Waiting for Rebirth

Welcome to #QueerBlogWed! A day to blog about all matters queer. This makes it a great day to blog about Christopher. Particularly Damian/Christopher.

I’m in the middle of writing a series I want to self publish; ‘Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest’. I’ve written drafts of the first three books in the series; ‘The Hand and the Eye of the Tower’, ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’, and ‘A Godling for Your Thoughts?’. All three of these books require revision before I can publish them. (I’m doing revisions during Camp NaNoWriMo.) Would you be interested in buying these books? You may find out the answer by reading my series’s prelude, ‘Waiting for Rebirth’. I’m posting it in segments every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Here’s a little more of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’, picking up right where we left Christopher and the withered rose on Saturday…

I wondered where he kept this easel and paints. Perhaps he’d pull them out of the shadows, the same way he’d pulled me. I listened to for the fall of his footsteps, the rustle of his movements. He was far quieter than Gabrielle, or his Aunt Duessa. Damian Ashelocke barely made a sound. He was so hard to catch in the middle of something as simple as picking up a paintbrush, or lifting an easel. I didn’t turn around, so I could find out. I didn’t want to the solve the mystery of Damian Ashelocke, not so quickly. His secrets were to be protected, along with the colors which floated to the surface of his soul.

Part of me didn’t want to devour him, no matter how hungry I might be.

Instead, I continued to stare at the glorious sky overhead. It reminded me so much of the pond. The pond of shimmering colors, which floated like reflected light upon the waters. No matter what world I was in, I always found it. No matter where I wandered in the Shadow Forest, I always returned to it.

Ah, I could remember some things. I’m not certain whether this was a relief or not.

“Are we still in the real world?” I asked, out loud. “This feels more like something out of a dream, or a fantasy.”

“Believe it or not, there are wonders in the real world, as well,” Damian said. I could hear him moving, setting something up. An easel? “You just have to capture them at the right moment.”

Those words made me smile. For all his foolish desire to find the Shadow Forest, Damian was wise enough to enjoy what was good in the here and now. Perhaps that would be enough to keep the Door from opening.

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Waiting for Rebirth

Welcome to Me Me Monday! I’m still adjusting to the time change, but ‘Waiting for Rebirth’ is here, right where it left off on Saturday between Christopher and Damian…

I swallowed a guilty lump, which rose in my throat. “I thought I couldn’t do things like that in a real world.”

“We’re very close to the Shadow Forest here,” Damian said. He reached out for my hand. I withdrew mine. I didn’t want to touch him. I didn’t want to wither him as I’d withered the rose.

“Christopher, it’s all right,” Damian said. The kindness in his voice brought tears to my eyes. “I offered to let you feed on me, remember?”

“I don’t want to.” My voice came out a choked whisper. “I don’t want to hurt you or steal your life.”

“Stop looking down.” The enigmatic comment threw me off guard. “Look up, instead.”

Puzzled, I obeyed. I looked up at the sky and gasped.

The colors were gorgeous. They reminded me of the lost fragments of dreamers’ souls, shimmering in the Shadow Forest pond. These colors roamed across the sky, free and wild. They belonged to no one. Dark purples and delicate lavenders pursued in silver streaks patches of bright gold and splashes of blue.

“A perfect reflection of what’s in your heart,” Damian said. “Don’t stop looking. Don’t turn around. I’m going to get my easel and my paints.”

Waiting for Rebirth

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets! Every Saturday, six sentences of GLBTQ+ fiction are posted and shared. It can be your own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be GLBTQ+

To read a wide variety of samples from GLBTQ+ stories, go here https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_cover

If I don’t finish ‘Waiting for Rebirth’ by April, there may be a pause in the story. This Cauldron is taking part in the ‘Blogging From A-Z  April Challenge’. Characters from ‘Waiting for Rebirth’ will be popping up in ‘C is for Christopher’, ‘D is for Damian’, and ‘G is for Gabrielle’ during the challenge. However, a lot of other characters from other stories will show up, too. On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, I’ll post an introduction for ‘Blogging from A-Z: Character Snippets’. My characters will let you know exactly what they have planned. (Did they really think I hadn’t noticed they’ve taken over this blog? :))  Sunday will be the only free day in the week during the A-Z Challenge. I’m worried about posting more than once a day here, considering what happened to my other Cauldron. Don’t worry, though. Both of my blogs will see plenty of action in April, believe me. If ‘Waiting for Rebirth’ isn’t finished by the end of March, it will appear three times in April, only to return to its usual scheduled appearances on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday in May.

Here is the next part of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’, right where it left off on Wednesday.

Damian paused next to the rose which shared the same hue as his irises. He reached out to touch a petal with a trembling finger. The flower seemed to shudder at his touch.

I tried not to shudder myself when I walked through the gate into the garden to stand by Damian’s side. I reached out for his hand.

The rose turned black when my fingers neared it. The flower began to wither on the vine.

 

 

Waiting for Rebirth

Welcome to QueerBlogWed! We’re starting off right where we left Damian, Christopher, and Gabrielle on Monday. 🙂 Here’s the next part of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’.

“Enough of this!” Damian said with a heartiness that seemed forced. He seized my hand and turned his blinding smile on Gabrielle. “I’m going to start painting, if you don’t mind?”

He didn’t wait for Gabrielle’s response. He pulled me towards the door out into the bright sunshine once more.

“I always feel so trapped in that store!” Damian muttered. He marched along the road back towards the garden. I had to jog to keep up with him. “Every step outside is a step in the right direction, but I always end up heading back to my ‘dubious sanctuary’, as my aunt quaintly puts it.”

“What?” His reaction shocked me. “I thought the Navel was your home!”

“It is, but I’m offering it to you,” Damian said, glancing down at me without slowing his stride. People glanced at us, only to scuttle out of the way, intimidated by my companion’s determined pace. We arrived at the garden gate all too quickly. “In return, I’m hoping you’ll give me the Shadow Forest.”

“Give you the Shadow Forest?” I echoed, astonished beyond belief. “Whatever made you think it was mine?”

“Perhaps I phrased that wrong,” Damian said, stopping in front of the gate. Much of his angry energy diminished, when he reached out to touch its wooden slates and breathe in the scent of the flowers resting on the other side. “I’m hoping you’ll show me my true path through the Shadow Forest. I want to discover it, through my art.”

He opened it for me, waiting with gentlemanly patience for me to walk through.

“Oh,” I said, considering his words. It was possible. Damian had found me in the shadows, pulled me into this place with just his hand. Who knew what he could do with a paintbrush, a canvas, and a little inspiration?

What he could do was get himself into serious trouble.

“Damian, do you know how dangerous the shadows truly are?” I asked. “What they’ll take, in return for a path to your desire?”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said, shaking his head. There was a gleam in his rose purple eye. I recognized that gleam. I’d seen it far too many times before. “I’d give up anything for my wish.”

“You don’t know how many people have said that, including me.” I stepped through the gate, blocking the entrance. Not that I was big enough to block it entirely. “We all think we’d give anything for our wish. Too late do we realize the price was too high.” I waved at a rose, reaching its petals out eagerly towards the sun. It was exactly the same color as Damian’s eyes. “You lose the very thing that made you wish so hard in the first place.”

“Even so, I can’t stop wishing,” Damian said. He stepped through the gate to gently bump into me, brushing his entire body against me. I shivered, but the moment lasted only a moment. He’d already moved past me, to walk along the path between the flowers. “If I don’t follow my dream, I’ll never have a chance to blossom. I’ll wither here.”

Waiting for Rebirth

It’s Me Me Monday! A day to celebrate, strut, and revel in one’s me-ness! To promote your projects and share what you’re writing, what you’ve got planned.

One of my plans is to release and publish a series called ‘Tales of the Navel’/’The Shadow Forest’. (I’ve got two novels written, plus the rough draft of a third.) This is a prelude to this series which I’m offering in segments to potential readers, hoping it will interest you enough to pick up the rest of my series.

Christopher is discovering what being ‘me’ is all about in ‘Waiting for Rebirth’. Right now, he’s meeting Gabrielle, proprietor of the Navel and now his mother, thanks to Damian thrusting him into the role of being her son. Fortunately, ‘Brie doesn’t seem to mind, although she is going to lay down a few rules.

Mothers. That’s right. A human in the real world tends to have a mother. I had no idea if I’d ever had one.

“Don’t worry,” Gabrielle said. The kindness in her voice made my throat tight with unshed tears. “We’ll both have plenty of time to get used to the idea.” She glanced over at Damian. “Although, a little advance warning would have been nice.”

“There wasn’t much time for advance warnings,” Damian said with a slight shake of his head. “I had a chance to pull Christopher out of the shadows, so I took it.” He gave Gabrielle a sly glance. “Since you offered me your protection, I hoped you’d extend it to him.”

“You knew very well I would,” Gabrielle said with a sigh and a shrug of her own. She glanced at me. “You’re welcome to live under my roof, but you’ll need to respect my rules.”

Rules. Of course. There were always rules, when you were offered sanctuary, especially in someone else’s Place of Power. “What are your rules?”

“No need to look so terrified. They’re not unreasonable,” ‘Brie said. “I’ll need you to help out in the store, when you’re not modeling for Damian. Be nice to our customers. Try to help them find what they’re looking for, if you can.” She raised a finger and tilted it in my direction. “No stealing, or rather, feeding as a shadow does.”

I flushed a bit. Gabrielle had guessed what I truly was, what I had been. “It’s not as if I truly want to steal people’s memories, dreams, or thoughts,” I mumbled. I looked down at my feet. “I just get hungry.”

“Here in the Navel, you shouldn’t hunger for such things,” Gabrielle said. Her voice was gentle, but I could feel the stern warning in every word. “You should be able to eat regular food, like a regular human.”

“If you get hungry, I’ll feed you,” Damian offered. The generosity of that offer made me look up and stare. I wasn’t sure if I believed him. Damian’s eyes were blue with a soft earnestness as beautiful as his smile.

“Absolutely not.” Those two words were as fierce as the energy moving around Gabrielle. “You’re under my protection, Damian. I can’t let anyone, not even Christopher, do that to you within my Place of Power.”

“It’s fine, then, as long as it’s not in your Place of Power, isn’t it?” Damian’s question was mild, but there was no denying the challenge in his gaze, as he turned towards Gabrielle. “If I decide to take him back to the garden and feed him, it’s my choice.” His chin raised, as he regarded Gabrielle. “You do still respect choices, don’t you?”

“You know I have to respect them.” Gabrielle’s shoulder slumped. She looked away from Damian to fix her stern gaze upon me. “Christopher, I won’t have you feeding off my customers. However, if Damian chooses to offer you some part of himself, I have no business stopping him. Not if it’s on his own time.” It was clear that Gabrielle didn’t like it, but she was bound by some ethical code of her own to respect Damian’s decision. A frown wrinkled her face, adding sad lines around her mouth.

I didn’t like seeing Gabrielle frown any more than I liked seeing Damian upset. I made a silent promise not to feed upon Damian, no matter how badly I hungered for him.

“Don’t worry, ‘Brie,” I said, offering her a smile. It wasn’t as bright as Damian’s, or as fun as Gabrielle’s, but I meant every crinkle in my lips. “I’ll try to be a son you can be proud of.”

The lines vanished from Gabrielle’s face, softening into something more cheerful. I was very happy to see the sad wrinkles go.

“I’m sure you will,” Gabrielle said. There was a light in her eyes, a hope as fragile and childlike as Damian’s. “I have a feeling you’ll make me very proud.”

I took a moment to bask in her approval. My new mother had accepted me. It warmed my insides, spreading through every limb of my thin form, expanding it into something bigger. No, I wasn’t truly expanding like I would have in the Shadow Forest. It was just feelings. Perhaps in the real world they were all I needed.

 

Waiting for Rebirth

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets! Every Saturday, six sentences of GLBTQ+ fiction are posted and shared. They can be your own. They can be someone else’s. They just need to be GLBTQ+

Everyone in the Navel will be picking up where they left off on Wednesday in ‘Waiting for Rebirth’, not without a sigh of relief at Duessa’s departure…this is a little longer than six sentences, forgive me. (bows)

“By the way, I’m Gabrielle, but you can call me ‘Brie,” Gabrielle said, glancing over at me. She darted a sly glance at Damian. “I hope you won’t call me ‘Mother’ or ‘Mom’ just yet. I’m still getting used to maternity.”

“Not at all.” Gabrielle’s grin was almost as irresistible as Damian’s. “I’m still getting used to the idea of having a mother.”

Waiting for Rebirth

It’s #QueerBlogWed! Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, I’m posting a segment of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’. This story is the prelude to all other ‘Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest’. Maybe it’ll interest you enough to buy ‘The Hand and the Eye of the Tower’, ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’, and other Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest, once they’re published?

We pick up right where we left off on Monday.  Duessa Ashelocke is reaching the end of her patience with both her nephew and the Navel itself…

“Such a ridiculous notion,” she scoffed, glancing at me. “My own nephew, using light! I suppose this is some sort of artistic metaphor.”

“Light and shadows constantly dance around each other, waiting for rebirth,” Damian said. His voice was very soft, as he looked at me. “It’s going to be the theme of my painting.”

“Of course it is,” Duessa said. Her amused contempt returned, as she looked from me to Damian. “Well, you’ve chosen a lovely model, even if you are wasting your time.”

“Thank you,” Damian replied, relaxing a little bit. “It’s always a joy to have your support.” Sarcasm and humor laced every word, as he smiled at his aunt.

Duessa’s lips twisted, caught between a smirk and a grimace. “I think that’s enough truth and insincerity for one visit. I’ll return to my lair and leave you to your dubious sanctuary.”

“Give my best to your Valentines,” Damian said with utter sweetness. “I’m certain they must be feeling quite drained.”

Valentines? This was a comment that made absolutely no sense to me, although it clearly made sense to everyone else. Duessa scowled, while Gabrielle looked a bit pained.

“Hilarious, as always,” Duessa said, raising her eyebrow. “Let’s hope your painting is at least is worth a few laughs.”

With those words, she moved in an angry rustle of skirts towards the door. Damian steered me out of the way, before they could knock either of us over. Nobody moved, or breathed, until she’d opened the door and exited. The chimes clanged against each other, while the air sighed with relief.

The air? No, it was Damian, Gabrielle, and myself all exhaling at the same time. Damian looked from me to his employer out of the corner of his eye. His lips twitched. Gabrielle didn’t even bother to hide her grin.

Any tension remaining in the air dissolved into something much more welcoming.