Saturday, March 26, 2011

Story #59

An update on my 1000 dares challenge to write 1000 stories. The challenge is coming along a bit slowly, but coming along just the same.

At the moment, I have fifty-nine stories completed. Story #59 is Bolt of Courage, found for Friday Fiction at my Fusion Blog. I'm excited to see that I've passed the 50-story mark and am now aiming towards the greater part of my first 100.

Chai Time #1

Hi! Come on in--it's okay. Yes, yes, I know I've been gone for a few weeks...okay, a month or so. But really, I'm up to my ears in homework and university keeps me busy. Talk to a college student. These days, the thing we all want the most is a little more sleep--and maybe some sanity! I've been a little short on both lately.

Anyway, ScriptFrenzy starts next week and I really want to have some of my ideas and characters hammered out by then. Are you participating in Screnzy 2011? I am! This will be my 5th year. Let me know in the comments below and I will gladly cheer you on! I'm excited for another writing adventure and in spite of my busy-ness, I'm really looking forward to it. I hope to actually finish my script this year, as I have an unfinished one from last year that is still waiting for me to complete the ending. ^_^

I also wanted to introduce a little "column" or rather, a weekly post theme. Chai Time is simply a rambly post, similar to "the random zone" section that used to appear as a warning before my regular posts would take off on an entirely different tangent. However, to keep it from traveling off on some weird topic, I am confining these posts to points and little things that happen in my day.

It will be short and quick--usually typed up in the moment of the day when I am drinking my Chai--aka--tea!

Today's Chai Time is actually a normal topic on Chai itself.

Chai means tea, so for future reference when ordering in a cafe, don't order Chai Tea. That's redundant. Just order Chai and maybe a bagel or something. Bagels are good. So are donuts. Please excuse me for getting off topic here. ^_^

I was talking about Chai. I am not a huge fan of milk (well, unless it's chocolate milk and even that is iffy), so generally I do not take milk in my tea. No sugar or sugar substitutes either. I like my tea light and flavorful and as straight up as it comes. I thought I'd try a flavored creamer by Coffee House and was pleasantly surprised. Real Indian chai is made from black tea, vanilla and spices, mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with milk. It is creamy, sweet and very addictive.

You can find an excellent Chai recipe here--complete with pictures and averages and ingredient substitutions. I usually add the ginger to mine and I prefer the milk/tea ration to be 1:1 instead of 3:4. Try it and let me know what you think. ^_^

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bolt of Courage (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the talented Catrina Bradly over @ her blog, A Work In Progress. Click here to read and share more great fiction. (psst! Cat also as a great mystery story going--part 3 this week!)

Author's Ramblings: This little snippet was from the mention of a "lightning store" so it is a bit of prompt fiction. I did intend for it to be as abstract as it is, my original aim was a bit of an abstract piece and I think that is established. Maybe. Sort of. This was an experimental piece. ^_^ It's been another long school week, so this was a short piece of um, drabble? Enjoy the read and happy weekend!

Her boots were tall and thin, just like the rest of her. With steady, echoing footsteps, she entered the dusky shop, the tarnished bell tinkling overhead to announce her entrance. Deliberate steps, piercing eyes and thin pink lips pursed in a perfect line offered her introduction to the old shopkeeper.

Strolling down the first aisle, she studied the dazzling array of lightning bolts. In all shapes, shades and sizes, they crackled and sparked from their restraints along the wall as she passed by them. It was almost as if they wished to leap off the walls and into her empty hands.

The soft swish of waist-length pigtails fanned out behind her as Iridessia rounded the corner into the second aisle. There were smaller lightning bolts here. Her hair shrank back against her shoulders, purple-and-blank tinted pigtails, tied with a shimmering white ribbon the color of light.

Her searching grey eyes roamed every inch of the store as she circled the aisles a second, then a third time. Her hands were kept to herself and whenever she passed the counter, she would dutifully avoid the shopkeeper’s gaze, with only a nod to his single greeting.

There was nothing to fill the silence, save for the strange, twisted sounds of the energy snapping to life. In straights, curves and jagged slabs, the lightning was everywhere. From pale, crystal pinks to glaring green lances.

Iridessia circled the aisles once more, each step seeming to bring a new breath of life to her tired, worn face. Her hands now hung limply behind her, just like her sassy pigtails spilled comfortably over her shoulders and neck.

“Shopkeep.” Her voice was flat, dry.

The old man grunted, stroking his white, pointed beard as he shuffled over. There seemed to be some friction created from the simple act of rubbing his hands through his beard. “Which one?”

She nodded towards a slender lilac specimen. “That one.”

Bushy eyebrows wiggled upwards in an unspoken question that remained unsaid. “Anything else?”

The pigtails quivered with a shake of her head.

“Right this way.” He stretched up on tip-toe, giant, flabby arms painstakingly detaching the fiery purple lightning bolt. It wanted to be free. It strained at once against the authoritative grip, wrestling it into submission. “Would you like to hold it?” He offered the young customer.

Iridessia scooted backwards at once. “I would not.” She said, flatly.

The bushy eyebrows danced upwards again, but there were no other words spoken until they reached the weathered wooden counter. He set the quivering bolt in front, before walking around to the cash register.

Fixing the impatient bolt with a practiced glare, the old shopkeeper skirted the counter to stand awkwardly behind the plastic register. He stabbed a few broken plastic keys until a number showed up on the faded digital screen.

“Three thousand Arli.” He grunted. “Will you be paying with-”

The payment was draw from the sleeves of her flowing silken blouse. Iridessia nodded towards the bolt, careful to hand the coins around the shaking bundle of energy—so it couldn’t touch her.

He took the coins from her outstretched hand and held them up to the light, one at the time. There was a faint pastel tint to the oblong shapes of precious metal. He cracked a smile, dropping the coins through the necessary slot.

A bright pink slip shot out from beneath the register and he tore it in half, handing over one piece. “Wrapped or shrunk?”


She waited while he wrestled the bolt of lightning over to the wrapping table and neatly bound it in a tangle of brown paper and twine. It retained its jagged shape, the twine stretched taut over the pointed corners, the knots tight in all the right places.

He held it up, turned it, then extended his hand.

The pale pink lips quirked and then, with the tips of her fingers, Iridessia gingerly caught the package up in her hands. With a duck of her head in thanks, she sprinted from the shop and out the door.

She ran until everything blurred into nothing. When she dared to stop for a breath, she stood tall atop the small hill outside the sleepy town. It was a special feeling that somehow seemed to shimmer in the very air as she held the package up in one hand.

Her grey eyes flickered to life as a gust of wind whipped by, ruffling her hair, rumpling her clothes and spiraling up from the ground. She closed her eyes, breathing slightly through the corner of her mouth for the moment where she couldn’t breathe in the sudden whirlwind.

Frantic fingers ripped the brown packing paper away from the squirming energy bolt that literally leapt into her ready fingers. A flare of courage bubbled up from inside of her as she felt the warm fire creeping up her fingertips and racing up the length of her arms, meeting together at the hollow of her neck before plunging deep into her chest, a piercing, foreign strength.

“This is my light, my life.” Iridessia began. “I choose this. I choose to be true to my own creativity. I choose to trust in this talent that God has given me. I trust it and I trust Him. With all reason, intent and purpose, He has crafted me to be. I acknowledge that and I take this first step in faith.” Her hands gripped the bolt tightly. “There is nothing but my own fears holding me prisoner.”

The purple light shimmered, a fierce, deep hue before it began to spark wildly.

“I give this first step to you, Father.” She murmured, rolling her shoulders and drawing her arm back, angling towards the cloudless blue sky. “Do with it what you will. Give me the strength and the courage to follow it through to the end.”

With a powerful thrust of her hand, the lightning bolt sprang from her hand and into the air. The cloudless blue sky darkened at once, a grey-blackness that provided a beautiful backdrop to the spidery forks of vibrant purple light.

The sky exploded with sparkling purple light, stretching from one horizon to the next.

Iridessia smiled. Strength seemed to seep up from the ground as courage poured into her as the soft splatters of the beginning rainfall.

She smiled.

© Sara Harricharan 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Serial (BBT)

btt button
  • Series? Or Stand-alone books?

Series! I love it when there's a sequel at least, I hate reading one really good book only to find that it ends right there. It's always more exciting to learn that there are more adventures with my favorite characters when I'm nearing the end of a really good book. This doesn't mean I don't mind a good stand-alone book, I love it when there's a good, solid story wrapped up in a book--with no loose ends. I don't mind loose ends if they are "fixed" in the second book. ^_^

Happy Thursday!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yum-Yum (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the lovely and talented Joanne "JJ" Sher over @ her blog,  An Open Book. Click here to read and share more great fiction! 

Author's Ramblings: Um...this didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to. I was aiming for something more fluffy, but somehow it all went downhill. I can't imagine why. LOL. Anyway, I've started it about three times and have finally settled on this version because it's the only one that seems to make some sense. Plot-wise, it's a bit flat, but I hope the theme of friendship/sistership makes up for it. It's been a long school week and my brain just needed a break from the serious stuff. This is following an idea given to me by a dear friend on the subject of Oven Mitts. ^_^ Enjoy the read and happy weekend! 

I didn’t expect to see Aunt Lou at the front door. I didn’t expect to see Dad’s tear-stained face. I thought I was prepared for many things. 

I wasn’t.

“Aunt Lou?”

“Katia.” She hugged me, her arms limp. “Did you have a good flight.”

“Forget the flight.” I hugged her tight and then held her at arm’s length. She was thinner than I remembered and maybe a bit paler. I couldn’t tell for sure. It had been two years after all. “Talk to me.”

“And say what?” Her lower lip trembled and she hugged her arms back to herself, pulling away from me. “It’s all mixed up.”

“Papa?” I waved my arms at her, ushering her towards the kitchen and the man that sat, brooding in the chair at the head of the table. “Papa, I’m home.”

The glare that he sent in my direction was enough to stop Aunt Lou in her tracks right behind me. I felt her stop and stand, just peering over the edge of my shoulder. A wave of annoyance bubbled up and I tempered my own look as I frowned.

“Where’s Alice?”

He continued to glare.

I sighed and turned to Aunt Lou. “Alice?”

It was the only name that would have me leaving a perfectly decent life in the lovely lands of Italy to return to the brokenness of endless fields in Virginia. A house with more haunt than hope and a family with less love than a king cobra.

She shrugged. “She’s locked herself in her room and stayed there since we told her.”

“Who told her?” I began steering her towards the stairs leading up to the second story. It was probably a good thing to leave my trouble father to his own musings in the kitchen and handle things one at a time. It was always a very strange sort of chain reaction—a reaction where I didn’t fit into the equation at all.

Aunt Lou swallowed.

I mentally counted from one to twenty. “Aunty Lou?”

She gave a slight squeak.

“Gracie?” I stared at her in disbelief. “You let Gracie tell Alice?”

A furious fiery blush painted across the older woman’s cheeks. “We didn’t have the…it happened so fast, there was nothing that we could do and I can’t…there wasn’t-”

“Fine. I get it.” I held up a hand to stop her, climbing the stairs. That meant there was a bigger mess to deal with. A bigger mess than I was used to fixing.

“H-how long are you staying?”

“This time?” I shrugged, unable to keep the edge from my voice this time. “I don’t know. I could go back this afternoon, save everyone the trouble?”

The rosy red settled into a pale pink. “T-that’s not quite the-”

I reached the top of the stairs and cast a cursory glance down the hallway. Nearly everything was as I remembered it. Doors in a row on both sides and pale, fine carpet the color of eggshell innards. There were no decorations on the walls and no definitions for which door led to what, except for a pink sign hanging on the front of one two doors down.

Gracie stood in front of the door with the pink sign, a door that could only lead to Alice’s bedroom. Her straight, short black hair was hiding her face, but her black eyes sparkled dangerously. She glared at me as I approached. “What are you doing here?”

I ignored her, turning to Aunt Lou. “Is she in there?”

“I think so.”

“No she isn’t!” Gracie interrupted. “and we’re fine. Go away. Stay in your stupid little-”

“Has she eaten anything?”

“I don’t know. I bring food for her but I can’t…it’s been…you see how it is.” She wrung her hands helplessly.

I pinched the bridge of my nose. I did know how it was. That was why I was there. “Mmm, yes.  Fine. Go get something that’s light to eat…some uh, canned soup and crackers. Crackers are good. Maybe a can of soda. Something with fizz?”

“Ginger ale?”

“Yes, that’s perfect.”

“It’ll be a minute.”

I nodded. “Gracie, go help her.”

Aunt Lou made another muffled sound, casting wary eyes towards the tween girl glaring at both of them. “I can manage and-”

“Gracie.” I turned to face her directly, pouring every ounce of authority into the look that was punctuated by a single eyebrow arching for emphasis. “Now!”

Gracie jumped. I let my eyes follow her until she was down the stairs and out of sight. Resisting the urge to sigh, I knocked on the door twice. Once hard and once soft, repeating the pattern three times.

There was no answer from within.

“Alice? Alice, it’s Katia. Can you open the door, sweetie? I just want to talk to you.”

Still no answer.

I looked down at the balled up wad of fabric in my hand. I didn’t really want to do what I was about to. I didn’t want to be what it meant. I wanted to be me. I wanted to be real, not a visiting figment of Alice’s imagination.

Slipping my hand into the giraffe-shaped oven-mitt, I wiggled my fingers around, finding a comfortable spot before I knocked on the door again and tried the knob. It was locked.

“Alice.” I cleared my throat and squeezed my eyes shut as I focused on the necessary pitch and tone before speaking in character. “Alice, dahling it’s Yum-Yum. I’ve come all the way from Italy ta visit, wontcha let me in, love?”

The door was unlocked and Alice’s red face appeared around the corner. Skinny seven-year-old arms were flung around my arm, yanking me into her room and then down to the floor as she tried to hug the oven mitt. “Yum-Yum, oh, Yum-Yum.” Fat tears trickled down her face as she clutched it to her chest. “I missed you.”

I sat there, in a tangled heap on her bedroom floor, letting her hug the oven mitt on my left hand. There wasn’t a good time to interrupt, at least not until her tears were spent.

“You weren’t here, Yum-Yum.” She hiccupped. “Don’t you know what’s happened?” The tears bubbled freely down her cherubic cheeks. “Mama’s dead. She died. She’s not coming back, Yum-Yum.” She pushed the mitt away. “And you weren’t even here!”

My youngest step-sister took out her frustrations and tears on the oven mitt that my mother had always used to tell us bedtime stories. She’d gifted it to me when I had voiced my intentions of studying abroad. Gracie and Alice had both agreed at the time when Mama had given over three of her precious items. Her lacy white ‘good luck’ sweater, Yum-Yum the oven mitt and a silver charm anklet that I rarely took off, if at all.

Using my free hand, I tugged at the warm collar around my neck. I was wearing the pretty sweater over a little black dress. I hadn’t been able to get a flight any sooner. I was late. I’d missed everything. But I intended to pay my respects, just the same.

I didn’t think I’d stop to visit, until Aunt Lou called me. She was worried. Because she was worried, I worried. She was always Mama’s confidante. Now, as I sat in a darkened princess bedroom watching Alice bawling her eyes out, I realized there was more to worry about than there had been before.

Then I realized that Gracie and Aunt Lou were taking a while to return. I hoped another argument with Papa hadn’t started when I wasn’t there to referee. Sometimes I wished he was my real father, rather than my step-father, because then I could yell at him, just like everything else and then things would go back to normal.

Everything was falling apart and I didn’t know that I had the patience to put it back together. Rather, I didn’t know that I wanted to have the patience to put it back together. I just wanted them to all stop acting so ridiculous in a moment like this.

We all needed each other or rather, they needed each other. I was fine.

That’s when I couldn’t take it anymore.

I choose to snap my sanity in half.

I dropped the phony accent voice, unable to keep up the character of Yum-Yum for much longer. “Alice.” It was the tone of voice Mama had always used when I was about to be in trouble. “Stop that right now.”

Swollen, red eyes blinked feebly at me.

“This is ridiculous. All of this is ridiculous.” I yanked my hand away and tugged off Yum-Yum. “I didn’t just come back here to do this.” I shook the oven mitt. “I came because it was necessary. I’m standing right here in front of you and all you have to say is-”

Her face scrunched up the way it usually did before she threw a temper tantrum.

I rose to my feet in a swirl of black silken skirts and white lace. “On the other hand, if you don’t feel like listening right now, I’m going to go downstairs and finish-”

Her arms were around my waist and she was crying again.

I had to take a step backwards to absorb the impact. “Alice.”

“Katia. Katia. Katia.” She chanted my name over and over. “Papa said you wouldn’t come. Gracie said you hated us.”

I hugged her back. I didn’t say a word.

When she’d stopped crying, I handed her Yum-Yum. “Present for you.”

She looked from the giraffe-shaped oven mitt to me and then back. “I-I-” She stammered.

“You can keep it until I go back.”

Relief showed plainly in her face. She wouldn’t take what Mama had given me, no matter how badly she wanted. She had grown quite a bit in two years.

“Thank you, Sissy.” The endearment left her lips, muffled by more sobs.

It was easy to stay there and hold her. I whispered nonsensical things in her ears until the cries quieted. “Alice, love.” I kissed the top of your head. “When something hurts so bad you can’t stand it, don’t lock yourself in a room. That doesn’t fix anything.”

“Yes it does.” She squished me harder. “You came.”

“Did Gracie tell you that too?” I slipped the oven mitt back on and patted her shoulder.

She almost smiled.

“C’mon kiddo. It’s downstairs to say hi to Papa and to stop Gracie from terrorizing Aunt Lou.” I wrapped an arm around her and turned towards the door. That was one step-sister down, one more to go, plus one grumpy step-father. I probably wouldn't go anywhere else for today. Another sigh was stifled. I was already prepared for that. “Ready?”


Yum-Yum nibbled on her ear. “Good girl!”

Alice giggled.

A single tear pooled in the corner of my eye. Miss you, Mama.

© Sara Harricharan

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Come and visit!

I'm up to my ears in homework, but I've also a minute to take a moment and participate in a great new adventure with an awesome mission. Drop by Jewels of Encouragement and take a moment to browse and be encouraged.

Have a great day!

Come visit!

Friday, March 11, 2011

3-11-2011 (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the talented writer, Karlene Jacobsen over @ her blog : Dancin in the rain. Click here to read and share more great fiction. 

Author's Ramblings: In the wake of the recent earthquake/tsunami that has affected Japan and so many others, I'm skipping my Friday Fiction story for a short poem. Please keep these people in prayer. 

Taken by talented photographer Clark Little. I've chosen this snapshot because it stirs a thread of hope for me.

Water, everywhere
Dark, deep, strange
I don’t know what to do

Disaster, everywhere
Shock, horror, terror
I don’t know what to do

Mud, everywhere
Wet, cold, thick
I don’t know what to do

Fire, somewhere
Hot, high, distant
I don’t know what to do

Debris, everywhere
Sharp, soft, hard
I don’t know what to do

Prayer for everywhere
Needed, wanted, asked
This I can do

Hope for everywhere
Peace, warmth, safety
This God will do.

In the palm of His hand,
Beneath the shadow seen
His strength reaches out
His hope reaches out
His love envelopes
The miles unknown

My prayers,
Your prayers
Their prayers
He hears them from every corner of the world
He is listening
And He is there,
 (c)Sara H.

“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” Psalm 91 : 2 KJV