Friday, August 28, 2009

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (Friday Fiction) Part 5

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Julie Arduini @ Her blog, The Surrendered Scribe. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings: I added quite a bit more during the edits for this piece, including filling in a few gaps that a proofreader of mine managed to find. (Thank you! ^_^) I hope I am staying true to character here, as it has taken some effort to get back into character for these two. Such fun with the dialog and especially this last conversation between them. Thank you so much for the comments/feedback last week, it helps when I edit for the upcoming installments. Happy reading and have a terrific weekend!

“You're not going to make this easy for me, are you?" She asked at last, when her tongue finally recovered from the earlier abuse.

"No." He said simply, sipping the steaming brew.

Eira blew on the surface of the cup. "Why?"He perked a brow.She sighed. "okay fine."Silence reigned for another moment or two and then he smiled.

“If I were to make everything easy for you, would it not defeat the purpose of your discovering yourself?"

"huh?" Eira blinked. "Um, okay. Hold on here, before you start getting all philosophical and over-my-head just because you can and all that-please do make sure I'm following you."

"You aren't?"

"Ima-what?!" Eira opted for the next way out, a sip of the scalding tea. It burned its way down her throat, but wasn't all that bad.

"Perhaps we should retry this." He suggested. "I will attempt to rewind my-er, never mind. I do not intentionally mean to confuse you, but it appears that is what I am doing anyway. We shall start again. I do believe the phrase assigned to me as a trademark is the following.” He cleared his throat, eyes still laughing. “Is there any way I may be of assistance?"

"You are the Dark Phoenix, right?" Eira set the cup on the table. She’d been hoping for some huge, obvious sign of some sort to confirm this stranger’s identity, but there hadn’t even been a medal about the house anywhere. Her fingers twitched, and she suddenly wished that she was still holding the cup of tea. In his suddenly piercing gaze methodically sweeping over her, it chose to focus on her now empty hands.

He blinked, returning his gaze to his own cup. "I am. Is there something in particular I need to do to convince you of it?"

Eira closed her eyes. "No. Just no." The whole conversation had taken more than one turn she hadn't quite anticipated. "Look, I uh, I appreciate your hospit-"

"You wanted me to train you." He said simply. “A yes or no would suffice.” The sentence cut through the near retreat Eira had decided on.

"Well, I, uh." She stammered for a moment, then retrieved the steaming cup. Her hands desperately needed to be busy. There was no safe answer to this loaded question. Her future was hanging in the balance, and yet, so much more. Her headache began to surface once more. "Yes. I was. I-I mean, I did, I-just-uh"

"Then why are you so eager to leave?"

"I wasn't leaving!" The headache responded with a sharp jab in the very center of her head to punctuate her exclamation.

"You were." He took a sip. "You were. And if I didn't say anything, you would have, is that not true? Both the past and present tense must never intertwine to muddle one's future." He rose from his chair. "You are, however, far too tired for this conversation to sensibly continue. Time for bed.” He rose from the chair, taking the last sip of tea. “Stay for the night, the choice is up to you what you wish to do by tomorrow. Whatever you decide, I shall respect. And whatever you were running from will not dare to enter my realm while you are still under my protection. Please take the room to the left near the refresher. You'll excuse me, I'm sure, if I decide to retire at this particular moment."

Eira stared after him as he moved from the room to the sink where he washed the cup and set it in the tray to dry. She hurriedly gulped hot mouthfuls of tea. It was bearable now, and the heat helped with her head.

He punched in something on a key pad and returned briefly to inform her that he'd activated the nightly security system. "Good night. Please don’t go poking about anything, the security alarm with trigger and I’d rather not have to get up after I’ve fallen asleep.""er, good night." Eira managed, moving to her feet to follow the short way to the kitchen.

There was a quiet chuckle. “It’s not hard to trigger, but I will make an allowance for your energy signature. Rinse that, if you would?”

Eira drained the cup, crossing to stand in the kitchen. “You keep saying that.” She slowly wrapped her fingers around the empty cup. “How can you feel my signature? I haven’t even-”

“You do not have to use your energy in order for me to sense you. Using it once was more than sufficient, but your energy is completely knitted together with your life force. It is quite unique, which makes it easy to narrow down.” His mouth twitched. “And of course the fact that you are less than three feet away helps.”

“How?”

He moved from the hallway back to the kitchen, to stand in front of the sink. “The closer you are, the stronger your signal is. The stronger it is, the easier it becomes to narrow down every unique point within it, once done, no matter where you are, I will always find you.”

“That’s a…good thing?” Eira swallowed.

The perfectly groomed eyebrows arched in sync. “It isn’t necessarily bad, if that is what you are suggesting.”

“I’m not suggesting anything! I’m just thinking that this whole thing is really, really weird!”

“Weird?” The word was pronounced with a tone of disgust and accompanied by a look of distaste.

“You don’t even know my name!”

“Because I don’t use it, or because you haven’t introduced yourself and I consider it impolite to tag you with something you have not given me permissiont to use?”

“What?”

“I do believe I made my identity quite clear, you, on the other hand, did not.”

“Whoa! Hold up here!” Eira felt her temper prickling again. It didn't help her headache any. “You didn’t even give me a chance to-”

“You’ve had plenty of time, Eira.” He held out a hand. “If you wait for your predicted chances in every other area of life, I am truly amazed that you have made it this far.”

“Do you just always talk without making sense or do you just go on as if-”

“Can I have it please?” He interrupted, wiggling his fingers.

Eira blinked. “What?”

“The cup.” He nodded towards her hands. “I like to have the dishes back where they belong.”

Eira stuck the cup out. “Suit yourself! How do you know my name if I didn't tell you? Did you read my mind!?"

"Why does one always assume that their mind has been read when they, themselves have absolutely no proof of it, nor have they felt the mental invasion that would be the evidence of such a breach of privacy and-"

"So you didn't?"

"Of course I didn't. That would be extremely rude and against whatever regulations the League still has me under." He shuddered. "Quite frankly, I've never seen the purpose of reading someone else's mind. It's always as twisted and wretched as our own and then of course, once you've read it, you can't un-read it and therefore it is stuck in your head."

"See! That’s another-”

“Your name is as plain as what you are. You're an energy box, frankly speaking and quite easy to read. Your name is plastered everywhere in your energy, it practically screams your identity to whoever is willing to listen or unable to close their minds off quick enough. I would suggest diverting your energy to more useful...er..." He sighed. "Never mind, I've obviously lost you. Again. Let me try this from a more...general standpoint, shall we? Everything in this house has an energy signature.” He continued, as if he hadn’t heard her speak. “That is how I can civilly keep up a conversation with you.” The expression on his face smoothed to a look of pity. Now, in spite of his shortness and once-laughing eyes, the Dark Phoenix appeared to be much older and much wiser in years. “I store my energy in everything in this house, because if I were to bottle it up inside me as you are doing with you own, I could kill a lot of people-without even trying.” He rinsed the cup and set it on the drying rack. There was a soft white tremor of energy and then he picked up both cups and crossed the kitchen to place them in the correct cupboard. “Right now, you are an annoying little bump in the energy streams flowing through my living space. I’ll sort it out in the morning, because I really don’t want to deal with a headache tonight. I would suggest phasing yourself into a deeper sleep and to stop fighting your own powers. You’re giving me a headache.” He brushed past, his shoulder lightly touching her own.

Eira turned to stare after him and stopped when she felt a distinct coolness sink into her head. Her jaw dropped. He’d taken her headache.

He paused at the end of the short hallway and tapped a door beside the refresher. “Your room. I’m two doors down there. Try not to need me for whatever reason.” He continued down the hallway and the lights within began to dim and click off as he moved further away.

Scrambling, Eira snatched up her bag and hurried to the door. She was pleasantly surprised to find a neatly prepared, simple, guest bedroom awaiting her. Unable to resist, she opened drawers and checked beneath the bed. There were the fresh changes of clothes in varying sizes and three pairs of bedroom slippers beneath the bunk. A handful of generic toiletries were neatly lined on a shelf near a dresser and chair, with a vase carrying a single, blue flower.

“Wow.” She slowly eased onto the bed, kicking off her shoes. Her toes wiggled freely in happiness as she tugged her fingers through her tangled hair. Washing her head in the sink had made a mess of it. She grimaced. “Tomorrow.” She muttered aloud, rummaging through her bag for a change of clothes.

The coolness that had rested in her head was now slowly trickling down to register in her stomach and lower. A yawn escaped and without thinking, Eira lay down and let her eyes close.

Four rooms over, the Dark Phoenix lay awake, staring up through the clear ceiling of his bedroom to the sparkling night sky above. His brow wrinkled and he winced, before reaching one hand to touch the left side of his head. The wrinkle smoothed away and he smiled, closing his eyes and drifting to sleep.

© Sara Harricharan

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ramblings and Musings From The Faithwriter's Conference

I wanted to start this post with something brilliant, witty and of course, incredibly memorable. *sigh* Obviously, this was all my poor brain could spit out. The past week has been a whirlwind of reality and murphy's law at work, a stark contrast from the most wonderful weekend of the year-spent at the Faithwriter's Conference in MI. But before I further scramble my brain (and possibly your own as well, my apologies, dear reader!) I'll make a short list-the extent of my brainpower at present-and possibly attach several tags of randomness to them. I should also add a disclaimer somewhere, right? LOL. Simply my opinion from the first night of screaming/squealing greetings, bouncing in my flip-flops everywhere I had to run, eating brownies and playing games until the wee hours of the morning. This is my take on the 2009 Faithwriters Conference, and again, apologies for being less…formal, than usual. Rock on!

On a slightly personal note, I took the digital family camera along, only to find it dead on the first night of the conference. A very special THANK YOU, to everyone who was kind and gracious to take not just one, but several different photos for and with me. It meant so much to know that I really would have some of the shots I wanted-for keeps! (and it was great proof to have that y'all were real. Lol)

And so, without further rambling, here's my conference list of…whatever. ^_^

Lynda Schab looks just like her avatar. She also has very pretty toenails-lol-I am jealous of the cutesy happy, smiling sun on them. Props to her daughter for being super-creative. ^_^ She also graciously autographed a FW anthology for me, on the margins of the story titled "Set the Toilet Paper Free" Ah. Fun memories.

Sunny is…um, sunny. LOL. She laughs. So I laugh. Then we're all laughing, just because…Sunny laughed. ^_^ If you were at the conference and didn't meet her, I'd say to think again, because you probably did-you couldn't miss that mega-watt smile and voice. The ability to say something hilarious with a straight face? Sunny's got it. Not to mention when I couldn't eat my pizza in a paper napkin, I got a carboard box top. Ahh, Sunny!!! <3>

Vonnie! (Yvonne Blake) never gets tired of giving hugs or my constant bouncing up and down on my toes. She's also shorter than I'd expected and it was so fun to watch her play chuzzle. And she understands a lot. *smile* 3rd "FW hug" of the day.

JJ (Joanne Sher) really has curly hair. LOL. And it's dark brown. And she looks just like her avatar and is soooo incredibly amazing-and doesn't stop smiling at all. Oh-and yeah, she's taller than me and let me stand behind the book table even though I wasn't doing anything at all there.

Peej is just as tall as JJ. She seems so serious, but is so random, you can't help but really, really like her. And she likes to play chuzzle and let me play it for a few minutes on her laptop. I now know what chuzzle is. LOL.

Josh is incredibly gracious and understands the need for chocolate NOW-when he allowed me to cut in front of him in line during an unfortunate brownie emergency. ^_^ He's also quite fun to watch when he's in game mode against Scott playing "Things". Very funny.

Cat!! (Catrina B.) was also on my team for "Things" and is soooo very funny-and didn't mind my randomness at all-and she does look like her avatar-only nicer in person! ^_^ I feel blessed to have met her in person and to have her wonderful personality to tag to her name.

Scott is um…shorter *ducking* than I expected, and WAY more fun. He was really good at "Things" and just has a knack for making everyone feel welcome and happy. He also autographed my conference program for me. Props to Scot!! (I also love his new netbook.)

Lisa M. does not look like her avatar-she has nicer hair in person. She was the first FW "hug" that I walked into, straight out of the airport and into the arms of a friend. ^_^ I wish I'd had more time to spend laughing with her, but she was amazing to meet in person-especially to get a voice to match to her face.

Speaking of voices, Beffy (Beth LaBuff) sounds like Indian Movie star, Rani M. and does look like her avatar. She also doesn't mind talking about virtual farms and houses. I quite possibly chewed her ear off, jabbering on about barns and mansions. LOL. Love you-Beffers!!! (and glad I got to meet Tilman!)

Aunt Jan (Jan A.) is amazing in real life-she sounds just like I thought she would-and she graciously autographed a piece of um…exceptional…writing for me. ^_^ I wish I could had more time to spend chatting with her as well. Some day, right?

Leah Orcutt and I could pass each other on the street and walk right by. LOL. Well, we'd do a double take now and then turn back and exclaim at the same time. Leah was the recon member of my 'welcoming committee' and the second "FW hug" of the day. We passed each other going back and forth in my airport adventure and well, she's just plain awesome. Love her sense of humor too…see, there was this joke about-oh wait, you don't want to hear it? Oh all right. Ask her then. :P

Dee looks (Dee Yoder) just like her avatar-and is SO sweet! I bet she got tired of everyone telling her that, lol, but really, she IS! Her voice, smile, hugs and accent! I also loved every moment spent with her and was glad I also got to meet Arlen and Joseph. ^_^ What a neat family!

Hally and Mari are long lost twin-sisters from a um…hold on, I'll think of something brilliant…tomorrow. LOL. Marita T. & Laury H. were wonderful!!! And they are really very much like twins and didn't mind my hyper-self, talking about nail polish or just being silly. And they do look like their avatars. Same great smiles. ^_^

Sonya L was not at all like I'd picture in my head-but I must say I like the real-life version a whole LOT more! I wish I could have spent more time visiting and hearing a few of the interesting stories, I know she had with her. ^_^ Thank you sooooo much for taking a picture with me, Sonya-and making me feel so special. You are truly a gem! <3>

As for Amy (wiley), I was waiting to see exactly who this behind-the-scenes-mastermind was and Amy is WONDERFUL! She's probably tired of hearing people say how sweet she is and what a great personality she has, but I have to repeat it. I had so much fun at lunch, visiting with her! I wished I could have snuck her home in my suitcase-to be the sister I never had. <3>

I absolutely adore Deb, who graciously gave me autograph and also included me in a few of the group photos. I also really, really liked her accent. *dreamy sigh* I am SO glad I had the chance to meet her in person. Noel-who kindly let have a picture with him and took the time to chat for a few minutes. I was so amazed when he said he actually recognized my name and knew who I was on FW. ^_^

David Ian had an extremely enormous reputation to live up to, after hearing about him through the FW boards on the threads from the last conference, I wanted to see if he really was like that in real life. Long story, short? He is! I was laughing right along with everyone through his sessions and during the game night. What a truly wonderful, creative person, who gives credit to God and is still down to earth enough to chat with a new writer. Truly a wonderful memory now stuck in my head.

Ohhh and Shari Armstrong-who really isn't as redheaded as I was expecting, but still was so much fun and had such a wonderful smile! It was such fun to sit next to her during David Ian's workshop and running into her at various moments throughout the conference.

Pat Turner-my airport buddy-lol. It was such a pleasure to meet Pat in person and to share lunch with her at Applebee's. It was wonderful to finally put a face to the name on the comment boxes. (and thank you, Pat for being my 'airport buddy'.

Allison really does LOVE ladybugs. And I do mean it with the capital letters. I did see her famous ladybug PC set up. So adorable! I don't know that I could be that dedicated with my favorite "thing". Allison was also a ton of fun and looked exactly like her avatar!

I also had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Karlene J. who graciously ferried me back and forth to the airport. It was such a pleasure to put a personality to the face and wonderful writer within. Karlene was also one of my first FW hugs! <3>

Kathy Bruins does not look like her avatar. Lol. (as you can tell by now, my brain was in overdrive matching up all the avatars to the actual, current person) and was the wonderful person who rescued us starving people (Leah, Pat, Kim Russell and myself) to Applebee's on that first afternoon I arrived. She has such an interesting voice! (and is a really good driver!)

Sheri G. is a really amazing person in real life. And though she did not look like I picture her (it was kind of hard with an eagle for an avatar...I had to use my imagination, lol) but she did sound just as I'd expected. I really loved getting to chat with her for a few minutes.

Kim Russell-a great lunch buddy and also an extremely interesting person! I loved just listening to her talk and hearing so many different stories!

Stephanie(crankycow) does not look like her avatar. LOL! But is just as vibrant as her writing. It was fun putting a face to her name. ^_^

Chely-Michele R. gave me a moment of deja vu. When she was introduced as "shelly". I was completely not expecting her to look so um, normal. *ducking* By the time it really sank in who it was, I was so excited to think that she was sitting just in front of me! I wish I'd had more time to chat and visit with her as well.

Linore Burkhard-who graciously autographed both of her novels(truly wonderful books!) and put up with my questions during her workshop. An amazing writer-I learned so much from her workshop and am loving putting it into my writings.

There were a lot of August birthdays. We could've had a cake somewhere. Lol. Loved the fact that everyone sang "happy birthday" with such joy and enthusiasm, it was truly beautiful!

Where writers travel, so does Chocolate. The best food break was the Chocolate afternoon snack with everything chocolate possible. I was floating on cloud nine with the best brownies I've had yet. (such lovely thick frosting!) and chocolate milk. And nearly everyone I met, had some form of chocolate close at hand or in their room. I tried several chocolates I'd never heard of before and also enjoyed the sweet treats during the game night. I was amazed at the simple appearance of chocolate-and the rate at which it swiftly disappeared. Certainly a writer thing, yes?

Now, I'm going to end here, mainly because it's almost 1 AM and I can't get my brain to recall much more. I had such a wonderful time at the Faithwriter's Conference, it was truly the best event of the year. I am sure I will never forget what an amazingly exhilarating experience it was. If for some reason I've forgotten someone-I really didn't! You're in my head somewhere and fairly close to my heart as the wonderful "FW Family" is. It's just 1 AM. That's all. ^_^

Thank you for reading my belated rambles, my apologies if half of them do not make as much sense as I seem to think they do. I'll edit it-maybe-someday.

P.S. Acck! I did NOT forget, Cori! (Cori S.) I didn't really! It was 1 in the morning...lol. Cori is the unsung writer you don't really hear much about. But when you do-WOW, she can write! And I did mean the wow with the capital letters. Such an amazingly versatile writer, and an excellent speaker. I especially loved chatting with her, getting her autograph on a FW anthology-and a picture! So blessed to have met her in person-Cori, you're awesome! ^_^


Friday, August 21, 2009

Hunt For the Dark Phoenix (Friday Fiction) Part 4

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Lynn Squire @ her blog Faith, Fiction, Fun and Fanciful. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings: Well, I had more fun with the edits on this piece and hopefully have added a new slant to the mysterious Dark Phoenix. I had fun working through the details of what he would cook, how and what his kitchen would be like. Hopefully you will find it as interesting as I did. Thank you so much for the wonderful comments last week-it really made my day, and editing this piece-worth it! Have a great weekend and enjoy the read!


Eira's scrambling was nearly in vain for the Dark Phoenix barely halted his warp enough for her to scoot through behind him. The ride was so swift and direct, it was nothing more than a deliberate flash of rainbow colors before her eyes and the strongest energy pull she could remember. She tumbled out on the floor of his destination with her bag flying to the nearest wall and her feet slipping out from under her.

Perfect brown boots stepped around and over her sprawled figure to set the sack of groceries on a counter. The basket, was set neatly on the floor for later perusal. Eira rolled over and sat up, rubbing her neck. It felt as if she'd just snapped the spring inside. A quick look around gave her an immediate hint to her new surroundings. She was inside a kitchen. A small, neat and extremely well organized kitchen.A gloved hand was offered to her and she took it, gingerly. Her head was pounding again.

"Slow warp?" Her rescuer inquired, his gaze darting quickly from her feet to her face before he returned to the kitchen counter. He continued his task of painstakingly unpacking each item, dusting it and lining them up in a row.

Sharp pains radiated through her shoulders and then through her neck, traveling upwards to join the throbbing in her head. Eira grimaced. "It seemed pretty fast to me." She reached backwards for the wall and slowly slid back down to sit on the floor. It was steadier there. Things weren't moving as much.

His gaze flickered briefly over her again and then he assumed a more relaxed expression. "A slow warp means it is one that is extremely fast. So fast, it seems slow, correct?"

Eira made a fist with one hand and positioned it to the left of her throat. Healing herself would be tricky, but it was one thing she’d been sure to learn. She tapped the closed fist gently with the thumb of her other hand to release a spiral of healing energy. With the fading pain, her wit slowly gathered itself around her. "Fast can't be slow."

"On the contrary. Slow can be fast." He folded the reusable grocery sack and hung it on a hook near the entry way. "Things are never what they seem to be when it comes to energy warps. Mine in particular, are excellent examples of that. You might want to remember that for future reference, it’s important enough." He pointed towards a door and then snapped his fingers. "The refresher is there. Please freshen up, you look positively ill." Her bag and belongings picked themselves off the floor and repacked their contents neatly inside their respective places before gliding across the room to land in her lap. "Dinner will be stew and bread." His back turned to her as he began to pack the items from the counter into the cupboard.

Eira felt her eyelids drooping as she forced herself to stand up and move towards the refresher. Now her head was spinning something awful, in perfect tandem with her roaring stomach. A most unwelcome side effect to a self-healing. She muffled the moan in her shoulder as the door slid shut behind her.She was a few minutes too late to help herself and promptly threw up in the following minutes. By the time she'd managed to pull herself together, it was with a burning throat and a dizzy head, her stomach having quieted itself. A shower was beginning to seem quite good at that point, but being in a strange place, in a strange home, with a strange fellow, Eira decided against it, sticking her head in the sink to wash it instead.

When she finally stepped out of the refresher, a lovely aroma filled the air, causing her weak stomach to begin a happy dance. A faint bubble of happiness bloomed inside herself as she set her bag on the floor near the refresher and moved towards the kitchen. He glanced up again, the moment she stepped out and she was vaguely aware of a little prickling sensation that washed over her as his gaze swept her from head to toe. A gesture she was now beginning to note as being standard for any object near him.

He was still in the kitchen, standing near the table, kneading something in a bowl. He'd rolled up his shirt sleeves and was energetically putting his efforts into the project. Nodding towards a chair he paused long enough to push it out with one foot. "Better?"

She slid into the chair and nodded, her damp hair tickling the back of her neck. Sitting was better than standing, of course, but he was still standing and her sitting hadn’t helped that much. She tried not to notice how short he was, but her mind stubbornly persisted in its comparisons.

"I meant your stomach." He shifted the bowl from the tabletop to the floor and knelt to finish his work. He seemed perfectly at ease working the dough and ignoring her.

Her cheeks tinged with a sliver of warmth. "Fine…thanks."

"The bread will be a few minutes." He murmured, dusting his hands. He stood, carrying the bowl to the counter where he proceeded to section and round the dough off into nice, big rolls. The rolls were then placed on a pan and put in the oven in a matter of minutes. The oven was a completely different story, however. Eira had never seen one like it, but it was the only logical option for where he’d stuck the bread. It was a sleek black box with no markings on it anywhere at all. There were no burners on top, or buttons or dials of any sort. The only thing visible was a large hole, the size of a hand near the upper left corner. To Eira's surprise, he simply made a fist, blew on it and stuck it in the hole.There was the sound of a mild explosion, followed by stray wisps of smoke as he withdrew his hand and headed to the sink to wash the bowl.

Eira twisted in her chair to stare after him and then at the strange black oven-shaped box. Moments later, he checked the stew, stirring it and tasting it with a separate spoon. His mouth quirked into a smile afterwards and then he nodded, redirecting his attention towards her. “It’s ready.” He turned abruptly towards the oven and hurried to open it. The inside cavity was glowing a hot, bright red and he simply reached inside and snatched the pan out. Setting it on the counter, he produced a brush to dust off the sides of the pan and then another one to brush melted butter on top.

The pleasing aroma changed, morphing into a scent far too delicious for Eira to place. Her toes wiggled expectantly inside her shoes, the only childish display of happiness she could be sure no one would ever notice. Her hands were politely clasped and resting in her lap, but her mouth watered inside. Several different thoughts filtered through her head, the main one being a question that demanded to know when food had been such a welcome diversion. Eira pushed it aside, focusing instead on the meal just inches away.

Satisfied with his respective dishes, the Dark Phoenix retrieved bowls and utensils from various compartments in his kitchen. They were neatly lined up in rows and filled, garnished and arranged accordingly.

It was a matter of seconds before the steaming goodness set before her with two large rolls on the side. Eira closed her eyes to inhale the warm scent. For once, her stomach could rumble all it wanted and she'd be more than happy to fill it. “Thank you!” She heard herself exclaim, unable to keep her enthusiasm in check.

He set his own place across the table from her and turned back to the kitchen. Waiting a few seconds was almost more than she could bear, but her host did not take long to join her once the stew was safely covered and the remaining bread rolls placed in a basket in the middle where both sides could reach them.He offered a brief smile, seating himself and then bowing his head, lips moving silently for a moment. When his eyes opened, he smiled and picked up his spoon.

Eira stared, curious. "What was that?" As far as she could tell, nothing unusual had happened from it, at least not something obvious.

"My thanks." He said simply, turning his attention towards the kitchen and pointing a finger, he beckoned. From the shadowy corners, a little, white, ceramic pot hovered up and to the table, stopping just near the bread basket. Opening the top, he spooned something over his roll and then proceeded to consume it.

"Thanks for what?" Eira took a cautious mouthful, glad to find the stew hot, but not scalding. It tasted even better than it smelled and it took an extra effort to eat slowly and politely. A slight quiver passed through her.

"I would be a most horrible ingrate if I did not think the provision of food was worthy of giving thanks to the one who has created me and thus provided me with my good fortune." He pushed the little dish towards her. "Do you not do the same? Here, try this. It is herbed oil for the rolls. The herbs are good for the heart and lungs. It will help settle your stomach and possibly clear your head."

Eira stored the information away for later use and tried the herbed oil, pleased to find that tasted just as good as it smelled. This resulted in cutting the rolls open to slather the insides with the oily condiment. The rest of the meal was silent, except for the sounds of spoons clinking against the bowl or a quiet slurp every now and then.

When dinner was over, her host repeated the offer that she could stay for the night as he did the dishes, instructing her to retire to the open room that he would bring some tea. Eira attempted to help clear the table, only to receive a look of mild annoyance for her efforts.

She blushingly left the kitchen to settle into a comfy seat near a window. A yawn broke through her new calm and she drew her feet up on the chair as she stared out in the darkened outdoors. It was windy enough to feel wisps of coolness seeping in through the windowsill. A shiver passed through her, easily repressed when she focused on the root of the issue and slowly picked it apart in her mind. A touch of sleepiness was registering and Eira fought it to stay awake. “I must have eaten too much.” She told herself, surprised to find herself so exhausted.

Her host soon appeared with a tray bearing a steaming pitcher and two mugs upside down near matching plates. "Cream or Sugar?"

"Uh, yes?" She blinked, trying to bring his slightly fuzzy image into a clearer view. Eira watched as he spooned out exact measurements in both cups before handing over the one nearest to her. "Thank you."

"You are welcome." He seated himself on the lounge chair opposite of her and followed her earlier gaze out the window. His brow furrowed for a moment and he looked from the window to her and then dismissed whatever thought he’d formed.

"Nice place you have here." Eira heard herself say. She sipped the brew only to burn her tongue. A quick glance in his direction, showed that he was merely holding his cup. His eyes laughed. He’d known it was scalding and had expected her to notice the steam rising from the brew as warning enough.

"Thank you." He lifted the cup to his lips, but still didn’t quite take the sip implied.

She tried another tack. "Have you been here…long?”

“Depends. Time passes differently for different people.”

“I see.” There was an awkward moment of silence, abruptly broken by Eira’s outburst. “Do you always talk this much?"

He shrugged. "Usually."

"Right." Her face flushed as she stared down into the steaming cup. Her eyes were trying desperately to close and it was taking every available ounce of willpower to keep them open.
© Sara Harricharan

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

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (Friday Fiction) Part 2

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Stina Rose @ her blog : Scroll Bag. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Note: I did not have as much time to edit this as I would have liked, but the idea of the story is still there. Enjoy! This is the second installment and Eira is off to a rocky start on her journey. I would love comments on this, so as I smooth out the bumps on the next piece, I'll know how to keep it coming. Have a great weekend!


The flight was uneventful for the most part, the only trouble that Eira had was getting herself explained as to where she was headed. Once the transport had docked at the station, she'd exited with most of the passengers and lined up to be registered as guests, visitors or residents.

She explained that she was going to be a visitor because she did not plan on staying long. The officer stamped "guest" on her pass and moved on to the next person in line. "Sir? Um, excuse me, but you said I'm a guest...I'm just a visitor, I won't be staying here long enough to be an actual guest...sir?" Her voice trailed off at the glare that was sent her way.The pass was grabbed, a piece of yellowed square slapped on front a double line stamped over the offending 'guest'. It now read "Visitor" stamped over guest.She sighed. Figured. "Thanks!" She called, sarcastic as the bustling crowd jostled her away from the platform. "Nevermind."

Her stomach growled and she dedicated the remainder of the day to finding a place she could afford to eat."Who would've thought Vanderoone was so expensive." She muttered, settling for an aisle vendor with something vaguely resembling a stuffied pie. She calcuated her change and decided she could spare enough to purchase for lunch and dinner and possibly breakfast.Tasting it first, proved to be fortunate, for it did taste good, but somewhat salty. Eira bargained with the vendor until he agreed to make a few salt-free. She eneded up paying him for an extra one to make up for the trouble.She was nearly on her way when she stopped and on a whim, asked him where she could find the Dark Phoenix. He stared at her long and hard for a moment, then suddenly pulled up the sides on his cart and hurried off.Eira blinked. "Okay...that was wierd."

Stuffing her mouth, she happily continued, wondering where exactly she should begin her search. It was said that the Dark Phoenix usually resided somehwere on the planet adjacent to Vanderoone, known formally as the planet Vandroxe.

She swallowed, gagging on a bit of root and managing to cough out the hard piece. She grimaced. "I guess you get what you pay for." She grumbled when the 'root' turned out to be a large chunk of rock salt. "Yecch!"Heading for the travel center she found an open counter with a friendly enough face to ask her the question. "This might sound crazy, but I'm looking for the Dark Phoenix, can you tell me-?" She stopped as the friendly face grew red then white and quickly expressionless as it turned away. "Nevermind." She c alled half-heartedly after the retreating figure. "I'll just find it on my own." She shook her head. "The Dark Phoenix is a legend, how come everyone here acts like he's their impending destruction?"

The wording of her thought allowed for a short laugh and she continued on merrily before finding a quiet place between too shops and settling down to rest for awhile. Hopefully she wouldn't be noticed and a little nap wouldn't hurt either...Eira's eyelids drooped, slowly, tiredly and then closed. It was a matter of seconds before she was fast asleep and completely unaware of the eyes watching her from the rooftops of the quaint shops.

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

Eira awoke to the rough shaking of an unfamiliar hand on her shoulder. "Huh..wha?" She mumbled, struggling to bring her sleeply brain up to speed with her already alert body.Finding the shaker to be a fuzzy looking male figure, she jerked away slightly. "Hey! Keep your hands to yourself." A mild threat, she rubbed her face lightly and stifled a yawn. "All right already, I'm up, what is it?"Her vision cleared enough for her to finally get a good look at the 'shaker'.

Vanderoone Elite Security Officers. A hand went to her mouth and she wiped it hurriedly, hoping there were no crumbs to show her hasty lunch. "Uh, can I help you with something?"

"I need to see your pass and ID." The Officer nearest demanded, his face set in an expression Eira didn't partiuclarly like.

"Sure. No problem, it's in my bag right...here..." Eira's voice trailed off as she started at the spot she'd been sleeping. There was no bag and nothing at all, save for her shadow staring back up at her. "I uh, great! How do I explain this, um, I'm really sorry, but I don't have it on me right now, I uh, had it in a bag and was sleeping and I guess someone took it. Sorry."

"No ID?" The next officer, taller and more rough-looking moved to the front of the group. "No pass?"

Eira shook her head cautiously. "No. I had. Now I don't. I think someone stole them." She rubbed her neck and then her forehead. It was a sure sign of something bad to come, the aches only surfaced when her powers were needed. She tried not to groan. She had a feeling it wouldn't go over very well.

"The people of Vanderoone are not thieves." The skinny officer chimed. His voice squeaky and high-pitched.

Eira wondered if she could tune him with a tuning fork."I didn't say that they were, I just said that I had a bag with me and now I don't and the only obvious answer to that is that somebody or something stole it from right out under me."

"You are implying of course that someon from Vanderoone 'stole' your bag then?" The first officer said.

Eira closed her eyes for a moment. "no. No. No. No! I am not saying anything of the sort, I am not implying that I have anything to say at all on the subject of thievery, I am merely saying that my bag is missing and seeing as you are the current officers and authorities on this staion, shouldn't you be logging it down as lost or missing or something? I have valuable things in there!"

"it doesn't matter what she says she sounds like she is saying something that makes absolutely no sense at all." But as the second officer spoke a faint smile was visible on his face. "Do you have anyone to verfiy your story, ma'am?"

Eira blinked. "No, well, sort of and not really. But I can call family who'll vouch for me!" She suggested, hopeful.The officers shrugged as one and Squeaky suggested that she follow them to headquarters. She willingly followed in hopes of getting the entire mess all sorted out. She wasn't feeling too hopeful about the recovery of her personal belongings until she happened to catch sight of the young Sardonean male standing innocently in linef for a junk seller. he happened to be holding a very familar bag."Uh, officers?" She tapped the one nearest to her and pointed striaght. "That boy has my bag."

She turned back in time to see the trio exchange a three-way glance. "What? I know it's mine. I can prove it if I get hold of it!"

"Right." The first officer muttered. "I suppose you'll prove it by way of the bag's contents."

Eira's eyes narrowed to mere slits. "No. Of course not. That would hardly be credible, now would it?" She snapped.Before either of them could com after her, she stalked off towards the kid and tapped his shoulder. He turned lazily and for a milli-second a flicker of fear pass through his red eyes. His face contorted to a half-glare. "What'd ya want, lady?"

Eira fixed her red-brown eyes on his meaningfully, her temper was already frayed and sparking. "I think you know what I want. You have my bag and don't even try arguing for it. I'm half Sar and if I need to get my bag back by arguing for the sake of insanity, I'll be happy to do it. I've had plenty of practice."

The boy looked at her incredulously and turned his back to her, moving forward in the line. Eira felt her temper prick until the officers stepped up and asked him to step aside and show the contents of the bag.He did. The duffel was empty and battered and there was practically nothing of great worth in or from it, except maybe it was worth a few Vrid from the Junkman. He smiled mockingly as he was allowed to return to to his place in line.Eira felt her temper before she saw it. "Oh Eira." She murmured, closing her eyes.

It was a struggle to hold her temper in check, a forever battle giving to one side and then to the other. Mostly giving in to her constant inner pleading. Today she lost.Red energy pooled rapidly at her fingertips and she cocked one hand as her eyes flew open. She heard quiet gasps and the usual rustling as the 'audience' adjusted themselves to be further away from her.She tilted her head easily...and smiled. "My name is Eira." Her voice grated. "And I draw on every mark that I have made on all objects in this station belonging to me."

The air was tense and silent as the noise ceased.Then the rattling started. Quiet and then more insistent as several objects suddenly hurtled through the air, people scrambling to stay out of the way from it as it flew to Eira and hovered just a few inches away in mid-air.Her eyes glowed blood-red and the energy hadn't left her hands. Suddenly, the duffel the boy had been holding. Jerked. Hard and flew through the air towards her. She caught it with her free hand...and smiled.

Served him right.

Copyright (c) Sara Harricharan