Category Archives: Random

Random musings.

Drabble: Tangled Together

Genre: family, friendship, slice of life

 

They couldn’t stand each other, but their lives were so tangled together that they couldn’t go their separate ways anymore. When they began their symbiotic relationship decades ago, they never expected it to go so well, or for their friendship to turn so sour.

“Oooh! This is nice. Did you make it?”

“Have you started the game yet?”

“We’re having a movie marathon this weekend, wanna join?”

The two men watched the family from their usual spot, side by side at the small table at the corner.

At least their family liked each other.

~End~

Drabble: Just Another Ordinary Day

Genre: fantasy

 

“How was your day?” his classmate asked.

It started with a sudden awakening when the werewolf next door accidentally smashed a hole in his wall trying to turn off his alarm. Eyes still heavy with sleep, he rushed over with his staff and cast an illusion over the damage before the normal folks noticed.

On the way back, he found someone’s familiar stalking a human. He managed to snatch the familiar away before something irreversible happened, but his reputation wasn’t as lucky.

Breakfast… what breakfast? He needed all his limbs, mundane and magical, to keep the familiar contained until its master came.

Then it was time for class, and he barely remembered to leave his seven foot staff behind before leaving the house.

Not that he could share any of that with his completely unmagical human friend.

He shrugged. “Just another ordinary day.”

~End~

Behind the Kisses

Takes place after First Kiss.
Genre: fantasy, superpowers

“The trick to a good alter ego,” said Inna AKA Super Scout, “Is not to create a completely different person.”

“Why not?” Patricia asked.

“It’s hard to maintain. And you don’t want to give yourself an identity crisis after pretending to be someone else for a few years.”

“Then what do I do?” Patricia drew random squiggles on the pillow with her fingers.

“Design your alter ego and your civilian identity at the same time. They’ll both be you, but you’ll emphasise different sides of you. Like how some people can be the perfect kid for their parents at home and a giant nightmare for the teachers in school.”

“I can do that.”

“Brainstorming time!” Inna announced and threw a giant sheet of paper over the coffee table. “Let’s start with how you’ll collect kisses from people.”

They decided very quickly that civilian Patricia would be the kind of person who would ask politely for a kiss. For super Patricia, Inna had plenty of outrageous ideas, but Patricia, the one who would actually play the part, had the final say, and her final say was a neutral who treated kisses as a well-known price people had to pay if they wanted her services. One kiss for one minute because her power was worth it, not because she couldn’t do anything without kisses.

Once they settled on that, the rest followed naturally. Civilian Patricia would just be her normal self. Super Patricia’s defining characteristic that set her apart from civilian Patricia was how much she didn’t care about what other people think. If other people got offended or didn’t agree, too bad. She was getting her kisses no matter what.

“We did good,” Inna said as she admired the large paper, now covered with scribbles and drawings from their fruitful brainstorming session.

Patricia nodded.

“Let’s burn it.”

Patricia’s head snapped up to look at Inna.

“Unless you want to leave it around for other people to find it.” Inna shrugged.

“Let’s burn it,” Patricia quickly agreed.

“Knew you’ll see it my way.” Inna grinned and flicked a lighter on cue.

Within minutes, the only evidence left of their brainstorming session was a tray of ashes, which Inna dumped down the sink.

“Just in case there’s someone with a superpower that can turn those ashes back into paper. You never know,” was Inna’s explanation.

Well, this was it. She was going to be a superhuman. One of the special ones. She could do this. She was ready!

Right?

~Check out what happens after in Wavering Kisses~

Playing Monopoly with kids

For the Chinese, Chinese New Year is a time where extended families gather together from all around the world, and friends and relatives visit each other.

Which means kids. And this set of kids I ended up with one day wanted to play Monopoly.

There were six of us, so we randomly split into three groups of two. Already, we had an issue. Someone wanted to team with someone else. Fortunately, no one else actually cared, so it didn’t become a big deal. 

So we distributed the money, chose our tokens, and started the game. It was pretty normal, other then the fact that theth kids had trouble remembering whose turn it was (maybe that, too, is normal). One team was super unfortunate, but they didn’t fuss much, which was great. One team that had a lot of money actually decided not to buy a house when they could because they would ‘lose money’.

After some time, one kid introduced the rule that people could ‘cheat’ if they give all the teams 1000 Monopoly money (bribery!). In this case, it let the rich team get a hotel straightaway for their property. But that wasn’t all. They rolled a special red dice to get a ‘3’, and that let them roll four times in a row during their turn for the rest of the game.

The rest of the game kinda fell apart some time afterwards. I don’t remember who won. I left when they said they would start counting to see who won. I’m pretty sure they didn’t really do it in the end though.

Drabble: Sweet Devastation

Syrup and cream coated every exposed surface. Chunks of fruit and sponges were splattered everywhere, including underneath the overhead cupboards thanks to the sticky coating.

If this was the kitchen, she would just be annoyed, but this was her study. Who knew how many documents and letters were hiding under all that sweetness.

“What happened here?” she cried out.

Her foster son rushed over, only to stop a few steps behind her.

“Sorry. It’s my fault,” said the lanky teen. He held a bucket in one hand. “I was going to clean it before you came back.”

“What were you doing?”

“Making a cake.”

“In my study?”

“… Yes?”

They watched each other for a long time. Her baffled, him uneasy. Finally, she said, “We’ll clean what we can.”

She reached for the rag in the bucket, but he pulled back.

“I can do it myself. Why don’t you take a break upstairs?”

“You sure?”

“Very.”

“Ok.”

She headed upstairs. Better rest now before she dealt with her devastated study.

Something exploded downstairs. She rushed back down.

“What happened?”

“Nothing. Everything’s fine. Go back and rest.”

She hesitated at the foot of the stairs. Check on her foster son or trust he had everything under control?

She turned around and headed back up the stairs.

~End~


Find out what happened in Count to ten, try again.

Genre: slice of life, family, mystery

NaNoWriMo Day 1

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a challenge where writers around the aim to write 50k words in November (30 days). A common way to break 50k words down into more manageable daily chunks is to use the formula 50 000 words/30 days = 1667 words/day.

I don’t do that. Not because I want to be different, but because I know there will be days where I can’t write a word, either because of writer’s block or because life gets in the way. Instead, I go by a combination of these two formulae:

50 000/20 = 2500 words/day + 10 off days
50 000/25 = 2000 words/day + 5 off days

My goal every day is to write between 2k to 2.5k words, which would give me more leeway to take breaks during the month if I need it. Just in case, it would also be great if I can write about 500 words even on the ‘off days’. Anything to buffer the bad days when I can’t put anything on paper.

That’s it for day 1 of NaNoWriMo. I happened to have a day off today, but still couldn’t hit 2.5k. Not great. But I did hit 2k, so not a bad start.

Sigh. If I only I can count this blog in my word count.

 

Today’s word count: 2147

 

Perfect Junk

My response to the prompt artificial.

 

~Perfect Junk~

They were on their way home when Jana heard someone crying.

“Who’s crying?” she asked her brother.

The arm she was holding on to shifted as Julian looked around. When he told her that the cries came from a doll, her eyes widened. For a doll to cry, it had to be one of the Wilhem Dolls. No one threw away Wilhem Dolls. They weren’t common enough to be thrown away.

Making up her mind, she asked her brother for a brief detour. As they headed towards the source of the crying, her brother described a female doll that was missing a leg and most of an arm, with a cracks across half her face. It sounded bad, but that usually wasn’t enough reason to throw a Wilhem Doll away.

“We’re here,” her brother murmured. She slowly knelt down.

“Hello, you alright?” she asked.

A sniffled, then, “Are you… talking to me?”

“Yup.” Jana gave the doll what she hoped was a friendly smile.

“Why?”

“Why not?”

Another sniffle.

“Because I’m junk.”

Junk was pretty extreme, even if it referred to physical disfigurement in dolls, but their conversation so far suggested that the doll’s internal system was in working order.

“Why are you junk?” she asked.

Without hesitation, the doll replied, “Because I’m not perfect.”

By that logic, everything in this world was junk.

“Do you think I’m junk?”

“No!” the doll sounded horrified.

“But I’m blind. That means I’m not perfect, which, following your logic, makes me junk.”

“You’re not junk.”

Jana smiled.

“Neither are you. You sound perfectly fine to me.”

“I’m missing limbs. And my face is broken. And I’m too clingy. And I’m stupid.”

That was… more issues than she expected, but her family hadn’t abandoned her because of her blindness. She didn’t want to abandon this doll because of a few cosmetic problems and potential system issues.

Did she really know what she was getting herself into?

She shelved her concerns for her future self to deal with.

“Doesn’t matter.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

The doll responded first with silence, then with a fresh round of crying. Why? What did she say wrong? She didn’t mean to make the doll cry.

“What’s wrong?” She lifted a hand towards the sound, but held back, afraid that she would poke out an eye instead with her blind groping. Her brother took her hand and guided it the rest of the way to what felt like the top of the doll’s head. She carefully ran her fingers through the tangled hair. “Don’t cry.”

The cries slowly wound down into sniffles. A cool hand tentatively touched her forearm.

“I think she wants you to take her,” her brother whispered into her ear.

“Would you like to come home with us?” she asked.

The hand lifted off her arm, then returned with a more solid grip. “Please.”

With Julian’s help, she gathered the small doll in her arms. There were a few awkward moments as she fumbled to find a comfortable position for both of them, but she finally settled into holding her arm across as a makeshift seat for the doll. She let the tiny head rest against her collarbone. Julian repositioned the spindly limbs and helped her to her feet.

“Let’s go home.”

~End~

 

Perfect Junk is actually something I wrote a few years back. Part of the driving motivation for the piece was the idea of taking two ‘imperfect’ beings to make a ‘perfect’ one. Not literally but something more the lines of the doll guiding Jana as her eyes and Jana… doing something for the doll. It was a story I really liked, even if I didn’t expand on it much, but the prompt fit this so well, I had to dig through my old stuff to rediscover this.

Mission Gone Wrong 11: Just Keep Walking

My response to the prompt clumsy. Follows after Promise Me This in the Mission Gone Wrong narrative.

Genre: general

 

~Just Keep Walking~

Ezra finally knew what was at the other side of the tunnel.

A dead end.

Just another hiccup on the most disastrous mission they’d had since they switched captains.

Going back wasn’t ideal, not with those monsters settling down to nap by the stream.

“That is fine. Just keep walking. We will get you,” Shadow said.

“Understood.”

“So, more walking?” Vincent asked.

“More walking,” Ezra said, “Unless you’re too tired to continue?”

“I’m fine. He’s not heavy, just difficult to carry,” Vincent said as the two S class Fighters rose to their feet, lifting the still slumbering newbie between them in a way that would aggravate his injuries as little as possible.

Ezra tapped Vincent’s shoulder. “Hang in there Vice-Captain. Don’t let the lady do all the work.”

Hands occupied, Vincent kicked Ezra’s leg. Ezra’s copy blocked the half-hearted attack.

“What are they doing at the other end?” Eileen cut in.

He watched the captain’s side through his other self.

“They’re making a new tunnel.”

“How?” Vincent shifted Theo’s weight.

“Their bare hands.”

“Sounds like a party,” Eileen said.

“Vice-Captain, would you rather dig a tunnel or carry dead weight?” Ezra asked.

“Carry dead weight,” Eileen answered for Vincent, “Because dirt is dirty, right?”

Their vice-captain scowled, but didn’t deny the answer.

“Do I still lose points if you’re the one to jump in and answer?” Ezra said.

“Double points. Since it’s so obvious that someone else can answer,” Eileen said.

“True that.”

Vincent kicked him again. This time, the hit connected and Ezra’s injured ankle collapsed beneath him.

“What the. Vice-Captain!”

Vincent’s cheeks heated.

“Sorry. Didn’t expect to actually hit you,” he mumbled.

Ezra tested his ankle. It refused to take his weight. He sighed.

This mission just got better and better.

~To be continued~

 

It was pretty difficult to incorporate clumsy into this piece. The easy way out would be to make someone clumsy, but that wouldn’t fit with how the characters have been portrayed previously. The best connection I could come up with was clumsy as in ‘difficult to handle/use, unwieldy’, referring to Theo.

Tomorrow’s prompt is even worse. We’ll see how that goes.

Mission Gone Wrong Masterlist

If you have been keeping up with my posts in the past few days, you would have noticed that unlike my usual one-shots, these posts are all parts of the same, continuous story.

There’s a reason for that.

One of my goals for October is to create a multi-chapter story. I didn’t have anything planned when I set that goal. I just thought that I had a whole month to think about it.

At the same time, to help me post something every day, I’ve been writing posts inspired by daily prompts.

So, what has happened so far this month is that I, in the process of responding to these prompts, am crafting a longer story than usual. I have a general idea of what kind of story I want to write, but I don’t know exactly what would happen until I’ve seen the prompt of the day.

It’s pretty exciting.

As of this writing, I am nine posts into the story, which is enough for me to finally give this cluster of posts a title: Mission Gone Wrong.

Navigating the different posts could be pretty confusing, so here’s a list for easy reference.

  1. Separated
  2. Collecting Duty
  3. Leap of Faith
  4. Good News, Bad News
  5. Foolish Boy
  6. Unrealised Potential
  7. Questions and Reasons
  8. Injured Parties
  9. Flattery for Hillary
  10. Promise Me This
  11. Just Keep Walking
  12. Cursed Blessing
  13. New Member
  14. Team Meeting
  15. Troubleshooting Theo

And that’s a wrap. Hope you enjoy the story 🙂

Drabble: The Idea

My response to the prompt ‘unfinished‘.

 

~The Idea~

The idea sneaked into her dream as a harmless ‘what if’, which soon mutated into ‘where’s and ‘what’s and ‘who’s, strings of scenes connected by plot bunnies that kept jumping down forbidden rabbit holes.

The next morning, eager hands gave the growing idea a body of ink and paper. Messy words ran across the pages as the pen tried its best to keep up with the characters as they navigated the obstacles and plot twists that were the staples of any good story.

Then one scene hit a snag, and all of a sudden, amazing characters were now flat self-inserts in a story filled with plot holes and scenes that were strung together with only the most tenuous connections.

Going back to fix what went wrong only highlighted all the implausible events that were supposed to tie the story together and the character ticks that once were amusing but now just grated on her nerves.

A few more half-hearted attempts, and another unfinished story joined the growing pile in the box.

~End~

Isabel Caves

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The blog of works by Connor R. Ryan.