FWF – A New Beginning

It’s so hot in this car that I have to roll down the window. The hot desert wind shooting by my social worker’s speeding car is ten times better than the stagnant air I’ve had to put up with since her AC is broken. It broke last month and she still hasn’t fixed it.

“How much longer?” I ask, allowing the breeze to dance around my face, efficiently waking me up from my stupor.

Tina sighs. “For once, can you just be patient, Thora? We’ll be there soon.”

I feel like she’s asking too much of me. Usually a new home is in the city, but this time they are keeping me in the dark about it and a girl gets impatient, especially me. We’ve been driving for three hours. To where, I have no clue. There seems to be nothing but desert on all sides of us with no end in sight.

Choosing to not respond to my social worker, I stick my hand out the window. The bracelet my mom left with me–two woven bands separated by various green and blue stones, and one I distinctly recognize as turquoise–glints back at me. I’ve worn this thing as long as I can remember. It’s all she left behind before she disappeared. Because of this bracelet, I still think she’s alive. No one else does.

I wave my hand around, riding the wind, as though wielding a wand. If only I could magic myself out of this car and to wherever my mom is, then I wouldn’t have to be shuffled from foster home to foster home again. Unfortunately, magic doesn’t exist, I don’t know where my mom is and I wouldn’t know where to go. After a few minutes, my hand goes up and down with the wind without me really controlling it. Again, I’m lulled into a nap.

The jerk of the emergency brake jars me awake. I hate it when Tina pulls that stupid centerpiece. My fifteen years in the system never cured me from the uncomfortable stomach lurch that inevitably followed. I swear it is her lot in life to only purchase cars with a centerpiece E-brake. Don’t ask me why.

“All right, I couldn’t tell you before, but you need to brace yourself,” she says, turning toward me. My head rolls along the leather seat to look at her as I try to gather my foggy brain power. Sweat dampens the bottom of my hair against my neck and I welcome the brief coolness it brings. “This family is technically your biological family.”

My head and body snap forward. I thought I was the only one left of my family. As I wait for Tina to spill the details, my chest won’t let any breath escape.

“Apparently, she’s your mom’s cousin. Somehow we found her and she’s expressed interest in taking you in.”

I raise my eyebrows. No one ever wants me. I believe the words “more trouble than she’s worth” is a permanent fixture in the mouths of my many foster families. And it’s kind of true. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t listen to orders very well. When I want to do something, I do it regardless if they tell me explicitly not to.

“Now, before you go AWOL like you did last time, please just …” she searches for the words for a moment. “Be good. That’s all I ask. You only have a couple of months until you’re 18 and can do as you please. Until then, stay out of trouble, okay?”

I roll my eyes at her. That speech hasn’t held onto my conscience yet and I’m betting it won’t stick this time either. She does seem more serious than usual though.

It’s beyond amazing that any of my family could be tracked down, so we’ll see if I want to follow the rules or not. It all depends on if they’re crazy or mean.

Since we’ve obviously reached our destination, I look outside and freeze. A small brick house stands completely unoriginal from the others on the street. The only thing that distinguishes it from the other houses is a tree house in the tree in the backyard. Other than that, it has the same square-ish exterior, the same placement of the same white door and windows and the same chimney poking out of the roof on the right hand side–just like all of the neighboring houses. All of the grass is green even though it is early September. And as far as I can tell, there is no broken cement anywhere on either side of the street.

Kids scream through the sprinklers at a couple of houses. It was one of those neighborhoods: a place to raise a family. The last time I was placed in a neighborhood like this, I was ten. My distaste for it came from the fact that it made me think of how I likely would have lived with my mom were she still around. After that, I asked Tina to only put me with families in the busy city, a place where a traditional family life was a little more uncommon so I could avoid those feelings of misery. Apparently that particular request of mine is disregarded this time because a “blood relative” is involved. Just lovely. Note the sarcasm.

Welcome to suburbia, Thora.

Thanks to this week’s FWF prompt by Kellie Elmore, I was able to piece together a better beginning for one of my WIPS. I cannot express enough thanks that this prompt triggered such an inspiration for this story and I’m stoked to be giving it more attention now that a critical piece is now making sense. 

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FWF ~ Where I Will Be…

 

Each door calls my name, each for different reasons.

In Narnia, there are Animals and a vast land protected by an awesome lion that happens to have magical powers. Not to mention a sexy voice to boot. There are mermaids that swim in the seas, gorgeous beaches, woods that provide both shelter and a thrill, and such thing as magic. There are different sides–a constant battle over who should rule. Should it be a child or four? A young man who’s race practically wiped out all others? Or an evil witch? But at the end of the day, it’s hard to go back once you leave…

Neverland is another story entirely. Neverland is on a star. To be specific, the second star to the right. Like Narnia, there is magic but this time in the form of pixie dust. Mermaid Lagoon is home to mermaids, some nice and some not so nice. These mermaids like to poke a lot of fun. Pirates roam the seas, captained by the malicious and devilish Captain Hook. The crocodile in which Hook’s hand is trapped tails the ship, just waiting for Captain’s other hand to drop. The Lost Boys like to cause trouble, but they do it in good fun, until they get caught by the Indians who don’t really like the Pale Faces. I’m a pale face. Maybe Peter Pan can come to the rescue…

Sometimes I think I’d like to go to Wonderland. To a place where hardly anything makes sense, like a hookah-smoking caterpillar and caucus races in the tide, yet everything seems to work together. Frabjous Day is always cause for a celebration and a special dance. You never know if you’ll be big in a small world or small in a big world. A Cheshire Cat smile is guaranteed to get one in return. In Wonderland, no one seems to have a concept of time. Flower beds serenade you and a pair of twins won’t stop with the riddles and rhymes… which supposedly seem insane. Beasts are much more dangerous, but at least they have cool names like bandersnatches and jabberwockies. Sometimes you won’t know your path until you get somewhere. But as soon as you start to sing “Twinkle Little Bat,” an evil queen will scream, “Off with your head!” while tossing her decks of cards at her henchmen. I’ll need to be careful unless I want to lose my hat.

Now Hogwarts… that’s a cool place. A castle filled with learning and magic, secrets and mysteries, ghosts and wizards. Owls fly about delivering mail over a breakfast that’s made by elves. Students wield wands as tools in learning spells and their craft, while earning points for their houses. They have the most unique candy you’ll find anywhere, like Sugar Quills that you can suck on, pills that can make you puke then stop, and Chocolate Frogs that come to life before your eyes. There’s a ghost who cries in one of the girl’s bathrooms at all hours of the day, and another that likes to cause trouble by pulling pranks. Quidditch is always a good time as it pits the four different houses students against each other in good sport, as they aim a quaffle from the seat of a flying broomstick for three golden hoops while someone seeks out the elusive snitch. Most of the teachers are cool, but there are a couple who either have a few screws loose or have a hidden agenda. There is even word of a Dark Lord who wants to take over the school and the entire magic world. Now I’m not so sure…

If I wanted a little history, I would choose Camelot–the place where honorable King Arthur reigned and Merlin held all the magic. The knights of the round table would be handsome and follow the Old Knight’s Code of Honor. But then again, that could get boring after a while. Chivalry may not be dead, but chivalrous knights don’t really exist anywhere else. Sometimes a girl wants a little danger…

Then comes Middle Earth. The place where different kinds of people roam, including hobbits with hairy feet, elves who can sense the future, dwarves who live in caves and man. Usually kept separate, they rely on each other in times of need. With expansive and diverse landscapes, from towering snow-covered mountains, to the valleys with pretty creeks, swamps where the dead lie, and castles built into mountainsides, no part of Middle Earth looks like another. Magic and wizards exist, but bad and good are in a constant battle. Like Hogwarts, a Dark Lord is gathering power to take over the Middle Earth once more, pitting orc against the friendlier races. If good can reign supreme then maybe a new ruler can rise and lead in peace…

Westeros, however, is a world I know not of. So the idea of a mystery? Certainly my imagination peaks.

My hands twitch, itching to open all the doors. But then I take a closer look at them, and realize that these worlds, of magic, of wonder, of nonsense and darkness, would only make me miss the world I’ve come to grow and love. It may not have magic in the sense that these seven doors would take me too, but it’s magical because it’s beautiful and the battle between good and evil isn’t so prevalent. It’s a place where you can experience all of these worlds without ever really venturing into them, but from a place of a book in safety.

Instead, the question that arises is not where you are… but who you are and who you will be.

FWF ~ What path less traveled?

I could try and think of a time when I took the road less traveled… but it’s really hard and my mind keeps going back to one thing.

To quote a Faith Hill song, I was “daddy’s little girl, mama’s little angel, teacher’s pet and pageant queen.” Except instead of pageant queen, it was more of a performing queen. But I think you get the picture.

I never really strayed. I always tried to do the right thing–the good things.

It wasn’t until a lot later in my life when I decided to be a little bad. That led to some interesting decisions, interesting friends and even more interesting situations that I got myself into because of them. It was never anything really bad, but it definitely wasn’t in character for a Type-A perfectionist like me.

Then I found someone that subconsciously influenced me to take a path I never thought I’d take. Just one person. If anything, I could thank him but at the same time, I’d like to rip his heart out and tap dance on it, like he did to mine. He showed me things I never thought I’d experience and I trusted him enough to go along with it all. And I fell in love with him.

Sometimes I think it’s crazy what love will do to someone. I’d like to call him my path less traveled. I wouldn’t have done half the things I did with him had he not come into my life. Had he not come into my life, I wouldn’t have known I could fall for someone like that. Had he not been there, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.

The only problem was, how it started definitely wasn’t a path I wanted to take. How it ended wasn’t a path I wanted to take. Unfortunately, that’s not how life goes. The choices you make and their consequences define who you are… and I hope I’ve become a stronger person because of it.

FWF ~ Gentle One

It’s far past my bedtime. Daddy would be furious if he knew I was out in the woods behind our house again. Ever since dusk, it’s been bugging me for so long that I just have to be out here right now. I have to find out what I saw.

I make my way past crooked trees, keeping my eyes peeled for any sign of movement. The glimmers disappeared this way, I’m sure of it. After a few minutes, I notice that I’m approaching a swamp from the squelch beneath my feet and the dull shimmer of water some fifty feet away from me. I stop, not wanting to venture too far into the messy mud.

Glancing around, I cross my arms in front of me and feel goosebumps erupt on my skin. It’s much colder than it was a moment ago. The chill came on a subtle breeze. I look to the direction I feel the wind coming from and gasp. There’s the white glimmering flash again!

The longing to know what it is overwhelms me and I start to walk over. Every step I take towards it makes the wind blow harder until I finally feel like I can’t breathe from the pressure on my chest. Have I walked into a wall? That’s almost what it seems like.

The glimmer is only a little bit closer to me now, even though I feel like I should be closer. Wait a minute… it’s getting brighter and brighter! The light is coming towards me.

A voice speaks, “You need to go home, Silas.”

I can only muster a squeak. “Wha?”

“We are the Fae and we have been assigned to protect you, gentle one,” the voice continued, “only you’re not supposed to know.”

In an instant, the light surrounds me and I’m warmed from the outside in.

The next thing I know, I’m looking up at my ceiling with my bed sheets on top of me, wondering what on earth I saw at dusk. A strange glimmer or sparkle, was it? I consider going out to the forest despite Daddy’s temper. But then I change my mind and doze off to sleep while dream of fairies.

FWF ~ A Street is Not a Home

I can’t really talk about the street I grew up on…
There were many.
Divorce does that and so do second marriages.
So I lived on many different streets growing up,
often two at a time–
the street my mom lived on
and the street my dad lived on.
The street where our duplex was
the only one with a tramp in the backyard.
The street where we lived in a mother-in-law basement.
My grandmother’s street, a cul-de-sac,
quiet neighborhoods throughout Salt Lake Valley–
I mean, aside from the short stint in California
when I was too young to even remember it.
I feel like we moved so much
that I never really settled down.
At times, I struggle to remember
the names of the streets we’ve lived on.
It wasn’t until I was 10
that we found houses that we stayed in.
After that, it was a neighborhood
and we had neighbors that were friends.
So many streets to remember,
but all they tell me now is that
home is wherever your heart is.

FWF ~ Once upon a time…

 

Once upon a time there was a lovely woman named Aviana forced to live under an unbearable roof because of her mother’s marriage to the ruthless City of Colbourne’s Officer of Imprisonment. They lived in a grand estate near the Capitol with a vast garden-like backyard that had a streaming river weaving its way through it. It should have been a prized life … but Aviana hated every moment.

Every day, Aviana was forced to train to learn how to Trap prisoners in orbs. No matter how hard she tried and no matter how persistent her overbearing step-brother was in her training, Aviana never failed to fail. She feared that, unlike her mother and step-family, she did not have the Power of the Orb in her bloodstream. When she wasn’t being forced to train, Aviana would head to the City Centre to visit the loving family of her late father’s sister–the closest family she’d ever had. With them, she would help make sure those who were hungry had something to eat, often stealing from her step-fathers own cooling cavity. But at the end of every day, Aviana would stare up at her ceiling, praying for some way out of a life that many people would kill for.

One day, after failing her training once again, Aviana discovered an orb floating down the backyard river. Confused, she reached down to pick it up. As soon as her fingers touched it, the orb shone brightly before releasing a young boy. To Aviana, imprisoning children was inexcusable for they haven’t learned all the rules yet. The boy’s name is Gerard, and he won’t tell her why he was imprisoned, only that he was trying to help his family because they were in dire danger and still were. When he pleads for her help to find his family, she finds it hard to say no.

Because of that, Aviana learns she does have the Power of the Orb, just not Trapping like her step-family. In contrast to them, she had the ability to only free from orbs, not imprison. When she tells her mom what she has learned, her mother tells her to run but not to tell anyone. If anyone knew that the step-daughter of the Official of Imprisonment had that ability, it would put everything at jeopardy, particularly the potential to release all the prisoners (which, in Aviana’s mind, was what should happen for many people were imprisoned for trivial and harmless crimes).

Because of that, Aviana deserts her step-family to help Gerard. They have to enlist the help of Seer Pisla to know when the officials became aware of Gerard’s accidental escape and come after them. What she doesn’t realize until too late is that her step-brother leads the troop trying to hunt down Gerard… and also her. After learning new powers and still failing to run away to save Gerard and his family, they are caught. She is dragged back to the estate, to be kept locked away and not allowed to touch anything resembling an orb for the rest of her life. And Gerard is sent back to an orb to finish his sentence.

Until finally, Aviana breaks out of the estate and goes to live with her aunt and uncle. She decides to run to be the Official for Justice when she becomes of age a couple years later. After she is elected, she overwrites half of the laws and throws away everything her step-family worked to have control over to keep them from wrongful imprisonment ever again. Under her, everyone who commits a crime would have a fair judgement rather than rash and harmful punishment no matter the crime. Through this, she releases all prisoners, one by one, from the Orb Imprisonment Library to figure out who really deserves mercy or justice. Once Gerard is free, he’s reunited with his family and becomes Aviana’s very best friend… that is… until a few years later. ;)

Consider this a reader’s digest version of one of my WIP’s that I started writing for NaNoWriMo last year.

 

Friday the 13th

Suspicions. Black cats. Walking underneath ladders. Broken mirrors. Superstition. Writing on the wall. Curses. Mystery. Foretelling a flashback.

Bright eyes against a dark night. Clouds parting for la Luna. Time for magic. A time for mystique, for magic.

Birthday wishes and 13 candles.

Close your eyes and blow… What did you wish for?