Friday, August 14, 2009

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix [part 3] (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Hoomi (recently featured and interviewed at Patty Wysong's blog) @ his blog, Pod Tales and Ponderings. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Note: Hello everyone! I've been scrambling again today to keep everything balanced, together and in working order. I also tried to put some edits through Eira's story as she's been around for the past three years and I wanted to finally do her "justice". Hopefully you are enjoying her adventures and will meet the Dark Phoenix today and let me know what you think of him. Have a great weekened-and thank you so much for taking the time to read my "scribbles". ^_^

Eira let herself revel in the blissful surge of energy for all of five seconds. Any longer would’ve been disastrous to those around her, a fact she’d been painfully aware of within the past few years. The feelings of control and betrayal were coupled with her already troubled emotional state, causing the red elements to take a little longer to leave.

"Freezers!" Squeaky barked, two short, squat icemen sprang to life at his command, bolts of ice flying from their fingertips and towards Eira.

She ducked and torched them with her own blast of redness by pure reflex. "Hey!"

"Stand down!" One officer yelled.

Eira backed up a few steps, holding her hands up. "Look...I really don't want any trouble here, okay? I mean, I understand that maybe...there might have been another way to go about solving our...misunderstandings, but please!" She threw up her hands in time for another bolt of ice.

Her eyes flared a dangerously deep shade of red. "STOP!" She roared.

The ice froze and so did everything around her within several feet. A trembly smile registered on her lips. Eira cast a cautious look around. Her face was burning with shame, this was not the way her arrival was supposed to be. This wasn't the way her trip was supposed to end either! Her stomach growled, having already converted the earlier meal to useful energy. She winced.

"I don't want any trouble." She repeated. "I'm going to...stay out of your way." She forced the words through her mouth. "And all I ask is to please....just please, leave me alone." There were no other words she could call to mind to make her statement for her. So with that last plea, she closed her eyes, recalling her energy.

It was her own ugly brush with reality which kept her from delving completely into her own fantasy world. It was too dangerous, too wrong…and too dark. A shudder passed over her. She grimaced. It was welcome most of the time, but in public places, it had always been the wrong choice. Keeping her breathing as even as possible, Eira slowly retracted her energy. With a smothered sigh, she bent to pick up and replace her belongings in the bag. The marks on each item glowed faintly, fading as they were returned to their original places. Her temper was too stoked to retain whatever shreds of diplomacy she’d had to her name, for when her methodical packing was complete, Eira knew she needed to excuse herself from the situation.

When she rose, her ID was in hand and it was immediately thrust into the hands of Squeaky with a half-growl, snarl before she stalked off, a little spot of red glowing on the cover of the leather booklet. "I am not staying here any longer." Her voice grated again. "So you need not track me down to return that. I will call it when I know you are finished." As if on cue, the booklet jerked, hauling Squeaky a few steps forward, then reluctantly gave a last wiggle of defeat before remaining still. Her hold on the tiny, frozen crowd around her slowly melted off, as those further away began to pull them to safety.

Eira sniffed, stalking off into the crowd that couldn’t part fast enough for her warpath. Her fingers curled tightly around the strap of her messenger bag. It was foolish to let her temper get the better of her and even worse for her powers to join in the mess. Her jaw ground shut, so tightly, her head ached faintly.

This was not the way her trip was supposed to be. Dana's words now replayed in her head and prickles of shame washed over her. It wasn’t a feeling Eira welcomed at all. She rubbed her arms, dodging through the streets and into the lower cornered alleys. From experience, she knew it would be easier to disappear into the darkened depths and perhaps she could hide out long enough for the memory of her outburst to fade away. The moment she found a quiet, shadowed corner, Eira took it. She was beginning to understand Dana’s fears, it was too easy to lose her temper with no one around to temper her. Too easy to fall into a state of hopelessness as well.

A simple doorstep, with a seemingly empty alley, offered the temporary solitude she sought and with a sigh, she sat down. Leaning back, head against the wall, she struggled with the energies and thoughts inside of her. One sigh escaped, followed by a sniffle that couldn't be held back, the tears were working their way to the front. Her bag was tucked beneath her legs and she wallowed in the moment of self-pity. Now it definitely seemed that Dana was more right than she'd ever been before. That particular thought seemed to horribly wrong. Another shudder passed over her, the tears causing the shaking to be a little harder than usual. "I couldn't have been wrong wanting something better, could I?" Eira asked her boots.

Of course, they didn't answer, but someone else did.

"Depends on what you're wanting, miss."Her head jerked up to look at a fellow a few inches shorter than her shoulder height, he was wearing a hooded cloak woven from the expensive Fabric of Peace, the elbows worn thin betraying the cloak’s countless usage, and expensive brown boots completed the look. In one arm he cradled a sack of grocery and a woven basket bearing neat white packages balanced in the crook of his elbow. In his other hand, was a sort of walking stick, smooth, black and flat on both ends, an accessory that should have been curious, but Eira wasn’t sure she wanted to know what it was. His eyes were smiling even though his mouth did not, his expression oddly neutral. "Everything all right?" He inched past, edging around her outstretched feet to head for the road.

Eira looked at him miserably, pulling up her feet to allow him even more room to pass. "No. And nothing will ever be right again!" She winced, but the whine had already been voiced.

He paused to look back at her, the amusement shifting from his eyes to play around the corners of his mouth. "Bit dramatic, aren't you?" He shifted the sack and the basket. "Guest or Visitor?"

She sniffled. "I don't know anymore." Her hand was held out, showing the double-stamp.

He sighed. Loudly. "Very well then, I shall assume you are a stray. Have you a place to stay for the night? The streets aren’t kind to those who do not reside in their world."

"If I did, would it matter?" She pulled her feet up closer to her chest. "Why would I even want to stay here? I can't believe I'm here doing this. I should’ve listened to everyone. I should’ve waited…waited to screw my head on straight. I shouldn’t be here doing this."

"Doing what?" He tapped her leg with one foot, nudging her bag with the smooth black stick. "Up. Consider yourself temporarily adopted for the time being. At least, if you are who you seem to be." He chuckled. "That was quite a burst of energy just now. I could feel it all the way back here. Vanderoone is not a friendly place to lose your temper on a whim, you know."

Eira's head snapped up to look at him fully this time. "You felt my energy?" She was on her feet, hugging the bag to her chest, now completely aware. The flip-flop in personality fueled by her powers, as she backed away one tentative step.

He held up a hand as if to protect himself. "Easy now! No need to be so jittery.” His own expression as wary as her reaction. “I just said I could, that's all. And it is a friendly offer." The lips twisted into a supercilious smile. "You need not worry of anything. No one would dare disturb you in your misery while under the protection of the Dark Phoenix, which I now extend to you in all its formal glory."

For a mere split-second, Eira almost thought she might faint at this new revelation, but as it was, hysterics seemed a more plausible option. "You're the Dark Phoenix?" A smothered giggle came out on the end of her words, bringing a flush of embarrassment with it.

He perked a brow, the blank face slowly taking on a look of annoyance. "Don't tell me. You were expecting someone older and taller, correct?"

"Well..."

"You can stay then." He turned on his heel with a huff and drew a sign in the air with his black stick hand. A warp of crackling blue energy swirled to life as he twirled the stick in a circle until it grew large enough to allow comfortable transportation to his destination.

"No, wait!" Eira shoved away the swirl of questions in her head. She couldn’t let this opportunity simply run away from her. She hurried after him, snatching up her bag from the ground. "Please, wait! I didn't mean that the way it came out, I meant that, well, hey, wait up!"

© Sara Harricharan

5 comments:

Joanne Sher said...

Love the way you get into your characters' heads. Fascinating stuff, girlie!! You're amazing.

Hoomi said...

The story is building nicely, Sara. I'm looking forward to the next installment!

Dee Yoder said...

I, too, am fascinated by your imagination, Sawa! Wish I'd had this much when I was your age...I'd be a LOT further down the writing road by now--for sure-LOL.

J.H. said...

+ Hello again Sara. Thanks for explaining Friday Fiction and I'm glad I'm helping you wrestle with this story. It's a treat for me to correspond intelligently with another writer about their work. If I manage to finish up my post this weekend, I'll return to comment on part 4. Ok, let's go.
+ Typically, in questing-adventure type stories, I strongly dislike female protagonists; Eira, I do like, because "Her face was burning with shame"[par 7]. For some reason, I'm not getting that girl-power, stick-it-to-the-men, chauvinistic vibe I very recently had viewing "Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind". The story itself wasn't overtly feminist in any way, but for some reason I can deal with Eira better than Nausicaa.
+ Maybe it's the way you dived into Eira's shame, and after reading "Tear Streaked Thoughts", I'm more convinced of this. You've got this rhythm in describing mournful emotions that has--in my view--an extremely pleasing and lowers-the-defenses-of-the-reader kind of effect. I'll show you. You tell us she feels shame in par.7, then you show it in par.8: "And all I ask is to please....just please, leave me alone." Here, I'd say, is where my personal bias against a female protagonist began to breakdown. In par.9 you show us "With a smothered sigh...", then you take it a step further and show us metaphorically, "Her hold on the tiny, frozen crowd around her slowly melted off...". As her hold melts so does her pride. You probably didn't even mean to communicate that, but it just flowed out rhythmically! Finally, in par.11: "Her jaw ground shut, so tightly, her head ached faintly." Brilliant! I connected personally with this image of self-conscious shame, and others will too. And now you bring Eira to a moment of humble clarity in pars.12&13: "She was beginning to understand Dana’s fears, it was too easy to lose her temper..."; "...it definitely seemed that Dana was more right than she'd ever been before." And with that, Eira achieves my most rare title of: 'Likable female protagonist in a quest/adventure'.
+ If each post represents a chapter in the finished narrative, I would strongly recommend making this chapter solely about her emotional breakdown and meeting the Dark Phoenix. You've got 3 events going on here and, by the way, you still haven't convinced me she's lost her temper! Chapters 2 and 3 ought to contrast her when she's had it and when she pities herself; speaking of which, what is this?! You did not need to tell us she was pitying herself in par.13, it's so clear! The sentence would have worked just as well without it: Her bag was tucked beneath her legs and she wallowed in the moment.
+ Last thing, you want to know what I think of the Dark Phoenix? Yoda. He's really "short", wears a "hooded cloak" with "'brown' boots", and he handles a "walking stick"; hands-down, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away the Dark Phoenix was once a Jedi Knight...or a Sith Lord--heh! Honestly, is Yoda really the inspiration behind this character? He definitely has this wise and mysterious air about him. I'll read on to learn more.

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

Hi J.H.! It's wonderful to hear from you again. I'm glad you're enjoying Eira as the FMC. I've tried my best to keep her from being the typical heroic female--and left her a bit immature so she can make some progress throughout the story. I'm glad to know the vibe is making it across. There is quite a bit going on in this installment--I actually never intended for the story to continue beyond 7 or 8 'chunks'. Now, I've just been working at keeping installments within the 2k mark, word-count wise. I did not think of this one in three parts though--thank you for that insight. I'll have to take a look at my edits and see what I did there. (and yes, Eira did not quite lose her temper yet...I'm holding out on that for a bit).
I do have to laugh at your description of the DP, honestly, I didn't realize there was comparison to Yoda, though I do love StarWars. DP was a spinoff of an older character I used for roleplaying. I decided I liked another side of him better, so made an alternate character and gave him is own story...Eira just kind of put herself in there. Ideally, she is about 5 feet, 5 inches and the DP is a few inches below that, unless he is wearing boots. Thanks so much for the feedback this week--I am greatly enjoying this discussion, it is helping tremendously!