Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 7) [Friday Fiction]

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the lovely Karlene "KJ" Jacbosen @ her blog Homespun Expressions. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings. This week's installment is really late, because of the ususal kraziness in the life. The kind that is spelled with a "k". I do apologize for the shortness of this piece and the formatting. It's taken me a hour to get this thing to work on dial-up. GRR! I miss my internet, lol, but it is a workable ending. I've got two votes for a continuation next week...need about two more, lol, to know that this is something to devote my sparse spare time towards. Any votes? Pretty please? I'll give you carrot cake...or just regular cake, lol. Plenty of cake, either way.

"A day?" Eira waited while he opened another door and stuck his head inside to search some more. "Exactly what kind of trip are we talking about?"

"The difficult kind. They generally do not send anything remotely easy in my direction, which now, unfortunately at this moment, includes you." He shut the second door and whirled around to examine a side cabinet. His fingers flew over a tiny keypad in the corner and the space opened to reveal a clothes steampress. He suspended the cloak by the hood and shut the door, pressing the appropriate buttons. He suddenly froze and turned to look at her for a moment, the piercing gaze sweeping her from head to toe. He frowned. "You can't go as a girl though." He whirled from the steampress to the kitchen.

"I can't what?" Eira sputtered. "Wait a minute! What do you mean I can’t-hold up here-did you just tell me-"

"I did and I'd appreciate it if you really would pay attention. You always sound as if you are at a loss for words or something." He found a knapsack from under the sink and began filling it with tiny pouches. “It’s not a very good habit to have, it is a habit.” The frown relaxed into a more puzzled expression. “I’ve never thought of it as a habit, that’s a curious thought for later. Much later. Remember that, the loss of words thing, I mean. Work on it.”

"A loss for words." Eira winced. “Right. Work on it. Uh-huh. I’ll…do that.” That may have been partially correct, but she wasn't going to take him up on it. That, and she couldn't help repeating what he said, mainly it was to assure herself that she wasn't hearing things. Things that she wished she hadn't heard. "You’re skipping my question! What do you mean I can't go as a girl? I am a girl and I don’t do disguises very well or at all!"

The eyes locked onto hers again and it appeared he was searching for a way to say what was probably already halfway out of his mouth. "You really don't get much, do you?" He sighed, straightening, the knapsack in one hand. "I mean, where we will be traveling, it isn’t safe to go as a girl and I’m very sorry if you don’t do disguises, but I’m sure I’ll think of something to make it work. It’ll be too dangerous and I won’t be babysitting you at all.”
Okay. I'll review…slowly. You want me to train you, correct?"


"You also requested induction as an apprentice, not a student. Do you know the difference between the two?"

"What's the difference?"

"A student is expendable, an apprentice isn't." He said, matter-of-factly.

Eira blinked. "I see." She was quiet for a moment. "What if I didn’t say apprentice? What if I didn't want to be either...then what?"

"Then I would have kicked you out." He ducked behind the counter again, resurfacing with a handful of thin cloths. "Seriously. Guest or not, I really do have to go and I'm afraid I can't leave you here alone. However, as you nicely fixed that problem, you get to tag-along for the fun."

“Fun?” A slight prickle feeling shivered along Eira's shoulders. "I think our thoughts and ideas of fun would differ greatly if forced to share the same room.” She grimaced. “And I really don't think I'd want to stay here alone." She muttered.

He smiled. "Very well put, that is actually using your words…the room, thing I mean. Clever. And the house won’t hurt you, at least now that you are no longer a guess. Actually, this...home...was built for me by a good friend. It is to cater to my every whim." He paused. "I suppose I should just say outright that the house is alive."

"Alive?" Eira gnawed on a fingernail, her thoughts twisting and tumbling over each other. "Can’t you just um, drop me off...somewhere, nowhere specific until you get back?"

He shrugged. "Aye. If you so wish it. I wouldn’t recommend it at all, but since you have mentioned it, I will make the option available, with my express disapproval." He exited the kitchen, brushing past her. "I don't mean to rush you in such a delicate decision, but if you could hurry it up. I-er-we, need to be gone from here by lunchtime."

"What happens at lunchtime?"

He perked a brow. "Eira, you really don't want to know."
“I don’t?” The look directed to her said far more than his mouth would have. Eira ducked her head, properly rebuked. “Right. I don’t.”
“We’re going to have to work on that.”
“On what?”
He stopped, dead in his tracks. “I feel incredibly-” He stopped. “Eira…stop packing.”
Eira automatically took a step back to be well out of reach from his next whirl. “I haven’t actually um, packed.”
“Good.” His face lit up. “Don’t bother to.” He headed for the door, crooking his finger over one shoulder. “Hurry up. We’ve got a matter of minutes.”
Eira trotted after him and it took her a few minutes to see what exactly he meant by lunchtime. They stood on the front lawn, waiting until a colorful, filmy distortion settled over the house. It shimmered, flickered and then shrank into something that the Dark Phoenix reached up and plucked out of the air. He half-smiled. “My head isn’t completely where it usually is.”
“Really? I didn’t notice.” Eira winced.
“I have too much energy, Eira.” The tired look returned to him, briefly. “I need to use it, which is why we are leaving now.” He snapped his fingers and the tall, black stick materialized between his fingers. There was a test spin between her fingers, and then one deliberate spin.
A brilliant circle of black, tinged with purple and blue around the edges swirled to life. The portal shimmered and he hooked the left edge with the black staff. “And in you go, it should spit you out on the other end, safely disguised.”
Eira grimaced. “Disguised? Still? I’m really-”
“There will be no discussion on this, apprentice.”
“I can’t turn up in an outfit I didn’t-”
The shimmer of black passed over her and Eira felt herself twitch involuntarily. Her outfit was replaced with something heavier and with more room to move about. Her shoes were new and the collar was tight. Eira stuck her lip out. “I want my boots back!” Her toes seemed already stitched to the seams. “Please?”
There was a quiet sigh and another shimmer of black. “Anything else?”
Eira bit her lip. “Yeah, I mean, yes. What if I mess up?”
The look softened a faint touch. “I’ve already made an allowance for that.”
“You have?”
“In you go, I can’t hold this open forever.”
“oh, right.”
“I’m not going to throw this at you often…at least I’ll attempt to make an allowance for it as we’ve met under different circumstances, but your lack of formality, will be the first thing that gives you away.”
“What’s wrong with my formality? I didn’t have trouble with that at League Init.”
“Title formality.”
“I flunked that.”
His mouth twitched. “As I said, I’ll make an allowance for it, at least for a little while.”
“For what?”
“Yes, Master Phoenix.”
“Good girl. In you go. I hope you like camping.”
“Camping? You’re taking your whole house with you and we have to camp?”
“I’m taking the house so no one else can.”
“That makes absolutely no sense.”
“Does it have to? We’re camping.”
“In what, trees?”
“Trees are good.”
“Oh sugar snap.”
“I’m going, I’m going…exactly where is this going to spit me out?”
“Two feet ahead of where I’m going to be standing the moment you actually enter this.”
“I’m going.”
“I’m waiting.”
“Is this a slow warp or a fast warp?”
He pushed her in.
© Sara Harricharan


Hoomi said...

This is definitely not the place to end the story; you have so much potential still hanging there, carrot cake or no carrot cake.

By the way, apple pie is a much better bribe for me... ;)

J.H. said...

Nice. I return A.C. (and after a brief nap and work), to find you've posted a new part and responded to my earlier comment, and only moments before I sit to write the second! Once more, you're welcome for the feedback. It's almost midnight here in the central time zone, and I'd rather not attempt to compose sentences this late for anyone. But your energy and zeal toward creative writing continues to impress and encourage me, 'and' you're in school! I'm compelled to provide feedback on your writing--strong or weak.
+ In this case it's weak... extremely. I can tell this was a fluff chapter. The D.Phe.'s line in par.2 was the only sentence that added to the tension of the developing situation: "You can't go as a girl though." You don't really explain why in par.6, and I'm not all that convinced she's been transformed into a male just through the changing of her clothes. That black shimmer gave her her own boots back, couldn't it have deepened her voice? Shortened her hair? Given her bulk?
+ Your dialogue is suffering too. You're still following the blueprint for conversation between Eira and the D.Phe. alright; it's roundabout, stammering, off-topic, and quirky. But in part 7 it gained an annoying slapstick feel: "Remember that, the loss of words thing, I mean. Work on it."
"A loss for words....Right. Work on it. Uh-huh. I’ that."
"It’ll be too dangerous and I won’t be babysitting you at all."
"Fun?...I think our thoughts and ideas of fun would differ greatly if forced to share the same room."
"Eira…stop packing."
"I haven’t actually um, packed."
"My head isn’t completely where it usually is."
"Really? I didn’t notice."
Eira stuck her lip out. "I want my boots back!"
This one's my favorite slapstick:
"What’s wrong with my formality? I didn’t have trouble with that at League Init."
"Title formality."
"I flunked that."
How do you fail something of that nature? More important, why does Eira feel she can suddenly confide this information with her teacher after being acquainted with him for little more than a day?
"Oh sugar snap."
Heh, that one was funny. I think you get the idea. You're trying to communicate that Eira is not very good with formalities but it's done way over the top. As if she's using her fault to intentionally frustrate the D.Phe.; that doesn't make sense. It is funny, but in a childishly immature way. Is Eira a young adult or a teenager?
+ Personally, I say you scrap this part/chapter. Put the D.Phe.'s tension building line in the previous one and get on with the "official business", perhaps, after a brief transition paragraph. I've totally flamed this writing, I realize. I know your internet circumstances were rough and the untagged, scatter-brained, dialogue is somewhat your trademark; besides, I'm behind, you've long since decided to continue writing this story. I want to know what your purpose is in writing it--expound a bit. In part 3, you told me the D.Phe. was a spin off of an older character. You turned a specific trait of his into a separate character, gave this character a story, and added Eira to it. Is your purpose then to see how people react to this idea? Are you trying to exercise or develop a particular writing skill: dialogue, description, pacing, your voice? Since the D.Phe. is the driving force behind this story, why isn't he the main character? I've given you a lot. No need to respond before tomorrow. If I have angered you, I apologize, it's never my intention. What is a writer without reactions?

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

Hi again J.H.! I meant to reply to this sooner, but--school is first and right now it is hectic. You're right, this was very much a 'fluff' chapter--kind of scattered and all over the places. Her transformation comes later, before they enter Pietrasaan, so for the moment, she still rather girlish in appearance. I actually did not settle on a specific age for Eira (terrible, I know) because I hadn't decided on the ending, but was settling for the last of her teenage years. In many ways, she remains a child, maturing near the end of it. Kinda working on the maturity part, lol. Haven't been able to devote as much time to her story as I've wanted to. This story is several years old (around the time I'd just started experimenting with fiction) and I left it on hold and picked it up again this year, after plowing through a scatter-brained serial of "Raising Rachel". I missed the weekly episode-ish feel to my Friday Fiction. Ideally, the purpose of this story was the play with two or more characters in a particular universe setting. The 'world' that I most frequently play with, very rarely reaches my stories, this has been the first 'story' to actually be placed there. Elements such as the Rock Guardians, The League, Legendary figures (the DP) and places like Vanderoone. This has mostly been a personal experiment, a free-for all creative playground, where I can relax for awhile. Also, it insures that I am writing consistently over 2k a week, creatively, not academic and not my usual box of crayons in writing. I had to laugh at your last lines though--there is very little at this particular point in my life that can truly annoy me, so please, don't worry about that. I appreciate your honesty--it is encouraging and refreshing to know what works and what doesn't, especially the specifics. Yes, my dialogue is all over the place. Yes, most of the time my longer works lack plot. But the more I write, I feel there is improvement, so I continue--and for me, that makes it all worth it. Anyway, I am rambling-well, procrastinating, I still have assignments calling me, so cheerio! Thanks again for taking the time to leave such helpful feedback. ^_^