Would you ever write a story where the conflict is a bureaucratic fuck-up?

Hm… this one is also a little vague, but not as complex as the last one.

But I think it does also depend on what you mean by the conflict being a bureaucratic fuck-up?

Like… hm… for example: I recently read a fic in which a lower ranked SHIELD agent was in charge of trying to “officially” bring Agent Coulson “back to life.” In the sense that, like most large scale government entities, the amount of paperwork and hoop jumping in order to do something is just ludicrous, and so this character had to go to different departments, deal with typos that threw everything off, file things in triplicate, etc. etc. it was a very entertaining read… it was… ah, there it is: Permit A38 by old_chatterhand

In a somewhat similar vein, I also greatly enjoy Restoration by thehoyden which is a xxHoLic fic about Watanuki having to re-enter society after several years of being the Shop Keeper. And I’ve been rereading a lot of Dark is Rising (by Susan Cooper) fic about Will being immortal and all of his friends aging and dying and leaving him alone its all very sad and lovely.

So I guess what I’m saying is, I would maybe do something that’s less a meltdown/crisis of a bureaucratic fuck-up and more of a sleuthing/journey of discovery in which someone finds some oddities in a file and tries to track it down only to discover that the truth is far more bizarre than even that mistaken form could have expressed.

Kind of like this ficlet

Off the top of my head I have two original fiction series that I think this would work for pretty easily:

1) Counterclockwise. Leanne gets arrested by future police for crimes that she hasn’t yet committed–or, possibly, isn’t intending to commit because unsanctioned time travel might in fact be illegal in the future but since she’s the first time traveller and it’s largely against her will does that count as her committing a crime?

Anyways, there’s one officer in particular that is assigned to her case and in trying to apprehend her, he discovers the secret behind her time traveling (that is, the fact that she can’t even control it yet, but also that she’s far more powerful than any time traveller should be) and maybe the secret behind the time traveler police force. Which is–I mean, spoilers?–that Bastian created the entire force specifically to catch Leanne.

AND

2) Kira Val the Psychopomp series. (I might change the character’s name, but that’s just what everything is tagged as for ease of searching). It would be much shorter and thus more doable than the first one. Basically a school administrator or the counselor or someone tries to track down Kira’s records–since she’s new to the Bellview school district, they don’t have it on file like the rest of their students–and at first it’s difficult just because Kira came from a school within Cadmium City but then when the administrator actually gets her original file it says that Kira is dead. Which. She is kind of…

And it would end with she is called in to discuss this–maybe her aunt Nyx comes along as her guardian–and basically this poor administrator realizes that there’s more to the world than what they originally thought. And I just want it to end like this:

“Forget about this and just go home,” you say, a firm but gentle suggestion, “Spend time with your husband.” He won’t have much time left, you don’t add.

“You don’t have to worry about me,” you conclude, getting to your feet, “But… thank you.”

~

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Untitled (2017-09-11)

“What are you doing rummaging around my kitchen like a mouse? Stupid child,” she exhales, shaking her head. Still, she can’t help the small smile that curls the corner of her mouth.

“Just like my father?” the little fool asks, petulant and pouting, not even looking up from the floor. The apple in her hand, a lovely pale pink, is nothing at all like sin.

Nyx rolls her eyes. “No, dear, your father would never be allowed through the door of my house,” her words are harsh, but she tempers it with a gentle hand on her niece’s shoulder. “Now please sit and eat a proper meal. And don’t forget dessert–I pride myself on having a devil’s food cake to die for.”

It’s a terrible pun, both ways in fact, but it makes the girl smile.

///

This is The Best. Year. Ever.

No more homeschooling! Your mom is finally letting you go out to an actual real school with actual real people. You’ll get to meet normal kids and talk about normal things and have a normal life.

Sure, your dog isn’t like other dogs, and your family isn’t like other parents. And you’re not entirely sure how to explain Grimaldo, your mom’s demonic minion, but you’re sure you’ll figure out something.

That’s what school is for, after all, right?

But the best thing is: this is the year you met your cousin. And she’s going to live with you.

Word Prompts (M30): Mother

Your mom’s snores sound through the one room apartment you share, a familiar if somewhat irritating lullaby.

This summer has been not only hot but humid, oppressive and thick on your lungs. You’ve left the windows open–no fear seven stories up–but there is not even the slightest of breezes to alleviate the misery. Instead, the smell of weed and urine waft your way, and your nose wrinkles in disgust.

You’re writing an essay about a man long dead and cannot comprehend why this could possibly matter to your future.

Your goals are not so lofty or beautiful as to be considered dreams, but you one day want to have a stable, comfortable life. One satisfactory enough to share with your mom, one to show her how grateful you are and how much you love her. One in which she would be proud of you–and maybe a place with separate bedrooms and soundproofed walls.

Looking back, you realize that they were dreams: small and intimate, but still yours.

Now they’re as useless as that essay of a man long dead.

///

There’s a trick, you realize, to speaking to your aunt and it is, simply, this: make sure your victory is also hers.

There is no winning an argument against her, she’s a DA by nature and by trade–though the letters stand for different things entirely–but she is witty and sharp and, in this strange existence your father has doomed you to, fun in a reckless sort of way.

She is, oddly enough, the most stable thing in your life right now and you appreciate it. Being a teenager is already tough without throwing in existential crises on death and the afterlife and religious, supernatural heritages.

Last year, your biggest concern was whether or not you had enough lunch money for the week.

This year it’s trying to figure out what massacre will happen and if you can possibly prevent it.

Probably not–you’ve tried before, is the thing, and have yet to succeed–but maybe fate is exactly like your aunt.

You don’t need to overpower fate, you just need to outmaneuver it.

Word Prompts (R17): Rejection

It takes about three weeks to realize that this situation isn’t sustainable.

The draw of your psychopomp responsibilities take you out at all hours, sleep and homework and even school be damned. Your sporadic attendance isn’t favorably looked upon, even if you weren’t constantly dozing during classes and just a step off from the perfect student ideal.

Your cousin’s forehead is nearly constantly furrowed–confusion or frustration, you’re not sure which–and while your aunt could not be more pleased with your shiny new renegade reputation, that’s not exactly a vote of confidence.

You have detention for the next four months–not that you’ll be going to them, afternoon is apparently a very popular time for dying in this town–but still, it’s the principle of the matter.

Something’s gotta give. You’re afraid that something will end up being you.

///

A fire.

That’s what killed you. You, your mom, and almost two dozen other residents of the Montenegro apartment complex.

Faulty wiring, a particularly dry season, and exposed insulation going up like kindling. Fire escapes not up to code, people taking the batteries out of their smoke detectors, and no extinguishers to be seen.

The news reported it as an accident: a horrific, compounding accident.

When your father brings you back from the dead, he informs you that is false.

///

You don’t actually care, is the thing: you wonder if this has something to do with dying once, or if its the newly disclosed other half of your heritage.

Psychopomps can’t afford to care. Emotions mean attachments, attachments mean mistakes, mistakes mean the difference between life and death.

There are other kinds of attachments.

You can’t get rid of all of them.

Untitled (2017-08-31)

When you were younger and a normal human–or, at least, thought you were a normal human–you lived with your mom.

Your mom was actually a normal human, had normal human feelings and concerns: how to pay next month’s rent, trying to raise you all by herself, scheduling her two jobs and your childhood, and making sure the both of you were safe and fed and happy

It was a difficult life, but you were loved.

Now you live in a mansion at least five times the size of your mom’s apartment with your cousin, your aunt, the giant dog which may or may not have three heads, and your aunt’s demonic servant.

It’s awful.

You miss the life you had before. You miss your mom. It’s not as if you can never see her, though–one of the rare perks of being a psychopomp–but you know the first thing out of your mouth won’t be “I love you, I miss you,” but instead “What were you thinking?”

///

When people think of Death, well. Usually they don’t think of Death as a person. As time passes, and belief in the old with it, Death is more construct–intangible, maddening, unknowable–than a person.

For the few who think of Death as a person, beyond the fleeting euphemisms or poetry, they picture someone dark. Someone stoic and frightening, fierce yet implacable. The Grim Reaper, the harvester of human souls must be, after all, a dark serious figure.

No one thinks of the Angel of Death as a drunk, deadbeat dad.

And yet.

///

On the first day of school you are already exhausted, no doubt a blight upon the otherwise picturesque experience for your cousin.

The school you went to before, in the heart of Cadmium City was in a vastly different income level, and had rusting chain link fences all around it. Everything here looks like a movie. Inside, you marvel at the walls–which aren’t even cardboard!–and the neat tiles of floor before a scent catches you.

Not the industrial strength cleaner or the smell of hundreds of teenagers or even cafeteria smells. No, it smells like death. A lot of death.

In about four months from now.

Gods–if they do exist–damn it.

~
A/N: related to yesterday’s post

Untitled (2017-08-30)

If you’re doing it right, no one will ever thank you for doing your job.

If you’re doing it right, no one will ever know.

But still, it’s something that needs doing. If you don’t do it then who will?

///

“Aren’t you tired?” your cousin asks you, as you creep into the house at three in the morning.

You don’t much feel like confrontation now, shrugging off your jacket which weighs too heavily on your shoulders, sodden and dark. It squelches against the floor, and you know your aunt will pitch a fit if it ruins the hardwood floor, so you kick at it half-heartedly until it’s on the massive dog bed instead.

Eh.

“You should be asleep,” you say to your cousin, blindly making your way into the kitchen. Your night vision is shot–an exploded tanker on the highway, seven dead–and for all your stupid supernatural responsibilities you hardly get any of the benefits. You’re hungry as hell.

Well. You might be hungry as hell. You’re the only one in this house who has never been there.

“First day of school tomorrow,” she responds, sheepishly, “I’m too nervous to sleep, and plus I was waiting for you, I wanted to make sure you were okay.”

In the fridge there’s a tupperware of some kind of pasta, which is probably what dinner was tonight–you deliberately try to avoid those, still so uncertain in your place here–or, alternatively, a brick of cheese with an upcoming expiration date and a bag of pretzels that’s been untouched on the counter for two weeks.

Your cousin chatters on, “Uncle Az said I should keep an eye out for you, since you don’t remember your limits and don’t take good care of yourself.”

You shut the door firmly. Not so loud as to slam, noise echoing up and through the rest of the house where your aunt is sleeping, but definitive enough. Mackenzie presses her lips together, startled and a little afraid.

“If my father wanted me to remember my limits or be safe or–” you scoff “–happy, he should have let me die as a normal human.”

///

Angels–or the supernatural beings that humans think of as angels–don’t often fall in love.

They are devoted to their duty, to their god–or whatever high power humans think of as gods–and, frankly, are snobby, oblivious, sanctimonious assholes.

Generally, it’s better for all involved if angels don’t fall in love: they’re horrible lovers and even worse parents.

Untitled drabble (2015-07-13)

“Don’t be a stranger,” the man says, affable grin on his face. She lets his hand go and smiles back at him, watching as he walks away into the light.

The man has not been able to walk by himself for six months.

The man has been pronounced dead as of 4:37 this morning.

Her vision distorts as it usually does, back to the normal shades of gray that she sees the world. She is told that it’s usually the opposite for most psychopomps–at least the ones that bother with vision–but for her, the dead and the place they go to has always seemed more vibrant, more real than the monotony of everyday life.

She is in the custodian’s closet on the same floor as the man’s room, just down the hall. Crinkling her nose at the stench of cleaning supplies and soiled laundry, she rises from her prone position seated on an overturned bucket, and leaves the hospital.

The nurses don’t see her, or rather, don’t notice, just another faceless scrub-wearing member of their ranks shuffling along the graveyard shift. She appears frequently enough that the staff know her face, if not quite her purpose and definitely not her name. She will be back, eventually.

She has school in three hours.

~

A/N: Short drabble is short! But you got two yesterday so 😛

I do have an OC name for a psychopomp, though I’m unsure if I want this one to necessarily be her. Anyway, it’s Kira Val, (unsubtle valkyrie pun).