Saturday Snippet

Welcome to #RainbowSnippets! On Saturdays, six sentences of GLBT fiction are posted. It can be your own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be GLBT fiction.

Lately, I’ve been racing to finish ‘Seven Tricks’, a Christmas story inspired by ‘The Nutcracker’. The version I saw in San Jose gave the battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King some very interesting overtones, shall we say? I decided to play with that, as well as the original story themes from ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ to create my own particular tale.  Here’s a sample from ‘Seven Tricks’. Yes, it’s seven sentences long, not six. To make sense, this snippet needed the extra sentence. (bows apologetically)

I’d had a dream of the coming Christmas Eve, but wasn’t of me ascending the throne, oh, no. I’d dreamed of an endless supply of tissue, scattered about the giant shrubbery humans insisted on covering with baubles. Not that the tissue was what I desired, although there was enough to give all of our people’s bedding, saving the king sized portion for myself.

No, what I desired was the exquisite creature standing half in, and half out of one of the giant boxes humans left open on the floor. Wooden was he, with stiff arms and legs, with a bright red coat and a crown sticking out of his head. Never had I seen such an enormous, toothy jaw as he possessed. The scent of roasted nuts wafted from his jaw, making my nostrils flare with hunger.

‘Fairest’ Snippet

I’m promoting ‘Fairest’ right now to interested readers, who might be stopping by. 🙂 Here’s a little teaser from my f/f fantasy fairy tale.

The tower was one of the few places I could be alone. It became one of my favorite spots, other than my bed. Sleep was the one state in which I enjoyed utter quiet. My imagination was free to spread its wings and take flight. An enticing figure often appeared in my dreams, although I never saw her clearly. The glimpses I caught of dark eyes staring out of a pale face always intrigued me, sending a shiver of excitement through my entire body, which always woke me from my sleep. This excitement wasn’t fearful—at least not entirely.

 

 

 

‘Fairest’ Blurb

I’m promoting ‘Fairest’ right now, for interested readers who might be stopping by this blog. 😉

From childhood, her eyes have haunted me. She cursed me at birth, to fall under a sleeping curse. Everyone is afraid of her. Everyone thinks she’s my enemy. Only I can’t think of her as an enemy. There are too many secrets surrounding her, too many silences. Who exactly is she—the dark haired, pale beauty who haunts the tower, my guardian, and my dreams? What is her truth? Is she truly a wicked witch? Or is she just a girl, as cursed as I am? I’m not afraid of her, even if I should be. Come with me as I visit my tower, get lost in the enchanted forest, and look into the magic mirror. Face my curse, when I face the spindle in her hands. Sing the words of a magic spell, while darkness looms over me, threatening to completely overcome me. For I refuse to be afraid, no matter what her magic changes me into.

 

‘Fairest’ Teaser

I promised I’d post a little teaser on ‘Fairest’, so here’s one below. 🙂

I grasped the mirror by the sides. Despite its large size, it was surprisingly light. I looked into it. My reflection gazed back. She smiled. Her lips were blood red.

I stared, as all the rosiness drained out of my skin, leaving it pale white. My hair darkened, turning black. No, not my hair. The girl in the mirror lowered her head. When she raised it, she was clearly the princess from the portrait. She opened her eyes. I realized they weren’t actually jet black, but a very dark blue. It was easy to see them as being darker, surrounded as they were by dusky, curling eyelashes.

 

‘Aissa and Polyxena’ Snippet

I’m missing #RainbowSnippets this Saturday, plus I won’t be around much tomorrow, either. I’ve decided to post a snippet tonight, instead. This is from ‘Aissa and Polyxena’, my m/m mythical tale of cross dressing. I pick up right where I left off last Saturday during #RainbowSnippets.
Beautiful he was, with hair too lustrous, eyes too luminous, and limbs too finely made to be mortal. An all too mortal sorrow cast shadows under his gleaming eyes, as he offered me a cup.

“Troile, child of Troy,” the boy said. His rosebud of a mouth trembled, as if my name tasted painful. My own mouth trembled in response. “Would you share my fate, as well as my heritage?”

Saturday Snippet

Welcome to #RainbowSnippets! Every Saturday, six sentences of GLBT fiction are shared and posted. They can be your own. They can be someone else’s. They just need to be GLBT.

Here’s another teaser from my m/m mythical tale of cross-dressing in progress, ‘Aissa and Polyxena’.

How did I come to drink from that cup? In a dream. I haven’t the gift of prophecy. Not as my siblings, Cassandra and Helenus did. The boy appeared in my dream, though. Not theirs.

Paula’s Prompts

This is my second response to @PTWyant‘s writing prompt, involving a squirrel, a graveyard, and a school. To see it, go to ptwyant.com‘s Wednesday Prompts.

The mention of squirrels made me think of Thomas, a particularly nasty boy, who’s become the nemesis of all squirrels in ‘A Godling for Your Thoughts?’ He’s also become the nemesis of Danyell and Dayell, my two main characters in that story. However, Thomas is one of Seraphix’s chosen, so I needed to get into his head. Regardless of how ugly a place it might be. I found myself feeling a little bit sorry for him, as I wrote. Not terribly sorry, but a little.

The school was a graveyard. Every desk was a coffin, only the poor corpses weren’t allowed to rest. They sat up stiffly, hunched over their tombstone tablets, scratching at its surface with bits of lead.

The teacher was perched up on the biggest gravestone of them all. To normal eyes, he might look like a squirrel, but the corpse children weren’t fooled by his small, furry body, and his bouncy, fluffy tails. Their rotting eyes and empty eyesockets avoided his beady gaze. They scraped diligently at their tombstones, in spite of the rotting flesh falling from bony fingers. For there was no excuse for slacking off at school.

Even if you were dead.

“No rest for wicked children!” the teacher chittered. “Not after all the naughty things you did, when you were alive!”

How Thomas longed to pick up a rock and throw it at the teacher! He would have done it, if he’d still been alive. How many squirrels’ heads and bodies had he smashed in with a rock? His body was immobile, locked within this narrow, wooden coffin. Only his writing hand could move.

He sneaked a glance at Oleander. Once, the other boy had had smooth, blue black waves of hair, falling down over a clear brow. Long lashes fluttered over violet eyes, which were quick to narrow with scorn at the sight of Thomas.

“Don’t call me pretty,” Oleander had once said, glaring down at Thomas. “The last thing I want is a troll like you to find me pretty.”

No, of course he hadn’t been pretty. Boys weren’t pretty. Boys broke and smashed things that were pretty.

“What are you staring at?” Oleander demanded. Formerly full lips were rotting and hanging off his teeth. Empty eyesockets stared back at Thomas. Oleander was dead, like everyone else here. “Do you still think I’m pretty?”

“Of course not!” Thomas said, with a scowl. “You’re dead and rotting, like the rest of us!” How marvelous to realize that Oleander with all his beauty and his sneers was no better than Thomas, in the end. He, too, was trapped in his graveyard, forbidden rest. “Not that you ever were much.” He longed to lift his hand and point his finger, but it was immobile. “Not that it would matter if you were. Boys can’t be pretty.”

“Ah, but you like them pretty, don’t you?” Oleander said with a rictus of a leer. “Thomas like boys pretty!” he called out. It became a sing song chant, as each body paused in its scraping to join in the chorus. “Thomas likes boys pretty! Thomas likes boys pretty!”

“Bet you wish you were pretty yourself!” Oleander yelled, breaking the chant. Part of his lip fell off. “Thomas wishes he was pretty!”

The chant changed, as everyone in the graveyard joined Oleander in his accusation. Decaying heads with half revealed skulls raised, caught up in the momentary energy to taunting someone else. “Thomas wishes he was pretty! Thomas wishes he was pretty!”

“Enough! Silence in class!” The squirrel’s squeak pierced through the chant, breaking it. Everyone slumped and scraped at their tablets, once more.

“Thomas, you’re to do lines!” the teacher chittered. “Write ‘Boys can’t be pretty, especially me’. Do it a hundred times!”

*You don’t have to.* The whisper carressed what was left of his bat ears, seeping into what was left of him. The voice sounded like Oleander, only it was sweet and gentle. *You don’t have to do any of this.*

“I have to,” Thomas whispered. How he longed to move his hands, to get out of his coffin. “I’m being punished. For killing so many squirrels. For being an ugly monster with bat ears.”

*Do you always do what you have to?* Tempting, oh, the voice was so tempting. *Or do you do what you want to? Isn’t there something you’ve always thought of doing, but never dared to?*

Oh, yes, there was. He stared at the squirrel, lording it over all of them, so small and superior. Why, it was just a squirrel.

“Yes,” he growled. Something small and cool was forming in his hands. It was a coin. He lifted his arm, only to see that his arm wasn’t rotting. It was covered with flesh, part of a living body. “Why do I have to accept any of this? It’s only real, if I believe in it?”

“Oh, you think that coin in your hand is real?” the squirrel demanded, but its tail flicked anxiously. For Thomas was bigger than the teacher. He always had been. “You think the life it will bring you is any more real than this?”

“Maybe not, but it’s got to be better than this,” Thomas said. He tried to get to his feet. Just moving was an effort, but he willed himself to rise. “At least it’s a life. Not being trapped in a coffin.”

“At least it’s a life,” the squirrel mocked, but its small body trembled. “Wake up, Thomas!”

“Yes, wake up, Thomas!” the voice said, only it was no longer simply in Thomas’s mind. It came from Oleander’s mouth, which was no longer a rictus of a grin. Full lips were appearing over the skull’s grin, returning the boy’s arrogant beauty. Only he was no longer so arrogant. He was smiling sweetly at Thomas. As if he cared. As if Thomas mattered. “Or better yet, dream another dream.”

“How?” Thomas whispered. His legs wobbled, refusing to report him. His hands clung to the tombstone. His own grave marker, with the lines, “Boys can’t be pretty, especially me.”

Were those really going to be his last words?

“No!” The cry exploded out of his throat, as he forced his wobbling legs to bear his weight. No wonder he was so heavy. He was still carrying the gravestone.

“Change,” the voice which was so much like Oleander’s whispered through Oleander’s mouth. Only it wasn’t Oleander. Or rather it was the Oleander who should have been, an Oleander whom smiled at him, when Thomas stupidly told him he was pretty.

Or better yet, he himself could be Oleander. Thomas would be that pretty himself. Not that he’d admit he wanted that. Not yet.

He hurled his tombstone at the squirrel. The small beast squealed, as it knocked him off the tombstone, smashing into bits. Blood ran down the rubble.

“You deserved that,” Thomas whispered. “Trying to tell me what I couldn’t, or couldn’t be.”

 

 

When I First Saw Her

Here is a fanfic/freebie story for ‘A Symposium in Space’, my f/f futuristic tale.

This story is about how Phaedra first met the Timea, along with Sokrat.

When I first saw her, every other ship on Gytelem’s Used Spaceship Platform disappeared. Quite a feat, considering how huge most of the other ships were.

“And here is the latest model, well below the current market’s price!” Gytelem gabbed, with unrelenting enthusiasm. She hadn’t stopped talking, since she’d first latched herself onto me. “Perfect for impressing your lover, since I doubt you’re old enough to have a beloved!” She cackled at her own joke. “It features an extensive light display, which appears on any angle of the ship you chose! The design can be altered, any way you like! You want a giant heart to appear, flashing on and off, starboard, with cupids flying out of it? This ship can make it happen! You want something a little more exotic, like yourself standing nude in the middle of a supernova? This ship can do that, too, although I wouldn’t show too much, unless you want the Interstellar League of Decency breathing down your neck…wait, where are you going?”

I wasn’t sure. My feet started moving, as if by themselves.

“Always moving on impulse, you!” Pausania used to say, too many times to count. “Don’t you ever know where you’re going? Decide on a direction and be done with it!”

“I have decided,” I thought, before I realized I was speaking out loud. I walking towards the ship, which had caught my eye. She was the only ship on this platform, which was small, sleek, and somehow hiding behind her clunky sisters.

“Ah, have you, now!” Gytelem said. She was jogging along side of me. All of her jowls, as well as her various necklaces of metallic beads bounced, as she tried to keep up. “Something caught your eye, did it? You pilots are so romantic! Always claiming to fall in love with a particular ship at first sight, as if a hunk of metal, beams, and circuits was alive!” Her comment was followed by coarse laughter.

I flinched. I used to laugh in exactly the same way at such pilots, along with Pausania.

“Should you be poking fun of your customers’ inclinations?” I aksed. My words came out much sharper than I’d intended. “Especially if those inclinations are making you money?”

“Oh, please, Captain! I meant no offense!” Gytelem bowed, making her many rolls of fat wiggle, beneath her sequined tunic. “I didn’t mean to insult you, or any other pilot! No, not Gytelem, never!”

“I’m not a captain,” I said, feeling a little weary. It was the third time I’d denied captaincy. It would no longer be true, if I bought something here. “I’ve only just become a pilot. This is my first ship I’m looking for.”

My youth, plus my revelation that I was looking for my first ship were clues that I wasn’t able to spend much money. Not that Gytelem had clued into much of anything. She didn’t seem to realize I’d just spoken. She continued on apologizing.

“On the contrary, I think it’s charming!” Gytelem said, with a vigorous nod. “Rather like how little girls fall in love with their dolls, before they’re old enough to receive a lover’s attention! I’m a business lifer, you see, Captain. I’ve very little time for romance itself, let alone romantic notions! I know the insides of these ships too well for any of that. Still, I’d never dream of insulting those, who cherish such fancies…what in the universe are you doing? You can’t be interested in that ship!”

‘That ship’ was only a few steps away. Her exterior was smooth, simple, lacking any adornment. No netting for extensive light displays, no buttresses, and thank you, goddesses, no carytoids. Her sides were covered with grime, but a hint of silver winked at me, from beneath the dirt.

“I mean, this thing doesn’t even have the basic panels!” Gytelem squawked. She sounded more and more panicked, as I approached the tiny vessel. “There’s barely any space inside for yourself, let alone anyone else!”

I stretched out a hand towards the ship’s side. My fingers brushed against its surface. A tingling spread up my fingers into my hand. I gasped, as I took a step back.

A panel was rising from the ship’s surface. I realized it was a door, leading into the vessel’s cockpit. I could see a couple of comfortable seats, along with more space in the back than I’d anticipated. My eyes were drawn to the simple stick in front of the driver’s seat. It might have been from an antique automobile from Old Earth.

“See how primitive it is?” Gytelem asked. She shook her head in disgust. “Although I’m impressed that you succeeded in opening the hatch.” She wrinkled her nose at the word ‘hatch’. “It refuses to open for most people. Not that most people would even look at this outdated bucket.”

“May I try out the pilot’s seat?” My question came out breathy. I wasn’t sure if I was asking Gytelem, or ths ship herself.

“Well, if you really want to, I suppose there’s no harm in you sitting there,” the used spaceship dealer said. Confusion dulled her tiny, black eyes, as she blinked at me. “I still have no idea why you’re interested in this ugly little thing, when there are so many bigger, better vessels right under your nose.”

Not really hearing Gytelem, I climbed through the opening into the cockpit. Yes, it was a real, old-fashioned cockpit, like the ship my great aunt used to fly. My mother had once shown me a holo-vid of Great Aunt Diana, waving from a cockpit, just like this one.

Tears prickled in my eyes at the thought of that smiling old woman, waving at her grand niece. Pausania had often accused me of being sentimental. One of my hands reached for the stick.

A pulse of warm energy entered my fingers, welcoming my hand. It didn’t matter what Gytelem said about ships being nothing, but metal, beams, and circuits. This ship had just accepted me, as much as any living creature might have. I felt it in my gut, my hand, and my heart. I belonged to this ship, now.

“How much?” I asked. The question sounded ridiculous to my own ears. This vessel had already decided I was hers. Still, there were legalities to tend to.

“Well, she may be outdated, but she is a genuine antique!” Gytelem said. Now that she knew I wanted the ship, the used spaceship dealer was changing her tune completely. “This vehicle has a certain amount of historical value, which means I can’t sell her too cheaply!”

“A curious change in attitude, my dear Gytelem,” an amused voice said. “Weren’t you just telling me you’d be willing to give this ‘piece of junk’ away for free? Just to keep it from taking up extra space on your platform?”

I turned, distracted from the stick in my hand, just for a moment.

The speaker was a spry, elfin life giver, with shaggy gray hair and long, white side whiskers. Never had I seen so many wrinkles on a woman’s face. Or rather, a life giver’s face. This stranger made me think of a time, when life givers were called women. Each wrinkle gave a character, a quirk, an expressive turn to her rosy countenance. The stranger’s dark eyes lively and inquisitive, darting all over me, taking in every detail of my appearance.

“Sokrat,” Gytelem said, as if the other life giver’s name was an infusion of hemlock in her mouth. “I didn’t hear you approach.”

“No, I’m sure you were too preoccupied with this lovely young customer,” Sokrat said, She winked at me. It was more conspiratorial than lecherous. “May I try out the seat next to you?”

The question was addressed to me, not to Gytelem. My fingers stroked the stick in front of me. More of its tingling warmth kissed my fingers.

“I don’t think she’ll mind,” I said, pulling my attention with some effort away from the stick.

“She? Listen to her talk! As if this undersized bucket were communicating with her!” Gytelem let out a barking laugh. “‘Love’ has driven this pilot mad!”

“Love has driven more than one person mad, Gytelem,” Sokrat said. She scrambled into the cockpit with much more difficulty than I had. Still, Sokrat was much more spry than one would expect an aged life giver to be. “I wouldn’t be here, if it hadn’t,” Sokrat said, as she settled into the seat next to me. “Besides, what makes you so certain that this old ship isn’t communicating with this young pilot?” Hands speckled with age caressed the arms of her seat. “Why, this is quite comfortable!” Sokrat leaned her shaggy head towards Gytelem. “Why don’t you just let her have…what are you going to call this ship?” One of the old life giver’s keen dark eyes peered at me.

A name popped into my head, which my mother had mentioned in many childhood tales. Great Aunt Diana herself had mentioned it in her holo vid. The name of Great Aunt Diana’s ship.

“The Timea,” I said, as I gently caressed the stick, wondering if this vessel would approve. An answering ripple of heat touched my fingertips, soft and sweet.

“What a pretty name!” Sokrat said, nodding vigorously. She patted her arm seat in a timid fashion. “Why don’t you just give this nice young pilot the Timea and be done with it, Gytelem?”

The used spaceship dealer’s mouth opened and closed, as she stared at Sokrat.

“Especially, when you were ready to pay someone to get this eyesore off your platform?” Sokrat asked. She gave the control panel a wary look, after uttering the word ‘eyesore’. “No offense.”

“None taken,” I said, although I was a bit insulted. Eyesore, indeed! Especially considering some of the ostentatious junk sitting on this very platform!

“Are you trying to ruin me, Sokrat?” Gytelem asked in an aggrieved tone. “Not to mention corrupt the local youth by encouraging them to run off with genuine antiques for a fraction of their price!”

“Ah, but would giving this local youth…what is your name, my dear?” Sokrat asked, turning to me, once more.

“Phaedra,” I said, taken aback by the abrupt return of her attention. There was a force to Sokrat’s keen gaze, a strength which belied her tiny, frail form.

“Phaedra,” Sokrat said, slowly, as if she was tasting every syllabel of my name. My cheeks heated up. It reminded me of how Pausania had once said my name. “Phaedra and the Timea. Lovely names for lovely companions.”
“Companions?” I asked stupidly.

Gytelem perked up at Sokrat’s words.

“What are you saying, Sokrat?” the used spaceship dealer asked. A lot of the rancour left her voice.

“Simply that you’re only sheltering me, my dear Gytelem, because of the debt you owe me,” Sokrat said. Her manner was as pleasant and amiable, as if she was discussing the weather. “Otherwise, you’d never harbour a woman, whom Alkibiadea was hunting.”

I’m not sure which shocked me more; Sokrat calling herself a woman instead of a life giver, or the revelation that the infamous space pirate, Alkibiadea was after her.

Gytelem stood very still at Sokrat’s words, even though her round body quivered with repressed indignition.

“Here’s a question, which provides a solution to two of your problems, my dear Gytelem, this ship and myself,” Sokrat said. She nodded with good humour at the used spaceship dealer, who was turning an unhealthy shade of purple. “Will you allow Phaedra to fly off with the Timea, free of charge, if I were to depart with it?”

Normal color returned to Gytelem’s face, as she considered Sokrat’s words. She took a deep breath.

“Provided that you leave immediately,” she said.

“Go ahead and take the Timea for a spin, Phaedra,” Sokrat said. She turned to me with a smile. “If you don’t want her, don’t return to this platform.”

“I already know that I want her,” I retorted. My hand tightened, possessively, on the stick. “You can already tell the Timea will outrun most ships, even pirate ships.” I examined the console, while watching Sokrat out of the corner of my eye. “Which she may have to, if I’ve got Alkibiadea’s intended prey on board.”

“Don’t worry about Alkibiadea,” Sokrat said, shaking her head. “You and your ship are perfectly safe, as long as I’m on board.”

“How in the heavens do you figure that?” I demanded. The purr of the engines was thoughtfully soft, as the Timea came to life. Not that she’d ever been lifeless, oh, no. She’d just been waiting for her chosen pilot’s touch to awaken her.

“Well, one is always hesitant to destroy what one loves, isn’t she?” Sokrat asked. The console lit up. Its reflection cast a halo around her shaggy head. “Even if one cannot resist chasing her lover from one end of the universe to the other.”

I didn’t ask what she meant. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to understand. Besides I was busy to trying to figure out how navigate the Timea out from between the clunky spaceships on either side. Fortunately, she was easy to manuever.

This was looking like the beginning of a beautiful relationship. It was the beginning of more than one.

‘Aissa and Polyxena’ Snippet

I’m probably going to miss #RainbowSnippets tomorrow. As a result, I’ve decided to post a little snippet from ‘Aissa and Polyxena’ today.

I’m really enjoying writing Cressida/Briseis in my m/m mythical tale. Here’s a few words from her. This is more than six sentences, but I needed a little extra for Cressida/Briseis to get her point across.

“As Achille’s woman, I can move through the Achaen soliders unmolested,” Cressida said, swallowing. She started moving again, past the burning torches. The large, dark shapes of the tents rustled in a faint breeze. “Only Agamemnon dares to offer me wanton glances, but that’s all he dares to offer me.” The tents were silence. All the activity seemed to be ahead, where many Achaen warrieros had gathered. “Plus, as Achille’s woman, I’m able to be with him in private, away from everyone. Even Patrocles.” She darted a glance at me over her shoulder. “Achille is always hungry for news of you, Troile. Any tidings I can bring him.”