Unwilling to Be Yours

It’s Me Me Monday! A day to promote, strut, and celebrate your Me-ness!

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, I post a project very dear to my heart. The preludes to my Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest series.

Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest is my ambient fantasy series inspired by tarot card imagery.

The first book in the series is Stealing Myself From Shadows, which is currently under revision. It’s my NaNoWriMo project.

I’ve also got drafts of Book 2 (The Hand and the Eye of the Tower) and Book 3 (A Godling for Your Thoughts?) requiring revision.

The three preludes I’m posting in segments here are Waiting for Rebirth, Unwilling to Be Yours, and Be My Valentine…Snack.

We’ve already done Waiting for Rebirth, which was from Christopher’s perspective.

We’re right in the middle of Unwilling to Be Yours, done from Peter’s perspective. Peter arrived in the garden, trying to find a place to leave Damian’s painting, ‘Waiting for Rebirth’…

 

I wondered at this while walking one of the pebbled paths, passing clusters of foxglove and roses clinging to thorny bushes.

The gazebo was only a little off the path to the right, in the heart of the roseland.

And who would be standing beneath its roof, hanging onto one of its delicate pillars? The last person who wanted to see me right now.

Christopher didn’t seem aware of my presence. His shoulders trembled with the force of his sobs. Tears continued to stain his cheeks. They’d already reddened his eyes, making his nose swell up.

If I didn’t already feel like a bastard, I now felt three times as awful.

“What are you doing?” He narrowed his eyes at the sight of me with ‘Waiting for Rebirth’ in my hands.

“Gabrielle wanted this out of the Navel,” I stammered, feeling more than a little guilty. “I’m not sure why, but I brought it here.”

 

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Unwilling to Be Yours

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

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

To read a wide variety of samples from LGBTQ+ fiction, go to

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

Peter picks off where he left off Wednesday in Unwilling to Be Yours. He’s found a place to drop off ‘Waiting for Rebirth’. Only is the gazebo truly his choice? Or is someone else guiding him?

This is a little longer than six sentences, forgive me. (bows)

 

I set down the painting on the ground, half expecting someone to grab me from behind.

No one did. I opened the gate, my hands trembing with relief.

I flexed my fingers and took a deep breath, before I picked up ‘Waiting for Rebirth’.

The icky sensation was gone. I could lift the canvas with ease, delightful ease.

What had happened? What had changed about this painting when I left the Navel and drew closer to the garden?

 

 

 

Unwilling to Be Yours

It’s QueerBlogWed, a time of queer writing and posting in various shapes and forms.

One of those shapes is Peter’s ongoing story, which appears in segments every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

It’s called Unwilling to Be Yours. It’s the second of three of preludes to Stealing Myself From Shadows, my novel under revision, which I’m posting.

The first prelude was Waiting for Rebirth. The third will be Be My Valentine…Snack.

Stealing Myself From Shadows is the first in a series of novels I call Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest, an ambient fantasy inspired by tarot card imagery.

Have a taste and see if you enjoy it…

 

I picked up the painting with much steadier hands.

Gabrielle released me. She walked ahead of me to open the Navel’s door for me. Ignoring the icky sensation clinging to my fingers, I carried ‘Waiting for Rebirth’ out the door.

It was a little better beyond the walls of the Navel. The fresh air, the bustling presence of other people made some of the ickiness go away.

I started walking down the road, as quickly as possible. I realized I was moving with a purpose, even though I had no fixed idea of where I’d take ‘Waiting for Rebirth’.

I headed towards the gate, which opened into the garden, which all the residents of Omphalos shared. I myself had visited to pick its fruit from the trees and admire the flowers.

I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do with the painting there. Bury it beneath a rose bush? Hide it in the gazebo?

The gazebo. It seemed like the perfect place to put it.

My stride quickened.

A few people turned to look at me, but no one spoke.

One of them was Juno. She waved at me, yet didn’t block my path in an attempt to engage me in conversation. She watched me approach the gate, before hurrying down the road herself.

Now that was out of character…and worrisome.

I needed to hurry and get rid of the painting. I had a bad feeling obstacles were going to start manifesting to stop me from doing this, if I lingered anywhere with this cursed canvas for too long.

Unwilling to Be Yours

It’s Me Me Monday! A day to promote, strut, and celebrate your Me-ness!

All sorts of Me is happening today at inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com, at cauldronkeeper.livejournal.com, on Facebook, Amazon…feel free to come and bask in my Me-ness in these places. 🙂

In the meantime, Peter has a job to do, which he’s having a really hard time doing…getting rid of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’.

Gabrielle decides to lend him a hand…the Navel is, after all, her Place of Power.

 

“Don’t talk to it,” Gabrielle growled. She stood behind me, clenching one hand into a fist. It looked like something dark and smoky was squirming inside her fist, trying to get free. “Don’t offer up any more life than it’s already stolen.”

Stolen? If she was speaking of Damian Ashelocke, I doubted there was anything he hadn’t offered up willingly. Body, soul, the naive hearts of those whom loved him…innocents didn’t open Doors.

Not Doors like this one.

I lifted the painting off the wall. It wasn’t heavy, not at all.

Something light as a spider crawled up my arms while I held it.

I laid ‘Waiting for Rebirth’ against the wall and backed away. I rubbed my hands, trying to get rid of the sensation.

“Don’t hesitate.” Gabrielle lay one of her hands upon my shoulder.

A surge of strength rippled through my back. Confidence followed in its wake.

I could do this.

To be continued on Wednesday…

Unwilling to Be Yours is the second of three preludes to my novel, Stealing Myself From Shadows.

The first was Waiting for Rebirth, told from Christopher’s perspective.

We’re in the middle of Unwilling to Be Yours, told from Peter’s perspective.

The last is Be My Valentine…Snack, told from Christopher’s perspective.

Stealing Myself From Shadows is the first book in my Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest series, an ambient fantasy collection of tales inspired by Tarot imagery. It’s currently under revision…revising Stealing Myself From Shadows is my NaNoWriMo project.

The second book is The Hand and the Eye of the Tower. The third is A Godling for Your Thoughts?

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, I post part of each prelude. Feel free to join my characters in their Tales in the Navel, journeying through the Shadow Forest.

 

Unwilling to Be Yours

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

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

I’m picking up right where I left off on Wednesday (QueerBlogWed) in Unwilling to Be Yours.

Unwilling to Be Yours is the second prelude to Stealing Myself From Shadows, the first novel in my Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest I plan to publish and sell. (Revising Stealing Myself From Shadows is my NaNoWriMo project.)

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, I post part of one of these preludes. The first I did was Waiting for Rebirth. The second is Unwilling to Be Yours (which I’m sharing in segments right now). The last is Be My Valentine…Snack.

Gabrielle just told Peter to get rid of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’, a request he’s more than happy to comply with. Alas, it’s not proving as easy as he’d hoped…

 

“I don’t know what Christopher sees in you,” I growled.

Touching the painting’s frame was like burying your hands in a particularly disgusting goo. I could see nothing clinging to my hands, but my skin was crawling.

“You’re the most repulsive thing I’ve had the misfortune to encounter.” It took every bit of strength to allow my fingers to find enough traction in the frame to move the entire picture.

Meeting Oriana

Monday is Once Upon a Rainbow’s release day. Soon, Fairest will be reborn in a new edition, alongside other LGBTQ+ fairytales.

One of the changes is that many of the characters have names. Like Oriana, formerly simply known as ‘The Good Witch’.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to revise and post a freebie story I wrote last year for Fairest.

Enjoy!

 

“Dearest Rose.” My mother spoke with a seriousness that surprised me. Too often, she tried to be cheerful, even to the point of being silly. “This lady is an old friend of mine.”

Any thoughts of silliness disappeared, when I looked up at my mother’s friend.

I almost squeaked.

Bad, bad Rose. Princesses weren’t supposed to squeak, even when startled. We had to stand tall and smile, to be strong in the face anything frightening for our subjects.

This didn’t make it any less disturbing, looking up into the strange lady’s face.

It might have been my own, a mirror image of what I’d look like when I grew up.

Blue eyes as round as mine darkened, as if reading my thoughts. The flesh around them crinkled. They were amused crinkles, but they were also sad crinkles.

“It’s a pleasure to meet Your Highness.” The lady dropped into a curtsy with a grace I could only envy.

Perhaps when I grew up, my voice would sound like hers.

I hoped so. She had a breathless way of speaking, almost creamy in its smoothness.

In my childhood experience, only one was more compelling. A deep, musical voice, which sometimes sang in my dreams. A sweet way of turning words into something almost musical, which left me waking up with their echo in my ears.

My own would never equal hers.

This lady, whose golden hair was streaked with silver spoke in a manner which could be mine, if I grew up good and wise.

I studied my mother’s friend, my hear skipping a beat. She wore a gown almost as fine as my mother, but less showy. It gave her a kind of quiet elegance I admired.

“A pleasure to meet you as well, my lady,” I said politely, before I blurted out, “What’s your name?”

“Really, dear!” A flush colored my mother’s cheeks. An answering heat gathered in mine, as I realized I’d embarrassed her. “You should let me finish doing the introduction, before you go asking questions like that!”

“It’s quite all right,” the lady said, with a casual wave of her hand. The grace in the gesture was enviable.

I was sure I hadn’t seen this lady at court before, even if I was still learning all the names and faces of the people there.

“Such directness is quite refreshing.” She dropped her gaze, studying the flagstones at her feet.

Did she truly like my directness? Or was she simply trying to be polite to the princess?

I decided to test her.

“You still haven’t revealed your name, my lady,” I said, as courteously as possible. “What should I call you?”

“Names have power, even assumed ones,” the lady responded, just as courteously, “Since you are my princess, I shall give you mine.” The wrinkles around her eyes. “Oriana is what I’ve chosen to call myself. You, however, may call me whatever you wish.”

“That’s unfair,” I spoke with a childish boldness my mother never quite succeeded in curbing. “I’ve only just met you. I can’t think of a new name that quickly. I have no choice, but to call you Oriana.”

My mother was trying to smile. I’d embarrassed her with my blunt ways, again.

The lady, offered me a much more genuine smile. It warmed me, right down to my toes.

“You’ve discovered my greatest shortcoming, Your Highness.” The lady gave a deprecating little nod, yet continued to smile.

This touched me. It made me far sorrier than my mother’s embarrassment. “I’m sorry. It’s a bit soon in our acquaintance for me to discover your shortcomings.”

“It is, indeed!” Oriana let out a breathless little laugh. “Seeing as I’m here to remove your curse, it’s best you understand my shortcomings, as well as strengths as soon as possible, don’t you think?”

“My curse.” I uttered the words, only to hear the echo of another voice in my head. The one I dreamed of. The one which never left me.

It murmured promises in a soft, compelling tone. It whispered I’d grow up with all the beauty of the dawn, but my sun would never rise. It vowed I’d prick my finger on a spindle would send me into a cursed sleep for a hundred years.

“Darling, we’ve tried not to talk about it around you.” My mother used the extra gentle voice she reserved for bad tidings. “However, something terrible happened to you, soon after you were born.”

“I was cursed.” This was no surprise to me.

I should have been terrified.

An image of blood red lips, smiling, ever so sweetly, appeared in my mind. They were close enough to kiss me. They promised me a hundred years of sleep instead.

“An evil witch cursed you.” Oriana lifted a golden eyebrow at me in an almost stern fashion.“I’m here to remove that curse, or fight it.”

Did she know what I was thinking? Had she guessed?

“To do that you’d need to be a witch yourself,” I looked her straight in the eye, a little angry at her attitude. “Would that make you the good witch?”

A startled laugh escaped from ‘the good witch’. Some of Oriana severity melted away into laugh lines.

This was a lady, who loved to laugh, regardless of how sad or stern she might be.

“Your Highness is perceptive,” Oriana smiled at me, approving once more. “Yes, as far as you’re concerned, I am the good witch.”

“In which case, I’ll think of you as ‘the good witch,” I said, with a decisiveness which made my mother cringe. “Unless you’d rather I called you Oriana?”

“Either title is just fine.” My good with lifted the corners of her mouth up in amusement, even while she made a gracious, ladylike nod. “I’ll do my very best to play the part of a good witch.”

A strange sadness touched her words, a sadness I wondered about.

By her own admission, she wasn’t a good witch. She was playing a part. This role was another aspect of her mysterious charm, a charm she wore like a mantle of strength.

Given time and attention, that strength would completely unravel.

Unwilling to Be Yours

It’s QueerBlogWed, a day in which our queerness comes out to play and express itself in various forms on our blogs.

Mine manifests in the second prelude to Stealing Myself From Shadows, an ongoing story called Unwilling to Be Yours, told from Peter’s perspective. It’s one of the many stories which are a part of my Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest.

Some are novels I’m working on, trying to publish and sell.

Some are freebie stories I offer up at my Cauldrons (blogs) like this one.

Gabrielle just asked Peter to get rid of Damian’s painting, ‘Waiting for Rebirth’. It’s a request he’s more than happy to grant…

 

I walked towards the painting. It was still just streaks on a canvas, but I could almost see all the white bits, gleaming with hostile intent.

Daring me to come too close.

I didn’t want to touch it. ‘Waiting for Rebirth’ was dangerous, ugly, and didn’t like me.

It wanted to take Christopher from me.

I had already told Gabrielle I’d get rid of the painting. We needed to get this thing away from Christopher.

Gritting my teeth and half closing my eyes, I reached out to grab the silver metal frame bordering its sides.

A sharp, stinging sensation attacked both of my fingers. My stomach rolled over in a nauseating lurch.

Something hissed in my ears. I realized the hiss was an unpleasant laugh.