Posts Tagged ‘Red Writing Hood’

Orthography

Posted in Calere, Fiction on December 21st, 2012 by Annabelle – 6 Comments

Cy looked down at his pay slip and contemplated the latest misspelling of his name.  Seinen.  It had, in past weeks, been Sinan, Sainnen, and in a bizarre creative flight that he still had trouble believing wasn’t deliberate, Siiniin.  Sinan at least sounded Caleran.  What sort of a guy was Seinen?  Heid, maybe?  It had a Heid sort of an air to it, all E and I.

He shook his head and pushed off the wall, turning toward the offices.  Every week, a new man here in the military.   He’d wondered at first if he should try to correct it — but he was having enough trouble about his foreign looks without making a fuss over the spelling of his even more foreign first name.  It was the least of his problems, really.  If he’d been one of the farmers’ kids, he probably wouldn’t even read well enough to know.

Of course, if he’d been one of the farmers’ kids, the Atan officers wouldn’t all look at him like he was a mercenary.

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Defiance

Posted in Fiction on December 6th, 2012 by Annabelle – 7 Comments

She stood in the dusty parking lot, the peeling wooden door before her.  The warm glow coming through the bar windows seemed to beckon, a welcoming yellow that spoke of candlelight and the hearth.  Behind her, the unlit road stretched, featureless, into the dark.  She couldn’t remember how she had gotten there.  Her eyes narrowed suspiciously.

She pulled the door open.  The bar was empty but for the man behind the counter, and instead of stale beer, there was a faint whiff of incense.  She sighed.

“Is this another one of those damn allegorical bars?”

The bartender looked up from wiping a pint glass with a striped bar towel –when did real bartenders ever do that? — and nodded.  “You got yourself into a pretty bad accident,” he said with a lift of the eyebrow.  “What did you expect?”

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The Romantic

Posted in Fiction on September 21st, 2012 by Annabelle – 12 Comments

Midnight.  Kate crept down the hallway, candlestick in one hand and the other raised to shield the flickering flame.  The stone floor was cold under her bare feet, but she was silent as a cat without the betraying shuffle of slippers.  The distant rumble of voices sounded belowstairs.  She slipped into the library.  Safe!

Kate straightened and let her hand fall away from the light of the candle.  The library smelled of old books and a faint hint of her father’s snuff.   Kate rather thought it was the Virgil that was so musty.  Anything that ancient could hardly smell any other way.  It was a man’s space, with solid furniture and long velvet curtains in a color her father called claret and her mother crimson.  Kate liked to think of them as scarlet, which made her mother, already nervous about Kate’s dubious attitude toward propriety, throw her hands up in despair.

Kate started to search.  She had her aunt to thank for bringing it into the house.  Her parents had immediately banished it to the back of the library, but at least they hadn’t consigned it to the fire.  Finally.  It seemed like everyone had read it but her, and Augusta Mainwaring had been a perfect pig about it.

There!  She pulled out the slim volume and looked at the cover.  Printed in thin gold letters was the scandalous name and the title: “THE CORSAIR.”  Kate grinned delightedly, tucked it into her dressing gown, and stole back to her room.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

I am having so much fun with the prompts this week, I decided to go for a second round with a little splash of Regency for Write on Edge‘s Red Writing Hood prompt.  (Also, all the new books on hand available for reviewing are Terry Pratchett and I thought I’d give you guys a break.  I swear, a shipment of all new books from Barnes & Noble is on its way.  And none of them are by Pratchett.  Seriously.)  This week, in honor of the board game Clue, they asked for up to 250 words including the words “candlestick,” “scarlet,” and “library.”  For those not familiar with the period, suffice it to say that Lord Byron’s personal life was known to be scandalous by the standards of the time and rumored to be quite scandalous even by modern standards, and his works were considered not appropriate for Nice Young Ladies’ eyes.  Thanks for reading!

The Secret

Posted in Calere, Fiction on July 20th, 2012 by Annabelle – 16 Comments

The room was dark and lively, with a strong scent of ale.  Shouts flew toward the tavernkeep’s pretty wife.  “Where are you really from, Sarie?”  It was an old game, one they never tired of.

“My mother was a Xemish pirate,” she called across the room while wiping up a spill.  “She was shipwrecked in the southern sea and I was raised among the Synalei.”  Snorts of laughter, hoots, and careless splashes of ale greeted her latest outrageous lie.  “Why do you think I’m so good at telling the weather?” she demanded with exaggerated innocence.

“Don’t believe her for a second, boys.  She came here straight from heaven!”  Her husband seized her by the waist and buried a kiss in the crook of her neck.

She laughed, and put a hand up to his hair.  “You heard the man.  He’s the authority here.”

The results of that were, as she expected, lewd.  She flipped her skirts at them, swept an armful of empty tankards up, and swept off to the kitchen.  She dumped the tankards reflexively into the basin for washing, and then stood, hand resting on the edge, and sagged.

She was married.  What had she been thinking?   She scrubbed at her face in frustration.  It had seemed like such a good idea at the time, a good place to land, to spend a few decades among people who liked her even if they didn’t know her.  Someone who could love a piece of her while she did what she had to.  And she’d been happy, happier than she’d been since the day the city where she’d been born had become a name that could never be spoken.  The one thing that could keep her from staying had never occurred to her.  Their birth rates were so low, and she was so young.  It had never even crossed her mind.

Her hand curved protectively over her abdomen.  He hadn’t noticed yet, but he would soon enough.  And then he’d look for her if she disappeared, and not stop looking.  An errant wife was one thing, but…  She closed her eyes as his voice carried through the doorway, and allowed herself to picture, just for a moment, how he would take her leaving.

She turned away, lifting her chin defiantly against the tears.  He wasn’t what mattered any more, and neither was she.  That game might never find the truth, but once they saw the baby, there would be no question.  That was the only thing that mattered now.  There was no more time, and nothing left but the baby.

She wiped her hands carefully on a cloth, dropped it on the table, and walked out the back door.

 

This week, I’m taking my first pass at Write On Edge‘s Red Writing Hood challenge. The prompt calls for up to 450 words inspired by the following Robert Frost poem:

The Secret Sits

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

This is part of the same series as The Fall and assorted other prompt responses that I should probably link together.  I’ll get on that!  Thanks for reading.