Friday, December 26, 2008

The Night Before Christmas That I Should Have Slept Through (Friday Fiction)

This weeks' Friday Fiction is hosted by Peej herself at Patterings. Click here to read and share more great fiction.



Author's note: As you can tell, I've had a few extra minutes on hand than usual and this somewhat Christmasy story slipped out. I hope you all had a great holiday and enjoy this last farewell at the Christmas that has just come and gone. The dialog was my most favorite part of this, and the MC who I still haven't found the perfect name for...Enjoy!




The headache was worse. It had wrestled with my dreams and won over my consciousness enough to awaken me from a near deep slumber. I tumbled awkwardly out from beneath the covers and felt my way along the wall to the computer chair near the desk where my bathrobe hung.


It took several tries to jam my sleep-filled limbs into the proper passages before I could knot the fabric belt loosely around my waist. Weak streams of moonlight filtered through the edges of the curtains around my bedroom window, providing the bare minimum of light needed for me to focus on the bedroom door itself.


I shuffled towards the door and then pulled it open. The house was as deathly silent as I remembered it from the night before. Everyone sleeping. Everyone dreaming. Everyone, that is, but me.


Stupid headaches. I stubbed my toe on the edge of the door as I shuffled out. My brain was too tortured to come up with an adequate response, so I grimaced and kept moving. I need painkillers of any sort, at this point, something to dull the noise in my mind and ease the pain everywhere else. It was getting to me.


My eyes adjusted to the lack of light and I found it fairly easy to find the refrigerator. A tingling feeling swept over me, briefly, temporarily trumping the horrible headache. It was a feeling of being watched, the kind that forced my tired body to shift into some sort of awareness, preparation if necessary. The reaction manifested itself as sudden nervousness.


I yanked open the fridge door a little rougher than necessary, but relaxed somewhat, when the soft golden glow filled the kitchen. The cool breeze wafted out as I stood, barefoot, studying the contents of the fridge before I realized I ought to be rummaging through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.


“oh ugh.” I moaned, stepping back and shoving the door away from me. The feeling urgently repeated itself and as the coolness registered, I felt the hairs on my arm stand up in perfect goosebumps. For a moment, I thought I saw a shadow move.


I'm dreaming. It's a dream. It's all make...believe. It's in my head...because I'm asleep. The thoughts twisted through my head in rapid fire and I winced as a wave of nausea passed over me. Oh snap...what kind of headache is this?


I staggered from the kitchen to the bathroom, clutching my troublesome head with one hand. I wondered if my head was splitting open from the inside out as I flipped the bathroom light on and soon found myself squinting at rows of white bottles with colorful labels on them. The black words blurred into jumbled masses of goo and I grabbed blindly in the corner I last remembered seeing the bottle of extra strength Tylenol.


Holding the bottle close to my face, I was able to confirm my guess was correct. I fumbled with the cap for a few more seconds, then shook two gelcaps into my palm. Replacing the cover and the bottle, I returned to the kitchen in search of a glass of purified water.


The weird feeling returned and I was almost sure I'd seen something move again. This time, I turned the kitchen light on.


Nothing.


Relief did not come. More awake now, I found my way to the cupboard, removed a glass and shuffled over to the bottle of water on the counter. I filled the glass halfway, then popped the pills one at a time into my mouth, swallowing with generous gulps of water.


I took a deep breath, setting the glass in the sink as I turned to go and then I noticed the shadow on the very edge of the wall towards our family room. Common sense instantly left me. I stared first in horror, then in confusion. I should not have been able to see a shadow and above all, there should not have been anything in the room to produce such a...human-shaped shadow.
My feet started towards it and I found myself standing in the doorway and reaching for the lightswitch. I heard something move and saw something shift. Then I flipped the switch.


A quick look showed the room to be empty. Our Christmas tree stood proudly in one corner of the room and the sofas were neat and clean. But I couldn't relax. I'd just turned to go again when the soft whisper of breath skittered by my neck. I whirled around and stared straight into dark brown eyes. My mouth opened as I realized the eyes were set into a face and the face was set in a head that was attached to a neck and made up a real, live human being standing in the doorway of a room that was supposed to be empty.


“Don't scream!” He pleaded, one hand shooting out to cover my mouth. “Please don't scream! I'm not a burglar. I'm only here to bring good things.”


I half-choked, blinked and swallowed in precisely that order. If my brain had been asleep before, it was certainly up now. I jerked away from his warm hand. “Good things. Right. Then what are you doing in my house?”


“This isn't your house.” He said automatically, his hand returned to his side. "And I'm not a burglar. Truly."



I took the moment to survey his burglar outfit. It wasn't very professional for starters, he wore a dark hunter green overtunic with matching pants tucked into shiny black boots. The hilarious part was the rich brown fur trim on the ends and the wide bronze belt that cinched at the waist. It was like he was going to play Santa Claus gone wrong, he even had a slightly bulging, medium-sized sack over one shoulder. Black velvet it looked like. Not a bad accessory over all, because he seemed to be a very richly dressed burglar.


I shook my head to clear those thoughts, processing his last remark. “It is too, I live here.” I perked an eyebrow. “Who are you?”


He winced. “That would be rather...complicated to explain.”


“You're standing in my house-”


“Not your house. It is in your father's name. You're just living here until you can find your own place, which makes it...not your house.”


I glared at him. “Look, Mr...uh,”


“Theodore.” He offered a slight tilt of his head. “Theodore McGinty.” He stepped backwards into the room, wariness seemingly to spill over him from head to toe. “If you really don't mind, I have work to do, otherwise I would have left the moment your foot touched your bedroom floor.” He shook his head. “Besides, you're not even awake yet...you're dreaming.”


I tried in vain to make sense of that, but couldn't find a point to argue. “Right.” I said slowly. “Okay, Mr. McGinty, I'm dreaming. Of course...that would make sense, if I wasn't awake.”


“It would?”


“Yeah.” I winced as a shot of pain streaked through my head. “Yeah it would, see, your outfit is crazy to begin with and I have the worst headache in the...” I fumbled for a word. “the world!”


“Right.” He looked down at his shoes. “I highly doubt it.”


“Doubt what?” I crossed my arms over my chest.


“Your headache. Mine trumps yours, because I didn't have one until you walked over here.”


“And what's that supposed to mean?”


“You tell me, you're the one speaking in cryptic language.”


“Am not!” I shot back.


“Should I lower myself to your standards and say, are too?” He asked, devastatingly polite. “Besides, what's wrong with my outfit?”


I grimaced. “It's all wrong. It's just....wrong. You look like you're the opposite of Santa Claus. Who, is nothing more than a figment of our imagination with very little in common with the original St. Nicholas who actually was known for his generosity and...I don't even know why I'm explaining this to you. This is ridiculous. Which should mean I'm dreaming, because instead of red and white, you're wearing green and brown. You're also...very skinny. Precisely the sort of thing my head would be most likely to come up with.”


“I see.” He inched further into the room. “Tell you what...why don't you just...uh, come inside, sit down and um...sort that all out.”


I stared at him for a full minute. “I am dreaming, aren't I?” I muttered. “Stupid headache.” I turned on my heel and headed for the kitchen.


“Where are you going?” Theodore was right behind me as I flipped the kitchen lights on.


“Need more Tylenol.” I grunted, heading for the sink where I retrieved my barely used glass and painstakingly refilled it with water.


“Gel caps?” Theodore asked.


I grunted.


When I turned around he was offering two dark green gel capsules. “Here.”


I looked from the capsules to him and this time the groan escaped. “I'm not dreaming, am I?” I set the glass on the counter and leaned over the sink. My options filed through my head in an orderly fashion. I could scream or yell for help. I could run, get away and find someone to help me. I could bean him over the head with something...maybe the wooden spoon in the dish rack. I winced.


Wooden spoon? Yeah right.


“I would appreciate it.” He shifted uncomfortably. “very much, if you would not alert anyone else to my presence. I have a job to do and it will be best done if I am not surrounded by half-awake humans.”


I blinked. “Humans?” I shook my head, jerking around to look at him. “You just called us, humans. If I'm not dreaming, then this means that a real, live...alien in standing in my kitchen?”


His mouth opened.


“I know, I know...not my kitchen. This is wrong...somebody help me!” I screamed the words out, waiting, listening.


There was a loud, exaggerated sigh. “I suppose now would be a bad time to mention that no one can hear you?” He asked, pleasantly.


“What did you do to them?” I backed away, common sense slowly ebbing in.


“I beg your pardon?” Disgust filled his honey-warm voice. “I didn't do anything to them. Just you. I isolated your voice and switched off the frequency...temporarily, meaning, no one can hear me but you.”


It took a split-second for that to register. “No one can hear me?” I fairly shrieked. “Get away from me!”


“Gladly.” He muttered, skipping back a few steps. “Please don't try running anywhere either, I'd hate for you to hurt yourself...the sound shield extends to your hallway, meaning that I am not letting you out of my sight until I'm finished.” He held up a hand. “If I let you help me, do you think you could be calm and quiet?”


“Help you?” I repeated, incredulously. “Calm and quiet?”


He sighed again. Loudly. “Never mind. It's all wrong anyway.” He turned away, heading back to the family room.


“Where are you going?” I half-started after him, darting a quick glance around the kitchen. There had to be something I could grab to use in self-defense.


This time, he grunted.


I tip-toed after him, snatching the wooden spoon from the dish rack the moment he disappeared around the corner. When I rounded the corner as well, I found him kneeling beside the Christmas tree and rummaging through the stack of gifts below.


“Leave those alone!” I barked, flying towards him, spoon upraised.


Without so much as even pausing in his methodical sorting, one hand shot upwards and caught the spoon before it came crashing down on his head. He gave it a jerk, pulling me down to the floor with it. “Please don't do that.” He said calmly. “It isn't helping my headache.”


“Your headache?” I sputtered, scrambling away from him. “I'm the one with the headache, you're the one twisting my reality!”


He half-smiled, reaching for a small, neatly wrapped package. He held it up for a moment, squinted at it and then set it in a corner and reached for his sack.


“Put that back!” I lunged forward again.


This time, he moved with lightening speed and cushioned my charge with a pillow from the sofa. The polite smile on his face did not reach his eyes. “I am only going to repeat myself this once and ask that you please, do not do that again.” His upper half disappeared into the sack and he emerged a moment later with a larger, wrapped present in hand and set it next to the original package. “Hmmm.” He mumbled. “Don't remember which one...” His voice trailed off and he held his hand over the two gifts. Soft gold glitter showered down and the packages unwrapped themselves, the contents hovering up in mid-air, above their wrappings.


I gawked openly.


“Tell me,” He began, conversationally, studying the handheld gaming systems. “Which would your brother prefer? The limited edition or the luxury?”


I swallowed. “They were out of the limited edition...” I focused on the carpet. “I could only find the luxury one.”


The dark head swiveled towards me. “True...but, which would he prefer?”


I shrugged, helplessly. “You're a guy. Answer it yourself. That's a totally unfair question.”


“Is it?” He asked. The gifts slowly re-wrapped themselves and he swapped the larger box for the smaller one. “Is it all right if I switch them?”


My head snapped up to look at him. “You can't do that...!”


He arched a perfectly groomed eyebrow.


I shook my head. “I mean...I can't let you do that...it's too expensive, I'm already over budget. But thanks anyway.”


There was another sigh, this time quiet. “You don't owe me anything.” He murmured softly, trading the gifts anyway. “I work all year to be able to earn the credits to do this.”


A slow, sinking feeling wormed into my stomach, it was punctuated by another sharp jab of pain through the center of my head. “To earn the...credits?" I swallowed. "And this would be...?” My voice trailed off.


He smiled, crookedly. “You haven't figured it out yet?” He reached under the tree for a new present and the scenario repeated itself as he exchanged an older model for a newer one and smiled as the new package was nestled beneath the tree.


“Why?”


He shrugged. “Some people would give everything they have and more for their family.” He continued his methodical searching and switching. “Some only care about pretty packages and bows. Some truly wish to surprise the recipient and gift them something that will last for years. I find it to be incredibly sad when the reason some things are not quite as...perfect as the giver would like them to be, is due to a lack of funds or bad timing.” He snapped his fingers and the packages repacked themselves neatly under the tree as he rolled upwards to his feet and offered a hand.


“You're playing Santa Claus.” I tried to claify.


He shook his head. “No.”


“The outfit...” I tried again.


He chuckled. “Green Velvedae...it works best for our-er-my, method of travel. And this isn't real fur.” He hoisted the sack over one shoulder. “Sorry to scare you, but it would be best if you just went back to bed and forgot about all of this. Merry Christmas.”


“Whoa! Hold up here!” I dodged in front of him. “You just...” I gestured towards the tree. “And now you're just going?”


The impatient sigh returned. “I believe that is what I meant.”


My temper sparked again. “You know, for a guy that should be at least polite with the sneaking into people's houses and upgrading their gifts, you're worse than a-”


“Than a what?” He asked, stiffly.


“That is so like a guy.” I stepped aside and waved him past. “Should I offer you some cookies or something before you leave?” The sarcasm slipped out.


He scowled. “Thank you, but no thanks. I'd best be on my way. Lots of other places to be you know.”


I made a face behind his back and turned back to the tree. The headache reminded me of its presence by a soft, painful twinge. I winced. That had been rather nice of him, whoever he really was. I trailed awkwardly behind him. “Do you need anything for your headache?”


“No.” He said shortly. “But I'll be able to leave when you're back in your bed, sound asleep.”


“Right.” I swallowed. “You know...I bet you're grumpy because you haven't had anything to eat...all night. I mean, cookies and milk is probably pretty awful after awhile. Especially if you're lactose intolerant and you have to watch your blood sugar. Guys are always grumpy when they're hungry. No worries. I can fix that.”


His hand went to his forehead. “I think I'm missing something here.” He began. “So I'm going to ignore it. Would you mind just going back to bed, so I can leave now?”


“It probably gets cold out there too.” I babbled, pushing past him and into the kitchen. I hurried to the kitchen pantry and quickly found a few teabags, before rushing to the opposite end to turn on the coffeepot. “Some tea would be nice, don't you think? Some nice, hot tea. Gives you some energy and warms you up a bit.”


“I don't need any tea.” He spoke each word deliberately. “I am fine. Could you please-”


“And toast!” I whirled around again, the twinge in my head slowly melting away. “Tea and toast. I'll make some green tea, the kind with lemon, that gives you energy you know. And antioxidants. Coffee isn't a good thing this time of night. I mean, at least, you wouldn't want me to make coffee for you. I'm not very good at it. But tea I can make. Tea is good. So is toast. That's a good combination. Filling too, it'll just be a few minutes.”


He moaned softly. “What part of please, go back to bed, you don't understand?”


I paused in mid-whirl to look at him. “The part that doesn't let me do anything in anyway to thank someone who has just helped me, whether he is real or truly a figment of my imagination, as evidenced by this being all a dream of some sort.”


“Are you always this bossy in your dreams?”


“Are you always so horribly stubborn?” I shot back, pushing some of the table junk to the corner. “Sit. Now.”


He sat, eyes following my every move as I selected cups and plates from the cupboard and set them in front of him.


The toast was put in the toaster and I stood, anxiously by the coffeepot as the water slowly trickled through.


“Watching it won't make it happen any faster.” He ventured after a moment. “And I'm quite fine, really.”


“Theodore.” I began, testing his first name for the first time.


“Yes?” He was the picture of innocence.


My eyes narrowed. “Shut up.”


“Yes ma'am.” His head bobbed, a smile tugging stubbornly at the corners of his mouth.
The tea brewed and the toast finished. Our conversation between refills and toaster minutes was interesting and unbelievable in several points. When at last he'd gone through a loaf of bread and an entire pot of tea, I finally concluded he was full.


“Sorry to keep you back.” I rinsed the plates and set them in the rack to dry.


He chuckled, softly. A lovely sound of bells over whipped cream. “This has been the best conversation, company and refreshment I've had in quite some time.” He offered a bow, before picking up his bag from the floor. “Thank you very much.”


I shrugged. “You're welcome.”


He chuckled. “Off to bed. I can't leave until you're at least inside your bedroom again.”


“Company policy?” I asked lightly, already heading for the hallway.


His laughter followed me. “Something like that. Merry Christmas.”


“Merry Christmas to you too.” I whispered, rounding the corner and stepping into my room. “Oops. Lights.” I muttered, turning around in the same moment and heading back to the hallway.


I blinked. The house was pitch black. I took another step forward and banged my toe again. I opened my mouth, then shut it and turned back to my bedroom where I aimed for the bed and flopped across the top. I was dreaming. It had to be a dream.


A smile slipped onto my face. But not a bad dream really, it had actually felt rather real. I snuggled into the blankets when I heard the chuckle again. I sat bolt upright as the chiming laughter faded away into the night.


Copyright 2008. Sara Harricharan

Friday, December 19, 2008

Veins of Ice (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted at Beach Reads. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's note: There are some very rough patches in here-to me, at least-but on clarification for them, this is a dual world, where there are always opposites. The opposite I am using here is fire and ice, and the MC is roughly about eighteen years old. To keep from making this too long, I left out the explanation of Dark Alley. Dark Alley is the street corner where you find all the otherworld portals(think transportation-wise). Enjoy.



My ears were cold.

It was beyond freezing outside. I stood on the shadowed corner of the spaceport, but it was barely enough to keep from getting noticed by the security bots. I scowled in their happily beeping direction. They were machines, immune to the weather conditions. Immune to everything, even a plea for help. I shuffled for a few minutes, but it didn't help much. I'd already lost feeling in my toes, much less my feet.

I didn’t have enough credits to pay for the admission to the space station and I didn’t have enough to get back on the cruise ship-the only reason I’d been kicked off in the first place.

Another shiver ran through me.

Thought space was a vacuum. Why am I freezing? The thoughts only served to make my teeth chatter harder. I couldn’t hold back the second shiver. I also couldn’t hold back the nagging thoughts I’d locked in the back of my mind.

If you’d embrace your ‘true nature’ and quit running away from what you really are, you wouldn’t be starving and freezing in the Dark Alley.

I sniffled. The words were stuck in my head from a dream I could not yet run away from.

This isn’t the Dark Ally and I’m not running away from anything! I’m not starving anyway.

Liar. My mind taunted.

My stomach churned and I didn’t dare waste more energy on a wisecrack to counter that accusation. It seemed like it had been weeks and weeks since I could remember feeling warm and full. Warmth seemed more like a wish, far out of reach than a reality easily remedied by a heat crystal or central climate control.

I rubbed my hands together briskly and self-consciously touched them to my ears. They were hurting so bad.

The moment my barely warm fingers brushed them, every noise in the spacedock was amplified a thousand-fold. I grimaced, the only reaction to bear the pain. It hurt worse than it had when I’d tried the same trick a few minutes ago. My hands fell to my sides and I jammed them deep into the coat pockets.

The coat itself wasn’t much protection, but it provided a place for me to hide my hands so no one would see how blue they were turning. But this wasn't the first time they were changing color on me. One night I'd awakened to find my father yelling, standing over me, shouting in a language I couldn't understand. I could only piece together that I was freezing and only when the cold had finally left me, was I able to understand, that according to him, I had nearly died. Died from the cold.

I shoved the bad memories away, it was easier to focus on necessities like food and warmth, than to dwell on the emotions of a family I wasn't sure I ever wanted to see again.

“How long you gonna stand there?”

His voice hinted he was bigger than his shadow suggested, but I didn’t want to meet his gaze, so I stared at his scuffed work boots. His huge, scuffed work boots.

“I was talking to you, kid.”

The work boots inched out of the shadows and I felt panic freeze in my throat. He was huge. And I knew who he was.

Bad dream. Bad dream. Very bad dream.

“Moulen sent me to see if you changed your mind. If you did, I’ll take you back.”

Another shudder ran through me. I was mildly shocked to see my breath as a puff of white air. Rothan was Moulen’s right hand. His favorite. If Moulen had sent him personally to come find me, I was in deeper trouble than I’d thought.

“T-that’s all?” My teeth chattered, completely ruining any sense of dignity I might have had left to my name.

A bear-like hand clamped down on my shoulder and spun me around, shoving me out into the light. “Yeah. That’s all.” He continued the push and pull thing until we reached the admission gate, where he swiped his wrist band and the credits were deducted as the guard let us through.

Warmth flooded over me, even as the coldness seemed to still run in my veins. I hobbled in step with him, too weak to resist this time. My legs buckled half way and the hand on my shoulder tightened, somehow managing to keep me upright.

“Stand straight, kid.” He grunted. “At least for appearances.”

“Terrance.” I mumbled. “Name is Terrance.”

“Funny.” Rothan snorted. “You look like a kid to me.” He lifted me easily with one hand and sat me down on a barstool.

I struggled to keep sense of my surroundings. I couldn’t remember walking into the diner to begin with, much less ending up at the counter. My senses were overwhelmed with the sensations of warmth and the noises had dulled immediately. I didn’t want to breathe, for fear it would disappear, because I’d had this sort of dream before. The same sort of dream that tugged at my mind and left strange clues I didn't dare puzzle through.

A nightmare would be more accurate. I would finally cave to the DarkMaster’s will and he would send a henchman for me, and I would fall to my knees and grovel before him, begging for mercy from my own foolishness.

“Hey. Kid.” Rothan shook me suddenly. “Don’t fall asleep, you hear?”

There was a strange note of urgency in his voice, but I was already half-asleep and it was too hard to try and puzzle out his words.

When the blissful blackness claimed me. I did not fight it.

It was with a sudden cold shock that I was jolted awake. For a moment, the iciness was forgotten as anger flooded through me like a burning fire. The moment the adrenaline faded, the shivering and chattering began.

I looked down to see that my jacket and shirt had been removed and I was wearing new sweatpants and sitting bare-chested on a very cold, flat table.

I scrambled off quicker than I’d expected and then wrapped my arms tighter around my upper-half.

Wake up. Wake up. Bad dream. Nightmare.

The words pounded out a disjointed rhythm in my head and then the headache started. I opened my mouth and shut it. It was dry. The rest of me was wet. I tilted my head forward, experimentally, water continued to drip out.

Another wave of shivers and shudders over took me and I clenched my teeth together, trying to deal with it. I took in my new surroundings, more conscious now than I had been for quite some time. I was in a small room, the table being the only furniture. There were no necessities of any sort. The walls were of some clear and light-blue material and the floor was also very cold as I now noticed, my feet were bare. And my toes were turning blue.

Nausea flooded through me again. I tried to swallow.

My ears ached. I was straining both inward and outward to keep from letting my senses slip away again. If I let my ears, they would hear everything within a hundred-mile radius, maybe. I would be insane.

Not again. Can’t have this happening again. Very bad.

“Terrance.” Moulen’s voice was velvety soft as the door on the far end slid upwards and he stepped in, clothed in his precious burgundy velvet, cinched at the waist with an expensive leather belt and bronze buckle. I didn’t have to be smart to know that his very name meant wealth and…power.

The kind of power that usually got what it wanted, when it wanted.

“I am glad you are awake.” His cultured voice slid over me with a sickening feel. “Rothan tells me you were quite nearly lost, if it were not for his interference.”

I didn’t dare meet his golden eyes, to look into his scarred face and see the smirk I was sure waited for me. I would not give him this satisfaction.

“I was always fine until you came into my life. Always fine until your interference!” I shot back. The anger provided another burst of heat and my teeth did not chatter as I spoke.

“And when they tainted your mind with the poison against us, you expected us to remain silent and to stay out of your life?” Moulen shook his head with exaggerated sadness. “I understand there is much in your life that you do not understand at this moment, Terrance, but you must not resist the forces you are born into.”

“Born into?” I sputtered. The heat was flaring through my body again and strangely, it was numbing. I did not have to think, nor did I feel a need to reason with myself before speaking. “Born into? Is that what you think this about? I was a normal kid, okay? Then some freak comes out of nowhere and tells me that I’ve got to…that I’m, some hero of some sort and that you guys are out to get me. Then you guys appear out of nowhere and you do come and get me. I am getting the whole picture here, but I think that-”

“That you are completely twisting this out of proportion.” Moulen sighed. “And I am going to have to do this the hard way.” He stretched out one hand.

I shrank away, but not quick enough, his fingers feathered across my bare shoulder and another icy jolt shot through me.

For the following minutes, I could not breathe. I crumpled to the floor, my face inches away from his perfect black boots. The cold continued to work its way through me and before my very eyes, my fingers turned purple, then blue and then…clear. The horror was more than I could bear.

A gasp somehow escaped.

Pain ripped through me worse than anything I had ever felt before. Even if I could think, it would have frozen all thoughts in that single moment. I writhed silently on the floor as the ice crept through my veins.

And then it faded, slowly. I had to be numb. I could not feel anything else. Not even the floor, which had been freezing only moments ago. The pain I’d felt in my ears was gone, the heightened sense remained, but this time, somehow controlled. I could hear the dim murmur of other things beyond this tiny room, yet somehow, I did not zero in on them as I would have before. Instead, I could only heart two hearts, beating. One unsteady and slow, one rapid. The slow beat was quickly speeding until the rapid rate was synchronized.

Warm hands slid under my armpits, hoisting me upwards and onto the table, where I’d lain before. “Easy now.” Moulen murmured, his tone soothing, easing me down to lie on the table.

It felt warm and comfortable. So very nice. Drowsiness hovered over me for an eighth of a second, then vanished. I yawned.

I was suddenly confused. Wasn’t I supposed to hate him? Wasn't everything supposed to be cold? And unbearably so?

“When your mind slows down, your body will relax.” He was speaking in a fatherly tone now. “Welcome to the Icemen.”

I sat bolt upright and stared down at myself. I’d turned completely to ice.

“Easy now.” There was a warning note in his voice as Moulen circled around the bed-slash-table. “It will take you a moment to orient yourself, but it seems your transformation is complete in itself. Very good.”

My mind clicked into gear. Somehow the very thoughts themselves were individual and unique, I could follow each one and see how the reasoning folded itself into the crevices of my mind.

I’d gone to boarding school and I learned of the Common Things. The way our society was created and of course, the residents within. Our powers, political and otherwise, resided in the hands of two chief sides. The Light Master and the Dark Master. Fire and Ice.

I’d always thought I was fire. My friends were fire. My father was fire and so were my brothers and sisters. They’d taught me about fire and effectively squelched my true nature, by forbidding my few quirks. I was supposed to be fire. They had told me I was. And that there would be a Dark Master coming for me. But it was a common threat among the Fire People. A common threat and I had buckled under the promise of terrible things to come for disobeying my father. My father...he would have known. He had to have known. And my mother....It had always been me though, none of the other children had the difficulties I had, nor the strange happenings, now that I focused, my mind clicked things together, filling in the gaps I had neglected for too long. The pain of it was more than I thought I had the strength to deal with, but when it had risen and faded, a choice remained. I still had a choice. And it was mine.

A sudden memory of my mother’s icy hands on my cheeks pushed to the forefront of my mind. I winced. “Mom.”

“Your mother is well.” Moulen spoke in measured tones now, seemingly relieved that I was at least staying quiet and sensible. “I am sorry for the deception they forced on you.”

I waited for the flare of heat, the anger or embarrassment, but none came. The clear, invisibility faded to soft blue, then a darker shade. “I-it was my fault.”

“Nay.” He shook his head, beckoning for me to follow with one hand as he started for the door. “I know there is much in your mind now, many questions. They will be answered.” He held the door open. “But know that with your veins of ice, you are now one of us. Our protection is yours, you belong with us and we will have you, if you chose to stay, but we will not take that choice from you. The will remains yours.”

I ducked under his arm and stood in the hallway. Somehow, his words seemed to be carrying hope instead of the terrible things I’d pegged him for. “Thanks.” I managed.

He handed me a sweatshirt. “You will revert to your…normal form, soon. Wear this in the meantime so you don’t scare the girls.”

“Girls?” I paused halfway, wrestling with the shirt.

“Moulen?” A lilting, familiar voice came to me.

My head popped through the shirt and I stared openly. “Mom?”

I didn’t know it was possible for emotion to show on the chiseled face I knew so well. “Terrance!” She glided forward and crushed me in a hug.

A few tears splashed onto my neck, but I didn’t flinch as I expected. This cold tears were now warm to me. I hugged her back. “Mom…” More questions swam to the surface of my mind, but I could only concentrate on the fact that she was here, with me.

“Shhh!” She sniffled, pulling away at last. “Thank you, Moulen. Thank you…for granting me this one wish, selfish as it was.”

“You are the most unselfish woman I know of, sister.” Moulen slipped and arm around her shoulder as she caught hold of my hand. “Come, I’m sure my nephew is starving by now. That was the fastest transformation I’ve seen since your own.”

Mom elbowed him. “You mean you haven’t fed him yet? The poor boy!”

A snicker welled up in my throat and it spilled over, joining their laughter as we glided down the hall.

Copyright 2008 Sara Harricharan.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Whole Different Kind of Wish (Friday Fiction)

Friday Fiction is hosted by Shirley McClay at Sunny Glade. click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's note: Today was a kind of day I almost had that same wish, but I decided to work it out on paper and this is what happened...

Sometimes I wish I did not have to wake up.

I know I should not wish things like that, because maybe some day they will come through.

But what if I don't care? What if it doesn't matter to me? What if I really wish that? Then what? What if it comes through?

Rain is falling. Snow was supposed to come. I bet it will turn to sleet the second I step out through this door. Is it safe to say that I truly hate my own life? Or would I have to explain to every ignorant soul why I would actually say that aloud, or rather, break it down in intimate detail so they could see how I arrived at this particular conclusion.

Maybe I ought to start from the beginning. Right from the start, where my mouth is as big as my heart, which should not even exist. It has been broken so many times over, I have gotten used to the fact that sneezing causes it all to rearrange inside of me, so what is the point of caring any more?

He said my love was the greatest thing in the world. He said it covered the canyons and reached across to bridge the widest gaps in history. He said it was his life.

Why did I ever believe him?

The doorknob's only a few inches away...I wonder if I reach for it, if the weather will change. Maybe. That would be nice. Then I wouldn't have to work so hard for this whole mess. But alas, my life is a wretched, horrid mess. Who am I trying to fool?

What is left of my heart is dirt-pink dust I keep in a locket around my neck. It is plainly visible in the v-neck of this white dress I can never take off. It is one thing I can count both for and against me. My mouth is another, it is something that gets me into trouble. Even when I only think about thinking about opening it. My job...in plain earthspeak...sucks. There is no two ways about it.

"Jahari?" Whandlen is standing to the side. He has the nerve to let his concern show in his eyes. His beautiful, sky blue eyes, lightly tinted with the golden glow of the sun. "Be you all right?"

I wish I could whack him. Hit him. Hurt him. The way he has hurt me. But of course, it is not really his fault, is it? "Of course, I'm all right. Why wouldn't I be?" The sarcasm flows easily from my lips.

"Well...you have been out here all morning, you stand inches away from the door to the otherworlds and yet, you stand here as if you are...well-"

"Morning? I was not aware you were keeping track, but it really none of your business."

He straightened almost instantly. "When a weather glyph begins acting strange, it IS my business to know."

I gave him the best look I could muster.

It wilted beneath his glare.

I suppose it would be his business if he had created the glyph, given them a second chance at life they had scorned before. I almost shuddered. What I owed him did not outweigh the annoyance and other unnamed feelings trapped within me. I struggled to forumulate a sensible sentence. "I suppose if the glyph is acting strange, due to the fact they were human before they ran into you, does that not-"

"Enough, Jahari." He thundred. His voice echoed through the wilderness below and the the darkened halls behind us.

My locket shivered around my neck. I swallowed. His voice still made me wish for him. To wish for what I could never have.

"Fine." I said evenly. It took every smidgen of willpower to slowly turn my back towards him. He was a sky wizard, the kind whose sole purpose was to create the lovely weather glyphs and order them about his kingdom.

There was a low, frustrated sigh from the other end of the room. "Jahari..."

His voice was soft as his whisper of spring rain. I tried to keep breathing, but I skipped a breath. I forgot he could always hear everything in my head. But not everything in my heart. I tried to shift my thoughts to hide them within my heart. We were linked, yes, but for necessity, not for the reason I wanted.

"Jahari." He tried again, this time, it was with the warmth of summer.

The wave of heat shimmered over me and for a moment, I felt my resolve beginning to crumble and melt in the hollow of my chest. Do not answer. Do not answer! The locket throbbed fiercly in the hollow of my neck. The burning sensation nearly brought a cry to my lips, but I tamped it down, squelching the urge as best as I could. For now. It would only be a matter of seconds before I could not keep up the facade any longer.

Icy breath feathered on the corner of my ear and cool hands slid around my shoulders. "Jahari." He said again.

"Y-yes?" My traitor mouth spoke.

One hand reached past and opened the door. Nothing happened. The rain continued to pour, the mud to form below, the cold wind to rush inside.

"Go." He nudge me forward. "It is time. This is your turn. Fly. Give them snow."

I wanted to hate him. For a millionth of a second, I wanted to hate him, but I could not. Instead, I stepped outside, into the downpour. And for the second time today, I wished I didn't have to wake up.

The rain did its strange work and as my dress began to drip, it clung tighter around me and I felt the coldness ebb away to nothing. I rolled my shoulders forward and back, then hunched foward. My wings unfolded with a delicate swoosh. They fluttered lightly, reflecting my mood as I turned to see what I could of them. There was a quiet creak and I looked down to see that my gown had reverted to its true, snowy nature. The carpet of whiteness flowed from my neck and down to the entryway.

For a moment, I almost smiled. And then I was reminded why the transformation had begun. It was Christmas time on one planet and the children below were praying for snow. I had a gift, given to me, if you wish to see it as such.

There was no one, but me to blame if I shirked my duty to use it for good.

My wings fluttered, more pleadingly this time and I bowed my head as I took to flight. The feeling of weightlessness was an immediate reward. I half-twirled, then flew upwards towards the stars.

The soft trail of fresh white snow lingered behind in my wake. It would not stick, unless I wanted to, but for now, I would take my travel time to think...and pray. Maybe I needed a different wish. A whole different kind of wish.

Copyright 2008. S. Harricharan

Friday, December 5, 2008

Crying In the Park (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Vonnie at My Back Door, click here to read and share more great fiction!


Author's Note: This is a very old piece I couldn't resist giving a makeover. Enjoy!

I rang my voicemail only to hear a message I didn't really want. It was my friend Kikki Morgan and her message was simply. "Sally said you called, I’ll talk to you later. I've gone crying in the park. Please don't come after me."

Years of friendship made me stay exactly where I was for all of five seconds. The next few minutes had me careening through the dusty country roads, to the abandoned park opposite the quarry.

My heart bypassed my throat and went straight to my brain, delivering a well-deserved shock of emotion and guilt. I should've been paying attention, but I'd been too wrapped up.

The deserted park was more eerie than ever, confirming that Kikki would be somewhere nearby. Since Camille’s death, she’d withdrawn to a world of darkness I couldn’t comprehend. Her sister, her other half, her twin. They’d shared a bond deeper than our friendship had ever been able to dream of. I shook my head to clear it some.

Shadows captured everything around me, including the creaking chains of rusty swing sets and last year’s leaves flittering across the bent slides.

I saw her, finally, sitting on the edge of the Great Rock. Her hair was loose, blowing about the wind and she was wearing Camille’s favorite sweater.

The signs of her reoccurring memories were obvious; but her response to my arrival wasn't. "I told you not to come." She spoke before my shadow even reached hers. "It wasn't a code."

"As if." I circled the rock to try and see her face; it was hidden amongst the tousled curls. Hoisting myself up beside her, I glanced at my watch. There was a half-hour at least to spare. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing." She fingered the oversized buttons,

Silence captured the distance between us, leaving me to feel smaller and lowlier than a gnat.
What kind of friend am I? The mind game began, threatening to whittle me down to nothing. "Kikki-" I began.

"Not now." Her voice grated, one pale hand reaching up to tuck the windblown tresses behind one ear. Her tear-stained face held the faintest touch of something I couldn't describe.

"Are you okay?" My traitor mouth spoke for me.

Her mouth twitched the way it usually did instead of smiling outright. "I'm fine. You?"

I didn't dare answer her. The day had been horrible and her voicemail hadn’t improved it any. The silence passed with my frustration mirroring my impatience. “Fine.” I muttered when she looked at me.

“Fine?” There was no mistaking the contempt in her voice as she suddenly jerked to her feet. “That sounds about even for both of us, so why don’t you just get up and go?”

“Says who?” I challenged.

“If you don’t go, then I will.” Her eyes locked onto mine.

“I’m staying right here.” I squared my shoulders, waiting.

She didn’t move at first, but then she turned and jumped off the rock, stalking back the way I’d come.

“Kikki!” I groaned, rolling up to my feet and hurrying after her. “Kikki, wait up. You can’t just…you know, you can’t…” I caught up to her and grabbed one skinny, sweater-sleeved arm. “Kikki! Look at me!”

Her head whipped around with an angry glare, reflected in the half snarl. “Just leave me alone! Okay? Just alone…is that so hard for you to comprehend?”

I stared at her, surprised by the reaction, surprised by her. She yanked her arm free, and turned to go. I stood, numbly, watching.

And only when her fuzzy figure began to disappear from sight, I ran after her again. This time, when I caught her arm, I didn’t speak. Her unspoken request was on thing my mind had conveniently overlooked in dredging up memories of our friendship. I didn’t squeeze or pull, I just let my hand rest there, struggling to keep pace with her longer legs.

The silence between us grew longer and deeper and then she stopped. Her head turned towards me again, aged, weary. Tears were still flowing freely down her cheeks and she gave a slight jerk of her head in the direction we’d both come from.

I shrugged. She almost smiled.

We turned as one and slowly made our way back to the rock. From there, we sat, in silence. The tears taking our permission, came fast and freely. The need for words slipped away in this cloak of senseless, but necessary grief, shaking me to the core.

Eventually our fingers interlaced and squeezing her hand in reassurance, soon became a hug, where the last of our tears were spent on each other’s shoulders. When I could breathe again, the throbbing ache in my heart, the one I’d buried, sprung up, afresh, but not so deep. One layer, somehow, had been closed.

The rays of sunset began their afternoon march across every object of the earth. The soft pink glows reflected on Kikki’s sweater and the color, for a moment, somehow reminded me of life.

I nearly laughed. Her arms tightened around her and I rested my head on her shoulder. We’d be fine. Broken, shattered and twisted, but still…just fine.

"Friends?" I whispered.

She coughed, then smiled. "Forever."

Copyright 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Price of His Love(Friday Fiction)

To read and share more great fiction, click here to go to Pod Tales.

Author's note: This is one story I am particularly fond of this MC, and her alien husband. There's quite a few episodes of them in my head, but this one was the most recent I was able to write out. It's a tad sketchy on the fact that she has an incurable illness and he's a healer...but now that you know that, it should help to fill in the gaps.

The nightmare replayed this morning. The images were too real and the reality was heartbreaking. I didn’t want to confront it, so I tried to run away from it.

Kalen stirred as I slipped out from beneath the covers. I dared to glance over my shoulder, relieved to see his eyes closed. I was half-way to the door before he spoke. “Are you okay?”

Despair wove its web into an arrow of anger than surfaced as a frosty retort. “Fine.” I tipped my sleepy chin higher, groping for the doorknob of the bedroom door. I left the dark prison to retreat to the warmth of the freezer light.

A tub of chocolate chip mint creaminess was my escape in this nightly ritual of running away. I spooned twenty-three mouthfuls before my tired body protested such treatment.

The stove clock flashed, showing the time to be three-something in the morning. My eyes were barely half-opened as I stuffed my fix back in the freezer and headed for the medicine cabinet. Two white blood sugar pills and one yellow pill to help me sleep.

I fingered the yellow capsule, the nightmare resurfacing. I shuddered and put the pill back in the bottle. The thought of being locked in sleep unable to wake from the horror, is more terrifying than not sleeping at all.

The stairs leading upward are even more mountainous in my semi-conscious state. I wonder how it feels to sleep on the sofa. There are plenty of blankets down there.

I almost turn back, but my feet refuse to obey. They are set in their course and I do not have the strength to decide otherwise. They continue up the stairs and into the bedroom. They give way beneath me, prompting the words that I would call a prayer.

Dear God, help me!

Somehow I manage to crawl beneath the covers and the precious warmth surrounds me. For a moment, I am blissfully alone.

I will sleep until morning.

Morning came quicker than I wanted. Kalen had already left by the time sunlight dared to coax my eyes awake. I have enough energy to stumble to the shower and dress afterwards.

Breakfast is oatmeal with soymilk. My blood sugar is too high. I hate the numbers for telling the truth and myself for making it higher instead of lower. Maybe if I eat all the ice cream now, I won’t have to come down for it tonight.

I am digging in the freezer to find my treasure. Cradling it carefully, I close the door to find myself staring straight into Kalen’s golden cat-eyes. My heart bypasses my throat and jumps clear to my brain.

The cool touch of the ice cream filters through, forcing my thoughts to regroup and focus. “Kalen.” His name bursts from my lips, followed by the familiar blush that creeps up my neck-even after four years of marriage.

Turning away, I fumble through the cabinets for a bowl and then through the drawers for a spoon. Scooping spoonfuls into the dish, I am aware of his eyes following my every move.

“What is that?” His question is innocent, his face mirroring child-like curiosity.

For once, I am surprised. I thought I knew everything after hearing his truth, but now I am mystified by this creature yet again. “It’s ice cream.” I tried to catch his eye. “You know-I’m always eating it…” My voice trailed off, I was always eating it, yes, but never when he was around.

“How can they make cream from ice?” His cat-eyes blink rapidly.

I know he is studying it from a different angle in a way I could never understand. One of Kalen’s mind-boggling qualities includes x-ray vision-down to a molecular level. He is analyzing every inch of my ice cream to death. “It’s a sweet.” I muttered, searching for another bowl. “Do you want a cone or a bowl? I have cones…somewhere.”

The child-like expression is marred by a look of complete confusion. For a being of ninth intelligence, Kalen is easily distracted. My irritable self resurfaces and in a fit of frustration, I jammed the spoon into the container, digging out a lump. “Here-eat that.”

Kalen seems unruffled by my attitude, because he is quite happy to try this new sweet. His forked tongue snaked out, wrapping around the lump of chocolate-mint comfort. The four black, pointed tips of his tongue make the ice cream look even greener as the expression changes from confusion to delight. “It disappears!”

“What?” I looked from the spoon to him.

“It disappears…it’s cold…and sweet…and then it just, disappears.” Kalen happily licked the spoon clean.

“Oh.” That was a new way to describe something I’d grown up craving. I found the box of cones and managed to scrape the remains from the container into a flaky specimen. “That’s a cone-and you the put the ice cream inside. You eat the whole thing-it’s good.”

I’d barely turned to put the spoon in the sink when a loud slurping noise startled whatever wits I’d had about me. I whirled around to see Kalen swallowing the entire cone.

Pure bliss was the only words for the look on his face, as his lips curved upwards in a smile, eyes closed. A gurgle of laughter escaped and his eyes popped open. “Thanks.”

I shrugged. “Working today?”

He mirrored my shrug. “I think so.”

“You think?” I couldn’t keep the sarcasm from my voice.

A puzzled eyebrow shot upwards. “Yes…I’m not sure yet…I’ve got the strangest feeling about today.”

“A feeling?”

“Oh yes.” He turned on his heel. “A very strong feeling.” He paused in front of the back door. “How are you feeling?”

“Fine.” I stuck a spoonful of comfort in my mouth.

He shrugged and stepped out.

I didn’t see him for the rest of the day. I didn’t do anything else for the rest of the day. The waking hours consisted of eating ice cream and taking the medicine. When the ice cream ran out,

I started on the soda crackers.

By the time my stomach was satisfied, I was in no condition to do anything else. I hate television, so watching something was out of the question. I didn’t want to eat anything else, so sleep was the next logical choice.

I aimed for the sofa, but landed on the ground instead. The dizziness started in my head and spiraled over me, like the customary cloak of depression that woke me each night. Vision fuzzed as I clutched at fuzzy sofa cushions.

The first wave of pain brought a moan that I couldn’t hold back. The second wave took more from me than I thought I had to give.

My knees wobbled, but offered some semblance of security. I wrapped my arms around them, pulling them up to my chest. My head felt as if it literally had split open in two.

Darkness slowly slipped over me, followed by a burning sensation from my wedding ring. I summoned the strength to twist it and whispered his name. “Kalen.”

He was there at once.

Strong arms encircled me and I was snuggled into the safety of the couch. Cool, scaled fingers stroked my forehead and cheeks, brushing away the tears and easing the pain.

“I never should’ve let them.” I whimpered. Thoughts swirled through my head for the mistakes I’d never be able to outlive. No woman in her right mind, signs up for experimental medical testing.

The pain in Kalen’s heart reflected through his cat-eyes as he buried my head in his shoulder. “It’s okay…” He soothed. “It’s okay…not your fault.”

“They could’ve warned me.” I sobbed. “They could’ve. They said I only had a few months to live…not years of torture to survive!”

“I can help you.”

Kalen spoke so softly, I could barely hear him. Another whimper threatened to break through. I knew he could help me. I wanted him to help me…but I didn’t want to go through the process that took the pain away.

Then the shaking started. My teeth chattered loudly as I lost control of my own movements.

“Tess!” Kalen stacked velvet pillows around me.

“Help me.” I chattered the words out.

A sigh of relief seemed to escape as he squeezed my hand. “Be right back…pineapple on the lower shelf?”

My head bobbed in perfect synchronization with my shivering shoulders. Kalen disappeared from the doorway and I heard him searching through the refrigerator.

He returned a half-minute later with the necessary tools in hand. A kitchen knife, the bowl of pineapple chunks and a tiny syringe.

The shaking seemed to slither away at the sight of his efficiency and the ritual to come.

“Which arm?” He tugged the pillows away, one hand extended.

I chewed my lip and offered the one closest.

“Don’t watch.” He turned my head into the sofa cushions.

My arm twitched and I bit my lip, drawing blood. The familiar taste made my stomach churn as the thin strip of fire raced up my arm. Softness soothed the fire away and then the itchy feeling started. I squirmed under his expert grip, waiting until my arm was relinquished.

Bliss ensued for the next few minutes as I energetically scratched at the thin red line that faded into my arm.

Kalen was stuffing chunks of pineapple in his mouth and he stopped when his green necklace glowed. I stared as he picked up the gem and touched it to the symbol glowing on his chin. The green glow enveloped him from head to toe, then faded. He reached for the syringe and drew it full of his green, life-giving fluid. A blood called morphix, his life-force.

“Ready?”

I shook my head, but leaned forward anyway. One arm circled around my shoulders and pulled me forward. I felt the needle prick my neck and then throb as it withdrew.

Kalen drew me close, stroking my hair and murmuring in a language I couldn’t understand. The pain faded almost at once and I could breathe again. I found myself wanting to live and that was fine.

Sleep came near and took me.

Copyright 2008 S. Harricharan

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Genie-ous Friendship (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Patty Wysong @ her blog Patterings click here to read and share more great fiction!


Author's note: I just had fun with this. I hope to expand it more someday, but this idea has been rolling around in my head for quite some time and I just had to get it out of there. Angela is a fiesty character that definitely has more in her life than she's prepared to deal with and Mathrak, well, just go ahead and read the story already! ^_^


I glared at him from across the cluttered office. It was bad enough that I was working late again. Bad enough that I hated what I did. Even worse that I had to have this conversation in the first place. How dare he? After all that I'd been through on his account you'd think he could at least leave well enough alone! “Matt.” I began, in as reasonable a voice as I could. “I understand you don't agree with pretty much everything I do, however, I am a grown woman and I have a life of my own.” I frowned. “Correction, I had a life before you came along.”

“Angela-” Matt began.

“Don't!” I held up a hand. “Just don't. I don't want to hear it.”

“But-”

“No buts.” I shrugged into my new jacket. The soft faux fur hood provided an instant halo of warmth around my head as I zippered it up. “You know, I had a vice...my very own vice. I didn't do anything else, I stuck to the list of the total you took that away. I had a job. I was good at it. But you had to take that away too. Now I'm stuck here doing...doing...I don't even know what I'm doing!” I slammed the desk drawer and turned to look at the mirror hanging on the side of the filing cabinet. “I'm in the middle of the dessert, I haven't even seen a mountain or a tree or an anything in weeks, months, maybe even years!”

“Which would only be your own fault. You know you love working with the artifacts.” Matt murmured. “And I know you only dislike the paperwork.”

“Dislike the paperwork?” I repeated, incredulously. “Let's try, I hate the paperwork. I hate it, Matt. Do you just always overlook the first half of everything I say, or does it never occur to you to really listen when I'm trying to say something.”

“Such as?”

My jaw dropped open and I turned to stare at him in shock. “I don't believe this...in fact. I can't believe you just-”

“Because you don't make sense.” Matt yawned, stepping fully inside the office instead of hovering in the doorway. “You usually don't make sense, particularly when you're ranting and raving about like you are now.”

“Oh, so now I'm ranting and raving.”

He shrugged. “At least some variation of it. You didn't need a 'vice' as you put it. And smoking is bad for you.” He shuddered. “And your so-called occupation was extremely hazardous to your health, I could not allow it, mistress.”

“Mistress? We're getting formal again?” I snapped. My reflection stared back at me and I paused long enough to tug out a few wisps here and there. The museum curator's nephew had invited me to dinner and I hadn't dared to turn down the invitation, but now, I was beginning to feel a little insecure. “My occupation was fine, Matt. I was the only, note, only lady bounty hunter in this entire region. I got paid to shoot things and drag them home. Nothing easier!”

I moved away from the mirror, heading for the door. Matt quickly inserted himself in my path, his smooth gliding a dead giveaway. I winced. “Feet!” I hissed. “For goodness sakes! Haven't I told you a thousand times, don't do that in public!”

My stubborn-hearted genie obediently formulated his feet into existence, clutching the doorway for support until he could balance properly. “I am sorry.”

“Sorry?” I repeated. “Mathrak, do you know what my problem is?”

“Yes.” He smiled cheerfully. “You actually said my name, you must be listening to me.” The impish grin grew wider. “Your problem is easy, because you never take time for yourself, so you're always grumpy. If you took a night off...instead of going out to some silly dinner-”

“Silly? This is my job! A significant chunk of this glorious job that you claim I love so much, depends on this whole dinner thing. You're the one that told me that!” I suppressed the flow of words beginning to break free from my head. I didn't have the energy to argue with him tonight. He always twisted the argument around so he would win and tonight I was in the mood to agree with him to end any debate of any sort.

“Angela.” His velvety voice reached out, pleadingly.

“Can't hear you.” I tried to push past him.

“Angela.”

“La de dah de dah.”

“Angie.”

“Shut up, Matt.” I made one last attempt to push past him and inwardly sank as I felt the familiar invisible grip around my waist, levitating me upwards so my feet were off the floor and I could not reach anything. “Matt...” I began, warningly.

“I am not going to let you walk out of here in that kind of mood.” There was an exaggerated sigh. “And I know you're not just venting about the past because you like it.”

“Mathrak, if you don't-”

“Talk to me.” He said simply.

I stared at him. “You've got to be kidding me.”

The handsome head shook slowly with the gravest importance, his features shifting slowly to stone. “I cannot do that...mistress.”

I rolled my eyes. “Okay, then let's get back to the normal side where things are polite. Hi. I'm Angela. You can call me Angie.”

“I cannot put you down.” His voice dropped to a whisper. “Because if I do, you will die.”

“What?” I gave an involuntary wriggle. “Matt?”

“There is a bead on your left shoulder.” He murmured.

My body reacted at once, stiffening into the posture to appear normal, yet with my limbs relaxed enough to move. “Red, green or blue?”

“Red.” His whisper seemed to carry the ache in his eyes.

I winced. “My rifle's in the corner behind the door, levitate it for me.”

Another deep sigh filled the office. “You know I can't do that.”

“Matt!” My right hand curled into a fist. “So let me get this straight, someone's aiming something at me, my shoulder, if we've got to be exact and I'm asking you to hand me my rifle so I can defend myself and you're refusing?”

His head tilted slightly sideways and I squinted to the side to see his head shake. “Mistress...Angie...please. Do not ask me to do that.”

“Of all the genies in the world.” I muttered. “Of every possible one out there, only I would get the only one with an actual conscience. An ordinary genie would offer to stand up an take care of that jerk, but you, you would stand here and tell me-”

“Because I refuse to give you the means to kill a potential danger, you would question my loyalty to you?” Indignance showed plainly on his face.

I squinted at him, feeling the familiar burn and itch beginning in my fingers. “Yes. I would.”

“Does thou shalt not kill carry any meaning whatsoever?” Golden fire shimmered at his fingertips. “They would not stand a chance against you and you know it as well as I do.”

“Ha ha. So I'm just supposed to float here while you mumble a bunch of words and they conveniently forget whatever it was they were supposed to do? Let me guess, tampering with someone's memory isn't against anything in your little rule book.”

The grip around my waist loosened and I tumbled into his arms. “My rule book...” He began, the golden fire shot from his hand and zigzagged outside the door. His mouth twitched. “I don't think you want to hear about my rule book.”

I opened my mouth and shut it. He was smiling. It was so unfair. Whenever he smiled like that, I already knew the argument had ended.

“You're going to be late for dinner.” He murmured in my ear. A loud crack, followed by a fizzle pop echoed in the empty floor. He laughed softly. “That's all taken care of. I am at your service.”

“My service?” I half-laughed. “I don't know. How about getting me to that dinner that's so important to my career?”

“And what would be your preferred means of travel?”

“I would say, surprise me.” I closed my eyes. “But, I think I can be picky tonight. I want to be fast and I want...”

“Yes?”

“I want to feel the wind in my hair.”

“I think I can arrange that.” His feet nudged mine and I stepped onto his toes, opening my eyes. “Hold your breath.”

The room blurred into nothing and I found myself holding on tight, arms around his neck as we flew through the night. For one, nerve-wracking moment, I could not breath, then air flooded through my lungs in giant gulps. The cold night air tugged at my head, my hair streaming out beautifully in the moonlight, as we sped through the desert. “Thank you.” I heard myself say.

His mouth twitched. “You're welcome...Angie.”

Copyright 2008 S. Harricharan

Friday, November 14, 2008

Duke's Choice (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Laura @ Lauralee's lifesong. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's note: I wrote this awhile back, but have wanted to expand it a bit for quite some time and just had the burst of inspiration for it...enjoy!

“Duke, I’ve had it, okay? I’ve spent the best years of my life, slaving away for you! I keep the house clean, I keep the kids happy, I'm the perfect little ornament in your trophy case. I even have my own job, so that you don't have to support anyone but yourself! I gave up a great deal of things. My family, being at the top of the list. They warned me about you, told me how your work would consume you, how you would never have time and how anything that could possibly go wrong, would always be my fault. I'm sick of it. It's not my fault. It never has been. I am sick and tired of this mess, this pretending to be a little quiet, perfect little-" Gilana stopped abruptly, her voice was shaking with anger as she closed her eyes and seemed to center herself. "Tonight is all I have left of my former life. I plan to take it. And I know it will work out just fine. It takes a lot to get this together, and this opportunity is not available to just anyone, so this is more important to me than you know of. So if you have an ounce of self-preservation, you’ll clean up this mess you call paradise-before I set foot here again. Because if I return and I see this wretched hole of a house in this way, I won't be staying, Duke. And you can keep the children, because I won't have a place for them if I leave. I'll be leaving for me, not them and most certainly not you!” Gilana swept from the staircase to the front door, in mass of black caped fur and sparkling gold jewelry. Her somber evening gown flowed behind her, the door nearly closing on her violin case.

Duke sighed, staring at the door. “I never told you to give up anything.” He muttered, with a grunt of effort, he shifted his weight from the recliner upwards, positioning the cast of his left leg. “A fellow busts his leg and the world goes out of whack.” He frowned. She hadn't worn her jewelry in a very long time, but tonight, she'd been decked out in the finery of days he'd nearly forgotten. "Oh Gil...it's not all you're making it out to be."

He limped to the kitchen table, lined with newsprint. Various tubes and cans of paint adorned the surface, brushes lay neatly beside them. There were paint smudges on the wall, droppings on the floor and other random pieces of artistic freedom.

Duke smiled, faintly. “She doesn’t understand the artist in me.” He told the unfinished painting, raising the protective cover of his masterpiece. “She’s beautiful, brilliant and talented.” He dipped two fingers in the murky bowl of water, stirring the liquid until a deep navy blue surfaced. “But she can’t understand the artist in me. If the house is such a problem...we could hire someone. It's not like we're broke or something. She doesn't know what will happen when this one is done. We'll be set for life. She'll have everything she's ever wanted. Her, the kids and everything.”

Wiping his fingers on his art smock, he gathered the brushes together. The tips were still wet, they needed to air-dry. Setting them aside, he took the bowl of water. “Paper towel.” He mumbled, heading for the kitchen sink, one painful step-slide at a time.

His cast hooked on the chair leg and Duke came tumbling down. The floor rushed to meet him and the bowl of water went flying up. "No!" Duke tried to break his fall, but he only managed to save himself in terms of saving his face. His legs twisted awkardly beneath him, but thankfully nothing new was sprained or broken. The fall hurt less than he’d expected, but the bowl of water spattered on every surface imaginable. He stifled a groan, reaching for the now empty bowl. “Paper towels…and a sponge.” The smears of dripping navy blue were stark in contrast to the cheery yellow of the kitchen decor.

Hours later, the mess was beginning to clear, when the phone rang. Duke admired his careful work as he answered it, pleased to note that at least three-quarters of the kitchen was recognizeable again. He focused on the phone call to find it was Bobby, his college roommate he hadn’t seen in years. The break was welcome, so he eased over to a stool and sat down for a moment. “…I know what you mean, Bobby…and I’ll have to call you back?” Duke hung up the phone without waiting for an answer.

The last piece of inspiration had finally clicked.

He headed for the table, easing himself into a chair. Reaching for the brushes, he dipped them into creativity, continuing the masterpiece. The children came home from their sleepovers and youth group parties, they stuck their heads through the door to mumble hellos, before heading to the kitchen for more snacks.

"Hey Dad. How's it going?" Deesha wiggled her fingers in her trademark wave of a twelve-year old. "Where's Mom? Her car's not in the driveway."

"Hey Dad. I'm back." Dylan stuck his head around the corner. "We had pizza for lunch at the group tonight, we're going bowling next Friday too...where's Mom? Her car's not in the driveway."

"Dad...everything all right? Where's mom?" Sixteen year old, Brandon hovered in the doorway a minute longer than the other two. "It's really quiet in here...everyone else is home already?"

Duke waved the paintbrush in greeting to each one, remembering to remind them to eat some fruit intsead of cookies. He became so absorbed in his work, the angle of the brushstrokes, the mixed colors and the feeling of creation, that he almost forgot to answer the doorbell. The insistent ringing broke through the imaginary veil and jerking to his feet, he headed for the door.

A note of hope touched him inside as he limped quickly to the door, he chanced a quick look over his shoulder. The near finished masterpiece was visible from that angle. "Just wait 'til you see it, Gil." He murmured.

"Dad, is that mom?" Young Dylan stuck his head through the kitchen. "I'm starving...when's dinner?"

"That should be her, don't worry," Duke turned the locks on the door.

Gilana stood on the front stoop, cradling her violin in her arms, her violin case nowhere around her. She strummed a few half-chords and shifted from one foot to the other. Her face was hopeful as he peered through the peephole, she was a beautiful vision in all her fashion, the off-chord melody, was one almost haunting.

Duke lingered for a moment, wanting to hear the song, but he opened the door anyway, eager to tell of his afternoon adventures. The moment she saw him, all traces of happiness vanished. Gil!” He exclaimed. “Guess what? I’ve almost finished the painting, we'll be set for life and…Gil?”

Two solitary tears trickled down her powdered face as she stared over his shoulder. Duke followed her gaze to the messy kitchen table and the telltale smears of the dirty water, she wasn't seeing past it. She sniffled, brushing away the tears with trembling fingers. “So I see. Congratulations Duke, you’ve finished your painting…and I’m finished with you.” A sob escaped. “I can’t bear to be apart from you, but I can’t stand to be with you anymore…I’m sorry.”

Copyright 2008 S. Harricharan

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mermaid Star (Friday Fiction)

Fiction Friday is hosted by Julie @ The surrendered scribe. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's note: Feeling a little stressed this week, lots of things happening. This is a tad random with very few details, so let your imagination fill in the gaps.


Run. Run. Run.

The beat echoed in her head. Layla ran.

Her feet moved as swiftly and silently as they could, her hair streaming out in the night air behind her.

Faster. Faster. Faster.

The pulse screamed in her ears, but her feet kept running, steady and sure. Shadows with points seemed to spring from the corners, but she closed her eyes and plunged steadily ahead.
Her feet knew the way. Her heart knew the path. She would make it. Maybe.

Run!

Her eyes flew open and Layla poured every remaining ounce of strength into her legs. With one powerful sprint, she broke through the hedgeway and into a moonlight clearing. The sound of trickling water was almost peaceful, but the angry growls behind her, shattered all semblance of sanity.

Layla scanned the smooth pond surface, her breath fuzzing into frantic gasps as she stumbled to the edge, grabbing around her neck for the necessary necklace.

Her fingers closed around the soft pink starfish gem. The glow seemed even brighter in the moonlight as she tore it free from the chain.

“Despian?” She whispered, squinting to see into the shadows around the ragged rocks. “Prince Despian? It’s Layla…please…” Her voice choked as she darted a glance over one shoulder.

“Layla?” His smooth voice slipped over her with a calm like no other. “Swallow the necklace and I promise you will be fine.”

A shiver swept through her and her teeth chattered. “P-promise?” The crashing underbrush echoed eerily in the moment and she touched the fuzzy starfish to her lips. Her eyes closed and she swallowed it whole.

“Jump!” Despian whispered. “Quickly!”

Layla took a running leap and jumped straight for his arms. In mid-air, the breath was sucked dry of her. The gasp was choking and choking, until the plunge into wetness revived her.

She struggled to tread water until she realized the transformation was complete. Despian caught her in his arms, drawing her back into the shadows. She hugged him tight, barely daring to breathe.

“How many were following you?” He asked.

“I-I don’t know.” She trembled at the memory. “So many of them…”

“Shhh!” He drew his staff from a nook in the craggy rock. “They will not harm you. They know better than to tangle with the undersea folk.” He frowned. “Will you be able to handle the swim to the city?”

“I think so.”

“Mustn’t think. Must know.” He let go and suddenly dunked her. She came up sputtering, when he put a finger to his lips. “Shhh. Practice that. You’ve only been one of us for minutes of a time. This will be your life now. Growing a tail and gills is nothing, but learning to use and appreciate them is. Your legs will not be coming back. You know this, you must adapt if you wish to live. I do not mean it as it sounds, but we cannot risk losing you. Understand?”

Layla nodded, ducking below the water of her own accord. She coughed as she surfaced. Despian was right. It was harder than she'd remembered at least. Something cracked on shore and she froze. “They are here.”

Despian squinted into the night. “Then we will leave. There is no reason to engage them if they do not know where you have gone. Come.” He slipped his hand over hers and took a deep breath.

Layla instinctively copied the action, gripping his hand tight. He straightened up, then dived under. She found herself swimming beside him in the murky waters by the light of his staff gem.

They swam in silence for a moment, before he surfaced in another clearing. “We were worried. What happened?”

She tried to smile and failed. “Prophecy. No one wants to hear that I am a messenger of…religion.”

Despian snorted. “Of religion? That is what they are saying of you?” His head bowed. “I pity them, but I am glad you are here with us.” He stared upwards into the three moons. “Our people want to hear what you have to say.” He looked straight at her. “I want to know what you have to share. This…life. This God and all of this things…things we have never heard. Things I have never known.” His head shook slowly. “You are no religious prophet.”

Layla smiled, slowly nodding.

Dear Lord, I have followed and listened to you through these trials. I pray that you would continue to guide me and help me to share your message and that-

“You are a messenger…and the last of your kind.” Despian spoke softly. “I wish there was a way to explain that…”

“That what?”

He turned away, taking another careful breath before letting it out. “Never mind. Come, we must travel far before morning, if we wish to be untraceable.”

Layla found herself following him again, but the cold reality of what he had said stuck in her head. The last of my kind? She shook her head and focused on swimming.

Swim. Swim. Swim.

Despian’s staff gem flickered.

Faster. Faster. Faster.

Copyright 2008. S. Harricharan

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halls of Words (Friday Fiction)

This week's FF is hosted by Lynda @ On the write track click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's note: I thought I'd given up on jumbled thoughts, but this was my second possible idea for NaNo and I figured twisting it into a FF might keep me from changing my mind on which idea to write....there is a lot missing from it, but enjoy!

Light spilled out from the tiny capsule in the center of the domed temple. The steady, quiet pattering of fingers on a keyboard filtered through the air and down the hallway.

Delani tip-toed quietly all the way to the doorway, where she stood, uncertain, listening to the perfect rhythm. The images of the storms in her dreams returned and she shivered.

The typing halted for a fraction of a second.

“Be that you, student?” Brina’s lilting voice carried a hint of iron, tinged with annoyance.

Delani swallowed the memory, offering a curtsy out of habit. “Yes, mistress. I mean, Milady.”

“Well?” The typing slowed, as if to urge her forward.

She inched through the doorway and ran lightly to the capsule.
The white, egg-shaped bubble swiveled around and purple eyes zeroed in on the dressing-robed figure.

“I-I had a dream.” She faltered, staring down at the cool, marble tiles.

“A dream?” The steady clicking resumed. “Sit.”

Delani quickly dropped to her knees and curled up on the floor beside the capsule. “Yes…may I…or am I…”

“You’re not exactly interrupting.” Brina yawned. “Perhaps if you keep talking, I’ll stay awake for the remainder of this shift.”

“Oh.” There was silence for a moment and Delani felt her eyelids growing heavy. There were so many places to start, she wasn’t sure where to begin. “Well…”

“Don’t fall asleep.” Brina’s foot dangled out of the capsule and nudged her gently. “Unless you want me writing your future.”

The thought startled her more awake from before and Delani quickly shook her head. “N-no. I don’t. I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? You should be sleeping.”

“I know…it’s just I-”

“Had a dream. I know.” The typing slowed and almost stopped, but when Delani looked up she saw that Brina had removed the blue stone from the holder and was now getting to her feet.

“Your shift’s not over yet!” Panic overtook her tiny face. “I didn’t mean to-”

Brina took the blue stone and pressed it to her forehead. It flared, then glowed brightly, steadily, as she stood up, extending a hand to her student. “Come along.”

“Aren’t you supposed to-”

“With the stone, I do not have to sit and type out my thoughts, they are now transferred directly through a mindlink. You should know that. You’re a second year dreamer.” Brina chuckled. “And I know well enough, when you interrupt me it can only be something of grave importance. For once, I wouldn’t mind something trivial, as you seem to think of yourself as such, when you are so much more.” She sighed. “Can we go now?”

“Y-yes.” Delani scrambled to her feet, accepting the hand. She was little surprised when the hand turned into a warm around her cold shoulders.

“You shouldn’t be out this time of night. You’ll catch your death of cold, or succumb to the night air.”

“Which is worse?”

“You don’t want me to answer that.” Brina dropped her arm to lift the edge of her cloak and drape it over Delani’s shoulder. “Am I going to hear of this dream tonight, or are you planning to keep it to yourself while waiting for the most opportune moment.”

Her head shook quickly. “Oh no. I do not want to keep this dream. I wish I could give it-”

Brina’s hand clapped over her mouth. “Hush!” The eyebrows arched in disapproval. “You know fairly well wishing is not a practice to be taken lightly. Take it back.”

Delani grimaced. “I didn’t even finish it.”

“Then you’ll have no trouble retracting it.”

“Fine. I, being of sound mind, retract this half–wish nearly spoken.”

A blast of frozen air blew through the hallway and this time, Brina shivered. “Ach.” She murmured. “Do not wish for anything again, lest you have permissions about you, student.”

Delani hung her head, her eyes begging to close again. “Yes, teacher.” She mumbled.

“Don’t fall asleep.” Brina warned, pinching her shoulder. “The dream…I need to know the dream!”

“It was storm clouds.” Delani yawned. It was getting harder to stay awake. “Lots of them.”

“Coming from where?” An urgency slipped into Brina’s voice. “From where, child?” She froze in mid-step, turning to kneel in front of her. “Delani? Speak to me!”

“From the west…I think.” Her eyes began to close without her permission. “And there’s an army coming…that’s why it’s so cold. I’m cold, teacher. Very cold. My fingers, my toes.”

“Shhh! It’s okay.” Brina soothed. “You won’t be cold anymore. I promise…anything else?”

“Bad wrong.” Delani whispered. “Very bad wrong.” Her body went limp and began to glow.

Brina closed her eyes, murmuring the words for a peaceful sleep. She stood, swooping the girl up in her arms, and continuing down the hall. But instead of turning towards the student halls, she headed for the inner chambers of her fellow muses.

“Brina!” Achley’s horrified look said more than her gasp. “The child!”

“She had another dream and came looking for me.”

“Another one?” Jetta slid out from her chair on the dressing table and crossed the room, to pull the blankets pack from the bed. “Here…put her here. It’s cold out, all of a sudden.”

“Thank you. She’s heavier than she looks.” Brina set her down, carefully. “She dreamt storms and an army.”

“Haveron’s army?” Achley progressed from a pale pink to a shade of pure white. “No!”

“She didn’t verify what army…the dream…whoever sent it to her, or dreamed it for her, they burrowed in deep enough of a connection to put her to sleep straight away.”

“How do you know?” Jetta tucked the covers around Delani’s chin, feathering a hand across her forehead.

“She was still talking when she fell asleep.”

Achley now turned from white to gray. Her darkness was seeping through. “This is serious.” She murmured.

“I know.” Brina eased onto the bed, feeling the weight of the stone weighing her down. I’ve been writing all night, but it is as if the ancient’s knowledge is weakening beneath us. We need to do more.”

“And what more can we do?” Jetta murmured. “What can we do without revealing who we are, true muses of creativity and words and the enemies of this wretched Haveron?”

“He knows even less about us than we know of him.” Brina forced herself to hold her head straight. “I will keep uploading through the stones and the mindlink, but we must gather the students together and ready them in case-”

“In case of what?” Achley’s gray tint began to glow about her, causing the light to fade considerably. “If it is to prepare them for their deaths, that alone is more cruel than I am. Haveron will not touch this temple. Not if I have my way with him. But it worries me that I may be the only one left afterwards.”

Chimes began to ring out in the halls and the three sisters rose as one. “The bells.” Jetta whispered.

“The alarm.” Brina corrected.

“The hour.” Achley moaned, her hand went to her head. “He is coming. He’s coming. We must go.”

Copyright 2008 S. Harricharan

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Flower Child (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by @ her blog: Click to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Note: This idea was rolling around in my head for awhile, but I couldn't seem to end it quite the way I wanted it to...so I kind of left it as is. Enjoy...it is very random!


In a land where tears carry more than sorrows, there is one tiny catch in the future of the one who is said to save them all. If it were up to that person, perhaps they would've altered the requirements, just a bit, to suit their heart to one simple request....

**********************************

Irissa stood by the window, her tears once again, streaming down cold cheeks and falling to the frozen ground below. Her fingers fumbled around the window ledge, searching for the flask of colored glass, she usually kept there.

Something warm touched her shoulder and she turned, surprised with the cool glass touched her face. “Misplaced something?” Jhetta's voice was cooler than the wind as she alternately held the flask to each cheek, capturing every tear. “You really shouldn't have the window open this time of day. You know what it does to you.”

Irissa sniffled, willing the tears to stop. “I'm sorry.”

“You should be.” Jhetta took her arm and gently guided her to the bed. “Sit. Before you catch your death of cold. Some legendary folk we would be if you fell sick while under our 'expert' care.” The windows were quickly closed.

“What more do you need of me?” Irissa set the flask on the nightstand, swiping at her face.

Jhetta sighed. “You know well enough....” Her eyes flickered to the flask and back. “And you know that's not enough.” She turned the latch, locking the windows.

There was a grunt from the bed and Irissa turned away. “I should've known.”

“Well excuse me, but I thought you understood the prophecy.” Jhetta crossed the room to stand in front of her. “You know without your tears his royal highness the wizardness can't weave his way and lift the darkness.” She frowned. “You know this even more so than I do. Please...”

“I can't.” Irissa twisted her hands together. “I-I just can't.”

Jhetta squeezed her eyes shut. “and you believe that your sorrow is so great that it no longer can touch the depths of emotion itself, now can it? You bear the greatest sorrow of never birthing a child. What a pity.”

A hand moved to cover her mouth. Irissa stared at her, eyes brimming with another flood of healing tears. “Don't do this, please, don't!”

“Don't do what? Remind you of the prophecy and what could happen to all of us if you break this vow? How many innocent people will die? How many have-” Jhetta grabbed the flask and held it to Irissa's cheeks as the tears began to stream freely.

Her head bowed and after awhile, a loud sniffle broke the silence. Irissa looked away as Jhetta collected the last of her tears.

“I'm sorry.” Jhetta murmured, capping the flask.

“I know.” Irissa drew her knees up to her chest and hugged them close. “I know. You only do as you're told and...and I know what will happen if I don't it's just that....I...”

Jhetta tucked the flask beneath her cloak and wrapped a steady arm around her charge's shoulders. “Shhh! Your sorrows have reached the grand council...which is why I'm here today and not boring, tiresome Elisa.” A shared giggle passed between them as Jhetta pulled something from her pocket.

A round green ball, about the size of a walnut.

“What is it?” Irissa stared as it was placed in her palm.

“Your heart's desire.” Jhetta smiled. “Take good care of it...you'll know what to do.”

Irissa stared after her as she swept from the room in a billow of cloak and soft footsteps. Her fingers curled around the green ball as she sat back on the bed against the pillows. A gasp escaped when she felt the ball moving beneath her grasp.

Her hand opened, trembling as the greenery fell away, to reveal a tiny, glowing form. “oh my!” Her breath caught in her throat as the miniature figure uncurled from the nest of leaves and stretched. A yawn escaped and a tiny face stared upwards expectantly.

“You're a flower child.” Irissa blinked, shaking her head. “You're real.”

A smile appeared on the angelic face as the tiny head bobbed. “Mmm-hmm...are you my mommy?”

Warmth touched her cheeks as Irissa automatically put one hand to her unruly copper curls. “I...well...yes, I guess I am.”

Something akin to a cat's purr filled the room as the tiny girl yawned again and settled down, cross-legged in the remaining leaves. “I'm hungry.”

“Hungry. Yes. Of course.” Irissa began to move from the bed when she stopped. “Have you a name?”

“A name?” The child stared at her.

“Yes...a...never mind. I shall name you later.”

“Yes, yes. Very good.” The girl clapped her hands together.

Irissa stifled a laugh. Then without thinking, she closed her eyes, pursed her lips and kissed the tiny head.

A searing pain ripped through her hand and up her arm, followed by a loud thud on the ground. “Owwww!”

She yanked her hand back, massaging her arm. Her jaw dropped as she stared at the child bawling on the floor in front of her. “You grew!” She stammered, then immediately dropped to her knees and gathered her into her arms. “Shhh! Hush....'tis only a little fall. Let me kiss it and it'll feel better.”

The child offered a skinned elbow and Irissa dutifully kissed the scrape. She found herself staring into soulful dark green eyes.

“Hungry.” The little girl whispered, her voice cautious.

Irissa broke from the trance to move to the table in the corner. She inspected the fruit, her fingers hovering over the shiny options.

“I will name you Liana.” She murmured, handing over a section of peeled fruit.

Liana sniffed the fruit slice, turning it over rapidly in her hands before she nibbled on it. The expression on her face was one of pure delight. When her stomach was satisfied, she settled into her new mother's lap for a good nap.

Irissa found herself staring at her again. Skin the color of the palest green, a dress of soft fabric, hair so white and lips ruby red. A thrill ran through her as she hugged her tight. She was so perfect. So real. And hers. “A daughter.” The words pushed past her lips as she kissed the soft cheek.

Something cold whispered through the room, rattling the locked window. The light flared then faded. Irissa felt her heart as if it trembled within as the feeling of space seemed to close in around her.

Another gasp escaped as a streak of white light shot down from the ceiling and opened to show a young face. “Irissa of the Kyleran.” The voice thundered. “You, in a position such as you are, have taken a flower child?”

Irissa bowed her head. “Yes, milady.”

“You dare to alter history? The future?” The image grew larger and more terrifying.

“N-nay, milady.” Irissa swallowed. “I only wished for-”

“A child!” The image scowled, darkening. “Then hear me this. For bringing this seedling child to life, you must pay according to the balances to keep the worlds even. In this time of war and strife, selfish thinking...brings only sorrow.”

The imaged faded away and the light flashed again before it disappeared.

Irissa found herself swaying back and forth. “She let me keep you.” She told the sleeping Liana. New tears threatened to spill over and a tiredness overtook her. “I love you.” She whispered, her fingers roamed around the table and closed around the silver cord.

She pulled it, ringing the service bell as the tears spilled over. “I will pay your price.” She forced the words through her teeth. “I have given enough to this cause. And what I ask is something I will never return.”

Copyright 2008 S. Harricharan

Friday, October 17, 2008

Morena's Lesson (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted at: My Heart's Dee-Light by Dee Yoder. Stop by to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Note: I've just recently penned this piece for a topic of 'history' and feel so in love with these characters, I couldn't resist expanding the story. Cheers!


“...and so help me, whatever am I going to do with you?” Niswell threw up his hands in dispair. “Morena, you're a bright girl. You truly are, but this time, you've gone too far.”

Morena winced, inwardly crumbling under his disapprove. “I did?”

“Yes.” Pale blue eyes zeroed in on the mischievous apprentice. “You did. A child could have followed those instructions!” Niswell rose from table and paced the length of the kitchen. It was only four steps in each direction, but movement seemed to free his thoughts. He paused in mid-step. “For what you've done, the punishment should be equal in emotion and physical trial.”

“It wasn't that bad!” Morena twisted her fingers together. “Honest! I didn't know it would turn out like that. I had no idea. N-no one could've predicted that it would have...Master, couldn't we forget it this once? Put behind us, label it history and I promise to never, ever-”

His mouth twitched. “A line with a promise that I have heard one thousand times too many. Still not working, come along, apprentice.” He left, heading for the bookshelf in the corner cove of the sitting room.

Morena scrambled to her feet and hurried after him. “Not working? As in no?” She tip-toed to see over his shoulder at the bookshelf.

“Yes. No.” He frowned. “Sit.” Slender fingers flew up and down the spines of ancient books, until his hand stopped at a burgundy and gold-tinted specimen. "Ah, here we go."

The eyes rolled again as Moreena slumped onto the sofa. “What's with the book?”

“It is a physical history record.” Niswell gently set the book on the center table. “And it is very fragile. I do not believe in collecting holographic records, so this is the actual chronicle of Dahze.”

“For real?” Morena breathed. Her tiny face scrunched in concentration as her mind tried to process the reality of what he'd just said.

He nodded solemnly. “Yes. There is something, I wish to show you. A story about a girl. A girl just like you, who had a promising future ahead of her, except she had a knack for getting into trouble. Just like you.”

“Really?” Morena crowded near to see the dusty pages. “Where? For real? Are there pictures? Can I see them? May I? Please?”

Niswell chuckled. “Oh yes. You'll do much more than that, see here?” He pointed to a golden coat of arms on the top left hand corner. “Feel that.”

A tingle shot through her arms as Morena reverently feathered her fingers across the embellishment. Her eyes closed for a moment and a yawn escaped. “Oh wow...I feel...” She yawned again.

Niswell chuckled softly as the transformation took place. There was a few soft flashes of light before the image of his apprentice appeared on the page. “A lesson in history, apprentice.” He murmured. “Perhaps it can teach you what I cannot. To exit the book, you'll need to learn something useful. You're a smart girl, you'll figure it out.” The book was left open on table, the pages ruffling in the wake of Niswell's dark cloak.

A sneeze came from the pages followed by a muffled squeak. “Master, you can't do this!” She wailed plaintively.

“On the contrary.” Niswell's voice floated back through the room. “I already have. You did this to yourself. Don't take longer than necessary.”

“Longer?” Her voice quavered.

Niswell sighed. His head reappeared in the doorway. “Yes, Morena. Much longer. You're in history, remember? It repeats. If you don't learn your lesson the first time, there'll be plenty of other chances, however, time over here will still be moving.” His voice softened, serious face allowing a small smile. “Do not worry, if you need me. I will come. Now off with you!”

Copyright 2008. S. Harricharan.