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A Bit About Me

Who am I and what will this blog be about?

My name is Adrianna Benavides. I am an aspiring author who is hoping to make it in the Young Adult and New Adult genre. I mostly write fantasy and cannot wait to share my work with the world!

This blog is something I have thought about doing for a very long time. I want to share my experiences both good and bad from beginning to end. I am excited to share it with everyone.

Why Do a Blog Like This?

  • To interact with other writers
  • To share my work in an environment that I can control
  • To grow an audience for my works
  • To share my experience as I venture into the unknown of life as an aspiring author

Some Things About Me

  • I am a Wisconsin native
  • I am currently a student working towards my BA in English Lit with a base in Creative Writing-Fiction
  • I have been nervous about starting this blog and sharing my work, but I am finally ready to do so.

Hopes, Dreams, Goals, Successes, and Failures

I hope this blog will continue to help me grow as a writer, and I hope it will continue to help me move forward with my dreams.

My dreams are to share my stories with the world. If they reach even one person that would make me extremely happy.

My goal is to share one short story a week minimum, as well as a personal update about my struggles, goals, accomplishments, and dreams. I would like to share my failures and setbacks because everyone has them. I want to share any tips I can for other writers to help them like others have helped me.

Find Me!

You can find me on Instagram as abenavides_writing

Thoughts of the day 8/11/20

Sometimes things just eat away at you until they are on paper.

Some Things the Mind Won’t Let You Forget

Sometimes I need to write things out to be completely honest with myself, and I needed to be a little honest with myself about everything. I started this blog to do just that. I want to be honest with the people who take the time to read my blog posts, the prompts, the short stories, and other things that will be added soon. So, here it goes.

I have been writing a lot for school which tends to be easier than keeping up with everything on here. I wish it were different than that. I have tried writing new blog pieces again and again, but there are some things that my mind just won’t let me work through.

My past has been holding onto me lately. I have continuously heard the voices of others who made me doubt myself in every way. I try to brush it off. I try to say, “I’m fine.” I try to just shake it off. Yet sometimes there are days that my whole mind refuses to shut it down.

After the accident I couldn’t help it. They were screaming at me.

“You won’t ever be worth more than what you are now. Nothing.”

“You are a screw up. That’s all you do. Screw everything up.”

“No one will ever see you the way you want.”

“You aren’t ever going to be happy.”

“You don’t deserve to be happy.”

“No one will want someone who looks like you.”

“You will not succeed.”

“You can’t do it without me.”

Those are the things that have been haunting me. Those are the things that make me overthink and overanalyze everything.

They have also made me want to work harder. They have made me want to push myself. They have made me angry, sad, and doubt myself until I had a breakdown or two. I hid in the house. I kept it dark and I stayed alone. I let those voices own a piece of me a few times. They are always there.

I am trying to take them and use them as fuel to the fire. I want to prove those voices wrong, but more than that I want to do it for myself. If I do it for them then they still win.

Moving forward has proven to be more difficult than I have ever admitted to myself before.

I sat outside today and I just let the sun wash over me. I let it take all of that away. I recharged and found myself smiling. I was smiling because I felt like myself. My old self. I missed that part of me that could smile without forcing it. I felt at peace. Those are the moments that I am going to use to drown the voices out until they aren’t there anymore.

I am more than what someone else said to tear me down.

I am more than the words that anger spit out.

The voices of the past…

Can stay there.

-Adrianna

Finding the Balance Within My Writing

Writing is kind of like the game Topple I used to play as a kid. Except for I have a passion and love for the writing, and also I don’t want to crush my sibling horribly when I am writing.

After balancing out the show and tell of all the background detail there is a new balancing like round of Topple to play. You have to find the right mix of dialogue and surrounding information in direct correlation with the conversation/dialogue. (Still a form of show and tell by the way). The balance game with that is currently at a state of eighty percent of the pieces on the game board, you’re next, you do NOT want to lose to your sibling because winners absolutely hold the bragging rights that you so desperately want to hold onto, and this is it.

This is currently where I am at with my novel. I have the solid foundation. I have built up all the background that I need to know. I have done a lot of the red marks, and now I am fighting my way around the spoken words and the actions to support them. I know there are things that can be gone into great detail about, but I don’t want to lose the story. That’s where I let the dialogue speak. I want it to be more of an equal balance whereas if I am doing show don’t tell too much I feel like the characters lose their voice. The balance has been a true fight to navigate. No one likes when one thing unravels it all. I also can’t let the balance go for what can be revealed in book one and what needs to wait until book two. (The dreaded game within a game)

I want the dialogue to be real and authentic, but I don’t want to lose the characters or the part of the story that is uniquely me by making the cuts and having everything topple out of place. I want to deliver a piece that feels just like that. I hope now that I have some free time I can build it up more so I can begin sharing fun bits and pieces with you all.

I hope everyone can find their own balance in whatever they love!

Adrianna

From the Inside

Another prompt to short story! I love when things take on a life of their own! I hope you enjoy!

-Adrianna

From The Inside

Ten Years Ago

The building was on fire. The screams from outside were making my ears ring. The fire burned from rooms away. The crackle and pop were right behind me. I had to run. They would know it was me. I could burn all the evidence and they would still know. There was no time. I dropped the knife Victor gave me. It was engraved. I was paid for a hit. That’s all. He knew what my job was. There was no unspoken law between us that I wouldn’t take pay from anyone else. I was caught in the middle. I was in the middle of a war.

And I killed her.

I killed his girlfriend.

I killed my old friend.

I was played.

I didn’t know it until the fire was licking my skin.

Now I needed to run.

Six Months Ago

I always knew he’d find me, eventually. I just didn’t know it would be like this. I didn’t know I would be soaked through and through from the rain, crouched in an old rotted out doorway, my knees to my chest. Whenever I would hug myself tighter, I would wring water out of my torn and depressed clothing. The jacket, if one could even call it that, held the little I had left. There wasn’t a phone for me to use. No money in my pockets. No hope left lingering in my eyes.

Twenty years ago, when the world we all knew ended it took the hope with it.

Ten years ago, I was making a living. I was doing whatever I needed to do to not only survive but thrive.

Then it all ended.

I had to leave.

I started running from house to house. Most abandoned. Some were welcoming. Other homes, I had to fight my way back out. The end brought out the crazies. It showed everyone what they were truly capable of doing to another human being. It taught everyone survival.

He didn’t look the same as he did all those years ago. There were bags under his eyes. He had aged from the young, strong, and terrifying man I knew. I knew he would find me because he had to. I owed a debt. He always collected. When he finally showed up to collect, I couldn’t say no. Actually, I could. I had nothing to lose. Yet here we are having a silent conversation deciding the other’s next move.

His hand made its way towards me slowly. He was trying not to scare me. He didn’t want me to bolt and leave him behind in the rain again. Thunder rumbled in the distance as I slowly reached out as well. He let go of my hand once I was up on shaky legs and gestured for me to walk down the alley towards the main road. The rain picked up and I nodded. I kept a few safe feet between us not wanting to have a trick played on me.

“If I was going to kill you, Kay, I would’ve done it back when you were sitting in a ball looking pathetic as ever.” His voice was deeper than I remember, but it had the same edge to it. “We have some things to discuss. They could be mutually beneficial.” I pulled back more at his words and stuffed my hands inside torn pockets.

“Things that would benefit us both?” I cleared my throat trying to sound more sure of myself like I once did. “I doubt it.”

“You’re living on the street or in abandoned homes and never stopping.” I stopped in my tracks feeling the rage within bring some lost part of me back to life.

“I couldn’t stop running or you would have killed me.” My hair was clinging to my face matted with dirt, dust, and a little blood from a fight the night before.

“Well, I can’t kill you now. Can I?” He began moving forward again.

“And why can’t you?” He didn’t respond just looked at the ground and smiled. Occasionally, we would have to step over bodies. Sleeping or dead I couldn’t really tell. We stopped in front of a large old hotel. It was deteriorating on the outside, but I knew he wouldn’t let himself stay somewhere like that let alone live there.

“Bren,” a younger man with raven black hair walked up to us, “take Miss Kay up to room 323. Please.” The young man’s dark eyes seemed to be one large blackened spot at the center. “Get cleaned up. When you’re done Bren here will bring you to me.”

Why would I want to clean up for him? Why would I ever want to do anything for him? I was being dragged by the arm away and I finally gave in and was dragged to a stairwell. I followed Bren silently and took a look around when we stopped. I tried getting a layout of the place to the best of my ability.

“Right here.” I felt my right brow rise at him. I doubt he could see it. The dirt was caked everywhere on me. “I will wait out here.” He turned and leaned against the wall ignoring me as I went in.

I went to lock the door and realized the lock had been removed. So, he wasn’t trying to keep me there forever, just for the time being. I peeled off the destroyed tatters that resembled clothing and made my way into the bathroom. I turned the shower on and was immediately thrilled with the hot water. I let it pull the grime from me and watched it swirl down the drain. My muscles welcomed the warmth and relaxed for the first time in about a month. I took all the time I could enjoying it before climbing back out.

When I got back to the room I couldn’t find my “clothes” anywhere. I started checking drawers when I realized they were filled with fresh clean clothes to wear. My old clean clothes. He kept it all here. I slid into them easily and with more than an ideal amount of room. I had to poke a hole in one of my old belts to tighten the pants to where I needed and made my way out of the room back to Bren.

“After you.” He jumped a little at the sudden sound of my voice.

“I didn’t even hear you come out of there.” I shrugged and followed him quietly. “The boss has been looking for you for a long time.”

“Not long enough.” He chuckled beside me at my quick and quiet response. We walked silently after that to a large room. It looked like it used to be a conference room at one time, but now it was set up like a security room.

“Ah, that looks better.” I felt myself sneer at him.

“You kept all of my things. Why?” I assessed everything around us not seeing any available weapon.

“Times are hard.”

“Feeling sentimental or something? I didn’t think we were that close.” I circled the small table between us trying to keep my old face on.

“Truth is…” He stroked his small amount of scruff trying to tread lightly, “I need an assassin. You were the best one I knew of. The only one who ever got close enough to get to me, and I am willing to compensate you for your work.”

“Clearly I didn’t get close enough.”

“Cute.” I stopped moving and plopped myself down in a chair trying not to show pain where all my bruises were on my back. I adjusted to comfort and stared him down some more.

“Why bring me in now? I am sure there are people qualified to do what I used to do.” I realized then the only reason was because instead of me being recruited to kill him he wanted to hit his enemies first. “It’s because they are looking for me to ask the same of me, but the other way around.” He smiled and looked back at the door where Bren was watching us both.

“Yes. However, I intend to pay you what you deserve. They can’t.” I leaned forward, put my elbows on my knees and rested my chin on my hands. He knew he would be losing a lot bringing me on. This was him showing me he would risk it all to bring me in and make me one of his. The number one. No one else would know what I did. I would be the perfect weapon, and the only weapon that could take him down.

“I’m listening.”

“From where I stand what happened to Claire was a tragic accident.” Her eyes open in terror popped in front of my face. The flames reflected from her brown eyes into mine. She was already gone, but she was still judging me. “I have an idea who placed the hit, but I do know the fire was meant for me. Whoever it was screwed up.” I straightened up and shook it off. I thought to myself that I didn’t miss. I never missed.

“Who placed it?” I needed to keep the mask up.

“Talbot.” The darkness reappeared in Victor’s eyes.

“What’d Talbot want with you?” He held up two fingers to Bren and the younger man disappeared.

“Money. I took over some of the shipments coming in the city gates.”

“I remember.” The black trucks flashed before my eyes. Victor had me busy as ever. Until Talbot found me.

“We made a great team.”

“We did.” Bren was back putting two crystal glasses of a dark amber liquid in front of us.

“Why’d you run?” I choked a little on the liquid which made it burn more than the fire from that night. “I went to the suite to find you, and you were gone.” I set the glass back down and looked at him. Observing everything. His slight twitch of his upper lip. His jaw tightening.

“Talbot’s assassin.” I held myself straight up and leaned onto the table. I made sure to hold his gaze. “Assassins. They were after me.”

“For what?”

“I was your number one. Your right hand. I was Claire’s confidant. I knew things that you didn’t. I found out who she was. I went to Talbot. I tried to make a deal to help you save face.” He leaned in swirling the liquid in his glass.

“Why would you go to him without backup?” I chuckled a little at him making him more tense.

“Why wouldn’t I. I was the best remember?”

“Who was she?”

“Claire was Cassandra Nessar.” Victor sucked in a quick breath.

“Nessar? No!” Victor threw his glass.

“Yes. She was the daughter of Talbot’s right hand. She was hired to hand over your secrets and I found out. I went to Talbot when he was supposed to only have two guards. Cassandra’s dad was there. I didn’t know.” Victor put his head in his hands. “I told them I would kill her for what she did to you.”

“Was it you who killed her?”

“Yes, I went to confront her. She wasn’t alone. I wound up confronted by Eliana.”

“Talbot’s daughter.” I nodded trying to push through.

“Turns out she was quicker than me.” I leaned back and lifted my shirt showing him the scar from my right him up across my left ribcage. He reached forward and the second he touched me my scar was on fire and I put the shirt back in place.

“Why didn’t you come to me?” I looked down.

“I barely made it out of there. You wanted me to come tell you the woman you loved wasn’t real? You wanted me to tell you what I did? You would’ve killed me yourself back then. You were impulsive, cruel in many ways, and you looked at me like I was the enemy some days. I know what she was telling you about me.” He looked away his eyes were slightly glossed over.

“I would’ve trusted you.” I laughed and shook my head. He jumped up and put his hand on my throat and slid the chair and I back to the wall.

“You… would’ve… killed… me.” He let go and flipped his own chair back. I let out a few coughs and started rubbing my throat. I straightened back up and felt myself harden further. “Still impulsive I see.” I kept my eyes on him, but caught Bren placing himself between the two of us. I gave him a small head shake and watched him back up to his original place. “And you wanted me to come to you?”

“No… Yes. Maybe it wouldn’t have all ended up the way it did.” I laughed harder.

“What would you and I have wound up working things out? Would we have made a go of the on and off between when you were or weren’t with Claire?” He looked straight into my eyes. Broken. Not the same Victor I knew.

“Is that so wrong?”

“You knew where I was for how long?” He didn’t respond. “How long?” He looked up as I yelled at him.

“I have had eyes on you for about three years.” I felt myself stumble back.

“Three. Years.” I felt a tear flow down my face. “You swear things would have gone different. You make it sound like you cared. Like you loved me. And you left me on the street scared out of my mind and running for three damn years?” I walked past him knocking my shoulder against his. He tried to grab my arm, but I slid out of his grip.

“Kay.”

“Bren, take me back up to the room.” Bren didn’t look back at his boss. I decided right then and there I wanted it all. The money, the loyalty of his men, and the power. I wanted everything he had. He watched me suffer. Now it was my turn.

“You okay?” I looked over at Bren forgetting he was there.

“I’ll be fine. Just figured out I have some work to do.” He nodded and kept quiet until we got to the door to my room.

“Is there anything I can help you with?” I smirked at him and pulled him in close. I put my cheek against his and let my lips brush lightly near his ear.

“I need to clean house.” He pulled back. I expected wide eyes and fear. I saw understanding. “He keeps you close?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay.”

Two Months Ago

“Bren! Can you come help me out please?” I was in a thigh high, skin-tight, little black dress. The zipper undone. He came in and smirked at me. I looked at my reflection realizing how different I was four months ago. I had been eating, working out, doing my job again, and I was in a loyal relationship with a true partner in crime. Victor wasn’t aware of the relationship outside of work, and we used that to our advantage.

“Who is the target tonight?” He slowly zipped up the dress and goosebumps jumped across my skin.

“Antonio. He is the last real target that we would need to worry about. You’re in charge of shipments. I’m in charge of keeping things under control. I know how to handle the finances. He has had me running books since we got rid of Alli. All that’s left is the overseer.” He nodded and pulled me flush against him. We stared in the mirror at one another.

“Be careful. He has been getting handsy.” I felt his hand slide up my thigh and I smacked it away turning around. I kissed him almost knocking us both back into the big red chair.

“He will lose the hand before he gets anywhere.”

“I meant be careful with Antonio. Victor has been getting handsy.”

“Antonio doesn’t worry me. If things go sideways, I can handle him and Victor.” He kissed the side of my head. “And if something doesn’t, you’ll be there.” He nodded.

That dinner was a bloody one to say the least. Antonio started picking apart the recent fires. I defended them. I didn’t feel anyone untrustworthy was welcome. Antonio threw a glass at me. Victor got up and I held my hand in front of him. He sat down turning red.

“Antonio, is the reason you’re so upset because you hired them all? They were obscenely loyal to you.” He stood up and leaned over towards me. “From what I understood there was an uprising within the ranks.”

“What are you implying?”

“I’m not implying anything. I am saying that I know they weren’t loyal to Victor, and yet they stayed and did only what you asked. They would nod after you gave a side nod. They wouldn’t move the second he asked unless you okayed it.” Antonio picked up the knife. “It is you.” He threw the knife and it made a shallow cut across my cheek. I wiped it and leaned over the table. “Did I get it right?”

Victor moved to Antonio’s side and I reached under the table grabbing my new hunting knife. I threw it straight into Antonio’s chest. Victor watched him fall backwards and stared at him. I walked around the table. Victor was breathing shallow breaths.

“Next time, you better make sure to kill me first.” I squatted down twisting my knees away from him. I gripped the knife and twisted hard. I smiled a knowing smile that Victor couldn’t see. Before he could get a word out to spill my secret, he was dead. I pulled the knife out and he was gone.

“You couldn’t have waited to hear him out?” I threw the knife on the table staining the beautiful gold cloth.

“We hear traitors out now?”

“When you are pointing fingers at someone we have both known for a long time, yes!”

“I thought you wanted me as your right hand, Victor. Wasn’t that the point of bringing me back in?” He sat down and slammed his drink. I poured him a full glass and sat back down. “Bren.” He walked in the door and looked down at the floor. “Clean up. Aisle two.” He looked at Victor trying not to laugh or stare directly at me.

“Take him down.” Bren nodded and I caught a small look of pride in the mirror on the back wall. Victor slammed the whole glass and I sent the bottle back down to him for another. I sipped mine waiting until he was hammered to leave the table.

The final game was just beginning.

Over the next few weeks, I had made sure he saw the dead walking the hotel. My people lined the halls waiting for their next order. I was slipping small amounts of acid into Victors drinks now and then. I wanted him to slowly suffer. One night I decided that it was time, but I wanted him to do it to himself. I drugged him up enough to watch him run down the hall from demons. I watched him yelling for them to leave him alone, and when the time was right I watched him tumble over the railing. He broke his neck and lay there bleeding. He reached up and was choking on his own blood.

I felt nothing.

I had won.

Yet I felt nothing.

I didn’t feel it though. Not until I sat in the stupid conference room in the throne like chair giving out orders. I placed my people carefully and watched them scatter like worker ants to their new positions. I watched the money come in and the fear grew on those who looked down on me before. I realized then I wasn’t done.

Talbot was next.

Prompt: 3/28/2020

I always knew he’d find me, eventually. I just didn’t know it would be like this. I didn’t know I would be soaked through and through from the rain, crouched in an old rotted out doorway, my knees to my chest. Whenever I would hug myself tighter, I would wring water out of my torn and depressed clothing. The jacket, if one could even call it that, held the little I had left. There wasn’t a phone for me to use. No money in my pockets. No hope left lingering in my eyes.

Ten years ago when the world we all knew ended it took the hope with it. I started running from house to house. Most abandoned. Some were welcoming. Other homes, I had to fight my way back out. The end brought out the crazies. It showed everyone what they were truly capable of doing to another human being. It taught everyone survival.

He didn’t look the same as he did all those years ago. There were bags under his eyes. He had aged from the young, strong, and terrifying man I knew. I knew he would find me because he had to. I owed a debt. He always collected. When he finally showed up to collect, I couldn’t say no. Actually, I could. I had nothing to lose. Yet here we are having a silent conversation deciding the other’s next move.

His hand made its way towards me slowly. He was trying not to scare me. He didn’t want me to bolt and leave him behind in the rain again. Thunder rumbled in the distance as I slowly reached out as well. He let go of my hand once I was up on shaky legs and gestured for me to walk down the alley towards the main road. The rain picked up and I nodded. I kept a few safe feet between us not wanting to have a trick played on me.

“If I was going to kill you, Kay, I would’ve done it back when you were sitting in a ball looking pathetic as ever.” His voice was deeper than I remember, but it had the same edge to it. “We have some things to discuss. They could be mutually beneficial.” I pulled back more at his words and stuffed my hands inside torn pockets.

“Things that would benefit us both?” I cleared my throat trying to sound more sure of myself like I once did. “I doubt it.”

“You’re living on the street or in abandoned homes and never stopping.” I stopped in my tracks feeling the rage within bring some lost part of me back to life.

“I couldn’t stop running or you would have killed me.” My hair was clinging to my face matted with dirt, dust, and a little blood from a fight the night before.

“Well, I can’t kill you now. Can I?” He began moving forward again.

“And why can’t you?” He didn’t respond just looked at the ground and smiled. Occasionally, we would have to step over bodies. Sleeping or dead I couldn’t really tell. We stopped in front of a large old hotel. It was deteriorating on the outside, but I knew he wouldn’t let himself stay somewhere like that let alone live there.

“Bren,” a younger man with raven black hair walked up to us, “take Miss Kay up to room 323. Please.” The young man’s dark eyes seemed to be one large blackened spot at the center. “Get cleaned up. When you’re done Bren here will bring you to me.”

Why would I want to clean up for him? Why would I ever want to do anything for him? I was being dragged by the arm away and I finally gave in and was dragged to a stairwell. I followed Bren silently and took a look around when we stopped. I tried getting a layout of the place to the best of my ability.

“Right here.” I felt my right brow rise at him. I doubt he could see it. The dirt was caked everywhere on me. “I will wait out here.” He turned and leaned against the wall ignoring me as I went in.

I went to lock the door and realized the lock had been removed. So, he wasn’t trying to keep me there forever, just for the time being. I peeled off the destroyed tatters that resembled clothing and made my way into the bathroom. I turned the shower on and was immediately thrilled with the hot water. I let it pull the grime from me and watched it swirl down the drain. My muscles welcomed the warmth and relaxed for the first time in about a month. I took all the time I could enjoying it before climbing back out.

When I got back to the room, I couldn’t find my “clothes” anywhere. I started checking drawers when I realized they were filled with fresh clean clothes to wear. My old clean clothes. He kept it all here. I slid into them easily and with more than an ideal amount of room. I had to poke a hole in one of my old belts to tighten the pants to where I needed and made my way out of the room back to Bren.

“After you.” He jumped a little at the sudden sound of my voice.

“I didn’t even hear you come out of there.” I shrugged and followed him quietly. “The boss has been looking for you for a long time.”

“Not long enough.” He chuckled beside me at my quick and quiet response. We walked silently after that to a large room. It looked like it used to be a conference room at one time, but now it was set up like a security room.

“Ah, that looks better.” I felt myself sneer at him.

“You kept all of my things. Why?” I assessed everything around us not seeing any available weapon.

“Times are hard.”

“Feeling sentimental or something? I didn’t think we were that close.” I circled the small table between us trying to keep my old face on.

“Truth is…” He stroked his small amount of scruff trying to tread lightly, “I need an assassin. You were the best one I knew of. The only one who ever got close enough to get to me, and I am willing to compensate you for your work.”

“Clearly I didn’t get close enough.”

“Cute.” I stopped moving and plopped myself down in a chair trying not to show pain where all my bruises were on my back. I adjusted to comfort and stared him down some more.

“Why bring me in now? I am sure there are people qualified to do what I used to do.” I realized then the only reason was because instead of me being recruited to kill him he wanted to hit his enemies first. “It’s because they are looking for me to ask the same of me, but the other way around.” He smiled and looked back at the door where Bren was watching us both.

“Yes. However, I intend to pay you what you deserve. They can’t.” I leaned forward, put my elbows on my knees and rested my chin on my hands. He knew he would be losing a lot bringing me on. This was him showing me he would risk it all to bring me in and make me one of his. The number one. No one else would know what I did. I would be the perfect weapon, and the only weapon that could take him down.

“I’m listening.”

Just Over Here Keeping Busy

This staying at home deal has worked out well for me. I wake up. I workout. I eat healthier. I am absolutely writing more. I have been dabbling with my art again. Best of all I have purged so much crap from my personal space. I have not had time to do so in about a year, and wow there were just things that definitely needed to go.

I found broken frames, I found piles of papers that I just didn’t take the minute or two to sort, and I found precious drawings from my nieces and nephews.

I have cleared out a few garbage bags now. My next mountain to tackle however will be the clothes. I have a lot. I know going through them is about to be a marathon of its own. Yet, I will do it. I will crush this organizational goal. I will have an insane amount of clothes to donate by the time I am done, but I am one hundred percent okay with it.

Creatively I have been trying all my favorite ways to thrive. I write for my novels, I write just to journal and let my brain just flow onto paper, I am starting to work on this blog again and doing prompt of the day, and I am working on my sketches again (the just for me art book and the character sketches I have so that I can describe them properly and not mix things up).

When it comes to keeping my brain going I love tapping into the creativity, but I also like to work with puzzles. I love them I could do them all day. I also have fill-in crosswords. I am nearing the end of that book and need to dig up my other one. I do sudoku. I have games on my phone and tablet to tap into the quick thinking statistical portion of my brain.

Homework helps with that also.

Physically it is back to basics mixed with physical therapy. I do a short walk here and there around my subdivision, while keeping my distance from others of course. I have started to do light yoga again, which helps with my body and mind. Just keep moving everyone!

I like DIY stuff and haven’t had the time to do it so I am hoping not to create an insane mess, but we will see. I just won’t use glitter. I think that’s the key. Right?

Stay busy. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

-Adrianna

Prompt: 3/23/2020

The day was scorching hot and bone dry, the air smelled like burnt toast, and everyone’s nerves were on edge. Only Zachariah was calm. He patrolled the perimeter, making jokes about the Eastlanders finding us out here in the tall grass hiding in our small camp. He always tried to make light of the situation we were thrown into. Nothing was ever completely serious unless it personally effected the outcome of his life. He is amazing in a fight. He can swing a sword quicker than another human can see. He is quick and dead on with aiming arrows and bullets. Everyone else, they don’t see all the hidden pieces of who he is. They didn’t see him at his lowest and alone like I did.

“You know if the Eastlanders find us it will be because you can’t stop talking.” I let my hand rest on the knife at my hip. He smirks and his blue eyes are full of mischief.

“We have our way out. Just need to run now.” I remember the first time he brought up leaving. He wanted to just disappear, but he couldn’t do it alone. He couldn’t be alone anymore. So, he just decided putting up with my life and the people around me as an easy answer.

“Can’t. I got family here.” He let out a scoff and walked on.

“You know they have attracted more trouble for us than we would have found out there.”

“You mean outside of you fighting for money and slipping out on the last fight. Us needing to run for it from the collectors. How about when you ended up having to save my ass in that bar?” I laughed remembering how much trouble we pulled in on our own.

“Well there’s more here than there was out there. We haven’t been able to catch a break.” I stopped him by grabbing a hold of his left arm at the crook and pulled him to a standstill facing me.

“We won’t catch a break. Not now. Not with the Eastlanders out to kill us all.” He put a hand lightly on my cheek before letting it fall to my shoulder. “One day it’ll all be over and we can run to a farm in the middle of nowhere and live off the land around us with nobody coming on our land.” I moved my hand to his face and he leaned in resting our foreheads against one another.

What felt like the perfect moment was interrupted by a bullet whizzing past my head and into the tree just mere feet behind me. We dropped down below the grass and waited for whoever it was to pop back up. An arrow came from the other direction grazing my shoulder. I tried not to make any noise or react at the shallow cut. I turned back and Zachariah was gone. I felt panic rising in my chest and rolled out the other way. I heard swords clashing behind the tree line and dodged an arrow from in front of it. I ducked behind a tree and dropped. I rolled under a brush and popped up on the other side of the shooters aim. I slid from tree to tree as silent as possible until I was right behind the man. I moved quickly as I slit his throat and dropped him. A woman came running at me with a sword and I pulled my knife out throwing it square in her chest. I heard a gun fire off. I didn’t hear any movement after. I froze.

“I think we got em all.” I turned quickly ready to throw a punch when Zachariah put both hands up in the air. “Woah! I surrender.” His sword was still wet and dripping blood.

“They found us.”

“Clearly. Come on we need to get everyone ready to go.” I nodded and followed him back to the camp. Everyone argued and picked sides Zachariah or Joe on if he should have been brought back to the group or not. He was a dangerous criminal. That is all they knew.

“And if he wouldn’t have saved me I wouldn’t be here.” My family grew silent. “Still want to argue or can we get the hell out of here?” The next two hours was silent except for feet shifting gravel. I stayed near the rear of the group watching Zachariah and Joe go back to the normal semi-friendly routine from their past. Zachariah looked back and I gave a false smile wondering if we would all be dead if we were separate two months ago.

Would I have survived the bar? Would I have come back to save my uncle? Would I have stood up for Zachariah or would I still be trying to hunt him down and kill him for past sins? What if?

Things Have Been Anything but Normal

The past few months have been a whirlwind of confusion, stress, anger, pain, and a reset. After the car accident I was in I wasn’t quite sure how to sit here and write. I had a lot to say, but I wasn’t sure how to say it. My mind was a big mess. My memory wasn’t in top form. Everything was spiraling out of my grip.

Physically I wasn’t doing one hundred percent either. I needed to start getting everything straight before I tried to find that new normal for moving and doing everything. I am lucky. I didn’t need surgery. I did need and am still working through a lot of physical therapy. However, I will do what needs to be done to find myself again.

I let myself get lost for a while. My anxiety took over. I didn’t want to see anyone or go anywhere. I didn’t want to do anything. But I had to keep going. I had to push through all of those crappy feelings. I needed to find my balance. I needed to find myself.

After all of that fighting to get back to a relatively normal place I went back to work part time, I finished another semester in school, and I wrote a chunk of my novel for the first time since December. If it wasn’t for school I would have probably completely lost it. (The last class ends in October and I wasn’t stopping classes if I could help it.)

I struggled with sharing everything. I wanted to put everything out there in the open about what was going on. I couldn’t find the words. I couldn’t write them down. I wanted to write anything that wasn’t just for school.

I couldn’t.

I feel a weight lifting as I type this out and start being a little more open, a little more honest, and a little more me.

I plan to write something every day to get back into the flow of things; blog post, short story, or just a prompt of the day. I want to get back to doing what I love and I want to move forward with my life. I don’t want to keep pushing it aside and telling myself, “Maybe tomorrow.”

I am going to use this time in the house to read as many books as possible, do a bunch of puzzles, and exercise as many creative muscles as I can.

As always thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

-Adrianna

Life’s Twists and Turns

On December 26, 2019 I was involved in a car accident. I am not going to dwell on the details or go too in depth. I have been sitting and reflecting a lot. I have not been able to sit on my computer and write outside of my school work this past month, I have not been able to read at my normal pace of a book a day or two to three a week, and I have been dealing with constant frustrations of all the other issues caused by the accident.

To put it simply I have felt very lost and very much alone. (Even with my amazing family and friends being present and supportive.)

That being said, I want to focus on the writing part in all this. I have always looked at writing as a way for me to just speak my mind and tell stories, but after everything that I have felt and been dealing with I realized something important. For me writing is an extension of who I am. It isn’t just this thing I can do or enjoy doing. It is a part of me. I wasn’t able to really do that for an entire month and that alone made me feel so completely broken. I was so lost without knowing how to express myself and let that part of me be free. It has been emotionally draining working through everything and my main outlet has been on standby.

I still can’t sit on the computer, read, or write for too long in one shot, but I am so blessed that I can do it for as long as I can in this moment.

My school is amazing and understanding with everything. I am using my school time to work back up to the standards I set for myself. I don’t push it too hard. If things start acting up I stop and let my brain rest before going again. If it wasn’t for school I think I would still be struggling as bad as I was a few weeks ago. So, thank you to Southern New Hampshire University.

I will work back up to being able to write and read all day every single day no matter what it takes, but I am not the most patient of people. Really. I could pretend to be patient on the outside, but everyone around me knows. I am not one to wait for something to happen. I am one to make it happen, but I am following all of the instructions from my doctors and intend to get back to normal or even surpass the old normal. That is how important this is to me.

I am going to let myself heal and grow from this experience. I can only hope that the growth will be beautiful in the end.

Thank you for those who follow me and are still with me on this journey. Thank you to those who are just reading my words now.

-Adrianna

Prompts to Stories

I wrote a prompt yesterday that sparked a short story. Well that short story has consumed my time today and has blown up into something other than a short story. I had no idea what type of thing I was walking into with this.

This has turned into an entire story set all of its own. I am excited as always to find a new love within my pieces, but I am also realizing how much I story jump. These prompts are amazing and sparking so many different pieces of my creativity. I will share a short story in the next day or two, but this was the highlight of my week.

The story is adding to my work load, but that only builds my excitement and lets me know I am going down the right path with following my dreams and finishing up school. I can handle all the work in the world if it means sharing it with everyone when it is finally finished.

I did work on my original series for a while today, but I needed to get this story bug sprawled out and written down on paper. The amount done was less than I thought I would do today, but it was still worth every page that got finished.

-Adrianna

Prompt: 12/21/2019

The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown on the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before the soldiers of Fen caught up with us. We waited until finally we saw a hand come over. The city which had held them all as prisoners would soon be in their past. Then the snarls started creeping in. I felt pure panic course through every vein, into every finger and every toe, and even the ends of my hair seemed to curl slightly in anticipation.

The bright neon blues, greens, yellows, oranges, and pinks of the eyes around me stood out in the night. The fog lifted from the ground and I let my eyes focus in and all I could see was the night vision version of life around us. His upper body was over the wall and he was ready to flip himself over. We didn’t want to leave without him but if we needed to we would. The skitch were devilish creatures that were hard enough to fight at full magi strength, but at the half strength we would all surely perish.

He was almost down when the skitch started slamming themselves against the wall to get out. I grabbed the hand of the youngling next to me and started pulling her back across the field. The sound of soldier feet pounded their way out. I felt myself ready to open a portal, but knew I only had one shot. The little youngling tugged on my hand and closed her two hands around my one. Her beautiful pink eyes closed and a bright white light radiated and she opened a beautiful portal. She was channeling me. I smiled and put my head to hers letting the magic flow between us.

The other magi began rushing through and we waited as long as we could, but Rafit was still limping behind. The wall gave and the skitch were being followed by the soldiers of Fen. I picked up the youngling and rushed through holding her head to my chest so she wouldn’t see our old bunkmate torn to shreds as the portal closed. I noticed a skitch that was too close to the portal and I got it closed as the arm came through. The portal took that piece of it and I through myself and the youngling back to save her from being cut and poisoned.

“Ashe, your holding me to tight.” I loosened my hold and kissed her genius forehead. The elder helped me up and looked around trying to get our bearings and find a way to move forward.

“Aslaya. We are in Aslaya.” The older man looked back to me and nodded.

“Welcome home. Aliyara. The only living heir to the Aslayan throne.” The others picked up on his words and began to kneel. I put my hand out to stop them, but they still knelt.

“There is no throne here.” I looked around at the destruction and the buildings run over by the earth. “Not anymore.”

“While you live, there is a throne.” He moved forward and a light was glowing above my head. “And you need to take it before the soldiers of Fen come for us all.” I looked him in the eyes as a weight fell slowly upon my head.

Prompt: 12/19/2019

Until that day, fear had been an idea, a concept. Now it was real: a feeling I would carry inside me for the rest of my life. The day began innocently enough, with a nice breakfast on the porch watching the rain fall over the land my family had owned. The smell of fresh rain drifted past me on the breeze bringing happy memories from my childhood. It wasn’t until I saw the shadow standing on the edge of the forest that everything would shift.

I waited until he walked further in and I let my legs carry me behind. I watched him intently with my gut screaming at me that this would be a bad idea. He seemed to glance back at me and gave a small nod. The next thing I knew he put his hand on the tree and seemed to be sucked in. I ran up to it and walked around the large trunk multiple times before I leaned on it as well.

The next thing I knew I was face down in the dirt with the sun beaming down on my back. It felt hotter than usual and something about the air seemed off. I looked up and found a barren field that stretched as far as I could see. Nothing was familiar. Nothing was real. The sky was purple. I filled with pure panic and went to touch the tree again trying to go back. It was gone. There was nothing there. Just more field.

I was alone in a different world? This couldn’t be real. I pinched myself. I almost gave myself a Charlie horse trying to wake myself up.

“Everything is real love.” I stilled and looked up from my probably bruised leg. The shadow man was so dark. His hair, his clothes, his eyes all looked black as night. He wasn’t real. He could tell me he was yet I didn’t know if I would ever believe him.

“It can’t be.” He smirked and a hand that moved as if in smoke brushed lightly across my cheek sending shivers straight down my spine.

“It is. If you aren’t ready I am going to need you to leave.” His whole body was mere centimeters from mine and he looked straight through me. “I’ll be back for you.” He gave me a shove and I was back on the forest floor looking up at the night sky.

“Riley!”

“Where are you?” Flashlights went dancing back and forth between the trees and I was registering my cousin’s voices.

“Here.” It came out stronger than I thought. After a few minutes everyone was surrounding me asking a million questions that I couldn’t make out. “How long was I gone?”

“Two days.”

Tackling my Goals!

I have been keeping up with everything for the most part and I feel so good writing every day! Even if it has been just a little bit the last two days. I got hit with the flu and it wasn’t easy to keep up with my reading, but I got myself back on track with that.

I have stuck to my writing goals so far and even surprised myself with what I was willing to do to hit them. I found this determination and drive within myself the past week that I think was just waiting to be tapped into again. I have hit my goals where school is concerned and will continue to, but I want to carry this drive into the next semester. I think that will be my goal when these three personal challenge weeks are done.

Putting my writing first and my happiness as a priority is the best goal and challenge I could have done for myself this year.

-Adrianna

If anyone has any goals for the future or goals that they have crushed this year and they would like to share I would love to hear them! I would love to celebrate those goals with you all! Even if you don’t feel like sharing I hope you still celebrate them! We all deserve to celebrate the successes in our lives no matter how big or how small!

Prompt: 12/18/2019

“How did you know?” I asked, not sure I wanted the answer. I thought I had been careful. I thought no one would ever figure out it had been missing. I had been sure to measure it all out and put back the replica in the exact place. No one had been in or out while I was making the copy.

“For starters that box is an heirloom. I stare at it every day. I notice when there is a new chip on it.” I turned to try and assess what chip she was mentioning. “I also deal with computer programming consistently. I can tell when something isn’t my original drive.” Ali sat down in the large office chair and her deep brown eyes bore into my bright blue-gray ones. I felt as if she was trying to read my mind.

“I don’t know what you mean.” I leaned back against the old wooden bookshelves.

“The file. I need it back.” She straightened slightly as I let out a low whistle of air.

“See. I would if I knew what you were talking about.”

“Do not play stupid with me Naomi.” I felt a cat like grin grace my features.

“I’m not that good of an actor Ali. If something were missing one should head down to the Browning Facility and speak with Trevor Browning.” Ali slumped.

“Why?” She looked defeated.

“The boss pays well.” I went to walk out of the room and swiped the letter opener off the desk corner. I took a few steps to the door before she cleared her throat.

“Put it back.” I spun and let my arm feel the natural movements as it went hurtling back at her. The letter opener went into the chair almost an inch from her face. She gasped and when she went to look at the old gold piece I made a quick and cat like exit.

Prompt: 12/17/2019

We took turns guarding the door, neither of us sleeping very much. Ricky looked nervous, and suddenly I felt bad about getting him involved. I shouldn’t have told him who I really am. I shouldn’t have told him anything that put him here in this place with me running and hiding just to stay alive. He deserves so much more than this life.

Yet here we are a week later and the silence and mere mumbles are all I can get out of him. I just wanted something normal. Anyone else would have yelled. They would have thrown things or left me on my own to suffer and turned me in. For some reason he wasn’t ready to give up and go.

“I think I saw a vending machine at the end of the hall. Do you want something?” He moved off the queen bed opposite mine and stood tall. He turned his back to me and slid his leather jacket on before walking out the door. “I can go you don’t have to.”

“I don’t want anything from the vending machine.” He took a few large steps to the door and gripped the handle. “I’ll be back.” Fear ripped through me. This was it. He was done running. He was going to do it. He was going to turn me in. I couldn’t blame him for it. I deserved to be locked up. All I wanted was to be free and after fighting for it and doing what I had to do I was going to go back and get what I deserved.

“Oh, okay.” He let the door slam shut and I jumped at the sound. I scurried to pack my things and dug around the room for a small scrap of paper. This old dingy motel was not keeping up with supplies. When I found the paper I wasn’t sure what I would write, but I knew it had to be the truth. He deserved that much.

Ricky,
I knew the second I met you that your kindness was genuine. I knew that you meant every single word you said, but I took advantage of that. For months you helped me find a job, kept a roof over my head, made sure I was happy, and you protected me. When I finally told you who I was I knew it was a clear betrayal. You deserved so much more than that. You deserved to know from the start. I lied and for that I am sorry. Thank you for everything you have done for me, but I understand why you needed to tell the truth. Your future is more important than mine. I hope you find solace in the fact that you gave me a normal life for a while.
-M

I had to run before anything else could be put on him. One day if everything worked out and I could truly be free maybe we would find each other again. I looked back at the note on the bed and then felt the weight land back on my shoulders as I walked out. I moved silently into the tree line and watched. It was risky to stay that long, but I needed to know if he was truly done.

After an hour or so he came back and went up to the room. I watched him read it and instead of seeing a swarm of officers I saw him drop to the bed and put his head in his hands. I wanted to go back more than I wanted to worry about my future, but the only way for me to be free was to finish the job I had started. On my own. As he made his way back out to the lot and started looking around I eased back into the woods further out of sight. There wasn’t any doubt in me in that moment. It was time to fight for my future.

Prompt: 12/16/2019

Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world where everything seemed to flow continuously with ease. Nothing was ever hard or hurt. Then she began to wonder if feeling the pain elsewhere was holding her back or pushing her forward. Was the pain worth it. Was she really awake now?

Maybe this world could be the real reality and the other world was the nightmare realm. She felt everything spinning around her as she struggled to find her mental footing. She closed her eyes and ran her fingers across the cool metal table she was at. It felt so real that there was no way she could be making this up.

“Is everything okay here miss?” She looked up at a gentleman who could only be described as dapper.

“Yes, sorry do you need the table?” The man’s face broke into a weird smirk that didn’t seem to fit this reality.

“There is no need for you to leave. I was hoping to talk with you about something.” He sat opposite her without an invitation and leaned forward on his elbows. “I want to talk to you about staying.”

“Staying?” She sat back and let the metal help her feel really and truly grounded. “Staying here?” He nodded and looked off for the waitress. When she saw him he held up two fingers and she disappeared further into the coffee house.

“Yes. Here.”

“What’s the catch?” The man smiled maliciously.

“You just need to work for me.”

“Doing what?” The man sat back now and watched her every movement.

“I cannot answer that until you agree.” Her lungs felt as if they stopped working.

“I can’t agree to something if I don’t know what it is.” He went to stand and as he straightened out his coat he gave her a quick glance.

“Very well then. I think it is time for you to go.” Her memories in this place seemed to race before her eyes. All of the smiles, all of the ease, all of the happiness she felt.

“WAIT!” The man didn’t even fully turn away or back before she went from a yell to a low and quiet tone, “I’ll do it.”

“Very good.” He held out his hand to shake hers and when their skin touched her whole body felt like it was on fire. She took the wrong deal, and in that moment she knew who he was. The devil. She just made a deal with the devil.

Officially on a Break!

I made it through my toughest semester yet and cannot wait to begin flying through my TBR (to be read) list! I also am ready to take my time off and dedicate it to my writing and my blog! This is the most excited I have been for a holiday break in a long time. I have a bunch of goals I hope to hit in the next few weeks.

I want to read seventeen books in twenty-one days, I want to post eighteen blogs with my prompts of the day, I hope to blog about my journey or just every day things to connect with you all twice a week minimum, and I want to do three short stories as well as working on my novels as much as possible. It sounds like a lot, but I live for the chance to do all of this as much as possible!

I am going to be spending a lot of time on here with everyone and hope to catch up on reading other blogs that I have missed as well! I look forward to connecting with everyone and am excited to crush some goals!

-Adrianna

The Holidays Are Upon Us

As Thanksgiving week draws to a close and December starts up I have been thinking a lot about what I am truly thankful for.

My family- My insanely large and wonderful family, extended family, and friends that have become family over the years. You are all amazing miraculous human beings. You have been there through so much and continued to push me so far that I don’t know if I would be here or pursuing my dreams without you.

My friends- These people. My people. Simply put I love you crazy wonderful humans. The ones that I wasn’t given or connected to because they are family, but the ones I chose and who chose me. Some of my favorite lovely and beautifully crazy people. Thank you. All of you.

My ability to finish my education- This is something that as I near the finish line I grow more and more thankful for this opportunity. It is something I never thought I would be able to do, but with all of the love and support I am so thankful to know that this education will always be here for me.

My job- It is rare to find a job that you can focus on your future and flourish while still working. I have been blessed with an amazing job working for an amazing family and I am so thankful for them giving me this opportunity. They are amazing people.

My literature teachers- Thank you. Thank every single one of you. Thank you for taking the time to help me grow and keep honing in on my craft. You have all been inspirations to me and have helped me see that this future is possible and it can be beautiful.

Writing- I am thankful to have the opportunity to do what I love. I am thankful that writing has given me this new building block for my life. I am thankful that my passion can become my future. Having this outlet has saved my life. I am thankful for it.

Thank you to anyone who reads this blog! I always want to be open and honest about my life and you all reading this are allowing me to do just that. So, thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Adrianna

Forgotten Town

This was a little tidbit that has been sitting in my brain for a while. I have been trying to work on a new aspect of my writing with each piece. This time I wanted to focus on the descriptive pieces and making my dialogue stand out. I wanted to find a different kind of balance. It took me a while to have it feel ready to go. I separated out the two focuses for myself which helped me see what works in each and what doesn’t.

It might be a quick story, but I hope you all enjoy!

Adrianna

Forgotten Town

                Every step could be heard moving forward. The world was ominously quiet. Nothing moved without help from the wind, and nothing made any noise except for feet hitting the ground. One foot at a time the sound lent itself to the world. Dirt and dust kicked all around as the breeze turned into a powerful wind. Buildings could barely be made out in the shadows and as the feet falling got closer noises could be heard. The no name town was the one the world had been looking for.

            There was a piano playing, glasses clinking, and voices singing out in joy. It was a celebration of sorts. There was a clarity as the wind seemed to just vanish. The buildings were old. Wooden homes and businesses lined the one small main road. The windows were all broken. Some cracked, some with holes through them, and some completely shattered. There were no lights inside any of the structures.

The music and laughter got louder until a fight could be heard breaking out. The footsteps moved closer to where the sound erupted from and as the swinging doors were pushed open the music cut out and dust and sand swirled around an empty and broken down old bar. Bar stools were laying on their sides or broken and missing legs, old jugs sat still open on the bar or tipped over with nothing able to get free of them, the tables were destroyed. The piano however, sat there, dust covered and beautiful.

The traveler, a woman of thirty, stood in front of the piano and let her slender fingers run across the keys. As she pushed the first key down the whole place filled with a breeze and erupted in sound again. She stopped and looked around with deep brown eyes assessing her surroundings. There wasn’t anyone there, but the noises kept growing. She hit a few more keys and once she stopped the air stilled again. The entire small town came alive and died within those moments.

The woman grabbed a closed bottle from behind the bar and carried it with her throughout the building. The stairs groaned beneath her as she moved up each stair. The hallway was stuffy enough to force a few short coughs from her. She felt a difference in the atmosphere from downstairs to upstairs. Her skin hummed as she passed a few doors with sounds of creaking beds behind them. She touched the old door knob and the sounds all stopped immediately. She found the brothel. She wasn’t sure where it would be, or how she got here in this hallway, but she found it.

“Hello?” Someone had to respond. Someone had to be there with her. The furthest door at the end of the hall opened and slammed shut. Her heart was racing and she backed up to the stairs. She turned to look down the stairs and take that first step and felt an aggressive shove hit her on the shoulder blades forcing her to roll down the stairs. Her head hit the railing and her ankle caught between the wooden bars and gave a quick pop. Once the world stopped spinning she freed her ankle, sat up, and tried to wipe the blood from her forehead onto her jean jacket. All that was really accomplished was sand in a cut, a foot she couldn’t get out of her boot, and the full feeling from the fall hitting her rapid fire.

“All I said was, ‘Hello’” She grunted as she pulled herself up. She looked to the bar only to find a clean bar rag. She wiped her forehead and looked around once more before heading back onto the main road.

The next stop was the small doctor’s office. There were flat tables with deflated pillows that wouldn’t do much good anymore. Cabinets that had been ransacked and emptied with a vial or two unmarked left behind. Metal instruments lay scattered on the floor next to torn up journals and photos that were drawn for research. There wasn’t much there that would help her now, hundreds of years later, but she thought she would give it a try.

When she got a closer look at the journals she realized that there was something in this town. Something came for these people. A sickness that couldn’t be fought. An evil that had consumed this place. No one who was here had left or been found again, so where did they go? They had to be here somewhere. If she had read her family history right then someone had survived otherwise her family wouldn’t have made it this far. All she could feel was that someone didn’t want her there.

There was a house tucked back from the main row. It was small. The place looked frail, as if a gust of wind could blow it over. The front door was hanging on by one hinge. The window next to it had a hole straight through the bottom panel. Someone had tried to break into this place before. Her fingers ghosted the broken glass and she moved to kick the door the rest of the way in. The smell of death hit her in the face making her reel backwards slightly, but her determination was strong. She wanted answers. She needed answers.

There was one large room that looked like a studio flat. It was all in one room. The ash from the firepit had been blown out into the room, but the wind had carried the sand and rubble in. There was a layer of dust that seemed to be an inch thick. She pushed her finger through a little and then wiped it off on her jeans as if trying to take measure. She looked to what seemed to be the kitchen next. There were old dishes strewn about and any trace of food had been cleared out. Probably coyotes, or whatever creeped its way in. The bed was made of mostly wood with nothing soft to lay on. It looked like it had been stripped and carried out for whoever needed it.

An old black and white family portrait lay on the ground in a gold oval frame. It was broken straight down the middle. There was a little girl on her mother’s lap. She had light hair and eyes. The little boy stood to the right of them with dark hair and dark eyes. The father was towering above them all looking like a cross between a cowboy and something she couldn’t quite put her finger on. He almost seemed sinister. It seemed like he was the one hiding behind the pictures. His wedding ring seemed small for the man wearing it. As she stared at it the glass shattered up at her. A small shard cut her cheek and another her forehead. She set the photo on the old table in the middle of the room and continued to search.

After what felt like hours of searching, she stumbled upon an old book. It had a black leather cover and the pages had been browning over time and being open to the elements from outside. She ran her hand over the cover a few times before sitting on the old bed of dust. As she flipped through the pages slowly she began to realize it wasn’t just a book, but a journal. She stumbled upon a piece of truth that someone had been here.

“They took the bare essentials, but they left what meant the most?” She flipped to the next page, “Why?” She shoved the small journal into the hip of her jeans for safe keeping and moved on checking all the nooks and crannies.

After some time the sound of glass being knocked over came from out back. She cautiously made her way outside. She wasn’t sure who or what she would find there. The last thing she expected was a man, no more than twenty-five, sitting on a barrel whistling to himself. It took her a moment to notice his clothes. The were definitely old. They had to be two hundred years old, at least. He looked over and eyed her clothes as well.

“Hello.” She approached him cautiously trying to take the friendly approach. She had a pistol with salt filled bullets and an iron chain at her waist acting as a belt just in case.

“Hello’.” Something was familiar. “Who’re you?” He leaned forward on the barrel towards her.

“Brylee.” He took in her appearance and stopped at her eyes. He held her gaze for a minute before extending a hand.

“Connell.” There was a prickling that started on the back of her neck and worked its way down as she shook his hand. There was no way this was real. “What brings you here?”

“Trying to figure some stuff out.” She felt the journal burning at her hip.

“This wouldn’t be the place to do that. People who come to figure things out search forever.” Brylee moved to lean against the house. Connell to her right still on the barrel.

“Like you?” He let out a chuckle.

“Yeah. Like me.” She took a breath of what she thought would be fresh air, but it was wrong somehow.

“What do you mean people search forever?” He looked her up and down before looking out at the barren land beyond.

“I came here looking for my family, fell asleep, and have woken up looking every day since.”

“Your wife?” He let out a hardy laugh before stifling it quickly and looking around.

“My little sister. No wife.”

“Oh, sorry. I shouldn’t have jumped to that.” He looked at her with a raised brow. “I shouldn’t have jumped to a conclusion that might or might not be false.” He nodded and continued staring.

“What exactly are you looking for?” The journal burned again.

“History.” She looked down and kicked a small pebble that she had been playing with. “Family ties.”

“No one has family ties here.” She smirked at that. It was a bold assumption for someone who hadn’t left here himself.

“I do.” She finally pulled the journal out and showed it to him. “Somehow this journal and that photo in there… I know I was meant to find it.”

“You were meant to find it, but were you meant to leave with it?”

“What do you mean?” He pointed down to the bar where the door was swinging in and out.

“How’s your head doing? Still hurting?” She couldn’t feel any pain. She just assumed that she walked it off. Then she looked at her ankle and it was as if the oversized ball wasn’t throbbing anymore. She dropped the journal and took off for the bar. When she got there she looked down to the floor to find drag marks. She tried to follow them but someone grabbed her arm. Connell pulled her back out on the street.

“You shouldn’t go there.” Brylee pulled back and took a few steps towards the door again.

“Where do those marks lead?” He shook his head trying to spare her what she already knew.

“It would be best to leave it alone. They aren’t so kind to the newcomers.” Brylee walked out of reach.

“I need to go.” Brylee took off at a run the way she came into town, but when she made it to the wall of dirt, dust, and sand she walked through only to be staring straight at Connell.

“Welcome back.”

My Weekend of Writing

I will be honest here… I went into the weekend just planning to write a short story for the blog to try and get somewhat on track with my short story a week… instead I had the most magical Saturday. I wrote for about eight and a half hours.

It was the best feeling in the world to just write more of my novel down. I felt so happy and there was this weight that just disappeared. I haven’t felt so happy and so free in a long time.

I know I have gotten to write for school, but writing for school is so much different than writing for myself. I haven’t kept up with the blog as I have hoped to and I am going to try to be better about it. I have some goals in mind that I intend to stick to, but I also need to be more realistic with myself.

School, work, handling a million things, and fitting in writing is harder than I thought. As my brother and many others reminded me something has to give at some point. I am trying to find my balance now more than ever. The way I felt after writing this weekend has only made me more determined to make it work.

This weekend of writing has been one of clarity, happiness, and peace. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.

-Adrianna

Outlining… Just a Rough Process, Needing to Find Your Process, or a Trip Through The Inferno

I hated outlining anything for school. I dreaded an outline. It was always so bare and empty to me. (Yes I am aware that is what an outline is.) In school though they had us cut it down to so little I never felt I knew where it was going. It was horrifying and made me hate the entire process. As i would come to learn what works for some does NOT work for others. I was trying to fit in the process that made me feel like i was in an inferno surrounded in nightmares by bad outlines. (It was a rough time…)

I eventually stopped doing outlines for anything. I became a let’s just write it down and see what happens type of person. Editing was then another issue entirely because of my choice in new process. I thought nothing of the fire like pits I would want to throw myself into because of that.

After years of doing that I finished half of a draft for this WIP that I am currently working on. Needless to say I gutted the entire thing and felt lost with it. I knew the story I wanted to tell I was just lost. I went to my outlining roots and felt that it didn’t work for me. I tried all of these worksheets and I got nothing. I tried writing a paragraph at one point for what I wanted each chapter to look like. Everything was rough to get through. (Like paying off all your credit cards to find bills that run them back up and feel like you’re in an endless cycle rough… [seen that more times than I wish I would have])

Finally after two months of no progress (and some really awkward exercises I found for writing on Pinterest) I ordered “Save the Cat! Writes a Novel” I am not one to be astounded at what I learned about my own writing outline style and how I could use the platform to blend with everything else I had tried. That book helped me revamp and rebuild my story into what it is becoming now. It helped me truly find what worked for me! (Life and school would have gone so much smoother had I found my process sooner, but to each their own.)

It might not be to everyone’s taste but it is worth a look through if you feel stuck and can’t move your story forward. I have marks and tabs all through my copy. Some things struck me as things that should be obvious, but I never would have realized it when I was so busy trying to fix something that wasn’t my strong suit to begin with.

After tearing the original draft apart and giving my new bare boned outline an angry toss across the room I used the book to fill in my missing outline pieces. I did a mixture of everything while following the flow of the book to explain it and break it down for me.

I realized that if I as the author couldn’t understand where my story was going or what I was trying to do I wasn’t going to have the best outcome. So, I started on the angry fire pit path, got lost in expectations, and found what worked for me. I want to make sure to repeat myself in saying the same thing dies NOT work for everyone, but I hope every writer and author alike can find their process.

I wish everyone luck on their journey!

Adrianna

Courage in Words

This is the piece I submitted for my final story in my writer’s workshop. I wanted to do something completely new and totally different for me. I wanted to challenge myself. I hope everyone enjoys!

-Adrianna

Courage in Words

Aiyana closed her eyes listening to the sound of people clinking glasses, and it was beautiful. It was as if windchimes began to slowly sound around her. As she opened her dark green eyes a sadness washed over her. Looking around the table at her best friends and their significant others she could only think back about how everything continued to fall apart every time she tried. If she was honest with herself she thought she would’ve ended up with Thayer. He was sitting across from her with his goofy grin and captivating eyes that looked like the ocean. He was the boy next door. He was everything she wanted in a guy, but she could never be what he deserved. Then there was Roselen, beautiful, smart, talented at anything she tried to accomplish. 

“Hey, you okay?” Thayer’s voice pulled her back to reality. He had his hand on Natasha’s shoulder and was leaning over the table trying to talk. Natasha turned her head slightly and gave a small smile in Aiyana’s direction.

“Yeah.” Aiyana gave a little shake of her head and stood upquickly jarring the other’s at the table. “I just need to go for a walk. I will be right back.” She pushed her chair in before giving a small nod of apology to everyone and turned away. Her heart tugged at her. She could never let go of the lingering feeling he knew how she felt. She never found the courage to ask. She could never talk about it. She always told everyone he was always the one to go to if they needed to know about her. He knew everything. He knew her darkest days. He knew her happiest days. All of it. Her arms wrapped around herself as she left the warmth of the barn. The beautiful twinkle lights decorated the edge of the field and the path back to the houselike small fireflies. The music faded into the background as she walked further and further away. 

A few minutes later she got to the furthest edge of the field and away from the lights. As she sat watching and waiting for the easiness to wash back over her memories pulled from every corner of her mind. Her parents fighting, her sisters never keeping her close because of the age difference they treated her like a child, the phone call when her parents passed away on the back road in an accident caused by the black ice from a winter storm, and her sisters abandoning her when they realized she was old enough to take care of herself. Aiyana was never one to truly be surrounded by people after that. The bills got to be too much for upkeep so she had to sell her parent’s house. She bought a smaller one on the outskirts of town. It was much more suited to her as her own person. Small white house with dark blue shutters, decent yard with a small fence, and enough space in the driveway for her car since the garage was shoved full of memories. Every relationship to walk through her life seemed to progressively get worse until she just decided that being alone was safer. As all of these thoughts kept looping around she didn’t hear the footsteps approaching.

“So, what does a woman say to her best friend who ran off like a thief in the night at a wedding. I thought you were having a good day.” Aiyana felt her anxiety pull back into its original place tucked back in the deepest depths her mind could find. She shifted uncomfortably.

“She says, ‘Here I brought the tequila.’” Roselen laughed and pulled a cup out from under the pale blue scarf that wrapped around her. “Snow White delivers tequila. Now that is a gift all princesses should behold.” 

“I figured you were having a tough time seeing him with Nat.” Aiyana choked on the booze and the burn lingered in her throat.

“I am completely fine with Nat.” She coughed a few more times trying to regain her composer. Her friend watched her closely and raised an eyebrow in suspicion. 

“You might be fine with Nat, but are you fine seeing him with Nat?” The cup went back and forth a few times before it was empty and there weren’t anymore physical distractions that would work.

“He is happy.” Roselen let out a chuckle and shook her head.

“He is content. There is a difference.” Aiyana shook her head and stared back at the lights. “If you could put on your big girl panties and just tell him, we might lose Nat, but you would both be happier.” 

“No.” Aiyana was dead set against any part of feelings being brought from the dark and into the light. She had tried again and again to muster the courage up and tell him the truth. She wanted him to be happy, and she wanted it to be with her. How broken she was, that wouldn’t be good for him. He might know about all of the cracks in her armor but those weren’t his cracks to fill and to try and repair.

“I told him you needed to talk. He is coming over now. I will go get us more of this.” Roselen walked away tapping her finger on the side of the cup. She leaned in close to whisper, “Just get it over with would you?” She gave a small bow and waved the cup around as she passed Thayer. His hands were in his pockets and he gave a small bow back and a chuckle along with it.

“I see the tequila fairy came early tonight.” Aiyana shrugged and glared at the “fairies” back. She was still dancing her way to the barn.

“I wouldn’t call her a fairy. She is more like a trickster. One who gives tequila to make people talk about things.” Thayer cleared his throat and she finally looked up at him. His facial features seemed even more amazing in the moonlight. 

“And what things would people need to talk about.” Aiyana shrugged and couldn’t pull her gaze from his.

“Things we can’t say. Things that shouldn’t be said. All of that. The dark stuff.” Thayer moved to sit next to her and she had to move quickly so he wouldn’t sit on her dress. 

“Things that we both know or things that you haven’t told me about.” Aiyana laughed and bumped her shoulder to his. The tequila kept warming her more and more as the time went on and the alcohol settled in. She felt her walls crumbling slightly and she tried to put them back, but she couldn’t.

“You know everything.” He stilled and it sent a chill through her.

“I think I do, but you never say it. So, I tend to think I am wrong.” Aiyana felt her anxiety creeping back up through the tequila. Is this her opening? Should she just say what everyone supposedly thinks? Should she prove them right? Everything about her told her to get up and walk away, but the buzz kept her in her place.

“I don’t even know where to start.” He reached for her hand and stared ahead. The touch left her skin tingling and an excitement ignited within her. 

“Then let me.” She squeezed his hand giving the go ahead for him to say what he needed to. “I love Nat. I do, but there is something you need to hear. Not just listen to but hear.” They looked at each other now and she nodded waiting. It was the only movement she could make. “I remember the first day of senior year. You came outside in that light blue sundress and I felt my heart stop. I thought that was it. I mean if your heart stops you die.” They both chuckled at his nervous humor. “I knew right then it was you. I thought it would always be you. Then you never showed me anything back. I thought something would happen but it didn’t.”

“I was scared.” He held his hand up making her words stop and catch in her throat.

“I am not done.” She nodded and smirked at his set tone. “You started seeing guys who were nothing like me. I thought I was wrong. Until five years later when I went on a trip for work and came back for this wedding a week ago when Roselenpulled me aside. She started telling me everything I missed and every sign that was right in front of me.” Aiyana felt the confusion slip onto her face. “I ended things with Nat.” Aiyana pulled back in shock. “She is here to keep up appearances for now. She doesn’t know why, but when she does it won’t be pretty.” Aiyana could see Nat walking up to her and winding up her arm for a good swing. She knew this wouldn’t end well, and she knew that if she stopped herself from talking maybe this whole ordeal would shove itself back into the corners. Before she knew it her voice was soft and seemed to come from somewhere else.

“I don’t know what to say.” He squeezed her hand and let her know it was okay to take her time. “Thayer, I am not the right woman for you. I could’ve been a long time ago, but…”

“You don’t get to tell me what is right for me, but what you do get to tell me is the truth.” Silence held for the longest time and while she tried it was more than she could ever attempt to count. In those seconds she saw him. His old car. Dancing in the front seat. Them sitting in the woods on the hiking trail as she cried over lost loved ones. Them dancing at prom because neither one had a date. Saying goodbye and refusing to cry until she was alone in the car after she left him just inside the glass doors. Then it registered.

“You had a date for the prom, but you went with me didn’t you?” He smiled and looked up at the starlit sky. Her heart swelled and the rest of the tequila crashed through those walls.

“I didn’t want to go with anyone else, and I sure as hell wasn’t leaving you home alone in that house after your sisters so kindly left you behind.” She lunged at him catching him off guard. There wasn’t a weight anymore pulling her back. The words needed to be said. He needed to know. No one deserved to hear them more than the guy who picked her up and never left her on her own to fight life.

“It’s you, Thayer.” 

“What’s me?” 

“You’re the one who has picked me up every single time I hit bottom. You are the one who I can’t go a day without thinking about. You. I am pretty sure I love you.” He kissed her forehead and set his back against hers.

“Well, Aiyana Belle Vitalle, I am pretty sure I love you too.” Their eyes met and it seemed as if they could see where life would be taking them from that moment on. Happiness she felt pure happiness because she finally felt that she could speak the words her heart and mind needed her to express.

The Huntress and the Wolf

Well the prompt sparked a story! I might want to dig into these characters more and build on it, but for now this is a small part of their stories that I wanted to tell.

I hope you all enjoy!

Adrianna

The Huntress and the Wolf

The images flashed rapidly of fire, snow, metal, and blood. The sounds surrounded of metal clanging, screaming, and flesh hitting flesh. The smells drifted between of smoke, sulfur, rotting, and death. The ringing started and Lilith was pulled to reality from her dream with a gut-wrenching tear. She reached for her phone and fell off the couch with a hard knock against the old wooden coffee table. She put her hands on each side of her head and pushed herself off the floor. The phone continued ringing as she watched the weird number flash across her screen.

Once the ringing stopped she grunted and got to her feet. She swayed a little and made her way to the old yellow tiled kitchen where the doors were falling off the hinges the secondthey were pulled open. The old avocado colored refrigerator creaked, and the leftover’s smell wafted out hitting her in the face making her pull back as she eyed the water bottle on the top shelf. The phone beeped indicating a voicemail and she rolled her eyes and slammed the refrigerator door closed. Her phone was still lit up but dimmed as she walked over to it. The cracked screen stared at her and judged her a little as she slid the notification over and began playing.

“I hear you’re the one to call if there is a certain reptilian issue. Baxter’s. Southtown. Two hours.” The voice had a gravel to it that set her skin on edge. She clicked her phone off and stretched her sore muscles. Her wound from the other night on her thigh decided to break open causing it to bleed through her jeans and down her leg.

“Damn!” Lilith wasn’t a skinny girl, but she wasn’t big either. She was medium build and had enough muscles to make her body seem smaller. Her curves set the balance up for her enemies to underestimate her. She liked being underestimated. She usually came back to whatever crap motel or friend’s place she was staying at with bruises, gashes, and wounds that wouldn’t heal as soon as she would like. She only wore her makeup to cover all the bruises from when someone caught her by surprise. She peeled the clothes off from the battle of the night before and washed the gash out with some booze from Sage’s side drawer. She swore under her breath and rinsed it out before patting it dry and slapping mock versions of a bandage on it before throwing on a new pair of dark high waisted jeans, biker boots, a white tank crop top and a leather jacket. She had about an hour and a half to get to Baxter’s and scope out the bar. 

She pulled up to Baxter’s and parked near the back alley. She looked around for cameras and a back door for a quick exit if things went south. Every other situation she was in like this if she went in without being prepared there was a good chance she wasn’t coming out alive. Not with the creatures that she hunted.

She closed her eyes for a moment and remembered her blonde foster mother, Ellen, who always looked like she was starving herself day in and day out. She came home with bruises and weird stains on her clothes. Her “sister” Davina was always there on Ellen’s late work nights. Lilith thought she was doing something well below the amazing woman that she was. When she turned ten something broke into the house while Ellen was gone. A demon. The face contorted in ways that she had never seen before. Lilith clasped her hands to her mouth and let burning tears fall down her cheek as Davina screamed. Ellen busted the front door in and took a katana straight through the things neck. That was how it all started. She lied to everyone about her mom. She lied to everyone about her pseudo aunt and she lied to everyone since that day about what she did and why she was so good at holding her own in a fight. She hadn’t thought about Ellen much since she lost a fight a few years back. She couldn’t. If she truly let that in she wouldn’t come back from that. Then it would be, “Hello looney bin. Goodbye, life.”

“Alright Gravelly man. Which one are you?” She adjusted in the seat of her old Chevy and watched both the back door and the front door. She saw a couple of hookers smoking and trying to grip the old money’s attention as it pulled up now and then. One of them looked like an older Sage which made her chuckle to herself. Then she noticed a shaggy haired man sneak into the back. He was in a leather jacket and she tried to get other detailsbut the lighting was crap in the alley. 

“Guess I should make my way in.” She took a look in the mirror, pulled her hair out of the messy bun and tried to make it look presentable, and she did the best she could do with leftover makeup. She slammed the mirror closed and opened the door with her left arm. She tried to fight off the limp her leg was so desperately needing her to do. 

“Hey honey. Got a smoke?” The Sage look-a-like asked as she walked up.

“Sorry. Not tonight. I was gonna ask you.” The woman turned to her friend and Lilith made her way in. She spotted shaggy hair at the back of the bar and made her way over. She stopped so there was a seat between them and waved to the bartender. “Two whiskeys Bax.” The shaggy haired guy noticed her and smirked down at his bottle of beer. Baxter walked back with empty shot glasses and set them in front of her. He was older than her, mid-forties, salt and pepper hair, and some scars that were similar to the ones she had.

“No trouble tonight.” He poured the caramel colored whiskey into the glasses. Lilith looked up into his hazel eyes and smiled as she took the first shot. She set the glass back down and picked the other up.

“I would never.” She slammed the other and he laughed as he walked away.

“I take it you come here a lot?” His voice sounded too velvety to be the caller. She checked her watch. Twenty-five minutes early. She might have time to flirt and get another. 

“That is the worst first line I have heard in a while.” He laughed and stilled a little as Lilith scooted to the stool between them. She could feel heat radiating off of him. She could feel it. She needed to be smooth about this.

“It got you to move closer.” The silver star in her pocket started vibrating on a low hum. Her body was always so in tune with the weapons she carried. She leaned in and put a hand at the back of his neck and grabbed his hair a little. She put her cheek next to his and her lips next to his ear.

“Want to get closer?” She stood up and walked to the back door. She could feel him walking up behind her as she pushed the door she cracked her neck to the left and the right. The alley was dark. In front of her stood the dumpster and behind her a pile of alcohol boxes. She picked the spot behind the door where she could safely lean on the wall and use the open space to her advantage if she needed. The man was about to test her. She wasn’t sure how. 

“Do you believe in ghosts?” he asked her. He made it sound like a statement not a question which caught her off guard a little. She stayed quiet trying to figure out if he would continue or elaborate on his own. After a few moments, he asked, “Do you?” She hesitated again before taking a deep breath and the bait.

“I guess. I’ve never thought much about it.” He moved closer and touched her arm. She was trying to stay calm and let each word he said calculate all outcomes when a shiver ran through her. He felt it. She could tell by his body language.

“What else do you believe in?” She pulled back and looked into his eyes noticing for the first time that they looked like melted gold with flecks of chocolate.

“I believe that love isn’t instantaneous.” He showed off a wolfish grin. “A look or touch don’t just make something happen or spark some internal thing.”

“So, ghosts yes. Love at first… spark, no.” She leaned back from his touch and against the cold stone wall.

“Is that some catastrophic issue for you?” The silver star in her pocket burned now, but she couldn’t make her move just yet. Things needed to be just right.

“Surprising? Yes. Catastrophic? That’s a little dramatic.” He turned away and she moved quick pulling her silver whip from under her jacket and around to her side. She spun and the whip made it perfectly wrap around. She grabbed onto the other end pulling them back to back. The smell of burning flesh and fur was drowned out by the soul stilling howl.

“Yeah that doesn’t work for me.” He got leverage and flipped himself so they were now face to face and he pulled her flush up against him. His claws dug into her hands forcing her to let go.

“I’m the one who called you genius.” She stilled in shock. “Care to hear me out now?” He pulled the silver from around him and tossed the whip down the alley. “Damn that hurt.” Lilith stared at him trying to figure out why a wolf would call a hunter. He was rubbing at the burn marks as they faded.

“That must be nice.” She pointed to the fading.

“They fade. Some more quickly than others. It wasn’t on too long so it will be gone soon.” She nodded and backed up against the wall to where she stood before.

“Why’d you call wolf boy.” He smirked at her.

“Wolf man.” She smiled a little and looked down the alley at her whip trying to will it back to her. “The snake. He is a Dagon.” It took Lilith a minute to realize what he was talking about.

“A serpent god. A literal god of snakes?” He nodded and Lilith dropped down into a squat against the wall. “Dagon.” She remembered the word written in Ellen’s notebook. There were a lot of question marks and a lot of words that didn’t make sense.

“He hunted her.” Lilith’s eyes shot to his.

“How did you know her?” He walked to her whip and took his jacket off. She watched the muscles tense as he wrapped it around the silver and dragged it back to her. He placed it at her feet and put the jacket back on.

“She saved me when I was a kid. Kept an eye on me after I was bit.” Lilith watched him slowly lower to her level. “She kept me away from the packs. She kept me safe.” Lilith nodded now trying to still understand how he found her. He could see her thoughts racing as if she was writing them into the air. “She told me about you. Gave me your number before she disappeared.”

“Killed.” The wolf stilled. “He killed her.” 

“Lan.” He put his hand out to her trying to shake her hand. She closed her eyes and took a breath before taking it. “Ellen always called me Faolan. Lan stuck.” Lilith giggled.

“Little wolf. Huh.” He eyed her for a second trying to understand.

“Again man wolf.” She shook her head quickly and started laughing.

“No. Faolan means little wolf.” His eyes widened and he put his hand on the back of his neck trying to rub the awkward tension out of it. 

“She must’ve really liked you to give you a nickname.” He watched her movement.

“What’s yours?” 

“Don’t have one.” They stood there silently for a minute. “So where is he?” 

“I will take you, but one condition.” She shook her head ready to argue. “We do this together.”

“Nope. Just me.” He grabbed her shoulders quickly and tightly.

“I lost her. We lost her.” He wasn’t going to budge. She could tell. He had a look that reminded her of Ellen on a mission.

“You get in my way I silver cuff you to the car.” He put his hands in the air and they got in the car. After she started the car he reached for the radio and she smacked his hand. “My car.” She kept the music off. She needed to think it all through. He would occasionally tell her directions and she would just follow.

“Do you have her katana?” Lilith shifted uncomfortably. “Kill the followers.”

“What?” He leaned against the window.

“Kill enough of his followers and he falls. He lives because they live. They worship him. The live for him. If you kill the ones who are actually living for him then he dies.” Lilith slammed on the breaks and he slammed into the dashboard.

“Innocent people?”

“They have killed for him Lilith. They are anything but innocent. They aren’t just human anymore. They are more. They are him.” She got the car back on the road and he led her to an underground tunnel that led to the cape. 

“Oh, this screams great idea.” He shrugged. 

“I can get us in. We need to kill them and not be killed by him to get out.” 

“Right so in, lots of stabbing, don’t die, hopefully he dies, and get out.” He nodded and got out of the car. She put it in park and hit her head on the wheel exasperated already. She took a few deep breaths and reminded herself this would be for Ellen. She got out of the car and geared up. She grabbed as much as possible and told him to load up on what he could. She noticed a few grenades near the rear of the trunk. “If one of us blows up the path out to the cape they would have to come right at us.” Lan’s eyes went wide and he started chuckling.

“You’re definitely her daughter.” A smirk flitted for an instant on her face.

“Something like that.”

The pair went in fast. The second they hit the opening Lan broke off about fifty yards to the right and lobbed the grenades letting the rubble fall. Lilith had climbed up on the ledge above the exit waiting for them to get close. The screeches grew near. It was unlike anything she had ever heard before. The first two approached and she dropped down. As soon as she landed she spun and beheaded two. It took more muscle than she thought would be needed, and she braced herself for the next few. Lan was handling the others coming up his side. They only seemed to get bigger and stronger as they approached. 

They swapped sides once or twice, but the worst was the last guy who was almost a giant. Lan was keeping him busy and she dropped on his neck. She was tearing her hand apart as she held the blade in her left hand trying to pull it straight back. She was worried she would decapitate herself. Dagon came out of nowhere and ripped her off the big guy. He knocked her off every rock she assumed was in the cave. If she lived through thisshe might be begging for death tomorrow. It would be far less painful. He swiped her leg and she screamed. 

The big guy missed a step and Lan jumped on the katana taking his head. Lan moved quick when he realized Dagon was still alive. He tried to get to her as fast as possible. The next thing he knew Dagon was literally crackling apart. Fire was about to explode from within him and he couldn’t reach her. When Dagon blew to pieces Lilith was blown backwards and he dove to get between her and the wall. When it was over they were both covered in Dagon’s blood and their own along with the follower’s. 

“Well that could’ve gone better.” Lilith waited for a response as she lay against Lan. “Lan?” He started coughing and tried to shift.

“I think you broke a rib.” They both started laughing until he coughed. 

“Let’s get you out of here.” They made their way out of the cave. Once at the exit Lilith went back to the trunk and grabbed a few grenades running into and out of the tunnel to blow it up. 

“I am staying at a friends place. Want to come get fixed up and have a drink?” He nodded and dropped into the car. “Sorry about the ribs.”

“Is that a thank you?”

“What? You’ll heal.”

Writing Exercise of the Day

I had a lot of fun with this one. I opened to a random page and I just went for it. I think I might have found another story idea to tackle. It might end up being my next short story! I would love to hear what everyone thinks!

Adrianna

The Craziest Dreams Make the Best Story Ideas

I am not going to lie… my current WIP started with a dream. (As most of mine do.) It is one of my favorite pieces i have ever written and can’t wait to share it… Anyway, last night I might have had a serious weird series of dreams that may or may not have been NyQuil and Theraflu induced…

Weird combination let me tell you! I don’t think I recommend it.

Anyway… I was supremely out of it when I woke up at like two this morning. I jumped up grabbed my notebook and wrote a ton of nonsensical sentence fragments. I tried really hard to piece it together and came up with crap… extremely awkward scenarios. While I truthfully understand that I can easily write awkward scenarios… (I really, really have them down well…) I don’t think some of what I wrote last night pieces together correctly because what in the name of Hades was that.

1. Something about big black dog

2. A giant black puddle (not a lake I specifically wrote puddle)

3. Pink balloon

4. Acrobat

I mean what does it all mean?!?! I couldn’t even make this a sensible story if I tried. It is absolutely ridiculous. I definitely laughed trying to write a story that fit the four pieces. Then I put the list aside and decided a prompt might be more of an idea source today because I seriously couldn’t understand what 2am NyQuil filled me was trying to say.

I didn’t really have this epiphany about dreams and stories but this made me laugh so much I wanted to share.

Music and Writing

There is something beautiful about the flow that goes from hearing a song and transitioning it onto paper with new words and a new story. There is not just one type of music that anyone should listen to when they write. Everything is going to pull a feeling from somewhere.

I have about twenty different playlists saved on Spotify. They are all different types of music and they find different parts of me that sometimes I don’t think I can find otherwise. I hear a song and it ties to memories. Ones that I don’t think about on a daily basis.

Music is simply a different kind of magic.

I always have something on in the background. It is always tied to my mood. (Or the mood I am trying to find myself in).

There is just something that works between music and writing that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.

My number one thing to tell people who ask me what I need to be doing when I write is not lighting candles (I do this too… but mostly to try to find my writing zen zone), it isn’t sitting alone in a quiet room (I have tried it and let me tell you… I am more annoyed at silence than background noise), it IS to find the write music to match my mood. Matching my music to my mood helps everything just fall out and onto the paper.

What is your favorite music to write to? What playlists do you listen to? I love hearing new stuff and love hearing what inspires others.

-Adrianna

Inspiration Doesn’t Come From Just One Place

I wanted to tell all about how my family was my inspiration. However, while I love them dearly and know they will be reading this, they are not my only inspirations. I have been inspired many ways and by many things in life. They are absolutely one, but again not all credit to them.

I have been inspired by nature. Nature has caught me off guard and sparked an idea many times over. From the colors of fall to thunderstorms with winds that blew so hard the entire house shook. Storms usually invite ideas of fight scenes or emotionally packed arguments. Fall colors tend to bring about this peaceful state for my writing that I feel can be read well from my words. I always try to let sunshine and happiness tie together, but those days where it is just so hot someone cannot breathe tend to show some anxiety. Light rain. Well that just puts me to sleep so I doubt I am up writing if I am being honest.

Little towns. Little towns are the absolute best. Seeing the buildings and watching as a town actually comes alive during a day. It is just a different kind of energy. Older small towns always help me write the feeling of someone coming in to shake things up, and no one likes an outsider pieces… because honestly no one trusts the outsider.

People. Now people are everything. You don’t have to know someone to describe them, to create a backstory, or to build on their conversations. In truth, just so everyone is aware, writers are supremely successful at listening in on other people, (Yes I avoided using eavesdrop) and while they won’t copy word for word it is easy to take a conversation and build on it. We write what we know and when it comes to people it is all about the observation.

To be blunt there are people who were deliberately put into a piece because as writers someone might not inspire the best creatively and they then become the villain. (Going to be honest right here and say I do not feel bad). Some people inspire in the best of fairy godmother type ways with their innate goodness. Those bright eyed humans always help bring the good to a story even if it is just from a casual observation. What we see is what we know.

Other writers and authors. Now here is where I can say openly that everything I have read (The good, the bad, and the ugly) has inspired me in one way or another. Seeing how someone can create their own world/s and build something from nothing other than their own creative mind is inspirational beyond all belief. We have some pretty spectacular pieces out there, but those pieces all came from a string of brilliance in one mind. Most of the time that string of brilliance is not the only one that an author has to give to the audience. That. Is. Magical. I love reading and falling into someone else’s work. It is something that I cannot fully describe, but I am trying. It is like letting your own mind wander on the trip of a life time, and you get to go on a new one with each piece. This right here could be considered the start of a love letter to every author who has inspired me to follow my passion.

Workbooks and prompts. These amazing little things are there to inspire a jumpstart for the mind. I absolutely can fall into another reality when I need to with these. They always give me a creative push when I feel just on the outside. I have a ton of books full of exercises and prompts and I honestly need to start doing them daily. I was for a while, but then things got hectic and I need my healthy writing patterns back.

Self inspiration… Now here is one that is always a little hard for me to tap into. I know I can, but it is hard to bring up certain things that I have gone through. However, an author’s best friend is personal experience. It is everything that we go through pouring out onto the page. It doesn’t have to be exact, but it is sharing a piece of yourself with the audience. It is giving a part of yourself to the world and I don’t think there is anything more beautiful or harder to do than giving that piece to everyone. I have learned that I cannot be afraid to open up and give that piece away.

Friends. The people you choose to be your other family. They are the ones you choose who choose you back. They are extremely important for what you want to build in those who surround your main characters. If they are good show the world some of their goodness. If they are badass don’t be afraid to show it. (Same with family. A badass is a badass and should be congratulated on being so amazingly awesome.) Even the friends who don’t stay friends, the ones who turn around and do something horribly betraying, write them in. Use the experience given from an ex-friend because those people are important characters to have as well.

I always want my nieces to know you don’t have to choose between the dress and the sword. You can be a warrior and a princess.

Of course family is an inspiration. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and my cousins (who I am not lacking any numbers in whatsoever) are everything to me. My family is everything. They are not just people they are THE people so I could have bunched them in with my people section above, but I didn’t want to. I needed them to have their own separate special place here. Mostly because I don’t want to hear it when I get home. They are the ones who show us what to expect from the world. They can shelter us or bring reality crashing down upon us, but they are family. I have been blessed with an entire family of crazies who I absolutely love and adore. They inspire me in all different ways to go for it where my dreams are concerned. My nieces and nephews are huge inspirations. They are so young and to see the world in their eyes is amazing.

Use it all. Let the inspiration come from everywhere. Don’t let it just sit in your mind as an oh that could be an idea. Follow the idea. Write it down. Let it take off and see where it leads you. Be inspired and recognize everything in the world for what it is. An inspiration. This world is a beautiful and inspirational place.

-Adrianna

Story Jumping is not Helpful… For Me

I have this history of going between all of my stories. I thought it was beneficial for the longest time. I used to be able to bounce between idea and idea. However, I have recently printed off a few of my stories in which I did this.

It did not work out well in the end.

I found the story that I worked on consistently had a better flow and overall seemed more successful.

This is when I began to realize if I want to be successful with my writing that I can take notes or write little pieces for the other works to build on later when I can lay it out. I cannot jump from story to story. It doesn’t work for me.

I know many others who can go from piece to piece (In many professions) and I applaud them. It did not work well for me, but for them it is part of their success. It is awesome to see where my growth needs to come from and what is and is not beneficial to me.

Taking to the keyboard and hammering things into a story when my brain is mimicking a squirrel at a rave is not it.

It did give way for some awesome ideas though.

I enjoy figuring out my true process and taking it one day at a time. So, I will let everyone know what the next change is when it finds me.

-Adrianna

Words of the Watcher

It has been a long and crazy two weeks where finals and work were concerned. I know that I was doing edits around one this morning so I hope I caught them all, but here it is. My next short piece. I hope you all enjoy it!

-Adrianna

Words of the Watcher

There are days when a person just doesn’t know what they are doing. They could be walking around unsure if everything will be okay at the end of the day, or they could be walking around knowing it will. The difference isn’t always so obvious. Some people wear an expression on their faces that hides what they are thinking so well it is the example of a permanent mask. The park was beautiful and breezy for a Summer day, and the person observing everyone and everything kept to a wooden bench near the tree line by themselves.

The woman who walked past in the first few minutes seemed slightly chaotic. She was digging through her purse and cursed to herself as she dropped things out while walking. She would turn around and pick the items up before moving a few more yards and proceeding again. Her dark hair was sticking every which way out of her high ponytail due to the humidity and her eyes were hidden behind dark black and blue speckled sunglasses. She was angry. The watcher could see it in how tense every bit of her was in her movements.

The man who jogged along the path did so every day at the same time. He was rarely, if ever, late. Always in basketball shorts and a shirt with the sleeves cut off. His headphones in and up loud enough to block out any and all noise. The shoes were different this time. The man had worn white shoes for as long as the watcher could remember. Now they were black as night. This subtle change did not go unnoticed. The man’s pace slowed as he passed the bench and he sat on the other end to rest. It was almost as if the watcher wasn’t even there. The runner leaned back to stretch out a little and then leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. His head hung low and his hands came up to meet the sides of his face. His ashy blonde hair seemed lighter, but not in its normal way. It seemed a little grayer than normal. Something had changed in the last twenty-four hours. Something in his life had taken a turn for the worse. Was it him? Was it his life? Was it a loved one? How would someone approach the question without being intrusive. The watcher did just that. Watched. The watcher never talked to them. This time something felt different. The watcher wanted to interact but felt that it might disturb nature in some delicate way. Then after a few more minutes there was no more avoiding contact. Something was wrong.

“Excuse me.” The man startled a little at the watcher’s voice. “Is everything alright?” The man leaned back again and cleared his throat.

“I’m fine.” He wasn’t. The watcher could feel it. 

“No, you aren’t. You run past me every day and not once have you stopped. Not once have you ever looked so… sullen.” The man stared at the watcher a little dumbfounded as to how he never noticed them before. 

“Every day?” The watcher nodded and the man’s shoulders sagged down. “I’m sorry I didn’t notice before.” The watcher shrugged and looked back ahead.

“I don’t expect people to notice. I am here for me. Not them.” The runner looked to the watcher and waited for more, but there wasn’t anymore that the watcher felt needed to be said. 

“I get in my own head when I run. A lot.” The watcher looked out at the giant pond. There was a couple on a swan paddle boat that brought a grin and then the man’s voice continued to cut through. “The last few days have been a little rough.” 

“How so?” The watcher was trying to make a connection. To help. 

“Work started going downhill. That is normally fine, but it just adds to the stress. I had family surprise me by showing up on my door.” The man took a breath and his jaw clenched in frustration.

“Sibling?” The man gave a chuckle.

“Little sister.” 

“Ah, sisters can bring a little unintended spark to life.” The man leaned back and threw his arm over the middle of the bench. 

“Little is downsizing the spark that she brought this time.” The watcher’s head tilted and an eyebrow rose a little waiting for more. “She decided to change everything around one day while I was at work which caused me to be late the next day. I got back, we got into a fight, she took off, and now she won’t pick up.”

“Heated words should never be exchanged. They can be dangerous.” The runner stopped to think that over. “Has she just taken off like this before? Is this why you were upset?” The runner looked out over the pond noticing the couple struggling their way out of the paddle boat and smirked a little. Finally, he let a sigh go and conceded to the fact he wasn’t sure. 

“She used to. When we were younger and our dad took off she would pack up and run after him. At least she thought she would run after him. She never found him. She tried though. My sister has always been the determined type.” He took his arms down and fidgeted with his phone never doing anything other than checking for a text. “I guess I just wish she would pick up so we can sort it out. It wasn’t a big deal I just piled all my crap on her. It happens.” The watcher nodded and thought carefully how to respond.

“Leave a message. Don’t text it. Leave a voicemail. Let her hear how sorry you are. It might take time, but she is your sister. It will work itself out.” The runner smiled and nodded. 

“I think I will do that.” The runner stood up and started walking back towards the path. He stopped just at the edge of the grass. “Thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow.” The watcher smiled and nodded in reply.

After the man took off the watcher started smiling wondering if it felt this good to talk to people all the time. It was a strange feeling. Communicating with one’s voice. There were more who sat with the watcher, but words had never been exchanged. Now there was a need to find out more about the people who were seen but never heard. It was like an electric buzz had come alive in the watcher’s mind pulling words from within. The watcher was eager for the next day. Maybe the runner would let him know what happened. Thinking about how things could work out was time consuming and when the watcher looked at the time was pulled back to reality and left the comfort of the bench behind. 

The next day the watcher sat waiting for the runner to pass by. When he did he gave a small sullen wave and kept moving. The watcher had to wonder if his words hurt instead of helped. Maybe the runner didn’t try at all. The advice might have been bad, but the need to try to help someone else instead of just watching was too great. So, there the watcher sat. Waiting for another person to need help. Some people would glance at the bench, but no one would sit on the opposite side. It was very confusing.

A few days later the runner approached the bench again and gestured as if asking to sit. The watcher gave a nod of approval at the new friend. The man sat with a sigh of air and leaned back. He seemed much more relaxed than before so maybe the advice had worked after all. After a minute or two the runner looked over at the watcher and gave a small smile. 

“I finally called her.” He seemed almost to upset still for it to have been a good call. “She didn’t answer, but I left her a voicemail.” The watcher perked up a little to hear his advice was truly taken. 

“Well that is good.” The runner nodded in agreeance. “Now, you just need to be patient and wait.” The runner’s mouth made a funny slant and he looked down to his hands that were knotted together. 

“I am just worried that waiting could do her more harm than good. She has always been a little easy to push over the edge.” The watcher contemplated for a few minutes on how to approach the topic again.

“I am sorry but I didn’t quite understand that last part. I have been thinking about what ‘over the edge’ could mean and I just can’t place it.” The runner looked up to the sky now with his eyes closed and the light hitting his face.

“She is impulsive. She runs when things get hard. My sister is a little more on the if it is dangerous it doesn’t really register side of things. When she decides to disappear sometimes we don’t find her for a while, and even then she normally comes back to find us.” The words struck funny to the watcher. “She hasn’t always been stable, but she likes to make things comfortable for her. When I got mad that she had moved everything around I hadn’t taken into account her need to be comfortable, just my own.” This time the watcher had understood a little more about who his sister was. 

“Is there anywhere you know she has gone, more than once, where she might have returned to again?” The runner peered out at the now empty pond and thought hard tracing lines through his memories of all the places his sister could possibly be until his face lit up slightly. 

“I think I know somewhere to look!” He jumped up and began taking off the way he came. “Thank you!” He yelled at a distance before disappearing. The watcher watched as he could almost see the spark of thoughts trailing behind the runner. Would each new conversation be this simple? Would it have hidden meaning? The watcher never talked to other people before this and wanted to help others. Others however, never approached. They all walked past without noticing. 

As if on cue the woman who had been digging into her purse frustratingly almost daily sat down. She was red in the face and her sunglasses occasionally released a tear it had been holding. She threw her purse on the ground and slumped back into the bench.

“Is there something I can help you with?” The woman jumped a little bit. 

“Oh, no, I have been walking the same path looking for my phone for over a week. It isn’t anywhere. I got into a fight with my brother and he is probably thinking I ran off again.” She looked at the watcher seemingly exhausted, but the watcher couldn’t see her eyes to know what was truly there. 

“Why don’t you just go over to see him. Let him know what happened?” She scoffed a little making the watcher pull back. 

“He already thinks I am ‘irresponsible and impulsive’ at least that’s what he always says.” She pauses and looks out at the lake when it strikes the watcher how she resembles the runner.

“Why don’t you go where you can calm down a little bit tonight and come back tomorrow morning around, say, 10:30.” The watcher smirked at the woman who seemed confused. “A little stress-free time will help. You can get a new telephone tomorrow, and that will allow you to speak with your brother. Take one more day for yourself. Come up with a plan. That way when you talk to him he won’t see you as ‘irresponsible and impulsive’ as you say.” 

“A plan. Yes! That’s what I need. I can get a plan, get a phone, and fix it then.” The watcher smiled as she picked up the purse and walked off with a bit of a bounce in her step. 

The next day the watcher didn’t sit in the same spot. He stood back behind the tree line and did what watchers do best. Watched. The woman sat first and looked around for him as if to thank him for his help. Five minutes later the runner stopped and looked at the woman on the bench. He sat and the watcher continued to notice their interaction. The man and woman hugged and there were a million hand gestures flinging back and forth between them. Finally, they both stood and looked around as if trying to find the watcher. As they both walked off the watcher looked forward to the next person joining him on the bench.

The Truth About Finding Time to Write While Writing Final Papers

Truth be told this last week was horribly exhausting. I had to take a break from posting to focus on my final papers. Both of the papers wound up being over fourteen pages and a separate migraine for each. I stayed up most nights editing and being supremely obsessive over small perfections/imperfections.

On top of finals I have battled off the cold sent from Hades. I am fairly sure it was personal just to test my limits on how much screen time each migraine would allow. (Here is me glancing and judging for that challenge. It was not a fan favorite. Next time dial it down.)

However, despite a horrible cold and little to no sleep I successfully got them in on time. I did find some time (Not as much as I would have liked) to start a short story. I am happy to say it is 80% done and I will have it edited and up in the next few days.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to hit my goals and to push through things. The reality of this week (the last ten days really) and the stress it has been showed me that, as much as I want, sometimes I need to listen to my body and take a break. I am happy that I still made time to work on the story, but not hitting my personal goal hit me a little bit.

I didn’t hit my goal with adding and taking care of my novel. That I think felt worse than missing my short story deadline. I have accomplished the outline for my series map of the world I have created, which I cannot wait to share with everyone, but I didn’t get further than that.

School comes first and it is important. Especially heading into my final year. I am beyond ready for it, but I know that finding time will only get harder. I am excited to share all of the short stories I create in my free time and in all of my future courses with everyone.

Thanks for letting me vent and for reading!

-Adrianna

The Connection Between Reading and Writing

I have been told many times that if one wants to become a writer they need to read every second they can. I began small with just a few shelves and now I have two sides of a closet that look like this.

Books have taught me how to open my mind to millions of possibilities and that some of my weird creations can be amazing. It is all about how you tell a story, and I want to tell my stories good and bad to the world. I want to tell them with magic flowing through the words, with fire wound within the chapter, and with emotion dripping off of the pages.

I find inspiration in what I read. I find solace in knowing I am not the only one who has a mind that wanders and creates worlds of their own, characters of their own, and shares stories of their own. Books have saved me in many ways, and writing my own pieces has helped me share a little bit of myself with the world. (Not with many yet, but one day.) Books and writing have helped me find my voice, both have helped me get through things I never thought I would, and I don’t think I would be on this journey if I didn’t keep picking up books and picking up my pens. If not for reading I don’t think I would be able to write any of the pieces that I write.

The connection between reading and writing is so important to me. Without one I wouldn’t have realized my love for the other. Writing can only benefit from picking up a book and traveling outside of ones normal and landing somewhere no one ever expects to go. Take that adventure. Turn the pages. Fall in love, or complete hate, with characters and worlds. It will open up your world and all of the possibilities in it.

For me, there wouldn’t be a dream without books.

 

-Adrianna

Other Lives

I hope you all enjoy this short story!

Adrianna

Other Lives

​The snow was falling lightly in the village. As the girl looked out through the small window she smiled and listened for the waves of the sea below. Her grandfather was cooking stew in the kitchen for lunch to warm them on the cold day. The feeling of safety and peace filled the cabin. This feeling is what she loved about being home. 

“Caterina, come from the window. The food is ready.” He stirred it a few more times to see if it was just right. 

“Yes, grandfather.” Caterina’s steps were quick as she moved to get the bowls down from the shelf near the opposite windows for them. As she was making her way back to the table the village bell began to ring bringing the warning of soldiers doing searches. Her grandfather dropped the full pot of stew and grabbed her hand pulling her out the door. He left her no time to grab more than her shawl and he a blanket. They raced barefoot through the snow down the path to the water. 

“Grandfather where are we going?”

“Hush child.” He pulled on her hand harder to make sure he didn’t lose her. The waves crashed in occasionally tossing some sea water up at her only making her feel the cold more drastically. When they made their way down far enough the path curved into a cave opening just big enough for them to fit in to. Her grandfather took his middle and pointer finger drawing an infinity symbol of sparks that remained as he put his hand back down. He looked down at Caterina and nodded. Caterina closed her eyes and took a deep breath in. She bent her arm at the elbow holding her hand like a claw up at her shoulder facing the symbol. Caterina focused as she slowly opened her hand and pushed the symbol into the wall. Her smile lit up more radiantly than when she was staring out the window as the wall began to light up. Her grandfather touched the center of the symbol and it was as if a door had opened for them. 

“What is this place?” He looked down and smiled at her with love and adoration. 

“This place, is where we come from.” Caterina tilted her head in grand confusion.

“I thought you said we come from another land?” 

“This is it. This is that other land.” Her brows knit together tightly at this.

“Why have we been living in a cold place where we have to run and hide or fight for food when we could be living in a place where everything is green, and it feels alive?” Her grandfather chuckled.

“Time moves differently here. You will see. If we stay too long then what we go back for will not be there any longer.” 

“Are my parents here?” Her grandfather felt the pain and anguish rolling off of her. He shook his head and debated how to explain things just right to her.

“This place wasn’t always like this. This was a world much like the other. We had a war of our own to fight to protect this land. It is why it had to be hidden. We lived peacefully with the people above for a long time. They enjoyed what our magics could give them. Our people were happy to help them with whatever they needed. Your father was one, but your mother, my daughter, she was one of us. She had the powers, and she loved giving them away to the children and the visitors. She had called it sharing. One day she got a little careless and one of the creatures that had escaped attacked your father. I was at home, in the cabin, with you when I heard her scream. She was distraught. I had never seen any change the way she did. Her bright beautiful hair turned dark, her skin lost all color, her dress of bright blue turned black almost as if to touch it would make one bleed, and her eyes, her beautiful bright purple eyes they went gray. After that she left your father there and the village, they blamed us for the damage it had caused. The time before they had praised us for stopping it. Not this time. They lost their leader. They lost a good man. When they lost him we lost her.She turned into a wall of snow and ice that none had ever seen, but she never came back to us.” Caterina caught the tear that was rolling down her grandfather’s cheek and wiped it away.

“Will she ever come back?” His head dropped.

“For our sakes and those in the village I hope not.” A creaking noise could be heard, and her grandfather stood as tall and proud as he could. The trees seemed to be opening each with its own symbol of light. People were emerging. They reminded her of her grandfather and herself more than the villagers. A few gasps could be heard.

“Caius. How did you get back here?” He took his hand and gestured to his granddaughter with great pride.

“And who is this?” A tall woman with long bright red hair was staring trying to get the answer without words.

“This would be my granddaughter. She goes by Caterina.” The people watched the interaction almost unsure of how to react. “One would think you all remembered how to greet the high king, or have our people forgotten our ways?” The tall woman gave a curtsey and the others bowed behind her.

“You have been gone for some time. We thought you had passed on.” He gave a hearty laugh. He seemed to be getting younger the longer they were in this place. 

“No, you didn’t. There are signs of the high king’s death and I see nothing but peace and prosperity here.” The woman looked around and gave an amused smirk.

“You are right.” The woman looked at Caterina and held an arm for her to take. Caterina glared feeling a sense of protectiveness over her grandfather. When the woman figured out she wasn’t going to take the bait she cleared her throat and looked back to the king. “So, did you find her?” 

“Tarre, if I did would I have only brought my granddaughter home?” She pulled back a little with his biting response. 

“I am sorry,” she seemed to grit her teeth and have some trouble saying what she needed to, “your majesty.”

“Take us home.” Caterina’s first words startled everyone around them. She held herself up and tried to make herself as fierce as she had ever allowed to be. 

“As you wish princess.” The one called Tarre clapped her hands and a younger man approached. “Teil, take our royal majesties to the palace. They must be tired and in need of food.” He looked much like her so one could only assume he belonged to her. 

“Yes.” He withheld a royal title and she looked irate. The lines were drawn in that moment. Tarre on one side and Caterina and Caius on the other. The took a slow walk away from where they had entered before Caterina found Teil watching her. 

“Is there something you need?” He smirked and shook his head as Caius walked behind them watching the interaction. 

“We just thought you were all gone. Mother was not expecting a surprise like this in our lifetime.” Caius cleared his throat and stopped walking.

“I bet she didn’t. Has she made many changes?” He looked directly into Teil’s eyes when asking.

“She made new law that any who lose their way need to be banished to the other. That is why they kept finding their way to you. They were lost here. They didn’t fit here any longer. At least not in Tarre’s eyes.” The castle looked the same to Caius as they approached. “I have something to tell you your majesty.” Caius froze and turned. Teil seemed to lose all the words he had wanted to say. 

“I couldn’t make it to you in time to warn you of the creature leaving our realm. I couldn’t leave here. I tried to warn you.” Caius didn’t understand why it was such a large deal to this young man. 

“It is okay. There were other guards there who should have come to warn me and my family. This was not your fault.” Teilcleared his throat and looked around ready to run. “I am missing something?” 

“Mother sent it. She has… changed. Many ways have been for the worse. None for the better I am sad to say. You were all gone, but she was here. The power she held… it was here.” Caterina stepped between the men now and looked Teil directly in the eyes. 

“Why are you selling out your mother to my grandfather?” Teil looked into her eyes and knew she had no knowledge of what her future in this life would have been. 

“He is betrothed to the rightful heir to the throne. He doesn’t want to take part in being her puppet.” Caius spoke softly. “He was trying to protect his family. The family he was meant to have, and he couldn’t.” Teil nodded. “Our arrangement still stands. Tell your mother I have called upon her. Give her no warning that we know of her deceit.” Teil took off as quickly as possible leaving Caterina and Caius in front of the castle. She finally got a good look at it for the first time before she turned back to him.

“We could have been here this entire time?” Her grandfather laughed. “I loved the cabin and all, but this was our home too?” She walked right through the doors that had swung open at her presence. “I can get used to that.” Caius just watched her figure everything out with wonder. In the other she couldn’t use her powers anywhere other than the cabin, but her she realized she was free. She felt it coursing through her.

A few hours had passed before Tarre and Teil made their appearance in the grand hall. Caius looked young and regal and Caterina seemed to feel as if she was glowing in this new life. Tarre gave a curtsey and Teil bowed. They both said, “Your majesties”, and waited for a response. Caterina stood at her grandfather’s side as he sat in his throne. 

“I see you have recovered from your time in the other.” Tarre was trying to make light conversation. She was digging.

“Indeed, we did. Teil you can join your betrothed if you would like.” Teil walked up to Caterina and moved to stand behind her. The king was showing his power over Tarre. 

“When we thought you were gone I had drawn up other plans for my son, and so you see your majesty-” Caius held up a hand to silence her.

“Your deals do not stand anymore. Your words have no meaning in this realm, or any.” Tarre showed her teeth as she growled in frustration. “I know what you did. We know what you did, and for that you owe your life.” Tarre turned to walk out and a second later she had turned back with a dagger tossing it towards Caterina. Teil held his hand up and knocked it out of the path it had been on. Caius stood tall and proud over Tarre. “I had wondered for many years who had betrayed Alea. Out of all the people who came to mind her closest friend was not one of them.” 

“Is that why you came back to try to condemn me to a fate I do not deserve?” Teil moved in front of Caterina. “No one will believe you. The king who ran from his people.”

“I did not run. I was cursed to the other side. Just as you had cursed people here, but I had her.” Caius gestured to his granddaughter who was confused as could be.

“She couldn’t have.” Tarre’s eyes went wide. 

“Yet she did mother.” Tarre’s eyes fell on her son.

“You betrayed me?” Tarre moved back but was greeted by guards. “No!”

“Tarre, I sentence you to a cursed life in the other.” She screamed that she would find a way back over and over until she got to the door and grandfather held a hand up for them to hold her still. “I am sending a creature with you, so you better move faster than you do here. Wouldn’t want time to catch up with you much more quickly than you’d like.” 

Caterina watched as the woman was dragged from the hall before turning to Teil and nodding in gratitude. Her grandfather sat back into the throne and closed his eyes. “Now we know what happened.”

“Can we get her back?” Caius looked to Caterina.

“Your mother will come home when she is ready.”

I Can Write Here… Or Here… How About Here?

I don’t know how anyone else handles spontaneous ideas, but personally I write on anything if the need arises. I have an embarrassing pile of ideas that have been sorted into each series of notebooks. I have compiled many notebooks (I am serious when I say MANY) from these notes and many stories are just beginning.

I don’t always think logically when writing. I could be out in a store, for example, shopping for a random number of unnecessary items when a song comes on overhead and an idea sparks. After that initial spark I find myself scrounging into the deepest depths of chaos that is my purse looking for my emergency pen. (Yes. I said emergency pen.) I dig it out and have rushed up to random work stations to steal a piece of scratch paper, I have asked an embarrassing number of employees for receipt paper, and I have even decided what the heck and written in a notebook knowing I would have to put something back just to write it down.

(Before anyone says, “What about the notepad in your phone?” and starts to judge me…) I am not the person to usually leave her phone fully charged. If I look down and that thing is on two percent I am rushing up to someone for paper. (I probably need that two percent for music to get home. Just being honest.)

I used to work retail and I used to be a waitress. I have a stash of paper from my waitressing notepad days that started some of my current ideas. I also have all types of paper that I could find working retail. I will not lie and say I have never used a napkin or done a last resort to toilet paper because I absolutely have.

If the Idea is there and is begging to come out I will write it down before it floats away somewhere else. I lost a few pieces in a recent move and a recent purge, but I am choosing to believe that those ideas were not meant for me to continue with and who knows they might spark something for someone else.

The Fountain in The Garden

This week has been a little rough. I hope you all enjoy. I really did like writing this piece. It just came to me line after line. I haven’t written anything that simply without thinking every little word in a very long time.

Adrianna

The Fountain in The Garden

Legend has it that in the middle of the woods in the depths of an old forest there is a garden. This isn’t just any garden. This garden is one full of wonder and anything but imagination. Others have found it before, or so they’ve said. There are flowers of blue that glow, flowers of purple the size of a hand when fully bloomed, and flowers of red that release little spots of white light that look like glitter that float to the sky. In the center of all these beautiful enchanted flowers there is a path that has a circle in the middle and a straight path in on just the eastern side. In the center of that circular path is a fountain. It isn’t just a simple fountain. It is beautifully crafted with designs of flowers. Now, these flowers, they move when you walk around touching your hand to the beautiful stone. They follow wanderers around with wonder. The fountain is a wishing fountain, but the wishes don’t come as expected. If not careful that magic will twist words and make things so if they feel the wanderer’s intentions aren’t true and good. 

A young woman was running from someone and stumbled upon this fountain. It spoke to her in the water. “What is it you wish?” The woman stopped in her tracks as she saw the words appear and disappear.

“I wish to be hidden and safe from those who would harm me.” The fountain let a low light out and ripples appeared.

“Touch the water.” The woman tapped a finger lightly and held her breath. She heard footsteps approaching and when she turned around all the flowers within the garden had gone dark, and the empty beautiful garden was filled with dark bushes and old tree stumps. The fountain looked empty and had moss inside. The woman held her breath as the dark creature stomped through just past her shoulder. The creature stopped, her eyes closed, and her heart was pounding. The woman wondered if the creature could sense her. She thought she was caught. A long minute went by before he left the garden and went on his way. She let out a breath she didn’t know she held. As she turned back to the fountain the garden came back to life. 

“Thank you.” The fountain just rippled in response. The top spit out some water.

“Drink child.” She hesitated. Magic water could lead to more trouble than she wanted, but she was so thirsty. She cupped her hands and brought them to her mouth. She thanked the fountain one more time and took off for the woods and the way which she came. 

Now this young woman made it safely to her quaint little town. The light was beginning to peak over the hills in the distance and she could hear the townspeople starting to stir. She made quickly for her house and opened the creaky wooden door. As she pulled the door open, she noticed that no one was there. The house had filled with moss and the wood looked broken where the beam had once held in the kitchen. She was only gone for one night, but she remembered the woods and how when she was in danger the magic helped her. Someone was looking for her. Someone might have been the same someone she was running from. 

What the girl didn’t know at the time was she wasn’t just in danger out in the world she was in danger in her own home. She had overheard her uncle talking about trading her to the evil lord of the town to keep their home. He was ready to trade her for a house. A house she had taken care of every day for him. So, the young woman waited until the uncle came in to see the house in its current state. He couldn’t bring the house back to life no matter how hard he had tried for days. 

The young woman made her way safely to the fountain the day after her uncle had given up. She decided she would take care of the place that took care of her. She brought a bucket to water the flowers in the garden to keep them safe as well. The woman did this every day for two weeks. The first day of the third week the fountain asked what her wish was as a thank you for taking care of the flowers. 

“I have no wish today. I came to thank you. You have saved me time and again. I want nothing more than to live a happy life and to take care of this place.” The fountain bubbled happily and as the girl went to leave the same way she came she noticed a beautiful cottage. This cottage seemed made just for her. It was far from her uncle, it was near the flowers so she wouldn’t have to walk back out to the garden every day, and it seemed the perfect size for a young woman on her own. She felt she would have everything she would ever need here. 

One day a few months later a young man made his way into the garden. The young woman watched from the window as he approached the fountain. The garden remained the same. So, she had felt it was safe. The young woman went out and made her way softly to the young man to hear his wish. 

“I wish only to find a happy life.” The fountain didn’t do anything. He turned around to find her. He seemed mystified by the young woman in front of him and had noticed the cottage behind her as if for the first time. 

“Hello.” He took her hand and leaned forward to kiss it gently. 

“Who are you?” She smiled and decided he was worthy of her name. 

“My name is Rosabelle.” He smiled at her with a cheeky grin. “You can call me Rose.” This was of course not her real name, but this was the name the garden seemed to bestow upon her as roses of all kind emerged wherever she walked or spent her time. 

“My name is Phillip.” He smiled at her and she walked to the cottage away from her first guest. She stopped at the door and looked over her shoulder at him. 

“Are you going to join me, Phillip?” He nodded and quickly moved to her side. She gestured for him to take the first step in. He made his way to the table and sat looking around in wonder. Everything seemed alive within the house.

“How did you come upon this place?” Rose smiled at him with bright blue eyes beaming.

“I didn’t find it. It found me.” He looked a little curious. It was almost too curious for her liking, but she decided to let it go. He noticed a fire going in the fireplace that wasn’t lit a moment before. 

“Do things like this always happen in your home?” Rose laughed.

“Like what?” Phillip gestured to the fireplace.

“That was going when we got here.” He shook his head no and stared into her eyes.  

“No, it wasn’t.” He stood and walked over to investigate.

“Phillip it is best not to ask questions about how things happen here and just enjoy it.” He didn’t stop staring at her throughout this entire interaction. “Trust me. The magic works best if you let it guide you.” 

“Are you a witch?” Rose let out a laugh that in his opinion resembled a cackle. That night the cottage seemed to grow as there was a room for him to stay. When she woke the next morning the house was dark and moss covered inside. The roof looked as if it had split in two. Rose stood to find Phillip. Instead of Phillip the house began to turn back to normal with a statue of a man who seemed two feet smaller than he was in the corner of the room with his hand on the hilt of a knife and a stone bag full of the garden’s flowers. Rose felt fury run through her and she stomped her way out to the fountain. 

“What have you done?” The fountain bubbled but no response came to her the first time. “What. Have. You. Done?” 

“Kept you safe from those who would wish to harm you.” Rose was angry that she had been so trusting. Someone had come into the garden and taken what did not belong to them. He wished to be happy. The garden had frozen him in time to a moment he was happy forever. The garden was just as betrayed as she was. 

“Build a wall. Build it tall. Keep the betrayers out. I only need the garden to be happy.” The fountain bubbled happily and around her she was surrounded. There was only a door that she could enter and exit if she needed. She wouldn’t.

After a month’s time a man came to inspect the wall. He couldn’t get in. He tried crawling over, but when he got to the top all he could see was a woman in black surrounded by rose thorns looking at him with bright blue eyes. He fell backwards the first time. The second time he looked into the garden he stood his ground from the top of the fence. 

“I am looking for my son, Phillip. Have you seen him?” Rose smiled at him and directed the man to the gate. When he got into the garden he didn’t see any rose thorns anywhere in sight.

“Why don’t we see if we can’t find him.” She closed the heavy gate and watched it disappear. The man was ahead of her already entranced by the fountain’s beauty. 

“What is it you wish?” The man removed his cap and twisted it in his hands. 

“I wish to find my son.” The fountain didn’t bubble for the man or tell him to touch the water.

“Turn around.” The door to the cottage was open so the man wandered over to the cottage. Rose sat on the edge of the fountain waiting for the father to come back outside. She drifted a finger across the fountain loving the way it rippled. 

“What have you done?!” The loud yell echoed out into the garden. Nothing darkened around her, but she wasn’t scared any longer. The garden had been teaching her things. 

“I did nothing. Your son made a wish.” The man’s eyes went wide before igniting in fury. “His wish came true. As did yours.” The man shook his head.

“I wished to find my son alive! Not as some statue.” Rose clicked her tongue at the man. 

“Be careful what you wish for. You might not like what you find at the other end.” The man ran to the gate and left as quickly as he came. 

“I’ll be back for you, witch!” Rose smiled at the fountain and a vine of roses built it’s way up into the fountain as if touching it tenderly. 

“I am counting on it fool.” The garden had been growing darker as time moved on. The flowers still glowed, but the colors had changed. The flowers were now black with a blue glowing light lifting off of them, dark purple, and a dark orange. The colors seemed to change as Rose did. Even the fountain lit up a different way. The flowers that once danced around the base were now vines that changed with her mood. They bloomed or they wilted. As she changed the garden changed. 

One day months later there was a bang on the gate. “Let us in, witch! You will turn my son back.” Rose waved a hand and the roses opened the door. She sat in a black dress on the edge of the fountain.

“I owe you nothing. You only asked where your son was, and I showed you. The fountain gave you what you wished for.” He ran at her and as he did he turned to stone just like his son. The others did the same. One by one they turned to stone and after the second to last one was turned the last man turned and ran to the gate. He was stopped by a vine. Rose walked up to him and put a hand on his cheek. “The fountain will grant you a wish. If you wish it and me no harm.” The young man walked with her to the fountain scared for his life. “Go on.”

“I wish to be safe and hidden from those who would harm me.” Rose watched the boy as the fountain asked him to touch the water. He had good intentions. 

“Drink child.” The fountain did as it did for her. The garden seemed to come back to life with the young man’s wish. He turned to look at Rose who was now in a beautiful white dress and the garden seemed to come back to life. The statues, however, shrank and moved to different places around the garden. 

“What is this place?” Rose smiled and touched a gentle arm to the man.

“Your home if you wish it. It will keep you safe and protect you.” He looked at her gave her a wary smile. “All you need to do is take care of it as it will take care of you.” 

After that day no one ever found the garden again. The only way to keep it safe was to keep it hidden to the human eye. Anyone who wanders in never comes back out, and if they do they are never the same.

The Wall Between a Writer and Their Work

That’s right everyone… it is time. Writers Block. It has set in and I have had many feelings about it. I am talking from “it will work itself out” all the way to “let me just throw my computer out of a moving vehicle and see if that prompts some things”.

There are many times that I can use the prompts to kick my creativity into gear, I can write a random short story to get my mind back in my creative zone, and times where I can draw my way into writing. This time, however, is in no way one of those times. I have tried it all this week after editing the last short story, and all everything has made me want to do is scream. (I would have to drive to the middle of nowhere with the windows up and horror movie scream to feel better, but I don’t have the time or the want to waste gas for that.)

I have turned to reading different genres to pull myself outside the style I am writing. (Just going to insert the “Didn’t work” button here.) I have done workbooks, prompts, and just writing to see what pops out. I have thrown a lot of pages in the trash. I couldn’t even make sense of my own work. This has been occurring for days and my frustration has been growing.

It might have to do with being so focused on my midterms for school and it is pulling my focus, but I felt one little inspiration spark while I was driving. Traffic was terrible and I didn’t pay attention to the song that was on. I wish I would have. Now I need to go through my entire song library to get it back.

One way or another I am going to kick this writers block. I will try everything over and over again until something works. The wall will crumble and my work will just flow together again.

Maybe I should just blog it out whenever I feel this way. This is the most productive writing wise I have felt in a few days. I am going to try a prompt her and see if I can come up with something to kick it out.

The prompt today is…

“The music drifted out of the club like a vibrating pulse. I could feel it in my bones. The night was alive with possibility. I could even imagine myself____”

I could even imagine myself walking to the ocean to touch the water. I could feel the power behind it run through my veins, and I could see myself letting it take control. I shook my head as I made my way down the road. The power was the reason I ran from the shores to begin with. They were all consuming and disastrous on the best of days. They had taken over before and I almost didn’t get myself back.

A chill had settled into my bones from the night air letting me know it was time to either go back in or find my way back to the hotel. This trip was beginning to tear me in two. I wanted to keep being the me I knew now, but it was truly hard to do when the waters called to me. None of my friends could understand the struggle. None of them knew how it felt. I looked one last time into the club and turned to walk away.

After a few minutes of walking aimlessly I could hear the waves roaring at me to touch them. I looked up into the glistening waters and closed my eyes to breathe in the salty air. Before I knew what was happening I was in the water and it surrounded me. It consumed me whole. I didn’t even panic or worry that I wouldn’t find my way back. I didn’t want to. I just wanted to feel the water pulse through me, heart and soul.

Glass House

This one was an interesting write for me. I have been working on it over the past week and have debated if this was the route I wanted to take. I had four other endings for it that just didn’t seem to go how I wanted. This one felt like my best fit.

I hope you all enjoy!

Adrianna

Glass House

There was a woman in a little town in the middle of nowhere America who ran every morning. She usually sticks to the same path, but now and then she likes to break pattern and go off the trail through the woods. She never listened to music as she ran. The sounds around her drowned out her thoughts. Her feet hit the ground left, right, left, right until she heard what sounded like another set behind her. She felt her legs begin to move quicker underneath her. Her adrenaline kicked into high gear and all she could hear was her own heartbeat and her breathing. She thought whoever was behind her could hear them just as loud. 

​The woman noticed a small little shed down an embankment and slid down as carefully as she could dropping as low to the ground as possible. The footsteps seemed to slow but kept moving past her. She held her breath and tried not to close her eyes. She took the chance to look up hoping that it would just be an animal that had followed her, but knew she was hoping for too much. The footsteps seemed further away now,and she raced to the shed moving behind it. She leaned against it trying to pull herself together before peering around the side. No one was there. 

​She didn’t want to risk letting herself rest any longer. She took off letting as much power as possible push through her legs and into the ground. Her fear was taking over. The woman had made it back through the woods to the clearing she had entered when the hairs on the back of her neck stood to attention. She didn’t want to stop, but there were others passing her. If someone was behind her she could yell for help. 

​There was no one there. Her eyes scanned the tree line once, twice, and a third time for good measure. Nothing. A hand touched her shoulder and the woman jumped. Had this been a cartoon her skin would have stayed in place as her skeleton bounced out and back in. She turned and sent a blow to the person’s stomach.

​“Hello to you to.” Her brother was bent over trying to catch his breath. “I thought we were meeting here.”

​“Sorry Gabe.” She felt the hairs stand on end again but she brushed it off. 

​“Can I ask one thing?” Her brother noticed she hadn’t fully brought herself to look him in the eyes yet. She was preoccupied with something else.

​“Sure.” Her attention was still on the trees.

​“What the hell was that?” She turned to face him finally acknowledging that she hit him and gave him a sorry didn’t know it was you face. 

​“I think someone else was in the woods.” He raised a brow and waited for more. She wasn’t willing to give more than that.

​“Like running how you were in the woods, living in the woods, camping in the woods, or following you in the woods?” He tilted his head a little and crossed his arms over his chest.

​“I don’t know. I felt like I was being followed, but maybe someone just took the same route as me.” He nodded slightly.

​“They aren’t just your woods you know.” The woman laughed and smacked her brothers arm before stretching out. 

​“You were late.” He shrugged and began walking on the path toward the main street. She picked up her pace to catch up. “Why were you late?”

​“I had some things to take care of. They ran later than I thought they would. I ended up late.” She didn’t believe him. Gabe turned to look at her and saw her eyeing him suspiciously. “My car was broken into, the office key panel didn’t work for anyone to get in so I needed to make some calls, and I had to talk to mom on the phone. You know how long that can take.” 

​“Your car was broken into?” 

​“I don’t exactly live in the most secure of complexes. Not all of us can live behind tall walls and gates with codes to get through each like you do.” She laughed at his insinuation.

​“There is the main wall with one gate for the entire community, and the only code I truly use is for my alarm system at home. I feel that one is necessary.” The pair entered the coffee shop and joined the line. The people around them were each involved in their own little world. Nothing about any of them screamed a million bad things happened to me before getting here today, but sometimes people just hide it better than others. Then the feeling creeped in again and she felt someone behind her. She brushed it off thinking someone just got in line. Her brother looked over his shoulder and smiled down at her. Then it brushed past her ear and cheek. Someone’s breath. Turning around quickly she found no one. She was just paranoid from before. Her fingers were twisting around one another and pulling tightly. 

​“Hey. You’re up.” Her brother’s voice pulled her out of her anxious trance. She let her hands fall open as she ordered her coffee then moved to sit at a table and wait. “What’s up? You’ve been on edge since your run in the woods.” She leaned across the table to talk to him. 

​“Something doesn’t feel right. I have a gut feeling.” He leaned back and stared at her. “I am not paranoid. Someone has been watching.” 

​“Could it be possible that like us someone else just went for a run and wanted coffee?” She shrugged.

​“Angela.” The barista yelled her name and she went up to grab her coffee.

​“It could be possible, but I was running at every which angle in the woods. Someone runs the same random pattern as me, and then finds their way to the same exact coffee shop? There are four more in a two mile stretch. Why not just keep running until the next one?” Gabe set his cup on the table and leaned in.

​“You don’t even know if you were followed for sure. You just have a weird feeling.” Out of the corner of her eye she noticed a shadow moving down the hallway. 

​“I’ll be right back.” She let her feet guide her slowly enough for her to check around corners. Angela watched the door close to the women’s restroom. She took two deep breaths and slowly crept in. All of the stalls were open. No one was in there. She shook her head and leaned against the sink. “There is no one here. Pull it together Ang.” She splashed some cold water on her face to clean her of the feeling. When she looked back into the mirror she wasn’t there. The shadow was. She couldn’t see herself at all. She backed up to the stall and watched the shadow crawl out of the mirror. She wanted to run. She wanted to hide. She wanted to scream but nothing came out. 

​The temperature dropped around her and the cold snapped her out of her trance. She got out of there as fast as possible. She didn’t stop just after leaving the bathroom. She ran out of the coffee shop with her brother running after her yelling for her to stop. Angela’s feet just kept moving. She didn’t have a car or bike to jump on, only her feet to carry her all the way home. There was no slowing down. Her brother probably had his car and would catch up to her later.

​Angela pushed herself so hard that her legs began to give below her. She found a staircase to drop down behind and sat there trying not to focus on her everything burning. It found her again. The cool air, the feeling of being watched, the feeling of terror. It brushed by her and she dragged herself back to her feet. She wasn’t too far now. Far enough to wish she had a car, but not far enough to think she couldn’t make it. Her worst fear was coming into play. She had no way out until she reached the gate. 

​Car after car passed as she could start seeing the wall of her neighborhood. She pushed harder than before knowing how close she was. She could collapse in the safety of her own house. Her brother pulled up beside her and told her to get in. She looked around and let herself stop. He pushed open the passenger door as she made her way around. They stayed silent until the gate. 

​“Hello, back from your run a little early today?” The pair nodded to the guard, “Have a good day.” The guard was beaming when they pulled off. 

Angela got out of the car slowly and her brother shut it off. “When are we doing dinner next week?” 

​Angela was pushing in the garage code and shrugged. “You pick. I am fine with whatever.” He followed her into the house. The kitchen was very open and the large glass windows let her see into the big yard. She smiled until the windows started shaking. This time Gabe saw something. She moved closer and closer until they were bending inward. Gabe grabbed her and dove behind a wall. The glass exploded into the kitchen. She couldn’t even scream. The shock had her clinging to her brother’s arm. They sat there for a minute both shaking from fear of whatever just happened. As they stood up the fruit bowl and glasses on the counter began to explode one by one each closer than the next. 

​“Get down!” Her brother’s voice boomed over the noise and Angela crouched down with her face in her hands screaming for it to stop. When she looked up he was gone. Angela ran through the house across the shards and out the back door checking the back yard. 

​“Gabe?” She waited to see if she could hear him. “Gabe!” She couldn’t find him. Angela fumbled through her pockets for her phone. She called her brother’s phone a few times, but it kept saying the number was disconnected. “It’s not disconnected he had it this morning!” She walked back towards the house yelling in this time. “Gabe, where are you?”

​After a few more times yelling, some confused texts, and the phone still not connecting Angela called her mom. “Hello, well this is a surprise.” 

​“Mom, I just talked to you the other day. Did Gabe change his phone number?” Angela could hear her mom breathing into the phone, but she wasn’t responding. “Mom! This is important!”

​“Angela, have you talked to Doctor T. this week?” Angela felt her anger rising more than before.

​“No! I haven’t seen Doctor T. in a while. I am fine I don’t need to. Now where is Gabe?” Angela waited for her mom to respond and then hung up since she felt the conversation going nowhere. 

​After two more laps of the yard and house Angela heard a car door shut just outside. She looked out the window and saw her mom walking up. She flung the door open and walked back into the house. Her mom walked in following behind her. There was an air of caution to the situation she was walking in on. 

​“What happened here?” The glass covered the floor, Angela looked like she hadn’t slept in days, and her clothes were torn. 

​“I don’t know. The house was fine when Gabe and I got here,” her mom looked up at her immediately, “and out of nowhere the windows and glass shattered. Before I knew it Gabe was gone and everything was a mess. He was gone, his car was gone, and he won’t answer his damn phone!” Her mom walked over to her placing a hand on each shoulder. 

​“Angela, I think we need to sit down and take a minute.” Angela shrugged her off.

​“I don’t need a minute mom. I need to find my brother.” Her mom looked at her with tears in her eyes.

​“I called Doctor T.” Angela looked exasperated at this point.

​“I don’t need Doctor T.” A moment later the doorbell was ringing and her mom made her way out of the room. Angela set her elbows on the counter and felt a small shard dig in. She was too tired to move and set her head in her hands. She just needed her brother. 

​“Angela?” Doctor T.’s voice was not a comforting sound. “Angela, I think we should talk.”

​“No. We shouldn’t.” Angela pushed past her doctor to get to the broom closet. She began sweeping up the glass so people could move around her house. She wasn’t sure how this would help find Gabe.

​“Angela, do you know what day it is?”

​“It is June fifteenth doc. My brother’s birthday is this week. We are planning dinner with mom. Ask her.” Her mother shook her head. 

​“Angela, what year is it?” The doctor was inching closer to her.

​“2018.” 

​“Angela, I need you to listen to me very carefully. It is not 2018. It is 2019.” Her mother pushed past the doctor and grabbed her by the face.

​“We never had that dinner. We never got to. You and your brother went for a run in the woods. There was an accident. Other runners found you holding onto Gabe.” Angela’s body went numb and she dropped slowly to the floor. “He’s gone. Gabe is dead.” 

“He was there this morning. I saw him. We had coffee.” The doctor helped her mom get her into the car. She kept repeating the same words over and over as the car started and moved down the road. As they passed the woods she looked intothe clearing and Gabe was standing there smiling while leaning against a tree.

Writing and Research

While being a full time student is many things, among them sleepless and half there while clinging to coffee cups, the most important thing is doing the research and putting in the work. I never realized how much I carried my research process over into my writing until the other day. My process is very much mirroring how I get through school. I never noticed it or thought about it until looking between two notebooks while sitting on my floor.

I was sitting on my floor (because as mentioned in my previous post I have no writing worthy chairs) looking at all of my homework,for my abnormal psychology course, and the work I am doing for my novels, it hit me. The pile I have for research and for helping me advance my writing is larger than all of my school work.

The notebooks under my desk are not just filled with stories. They are filled with hours and hours of research to build the correct characters and worlds. They are filled with an obscene amount of notes on how to write each section to the best of my ability.

I have more books on the writing process than I realized. I also have more books for keeping my mind going with prompts to keep me creative. Not only is research getting me through school, but it is helping advance my writing outside of school as well.

I love finding new ways to experience writing and all of my research has allowed me to do just that.

Now looking past the books filled with tips and advice I have another pile. This pile is growing and changing constantly. This pile takes my mind to other worlds where creatures live and what makes them, well, them. I research all types of creatures and beings to make sure I am doing whatever creatures I create justice. I want to create new worlds with new creatures, but I always want a classic twist or a classic being that stand out. Again I say, “Research is the key.”

I wonder if anyone else has a research pile some days. I don’t know if anyone researches as obsessively as I do, but if anyone does I would love to hear about some of your processes as writers. Is research as much of a key component for you or are you a by the seat of your pants writer?

The Pillars

I hope you all enjoy my story of the week!

Thanks for reading!

Adrianna

The Pillars

The wind crept across the earth bringing with it loose, vibrant, red and orange leaves. The crossed the stone path until they stopped at a young woman’s feet. They shone bright against her black mid-calf boots. The red leaves she noticed matched her dress. The wind picked up slightly as it blew upon her causing the dress to dance slightly into the air. A chill crept between her boots and the opening of the dress at mid-thigh as the back lifted into the air just enough to keep the dress from touching the boots. Her bare arms felt the breeze and welcomed it more than her legs. Sitting on her olive skin was a scar burning bright red. Every time her black hair brushed against it, the scar, stung just a little more. The young woman’s hazel eyes begged the scar to stop hurting. When she looked up she finally realized that she was lost. She recognized the place, but she did not know how she had gotten there or where, precisely, here was. 

​In front of her stood two worn stone pillars that were wrapped in vines. They were dark and dead looking vines until they began to brighten. They grew brighter and brighter until she watched beautiful flowers of blue and black creep their way outinto the daylight and bloom. She followed their growth up to the beautiful old iron arch that only strengthened the pillars intensity. One large light was hanging directly in the middle. It seemed as if to be lit with a flame. The closer she got, the brighter it glowed. As the fire grew brighter in the light the fire like pain lessened in her scar. What the young woman didn’t notice as she neared the entryway, to nowhere in particular, was that as she got closer the veins that connected underneath the scar grew bright and they traced every inch of her arm and up her neck. 

“It’s okay. I’ve been here before.” She was trying to explain why she felt safe inching closer. Her feet stopped moving directly in the middle of the arch. She put her hand up to touch one and stared at the veins glowing brightly down her armto her elbow. Her hazel eyes didn’t pop open like one would expect. They closed a little in satisfaction as her scar radiated a soothing hum. She took one step through the arch leaving the other behind her rooted to the ground.

“What is this?” The world she was coming from was a beautiful and bright fall day. The world she had stepped into was dark, and yet the sky was dusted with stars. What the stars didn’t touch the moon gave life to. 

“Welcome back.” The deep voice pulled her from her thoughts. Her head snapped to where it had come from. As good and soothing as stepping into this world felt the young woman still wasn’t sure that stepping any further in was the right choice.

“Welcome back to where, exactly?” The deep chuckle sent chills up her spine as she assessed the size of the shadow speaking to her.

“Step in and see.” She hesitated before realizing that she didn’t feel pain in her arm anymore. To be truthful she didn’t feel pain anywhere anymore. “I’m right here.”

“I don’t even know who you are.” Her left brow raisedslightly and she smirked as if it was a familiar and normal interaction with the man. Her left foot that had trailed behind was sliding forward. Arms crossing her chest she shifted just to her right to lean on one of the pillars.

“A friend.” She wasn’t sure when she took the step in, but she had. The man in front of her didn’t seem like he was a simple man at all. As he walked out of the shadows he stood taller than most normal men. He was perfect in every way, too perfect. His eyes almost glowing a blue light and looking into them seemed to drain her apprehension about where she was. “There isn’t anything for you to fear here. I promised you last time.” Her whole body stilled for a second before she turned to run, but his hand caught her. 

“What do you mean promised me last time?” He moved closer and she could almost feel his breath on her cheek as he leaned in to kiss it. He leaned his forehead against her temple.The interaction between them seemed familiar, yet off.

“After that happened when you came here last time,” He paused pointing out the scar on her arm, “I told you that nothing here in the dark would ever hurt you again.” He released her and she felt her brow crease in irritation.

“I have never been here before. This darkness, this night, it is darker than any other night I have seen before. I would remember.” He turned to walk away from her before stalling to let her catch up to him. “Where are we going?” He let out an aggravated sigh.

“We are going to the house.” She stopped in her tracks.

“Who’s house? Your house?” His shoulders moved which told her he was laughing at her quietly. “I don’t know you, so no. Not happening.” The man turned approached her quickly and picked her up and throwing her over his shoulder as if they had somewhere important to be. “Put me down.” She tried sounding demanding but truthfully, she was exhausted. “Fine. I guess if I don’t have to walk whatever.” 

“We are almost there.” She shrugged and held her head up to see everything in the field behind her. She didn’t stop to admire it before and wished she had. Then she realized as dark as it seemed before wherever he was leading her was darker still.The field had faded and all she could see was the path they were on. The movements came to a halt and he set her down. She turned only to realize this wasn’t just a house, it was the size a mansion. “Welcome home,” he said as he opened two beautiful dark wooden doors.

“This is not my home.” The man had a trace of exasperation written across his handsome features. When they reached the low white lights in the entryway she noticed the scar peaking out of his shirt on his neck. It reached up to underneath his chin. 

“It is. Whenever you want it to be. You’ve been here a few times lately. You decided you liked it here before. I told you what’s mine is yours.” He shrugged and tossed what looked to be a small knife in the box near the door. He saw the fear begin to stretch across her face. “Never know what could get you out there.”

“Like… a bear?” Her arms wrapped around herself. 

“Sure. A bear.” He moved out of the entry through a doorway and she took her time admiring the black marble floor and portraits on each side of the main area. The one on the right next to the room he went in looked just like him. There was a name below it that she couldn’t quite make out it looked like Caelum. When she looked to the left her eyes went wide. The portrait was her, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t her name that was right below it. “Amaris Nyx” is who the portrait belonged to. She didn’t know what her portrait was doing here but all that was left after seeing it was more questions. She moved quickly into the room and found him pouring himself a dark drink.

“That’s the wrong name.” His movements stilled and he didn’t turn to face her.

“No, it isn’t.” Her feet carried her in front of him.

“Oh, yes, it is. My name isn’t Amaris Nyx. My name is Aiyana.” He smiled at her a little.

“Eternal flower this time. Fitting.” He turned to walk away from her with drink in hand but she grabbed his large muscular bicep with a lot of force. He spilled his drink down his arm which caused him to close his eyes, tilt his head to the right, and take a deep breath in. 

“What the hell does that even mean this time? I haven’t been here before!” Caelum stepped closer to her.

“It will come back to you be patient.” As he raised the glass to take a sip she slapped it out of his hand and it shattered on the floor. “That wasn’t patience.” 

“I’ve never been one for restraint. Spill.”

“I just did. I had help. Remember that.” He gave a nod to the drink on the floor.

“I meant tell me what I want to know.” He dropped to the large leather chair and it almost looked as if he was sitting on a throne. 

“You have been here before. Many times. In many ways. It’s never the same thing that sends you here. ‘The darkness’ is what you always call it.” She moved to sit on the smaller chair opposite him. Her arms resting on each arm of the chair. She crossed her right leg over her left in front of him and he smiled at her as if a memory whispered in his ear. “For me we do this dance for a few days until you make yourself a home here. You usually call it ‘taking control of the darkness’. I call it ‘a queen on her throne.’” Aiyana stared at him waiting for something to make sense to her.

“Is this some sick game to you?” Caelum looked up at her with an anger that she was sure flashed in a quick glow of red across his eyes. 

“This has never been a game to me. This is what you make it. You are the one who plays a game here in the darkness. Then you leave like it was just another part of your life. I live here in it every single day.” Aiyana sank back into her chair. She wondered if she had lied to him before about who she was. She wondered if she had done this man wrong, made promises, and left him behind. He was waiting for her as if ritualistically. 

“I can tell. You have a lovely home and all, but I don’t belong here. I can’t belong here.”

“Don’t you feel better here? Is the pain gone?” She looked down at her arm which was now lit aglow to her hand now with no pain wondering if its because she was in the darkness.

“Why don’t I feel it here?” Caelum sank back into the chair.

“You got it here. When you get hurt in the darkness it calls to you. It reminds you of what you’ve left behind.” Aiyana looked at him intently. “I need to get some air.” He nodded and pointed back at the front door. She made her way to the door and stalled for a second before grabbing the knife out of the box.

Once she was on the front step she stepped down onto the path and ran. She moved as fast as her legs could carry her on the same route she came from. “This isn’t right. I can find my way out. I don’t need him to take me back.” She reached the edge of the field and it was oddly quiet. In fact there was no sound at all. She turned to see a shadow slowly walking the path. Her feet began to move again and she could just make out the pillars from before. The fear was setting in.

“Aiyana, come back!” His feet almost thundered as he got closer. “Aiyana!” She reached the pillars and looked back to see where he was. He was still halfway between her and the path behind him. She went to walk through the pillars, but it was like hitting a wall. There was nothing in front of her yet she couldn’t walk through. “It needs you to leave a mark. You know that.” She looked down at the knife and then back up at him. “Don’t do this again. It will just leave another scar.”

“I don’t know you. I don’t belong here. I can’t stay here. You have to know that.” She pressed the knife into her palm feeling the sting of the blade and the blood pooling. “You enjoy the darkness. It’s not for me. I belong in the light, and I can live with another scar” Aiyana slapped her hand to the pillar, and it lit up sending with a light a cool breeze from behind her. She stepped through backwards keeping her eyes on the man. He moved to grab her, but he was too late. When she looked down at her hand the knife was gone, her hand had a new scar across the palm. It looked just as old as the scar on her shoulder. 

She looked around to make sure she was back to the world she knew. The beautiful and real world. Her mind was trying to process what had just happened, but she felt like it was a dream. She backed away and felt the two scars stinging until she turned around letting the warm sunlight hit her face making her smileand drowning out the darkness.

My Writing Space Will Find Me One Day… Probably in a Dream.

I have tried desks, floors, random comfy chairs, horribly hard chairs that force you to have great posture so you don’t lean back on them, counters, tables of all varieties, and many locations. I have yet to find that one spot that is just my spot.

My desk is currently piled high with my sketch and art area for designing my characters so that I can actually see what I want to write. It is also home to so many notebooks I have officially lost count. My favorite corner is the one that houses all of my books with tips and tricks as well as inspiration to keep me going. (That pile has reached outrageous lengths almost rivaling my notebooks). When I realized this I became stuck with writing on the floor of my room thinking about how I need a bigger desk. Possibly how I need a better storage system, but that is an issue for another time.

Now the floor is not one of those I could sit and relax and be comfortable here for a while floors. It is the you can maybe sit there for a good fifteen then everything hurts everywhere, and I mean everywhere. My back hates it, my hip despises it, and my neck vetoed it when I kept looking down to type. Clearly I cannot claim my floor as “my writing space”.

Chairs in my house, if comfy, have a tendency to become uncomfortable as my floor by the time I finish my homework and move on to trying to accomplish goals. I can only love them for so long before wondering if I need a new one or if I am just tired of the one I have. The horribly hard chairs, while giving me great posture, do not work out well for obvious reasons. A woman just wants to be comfortable and write.

Tables and counters. I am 5′ 4″. I am at the awkward height of having to bend forward at a counter on a too tall stool or having my arms sit at my shoulders on a table trying to type because the chairs are just not my damn height. Now I know what everyone is thinking at this point. A good office chair right? Well, here is where I ask, “And where would this nice, supportive, and comfortable office chair reside?” It is not the desk. That is a black hole of issues I am not ready to tackle at this moment.

One day I will find my perfect chair. It will sit at my desk. Not this desk. A desk. A new desk. It will let me keep pushing out word for word and let me be happy. It will also absolutely not be in public where people continue to randomly ask questions and interrupt my work. (I have tried coffee houses. It didn’t work well. Props to everyone who can make that work you are all amazing and have laser focus.) It is a dream that is currently out running me, but I will catch up to it (and I will lock everyone else out when I do). I will fill it with Novelly Yours “Muse Fuse” candles, put up photos to surround me and remind me why I am doing it, line the walls with books, be a little more organized, and put a lock on the door.

The Voice

I recently submitted this to my school’s online literary website. I have been waiting for news for a little bit, and the story is special to me. It has been my first official submission anywhere, it touches on some very important issues I have dealt with, and it is a piece of work that I am proud of.

I hope you all enjoy it!

The Voice

The clouds gave the day an almost ominous tone. They lingered above the city looking as if they could cry themselves at any moment. On the edge of the large park fountain was a girl. The girl looked out of place in the park by herself. Lonely and anxious. Her blue eyes darted back and forth enough to catch just a hint of the green that tinted them. Her lip was a little swollen from what one could only assume was her gnawing at it as she had done the past five minutes sitting there. Her fingers moved around each other almost in knots at times. They would be clenched together so tightly when knotted that the tips would go white from lack of blood flow. Her knee bounced up and down in her torn jeans. She was shaking as if she was cold, but the day was warm enough to have a hint of Summer. 

“Stop shaking you look ridiculous.” The girl turned. The words caught her attention. They weren’t just feminine they were sinister as well. The malicious look that she saw startled her into sitting straight as a rod in her spot and looking back out over the park. Her breathing grew more rapid and she let her hands fall to the ledge of the large white fountain she was perched on. She began to clench the ledge and squeeze her eyes shut as if she could just will everything around her away. 

“Nobody will come over here and talk to you when you look like that.” The girl turned her head and she looked furious.Her eyes seemed to darken with the ferocity she felt. 

“Enough!” Her yell caught the attention of some runners passing by stopping them on the path before her. They were two men in their running gear one older with a little salt and pepper to his hair the other younger and a little more self-assured in his stance. The older man looked back at her and when their eyes connected to one another she looked down at the ground as fast as she could. His steps started again after a few seconds.

“See what you did? You scared them off.” The girl stood up and walked away from the fountain. Her mind was back to being clutter and her peace shattered into the little shards she had left. The water was no longer washing away the demons that were plaguing her thoughts.

Making her way into the heart of the little town she glanced at all the cars driving past her. The noise from the stereos slipping out into the fall air and into her ears. She smiled with some and let out an exasperated sigh at others. The town had an older feel to it. The barbershop still had a pole out front, the signs in the windows had been kept up for decades, and the shop owners were just as friendly as they probably were before the girl was born. The only thing she felt was missing some days were cobblestone roads and sidewalks. She loved it there. The quaintness of it never ceased to amaze her. However, every town had its dark side. She knew hers better than she cared to admit to others. 

The clouds started to let go of a few drops here and there causing her to find shelter under the awnings that she passed. The girl’s hands clenched and unclenched as she proceeded through the town. She was clenching so hard her nails were digging into her palms. The stinging was the only feeling that stood out in that moment. She stopped to look through an old shop window where records were lining the aisles. Music could fix everything when she needed it to. It would take her away and let her mind float freely among the lyrics just as the water in the fountain had. She caught a glance at her dark hair up in the sloppiest bun she had ever seen and shrugged at it. 

“What? Finally just give up on how you look?” The girl’s eyes went wide, and she began moving quicker down the road.Any normal person could almost see her breathing become shallow and rapid.

“It’s almost shocking that no one else notices you. All alone. Always alone.” The baker was putting a sign out front of McMann’s Bakery when he saw her looking frazzled by his front window.

“Why not just give in?” The doctor’s office at the edge of the alley was the last window she would need to pass if she cut across to the side streets. She just wanted to move quick enough to escape.

Her stomach rolled a little when her anxiety peaked. She dropped down into a doorway in the main alley. She put her head in her hands and tucked her chin against her knees. There was broken glass at her feet mixed in with the discarded food and appliances. The smell didn’t even bother her because everything kept running through her mind. All the words. All the taunting. All the years of trying to run. The old television in front of her caught her attention. It seemed to be mostly in tactwith just a large crack across it.

“You know better than to try to leave me behind. I am always here for you. I will always find you.” The girl shut her eyes trying to yet again escape who had been following her. If she just held her eyes shut tight enough maybe it would work.

“Please. Go away.”

“Nope.” The P popped and the girl looked to the darkeningsky with tears in her eyes.

“I can’t do this today.” 

“Why? Does someone else need to see you as badly as I do?” The girl’s hands gripped harder into her hair and she beganscreaming. One long and drawn out scream. The window across from her opened sharply and an old lady peaked out at her. Only a look was given of disapproval mixed with disgust. The girl got up and made her way home on the side streets.

She still knew she was being followed by the voice. Her skin was crawling and the hairs on the back of her neck were on end. She felt it all the way home. Creeping around the corners. Waltzing past the other people. When she got home she found the mailman walking away from her mailbox and finally felt the presence had backed off slightly.

“Hello Alli.” The girl nodded and took her stuff from where it had just been placed. “You okay?” The young mailman stopped looking very worried. She tried to adjust her expressions enough to keep his wonderment at bay. His green eyes searched hers waiting for an answer. She could only wonder how much of a mess she seemed through those grass green orbs.

“Yeah, just tired Nick. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She fidgeted into her pocket for the house key trying to get inside where it should be safe. The lock clicked almost twice as loud as normaland she closed her eyes to walk into her own house. The scent of home hit her and her breathing evened out some. 

“Alli, Alli, Alli.” A click of the tongue. “You really thought I wouldn’t find you here? How many times do I have to tell you? I will always find you Alli.” The door slammed, and the lock clicked. Alli fell to the floor still holding the doorknobtightly. She was exhausted and defeated. She didn’t make it home alone. The presence always found a way to get to her.Once it got inside, she wouldn’t know what to do. She walked past the windows and drew the curtains, she checked every lock, and laid on the couch under a thick red blanket.

“Maybe if I stay like this it won’t find me.” That thought always only got her so far. Sleep began caressing her mind when she heard it. The humming had started. It was coming from upstairs. Alli grabbed an umbrella from the old rusted out holder next to the front door. Her heart was racing at this point. She wasn’t sure it had truly stopped. The stairs creaked below her feet with every movement. 

Step one, she wondered how anyone or anything could have gotten in.

Step two, she needed to know how to make all of this stop.

Step three, if she couldn’t just say, “Stop,” she would make it stop. All of this needed to stop.

Those three things kept repeating until she got to the top stair. The humming was louder now. It only grew in volume. It didn’t dim. It wouldn’t stop. Once the hum started it never stopped. The hallway seemed longer now than it usually did. The last step into the doorway was the most horrid one she had ever taken. There was a ripple of fear covering the air. It wavered through the whole house. Alli finally took that last step wondering how far she would have to go. She didn’t have to gofar.

“I knew you would come to find me. We are never that far apart. Time for a fix.” The girl shook with a combination of rage and fear.

“What do we need to fix?”

“You.” The girl gripped the umbrella so hard she almost swore she felt it break.

“There is nothing about me that I need to fix.” Laughter. Not a timid cute laugh but a chuckle that could make skin crawl. 

“No, not just you. Us. We need to fix everything. The hair, the eyes, the makeup, the clothes, your shape, and those shoes are about as hideous as you could find. Did you even try?” The humming started again.

“I am fine.” 

“You are not fine! You look like a mess, you talk to yourself all the time, you don’t sleep, and it’s as if something was haunting you, and…”

“You are haunting me! You are always there.” The ferocity was back in Alli. It began to drive her.

“And I always will be. Gnawing at your mind, telling you the horrid truths that you don’t want to admit to yourself, making you see what needs to be seen so you can pull yourself together!” The girl stumbled back when she felt a pinch on her hand and looked down. The shabby black umbrella was pinching her skin. It was broken. Her skin was caught between two small pieces of metal. She tightened her grip and finally looked up at the voice. The eyes that looked back were all black. There was no white in them. Beautiful woman with no true eyes. There was a true familiarity in this woman. She started laughing at Alli. The laugh was eerie and horrid to hear every time.

“Enough!” Alli swung the umbrella so hard that the mirror shattered into the smallest of pieces. Her reflection finally stopped speaking. 

I had finally stopped speaking. 

I watched her walk out of the room with the first smile she had shown the world in quite some time. The bravery seemed to creep back in her corners. I had tried to break it for so long yet here she was.

“I will see you soon. Alli.” A pause in her slightly confident stride.

I would find her again. I always find her.