Halloween Sweet and Scary Blog Hop!

Happy Halloween! Here’s my response to the @Sweet and Scary Blog Hop from the incomparable Rian Durant! To see her challenge (as well as her amazing Halloween picture), go here https://riandurants.wordpress.com/

We were asked to write 200-1200 words of flash fiction. I decided to do this, which has a specific Halloween theme, for this Cauldron. It’s only slightly over 300 words. I’m doing another one at inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com about Leiwell from my Shadow Forest/Tales of the Navel mythos. Tomorrow begins NaNoWriMo, so I’m going to start spending a lot of time with Leiwell and his brothers, beginning tomorrow. However, this particular fairy tale did have a cameo reference in ‘The Hand and the Eye of the Tower’. It felt appropriate to play with it, on the eve of All Hallow’s Day and NaNoWriMo.

Light burned in the hollow sockets of his eyes. Children giggled in delight to see him, the illuminated, hollowed out gourd. He smiled and exposed a single tooth, jutting out of his shell. Such a scary hag’s grin he sported. One particular hag’s.

Perhaps his creatrix had been thinking of her, when she stuck a knife in his crown. Perhaps she’d been remembering that warm welcome in the hag’s home, when she pulled out out the sticky strands of his innards. She’d smiled to remember the hag. Her hag. The smile touched her lips and illuminated her features. Maybe sadness was his creatrix’s light, which glowed from within. Perhaps she, too, was hollowed out. Why else would she recreate these eyes, this tooth, and this particular grin?

“You look just like her, Jack,” his creatrix had said, when she turned him in her hands. His orange innards clung her fingers. “I had to do it. I had to push her into that oven.” There it was, the grief that illiminated her eyes and shone through the empty gourd of her human face. “For my brother. She would have eaten him, if I hadn’t.”

The hag definitely would have. She might have eaten his creatrix as well. Perhaps she had saved her brother. Hopefully, her brother had stayed long enough to thank her. He’d hadn’t stayed long. His creatrix was all alone in this house, which smelled like gingerbread. Her only company were the jack o’ lanterns she carved, once every year. Always with the same face. Every year, they smiled at the children, who crept up to the house, lured by the promise of tricks or treats.

Of course, there were the children themselves, who visited his creatrix. Those greedy enough not to take the offered treats. The ones who started eating the wall of his creatrix’s cottage, instead. Sometimes, she let them inside, just as the hag had. Those foolish enough to enter wouldn’t be leaving. She might decide to keep them, just as the hag had kept her. She got lonely all by herself. However, she could only keep the children for so long. Sooner or later, she’d get hungry. Pumpkin and gingerbread only went so far in satisfying her appetite.

Advertisements

Saturday Snippets

Welcome to #RainbowSnippets! Every Saturday, six sentences of GLBT fiction are posted and shared. It can be your own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be GLBT. To sample a wide variety of GLBT stories, go here!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

Here’s my offering for this week. I’m trying to get myself ready for @NaNoWriMo. This means immersing myself in the ‘Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest’ universe once more, since I’m going to be working on the next book in the series, ‘A Godling for Your Thoughts?’ There’s m/m, f/f, f/m, magic, mystery, surreal fantasy, and tarot imagery all in this universe. 🙂

I figured I’d give a little taste from the second book in the series, ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’.

“What was I to you, Christopher?” Damian asked. He leaned forward to study me. Only there was no canvas between us, not in this imaginary conversation. Just him and me, with the gazebo and the roses. “I brought you into this world, but you gave me the Shadow Forest. You’re under no obligation to me.”

Promo Friday

It’s Promo Friday! In honor of the occasion, I’ve decided to post a teaser here. I’m getting ready for NaNoWriMo, to throw myself into my own Tales of the Navel and the Shadow Forest. My plan is to write a rough draft of the next book in the series, ‘A Godling for Your Thoughts?’

This is from the last book in the series, ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’. It was last year’s NaNoWriMo project.

“How might I enter the Shadow Forest?”

These were words, which never failed to send a chill through me. It was a question, which had been posed, over and over, by someone very precious to me. He’d answered it, successfully. He’d disappeared from my life.

Now someone else I cared for, in spite of my better judgment, was asking the same question.

My hands spasmed. Cards were knocked over, sent flying. I stared at them, as they fluttered to the ground.

That’s right. I’d been trying to arrange a bunch of tarot cards on a shelf in an attractive way, which might catch a potential customer’s eye. The Navel was supposed to the center of all things bizarre. I’d been trying to do something bizarre, when the question about the Shadow Forest had distracted me. I didn’t remember taking the cards out of their boxes. The cards landed with an utter lack of grace, face up, face down, without any regard for me.

Except for one card. It landed, face up. Its face smiled brightly up at me, even as he prepared to stroll off a cliff’s edge. He had auburn hair, clinging to his face in sweaty locks.

All right, this isn’t really true. The Fool on the card didn’t have sweaty, auburn locks. The fool who’d asked me the question did.

Peter smiled at me, as he raised a hand to fiddle with his already rumpled hair. He was always preening around me. Once, I’d found it annoying. The habit had been growing on me, with such sneaky steadiness I hadn’t noticed it. Was I actually starting to find it cute?

Damian looked at me from the back of my mind, where he always lingered, even if he was no longer in this world. He raised his slender black eyebrow. Amusement, cynicism, and a certain weary acceptance were all in the gesture. Of course, I was starting to find Peter cute. Peter was cute. He was here, in the Navel, exactly where he wanted to be. He was doing everything he could to charm me. Why wouldn’t he succeed? Why would I resist?

Paula’s Prompt

This is my third response to the amazing PTWyant’s prompt! To see it, go to ptwyant.com.

This one is a little different. It picks up right where I left off at inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com. I couldn’t post too much, though, because this contains spoilers. 🙂

“Idiot!” Gabrielle growled, right before she pulled the girl out of the doorway. That way, the fool was no longer between shadows, just waiting for any monster that decided to crawl out of a nightmare and eat her.

‘Brie gave the sinister arches of the doorway an angry glare.

“Nothing good ever comes out of this place!” she grumbled, while waiting for the girl, or what was left of her to recover. All right, that wasn’t true. Some good did come out, but so did a lot of bad. Why wouldn’t people just leave Doors alone? It was far better to look for what you wanted in the world you lived in than to go searching for it in a dream.

Not that those who opened Doors ever understood this. Or cared.

Like this girl.

She was fluttering golden eyelashes, which were disconcertingly like Gabrielle’s own. Her eyes were completely different; a deep violet blue, spangled with silver specks. Hardly human looking.

“Did you just call me an idiot?” the girl asked. She attempted a flirty smile, despite blue and trembling lips. “That’s no way to treat one of your regulars, ‘Brie.”

“You’re a customer at the Navel?” Gabrielle asked. She shouldn’t be surprised. Many of the ‘items’ she offered at the Navel came from the Shadow Forest. Many of the former ‘owners’ of those items ended up at the Navel. They never knew why they entered the shop, let alone why they were drawn to that particular doll, crystal, or tarot deck. Most of them never figured out they were attracted to a former part of themselves, which had taken the shape of that particular item. Customers seldom remembered discarding that part in the first place.

Gabrielle prided herself on remembering each and every person who visited the Navel. She certainly would have recalled this one.

“I’ll wager you’re thinking, ‘If I’d met such a beautiful woman in my shop, I would have remembered’,” Ashleigh said. She did her best to wink, although it was more of a wince. “I was quite different, when we met. Utterly unremarkable.”

“No one is unremarkable,” Gabrielle retorted. “Certainly not any of my customers.” This was very uncomfortable, not recalling a visitor to the Navel. It was a blow to ‘Brie’s pride, as the proprietor. “I take it you’ve changed, since your last visit to the Navel. Particularly after opening a few doors.”

“More than a few,” the girl said. “I’m known as Ashleigh Beyond the Door. I wrote a book about my adventures.” She blinked hopefully at Gabrielle. “Perhaps you’ve read it.”

Gabrielle hesitated. She tried to recall every story she’d ever read. Now, remembering those was hard. She had a tendency to bunch the ones that were similar together, recalling them in an entirely new form.

“Sorry, no,” she said.

“So much for my vanity,” Ashleigh said. Her smile drooped a little at the corners.

Me Me Me Monday

It’s Me Me Me Monday, so I figured I’d share a little snippet of my work here. I’ve been very busy with ‘Aissa and Polyxena’, so ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention. During November, my life will be dominated by ‘A Godling for Your Thoughts?’, my NaNoWriMo project. It’s time for a little snippet of ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’. Besides, it’s almost Halloween. This is quite in the spirit of the creepy and the masked. :)=

It was a curse, as much as a blessing. The first boy frowned, as if pondering the dark consequences of their choice of names. However, the gentle smile of his companion urged him out of a brood, as the two walked out of the court into their new lives.

A man and a woman watched them, as they left. They would have had no business in this court, but for the purple band around the man’s top hat, and the purple ribbons winding within the woman’s hair. Purple was a color of distinction within the grey city of Paradise. Not to mention the beaded masks, which concealed the upper halves of their faces.

“Byron and Shelley,” the lady murmured, letting out a titter. It was soft, hushed, a cautious squeak of cruelty. “Fancy themselves poets, do they? Or revolutionaries?”

“In the end, it doesn’t matter what they fancy themselves to be,” the man said, with an airy wave of his gloved hand. “They’re sacrificial lambs.”

The couple watched the two small heads, as they bobbed up and down, joining a line of other small heads, which formed a couple of lines. Walking straight into the chapel walls of the cathedral, known as Our Blessed Mother of Paradise.

Byron was dimly aware of the attention. He held his head high, refusing to look back, or around. He would live up to his name. Poet, rebel, freedom fighter.

Freedom. It was a dangerous word, but one he loved to think about, secretly, in his heart. His eyes darted from the small, skinny shapes of the other church wards, only to be drawn, as if by magic to a pair of blue green eyes.

Shelley was watching him. When their eyes met, the tiny smile upon the other boy’s lips grew. It tempted Byron’s own mouth to twitch and bend, until it yielded in an answering smile.

No. He wouldn’t yield his smile to Shelley, not so quickly. Not yet.

 

Saturday Snippet

Welcome to #Rainbow Snippets! Every Saturday, six sentences of GLBT fiction are shared. It can be your own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be GLBT. To sample a wide variety of GLBT fiction, check them out at https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

My own sample picks off right where I left in yesterday’s post. Here’s a little more of ‘Aissa and Polyxena’, my m/m mythical tale of cross-dressing.

I gagged, as Ganymede and the ground beneath my feet vanished. I was hovering in mid air, right above a street I’d never seen before.

A woman was looking up at me, her veil in dissarray. I could see her smoky blue eyes widen, beneath its filmy cover.

There was no mistaking those eyes. It was he, the youth I’d seen in the cup, but he was dressed in the flowing skirts of a woman.

‘Aissa and Polyxena’ Snippet

I’ve been busy working on ‘Aissa and Polyxena’, so I figured I’d share a little of my m/m mythical WIP here. I’ve already posted the very beginning at https://www.facebook.com/KS-Trenten-1508958289406654/?ref=page_internal . I picked up where I left off with a little more at inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com. Here’s yet a bit more…
“Our city?” I asked. I took in the soft, white hands of the boy’s, clasping the cup to his chest, along with his rounded limbs. Both invited a lover’s kisses. Neither had seen labor, or swordplay, not for a number of years. There was a proud lift to the boy’s head, in spite of his softness. Indeed, the way he raised his chin reminded me of my brother, Hector. Hector was the first prince of Troy, a Trojan lord, much like myself, only there was no cloud of doubt over his birth. This boy’s liquid black eyes and glossy ebon curls were very similiar to Hector’s and Paris’. The likeness made me realize exactly whom this beautiful cupbearer must be.

“Ganymede,” I whispered the name of the former prince of my home. “This is Zeus’ own cup you’re offering me.”

“Few are brave enough to drink from it,” Ganymede warned. “One taste from it will change you forever. One taste of it will make you part of its power.”

My own hands reached for his, gently taking what he offered. I stared into the burning, blue gaze, which challenged me from the depths of the cup. Silently, he dared me to drink from his reflection. Dared me to taste his savage his beauty.

I lifted the goblet to my lips, letting its contents bathe my tongue. It wasn’t wine, or water. It was a mixture of both, mingled with the cold taste of a brisk wind, which kisses your face, the sharp spice of passion, and the salty tears of the sea. These sensations filled my mouth and nose, choking me.