Untitled Ficlets (2018-11-27)

“It’s not a storm,” she says, trying to cut through all the arguing. The council members are far too busy trying to outsmart each other to focus on the reason why this emergency meeting was called in the first place, the actual problem.

“It’s a ship. A flying ship, the size of a mountain,” she says, lips pressed together in a tight frown. She knows what she sounds like. Madness. A flying ship the size of mountain, so dark and swift as to look like an oncoming storm.

Most of the councilors that do hear her scoff at the idea, and she would too if it were any less serious.

Storms are forces of nature, they happen and humans must endure then rebuild. But this monstrosity encroaching on their nation is worse than that. The damage will be deliberate and devastating.

“It’s an invasion.”

“I’m sorry it’s you,” Thomas says, voice weak, grip weaker.

Darren grunts in response, tries not to let it get to him, keeps his own grip firm as if something in their clasped hands will improve the situation. As if some of Darren’s own strength will flow from himself into Thomas by sheer force of will.

“I’m sorry you’re here,” Thomas says again, tweaked slightly but essentially the same.

Darren understands. He’s no one’s first choice for comfort, clearly. He can barely muster any kindness for the one he loves at the end of his life. He understands, but that doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

“I’m sorry you have to see this,” Thomas says a third time, but it doesn’t seem to match, “But I’m too selfish to tell you to go.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Darren assures him quickly, raising their joint hands to press Thomas’ cold hand to his face. He wants to hope, he wants Thomas to mean something else than what Darren has been dreading.

“I don’t want this to be how you remember me, okay? Don’t remember me like this, Darren.” Thomas’ voice has started to slur, a whispery whoosh of dying breath.

“Thomas. Thomas?”

~

A/N: Get those prompts ready–clearly I need the help!–because it’s gonna be December soon which means the free-for-all Ask Box Advent Calendar 😀

Three in the morning.
And I am incandescent,
For a few brief seconds.

They say I am naive,
Over-sensitive,
Quick to react but slow to consider.
You never change,
But I always trick myself into thinking you will.
Hoping that for once this won’t make me tear down another photo,
Replace it with a brick inside my chest.
I am ever turned towards you,
Needle to your true north,
When all I want is the vast horizon, drifting in an endless sunrise, unmoored.

You are not two-faced.
That would be a compliment.
You are ever yourself, ever the star, ever the underdog, ever the altruist, ever the expert.
And yet my frustration confuses you.

You are wild not because the entropy of the universe lives within you,
No beauty of nature reflected in you.
You do not heed consequences—
Why should you when I take the brunt of them?—
And so you are free to play and piss and pose as you please.
A creator of stories by default, a repeating track of your own follies gussied up and redistributed.
Why bother with your B-sides?

I breathe and try to sleep,
Try to tamp down the fires of my discontent.
Cool girl, pretty girl, ambitious girl, glimmer.
Your sparkle is but dust in my eye.
I care not out of love, but out of habit.

jacksgreyson, Untitled 2018-09-02

Untitled brainstorm/ficlet (2018-03-28)

A weird and somewhat embarrassingly cliche dream. Unsure if a weird manga-like world where everyone has animal features or if it was more the symbolic but the following:

A young jaguar cub, hurt and hungry and lost in a massive city of cement and steel. An old turtle, scarred but kind, happens upon him and adopts the cub. They leave the city and live in a small house in the country, where the turtle has many strange visitors but they otherwise live as happily as they can.

The turtle tries, of course, but reptiles are not so good at childcare, not like mammals. In an effort to do the right thing, the turtle looks for any trace of missing jaguar cubs. They take a trip to Brazil in hopes that will make things easier, but no avail. They are both a simultaneously disappointed but relieved by that.

The jaguar cub grows up. The turtle grows old. The turtle dies.

Turtles live long, but not forever, and this turtle lived a long and dangerous life.
That life catches up with the jaguar, but not in a bad way. The turtle had many businesses in the city and while he does not need to supervise them, the jaguar does have to introduce himself to them especially in this upcoming month. The turtle was also once a loyal servant and advisor to a great dragon.

That dragon has a son who has declared his intention to court the jaguar.

The jaguar is bewildered. The jaguar does not understand that the dragon son is royalty. The jaguar has no idea that the month long festival in the city in honor of the royal family (and in a Cinderella-esque attempt to get the dragon son betrothed to the many eligible beings in the city).

The capybara, a third generation immigrant from Brazil who manages one of the turtle’s-now-jaguar’s businesses and is the jaguar’s friend as he navigates city rhythm after a life of sheltered, country living is completely aware of all of this and amused as hell.

The scene I specifically dreamed:

“And you’re sure you’ve never met him before?” Capybara asks, wiping down the counter. It’s unnecessary–she has exacting standards and excellent employees–but she finds the movement familiar and soothing.

She’s not the only one, clearly, as Jaguar sleepily blinks at her in response to the question. She waits, patient, Jaguar will answer her soon enough.

“Hm,” he hums, trying to recall. She likes that he is not quick to speak, considers his words before he utters them. “I was mostly out in the country and the town we lived in was so small I can name everyone. Grandfather had visitors from time to time, but they were all adults…”

Capybara waits once more, he is not finished speaking, she does not believe in interrupting people. And anyway, she thinks this quiet recollection suits the the half lit closed bakery.

“… we did travel, once, to Brazil when I was younger. But I don’t remember interacting much with anybody besides Grandfather. Surely I would remember?” Jaguar sounds so honestly confused that Capybara attempts to answer:

“If you were young enough, maybe not,” she says with a shrug, “Most everyone’s childhood memories are… hazy to some extent. Though if it were such a significant meeting that he decided to court you after all these years, it would be harder to forget.” And given who Dragon is, it’s unlikely that their meeting would have been anywhere but in this city.

But Jaguar’s gaze has drifted off, clearly struggling with a particularly barbed thought.

Capybara’s family has managed this bakery for Turtle since they immigrated here decades ago. Her grandmother was the one who suggested the trip to Brazil. They sent care packages of traditional baked goods twice a month up until Jaguar temporarily relocated to the city and he came to the bakery on a near daily basis instead.

She knows some of Jaguar’s background. Not enough to interrupt as he wrestles with his memories, but enough to be there when he finally breaks away.

“… maybe Before?” Jaguar says so hesitantly, so reluctant yet brave, that Capybara reaches out to give him a comforting pat. Jaguar gives a shaky grin in return and they put the moment to rest.

After a pause, Capybara asks, “Regardless of the why, are you okay with this situation?” Because Dragon or no, if Jaguar isn’t okay, Capybara will throw down.

He looks up at her, startled, then away, almost shy. Poorly trying to hide a smile.

Capybara nods, “Then we proceed in such a way that you will be happy.”

~

So I guess this means that it’s set in Japan? Because… surely this is hella some kind of cheesy manga set up, and also the idea as capybaras as established immigrant population is so good for my soul. Shout out to my fellow second/third generation immigrants!

Uh… please be kind if you have anything to say about this ficlet. I am so soft.

Some more world building details under the cut in the very unlikely chance that I want to revisit this ‘verse:

Tbh, Dragon family is more a mix of royalty and crime family than just pure royalty. So, yes, Turtle was once the right-hand man of a yakuza boss.

Jaguar is hella into parkour. Jumpy cat is more accustomed to trees but he’ll make do with buildings.

Jaguar might have been part of a human trafficking ring that a rogue gang had which the Dragon family discovered and broke up, but only after a warning visit telling them to dismantle willingly or be destroyed. Hence, Dragon meeting Jaguar previously?

Jaguar also hella escaped on his own, like the same day the wrath of the Dragon family was enacted upon the rogue gang, and was kind of scraping through on his own for a few days until Turtle found him.

Dragon has been infatuated with Jaguar since their possible original meeting as children in that shitty situation. But is emotionally collected/competent enough to know that an idealized version of a person isn’t enough to establish a relationship alone. Hence, courtship.

The city has no idea that Dragon already has a future spouse in mind, all they know is that he’s receptive to one. So everyone is getting a little crazy.

At one point, there is a parade for Dragon which he does not show up to because he and Jaguar are watching it from a rooftop and eating some of Capybara’s pastries.

Just wanted to say how much I loved seeing Sweeper’s second bit! I also loved the power-play Sister’s got going on, there. Can’t ask for help without reminding people you’re better than them, huh?

😀 Thanks! I think this might be that last part for now? It’s getting plotty…

~

For all that the outside of your sister’s stronghold is a mess–officially a foreclosed warehouse covered in grime and rust–the inside is well maintained and clean. One of the few things that you share. The hardwood floors practically gleam despite the dim hallway lights, not a cobweb in sight even on the obnoxious wall sconces or the pretentious drapes.

The fabric of your clothes may be old and worn in comparison to the luxuries of the place, but there is no denying they’re clean.

As you pass by, you nudge one of the trinkets on display; not enough to push it off the shelf, but just enough to offset it from its original spot. The metal still shines, no fingerprints, of course.

There is another guard standing outside an ornate door at the end of the hallway. You stop before it at the third door from the end, less ornate, but for all the meticulous tidying, the one with the most wears and marks. You knock.

The second guard stares at you, assessing, and does not look away. The first guard was more for appearances, in training perhaps, or your sister’s version of a receptionist. This second guard is tactical. Let her enemies think she is behind the guard, behind the nicest door, they walk right past her and within her second guard’s reach.

Alternatively, the second guard does have a better shot at anyone entering this third door from the end.

You do not knock again. You stare back at the second guard.

After what seems like a yawning eternity, the second guard nods, greets you, “Sweeper,” and walks over to open the door for you.

You nod back. You say, “Thank you, Deuteronomy.” You step through the doorway.

Your sister’s office is a disaster, desk overturned and files flung across the room. Shattered glass glitters on the floor, water and aquarium plants strewn alongside it, but that is not the worst of it. A body lies–blood pooling around it, gone dark and nearly matte with time–on your sister’s second favorite rug.

Your sister, sitting on the floor cross-legged puts out her cigarette on its face. Flings the butt carelessly into the pool, it sticks, tacky. There is no blood on her clothes, but there are still some spatters on her face, her neck, beneath her fingernails in crimson moons. Changed, then, but not showered.

It is quite the mess.

“Sweeper,” your sister says. She does not look pleased to see you, but this, of all things, you do not take personally.

None of your clients are pleased to see you.

You do another scan of the room, lingering on the bodies’ face. Not someone you recognize off the top of your head, but your sister has always been more of a people person, and no doubt she’ll tell you its identity soon enough. You eye the life size portrait of your grandmother, slightly askew from where it hangs on the wall.

“What is it you need swept?” you ask your sister, but you already suspect what it might be; you do not turn away from that askew portrait to face her. Your suspicions are confirmed when she, too, looks to the portrait.

Or, more accurately, to the vault door hidden behind the portrait.

~

16 days until the show!

Ooo~ Count me intrigued. Is Sweeper a name, a nickname, a title? I feel there’s an implication of extra-normal skills–my mind leaps immediately to the supernatural, but I could also see it being simply very high competencies. And it sounds like there’s an antagonism between “you” and the sister–is she your boss, or only that guy’s? I’m SO CURIOUS

Thanks! Uh…. actually this was meant to be more of a one-shot sort of thing, but since you expressed interest I suppose I could get into it a little more… I definitely did dream up the further world even though I only wrote this little snapshot so…

Enjoy!

~

You stand and feel the weight of yourself, your exhaustion, in your joints. Knees stiff and near to creaking, echoing up your nerves. Your calf itches. Slowly, so as not to move more than necessary, you lift your opposite foot to scratch at it. Quietly, you put your foot back down.

The man standing guard outside the door glances at you, then away, dismissive. Your weight resettles along the soles of your feet. You are so tired. Your sister is cruel.

Would it hurt anyone to give you a chair? It’s been almost two hours since you were ambushed on the train. What a hypocrite. You cannot keep her waiting, but your time, apparently, is worthless.

You tamp down the anger, will your heartbeat to slow, you do not have the luxury of anger here, not in your sister’s stronghold. The man standing guard, as if sensing your disloyalty to his boss, glances your way once more. This time his gaze lingers, his mouth twitches, but he stays silent and looks away again.

He wears a suit, well tailored, or so you think, you are not an expert in mens formalwear. So like your sister to multitask, make her employees protection and eye candy both.

You are not self-conscious about your own appearance, rumpled and casual it may be. You were on a train that smelled of piss, heading home after a day of cleaning more and other bodily fluids. If your sister wanted you gussied up just to wait two hours in her chair-less waiting room, she should have let you go home and shower.

Your knees start to buckle. You have no idea who you’re trying to impress. The guard? Your sister? Clearly you’ve already failed on the former, and the latter has never been impressed with you. You allow your knees to bend, let gravity pull you down further. You might as well sit even if there are no chairs.

You feel much better. From this new angle, seated cross-legged on the floor, you notice the scuff marks on the guard’s shoes. Your exhaustion pulses. You let your eyes droop. You could nap, maybe, just a quick one to shore yourself up before seeing your sister.

A beep sounds from the guard’s wrist. He glances at his watch, at you, at the door, before reaching for the handle. “Sweeper,” says the guard, “Boss will see you now.”

For a moment you are filled with hate before you tamp that down, too. As it recedes, you imagine saying something witty, something cutting, but you let it ebb further into apathy. This is your sister’s stronghold.

You get to your feet.

Untitled (2018-03-20)

You’re on the train, night gone dark outside, lights streaming smears across the windows. Your eyes blink slowly, heavier each time, behind your sunglasses. You know you look like a massive tool, but the fluorescent lights of the train are so bright and also you can’t accidentally make eye contact with another passenger.

You blink again, slower, lingering longer closed.

One headphone in your ear because at least one means occupied but both reduces your awareness and that just cannot be done. You are sitting alone, but you are not looking for company. The train car you’re in smells mildly of piss, but better than the vomit of the first car. And plus, everything in the city smells mildly of piss.

You blink once more, the voices of strangers making jokes in one ear, and when you open your eyes fully you are not alone. You don’t startle, only because you are too lethargic to startle, but you do tense. Slowly shift away.

After two stops, after your seat mate hasn’t said anything, you begin to gradually relax. Another two stops and you’ll be disembarking. No worries.

As the next stop approaches, your seat mate stands, and you relax even further, relief washing over you.

Except then your seat mate looks back at you. Makes eye contact with you–somehow, despite the sunglasses–and says, “Well, come on. Don’t want to keep your sister waiting. Boss has a job for you, Sweeper.”

You tense all over again, caught, but stiffly and swiftly make your way to your feet. Adrenaline has replaced the lethargy in your blood.

Your sister is not one for patience. You shudder to think what she’s done that requires your services.

~

A/N: It feels like forever since I’ve written, so here’s a small thing to exercise that part of my brain again.

22 days until this show!

Untitled (2018-02-16)

“The problem is,” begins Zelia, pen in hand and paper before her. She is a study in stillness, musing and wondering. The tableau is only broken by the frantic searching of her apprentice as he races back and forth across the warehouse for the items she told him to retrieve.

Nyx thinks it hilarious. “The problem is?” she prompts.

“The problem is,” Zelia repeats, “Is that he’s terribly powerful, a force unto himself, of course.”

“Of course,” Nyx agrees.

“But he’s also terribly stupid. He has no idea what he’s doing,” Zelia concludes, finally shaping her thoughts and transcribing them. It is less a letter and more a prophecy, glyphs drawn in corners to protect the information until needed.

“Isn’t that how we all started out?” Nyx asks, ever the devil’s advocate.

“Speak for yourself, demon,” Zelia scoffs, no bite in her words, “The Grey Witch is, has been, and will always be quintessential.”

Nyx knows this is not a brag.

Find the line.
Find the line that will lead you home.
Find the line that will lead you home, beyond the dangers.
Find the line that will lead you home, beyond the dangers, above the pain.

Find the line and you will have nothing to fear.

“Immortality!” Zelia shouts, just one voice amongst an endless amount, “Immortality! That stupid boy!”

On her left is an empty chair, grey of course, on her right sits her teacher whose face is in her hand, shoulders shaking.

For a moment, Zelia is ashamed. Until she realizes her teacher is not crying, she’s laughing–then, Zelia just gets indignant.

“What is so funny?” she asks. How can her teacher laugh in the face of this disaster? Proof that Zelia has chosen poorly, that her apprentice–stupid boy, tampering with high magic without having any clue of the consequences–will end what should be an infinite chain.

The title of Grey Witch cannot be passed down if the holder becomes immortal.

Lifetimes wasted, magic forever devastated, all because she chose an idiot who could not grieve properly.

“Oh my darling Zelia,” her teacher says, “How I have failed you. The Grey Witch is not a line.

It’s a circle.”

~

A/N: I dunno. I have no prompts…

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