Fiction Friday Week 19

Good Friday!

This week we are back to HW3 and the wedding.  The chatty portion of this blog will be short this week.  I have a problem with my right hand and typing is an issue.  No offense to you all but I’d rather save the typing for the book and talking to my Scotsman. 😉

It is the morning of the wedding.  “Morning” is relative – it’s just after noon.  Anna is excited.  What happens just as the day begins was just as much of a surprise to me as it is to everyone else.

Enjoy!  I will speak to you again Monday morning.

 

Chapter Forty-Eight

 

The wedding day dawned brilliantly sunny with the slightest bit of frost in the shadiest parts of Stirling; not that any of them saw it until noon.  It was then that Anna woke to her bladder and the kicking of three small babes.  She completed her ablutions, wrapped a large silk robe around herself, then opened the door to the hall and found Jules sleeping on the floor outside her door.

She crouched awkwardly and touched Jules on the shoulder.  “Jules, wake up. What are you doing here?”

Jules sat up, wide awake and completely alert.  “Protection detail, Miss Anna.”  She leapt to her feet and helped Anna straighten up.

Anna raised a brow.  “Protection while asleep?”

Jules blushed.  “After the sun rose I knew no Vamps could come close and there are other guards around the building.  I’d have heard someone coming,” she added defensively.

Anna refrained from pointing out that she had opened the door against her back without waking her and simply smiled.  “Thank you, Jules.  I was heading to my mother’s room.”

Jules nodded.  “This way.”  She went up the hall, around a corner with Anna trailing her.  She knocked gently on the door as Anna caught up.

Janelle opened up and Anna smiled back at her mother as she came into the hall and closed the door quietly behind her.  “Good morning, Momma.”

“Good morning, princess.  Have you eaten yet?”  Janelle tucked her daughter’s hand into the crook of her arm.

“No.  I believe I was promised breakfast and a spa day.”

Michelle nodded as she joined them.  “There’s a breakfast feast being set up in the Alexander room.   You’ll need to put clothes on to get to your spa day, my Alpha.”

Anna beamed at Chelle and hugged her.  “Thank you so much for the earrings!  They’re lovely.”

Chelle hugged Anna back, her usual gruffness set aside by the excitement of the day.  “You’re welcome, though I’ll be expecting them back tomorrow.”

They all chuckled as they entered Anna’s room.  They found Nuada waiting for them with a huge bouquet of tropical flowers, some of which were from her own garden. 

“Oh! It’s beautiful,” Anna exclaimed.  “Thank you!”

“I could do no less for my favourite friend.  My father sent a gift for you and your groom but you must wait until later to open it.”

Anna looked curious and almost questioned Nuada about it but the babies kicked hard enough to double her over.  She gasped in pain and would have collapsed if her friend hadn’t caught her. 

The others rushed forward as Janelle helped Nuada get Anna onto the bed.  Anna screamed and her belly stretched with hands and feet showing everywhere.

“What the hell is going on?”  Chelle whispered the words. 

“Get Liam.  Now.”  Janelle snapped out the command as she took control of her daughter’s mind and knocked her out.  Even unconscious, Anna continued whimpering and writhing.

“Nuada, is there anything you can see?”  Janelle.

“I will need a few moments.”  Nuada climbed up on the bed and knelt beside her friend.  She laid her hands on Anna’s belly and closed her eyes, seeking the source of the pain.

Liam barged in, snarling at the people near his Anna.  They backed off, all but Nuada, who was deep in her exam of Anna.  “What the hell is going on?” he unintentionally echoed Chelle.  He tried to gather her into his arms but Nuada hissed at him.  He backed away and growled deep in his chest, fear and fury in his eyes. 

“We’re not sure,” Janelle said.  “The babies moved and then she was like this,” she waved a hand helplessly.

“The babies did this?”  Liam looked even angrier, something no one thought was possible.

“They did.”  Nuada’s eyes snapped open.  “They’ve grown again.  Weeks of growth in minutes.”  Her eyes hardened as she glowered at Liam.  “You’ll not be letting her get pregnant again.”

“Don’t tell me what to do, Fae.”  His voice softened.  “Can I hold her?”

Nuada took no offense; she was scared too.   “Aye.  She’ll wake soon.”  She slanted a look at Janelle.  “Right?”

“Right.”  Janelle released her grip on her daughter’s mind and watched as Liam climbed on to the bed and gathered Anna into his arms.  “She looks so much bigger now.  She’s going to be in pain until the babies come.”

Liam rubbed his hand over Anna’s belly, feeling the babies’ reaction to his touch, each of them reached for him.  He looked at Nuada.  “They’re all alright, the four of them?”

“Aye,” Nuada said patiently, “Sadira and the triplets are healthy.  The growth spurt took her by surprise is all.”

“How long now, do you think?”  Liam frowned.

“Days, a fortnight at most.  She is almost to term now.” 

They all gasped.  No one was prepared for the babies to come so soon.  “So soon?”  Liam whispered the words.  “This has caused her tremendous pain, hasn’t it?”  Liam’s question was flat as he looked at each of the women.

None would look back and he growled. 

“Lee,” Anna’s voice was soft, affectionate.

“Anna.”  Her name was full of pain, guilt and love. 

“Lee, what happened?”

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Speaking of Holidays…

Well, first, I wanted to share something with you.

I entered a photo contest!

I checked, used the auto-levels and auto-colour just to be sure I hadn't accidentally used a different setting.  All came out the same.

I checked, used the auto-levels and auto-colour just to be sure I hadn’t accidentally used a different setting. All came out the same.

I entered this photo – taken in January ’13 and first shared (with the above caption) with you about then – in a local contest.  The Lambton Mutual Insurance Company wanted photos from the area that showed the local geography to the best advantage.  I chose this picture, since I can’t get out there and wander around right now, and submitted it.    The picture with the most votes wins but because I entered through my personal FB I won’t be sharing the link to vote with you.  I try to keep my real name separate from my author name.

Paranoia.  It happens.  *laughs*

Speaking of the holidays…  For Father’s Day this year I gave my dad a short story.

Technically, I gave him the promise of a short story.

Father’s Day, in North America, is in June.  JUNE!

I have been neglectful (largely because of the trip) and my father has been super understanding. Thankfully.

However, I have finally, FINALLY, figured it out.  I don’t have a title yet but basically, the story goes something like this:  (Keep in mind that while I have and will do my best to keep the Druidic beliefs true in this story, any ceremonies and the association are fiction)

Keith Webb is a Druid.  He’s the youngest leader ever in the Associated Order of Druids.  The AOD was established in the UK in the 1940s.  Keith met an AOD Druid named August “call me Auggie” Stone in the late ’60s when he was just fourteen years old.   Growing up as he did on an acreage full of trees and gardens, raised by a mother who had a natural reverence for nature, Keith had an ingrained respect for the world.  When he read a certain set of books by JRR Tolkien, he began to think that there was a certain level of interconnectedness between all the creatures of the world and the planet itself.

When he met Auggie, he learned that there were people who worked with Nature and the power of the planet to try to better the world.  He soaked up knowledge like a sponge and rose through the ranks quickly.  At the age of 17 he met a girl who was also visiting the commune Auggie lived in.  Free love was rampant and the pair fell into each other’s arms.  They thought they would never see each other again but managed to conceive a child from their single union.

They married in order to keep their parents from forcing them to give the child up for adoption.  A wedding at 18 wasn’t something either wanted, they barely knew one another.  The marriage was uncomfortable and at times volatile.  It ended when the baby, a girl named Katie, was three years old and Keith’s wife died of pneumonia complications.

Suddenly widowed with a toddler, Keith turned to the Order for help.  Within four years, the Order had established a private boarding school with Keith as the Headmaster.  The school taught the children of AOD members, along with others who made the strict requirements required for entrance.  The school ran from grade 1 and allowed students who continued to adhere to the strict and exacting standards to remain until high school graduation.  Keith taught history, the basics of core Druid beliefs to the younger children and taught would-be Initiates as they came of age.

The children of the school are a mix of scholarships and children of the wealthy and well-known – stars, politicians, and high society.

The story begins when Katie is twelve years old, just before Yule and the Winter Solstice.   It also happens to be 1985.

Okay, so there was some character background in there.  *laughs*

The plot outline looks like this:

Chapter One:  An introduction to Keith and his reflections on his past.  Intro to Katie and her abilities.

Chapter Two:  Early morning class for Initiates about to be dedicated to the Order.  Talks about what will happen

Chapter Three: Katie is in class, English lit, her favourite with her best friend Carla, waiting on the teacher.  A substitute teacher appears and begins class.  The teacher seems to favour Carla heavily.  Carla is the daughter of widowed stage actor JR Metzak.  (Katie are Carla became friends because they both have deceased mothers.)

Chapter Four:  Bell rings and the teacher releases most of the class but slams the door and locks it before Katie, Carla and two others (one an AOD son and the other the daughter of a Witch) can leave.

Chapter Five:  Keith initiates conversation with the woman, asks what she wants.  Is shocked to hear the answer.   Phones police and parents of the hostages.   Katie stands between woman and classmates, creates a shield

Chapter Six: Keith is devastated to learn Katie is in the room.   Coordinates with police.  Calls the AOD for help.  Speaks again to the woman, gives a command to Katie.

Chapter Seven:  Katie gleefully follows the order.

Chapter Eight: Children are rescued, woman is arrested.

Chapter Nine:  Further aftermath

Chapter Ten:  Winter Solstice, wrap up.

It’s meant to be a short story.  Looks like it will be bordering on novella, given that my chapter lengths tend to be 1,000 to 1,400 words.  It should be fun to write.  

And I am pleased that I am excited about writing again.  I was hit with some inspiration yesterday about this story and now I find myself wanting to look at the HW series again and see if the excitement and inspiration follows there.  Discipline is something I need to re-familiarize myself with.  Between my stresses, my pain levels and the worry about my back, my mind wanders, which is also influenced by the toxings I suffer from daily.   We’ll see how it goes with a sincere effort.    Meanwhile, I’m off to develop Katie and  the antagonist a bit more.  

Have a wonderful weekend!  

Muah.

Showers

I’ve been writing in Highland Wolves again.  Have I mentioned that?  

I am really pleased to be doing so too.  I’ve missed my wolves.  I have Liam and Anna’s wedding to write and then HW3 is complete.  And I can begin the arduous task of editing;  HW4 will have to wait until HW2 is ready for publication, I think.  

Today (in HW3) Anna and the gang have returned to the Pack home and Liam is ecstatic to have his bride-to-be back in his arms.  He will ask what happened after he has re-established his claim.   Liam, like most wolves, is driven by his instinces and nose.  He knows Anna’s scent like he knows the back of his hand.  So when he notices there’s a change, he’s going to want to know what’s up.  

Anna, like most women, isn’t ready for everyone to know she’s pregnant.  There’s not going to be any way for her to hide the fact for long – her scent will change and so will her body (she’s having triplets!) – but she wants to keep the knowledge to herself for as long as possible; partly because it’s her joy and partly because she’s afraid she’ll lose them.  And she won’t be able to shift after a certain period of time.   The trouble with that, the shifting, is that no one knows if she’ll have to stop shifting into all her forms or if she can still shift into the demon form well into late pregnancy.  There’s only one way to find out but are they willing to risk the babies?

But first…

I threw Anna and Liam in a shower to wash the stink of the hotel, battle and the others off her so he can enjoy her more fully (and, in turn, she can enjoy him more fully).  There are lots of shower scenes in lots of books in this world and mine isn’t the hottest or most graphic, but it is hot.  I think.  What say you?

Chapter Thirty-Seven

 Liam pushed her shirt up her body, fingers sliding over her ribs and over her bra strap.  He traced it around the front and stroked the edge of the cups, half on the fabric and half on her skin.  Anna shuddered and he buried his face in the crook of her neck and shoulder to inhale her scent.

What he got was a nose full of hotel, car, travel and the other Wolves.  He stood up abruptly, spilling her to the floor.  He caught her arm before she landed on her ass and hauled her to her feet.  “Let’s go.”

Anna blinked, shaken out of her arousal and her subspace.  She scowled and opened her mouth to grump at him.  Then she remembered her place and settled for growling softly, briefly, and followed him easily.

He dragged her into the bathroom and turned the shower on.  “Tha gaol agam ort, my little she-Wolf, but you reek.”

Anna lifted her shirt to her nose and sniffed.  She wrinkled her nose.  “Aye, Master, you’re right.”  She stripped her shirt over her head and dropped it on the floor. 

Liam watched with a smile on his face, enjoying the show.  It wasn’t meant to be seductive and that was one of the things he liked about it.  She was being natural, being herself, and there was nothing he loved more.  As she began on her pants, Liam began to take his clothes off too.  He dropped them in the same pile with Anna’s.

Her fingers stilled on the catch of her bra as she watched his flesh come into view.  She grinned.  “Will you be joining me, Master?”

“You bet.  Have to make sure my girl is thoroughly clean.”  He gave her a wolfish leer as he kicked his jeans into the pile.  

As Anna removed her undergarments in a hurry, Liam checked the water.  It was hot and steamy and he pulled her into it, sticking her head under the water, before shutting the shower door.  She took the hint and he picked up the shampoo. He poured a generous amount into his hand, rubbed them together and then stroked his fingers over her scalp.  He worked the shampoo into a frothy lather, massaging her scalp as he did.

Anna was suddenly really glad for the big walk-in shower.  It was tucked into the corner of bathroom; two walls were tile, two were glass.  One shower head, a large circular, fixed feature from the middle of the ceiling, was joined by another, a removable handheld one attached to the wall, to rain water on them.  Liam had placed her just enough out of the water to keep her hair out.  Anna groaned as he worked over her hair.

When he was satisfied that her hair was clean, Liam moved Anna back into the spray and rinsed the suds out.  He was pleased that she used a two-in-one, a combination of shampoo and conditioner, because it meant he could now move on to other things.  He pointed at the tile wall without the shower head.  “Face the wall, put your hands on it at shoulder height and keep them there.”

Anna silently did as he asked.  He hadn’t given her permission to speak so she didn’t.  She almost quivered with anticipation as she stared at the tile, waiting.

Liam lathered a washcloth and began to wash her.  He lifted her hair off the back of her neck and washed behind her ears and her neck before he moved to sweep the cloth firmly across her shoulders.  He scrubbed her back from ears to ankles, taking care to avoid any really sensitive areas.  Then he picked up her feet one at a time to wash them, rinsing them well before he allowed her to put them down again.  He began to work his way back up.  He scrubbed her shins, her knees and her thighs.  He moved to her pelvis and washed up her front.  He skipped all of her most obvious erogenous zones, ignored the way light began to play under her skin as she heated up, ignored his own arousal and simply scrubbed until he reached her face.  “Turn your head and look at me.”

Anna turned her head and Liam almost grinned at the look in her eyes.  They were dark green, almost black, and there were promises of retribution in their depths.  She was panting and almost snarling at him.  “Close your eyes,” he said.  Her eyes flashed briefly but she closed them.  He scrubbed her face, making her sputter and spit soap when she opened her mouth in shock.  Liam chuckled.  “Rinse.”

Anna’s skin tingled.  Every nerve was on fire and she was aroused.  She was also getting angry that he wasn’t touching her.  She stepped back into the spray and rinsed her face.  Then she used her hands to slough the soap from her body, running her palms down her throat over her chest to her breasts.  She drew her hands over her them, cupping and stroking, head back with her eyes closed in pleasure.  There was no way she could forget Liam was watching but she got lost in the moment and set her forefingers and thumbs over her nipples, intending to pinch them.

“No.”  Liam’s voice was hard even though arousal made it husky.  He watched as Anna whimpered and her eyes flew open as her hands fell to her sides.  “Put your hands on the back of your neck and leave them there.” 

Anna obeyed, still standing in the spray of water, as Liam pulled the removable showerhead down.  The light under her skin had started to dim with his command to stop touching herself but it flared to life again as he ran his hand and the water over her.  She spread her legs when he told her to and bit her lip when her body reacted to the thumping spray brushing over her labia and clit.  She swayed as he spread her open to make sure he removed all the soap and she couldn’t be sure that the brush of his fingers over that sensitive nub of flesh wasn’t on purpose. 

Liam straightened and hung the showerhead back up.  He stared at his girl for a moment, watching as the water ran in rivulets over her silky flesh.  He watched one bead of water in particular travel from her collar bone to her cross her areola and tremble on her nipple before falling towards the tile beneath her feet. 

A growl filled the shower stall and Anna jumped.  She raised her eyes to Liam’s and was shocked to see that they were Wolf yellow.  He was snarling at her and she only had a moment to panic before he was on her. 

Liam threw her over his shoulder and bolted from the bathroom.  He ran with her into their bedroom and threw her on the bed, hard enough that she bounced but he was on top of her, his lips locked on hers before her back touched the mattress a second time.

Here, shortly, is where he’s going to sniff her again and, again, her scent isn’t going to be hers.  Debate here is this:

1.  He smells the pregnancy pheromones (she’s about three weeks along) and it rings a distant bell of recognition in him.  He becomes suspicious and demands to know what caused the change.   She tries to evade but he pushes and finally she tells him she’s pregnant.

2.  He smells the pregnancy pheromones but doesn’t recognize it because the last time he smelled a pregnant Wolf he was a child.  There haven’t been baby Wolves around in a long time.  He demands to know what the change is about – he’s territorial, he thinks someone laid their hands on her while she was away – and she evades, telling him that it’s probably because she now has access to the unbridled level of power contained in the Glen Coe caldera.  While that is true, it’s not the whole truth.  He will be grudgingly satisfied with it.  

I’m not quite sure which way to go and I don’t think I’ll know until I write it out, I guess.  

I leave you with howling Canadian wolves.  A friend of mine recorded it when she visited Algonquin Park.  The wolves start at around 13 seconds.  Have a wonderful Sunday!

Muah

Moira’s Fingers

It was days ago that I finished the scene with Moira and Anna’s little machine but I am just now getting around to sharing it with you.  I was quite surprised by the end.  It’s not what I wanted at all but I can’t seem to reconcile what I wanted with what the characters have decided should be done.  

Here, take a look:

Moira paled and tried again, uselessly, to remove her hand from the crusher.  It ran through her head that it wasn’t worth losing her fingers over.  No employer is worth losing body parts for.  She pulled again and again, trying to get her hand out from under that weight.  It didn’t work.  Her breathing hitched, stopped, and then started again with a deep shuddering inhale.  She opened her mouth.  “Okay!  I’ll tell you!”  And she meant it.  She watched as Anna put her left pinkie finger inside that little alligator’s mouth and started hyperventilating.

Anna set the feet very carefully into the joint.  She applied just enough pressure that Moira would know the teeth were there but not enough to feel pain.  “Alright,” she said.  “Who do you work for?”

“Ballachulish Hotel.”  Moira wailed as she realized what came out of her mouth.  “No, no!  Please!  I’ll tell you, really!”  Then she screamed.  Anna had closed the alligator’s mouth with a snap and a thump of the side of her fist on the top of the snout. 

The steel teeth cut cleanly through the joint at the base of the finger, separating the small digit from its owner’s body.  Anna used her blue fire and immediately cauterized the wound to stop the bleeding.  Then she set fire to the finger as Moira, whimpering and sobbing, watched.  “You told me you were ready to tell me, Moira.  Are you ready to try again?”  When Moira nodded eagerly, Anna smiled.  “Good girl.  We’re going to try something different now, maybe it’ll help.”

Anna slid the alligator up Moira’s ring finger and closed the teeth around it, just tight enough to bite.  Then she began twisting a screw that tightened the jaws.  The tighter they got the deeper into Moira’s finger the teeth went.  Anna stopped only when she judged that the teeth were almost to the bone.  Moira was sobbing with little hiccupy screams here and there.  Anna grabbed Moira’s chin and looked at her face.  When Moira’s eyes began to roll back in her head Anna slapped her. 

“Who do you work for, Moira?”

Moira’s head lolled loosely on her neck, even with her head in Anna’s grip.  “Ballachulish Hotel.”  Even Marcus groaned in sympathetic pain.  In the next moment, Moira screamed again. 

Anna pulled the alligator up Moira’s finger, the jaws still tight.  The flesh began to shred.  Strips rolled up into the torture device as Anna braced a hand on the crusher and pulled slowly.  When she reached the middle knuckle she got stuck.  As she pulled on the alligator she asked again, “Who do you work for, Moira?”

“Kristina Gedeon!”  Then Moira threw up and passed out. 

Anna jumped to one side but couldn’t avoid the splatter that covered her shoes.

“Oh gross!”  Brock said.

Marcus’s question was dry.  ‘The finger or the vomit?”

“The vomit.  The finger looks kind of cool.”

“Gods Brock!’  Jules shot him a disgusted look then gazed at Anna in wonder.  “What are you going to do now, Alpha?”

“Fix her finger enough that she’ll avoid infection but in such a way she’ll always remember, clean the vomit off my shoes and then drag you guys along to find this Gedeon.”  Anna didn’t realize that this Kristina’s employers implanted triggers in the minds of their servants that all but destroyed their minds should they betray them.

Months later, Moira was still not all the way there mentally.  It was like something had snapped and broken her mind.  She often babbled about alligators named Kristina but nobody would listen to her stories.  The only thing that disturbs her, because she can’t remember what happened to her left ring finger.  It is missing stripes of flesh, exposing the myofascia, tendons and veins with hints of the bone.  Skin grafts had been tried, and fallen off.  It didn’t hurt, it was just her finger exposed.  When she’d told the police she didn’t remember they hadn’t believed her and investigated every part of her life.  It was only in her dreams that she saw the truth, the whole of it.  And those dreams reminded her that no one was worth keeping her mouth shut, no one earned that amount of loyalty from her.

Moira worked from home now, building tiny alligators out of metal and seed bead weaves.  It was all she could do anymore.

See?  Moira was meant to remember it all.  Anna wanted her to remember and left her finger to be an ever present symbol of her ultimate failure to hold to an oath.  It’s too bad that  neither Moira nor Kristina…well, ultimately Liliya… want her to remember.  

And now, finally, on to battle!  The most awesome thing happened!   Anna got a letter from an old friend, the Irish Fae Nuada (Nuada appears in book two), giving them help in the battle against the Russian Bears.  😀   Fabulous!   There will be a some harpy eagles, a snake or two and… I can’t remember.  Panthers I think.  It’s a good thing I make notes.

Have a good evening!

Muah

Broken

Hi ya.

How’s it going?

Me?  Why thank you for asking.  I am not doing so well, although better in many ways this morning than for the last week.  You all know that a few weeks ago I sprained my hip trying to climb this hill:

Yeah, that one in the middle

Yeah, that one in the middle

Well, Tuesday night we went to our local Munch and when I was showering off the chemicals of public places and other people, a muscle spasm ripped across my lower lumbar and turned the muscles into a pretzel.  

I haven’t  been able to walk, lay down, roll over or sit up without a great deal of pain (and help) since.  I AM seeing some improvements since yesterday though.  On Friday we went to the ER because it took me 15 minutes to move my ass 2 inches.  We were there close to 8 hours while the doc tried to get my pain under control so she could take x-rays.  She said she thought my tailbone might be broken then in the next breath hastened to assure us that it probably wasn’t but she’d do the x-rays to be sure.

So she shot me full of Toradol (Ketorolac Tromethamine), fed me a couple percocets and waited a few more hours.   When I was still all screamy when I had to move to pee (poor Boyfriend has been doing a lot of lifting and fetching and carrying and cooking) she shot me full of an abdominal muscle relaxer called Buscopan.  After that I was less screamy and she decided it was suddenly unncessary to do x-rays.

What the fuck, right?

Anyway, my point is, I haven’t exactly been able to write or take pictures.  Today is, in fact, the first day I’ve been able to sit up without a lot of pain (I’m sitting on a butt donut!) so I am finally giving you a blog.  

I will share with you the fruits of the writing I was able to do early last week AND show you my view of the world these past few days.  

First, the view.

This is me, laying on my side, staring at the wall

This is me, laying on my side, staring at the wall

Yes, the laptop is tilted.  On purpose.  It’s kind of dizzying watching and reading when you’re horizontal and everything else vertical.  

Speaking of vertical, I have been too long now and it’s starting to make me sick so I’m going to hurry this along.  

I DID manage to get some writing done a week ago.  Anna is being evil in her drive to extract information.  She woke up with ‘Krstinamoira’ scrawled across her forearm and with Marcus and Doug’s help they figured that it was actually two names AND figured out who Moira is – the concierge when they had arrived.  So now the job is to find out who Kristina is.  They have a suspicion that she is Moira’s employer and set about finding out if that’s true.  

Chapter Twenty-Three

 

Moira came around the edge of a densely packed trellis onto the patio and stopped as she spotted Anna.  She scowled.  “What do you want?”

Anna merely said, “Rhombus!” and the Circle shimmered into existence.  “Have a seat, Moira, daughter of Larissa who is daughter of the witch Brighde.”

Moira looked startled for a moment then her expression turned hateful.  “Never!  I will never do anything you say.”

Marcus and Brock slid into place behind Moira and each one grabbed her by the upper arms.  They lifted her off her feet and carried to the chair that was now sitting alone in the middle of the slate patio with the small table off to the side.  She kicked and screamed and struggled as they forced her to sit.  Jules and Doug tied her to the chairs with the rope Anna had pulled from the other Realm.

Anna stood in front of her and Marcus took his place just behind her left shoulder.  Anna crossed her arms and tapped her foot as Moira screamed threats and epithets at them.  Several minutes later, tired of the screaming, Anna crossed the distance between herself and the bound girl and slapped her across the face.  “Do shut up, little girl.”

Shocked, Moira did just that.  The Wolves pulled their fingers from their ears.

“Much better.  Now, tell me who you work for, Moira.”

“Ballachulish Hotel.”  Moira lifted her chin.  She suddenly knew what Anna wanted and she wasn’t going to give it.  Kristina could do much worse than this Hybrid.  Little did she know.

From behind Moira, Doug snorted.  “Really?  That’s the answer you’re going with?”

Anna gave him a quelling look .  “Your true employer, Moira.” 

“Ballachulish Hotel.”  Moira sneered at Anna. 

Giving her a placid look, Anna opened a doorway to the other Realm again and reached in.  Outwardly she ignored the look of shock while inwardly she was grinning. She reached in and pulled out a cylindrical object.  It was soft on the ends, had a ruby red ribbon holding it closed and an had an aura of menace that made the Wolves shiver.

Anna untied the ribbon and slid it open, letting it unroll on to the table.  Steel glinted out of the rich black leather.  Anna asked conversationally, “So, Moira, are you left- or right-handed?”

Caught off guard, Moira answered as she looked at the line of flashing steel, not sure what any of it was.  “Left-handed.”

“Good.  Thank you for your answer.”  Anna reached in again and pulled out a strange contraption.  Made of iron, it had a rectangular frame about fifteen inches long with a center brace running from one short side to the other.  Two posts rose from the middle of each short end with two more rising up on either side of the middle.  Cross bars joined each set of posts, creating two squares.  Each square contained a weight on a sliding bar that was controlled by a vertical crank.  Each weight was a thick wedge, rounded at the top and flat on the bottom and looked far too heavy for the strange, delicate looking frame work.  The whole thing shone with loving care.

Anna gestured to Marcus with her chin and he hurried forward to grab the device, grunting under the weight of it.  He held it while Anna pulled the table up to Moira and settled it over her lap.  “Put the crusher down here, Marcus.” 

Marcus watched Moira from the corner of his eye as he settled the crusher directly down in front of her.  He was pleased to see that she broke into a sweat even as she tried to remain impassive and uninterested.  Anna pulled some clamps out of the seam and secured the crusher down.

 Anna untied Moira’s right hand and lifted her arm.  Moira didn’t resist until she realized that Anna was going to put her hand under one of the weights.  Anna held firm as Moira screamed and jerked her hand arm, flailing in her bonds as much as she could.  Once Anna had Moira’s hand in place she turned the crank until it pressed down, the weight covering the back of her hand.  She turned it just tight enough to make the bones grind and hold the hand in place.

“Who is your employer, Moira?”

Moira spit at Anna, hitting her in the face.  “Ballachulish Hotel.”

Anna tightened the crank.  Moira howled.  “Who is your employer, Moira?”

Moira had tears starting to develop but she looked defiant.  She opened her mouth and Anna held up a hand, waiting until Moira closed her mouth again.

“I should warn you, Moira.  I don’t take kindly to my loved ones being messed with.  I don’t take kindly to liars, thieves and cheats.  You may wish to start telling me the truth right now.”  Anna lowered her hand.  “Speak.”

“Ballachulish Hotel.”

Anna sighed as the male Wolves all groaned.  Jules looked fascinated and horrified at the same time.  Anna reached ran her fingers over the small steel instruments then selected two:  one were a pair of  bright, shiny steel clippers.  The blades were curved and even Moira could see that the blades were extraordinarily sharp.  The second was duller, much older.  Age blackened brass was formed into a pair of large pliers.  The head of the pliers was in the shape of an alligator.  A multitude of sharp serrated teeth filled the mouth of the alligator’s head.

“These clippers,” Anna lifted them, “have diamond edged blades.  They will cut through anything, given enough force.  And the little alligator here,” Anna set down the clippers and picked up the alligator pliers, “is so old I scarcely remember when I got it.  The Inquisition I think.  The second one.  You may decide how you want to lose your fingers.”  She snapped them open and closed in front of Moira’s nose.

Moira paled and tried again, uselessly, to remove her hand from the crusher.

 

As you  can see, Moira’s about to have some trouble.  When I can sit up long enough to write.

I have to lay down again.  I don’t have the patience or time, really, to preview so I hope you’ve forgiven me my errors, this one time.

Muah.

Demonizing Anna

Hi, my name is Catherine.  I’m a writer and it’s been five days since my last blog.  

I’m sorry it’s been so long, boys and girls.  I’ve been writing and trying to deal with the toxic crap floating into my apartment from the shared hallway.  My landlord has dumped a bunch of scented trash from cleaning the apartment next door and hasn’t yet removed it.  I’m getting more than a little irate but I don’t think he realizes just how much it stinks.  It’s not just that though, the big clear bags and the old furniture are unsightly and a fire hazard.  The Marshall would  be on his ass if he knew.  I really should call but I have this phobia about making phone calls.  :/

I know, I know, “Suck up the phobia, stop whining and call him already.”

Anyway, I have written every day this week and I have a couple of things to share with you. 

In case you’ve forgotten (or I haven’t talked about it) Anna is now in Ballachulish with Marcus, Jules, Brock and Doug.  They’ve done their first bit of wandering around and at this point they’re in a pub for a meal before going out to let their Wolfie selves run a bit.  Marcus overhears a little conversation:

At a nearby table two men were arguing about her and it was all Marcus could do to stay in his chair.  The two men, obviously fishermen, were trying to keep their voices down but Marcus had a wolf’s hearing.  He mentally labeled them Fish One and Fish Two. 

Fish One said, “She’s ugly I tell ye! Reminds me of a banshee what with those scars and that white hair.”

Fish Two scoffed.  “She’s ethereal,” he countered.  (Marcus was surprised at the word.)  “Romantic.  I bet she’s a strong woman who has been through much.  I like that.” 

Marcus decided not to kill Fish Two.

“Them scars are ugly.  Her eyes are freaky and her mouth is a little too puffy.”  Fish One ran his eyes over Anna’s face and Marcus studied her too.  She did have lush lips, often curved in a smile.  The longest scar tugged ever so slightly at the corner of her mouth, giving her the appearance of a slightly cocked grin.  Marcus thought it was charming.  Fish One continued.  “Even her eye colour is freaky.  Have you looked close?  I’ve seen the depths of hell in them.”  He had indeed had the opportunity to look at her eyes, Anna had met his eyes and greeted him with a small nod when she entered and caught him staring.

Fish Two shot to his feet and punched Fish One in the mouth.  He wasn’t too sure why he was being so protective of the woman.  He didn’t know her from the Queen of England but for some reason his best friend’s opinions were making him furious.  “Mind yer tongue!  There’s nowt wrong with the woman!”  He turned to Anna, bestowed a charming, heart stopping smile on her then stormed out, shouting over his shoulder.  “Willie’ll take care of the check, Mable!”

Marcus burst out laughing and quickly smothered it, deciding then and there that Fish One had been properly taken care of.

Fish One and Fish Two… Appellations created solely for my amusement.  I felt that people needed a reminder of Anna’s appearance and this is the way I thought to do it.  I have to admit there’s some repetition in Fish One’s final statements about her eyes but that will be taken care of in editing.

After dinner they headed out for a hike in the forest at the south of Ballachulish so they could run.  Once they’d found a spot to shift Anna pulled Marcus aside and told him she wanted to explore her demon side.  Marcus, of course, objected.  Anna pulled rank and forced Marcus to shut his mouth.  He insisted on standing watch over her while she attempted to make a controlled change for the first time since she got back from Hell.  This is what happened:

Truth be told, Marcus was exhausted from the shifting he had already done that day so he widened his stance and looked as immovable as a mountain.  “I’ll watch.”

“Fine.”  Anna turned her back on him, unwilling to see his face.  She wasn’t even sure if she could accomplish it again.  The first time had been done without thought.  She closed her eyes and turned her focus inwards.  Anna had compartments in her head for the pieces of herself – one for the Vampire, one for the Wolf, one for her memories (that one looked like a library with a card catalogue), special chamber to contain her power and a new one for the Demon.  All those compartments held the bulk of her monsters, the full power of each of them and still small pieces of each made up the whole of Anna.  They were separate and yet one at the same time. 

Anna opened her mind to the visualisations.  The chamber for the demon was locked and Anna stood before that door, key in her hand and took a deep breath.  She put the key in the lock, a simple steel padlock and key, turned it and removed the lock.  The door burst open and the demon was on her in a second.

Marcus took a step forward when Anna staggered and hunched over with a pained grunt as her skin turned ash grey.  The pulsing, moving bulges that appeared over her shoulder blades frightened him.  He stopped when Anna straightened up.  As he watched she stood straight and began her shift.

The Demon burst from her with the same elegance as the Wolf.  The skin colour deepened and wings exploded from her back, unfurling with a snap.  She grew taller, slimmer and her muscles became sleeker, more defined.  Hands and feet lengthened, her middle fingers and middle toes melted together to become one digit, claws sprouted from all the nails. 

Marcus waited as she stood there, head bowed, and took several deep breaths.  He watched as she turned then looked her over from her feet to her hair, gasping at the look of her face.  It was a blend of Vampire and Wolf and wasn’t quite the same face that she came back from Hell with.  Her forehead was prominent and ridged, her eyes were black.  She had a short but definitive wolf snout with long sharp teeth.  Whereas before she was covered in leathery skin this new skin was the colour of the sky just before a thunderstorm and had in fine silver fur that brushed over her torso, thighs and forearms, even the hair on her head shone silver.

“Wow.”  The word slipped out before he could stop it.

Reading over the week’s writing, I have to say it’s not the best I’ve ever done but I’ve been writing and actually getting things done.  I count this as a good thing.  

I will be posting a blog tomorrow, I took some excellent pictures from the pier last week. 

Have a great day!

Muah

PS.  I fixed it.  The double “her eyes are freaky” has been changed.  The second one is now: “Her eye colour is unnatural.  Have you looked close?  I’ve seen the depths of hell in them.”   I don’t think it is quite right yet, needs to sound more uncouth fisherman but it works for now.  IT would have nagged at me!  

Cats, the Weather and a New World

Good Sunday morning folks!

I only have three pictures to share with you today.  This week has been about recovering from the motorcycle supershow last Friday – which doesn’t explain going to the Food & Wine Show in London yesterday *laughs* – and it means that I didn’t get out to get the photography done that I wanted to.  

The first is a little snippet of my life (and here’s picture number 4!).  

This is my desk space:  

Although I have the top half of a pine roll-top desk on it now, behind the monitors.

My laptop sits on a rack now, not a cooling pad and the cat still gets up there behind it.  Tucks himself into the space under the bottom shelf of the roll top and naps.  But the naps don’t usually happen until he’s finished trying to get to anything that may have rolled until the rack which, in my case, can be anything from a pen to a spool of thread to a folding knife.  

It’s total chaos when he does this.  Trying to do anything on a bouncing laptop is impossible.  So I tapped him on the top of the head with my finger and told him to stop while shaking the aforementioned finger at him.  His response?

He chewed on my thumb.  Then whacked me back (not that I whacked the kitty).

 He chewed on my thumb. Then whacked me back (not that I whacked the kitty).

Terror the Terrible!  Too bad he’s so cute.  Or rather, it’s a good thing he’s so cute.  Means I haven’t had him stuffed yet. *laughs*

He did calm down and nap eventually but some days this behaviour gets him unceremoniously dumped on the floor.  

It’s been a slow week, lots of pain meds, lots of resting my legs, lots of trying to encourage the muscles and nerves to calm the fuck down and return to normal.  Four and a half hours of walking on concrete floors is a lot for an athlete, never mind someone with as many health issues as I have.  So I did what I always do when I’m having trouble:  I watched TV.  One of the shows I found was called Countdown to Apocalypse on History Channel.  

Fascinating stuff.  They said that on 12/21/12 the sun, earth and milky way were in perfect alignment, (well, they said would be, given that the show was created prior to that date).  It’s an event not seen in 26,000 years and is one that ended the last ice age.  They said it warmed the earth so much that, well, the ice went away.  They also said that the sun has entered its most violent stage and we can expect more, larger, solar flares and storms.  If there’s a big enough storm it’ll basically act as a massive electromagnetic pulse and wipe out all our electronics.

Scary eh?

They theorized that this change in the way the sun, earth and milky way were all shifting to create this alignment has something to do with global warming, possibly more so than anything we’ve done – which certainly hasn’t been helpful!  (We are destroying the planet we need to survive.)  And now that the alignment has occurred, we can certainly expect changes in our weather and quite probably catastrophic earth events.  

Fun.  

You can see it happening already.  Snow in traditionally wet, temperate places on the west coast (just ask Val, who lives in Vancouver or those poor saps in San Diego California who are dealing with a winter storm that dumped snow on them).  

As for us, last week we were dealing with this:

A blanket of snow covered the entrance to the beach.

A blanket of snow covered the entrance to the beach.

And yesterday morning I woke up to this view through the kitchen window:

Spring??

Spring??

 

It looks like March outside!  The temperature yesterday reached 12°C but felt much warmer.  It’s the middle of January.  It is, however, supposed to hit the low of -5°C and snow tomorrow.  

The scientists can say all they want, talk all they feel they need to but nothing is going to change what will happen.  I believe that in addition to the climate changes, possible orbit changes and maybe the poles swapping places the most fascinating thing to happen will be the resurgence of magic.

What?  You didn’t seriously expect that I, Caity Bowman, writer of the paranormal, witch and energy worker, wouldn’t think that?  *chuckles*

Welcome to the new world.