Friday, August 29, 2008
Author's note: I wrote this piece just recently and left the original version open-ended on purpose. I still haven't 'closed it' but I've added some more detail. Enjoy!
Today I am five years old. I’m getting my first power dot. A tiny, dark brown speck just below my left eye, but not quite on my cheek, it helps me to store energy.
I have the power of rain.
Not storms, or water, just rain. I can make it rain anywhere for a very long time. Not everyone appreciates it, but Mama says I’ll just have to live with that. She heard from Julius, the newscaster in town square, that power dots are the new way to go.
Go where, I’d like to know. I like to know where I’m going. A power dot is supposed to keep me from raining all over the place, most of the time I can’t help it.
But Mama’s sure tired of mopping up after me. Otherwise I don’t think I’d be here. Everything’s tall and white. I feel like I’m in a giant gift box. And someone’s going to open it any minute and get a big surprise! I like surprises. This is a good surprise, getting a power dot. Mama woke me up this morning and said to get ready to go. So we’re here. She keeps crying a lot though. I don’t know why. She said she was really sorry for doing this. I understand what she means. Mama didn’t do anything. Maybe she’s upset, ‘cause I raining all over the house this morning. There’s mud everywhere and the landlord yelled again.
He’s mean. I don’t like him.
But I don’t think he made Mama cry. It must be me.
“I sowwy, Mama.”
“What for, baby?”
“Yes…Mama’s sad. But it’s not your fault, okay?”
Mama’s still crying. I still don’t know why. This doesn’t look like a hospital. Everything feels funny here. A bad wrong kind of funny.
"Mama, is cold." I snuggled up to her arm.
Her arms scoop me up and I am warm. "That better?" Mama is trying to smile, but she is still crying. She won't look at me.
I have a nice lady for a nurse, but she doesn’t look like a nurse. She’s wearing a suit and she has real red hair. It’s very pretty, but very short. I wonder why. Her name is Janelle.
She wants to stick a needle in my hand. She says it’ll make everything better and it’ll all be over.
“What over, Mama?”
“Shhh! It’s okay, baby…ma’am, don’t you have any-”
I think Mama’s getting mad. Maybe I made her mad. But I don’t like needles. I don’t like here either. It’s scary now.
"Meeka! Sh! That's enough!"
Ugh. Hate needles. But Mama says I need to take these shots. They’ll make me sleepy so the
dots won’t hurt much. I thought I was just getting one dot. Maybe I’m going to get two, in case one doesn’t work.
I feel sleepy. I don’t want to sleep through my power dot. How am I going to see where it came from?
Mama’s crying again. I wish Mama was happy. She should be happy. I’m so tired. My neck hurts. I hurt. Hurt all over.
“I sweepy, Mama.”
“It’s okay baby…just close your eyes…Mama’s here.”
“Yes…don’t worry. It’s okay. Go to sleep.”
“I’m so sorry, Meeka.”
Copyright 2008 Sara Harricharan
Friday, August 22, 2008
Fiction Fridays is hosted this week by Joanne Sher @ her blog, "An Open Book" To read and share more great fiction, click here!
If I could’ve wished myself away, I daresay I would have. “Your highness, your majesties, I’m flattered. Truly I am, but I don’t think I’ve made myself clear, you see, I don’t use my powers anymore.” I pushed back one sleeve to show the tattooed mark on my left wrist. “I can’t use them…because I don’t have them.”
Every single emotional knot twisted deeper into the coil of tightly wound sorrows. I’d already braced myself for their reaction, but I cringed beneath their stares as quiet gasps rose up from the courts.
“I told you this wasn’t a good idea!” Princess Gwendelia rose from her chair and swept to the doors, her regal robs fluttering in her wake. Piercing, mocking eyes zeroed in on her brother. “The next time you propose to waste the court’s time, think again, brother! My time may mean nothing to you, but they are the ones carrying out the orders that keep this kingdom running. Good day, council.”
Prince Leon’s blush was reflected on my own cheeks as I mumbled polite phrases and stole away to my chambers.
The Prince and I had been very good friends. I wanted to help him. Oh! I so wanted to help him. But I couldn’t and there wasn’t anything I could do about the troubles that had finally presented themselves.
It’s no use fussing over what I can’t help. The thought lodged in my brain and I shook my head to clear it, before reporting to the archery fields for practice.
After my powers had left, I’d taken up arching as a hobby. It was an interesting way to burn off excess anger and more often than not, the frustration I didn’t dare let others witness.
You see, when you’re used to throwing flames from your fingers, it’s hard to be ‘normal’ again. It’s harder when you know that the one, who took them away, is the same one threatening the kingdom…again.
I strung the bow and drew the first arrow. Out of habit, I closed my eyes and whispered a prayer. The first arrow sliced through the air and hit the target with a satisfying smack. I opened one eye.
A smile grudgingly resurfaced and I drew the next arrow, repeating the prayer and squinted at the target. The second arrow thwapped right next to the first.
His voice automatically demanded respect and my body obeyed. I stiffened, head erect, lips pursed, turning to face him. “Your highness.” A tiny speck of my heart yearned for some sort of favor, anything to hint that an apology was not necessary.
“You do not have to use my title…I have told you dozens of times.”
A frustrated puff of air broke the awkward silence. “Yeah…I know. Leon, I’m sorry…I didn’t think that-”
“No apology necessary. Gwen can be a bit…difficult. I’m sorry to put you through that, but the council was all set to send you up front. I couldn’t do that to you.”
“Couldn’t or shouldn’t?” I drew a third arrow, returning my attention to the target.
“Talia-!” The royal features twisted into a grimace. “If that’s the kind of thanks I-”
“I’m sorry.” I cut in, releasing the arrow. It landed neatly next to it’s friends, now a three cluster. “I didn’t mean that…I just don’t want to fight anymore. I’m tired of it. I’m really tired of it, Leon. I’m fed up with the arguments that women can’t be in combat, I’m living proof of that and the last thing I need is to be stuck here in court when I could be out on the lines, at the very least keeping track of something. I don’t want to fight, ,but that doesn’t mean I’m useless!”
“I never said you were useless.” He scoffed. “Look, this is a bad time for this conversation, isn't it? We'll finish it later. I’ll see you at dinner?”
“Don’t hold your breath.” I jerked an arrow from the quiver. “I’m not half as dense as you wish I was. You signed the orders to keep me here under observation. Why? Did you think I’d turn against you? Against the crown? After devoting my entire life to all that you’re supposed to stand for?”
“Talia!” The anger unveiled itself with the abrupt way he spoke my name. “I will see you at dinner.” He turned on his heel.
I stalked towards the target, heading for the arrows. “Good day, your highness.” I muttered.
Dremlack is the only holder of the most powerful dark energy known to our kind. Someone else somewhere messed up and he was the result. In the last war, he captured me to take my energy and turn it black.
And so I wouldn’t forget our time together, he marked me with angry black scrolls tattooed around my wrists.
You didn’t have to be so rude.
The thought sent a wave of prickles up and down my arms. “I wasn’t being rude.” I told my conscience. “He was asking for it. Just like he always does. He says one thing and really means another, while the end result is even different from that. Friends don't do that to each other.”
A great shout went up from the castle walls as I tugged the last arrow from the target. The wind ruffled my sleeves with a faint chill.
The icy coldness of our realm rarely ever touches down on the lands. It seems Dremlack has returned to torture us with his dark presence.
I crammed the arrows back into my quiver, and ran to the castle. As I approached the safety of the huge, stone walls, things began to happen faster than I wanted them to. Flames engulfed the edges as stones rained down from the now stormy skies.
My feet refused to move as my world was overrun by flames. I stood, frozen, as every knot inside of me twisted deeper.
How dare he? How dare he ruin all that I have spent my life struggling for?
Something welled up inside of me that I didn’t want to understand. Pain erupted through my veins, coursing through my hands to emerge as white fire.
The black tattooed scrolls sparked and faded, erased as my energies returned to me. I had a second chance.
With the last breath of freedom, I summoned the reserves of my courage. It is not in my place to judge the royal family, or the infantry that acts under their guards. But no innocent deserves death, because I could not set my own differences aside.
White fire poured from my hands, a flame that ate at the wicked flashes of red. It took more from me than I thought I had to give, but it offered the slimmest shred of hope as the energy swelled upwards into a giant wave of white fire.
I will myself to right this wrong…Dear God, please, take me.
Copyright 2008 Sara Harricharan
Friday, August 15, 2008
I was mesmerized by the sudden downpour of rain. I should have kept running, but by the time I’d gathered my wits around me, it was much too late. I was still within the city gates and confrontation was imminent.
Shadows darted and zigzagged all around me, the first hint that I was in dire trouble. Wet fingers clutched the precious book tighter to my chest, hidden beneath the folds of my cloak, as close to my heart as I dared.
My feet sloshed through muddy puddles as I tried to appear as normal as possible. As if normal was a switch I could turn on and off. Running now would mean certain death and if I was dead, then who would guard this treasure?
The dirty, muddied water seeped through my cloth slippers, freezing my aching feet. Cloth slippers are practical, because they are easily cleaned and repaired. I almost wish I had boots. Anything to keep my feet warm and safe from the sharp rocks and squishy, disgusting things I can’t avoid.
When you are joined to a book as I am, you spend much of your life and soul, to keep it happy. I do everything it tells me, but I dare not give anymore of myself away to protect it. I cannot. It is too much.
Warmth radiated from the book, warming my chilled shoulders and stomach. It was the soft touch I needed to keep my sanity where it should’ve been. I kept my head down, aiming for the edge of the woods. If I dared to look up, I could see the hazy outline of greenness. Freedom was within my grasp. I almost didn’t dare breathe for fear of twisting my own future.
“You there! Girl! Freeze!” The command sliced through misty air.
I swallowed hard and inched forward a half-step, willing it to be some other vagabond they hailed and not me. Dear Lord, please, not me!
“I said stop! Be ye deaf?” Rough hands seized my shoulders and yanked me around.
I stumbled backwards into a cart of vegetables I hadn’t known existed. The ache in my heart began to burn to burn fiercer than the immediate anger brewing beneath my tempered calm.
The hood was jerked back from my face with a good yank that included a handful of my delicate hair. It hurt, but I was silent. I did not look higher than his red and brown-speckled boots.
Ugly boots. Boots don’t get red on them from walking in the streets. You don’t get red on anything…unless…
“Lift yer arms!” He bellowed, prodding me with the end of his blunt stick.
The stick jabbed at the book and I sucked my stomach inward, if he kept this up, I would have no choice. I shook my head, inwardly bracing for the slap that followed.
“This is ‘er, chief!” The guard broadcasted the news down the ranks that filed in, until I was completely surrounded, vegetable cart and all. “A girl in a cloak, with no arms and-” He sniggered. “Cloth shoes. Tha book’s got t’ be on ‘er, this is da right one.”
The captain stomped to the front, with a snort of disgust upon seeing me. I knew his cruel features by heart and closed my eyes when he yanked my chin upwards. “Just hand over tha book and ye kin go, lass. I hoped our next meeting would be under better circumstance…fate must hate tha sumthin’ awful.”
My chest began to ache as the burning grew fiercer.
Oh no. Please no…I don’t think I can stand to go through with this!
I began to tremble as my head shook and my fingers moved to open the book, no longer under my control.
A ring of yellow-gold energy streamed out, knocking the guards senseless into the filth. The very breath of life was sucked out of me as the energies delivered swift punishment to my captors.
I choked and gasped until the energy returned to its vessel, the book I clasped beneath my cloak. I slammed the cover shut with more strength than I had.
Breath was feeble for a moment, then my feet began to move again. Tears leaked out as I stepped over the forlorn bodies.
There was nothing I could do to help them now. They would never believe I was a bookchild. One who carried a book of the ancients and dedicated their lives to preserving the gifts within. To give up my book, meant death.
For their disbeliefs…they were dead. I’d had enough darkness for today. The mist parted as I slunk past the city gates. Perhaps tomorrow I would make up for it.
Dear Father, whatever I have done to deserve this title, please, help me to use it for good and not death or destruction.
Copyright 2008 Sara Harricharan
Friday, August 8, 2008
Click here to share or read more great fiction! This week's FF is hosted by Lauralee Shaw at her blog, LauraLee's Lifesong. Enjoy!
The underbrush crinkled and crashed behind me as I parted the leaves that hid my ‘fairy circle’. Soft sunlight filtered through the tender greenness, illuminating the dreams and hopes I dared to enjoy here.
“You know, if we’re lost, I’ll sue the velvet socks off of you!” Sheera’s grumpy declaration filtered through the thick summer humidity.
I hid a smile behind my faux fur and waited for my companion to catch up. “We’re here, you can rest now.” I turned to help her with the picnic basket. It took a few minutes before the simple fare was spread out before us.
A rosy-cheeked Sheera settled onto the checkered cloth, her cherub lips moved mutter with words I didn’t pay attention to. “Hey, I promised a good picnic spot, isn’t this good?”
“Good? It’s great. It’s wonderful, you just didn’t tell me it was a thousand miles away from civilization.”
“Not a thousand…” I nibbled on a slice of cheese. “More like a hundred…or so.”
“Nari!” Sheera threw her checkered napkin with expert aim. It hit me square in the face. “Remind me to never listen to you again!”
“Okay.” I dangled the napkin from my fingertips. “Never listen to me again.”
“Shut up!” Sheera flopped onto the ground beside me, laughing spilling out. “I knew I shouldn’t have come. You always drag me along on these crazy ideas to nowhere.”
“Well, yeah. Maybe, but nowhere is lots of fun! Just look how much fun we’re having!”
“Speak for yourself, sista.” Sheera rolled up to hug her knees. “Ummm, I’m starving. Those better be your world-famous sandwiches in there, or I’m gonna scream.”
I poked her elbow. “Go ahead, scream. We’re in the middle of no where, who’s listening?”
That prompted another round of giggles and then a search for paper cups to go with our thermos of lemonade.
“It’s beautiful here.” Sheera mumbled around her sandwich. “Truly beautiful.”
The laughter died away and I sighed. “Yeah. It is.” We shared a smile before rousing ourselves to clean up our messy picnic.
“Smart you.” Sheera snickered. “You are listening to me.”
“What?” I flicked a paper cup in her direction.
“Recyclables.” She tucked the paper cup into the basket and nestled it at the base of a sturdy oak tree. “There we go…we're pleasantly stuffed and we've done our bit for the enviroment and general good. All done!”
“uh-huh.” I dropped to the ground, tugging off my shoes and socks. “No, now I’m all done.” Tucking the socks into the sneakers, I hid those in the brush and then smuggled the picnic basket in after them. “I thought I told you to pick the smallest basket.” I grumped, holding the bushes back for Sheera to add her own footwear and socks.
“I did. It’s not my fault everything in that place you call home is simply gigantic!” Sheera wrinkled her nose. “Ewww….I think my feet stink.”
“Gross!” I danced sideways, wiggling my toes in the soft grass. “Ever heard of too much information?”
A strangled sound came from her throat. “Nari, if you make me laugh and I wake up the entire countryside-”
“Shhh!” I darted forward to cover her mouth. “Shhh! It took me forever to find this place. You know we can’t take any chances.”
Sheera twisted away. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Can we go already?” She scratched her arm absently, then froze.
We stared at each other in horror, for the very briefest of moments, before we grabbed at our throats. My fingers closed around the tiny rainbow-colored pearl nestled in the hollow of my neck.
The soft tinkle of music teased my ears and then I felt the transformation start, an itching, then a tingling, from the bottom of my feet to the tips of my ears. Fairy dust spread over me as I returned to my true, fairy form. The world around me seemed to mushroom in size as I drew on the powers to miniaturize. The sunlight reflected patches of random rainbows about the wooded circle as my wings sprouted and fluttered.
Sheera’s transformation was quicker than mine and she hovered nearby, watching. As we both shrank in size, we stayed close to each other. “Nari?” She whispered, clutching at my wrist. “I think we’d better take our human things with us.” She scratched her arm again. “Quickly.”
I bobbed my head, not trusting my voice to speak quietly enough. Sprinkling fairy dust over the said items shrank them to a size where we could easily carry them with us. I hugged the picnic basket close as Sheera knotted our shoelaces together.
The sound of crashing underbrush sent shivers through my wings. I flew after Sheera with all the speed I could muster.
“Home sweet home!” Sheera called over her shoulder, dodging about the blades of grass and between the tree branches in her strange zigzag flight.
The true fairy circle came into sight. I poured on the speed, feeling my strength slowly draining away. “Come on Nari!” Sheera’s frantic voice spurred me on as my eyelids now grew heavy. “Don’t give into it, don’t!”
A soft pink glow came from the fat root at the foot of the withered willow tree. I aimed for it as the weakness became too much to bear.
Blackness was brief, for when my eyes fluttered open, I stared up in the face of Sheera and our dear fairy queen.
“Nari!” They exclaimed as one, tears and hugs showered over me.
I was safe, finally. “What happened?”
“You’ve been out of form so long that your human emotions nearly…well…” The queen hesitated. “You’re very lucky, love. They’re still out there looking for you.” She nodded towards the knothole lookout. “Come. You’ll be fine, now that you’ve transformed. Though mayhap a little dizzy, I’d recommend that you didn’t do much flying until you’ve rested some.”
With Sheera’s help, I made it to the knothole and stared through into the world where I’d lived and hid for the past five years. Huge booted feet stepped down in front and I jerked back, nearly toppling off the ledge.
“Whoa! Take it easy, girlfriend!” Sheera’s accent was fading as she grabbed me close. “They can’t see us and they can’t touch us, don’t worry. We’re safe now. We’re safe.”
Her words lingered and echoed in my head. I rested it on her shoulder, feeling the sleepiness returning. “As long as they can’t see us…I’m fine.” I mumbled into her fuzzy shoulder. “It’s good to be home.”
She laughed. “Yeah. It is. No more running, hiding and being stuck as a wingless giant.” She shivered. “I don't see how humans do it. And if they ever ask for more fairy volunteers to go to the human world, remind me never to listen to you-again!”
“Mmmhmm.” I yawned. “Sheera…never listen to me again.”
Copyright 2008 Sara Harricharan
Friday, August 1, 2008
The White Room
They put me in the white room again.
I must’ve done something wrong.
I heard voices outside the door, fading in and out. They belong to the door guards, one on each side, to catch me red-handed if I dare to step out. Then I would be shuttled off to Madame Isabel and subjected to her methods of discipline.
The white room is white, very white. Sometimes I close my eyes when I stand inside, because it is so bright. I cannot focus because of the conversation just beyond the door.
It was interesting for me to hear about ordinary, mundane things, such as dinner and the daily news. The guard on the left, Sanjay, was worried that his wife had put pepper in his lunch because of an argument. The guard on the right, Bracken, was concerned about his heating bill, since his butler had taken ill and could not attend to menial matters.
I could not stop the giggle that came out, but it did scare me. I must never speak or show emotion when in the white room. I must only be as empty and expressionless as it is.
The door opened and my handler, Deena, appeared. “Chiara? Come now.” She held out her hand and I took it. The customary blindfold was secured and we trekked down the hall.
Sanjay and Bracken escorted us, I heard their footsteps. I wished I could have stayed in the white room. It is also one of the three places I am allowed in this institute. It is a pleasant dream, compared to the dreaded courtroom and the responsibility shoved onto me upon my arrival.
Ancient wooden doors creaked open and I felt piercing eyes of the twelve tribunal elders as Deena removed the blindfold.
“Chiara!” Maribel rose, her regal robes floated as she moved to stand before me. “You realize you have been summoned, correct?”
“Do you understand your role in this trial?”
I nodded. Deena nudged me. “Yes, milady.” I parroted.
Her nose wrinkled. “Very well then, bring the accused?”
Sanjay and Bracken were dispatched to retrieve the prisoners whose fates were now left in my hands.
A young couple, married, perhaps a few, mere years. The husband was quiet, controlled, the wife, pretty, but rebellious. In our society, women do not wear nose rings. This woman had a large, golden hoop that danced with every twitch of her nose.
Maribel read out the charges, while I tried not to laugh. Deena rested her hands on my shoulder, the blindfold dangling from her thumb.
“…and how do you find them? Guilty? Or not guilty? Stealing the royal treasure is a grave and serious crime. They were arrested on the premises, with golden artifacts in their arms, yet they plead innocent.” Maribel scowled. “Chiara?”
I stared at them. There had to be some hint, somewhere. The minutes trickled by and then the wife’s nose twitched. I could not restrain the laughter that bubbled out.
“Chiara!” Maribel’s wrath thundered out as a an ominous growl. Deena whisked the blindfold up and clapped a hand over my mouth.
I almost laughed until I heard Sanjay’s sword as he drew it. Deena’s grip tightened on my mouth, around my neck. I could feel her fear. She was more afraid for herself than me.
Concentrate! I squeezed my eyes shut, willing the white room to return to me. “Wait!”
Silence and fate hung thick in the air.
Maribel cleared her throat.
I crossed my toes inside their velvet slippers and prayed that I’d speak this right. “They are not guilty. The ones who stole the artifacts are at least several inches taller and definitely heavier. What was the weight of the items found in their possession?”
Deena whispered something in my ear and I nodded, mentally whisking away the information to fit them in the right places. “They aren’t even physically capable of removing such artifacts.” I frowned. “The wife is pregnant, hence she would not lift anything that would endanger her child. He-” I nodded in what I hoped was the direction of the husband. “could be a mastermind, but is too rash in his thoughts. If you were to compare his thought waves with that of a Syrian thief, you could prove this by scanning the area for perfect DNA prints. There is no way that he could, um, how should I put this-” I tugged on Deena’s hand and whispered the remaining words into her ear.
She squeezed my shoulder, then spoke to Maribel in hushed tones. The blindfold quickly was removed.
Maribel’s perfectly groomed eyebrows arched upwards in admiration. “Very well done, Chiara.” She grudgingly admitted. “You may take your leave.”
I released a classic breath that I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. Sleep seemed the next logical option. I yawned.
Deena frowned as I toyed with the sash of my dress. “Chiara…?”
“Hmmm?” I focused on the purple bow on Maribel’s robe.
“The whole truth.” Deena prompted. “Now…anytime now.”
I bit the words back for a split-second. The hopeful, tortured gazes of the young couple didn’t help their case much, for the words came out on their own.
“They are innocent of the current crime posted to them, but guilty as those who vandalized the Ancient’s libarary.” The heavy silence resumed with the added annoyance of angry glares.
“What?” Maribel snorted.
“The red lines around their necks, hidden by the necklaces, those are from ill-fitting elastico masks. They leave that sort of mark behind. Um, her ladyship, if I may, um, her fingernails…are polished the same color of the paint, which, if she is tested for paint…you will find traces of it on her cuticles or mixed with the polish. She is not the kind to pay meticulous attention to such details. Her companion is also missing an earring…perhaps the one that is probably still somewhere in the library. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have tried to comb his hair down to make it appear as if only his left ear is pierced.”
The stream of words gushed to a stop and I took a breath. The silence lifted a few inches. Deena sighed. “That is all?”
“Yes, Deena.” I caught her hand in mine, tugging on the fingers.
“You will excuse us, council, Milady.” Deena tipped her head towards the elder as she turned me around, heading for the door.
“Deena!” Maribel smiled as I turned to face her. “It seems your charge is having some…difficulties in remembering her place and duty.” Icy eyes laughed at me. “See that she visits Madame Isabel. There is no room for error in the trials…the fate of lives is not a game.”
I cringed beneath the weight of her words, but couldn’t let them go. “That’s funny. It seems I’m nothing more than a machine to you. A perfect, pretty little thinking box. I have feelings, you know, I am real! You’re just a-”
Deena clapped a hand over my mouth and hurried me out the door. The moment she rounded the corner, she stopped and shook me. "What did you think you were doing?" Tears pooled at the corners of her eyes and she grabbed me into a fierce hug. “I’m sorry.” She whispered. “I’m so, so sorry. You’re not a machine, Chiara. I know you have feelings. I had to ask you, you know that. You were being too obvious…I didn’t think she’d send you to Isabel.”
I sniffled into her sensible shoulder.
She stroked my hair, gently. “Someday…perhaps we’ll both get out of here…and be free. Wouldn’t that be nice?” I nodded as she straightened and started down the dreaded hallway. “We’ll be free to be quiet or to speak…when we want to. Not when we’re ordered to.”
Copyright 2008 S.Harricharan