Huntress: Waterfall

The weather was cool this afternoon as Sera trod silently through the forest bordering their new home. She could smell the changes in the season even, the heady aroma of already fallen leaves becoming fertilizer on the forest floor. So many think that Springtime is the most fertile season, but Sera argued that the Autumn was when that fertility began. She smiled when she came upon a small clearing in the trees where a herd of deer were grazing. They had not heard her approach, only lifting their heads in alarm when she came into view. The elf considered drawing her bow, but then thought We have stores enough for the coming winter. You don’t need to worry.” As if hearing her thoughts the deer put their heads down, resuming the urgent grazing to fatten themselves for the season of cold and scarce food.

Exploring their new world had been enjoyable for both the elves, their children now old enough that Sera and her mate could venture out without the entire clan in tow. Sometimes she left her husband to his tinkering though, and took paths through the woods on her own. She promised him she would not explore too far without him, that she would return if she found anything of interest. Zui often looked at her skeptically when she left alone, but he trusted her. She never explored too far without returning for him.

Leaving the deer behind in their clearing Sera moved on along the path she had found a few days ago while playing with their youngest in the woods outside their home. It was old, overgrown to be sure, but still noticeable to the huntress’ keen sight. As she walked she marked the path slightly, breaking branch tips carefully or gently lifting bits of bark away. It was a trail only the most experienced of trackers might find, and she knew her husband was among the best. If he came looking for her, he would be able to follow her path.

She heard the water long before seeing it, the soft rush of a stream moving lazily over rocks. Unable to gauge the time except by her own internal clock, which told her it was barely mid-morning, Sera decided it was late enough that she could pause for a small bite, and perhaps the stream would prove drinkable. Still following the path she found it edged toward the stream, and was delighted when she saw the sparkle of water through the old, mossy tree trunks.

Though now she had to veer from the path slightly Sera stepped through the trees and onto the stream bank. It was thick with lush green moss and edged with drying grasses. The stream itself was rather wide and shallow in this place, but her hearing could pick up the sound of roaring water not far upstream which meant it was likely deeper. Counting on her boots to keep her feet dry she waded a bit into the stream and found a stone she could mark this place with. The stone she chose was wider at one end, and somewhat flat, slick with the sort of algae that usually grew in moving water. She placed it carefully on the mossy bank, the smaller end pointing upstream, then headed along the bank in that direction.

She startled a few rabbits along the way, the small creatures come to drink from the stream where it formed small still pools. “No doubt the deer came here to drink as well,” she thought. As she moved upstream the roar of water grew louder and she began to recognize the sound: a waterfall. From the sound of it, she was either very close, or it was massive. She received her answer not long after that realization came to her.

Several huge stones remained immovable by the stream, and so formed a sort of pool where the water collected before becoming the stream which she had followed here. The stones were in a semi-circle, and where they ended the earth was higher than at the mouth of the stream, helping contain the water falling from the cliff at the back of the pool. The fall itself was not terribly high, perhaps four times her height, but it was high enough to cause the roaring sound water makes striking both stone and water. The pool was not still, but it was calm on the far end.

Sera peered into the pool and was delighted to see that while she could see the bottom it was not shallow. Likely it was deep enough to swim in. “That bears exploration,” she murmured to herself. She began to make her way around the edge of the pool, carefully after nearly slipping on the slick stones. The mist caused by the waterfall made everything damp, including her face and hair as she walked steadily closer. Gazing up, she saw the tall cliff where the stream above created this fall; perhaps caused by a shift in the ground ages ago – although in this world it could easily have been from a dragon attack, or a giant, or wizard’s battle too.

The momentum of the water pushed it outward from the cliff to fall at the edge of the pool, where rocks again formed a slightly less rounded ring containing the water. She found the fall itself hid an overhang of stone about eight feet from the edge to the back wall; it was almost a cave but not quite. She moved more carefully now, examining the site for any indication of inhabitants that were not creatures of the forest. Her bow would be useless, but she drew a long dagger from her boot and held it out at her side. Her brief inspection did not reveal anything that would alert her to a non-animal presence, but she decided to return home and not explore further without Zui’s presence. Retracing her steps to the far edge of the pool Sera looked back at the waterfall and smiled. “He will enjoy this place,” she thought.

Today’s fragment was inspired by the October 1 Fiction prompt from Creative Writing Prompts.

NaNoWriMo 2014 Preparations

Yes, I’m going to do it again. I’m going to be crazy enough to write 50,000 words (or more!) in 30 days. On top of that, my work schedule is more hectic. I’m full-time now, training five days a week starting very soon. Luckily, I’ll have a month to get myself in a habit of writing daily again, and probably more on my days off. Unless things change, those’ll be Tuesdays and Saturdays, which are good for me. It means I’ll have a day I can spend with Jason when he does have a day off, and a day which I can devote to long bursts of writing. Plus my schedule will now be set, which means I can get up and write before work, knowing exactly when I’ll be working. This is what I wanted, a stable schedule in order to have more regular time to write.

I still have no idea what I’m going to write, though. I haven’t even edited last year’s novel. It desperately needs it, honestly, but I’m not going to ‘cheat’ and use NaNo 2014 for that. It’s going to be all writing, something new. Maybe I’ll finally get to writing Thirty-Three Days into something real, or maybe I’ll start the second part of the novel which I started last year for NaNo. Or maybe I’ll rewrite the concept I started last October. I really, really enjoyed the concept, it just became really disjointed, and I think I can take the ideas and write them more concretely now that I’ve had some time to think on it.

Of course that brings me to the dilemma of what to do in October.

I don’t want to run the risk of basically writing all my ideas for NaNo 2014 in October, but I really need to get into a writing habit again, since it’s been a long time for me. I love writing, and I feel like I’m happier and healthier when I’m writing, but after a year almost of not writing I know I need to get back into the habit. I also need to learn how to work it into my daily/weekly schedule. I suppose I can use the month to work through a backlog of writing prompts, and that will help me get into the habit of writing both for a word-count and on a regular schedule. Both will be good for me.

I found myself wanting to read through some of last year’s novel, and I noticed something interesting. I didn’t remember a lot of it. I don’t know what that means, really, but there were a lot of details I didn’t remember whatsoever. I guess that says two things: first, that I really need to sit and read the story so I can edit it, and that a lot of that story came to me in flashes of pure inspiration, but didn’t stick with me. Is that a good thing? Maybe not. If it wasn’t memorable to me maybe it wasn’t memorable at all. Though realistically, it’s a rough draft. It’s a first draft, and by no means a finished novel. It needs a lot of work before it’s a finished novel. I haven’t even considered really publishing it somehow. I think it has the bones of a series, but that requires work I haven’t been able to put into it yet. Yet.

TDP’s Writing 101 – Be Brief

I wasn’t really interested in yesterday’s prompt, so I didn’t complete it. I find I have to be moved by a prompt in order to complete it, which is something I perhaps need to work on. I might find writing a more viable source of income if I learn to write even when I’m not necessarily moved to do so.

Today’s prompt however did spark my interest. Despite my propensity for exploring language, I am always intrigued by prompts which constrain me to certain word limits, just as I am to prompts which give me unconnected words to blend together in a piece of writing.

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

Somewhere overhead I hear geese calling to one another on their South-bound flight. This morning is crisp; I wear a coat, but no hat or gloves. Halfway along the path past the cemetery I see a scrap of paper caught in a hedge. It’s a letter, handwritten on actual stationary; an archaic practice to most these days. The delicate script draws my attention, and I begin to read. It is short, just one page. By the time I am finished I am crying again.

I would give it to my father if I could; if I hadn’t just buried him.

Thirty-Three Days: Day 1

Day 1

Upon waking she almost managed to forget the news. That is, until the radio switched on and the voice started blathering on and on about the end of the world, and asking people to call in and talk about all the things they regretted not doing.

“Why not go do them, instead of spending all this time regretting it and bitching and moaning and wailing?” she murmured to the cat perched on the edge of the bed, staring at her. “Yes, Merlinda, I know. I know! I’m getting up.” she said with a sigh, and the cat, seeming smug, hopped down to the floor and proceeded out of the room into the kitchen.

Dia slipped out of the bed, wrapped a robe around herself, and made her way down the hall to the kitchen. She turned on the kettle and then spooned half a can of food into Merlinda’s bowl, setting it on the table by the window. “There you go, your majesty.” she cooed and the cat, a svelte siamese with ice-blue eyes, leaped up gracefully to eat and watch the sun rising.

Watching Merlinda eat for a moment, Dia smiled and turned to fix her tea, looking out the window over the sink. It looked like every other day. The sun was beginning to rise, and the colors streaked across the sky, painting it pink and pale orange. “How can anyone worry about the end of the world when the day begins like this?” wondered Dia aloud, stirring a spoonful of honey into her tea.

She shrugged, and took her tea with her into the living room, curling into a chair and looking to her journal. She’d spent the day before making a list of things she wanted to do. Things she thought she could or should do before the world ended. Setting her tea on the table she picked the journal up and leafed through it. Hot air balloon ride. Ride a gondola. Kiss someone in the rain. There were some rather silly wishes, and some very outlandish ones.

“Everyone needs to dream, right Merlinda?” she asked, spying the cat prowling into the living room, having finished her breakfast. The siamese trilled and hopped on on the arm of the chair, peering around Dia’s arm at the book. “What should I do today, hmm?” asked the woman, not seeming at all surprised when the feline climbed over her shoulder and into her lap, nudging the book with her muzzle. The woman laughed and scratched the feline between her ears, earning a deep rumble as a response.

“I suppose I’ll just let fate decide.” she mused aloud, and with her eyes closed she trailed her finger up and down the page. It made as much sense as anything else, after all. When her finger stopped she opened her eyes and read the words her fingertip had paused upon: find a four-leafed clover.

Dia chuckled to herself, looking to the cat in her lap, now gracefully grooming herself as if she didn’t have a care in the world. “I don’t suppose you know where I’m going to manage -that- in the city, do you?” Her only reply was an answering trill from Merlinda, who then hopped out of her lap and trotted over to a sunny patch of floor. “I see you’re going to be no help whatsoever. Fine, you stay here in the sun. I’m going clover hunting.”

Dazzled by the Sun

She stood, staring at the sun, or at least with the sun warming her face. She could hear a voice, his voice, as he continued on, but the sun beckoned to her, made her stop and seek its caress. She let her thoughts wander, wrapping her arms around herself. This whole situation was confusing; loving him was sometimes a bitch, but she would be damned if she would give up on something so right.

“Are you listening to me?”

She turned, sunlight dazzling her vision, and smiled at him as he walked back towards her, that little smirk settled on his lips. “I am.” she replied, and reached for his hand.

“What did I just say?”

Squeezing his hand, she pulled him closer and leaned into him, laying her head upon his shoulder. “That you love me.” His laughter warmed her from within as the sun warmed her from without, and she held him close.

“I do.” he assured her, kissing her temple softly.

She stepped back when her world stopped tilting, still holding his hand. “I know.” she said, grinning at the small shake of his head. “I believe it, and I feel it, therefore I know it.” she added, leaning to kiss his cheek in that spot she knew made his heart flutter.

The two continued on, continuing to talk as the sun rose into the sky and renewed the earth with its warmth.

A small snippet of something, inspired by the word given to us this week at Trifecta’s Monday Challenge: bitch; also by the image prompt at The Mag.

Winter Watch: One

Waves crashed ceaselessly against the shore, the repetitive rhythm slowly rousing Malinda from her dreams. She sighs, and reached beside her in the bed, fumbling for the glasses she knew she’d left there. It took a minute, but she soon found them and placed them on her face, blinking before she looked to the amber numbers on her alarm clock.

Six fifty-three.

It was always six fifty-three when she woke up and looked at the clock. Every morning, the same time.

She sighed, and threw back the covers, hissing in a breath from the early-morning chill, and grabbing for her robe where it hung on the headboard. Slipping her feet into slippers and pulling on her robe, she pulled back her hair and twisted it up with an elastic before shuffling down the hall.


A dozing grey tabby skittered out of the way with an annoyed sound.

“Oh, Ezzie, you know I’m not gonna step on you. Hush now.”

Malinda chuckled and moved through the house into the kitchen, smiling as she filled the teakettle and set it on the stove to heat. Her attention strayed to the window, where she could see through the wavy glass panes that the cardinals were already at the feeders, feasting on the bounty she’d left for them. As the teakettle whistled she was roused from her thoughts, and turned to pour steaming water over a fragrant teabag, letting it sit on the counter.

“What should we have for breakfast, Ezzie?” she asked the feline winding around her ankles.

Esmerelda just sat, curled her tail around her front paws, and meowed again.

Malinda chuckled and leaned down to run her fingers over the cat’s head and down her back. “You’re no help at all.” she said with a smile.

Outside, fat snowflakes began to flutter against the windowpanes of the old farmhouse, and the sight made Malinda pause a moment, and smile. She moved towards the window again and pressed one hand to the glass, grinning. “Looks like we’re going to be stuck inside for a while. Good thing I stocked up, hmm?” Taking her tea then, she made her way to the sunken living room, where she flipped on the radio to hear the local newsperson talking about the blizzard.

“They talk like it’s a surprise.” she said, looking to the grey tabby with a grin.

As she heard the wind start whistling in the eaves she shivered. “I’d best get a fire going, or it’s going to be one cold day.” she said, and set to the task she’d done so many times. As the kindling caught she waited, letting it blaze a moment before she set three logs atop the flames. Before long a warming fire burned in the fireplace, and she placed the screen in front to keep the embers from setting fire to her grandmother’s braided rug.

The radio droned on about being safe in the storm, and Malinda shook her head, heading to the couch with her mug. She pulled an old quilt over her legs and snuggled into the cushions. Outside the window she could see the storm was gaining strength. She reached in the basket beside her, and pulled out a half-finished shawl, the intricate lace pattern lost in the bunched up stitches, but she knew it would be worth it in the end.

Eventually the morning news led to the random playlist of soft ‘adult contemporary’ music her favorite station played, and she continued wrapping the yarn rhythmically over the needles, occasionally lifting her mug to take a sip of the warm tea. The fire crackled and popped and hissed, the sound as comforting as a lullabye for Malinda, and she curled up in the plush pillows of her old couch, setting down her knitting and letting her eyes drift closed. ‘Just a short nap’ she told herself as Esmerelda curled up on her chest, and before long, she was soundly dozing.

* * ~ * * ~ * *

Outside, the snow continued to pile up. It was up to the bottom step by the time Malinda started to doze off, and when she roused again, it had reached the bottom of her windows. She shivered, then laughed as her stomach loudly protested the fact that she’d never managed to make breakfast. “Ezzie, why’d you let me fall asleep?” she asked of the purring feline, gently shifting her off her chest. She pushed to her feet and shuffled back into the kitchen. “I’ll just make some eggs and bacon, hmm?” Esmerelda meowed from the living room, where she’d curled up in the warm spot left where Malinda’d been sleeping.

A noise at the back door didn’t get her attention at first, the sizzle of beaten eggs in the old cast iron skillet taking most of her attention. When it was repeated a second, then a third time however she turned and looked at the mud room. “What on earth could that be?”