#RainbowSnippets: Stealing Myself From Shadows

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To sample different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

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

For my own, Christopher enters the Navel, once again noticing how different this place is than the Shadow Forest in Stealing Myself From Shadows

 

I crossed the threshold, spotting the wind chimes dangling on the other side of the door. A memory of similar hollow cylinders hanging like flowers tinkled in time for a moment. 

    I blinked, enjoying the sound, allowing my eyes to adjust to the darkness. For a moment I thought the shadows of the store would overwhelm me, but I was no longer on the other side. The darkness was no longer alive and hungry. It was simply an absence of light.

     Damian touched my shoulder, guiding me away from a shelf I was about to walk into. Even in natural darkness, he gleamed, his fair skin providing a little illumination. Did he appear like this to everyone or just me?

Like my style of writing? Want to read more? Here is a link to my published works…

http://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten

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#QueerBlogWed: Just a Dream

On June 8, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving beans, a gate falling of its hinges and a star.

This Tale of the Navel, Tale of Omphalos, a freebie story for The Hand and the Eye of the Tower was the result…

The beans had climed over a gate falling off its hinges. 

As long as I’d been in Omphalos, that gate had been in a state in disrepair. Never more so now. 

“Does anyone ever harvest those beans?” I didn’t look at my companion. Instead I stared at the star in the sky. 

It shone with a reproachful brightness which reminded me of Tayel’s eyes. How aggrieved he’d be if he knew I was sneaking around with his precious twin. Even if it was just in a dream. 

“Map gathers them. She makes a soup or a stew with these beans.” I could hear the slight hitch in Danyel’s breath, feel his shy gaze. “She doesn’t like to use meat.”

“No, she doesn’t.” I let out a sigh, imagining Map’s furrowed brow at the notion of any living creature having to die to feed another. “She will, though.”

Just because she didn’t like to eat meat didn’t mean she wouldn’t eat it. Or try to feed it to others. 

“Christopher.” Danyel’s small hand tugged at mine. “I’m dreaming of you, aren’t I? Why do I always dream of you, but I can never remember you when I wake up?”

I turned, allowing myself to look at his upturned button nose, the curl of silvery golden hair falling over his forehead. Luminous violet-blue eyes too big for his face gleamed with reflected starlight, mixing with the heartfelt question shining back at me. 

In an unguard moment, I told him the truth. 

“Because I’m selfish. I shouldn’t be talking to you, but I can’t stay away.” I tried to smile. “I’m lonely. I’m only like my former self when I’m with you in a dream.”

“Why?” He tugged at my hand again. “Why can’t you come see me…us…when you’re awake? Why do you hide in a dream?”

“Your brother doesn’t want me anywhere near you.” I pressed his hand with my fingers, delighting in being a physical person again. The price, however, was too high to do this anywhere than in a dream. “He’s right to be protective of you. He’s right to be worried.”

“Why?” He repeated his favorite word, the one he pestered all of his loved ones with in the manner of determined innocents. “Why should he worry about you? You wouldn’t hurt me. Would you?”

I turned away, allowing myself to dissolve into the mists, leaving him to gaze at a damaged gate covered with beans. 

Soon Danyel would be waking up. Soon he’d find himself lying next to Tayel, wondering what happened. 

Tayel would guess exactly what happened. He’d be hurt, worried, and upset with me. Sensing the danger, the truth of me, yet unwilling to name it. 

I was always with them, watching over them, even if it wasn’t as a living person. I was waiting for Danyel and Tayel, even though I hoped they’d keep away. 

I was getting too hungry and lonely to be careful. I’d given up too much of myself to bring Danyel and Tayel into the existence. To let them go, beyond the Door, to find a life as real as the one Damian had given me.

Part of me would always want them back. Part of me counted on them returning to me. 

The other part of me dreaded that reunion. Dreaded what might happen, what I might do when I met the twins in the waking world. 

Danyel was getting more and more persistent about seeking me out in his dreams. He seemed to want to find me as much as I wanted to be found. 

Tayel was afraid of me. Afraid of what I’d do to him, to both of the twins, but particularly to Danyel. Afraid I could take away everything he held dear. 

Alas, I could. This was part of the reason I dreaded meeting the twins in the flesh. Why I contented myself with glimpses in dreams and visions. Watching them through walls of stone. 

They were curious. They couldn’t help but wonder. Not even Tayel, no matter how hard he tried not to. 

Peter had once accused me of being entirely too irresistible. Of invoking a passion to get closer to me which bordered on madness. 

I hadn’t believed him. To accept such a thing was both vanity and undeserved. 

Seeing Danyel’s eyes shine at me made me worry. Just what had I kindled in this innocent life I’d created?

I feared we were both going to find out. 

Like my style of writing? Here are my published works…

http://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten

#RainbowSnippets: Stealing Myself From Shadows

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To sample different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?multi_permalinks=8499083260161661&notif_id=1673661375997982&notif_t=group_activity&ref=notif

For my own, Christopher observes Damian’s own reaction to ‘The Navel’ in Stealing Myself From Shadows

“Come on in,” Damian opened the door, setting some chimes on the other side to tinkling. He ignored the sign completely. 

     Perhaps he was accustomed to the sight of people’s bellies. The thought caused the heat to rush to my cheeks.

     Damian held the door open for me for a slight bow. He studied my face, allowing a tiny smile to dance upon his lips. 

#RainbowSnippets: Stealing Myself From Shadows

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To sample other LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

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

The holidays are over and I’m not feeling remotely festive. Not with all the cat concerns I’m facing in real life. Time to open a Door and escape into the Shadow Forest in Stealing Myself From Shadows. Only it’s not the Shadow Forest Christopher is in, but Omphalos. And now he’s face to face with the Navel, the odd shop on the main road through Omphalos…

  This shop had a dusty window, displaying a skull and a deck of cards lying on a bed of purple velvet. 

    The skull caught my eye before the sign. Weathered and in need of painting, it took me a moment before I saw the image of a rounded stomach and a belly button.

    “The Navel.” I felt my face color. The mysterious Gabrielle, soon to be my mother, had a sense of humor.

Conversations with Christopher: Maia

A castle made of gold shimmers and straightens in the ever-changing mists. It becomes a sparkling skyscraper, a tower made of glass, flashing and teasing amidst the fog. 

Its light becomes a beacon, beckoning Christopher, luring him out of the mist onto a waiting patch of grass with a clear view of the skyscraper, rising into the heavens like the ambitions which formed it. 

A woman with short dark hair gazes up at its walls, a slight smile playing upon her face, a dark cape fluttering from her shoulders. She fidgets with a top hat in her hands as if she isn’t quite sure what to do with it. 

Christopher: Maia, isn’t it? I’ve met you before, but I’m not sure if I’ve been here. 

Maia: Here? This place doesn’t exist. I dreamed while slaving away in an old-fashioned factory which was the heart of Verity. 

Christopher: Why?

Maia: (laughs, transferring the hat to one hand) Why? For I am Iama the Terrible! (She flourishes her hat in the direction of the skyscraper.) And this is my castle of gold. Or perhaps I should say tower?

Christopher looks up at the sparkling walls, gleaming with golden light. For a moment, its glass turns a brilliant, hot white with a bony crown reaching out of the top with skeletal fingers. 

Maia: (shielding her eyes with her hat) Ow! Stop that!

Christopher: Sorry. 

The stones darken with black tears, whimpering. The sky grows dark, filled with rumbling clouds, outraged at the spokes daring to reach for the heavens. 

Maia: That’s not my tower. 

The clouds part, revealing the sun. The darkness drips down the walls of the skyscraper, pooling at the base, leaving it golden and gleaming once more. 

Christopher: (not looking at her) What’s the difference between a castle and a tower?

Maia: (giving him a sideways glance) Well, I suppose they’re both fortresses. You can barricade yourself inside either. Only a castle somehow still feels like a home. A tower is a prison. 

Christopher: A tower can be a home. A tower can part of yourself, but yes, a tower can be a prison. Locking you inside, making you feel powerful and safe.

Maia: It’s just a feeling. You’re not safe. (She looks back at her tower.) Isolation is not safety.

Christopher: (offers her a sad smile) No, it’s not. 

Maia: The white tower, the black tower. Which one did you hide in?

Christopher: Both and neither. 

Maia: You do like your riddles. 

Christopher: You like your tower.

Maia: I used to like it. I let it go, along with with the ambition that created it. 

Christopher: Leaving it behind in the Shadow Forest where it bubbles up once more in this Cauldron. 

Maia: Those are your words, describing your world. Not mine. 

Christopher: Why are you here? Why do you still call yourself Iama the Terrible if you’ve left your castle…tower…of gold?

Maia: (letting out a sigh) She’s still part of me, even if I’ve left her dream behind. I’ve got her princess. My princess. I’ve found I’m weak without her. 

Christopher: Are you?

Maia: I thought I was the strong one. The provider. The one who took care of her and our sister. Nathalie and Grace ended up having to save me. 

Christopher: Does that make you weak? Or wiser?

Maia: (chuckles again) Wise enough to realize I’m weak. 

Christopher: That’s something, isn’t it?

Maia: Yes, it is. Like saying goodbye to the tower. I have something better now. 

Christopher: (turns to gaze at her as if he’d just seen her) Something better?

Maia: Sure. I have my girls; Nathalie and Grace. No tower can compare to them. 

Christopher: No. (He looks up at the walls, not really seeing them.) It can’t, can it?

Maia: You have something, don’t you? Or rather someone?

Christopher: What?

Maia: Someone better than the tower. I never would have dreamed of this place, desired to build it if not for them. Only it kept me from them, from being parts of their lives.

Christopher: (looking down) I suppose it does.

Maia: Beware of your own walls, Christopher. Don’t let them come between you and the ones that truly matter. 

Christopher spins around to stare at her, startled, but Maia is already backing into a cloud of mist, blowing him a kiss. She disappears. 

He turned to look up at the skycraper which turns white, black, growing luminous with colors. Its windows are no longer opaque. He can see faces in the window, looking out at him.

Christopher: Thank you…Iama. I’ll keep that in mind. 

He starts walking toward the tower, the mist rising beneath his feet. 

Want to read more about Maia/Iama and her girls? Here are buy links to Wind Me Up, One More Time; their story…

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/store/p161/Wind_Me_Up%2C_One_More_Time.html#/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081LPX2WH/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Wind+Me+Up%2C+One+More+Time&qid=1573974211&s=books&sr=1-1

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wind-me-up-one-more-time

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-me-up-one-more-time-ks-trenten/1134959345

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1488235515?fbclid=IwAR1_ox2T5jIHibPFBHUqTck0SNaP3pcZIgNM4DS3VAjU47mn3o5iu260bMA

Secondary Characters Speak Out: Cheesecurd

Someone is scratching at the crystal of Quartz’s coffin. Scritching and scratching with tiny paws. 

Quartz opens his eyes, sees through a layer of rock turned translucent. It reveals a mouse’s muzzle, peering at him.

Our dwarf tries to yell, but cannot move his lips. Sometimes it’s like that in this coffin. He decides to think as hard as he can at his unwelcome visitor. 

Quartz: Get off!

The mouse on the coffins flicks his tail, pausing. 

Cheesecurd: (for it is he, Mousetrick’s rival) Where’s the cheese? I thought there would be cheese in this thing. (Again he scratches at the coffin, bumping his nose against it.) Mousetrick told me there would be cheese here. 

Quartz: Stop scratching, you…shards, I still can’t move my lips. This may be my guest for Secondary Characters Speak Out. Not sure why I’m trapped in here. 

Cheesecurd: This is boring. 

Quartz: See here, you…mouse. This coffin may be cursed, but it’s still crystal. Show some respect.

Cheesecurd: There’s no cheese I can get to. Just an ugly giant I don’t want to get to.

Quartz: Who are you calling ugly, snoutface? Though I suppose you’ve got a point about the giant. Seeing how small you are. 

Cheesecurd: Why do I bother? I’ve got better things to do with the last bit of year than scratch around here. 

Quartz: As if I didn’t. You try being abandoned by the scribbler and everyone else, left in a cursed crystal coffin.

Cheesecurd: There’s gingerbread to steal and nibble. Cheese to find. Paper to shred and hide. Ugh, I’m exhausted just thinking of it all. Maybe I’ll curl up and take a nap.

Quartz: Not on this coffin, you don’t. It’s not like you’re the only one with things you’d rather be doing. Or things you need to be doing. I doubt those brothers of mine are taking care of themselves. Garnet is probably pulling his whiskers right now. 

Somewhere far away in the Forest of Tears, Garnet sneezes, drops a guilty hand from his hanks of beard. 

Cheesecurd: It’s tiring, always having to share with the others. Everyone sleeping in my bed. Mousetrick is the worst of the lot. 

Quartz: Aye, he’s bad, that one. Always popping out of the cuckoo clock and the yellow smoke, huh? Who are we talking about?

Cheesecurd: Huh? Did the giant inside this crystal speak? I thought he was sleeping. 

Quartz: Never mind me. I’m just lying here. Cursed. Waiting for my princess or my kobold to come. Not. 

Cheesecurd: Guess it’s nothing. Guess it’s OK to curl up and take a nap there. There’s no tissue. It’s exposed, but it’s private. Don’t see any hawks or stoats. 

Quartz: Taking chances like that will make you hawk food. Or stoat food. 

Cheescurd ignores him, curls up on top of the crystal, and shuts his eyes. 

Quartz: Not that I’ve seen them in the Forest of Tears. They might still come. If they scare you. 

Cheesecurd begins to snore. 

Quartz: Right. Don’t bother acknowledging me. I’m only your host. Don’t even wish me a happy new year. Not that you’re listening. Some secondary characters aren’t even worth speaking to. 

Cheesecurd, oblivious, continues snoring. 

To read more of Cheesecurd’s laziness or selective listening, read  (which he insists is his story, not Mousetrick’s at)…

Nine Star Press:  https://ninestarpress.com/product/seven-tricks/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seven-tricks-ks-trenten/1127424849?ean=2940158598838

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Tricks-K-S-Trenten-ebook/dp/B0779JRC34/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Seven+Tricks%2C+by+K.S.+Trenten&qid=1636767558&qsid=134-3810483-5012939&s=digital-text&sr=1-1&sres=B0779JRC34&srpt=ABIS_BOOK

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/seven-tricks

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/758279

#RainbowSnippets: Seven Tricks

Happy Holidays! Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be from their own stories. It can be from someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To sample various LGBTQIA+ tales, go to…

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

Mousetrick will continue to squeak in rapture about the object of his desire in Seven Tricks

Wooden was he, keeping his arms and legs stiff and motionless in his bright red coat and green trousers. Wispy white hair stuck out of the crown on his head and square chin.

Ah, he had to be a prince of some sort. Perhaps a prince of the wooden dolls? Some of the humans kept such poppets as toys or slaves. Not much of a royal title.

Wish to see more of this romantic mouse’s musings, scampering, and other capers? Here are buy links to Seven Tricks!

Nine Star Press:  https://ninestarpress.com/product/seven-tricks/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seven-tricks-ks-trenten/1127424849?ean=2940158598838

Amazon:

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/seven-tricks


Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/758279

#QueerBlogWed: Tales of the Navel

On July 20, 2022, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt. It involved a barrette, a wave, and a note.

This Tale of the Navel was the result…

The moment my fingers touched the barette, I saw the wave. 

I met her eyes for a moment. We both felt the force of the water lifting us up off our feet, making us part of its cresting power. Making us one. 

How could I have forgotten? All that stood out in my memories was the note left behind. 

I’m leaving. I’m sorry. 

Tears filled my eyes when I met those of the Navel’s proprietor. There was no condemnation in hers. Only compassion. 

“This is more than just a barette.” I clutched the small hair piece in my hand as if it was a treasure. 

For me, it was. I’d forgotten the wave until I touched this innocuous hair piece she’d once worn. She’d lost it at the beach. Perhaps in the very wave which caught us. 

“That barette is why you’re here.” Gabrielle’s voice was very gentle. “You were drawn to our door, searching for something you’d lost. Something you needed to remember.”

“How much?” I swallowed the lump rising in my throat, steadied my voice. “What’s the price for this?”

“You’ve already paid it.” There was no censure in this woman who hid her beauty and gravity behind a fishnet veil of smiley faces. “Haven’t you?”

Again my throat constricted. If only I could have taken my note back along with all my stupid words. 

“Yeah.” I got the impression that Gabrielle’s veil was something silly she had thrown up between herself and her customers to shield them from the light and power shining with her. Like a visor to shield us from the sun. “Yeah.”

She advanced to close her arms around me right when I began to sob. 

I’d wanted to forget the good times, to forget the wave. To convince myself I was better off without my long lost love. I’d succeeded. 

I never thought I’d miss those memories. I never thought it would hurt so much to get them back. 

I held onto Gabrielle, feeling more whole than I’d been in too long, unable to stop bawling. 

She just stood and held me. 

Conversations with Christopher: Iama Part 2

Iama: A year is passing. We’re all changing along with our scribbler. No matter how much we may resist. 

Each Iama, real and reflectled, seems to grow, looming over hall, beast, and person, over Christopher and every shadow caught in a mirror. 

Christopher looks back at her, his eyes swimming with color. Gold is one of them. 

Christopher: Curious how much truth lies in illusion. 

For a moment Iama sees slim dark fingers cupping a golden apple reflected in his pupils. 

A golden apple gleams in the breast of every single Iama caught in a mirror. 

Ashleigh gazes at it with wonder. The dragon blinks in confusion. Damian reaches up a hand to shield his eyes from its light. Tears ran down Tayel’s face, blinded by its the apple’s glow and its reflection in his own eyes. 

Danyel reaches out a hand toward Iama’s breast, the apple there as if tempted to touch it. 

The apples all vanish, including the one reflected in Christopher’s eyes. 

Iama: (drawing herself up stiffly) That fruit is not for you.

Each Iama dwindles, becoming smaller, less imposing. More human. 

Christopher: (in a gentle voice) Neither am I. 

Iama: No. (She turns away. Every reflected Iama turns away from her victim. Or her potential guest.) Leave me. 

Christopher: I hope you find her. Or she comes to you soon.

Iama: (without looking back) Who is this she?

Christopher: The guest you’re waiting for. The one you’ll allow to get closer. 

Iama doesn’t answer. She faces the other direction, leading to deep into her castle with slumped shoulders. 

Christopher looks at himself in the mirror he stepped out of. Yes, he sees him before his reflection and the hall behind him are swallowed by mist. 

He steps into the mirror and the waiting mist and disappears. 

Ashleigh waves at her Iama and steps onto a waiting cloud that envelops her. 

Damian makes a little bow to his Iama before dissolving into a shower of rose petals that swirl around her before vanishing. 

The dragon uncoils themselves and glides off into the air, dissolving into shimmering rainbow light. 

The brilliance of Tayel’s eyes spills out, blazing through his entire form before he vanishes. 

Danyel gives Iama a long look, a sad little smile before walking out of the view of the frame. 

Each Iama is left alone. The actual enchantress gazes in the direction she’s facing, clenching her hands into fists. 

She whirls around, striding back into her hall of mirrors. The other Iama become her reflections once more until she stops and gazes into the mirror. 

Her eyes change, becoming those of a young girl looking at her with innocent curiosity, lips parted. 

Iama drinks in that gaze before the vision disappears. 

Iama: Perhaps I ought to go find that guest I’m waiting for. 

The enchantress turns to depart from her lonely hall, so filled with images of just herself. 

Who is the guest Iama is waiting for her? To read more about her and her Hall of Mirrors in Wind Me Up, One More Time, go to…

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/store/p161/Wind_Me_Up%2C_One_More_Time.html#/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081LPX2WH/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Wind+Me+Up%2C+One+More+Time&qid=1573974211&s=books&sr=1-1

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wind-me-up-one-more-time

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-me-up-one-more-time-ks-trenten/1134959345

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1488235515?fbclid=IwAR1_ox2T5jIHibPFBHUqTck0SNaP3pcZIgNM4DS3VAjU47mn3o5iu260bMA

#QueerBlogWed: Wednesday Words

On May 11, 2022, P.T. Wyant shared at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt. It involved oranges, a blinding headache, and a long shot.

This poem was the result…

Another blinding headache

Making my stomach churn

It’s a long shot trying to do anything

Let alone anything that requires thought

I try to eat oranges

Remembering too late the citric accept

Adding force to the stomach churn

Did the food rehydrate me even a little?

Giving me the strength to return to the screen

No, it’s the pull of the character’s need

Needing to continue to put one foot in front of the other

How can I show less courage than my fictional creation?

Just one more sentence, one more step

And I find myself drawn into the plot

Pain forgotten in the force of its drive.