thought she could spend hours counting and never find the answer. “I pass this field every day to and from school,” she said breathlessly. “These aren’t- these aren’t here.”
Triman slapped the lid of the mailbox, sending a metallic clang through the air. “That sound fake to you? I’ve got a lot of explaining to do, I know, but I gotta make sure you know something first, okay?”
Dev nodded, steeling herself for whatever her father explained next.
“Not a single thing I’m about to say to you is me pulling your leg, making a joke, or trying to prank you. And I need to know that unless someone fits the bill of what I explain next, you never let what happens here reach the ears of any of your peers at school, or family members. Even your mother.” he said, a serious tone lacing every word.
“I- Of course,” she said. “I promise.”
Her father sat down on a patch of soft grass and patted next to him. Devain understood and sat as well, settling in. Triman looked up at the mailbox and smiled. “This mailbox right here- this has been my mailbox for almost thirty years. It’s been mine since I turned fifteen when my father clued me into the family job. Been an Ivy ever since.”
“An Ivy?” she asked. “Family job? Grandpa?”
He shushed her again, laughing. “Devain, we’ll be here till sunrise if you keep cutting me off, sit back and listen.”She stuck out her tongue at him but didn’t keep going.
“Yep, Grandpa Levi, which stands for Leviure, taught me everything I’m about to teach you, aside from a few tidbits here or there. And I’m gonna say to you what every teenager probably longs to hear- The world you see every day? That isn’t the world I’ve been living in the past 30 years.”
Dev leaned back as a little giggle escaped her throat, which caused her father to laugh as well. “I know, right? I sound like I’ve gone senile early. It’s exactly how I felt when I first got this all told to me. But like I said, I’m not pulling your leg.”
“There are all sorts of creatures out there, most of which are just as complex as you and me. And those same creatures aren’t all bad either, as you’ll soon see. But just like we have criminals, those creatures can do wrong just as much. And so, a group exists-”
“Am I gonna get to shoot some monsters?!” she asked excitedly.
Her father burst out laughing. “Ha, no! Well, maybe a little, but that ain’t our priority, us Leviathans. But to understand what we do, you’re gonna have to know about the rest of the Citadel too.”
“The Citadel is the organization that’s been managing monsters as long as the monsters have been around, at least to my knowledge. And within that organization, there exists a hierarchy that’s kept the place running as long as it has. At the top of the chain, we have the Venus. They’re the leader, the president of us in a way. They’re elected once every five years in a mass election, one of which will be occurring this year. The Venus can be male, female, non-binary, or anything in-between. They don’t have to be human either, you see. Our current leader is a Sylph who I think will be re-elected this year as well.”
“After them, we have the Hyacinths. They’re the assistants to the Venus, and they’re all ghosts. Well, a ghost isn’t really the right term, they prefer to be called spirits. Anyways, the Ivy overseer will be here soon enough to judge you, actually. She’s a Hyacinth that works directly with the Venus.”
“Below Hyacinth, we have the job you will need to familiarize yourself with- Ivy. There can only ever be one Ivy, and it tends to be passed down from father to son through the generations. Actually, you’ll be the first woman to get the job in quite a while. Of course, there are some backups for who it can be given to, but that’s a general way.”
“Ivys have a very specific task. They look after this field here we’re sitting in, or more accurately, the mailboxes in it. These mailboxes are assigned to each member of the Citadel. They can have assignments, letters, coupons-”
“Yes, coupons. The Citadel is a big business. But basically, this field is the hub for any worker in the Citadel outside of the actual headquarters building. An Ivy’s job is to maintain this field. Keep out any monsters, clean the mailboxes, keep out any regular people, clean up trash-”
“So… we’re janitors. We’re the janitors.” Dev said solemnly.
Her father gave her a wide smile. “Well, in basic terms, yes, but even Ivys get jobs from time to time. Every once in a while, those “business trips” I went on weren’t for the real estate agency."
“How did you manage to keep up with both jobs? And how does Mom not know?” she asked.
“I managed to keep up with both jobs since your mother did a majority of the work herself anyways, I was always just her assistant. As for her not knowing, I’m almost always out here after she’s asleep. I think she’s known for years that I’ve been doing something out here, but she knows I’m faithful and that I make it back to her in the mornings, so she doesn’t mind. It’ll be hard to explain you sneaking out of the house, but we’ll manage,” he said, giving her a wink.
“But anyway, back to the Citadel. Below us, the Ivy, we have the Roses. The Roses are the muscle of the Citadel. They’re the ones who deal with any people that break the law. Sadly for you, they get the shooty shooty bang bang.”
Dev giggled again. “I can live without the shooty shooty bang bang.”
He nodded in mock approval. “Below the Roses are the intelligence of the Citadel, the Lilies. Most Lilies live relatively normal lives, but keep a close eye on any supernatural creature around the area where they live. If one misbehaves, they’re who report it to the Citadel. They also get sent out to investigate monster nests on occasion.”
Dev yelped as a man that looked slightly younger than her father popped into existence at another mailbox about fifty feet away from her. Her dad smiled, waving to the man. He waved back, checked the mail, then popped out of existence again. “I’ll explain that later,” Triman simply responded.
“The lowest and final tier to the Citadel is the Violets. The Violets are so large, you probably have a few in your school as teachers. Any supernatural creature that is in good standing with the Citadel, or any human who simply has a knowledge of the Citadel, is a Violet. Some don’t even work for them, but most do simple jobs that can help provide for a safe and calm life without trying to hide who they are. Most Violets do not have a mailbox, but some with more important jobs will.”
Her father leaned back into the grass. “That’s the bare bones of how the Citadel works. Any question?”
Devain thought on that for a minute. “...No, not really. Nothing that I can pin down, at least,” she answered.
Triman sat up and looked down at his phone, which Dev hadn’t even realized he had. “She should be arriving soon…” he muttered.
Not even ten seconds later, a breeze ran through the trees as a figure appeared in front of Dev. She was startled, of course, falling back a bit. She blinked at the figure, trying to pick out what was strange before she realized she could see partially through her.
“Devain Leviathan, fifteen, daughter of Ivy Triman Leviathan, correct?” The apparition asked, her voice like a bell.
Her father put a hand on Dev’s shoulder. “You don’t need to be so formal, Terrow. Yes, this is Devain. Devain, this is Terrow, the Hyacinth that has overseen me the entirety of my job.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Devain,” she said politely. “Now, let's get started, shall we?”</div>
Irrequieto, Chapter Three, "The Noctem Blade"
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Devain stood next to Terrow while waiting for her dad to get back. She had tried to make conversation with the spirit earlier, but failed. Terrow seemed to be just as uncomfortable as Dev was. After a few minutes of silence, Triman once again made his way through the path in the trees. This time, he carried a long, thin object covered in cloth.
Removing the cloth, he showed off the item he had retrieved. Blinking, Devain took a few seconds to process. In front of her was a beautiful sword.
It was still sheathed, but that in of itself was a work of art. It was covered in a mesh of blacks, blues, and purples, with tiny white stars dotting along at random intervals. She then realized that those random stars weren’t random at all, they spelled out the word, “Noctem” along the side. But she didn’t see it for long, because her father then unsheathed the actual blade.
It had a simple hilt, stark white with a small blue gem set in the pommel. The blade was a dark black, with a line of blue about 3/4ths along the blade through the fuller. The sword in its entirety was just a bit longer than her arm, making it just shy of three feet long.
“This,” her father started, “Is the Noctem Blade. While fighting is not the foremost job for Ivys, it does happen, and it is important. But the Noctem isn’t just a regular Citadel sword. It has full control over the magic that keeps this field hidden. It also has the power to move the field, but that’s only if the current Ivy needs to relocate due to an emergency. It’s a gorgeous sword, but…”
Dev tilted her head, confused. “But?”
“The sword itself is- picky,” he said. “If it doesn’t like who it’s being passed down to, it just- won't work. It can’t kill monsters correctly, it won’t control the field. It makes itself a piece of junk. Valuable, ancient junk. Sadly, it never took to me. That’s why we still live here, in the old house where your grandfather lived.”
“So- you’re telling me that-” Dev sighed. “That I could have to store away this beautiful, cool as hell sword in my shed for years-” she paused. “Because it doesn’t like my vibes?”
Terrow nodded. “That has been the Noctem Blade’s way of doing things for a very long time.”
Triman gingerly handed the blade over to Devain, who ran her fingers just as gently up the flat of the blade. “How do I know whether it likes me or not?”
“Well,” Terrow said, smiling. “We leave you here alone until sunrise!”
Dev laughed at the sarcasm, but then they both drifted back toward the path. “Wait, seriously??”
A few seconds later, they were gone. The path in the trees seemed to close up behind them, leaving her alone with a sword and some mailboxes.
“This-” she said to herself. “Is utterly ridiculous.” But, she stood up, sheathed the sword, and began to explore.</div>
Irrequieto, Chapter Four, "Ethereal Dreams"
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Trying her best not to trip on any twigs as she trudged around in the dark, Devain made her way to the center of the field. It was a long walk- it was much bigger in the real version than what it looked like outside.
It normally looked to be about an acre wide and an acre long, she could tell that it was about ten times bigger than that. She guessed that they needed the room though since each mailbox had its own area of about a five-foot square. With how many there were, they needed a lot of room.
In the center of the field was a circle about fifty feet in diameter. At the very center of that was a small well. At least, she thought it was a well. Mirrors were angled above it, directing moonlight down onto the pool of water below. Because of that, she could see the crystal clear water that had almost a silvery tint.
Stepping back from the well and unsheathing the sword, she grasped the hilt of the sword with both hands and tried to swing it around. She quickly realized that was not how this was meant to be held though, and tried it with only one. It fit much better this way, and she finally got a grasp on how it felt.
It was definitely not light, but it wasn’t exactly heavy either. It had a weight to it that wouldn’t hinder slashes, but would instead add momentum and force to the blow.
She felt the blade sing as she twirled it around, trying her best with the minimal knowledge she had on how to use a sword. Despite her lack of background knowledge, it felt almost effortless.
She sat down and cradled the blade after sheathing it once more. The wind was warm, and the crickets were quiet. Slowly, her eyes began to drift closed.
“Who are you?”
Dev turned around in the dark to see a figure with massive wings stretched behind them. They were only a shadow- she couldn’t even make out and facial features.
“I’m Devain. Devain Leviathan,” she responded. “And you’re the Noctem Blade, aren’t you?”
“Perceptive,” they said, nodding. “I like that. You’re father though I was a devil coming to take him away.”
“That sounds like something most people would think when faced with this situation, you know.”
The figure seemed to ponder that, tilting its head to the side. “True enough,” they responded. “But I am not looking for most people.”
They reached an arm out and pulled Devain into what she thought was an embrace, but she fell right through them. She kept falling, waiting for herself to hit something, for her fall to slow-
Stars glinted in the moonlight as Dev sat up and rubbed her eyes. Reaching to move the sword off her lap, she paused.
“What the actual hell,” she swore to herself, turning her wrists over. On each hand, right on her wrists, was a tattoo of plants that cuffed her arm. Not just any plant, ivy.
When she touched the sword, it was no longer just a dead thing in her hands, it thrummed with an unnatural excitement. She honestly didn’t blame it- she would be too if she was left in a shed for thirty years.
When she examined the blade again, she had a new appreciation for all the little details on it. The pitch blade, the gem in the hilt- it was a piece of art.
“Well…” she said, smiling at the blade. “Thank you for not making me leave you to sit covered in dingy cloth for a while.”
She stood up and left the well behind, making her way towards the tree line again. When she finally reached it, she saw the path that she had come from was still completely sealed off. Or at least, it looked that way.
Hesitantly, she reached out her hand. She barely even had to move for the plants to move aside, revealing the path that she had gotten here from.
Once she had made it through, she saw Terrow and Triman sitting on chairs under the moonlight. “Dad!” she called.
Yelping, he immediately fell out of his chair. He shot back up as quickly as he could, turning to her excitedly. “Devain! You did it! You did, right?”
Terrow smiled and drifted over to her, writing down more information on her clipboard. She opened her mouth to say something but paused. Her forehead wrinkled in confusion. “Devain, may I see your hands?”
“Yeah sure, it’s weird, right? Is this just like- initiation?” she asked, holding out her arms so Terrow could inspect them.
She shook her head. “I haven’t seen this before. I can’t say that it’s never happened before- but I definitely haven’t seen it in my years working with the Citadel.”
“Triman, it’s high time I go. You both also need some rest. Devain, I wish you well.” She then clicked her pen and was gone.</div>
Irrequieto, Chapter Five, "You're the Tutorial, Aren't You?"
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Devain woke up the next morning to sunshine beaming directly into her eye.
“What the- Ow!” she said aloud, sitting up and rubbing her face. Her mind was still foggy- she was waking up pretty late in the day if the sunlight was on her. She fought the urge to roll over and forget her obligations to eat and drink like a human and instead reached over to grab her phone and check the time.
Squinting at her phone’s bright screen, she read out the 11:17 AM time that floated over her wallpaper. That wasn’t too awfully late, but still egregious for compared to her normal 8:00 AM schedule.
Throwing on some semblance of an outfit, she stumbled into the kitchen. Her dad was sitting in a chair in the connected dining room, where he was watching TV and sipping tea. Noticing Dev, he offered her a steaming mug as well.
She sat down next to him and sipped on the tea. It was raspberry green tea- her favorite. She probably sat there wordlessly watching TV for a good couple of minutes before she spit out the tea she was sipping.
“Are we just gonna act like last night didn’t happen?” she asked, waving her now-tattooed arms around. Her father laughed loudly, gesturing for her to calm down.
“I was giving you time to wake up and adjust. It’s not really every night that you get the responsibility of taking care of an entire field and a magic sword.”
Dev was about to agree, but she closed her mouth. Then she opened it again to ask, “But you’ll be doing it with me, right?”
Triman sipped his tea and didn’t meet her eyes.
“R i g h t ?”
He laughed and set down his mug. “Well, you’ll be doing almost all of it. I’m just here to answer any questions. Grandpa always told me you learn more by doing!”
Dev groaned and slammed back her tea like it was a shot. “Okay, well- it’s a Sunday. I’m going to go to the field and get my bearings a bit more. Tell Mom that I’m over at the park if she gets home.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll cover for you. Just don’t be gone too long! And don’t worry if someone asks who you are, just tell them you’re my daughter and they’ll probably give some monster-hunting tips and move on.”
Still wrapping her head around the fact that people could appear next to her with no warning, she went back to her room to change and grab some supplies.
After digging around through her closet, she found a dark grey top that was made of sturdy material but was loose and cool enough for her to run around comfortably in. Next, she slipped on a pair of leggings made from a similar material. She couldn’t remember where she had gotten the clothes from, but they worked well enough for sword practice. She slipped on some tennis shoes and continued on.
Her next task was packing up a backpack. She decided to plan like she was going hiking, focusing on things like water, a couple of snacks, and a small multitool that she had been gifted to her by her grandmother before she passed.
With all this, she stepped back out into the kitchen. Her father was a bit startled. “I had forgotten I gave you those. Your grandmother was a Rose. Those were her field clothes.”
Dev threw her head back. “What, so everyone on your side of the family is all cool and stuff?”
He smiled and walked over, patting her on the shoulder. “Mostly. Your uncle isn’t directly in the business, and neither are his kids.”
Shrugging, Dev set off towards the back door. “No more history,” she commanded. “Just cool sword stuff.”
Once outside, she realized that she had no idea where her dad had stored the Noctem Blade. After Terrow left with her ominous message, he had taken the sword and sent her off to bed.
Luckily enough for both her and the sword, it didn’t take her long to find it when it popped into her hands.
“HOLY-” she yelled, almost flinging it away.
“You will regret dropping me if you ever do,” a voice replied calmly. It wasn’t any voice, either.
“Oh lord. You’re the tutorial, aren’t you,” she said, staring pointedly down at the blade.
“I am no such thing. I simply will not tolerate a completely idiotic wielder. In fact, I won’t be talking to you at all today after this.”
“Oh, I swear to god-” Dev threatened, but the bond between them that she didn’t even notice before loosened slightly, and the voice left her head.
Grumbling about her exchange with the Noctem Blade, she made her way through the trees and into the field. Now that it was bright outside, she could more fully appreciate the vast size of the field, as well as all the wildflowers that dotted the grass.
She didn’t know how her father managed to keep the length of the grass down, but it was barely tall enough to tickle her ankle if her leggings weren’t tucked into her shoes.
Weaving through the mailboxes, she made her way to the center of the field where she quickly noticed she wasn’t alone. Leaning over the well she had been sleeping by last night was a tall and slender figure who was filling what seemed to be an ornate flask with water from the well.
“Um, excuse me!” Dev said, trying to alert them to her presence. Turning around, the figure gave her a wide smile.
“Do you want some water as well? There is still some left in the bucket.” They spoke with a tone and lilt to their voice that was undeniably not human. Their short hair also helped this deduction, since it showed off the long and pointed ears they had.
“Oh, you’re a Fae!” she said excitedly. “Oh I- Sorry if that’s rude! I’m really new to all this.”
The Faery’s grin grew even wider as they took a long stride forward and clasped Devain’s hands. “You must be Devain!” they said happily. “I am Orlastumina! Most humans simply call me Orlas. Your father was always around while I got moon water from the well! He would talk about you on occasion. It is wonderful to see you!”
Smiling back at the Fae, Dev pulled her hands away and walked over the well. “What is the water in this well? You called it moon water?” she asked. The mirrors that had reflected the moonlight into the pool last night were now facing skyward.
They walked back next to Devain, lifting the flask that they had been filling. “Indeed, it is water that is powered by the moon! Many beliefs have a type or use of moon water. Fae culture is one of those. We use it for many things! It is very good for washing tainted blades.”
Devain made a spot in the grass and sat down, with Orlas following her lead. “A tainted blade is any blade stained with Rayiel blood! Many good swords lost with people who don’t clean them,” the faery continued. “The only sword that cannot be tainted is that sword on your hip! The Noctem Blade, the Night Blade. It was forged by the Fae for the Ivys back when the Citadel was first made! Very much history with that blade.”
“I’ve heard the word Rayiel a few times- what’s a Rayiel?” Dev asked.
Orlas smiled and clapped their hands together. “I forget, you are so new! Rayiels are the Citadel’s biggest issue, they have been fighting for years. They are big clawed humanoids that feed on children! Very bad food source.” they said solemnly.
“I agree. Bad food source.” Devain replied, nodding her head. She moved the Noctem Blade off her lap and unsheathed it. “Do you know anything more about what the blade can do? So far I’ve made it appear in my hands and create a path out of the field, but that’s about it.” she said, leaving out the “talked in her head” bit on purpose.
“Of course! It is told that the blade is imbued with the spirit of a Fae princeling who was exiled from the Land Under The Hill and that he is the one who chooses his wielder. Most people believe it is myth! I am not sure, but either way, it is a great sword. Take care of it well.”
Dev smiled and ran her finger along the flat of the blade. “I will. Thank you.”
“It is no problem little Ivy! I must be going though, vale!” they finished.
And with that, they were gone between one blink and the next.
“This is going to take some getting used to,” she said solemnly to herself before getting up to start training.</div>
Monthly Minion Meeting
A fanfic I wrote a little bit ago that I decided to post here.
Fandom: Super Mario
Summary: It's time for the Monthly Minion Meeting (MMM for short) where Bowser addresses what the future plans are for the Koopa Troop––mainly, how they'll defeat Mario. This MMM, however, there are some unexpected guests...
Warnings: Gratuitous use of italics; nothing else I can think of, really
Genre: Possibly humor.
Word Count: ~1.9K
The high-pitched voice of Kamek reached Bowser's ears as he shuffled his notes and straightened them out against a nearby desk. "Yeah," he called out. He could hear the shuffle of Kamek's robe against the stone floors as he approached.
"Oh, good," Kamek said. "I was hoping to perhaps run a last-minute suggestion by you before the meeting starts?"
Bowser turned around with a quirk of the eyebrow. "Like what?"
"Well, while I realize that you're trying to maintain a certain..." Kamek twirled his hand about, "aesthetic, I truly think you should retire the lava room. That Mario uses it as a weapon against you moreso than the other way around."
Bowser huffed. "Absolutely not. When people think 'Bowser,' they also think 'lava.' If I don't have any lava, people will be disappointed!"
"I know, I know, and I'm not saying to never use lava, but maybe this time, don't have a wooden bridge over lava with an axe ready to cut the suspension?" He paused for a bit. "Or a button."
Bowser grunted, crossing his arms. "Don't worry, that's already in my plans. I'll miss the retro feel of it, but it's time we modernize."
"Yes, exactly," Kamek nodded, adjusting his glasses. "Well, that's all I wanted to discuss. Oh, actually, how are your new contacts doing?"
Bowser smirked. "Crystal clear." He had been recommended a new brand, and so far his vision had been clearer and more vivid.
"Good. I'll go take my seat now."
Bowser quickly brushed his claws through his hair. "Before you go, how does my hair look?"
"Positively spiffy, Lord Bowser." With those final words, he went down the stairs of the stage.
Bowser cleared his throat and snapped his fingers at some of the Koopa Troopa stage crew as he walked to the center of the stage. The Koopa Troopas were quick in pulling the ropes and making the red curtains open up to a round of applause and cheers from the audience. He let them celebrate his arrival for a moment before he rose his hand and ushered a wave of silence. He allowed himself a quiet laugh as he set down his notes on the podium before him and adjusted the microphone.
"Welcome, everyone, to the Monthly Minion Meeting!"
The meeting had gone smoothly thus far, and Bowser had decided to break in the middle for a question-and-answer session. "If you have hands, raise 'em, or if you don't, have someone raise their hand for you," he instructed. Many hands rose up among the crowd. Bowser scanned the audience before he pointed to a Fire Bro. "You with the red shell."
A Lakitu in the air with a mike lowered it down to the Fire Bro. The Koopa tapped on it twice before speaking, "I know you said you'd go over it in the next half, but I gotta know now: will there be lava?"
Bowser gave a toothy grin. "Absolutely."
The crowd whooped and hollered at the news. Bowser eventually brought up his hand for them to quiet before looking over the mass of troops for a new person to pick. The new lenses were really proving their worth; everything was just way more crisp, and he was able to more readily make out the people in the back––
Wait. His eyes flicked back to the rear rows. Red and green sat next to each other, which wasn't unusual considering the composition of his army, but was that a pair of mustaches he saw on the two?
With a growl, he bent his legs and jumped, soaring over the audience. Screams filled the air as people rushed out of the way, leaving a clear area for Bowser to land on––right in front of the infamous Mario brothers.
The chairs they sat on hopped into the air at the impact, falling back down shortly after. Mario's chair stayed upright, while the green one's fell backwards with him on it. "Hello!" Mario greeted with a wave as Greenie––er, Luigi––sat up, holding his head.
"What are you two doing here?!" he yelled out, making all the minions jump around him––except for the ones soundly asleep sitting next to the brothers. (Bowser would have a lot to say to those baddies after the meeting was over.) "It's not Go-Kart Saturday, or even Tennis Friday!"
Luigi stood up, worry in his eyes as he rubbed the back of his head. Still, he wasn't shaking like a Tanooki Leaf like he used to when he saw Bowser back in the day. "W-We're here for the MMM," he said, with Mario nodding along to his words.
Bowser brought his head back, taken aback. "The MMM––" he repeated to himself before shaking his head and baring his teeth again. "What do you mean the MMM?!"
Luigi raised his index finger. "You know, the MMM. It stands for Monthly Minion––"
"I know what it stands for! I mean, why are you here for the MMM!"
"W-Well," Luigi began, "every Koopa Troop member is supposed to attend the meetings, i-if able."
Bowser blinked and looked around at all the minions around him, Can you believe this? conveyed in his eyes. His attention returned to the brothers with a humph. "While that is true, you forgot the part where you aren't members!"
"Uh, but... we are," Luigi said.
Mario reached over into his pocket and pulled out a laminated card. "I have the card to prove it!"
"What?! Give me that," he snapped, swinging his arm and snatching the card from Mario's hand. There was no way it was official!
He poured over the tiny thing, mumbling under his breath. Photo, check; red Bowser stamp, check; "Mwuahahahahaha!" written on it in his handwriting, check. It even had the right amount of "ha"s! It was either an insanely good knockoff or the real deal!
"I can show you my card, too, if you want," Luigi said.
"No, I don't!" Bowser shouted, throwing the card to the ground. Mario picked it up, blew the dust off and pocketed it. "It's obviously a fake! To become part of the troop I have to say you can, and there is no way I let you two join!"
"Uh... but you did."
Bowser growled and narrowed his eyes. "When could I have possibly done that?"
"Um, well, in Mario's case, it was when you two joined to fight, uh, who was it, Smitty?"
"Smithy," Mario corrected.
"Right, right, Smithy. Y-You see, I wouldn't know, because I wasn't there," Luigi explained as he glanced sideways at Mario.
"I was too busy to get you!" Mario protested.
Luigi waved his hand at Mario in a dismissive but playful manner before he continued. "And, uh, well, you kinda chased me and forced me to join when Peach's voice got stolen."
Bowser opened his mouth only to slowly and hesitantly close it as the memories came flowing. He did remember saying that Mario could join the Koopa Troop so that they could get his castle back, and he did go after Luigi to add him to the troop before he learned he was Mario's brother...
Wait a moment. "That was a long time ago! How long have you been going to these meetings?!"
"Uh..." Luigi trailed off, scratching his head as Mario began to wordlessly count off his fingers. Bowser's heart dropped a little when Mario continued on to his second hand and then went back to the first. "L-Let's just go with a while," Luigi interjected, making Mario stop.
"How often have you gone to 'em?!" Bowser asked, his horror rising.
"Oh, we try to attend each month, and sometimes to the surprise meetings, although we can't always because of a plumbing job. And there was one time Mario got sick, and I didn't wanna leave him alone at the house, so I didn't––"
"Sh-Shut it!" Bowser exclaimed, losing his composure. He scanned over the crowd. "Who's the one who cards people?"
A blue stub raised in the air, barely above the Koopa Troopas around it. The crowd split to show the blue Shy Guy raising her hand.
"Why would you let them in?!" he yelled.
She dropped her hand. "I was told to let anyone in who had an official card. Yeah, they're the Mario Bros., and they kinda suck because of that, but their cards are legit."
Bowser was absolutely floored. It would have been one thing had they been sneaking in, but they had been walking in! Leisurely!
Bowser flared his nostrils. "Alright, that's it!" He pointed at the two. "Get them!"
Instead of the pile of Goombas jumping onto them like he had expected, he was instead met with a lot of hesitation and looking at each other. Oh, he could feel a huge anger-induced headache setting in... "What is your problem?!" he asked, utterly exasperated.
"Lord Bowser," a Goomba––wasn't he the one Bowser had stripped of captain rank?––began, "a Koopa Troop member isn't supposed to hurt their fellow minions! But they are the Mario Bros..." Strain was obvious on his face. "I-I've never been so conflicted in all my life!" he exclaimed. The red Shy Guy beside him gently patted his head.
"I'm not conflicted," Private Goomp said. When the two brothers faced him after those words, he took a step back. "And by that I of course mean that I'm also very conflicted."
Bowser growled, holding onto his head and scrunching his eyes shut. Everyone turned to him expectedly, thinking he was about to face the two himself out of sheer frustration. Instead, he stopped growling, let out a long breath and pinched the bridge of his nose. Bowser did not feel like fighting. Junior had woken him up in the middle of the night over a nightmare, so he hadn't slept so well, and soon after the meeting, Bowser was supposed to attend one of Lemmy's performances. If he missed it because he was battling it out with the brothers, then Lemmy would be sad, and nobody liked it when Lemmy was sad. Oh, and there was also that headache throbbing at his temples.
"Just... could you just leave?" Bowser asked.
Luigi frowned, a little upset. "Aw, but what about the goodie bag at the end of the meetings?"
Bowser grunted. "Lakilee!" he barked out. Said Lakitu flew over to him, dropped one of the goodie bags into his outstretched hand and flew off.
He shoved the bag into Luigi's hands. "Now go. Just go! Leave."
The two brothers looked at each other before Mario stood up from his chair and the two began the slow trek out of the auditorium. Bowser watched them go until the big doors shut behind them with a loud creak. The sound made one of the sleeping minions awake with a start, frantically looking about and trying to figure out what was going on.
Bowser heaved out a sigh before he turned and walked back to the stage, feeling too worn out mentally to jump back to the stage. Once he was back to his podium, he spoke slowly into the mike, "Does anybody else have a question?"
No one moved or made a noise.
"Good. Moving on..."
As the two brothers walked down the long hallway with red carpet, Luigi had a frown on his face. Eventually, he asked, "Do you think we shouldn't go to Lemmy's circus act after all of that?"
Mario hummed in thought for a moment. "It would be rude if we didn't go," he surmised. "We told Lemmy we would."
"Yeah, you're right. Hey, do you mind going to the gift shop? We haven't gone there in a while."
Mario smiled. "Let's-a go!" he agreed, following Luigi into the nearby store.
Chase the Stars
A story about space, aliens, humans, and science(?) in the 22nd Century
Lightning Cats: Mini story #1lightningcats
Summary: Uh-oh, looks like the only way to distract the guard in the way of Lightning Cats is to seduce him! Catherine looks at Kittie, Kittie looks at Didi, Didi looks at Catherine... Kittie is fed up with men, Didi is too butch, and Catherine is too awkward for this. In the end, Miauch takes the wheel.
(story in Russian under the cut, English translation by demand).
- Ты имеешь в виду... - Китти пошевелила ушами и покрутила лапой в воздухе, - ...соблазнить?
Я обречённо кивнула.
- Ну, хорошо, - Китти пригладила волосы и выпрямила спину. - Это я умею.
Она шагнула было вперёд, но тут я заметила, как шерсть у неё на лапах встала дыбом. Хвост кошки нервно раскачивался туда-сюда.
- Так, стоп, - я положила лапу ей на плечо. - Нам сейчас нервничать нельзя, впереди ещё много трудностей. Если тебе некомфортно, то не иди. Сами справимся как-нибудь.
- Ну, смотрите, - сказала Китти и отошла на шаг. - Шерсть её сразу улеглась, и хвост выпрямился. - Диди, может, ты попробуешь ? Ты же у нас пикап-мастерица.
Повернувшись ко мне, Китти объявила:
- Эта дама с прошлой вечеринки с тремя кошками ушла. Хоть бы мне оставила!
- Так то кошки! - Диди хохотнула. - С этим мужиком-то я что сделаю? А насчёт популярности, давно тебе говорю - заведи, Китти, мотоцикл. Всё очарование в нём.
- Нет уж, - Китти вздохнула. - Не хватало мне только этой тарахтелки!
Диди пожала плечами.
- Катрин у нас по кошакам, пусть она и идёт.
- Ладно, - кивнула я. Стало даже как-то неловко, будто я попыталась свалить свою обязанность на кошек. А ещё командир... - Только покажите мне, что делать.
- Что делать? - переспросила Диди. - А Мяуча ты как подцепила?
- Это я её подцепил, - заявил Мяуч с улыбкой. Я еле сдержалась, чтобы не ущипнуть его за хвост. - Ты права, здесь нужна практика. Давайте сперва отрепетируем.
И репетиция началась.
- ...Прижимаешь лапки к сердцу, - объясняла Китти. - Теперь поворачиваешься. Прикрываешь глаза, хлопаешь ресницами... Нет, не крути головой! Уши чуть выше...
Я честно пыталась повторить всё, что мне сказали. Опущенная чёлка лезла в глаза, которые, в попытке изобразить томный взгляд, едва не выскочили из орбит. Приняв "эффектную" позу, я из последних сил оскалилась в улыбке, пытаясь сделать её одновременно непринуждённой, очаровательной и изящной.
- Вот так?
- Не-е-ет, - хором протянули кошки. Мяуч покачал головой.
- Дорогая. Ты прекрасна всегда и везде, но сейчас ты меня пугаешь.
- Ясно, - я помотала головой, восстанавливая привычный вид. - Какие ещё у нас есть варианты?
- Прости-ите, а я могу попасть на концерт?
Мягкая лапка с тонкими коготочками аккуратно постучала в окошко будки охранника.
Тот поднял голову, да так и застыл, вытаращив глаза на открывшуюся ему картину. Узкие синие джинсы обтягивали изящную фигуру, белоснежная рубашка, небрежно наброшенная на голое тело, была застёгнута лишь на пару пуговиц. Пушистый рыжий хвост игриво помахивал туда-сюда.
- Бо-о... юсь, что нет, - прохрипел охранник, вцепившись обеими лапами в спинку сиденья. - Это служебный вход, Вам нужно зайти с главного...
- Ой, правда? - Мяуч театральным жестом откинул чёлку с глаз и посмотрел охраннику в лицо, всем своим видом выражая изумление и грусть. - Ка-ак жаль! - Он наклонился ближе к охраннику, чуть понизив голос. - А, может быть.... Может быть, Вы сможете что-нибудь придумать?...
- ...А он хорош, - прошептала Диди, пока мы втроём аккуратно, бесшумно протискивались в полуоткрытую заднюю дверь. - Надо чаще брать его с собой.
- Тихо, - зашипела я. - Не болтаем. Нам ещё сигнализацию отключать.
Высунув лапу наружу, я показала Мяучу палец вверх - знак успеха. Он увидел, чуть заметно кивнул и подмигнул - то ли мне, то ли охраннику -, и я осторожно закрыла дверь.
Мне было чему у него поучиться.
Brief history of Catland. Essay I. Early days and Mruricklightningcats
The map of the land is simple: woods, then the shore, then the mountains on the shore, then the sea. Early cats used to live in the mountains, fishing and sunbathing. As Catland grew, houses started to appear on the shore, too. All was well until the invaders, dogs, started to come from the woods, rob the houses of poor cats and steal their fish. They might have had access to the sea somewhere far from the cats, but hey, it's much easier to let cats do the work and then steal all the seafood they have collected!
Cats had nowhere to go but the mountains. They coulnd't go in the sea, and they wouldn't dare to go to the woods since they were scared of dogs. Back then, cats didn't exactly know what dogs are, and they were big and intimidating. Stories from back then pictured them as terrifying, cat-eating beasts .
Cats united under their first king, Mrurick, to build a fortress in the mountains the dogs could not access. They have built it out of stone. Some believe the fortress was originally called Mew York . Cats would live in the fortress except for the fishers, who would normally fish on the shore, but evacuate to the fortress in case of emergency dog invasion. It's unclear if Mrurick was elected from the cat folk or came from afar, as different sources say.
It is also unclear if there was someone between Mrurick and Catriandra. One of the legends says he has seven sons and the daughter, Catriandra, and all of the children ruled in turns after him for 7 minxs (rough equivalent of 11 human years), Catriandra being the youngest and the last one. Modern historians , however, find it highly unlikely. Seven children can be just a hyperbole, which serves solely to establish the importance of Catriandra's role for Catland and her uniquness as a ruler, and reference the number eight - a lucky number of cats. In early cat tales, it was common for protagonist to be the eighth child in the family .
The number of cats continued to grow, and more and more cats on the shores were left without the protection from Mew York fortress. It was hard for them to evacuate with their big families, there were more cats in the fortress now, and dog invasions have become more frequent since they had less seafood to steal now, but they wanted more. In one of those poor shoreline families, Miauch'kin, the central figiure of early Catland history, was born. He was the firstborn in the family, later he was joined by his younger sister Miuka, who is also one of the central Catland history figures.
Since she was a child, Miuka used to sit at the shoreline and stare at the sea instead of playing with other kittens. By doing that, she has discovered the patterns of tides and flows. She also strated to predict whether there will be a lot of fish or not simply by staring at the waves and the birds. The grown-ups shrugged it off at first, but found a lot of her predictions to be true . Miauch'kin used to guide her and watch over her. He loved his little sister.
Then the dog invasion came when Miuka was 5 minxs old (rough equivalent of 10 human years). Everyone hid, including Miauch'kin and his family, but Miuka was too absorbed in watching the waves, and she didn't hear the calls. When the dogs left, Miuka was gone. She was dragged into the forest .
Miauch'kin decided to follow the dogs and resque his sister. Everyone discouraged him with scary tales about cat-eating beast, but he was determined. Miauch'kin was 10 minxs old (rough eqivalent of 17 human years), however, until his birthday he wasn't considered an adult and couldn't disobey them directly. He waited for his parents to calm down and go to their evening sleep. Then, before anyone woke up, he took a big stick and sharpened it. As it got dark, he went into the woods that no cat went to before, that used to be called Dogwoods back then .
To be continued...
 Most historians assume the name Mew York came later, however, the original meaning of the name is unknown. Current capital of Catland, Mew York, originated where the fortress was, so in these essays, we will be calling it Mew York fortress for clarity.
 The word "Mrurick" is also omonimous to the number "seven" in cat language. There is a theory ( "Early Cat History Analysis and Details by A. Cotova) that Mrurick wasn't a person, but an assembly of seven wisest cats. It doesn't answer the question of Catriandra being Mrurick's daugher as stated in most written notes, so the number might as well be a coincidence.
 The number eight rougly resembles a fish, which means food, and that you are lucky to catch it. ( "The Anthology of Cat Folk Tails - early days to the Electric Century" by F. Line)
 One of the scientific laws describing wave patterns in the seas is called Miuka's law to this day. There are notes of it found in Miuka's later established Wave Calendar. ( "Seas and Cats" by Dr. W. S. Mia)
 Here and later the story is re-told from surviving Miuka's notes, recovered in the Blue Book of Cat History by Cat History Academy, X67.
 Now Greenwoods.
There is a mirror in my bathroom. It doubles as a cabinet. It hasn’t changed as long as I’ve lived here, and longer still. It’s clean, usually, when we remember to clean it. Sometimes, I stare into it late at night, when I need to ground myself in reality. It rattles when there is a thunderstorm...
hey everyone, sorry im not terribly active here, but i wrote a thing
Wander where they dare not tread
Far outside of culture’s rule
No care have you for others dread
Their expectations far too cruel
Abandon here the precut mould
Explore beyond the mortal ken
Secrets shared, whispers old
Power beyond might of men
Weapons naught, against the form
Of stolen armour, built from pain
No wish have you to just conform
Instead exist as normal’s bane
In the void, a strange embrace
No rules, no law, be truly you
Where the strange is commonplace
And true life starts anew
uhh so i've been thinking up a supernatural mystery thriller plot and then accidentally wrote almost 3k about it so if you'd like to read that here it is? it's makes for a long as hell post btw so watch out for that
tw for violence and some eye trama
There’s the shrieking call of a firetruck out in the street, distant but persistent. Her back feels off. She shimmies in place, twisting and rotating her shoulders to relieve the tension. Eventually she ends up rolling onto her side, face smushed into the pillows, staring blearly at the white, smooth wall.
She’s never been prone to insomnia, but God did her brain not give an inch tonight.
There’s a creaking of the floor coming from somewhere beyond her room, and for a second she can’t help but to tense up, heart beating fast, ears straining. The sound doesn’t happen again, her fridge making her jump with it’s scratching, scraping sounds of the cooler de-icing itself instead. A few more seconds of silence pass before she lets herself relax again, slumping into her mattress. She’s been watching too many true crime documentaries lately, and now every night is filled with figures looming in corners, knives or bats or rope in hand. like she’s a child afraid of her closet again. That’s probably half the reason she can’t sleep tonight.
No one is in the damn house, Katrina tells herself, jabbing her elbow into the mass of pillows to get comfortable again, nobody except yourself. You double checked the door. The windows’ been locked since it got cold. If someone was in your house you’d notice, you idiot. Go the hell to sleep.
It helps to insult herself, in a weird way. Maybe it’s the idea that someone was going to kill her after she called herself an asshole was too silly for the universe to allow. No matter how nonsensical the little ritual is, it calms her down anyway, so she keeps doing it. Already her eyelids feel heavier, so she tucks herself in further into her little cocoon and tries to let herself sleep.
There’s more creaking. Shut up, it’s fine. It’s just you. She starts counting up, just for something thoughtless to do. One, two three, four, five, six— more creaking— seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve— she can feel a shape looming, but that always happens when she freaks herself out, calm down, calm down— thirteen, fourteen, fifteen—
Hands close around her throat, a body presses down onto hers. Her eyes fly open to see the wall, and before she can even think she starts thrashing, arms confined in the comforter, her torso trapped by the person. She tries to look at the person but it’s too dark, she’s turned on her side, all she can see is dark red hair and shadow. The hands clench tighter around her neck and she gasps, finally freeing a hand to grasp at her attackers fingers. She can’t get up like this, can’t fight like this. She needs to get them off her.
She doesn’t think long, heart pounding in her throat. She kicks her legs out to push against the wall like it’s a springboard and rolls, forcing the both of them off the bed and onto the floor, knocking the hands off her neck. She hears the person make a noise for the first time upon the impact, a sharp, wordless groan, and then she’s staggering to her feet, flinging the comforter off and onto her attacker, still on the ground, without looking at them. The minute she has her limbs free she bolts, lunging to the bedroom doorway. A hand brushes past her leg but doesn’t quite connect, and she gets out. Through the hallway— her attacker is behind her now, she could hear them getting up, could hear the footsteps now— to the kitchen.
It takes seconds to reach the knife block and she grabs the first one her hand lands on; a steak knife, small and serrated. It has a point, though, and that’s all she needs. Katrina whips around, brandishing her makeshift weapon, just as her attacker is behind her, and almost drops it because—
— because it’s her. Another Katrina, her hair, her body, her face, split into a wild snarl.
She stumbles back, mind reeling, and Other Katrina surges towards her, reaching for her neck again, and suddenly Katrina’s screaming, stabbing forward, and is knocked against the wall, pressure on her throat. Other Katrina’s arm is bleeding but she doesn’t even notice, didn’t even make a sound, her eyes trained on Katrina’s. The cold, dark hate in those eyes takes her breath away more than any strangulation could. Desperately, she tries to pull on the hands, but Other Her is too strong— but she’s still holding the knife. She grabs at Other Katrina’s arms, forces room between them so she can wiggle her own arm in. And before she can overthink, she plunges the knife right into Other Katrina’s eye.
Other Katrina finally lets go with her own scream, hands flying to her face as she jerks back, colliding with the table and collapsing onto it, knocking off half of it’s clutter onto the floor as she writhes in pain.
And then she’s gone. The knife clatters onto the table, still bloody, the only sign aside from the mess that she was ever there. For a long minute it’s all Katrina can do to slide down the wall until she’s sitting against it, breath loud and fast in her own ears, neck throbbing and heart pounding.
She just looks at the table, half expecting her to reappear and attack again. Other Katrina doesn’t come back. All she can hear is the sounds of the wood settling, no creaking of walking in the other rooms. Katrina lets herself slump fully against the wall. She should call 911, should get out of the apartment, should go to her neighbors— but God, what would she say? That she attacked herself? That a doppelganger tried to choke her dead and then just vanished? She finds herself laughing half hysterically at the thought of their expressions. They’d call her insane. She doesn’t know what to do.
Slowly, she gets up. There’s no way in hell she’s telling anybody the truth, obviously. So she needs this to make sense. There needs to be an obvious point of entry. She thinks of the bedroom window first, because it had started there, but she’s on the second floor. That wouldn’t track. There’s also the screen to consider— she could cut it herself, maybe, but they can tell from which side it’s cut these days.The front door, then. There are security cameras, sure, but not directly in the outside hallway, just the main entrance. Besides, all security cameras have blind spots, and the management doesn’t care enough to shill out for any more than necessary. It wouldn’t be a strange thought that someone could get past them with enough forethought.
Mechanically, she makes her way to the door and opens it, checking for any people at their own doors. Nobody, like she was expecting. Aside from her there’s basically no one under thirty renting here, mostly because it’s too expensive for the average graduate and because there are a dozen other apartment set-ups much closer to the local college. That means that almost nobody gets home past 11 o’clock at night unless they have odd hours, and those that do with regular hours are most definitely intoxicated, making them unreliable witnesses.
She considers, for a moment, attempting to tamper with the lock, but dismisses that idea almost as quickly as she thinks it. She’s already taking too much time to call the police to fiddle with it, and for that to make sense she’d have to actually know how to lockpick, which she doesn’t. She’ll just have to tell them she forgot to lock her door. It rankles, knowing she’ll have to make herself out as forgetful, but it’s the best course of action.
Speaking of calling the police, she should do that. I was asleep, she starts planning, walking back into the living room and to the kitchen, and then suddenly I woke up to someone strangling me and fought back, and after we fought a bit in the kitchen, I shoved them into the table. They got up and ran out the door, which was already open— maybe they realized I was making too much noise? Was putting up too much of a fight? Then I called after freaking out for a while.
Christ, the knife. She’ll need to excuse the knife. If she was fighting herself the blood on it must be her blood, then. How was she going to deal with that? Injuring herself was the most logical idea, but the last one she wanted to actually go through with.
Except when she gets to the kitchen, there was no blood. Not on the knife or the table. Nothing at all. Hesitantly, she picked it up, turning it in her hands. It's clean as a whistle, like it had never been used. The clutter that was on the table before— a book, a pile of junk mail she never bothered to toss, a napkin holder and the few napkins left in it— is all still scattered on the floor. Was it gone because the Other Katrina was gone? Had it only taken so long to vanish like the rest of her because it was no longer attached to the body? She sets the knife back onto the table. She doesn’t know and it didn’t matter right now. Calling the police mattered.
She gets to the bedroom, stepping over the rumpled comforter— another thing that had remained as it was— and grabs her phone. She unplugs it from the charger and dials.
“Hi, my house was broken into and somebody tried to kill me,” she says to the operator, only mostly calm.
The call, after that, goes as routinely as possible. What was her address? 1445 Lilac Street, Bloomwood Apartments, Apartment #6. Was the person still there? No. Was she hurt? Bruised, but otherwise fine. Trying not to freak out again. Could she leave the apartment? Sure. Was there anybody in the complex she could stay with until dispatch arrived? She spoke with an older woman three doors down often who probably wouldn’t mind.
At the operators insistence she goes to Ms. Samoto’s door, knocking politely and informing her that she needed a place to stay for a few minutes after Ms. Samoto answers the door with a scowl on her face. The scowl turns into blank-eyed horror when she explains why, exactly, she was there and she is quickly let in and forced onto the couch.
That was where the two police officers and single detective found her when they arrived, with a cup of tea cradled in her hands. She eyes the detective uncertainly, hoping she simply looks curious. There’s no reason for him to be at what probably is being considered a routine attack. He matches her look with a slight, stiff smile. He has a cane that he leans on harshly and a shock of blond hair, which combined with his height makes him look like a scarecrow someone dressed up in business clothes on a lark.
All three of them introduce themselves— Officer Amy Buccanan, Officer Douglas Hepp, Detective James Le Mott— but only Detective Le Mott stays, the other two quickly hurrying to the actual scene of the crime to close it off. After gently suggesting to Ms. Samoto that he would like to talk to the victim alone, thank you, and she harumphes and disappears into her bedroom, he sits down across from her in the matching recliner and pulls out a notepad.
“So I suppose you’re wondering why I’m here,” he says, with that same stiff smile.
Katrina isn’t sure what to say to that, so all she says is, “I am."
“Well, usually this sort of case is left to the officers until there’s significant reason to bring me in, but your case happens to match one that happened just an hour ago. Are you familiar with the Paper Doll cases?”
Katrina almost drops her tea, some of it spilling onto her fingers. She knows the Paper Doll cases— she’s pretty sure the whole town knows about them. They’ve been splashed on the news for weeks now, cases that the police just couldn’t solve, filled with missing clues, strange victim statements, and, of course, strings of paper dolls strewn across the scenes. She can feel herself pale as she recalls one particular surviving victim’s claim: a man who looked just like him had been his attacker. He had been lambasted by the press for that, everyone speculating that he was sick, crazy, or high as hell.
Le Mott must take her reaction as an answer, because he continues, “We’ve found that just a few blocks away a man who also had his home broken into and was attacked about an hour ago, and these cases always happen the same way: every full moon, several people are attacked over the course of several hours.” He meets her eyes. “I’m sure you can see why we found your situation very concerning.”
She nods weakly. A part of her wars with the rest against the idea of deliberately lying during such a high-profile investigation, but then she remembers the other victim, label insane, and the sight of the other her vanishing into thin air. Remembers the disappearing blood. Her fingers tighten around her cup. This is a case that can’t be solved no matter what she says, so she may as well take the route that keeps her out of the press as a lunatic. “I guess you’ll want my story, now?”
“If you would be so kind.”
Katrina takes a deep breath, and starts lying through her teeth. “She attacked me in my sleep. I woke up with her strangling me, and I didn’t know what to do, couldn’t even really see her ‘cause I was facing the wall, so I just freaked out. Started trying to get her off me, yanking at her hands, anything to keep her from actually killing me. I don’t know how I thought of it, but I ended up rolling us both off the bed and onto the floor, with me on top. I got up as quick as I could, went running to the kitchen as soon as possible. I think she tried to get me on the ground with her again, but she couldn’t grab my leg.”
“Why the kitchen?” he asks, writing intently.
“Well, I heard most attackers give up if you fight them because they realize you’re too hard to knock out, and she didn’t really seem to have a real weapon so I figured I could get her to stop if I got my hands on a knife. I grabbed one, and then she was right on me again. I managed to turn around and knock her back, and she landed on my table. Then she just jumped back up and ran right past me, out the door.”
Le Mott frowns, looking up at her. “She just left? Do you have any idea why?”
“I guess it was ‘cause I was armed?” Katrina says, ending it more as a question than an answer. She really doesn’t know why Other Katrina vanished, so it’s not really a lie either way. “Didn’t ever end up cutting her, though.” That one is.
“Possibly,” he agrees, not looking particularly convinced. “You keep saying she— did you get a good look at her, then?”
“Not really, I only saw her fully while we were in the kitchen, and it was pitch black in there— all I could see in my bed was some hair from the corner of my eye. Her clothes weren’t that baggy though, so I could guess pretty easy from what I saw.”
“Right, describe her for me anyway.”
Now was the crucial part. Katrina screws up her face in thought, as though trying to recall as much as possible. “Uh, wasn’t much taller than me, so about 5’7 to 5’9? Kinda wavy hair, ‘bout past her shoulders— “ she places her hand at her chin-length cut and then lowered it to about her estimate, “--couldn’t tell you the color, but it looked pretty dark, so probably not blonde? Brown, maybe, I’m not sure. Was strong as hell so she’s probably more built than me.”
“Did you manage to see any of her face?” Le Mott says, a touch impatient even as he kept writing.
Katrina shrugs apologetically, “It was too dark in there to really see much, and I was kinda busy keeping her from grabbing my neck again. I think it was kinda long, and she had, like, a small nose?”
They keep talking for a while, Le Mott prodding her for all the details she can remember and Katrina blending the truth and her lies into something they can both believe in. But soon enough the two officers duck in to announce that they had done all they could to close off and mark her apartment but it was still an active scene, so did she have a place to stay other than there tonight?
Le Mott was startled at that, as if he had forgotten the time of night completely. He turns to her. “My apologies, I didn’t consider that at all. You’d probably like to try sleeping tonight.”
Katrina sighs. “I can just get a hotel room.”
Le Mott nods and stands up, putting his notebook away and tucking his hands in his coat pockets. “Would you like me to accompany you? Considering the circumstances.”
“Oh, sure?” she says, “If you aren’t busy.”
“I’m sure Officers Bucannan and Hepp will only find me aggravating at this point,” he tells her mildly, “I can spare a minute or two.”
“Aright, then, I’ll look for a place.” Katrina pulls out her phone.
It doesn’t take long to find a chain hotel only a couple blocks away, and they set off down into the lobby area and into the streets. It’s positively easy-going.
As they walk together, Katrina looks up at the night sky, and almost trips. Because where the moon is supposed to be is a gleaming, glass-like mass, shattered into dozens of pieces.
What We Inherit: and what we find on mountainsemlyn-scribbles
Ceris was born to blood.
Blood followed her, and she fascinated
in its scarletry, its metal tang.
Her mother oozed it from her lips and
Dirt masked her body.
She smothered herself in imitation,
Her mother, after all, could
grow crops on her skin.
Sometimes rains stormed from her and
her mother would answer with thunder.
So Ceris rained in secret.
The soil was heavy on her:
clodded clay in clumsy arrangement,
a fen where nothing could grow.
Sometimes she would lift her head
from the roots and their bustling
and scrape herself to the tip of a mountain.
From here she could see the fields below,
the landscape laid out -
so small, and wasn't that comforting?
And here she could pick
at her clay coating.
He could wear the sky instead,
billowing out from his shoulders.
Haloed by the moon,
the were-man can become.
He gives his blood to the earth
and returns his name to the rocks.
He takes new names -
from the trees, the mountains,
the screaming sun.
They invented lunacy to spurn the moon.
And if sometimes the sun's children
cry his blood-written name
he simply looks.
And does not swallow their blood.
And does not swallow.
feel whole but i rip at the seams, if i can't get you away from meflowerfemme
author notes: i...don't have an ao3 account anymore and frankly i don't feel like making one right now but i DID angrily write medicore fic about That One Part in ROS and i want to shove it somewhere for catharsis or something i dunno. I'M MAD! I'M BIG MAD! anyway. here we go i guess. if there are any MAJOR mistakes i apologize i tried to edit this as much as i could but fireworks are happening and UGH.
warnings: abuse, trauma, manipulation, reylo bullshit, and--i cannot stress this enough---ROS spoilers
She still had no idea why she went and did that. Relief. Adrenaline. Some weird form of thanks. A million different excuses ran through her mind but each one felt hollow as the last.
The same stream of thoughts went through her head on an endless loop. The worst part was she didn't have anyone to talk about it with. Normally she'd have talked about something like this with Leia, but the general was dead. She was too afraid of anyone else judging her for it. She wouldn't have even blamed them. She was judging herself on a daily basis. She hated herself, really.
So she sat with the guilt and confusion alone in her quarters for the time being. She knew the others had to have noticed she was a bit off, especially Finn now that she knew he was also Force sensitive. Apparently that had been his burning secret he'd wanted to tell her when they thought they were dying.
Sure enough, she could feel Finn's aura outside her room when he knocked. She sighed and debated telling him to leave. That wouldn't help, but she wasn't sure what would at that point. How long was she going to keep the charade up of being fine? Of just being tired? Of just being stressed from the post war politics and rebuilding? To most people, she figured she would've been able to keep it up forever. To her best friend? Not so much.
“Come in.” she ended up saying, her voice wavering. She hoped Finn hadn't noticed, but the man noticed everything about her, it seemed. Sure enough, he was looking at her with such concern and adoration she thought she would burst into tears right then and there. Her eyes darted to the floor as the remorse and shame rose up in her. How could she look him in the eye knowing what she'd done? She bit her lip and clenched her fists, trembling.
Finn sat beside her and didn't say anything. He simply pulled her close and allowed her to curl up on his chest. She couldn't stop the hot tears from rolling down her cheeks when her face hit his shirt. Her whole body shook as she sobbed, the guilt, the rage, the sorrow, and confusion all boiling over in that moment. She briefly felt bad for crying all over his shirt of all things, but he didn't seem to care. She didn't think she could've stopped if he did. He didn't ask questions at first, just rubbed her back in soothing circles.
The dreaded question was eventually asked, though, when she calmed down to the point that she was only sniffling every now and again.
“What's been up since that last day aside from the obvious? The others might not be able to see there's something else, but...I just have a feeling.”
Her blood ran cold. She didn't know what to say, didn't know where to even begin. The words were on the tip of her tongue but she didn't want them to come out, didn't want the judgement or the anger.
This was Finn, though. Kind, caring, fierce, and soft Finn who'd do anything for Rey. Finn who always looked for her after a hard battle. Finn who always made sure she was taking care of herself when she was stressed and would forget to do so. Finn who also had the Force and could maybe grasp the idea of the connection she had with Kylo Ren, then later with Ben. She gulped and looked up at him.
“Promise you won't hate me?” she asked. Her voice was so small, so weak.
Finn's eyes widened. “Rey, you know I could never hate you. Why would you even say that?” he replied, appalled. That was promising, but she knew he wasn't prepared for this. For a few seconds she wasn't sure she'd be able to do it.
It's got to happen eventually, she told herself.
“I had a...connection of sorts with Kylo Ren through the Force.” she started out. She took a peek up at him to test his reaction so far. He didn't seem upset, only interested. He nodded as a cue for her to carry on. “We could talk to each other through it. At first Snoke was the one making it happen. We could never see each other's surroundings, only each other--and we'd talk a lot.”
She felt him tense up at that, but at least he wasn't running. Yet.
“That's why I thought I could turn him the first time around. He wanted to turn me, I wanted to turn him. When I went there and fought with him, we fought so incredibly together, moved together in a way I still can't describe.” She hated how wistfully she described it, but she couldn't help herself. “He was the one to kill Snoke. He offered me his hand after the fight and I--” She gulped down a lump in her throat. “--I wanted to take it. Ben's hand, not Kylo Ren's. But then he went on about how he was going to rule the galaxy now and I could with him on the dark side, and it shattered me.”
Finn wasn't speaking, but he had relaxed a bit. She still couldn't look at him so she continued on.
“After that it didn't happen for a while, but--it started happening again naturally. Like we had some sort of bond through the Force without Snoke, which Palpatine later said was true. Ren told me so much, put so many wild ideas in my head about what I could be, what he could be, what we could be together.” Her heart ached remembering those talks. “And all the while I kept trying to turn him, kept trying to get him to change because I could see there was conflict and light in him and--” Her voice broke and she worried she was going to, again, burst into tears. Finn still hadn't interrupted her, which she appreciated. She realized she couldn't stop now that she'd started. It was all or nothing.
“It ended up working. We fought together and were amazing together. He--he saved my life. And we were so connected, and it felt so wonderful, more wonderful than anything I'd ever felt and I--I didn't know what else to do so I--” She whimpered and held back a cry. “He was holding me and everything felt so right for once and I was so relieved at being alive and Palpatine being dead and everything being over and him turning to the light that I--” Force, I can't say it.
“I kissed him. I kissed him and he died. He died holding me. And I've felt guilty about it since it happened, and what's worse is I miss him. I miss him and I miss our connection and I can't fathom why I miss him so much when he was so horrible, even if he did manage to help in the end.” she said, the tears bubbling over. She shook while Finn continued to comfort her, then took a few steadying breaths to calm herself down. She tried to focus on his calloused hands on her back.
“That's. That's it. That's what's been wrong.” She still wasn't looking at him. She didn't want to know what she'd see. He wasn't running, which was a plus, but she also had no idea how he felt about this. For what felt like an age, he was silent. She tried not to feel anxious about that. She imagined it was a lot of information to take in at once. The longer he didn't speak, though, the more anxious she became that she'd made a horrible mistake in finally opening up about this.
“Well, I definitely don't hate you for that. I can't imagine what that was like, having that kinda guy inside your head and having that weird Force bond or whatever. I don't blame you for being confused about it.” he said at last. A massive weight lifted from her chest and she felt like she could breathe properly.
“I miss some people from my days as a stormtrooper sometimes. They treated me horribly looking back. We all treated each other horribly cause that's what was being drilled into us. That's all we were. At the time, I thought that's what love was when in reality I was being manipulated, lied to, and coereced. None of that was love. It wasn't exactly the same I'm sure, but, ya know...” He became distant and his grip on her tightened. She managed to wrap her head around the gist of what he was saying. To an extent, he understood. He related. It helped too to explain the range of emotions she'd been feeling towards Ben. She was the one trying to soothe some of his anxiety now by rubbing circles with her thumb on his shoulder. While she wasn't glad he'd also gone through such confusion and pain, she was happy she had someone who could even slightly grasp where she was coming from.
“I don't think I loved him either. I don't think he loved me. Not until the end anyway on his part.” she said. At last, she brought herself to look up at him, and was relieved that his gaze was soft rather than full of contempt. Even though he'd said he didn't hate her, it was nice to see the proof on his face, feel it in the air around them. His grip on her loosened and he seemed less anxious.
“It's hard to know what love is supposed to be when you don't have anything to compare it to, or if the only examples you do have are also really bad.” he said with a huff of a bitter laugh. That struck a deep nerve in her. While she'd never been romantic with anyone before being dragged into the war, she'd certainly had her fair share of messed up friendships and partnerships. Finn was the first friend she'd had that actually loved and cared about her as a friend was meant to do.
Force only knew how she would've dealt with a romantic relationship. A sudden question popped into her mind.
“What made you realize it wasn't real love with the others? The ones before?” she asked.
He smiled shyly and bit his lip.
“Poe, honestly. The way he loves me and I love him is so incredible and feels so genuinely good, I can't imagine that anything in the past even came close to it.” he said, wonder in his eyes she couldn't help but smile at.
While Rey was happy for her friends, she couldn't help but feel a deep pang of loneliness for herself. The only “romantic” love she'd ever had wasn't healthy, wasn't even real. Her smile faded and she stared at the ground again. She tried to never get lost in her loneliness. Being alone was natural to her. She was used to it.
Was she really anymore, though? She had friends now and family and that awful yet wonderful bond with Ben. She would've been lying to herself to say it was still natural to feel so alone. Plus, there was a vast difference between being alone and being lonely she'd come to realize. Right then she was so achingly lonely. She felt it down to her bones and she didn't know what to do with it. She'd been feeling it since Ben died and she hated everything about it.
She hated that he'd become so important to her without her even realizing until he left, until she could no longer feel the full effect of that bond. He was still there in the Force, as all things were, but not as strongly. Not in the same way.
“I don't think you two would've ever become anything if it makes you feel any better. If he hadn't died, I mean. You would've never been able to forgive him enough.” he pointed out. He was right. She knew he was right and yet she still felt so empty. Even though she was well aware she'd never forget about the horrors he'd committed, the ways he'd tortured and killed her and the people closest to her, would've never fully been able to trust him, she still felt such emptiness.
“You think I'll ever come to my senses and get over him?” she asked Finn in a whisper. Her friend raised his hand up to run softly through her hair.
“Yeah, I do. You're one of the strongest people I've ever met. You can get through anything. You'll get through this and be better for it. And when you do find the right person for yourself, you'll see how great it's supposed to be.” he assured her and kissed the side of her head. Warmth spread through her whole body at that. She admired his optimism so much and his faith in her. He always thought so highly of her, even when she didn't think anything of herself. She needed that.
He sighed then and took his hand out of her hair. He gently nudged her as a signal to sit up. “Speaking of Poe, he's, uh, gonna be getting back soon and I'd, uh, like to go see him if you're okay. I can totally stay if not, but I uh, I missed him, and well he said we were gonna go on like a, uh, date thing, and I--” He was babbling. It was incredibly adorable.
She cut him off by sitting up and putting a finger over his lips.
“Of course.” she replied and leaned over to give Finn one last hug. “Thank you.” she said with as much love and sincerity she could muster up in just those two words. She didn't know what else she could say.
He hugged her tight as he could for a moment, long enough to assure her that he still loved her more than anything, then pulled away and got serious.
“Any time, and Rey? Don't ever feel afraid to tell me anything. I mean it. Anything. I'll never judge you or hate you. Unless you, like, go full dark side or something. But even then I'd have trouble.” he said and laughed. She rolled her eyes and waved a hand at him.
“Oh, go on your date or whatever with Poe.” she said affectionately. With a bashful grin, he got up and left the room after giving her hand a gentle squeeze.
Her giddiness for him faded as soon as she was completely alone again. The emptiness still clawed at her insides, and she still missed Ben with a fierceness she didn't understand. She wondered if she'd ever fully understand the complexities of her feelings for him. She wondered if she'd ever grow to hate him like she knew she should. Some of the weight involved with keeping the turmoil a secret was lifted, though, and she was comforted by the fact that Finn didn't think less of her for it.
There was still a long road ahead of her, though, of all of them in terms of recovering from the war. None of them would probably ever fully recover. They'd all picked up deep wounds, scars, and parts of them were going to be forever left scattered across the galaxy's battlefields. It was going to be difficult to sort out what could heal and what would simply have to be dealt with for the rest of their lives. If they stuck together, though, and took it one day at a time, she had hope they'd pick up some of the pieces at least. She also was starting to piece together some hope that she'd move past her strange feelings for Ben and leave him, or maybe the idea of what he could've been, in the past.
When I was young, I picked flowersfrom the side of the road: daisies,queen anne's lace, daffodils(though everyone told methey were weeds).
Their stems a sappy mess, I didn'tmind, didn't pause to wonderif the earth died a little every time I plucked one, every time I placed it in a vase.
*Years. Subtle at first, sneaking inat birthday parties, anniversaries,dated forms at some doctor's office.I am the future, they whispered,don't be afraid,*I was always here.
I'll stumble at some crack in thesidewalk, find my footing (mostof the time), but some of the timeI'll trip, scratch my knees, like arecord pausing and
see, growing in the fissurewild, untamed bursts of yellow,pushing the city apart, slowly,and I wonder if I'll ever beas beautiful as the weeds.
Hey, Does Recovery Even Have an End Point?emlyn-scribbles
Weed (n.) - any plant which is deemed undesirable, unsatisfactory, unwanted, unloved, and is difficult to remove or kill despite efforts made.
Dandelion boy is growing through the cracks. Hemmed in by concrete and stepped on stepped on stepped on. Spend all your time in recovery, when can you grow? Just a weed straggling.
Dandy, dandy, dandelion. He’s got yellowing teeth and a pasted-on mane. But he’s bright ! So bright, here in the sunshine. When the clouds fissure.
There’s such little room for roots so he takes up the space he’s got and he’s stepped on stepped on stepped on.
Bees buzz. He laughs at their tickling dances. His friends in the grass are laughing at the dirt, while he pretends he’s not covered in it.
He wishes he could be blown away on the wind. He wishes he could land far from here on a vast expanse of grass and start life anew. He wishes he could put down roots, the deepest roots, and grow higher than the clouds. He sways as he sees his head haloed with the stars’ glow. Even dandelion boys dream, you know. Even while being stepped on stepped on stepped on.