This week’s writing prompt:
Go forth and write!
Remember to share your story.
James waited for Wendy by the Fallen Kings ruins. Anytime he received a request from her to meet, he felt both hesitant and eager. James figured one day it would be a trap, but he liked taking chances. Plus, given the opportunity, he was ready to kill Peter. James, or as the crew called him, Captain, was envious of Wendy’s travels with Peter. He wasn’t sure if it upset him more that she went with Peter or that he didn’t. Peter never trusted any of the other boys he brought to the island, especially after James betrayed him. But for Peter to put his trust in a girl was unthinkable.
But Wendy was different. She was kind, had a sense of purpose, and most importantly she never backed down from Peter. She challenged his every move, which no one would ever dare to do. Peter didn’t scare Wendy and that made her the scariest of them all.
It also made her someone James wanted on his side.
James heard careless footsteps crunching through the leaves and twigs of the forest floor. His body tensed as he silently drew his blade.
“Oh, put that thing away, Jamie, before you cut off your hand,” Wendy said, coming around a crumbled piece of stone. James sighed. He couldn’t stop himself from smiling at the sight of Wendy although he silently cursed himself for it. She was the only one allowed to call him Jamie. Even if he protested and demanded she call him James, she wouldn’t have listened to him. He secretly liked it. Made him feel like a boy again, innocent and full of adventure.
“Wendigo, why the summons?” James tried to play down his awkward smiling. This was Wendy. Not some one to get stupid over. Plus, he was a bloody captain of a pirate ship, not some love struck teenager. Get it together, James.
She frowned. Unlike James, she did not like the nickname he had given her. “Peter’s leaving for England at nightfall and I am to go with him. It’s a recruiting mission.”
Every few months, Peter returned to the other side and collected what he determined were unwanted boys. Most of those boys were orphans or runaways, but some had families. Wendy’s brothers John and Michael had parents who missed them. Peter claimed that the parents forgot their children and replaced them with new ones. Wendy knew the truth.
“And you want me to do what about it?” James asked.
“I want you to stop him,” she said. Wendy sat down in the rubble of crushed stone and debris. She crossed her legs under her. Her brown hair was tied loosely in a braid down her back. She looked tired. Older.
James sat next to her. His knee touched hers. “Why don’t you tell him not to go? He listens to you,” he said.
She sighed, looking down at her hands before she turned her face towards James. He hadn’t noticed the sadness living inside her eyes. Had it always been there? She looked broken. “Not this time,” she said. “He’s sending me home, James.”
“What does that mean? This is your home. You belong here,” James said. His chest tightened. Peter must have found out about their friendship. He was punishing Wendy for it or punishing James or both. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t going to happen. “I’ll stop him, Wendigo.” James meant it with everything he was. He would kill Peter if that’s what it took.
“Please do, Jamie. I can’t stay there,” Wendy said. She stood up and turned to go as James got to his feet. He grabbed her hand, stopping her, “I promise.” He held her hand longer than necessary, searching her face for something. She smiled, softly, at him.
James watched as she disappeared between the ruins.
James needed to get back to his ship and gather his crew. He needed a solid plan to stop Peter this time. No more child’s play. Peter was sending home the only real friend James had. He was not going to let that happen.
“That was sweet,” a voice said from behind James. He knew that voice. He would recognize it anywhere. Peter. There was no point in pulling out his blade. James gritted his teeth and turned to face him.
“You are capable of making it so that someone feels regret, Peter. Why are you so miserable that you need to destroy everyone around you? You love her. You need her. Why are you doing this to her?” James asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Peter asked. He tilted his head slightly like a bird, looking at James with unnatural mossy green eyes.
“No, Peter. It’s not,” James said. “Everything’s a game to you and no one knows they’re playing.”
Peter chuckled. “You’re no fun, James. You went and grew up. You fell in love. You ruined everything,” Peter said. He stepped closer to James. He circled him like an animal about to attack its prey. James rested his hand on the handle of his blade ready for the attack.
Peter stopped a breath away from James’ ear and whispered, “And I don’t like sharing.”
©Danielle Tauscher, 2017
*writing prompt from: terribleminds
We slid inside his skin. We stretched our new limbs, trying them on for size. This one fit perfectly like it was made for us. We roamed around his memories. That was our favorite part. Humans were an odd species. They longed for connection with others, but they held back their dark secrets. Humans were so afraid of being alone and left behind. They hadn’t realized we left them long ago. They searched the universe for us, the answers to the questions. We were always a moment out of reach. It was a game we played. We laughed at the humans. Such children, such animals. They were beneath us.
This boy was barely seventeen. He struggled against us. He felt us creep through his mind. He knew we were inside. He was rare. Most humans barely noticed our presence when we took over their bodies. They chalked up the invasion to a cold or lack of sleep. Never could they imagine it was us.
Yet, this one knew. He was who we waited for.
He would be the one to end our banishment.
©Danielle Tauscher, 2017
We laid next to each other in the grass, our fingers almost touching. Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have noticed the space between us. Our fingers would be intertwined without a second thought. Our thighs would touch without the heat and electricity of something on fire. Something had changed between us. I doubted Marlow had even noticed the way I started to keep my distance from her, not wanting to place flesh on flesh.
Last night Brady took Marlow to the pop up carnival. We had gone during the day when it was all families and children too scared to ride the Ferris wheel. Marlow begged me to ride it with her, ignoring my fear of heights. I distracted her with a promise of cotton candy and the Tilt-a-Whirl. Marlow dragged me through the carnival, holding my hand and laughing. She pretended she was a princess and I, the court jester, who made magic out of thin air and promises never kept. She teased me, playfully, about my avoidance of the Ferris wheel. She said, “Be Brave, Scotty,” but all I could hear was heartbreak.
I kept my eyes closed as Marlow talked about the Ferris wheel and Brady. It was the first time she was allowed to go somewhere after dark with a boy. I had wanted to remind her that she went everywhere with me after dark, and that I was a boy. Marlow didn’t see me that way. I was just Scotty. I stopped listening to the words about love and kisses that fell from Marlow’s mouth.
I could only hear the way the cicadas sang out, like a low hum. They sang softly at first, barely noticeable, just background noise. And then louder and louder until they drowned out every other summer sound. Until they drowned out the image of Brady and Marlow kissing at the top of the Ferris wheel. I wanted to shout at her that it was such a cliché. That everyone knew Brady took all the girls to the Ferris wheel to kiss. I wanted to tell her she could do better than Brady.
I wanted to be brave. I wanted to slide my fingers between hers and say the words about love and kisses. It had always been Marlow and Scotty. We were in this together, but I felt her drifting away. I was falling behind. Marlow was ready to grow up, and I would always be just her court jester making magic out of thin air and promises never kept.
©Danielle Tauscher, 2017
*The original prompt was not as inspiring to me as the sound of cicadas on a hot summer night.
Mabel hated Simon. He was the one person—if you could call him a person—standing in her way. She needed to move on. She needed to go through the door. But Simon, with his stupid flaming fire eyes and wings, forbade her. Who did he think he was? He was a servant. He was a guard. He wasn’t anyone special. She could punch him in the nose and run passed him before he even realized what happened.
Well, Mabel, tried that three times before giving up. Who knew the horned bastard was so strong? The name Simon didn’t evoke powerful in her mind. She imagined a chipmunk wearing glasses. That was her mistake. Simon didn’t even give her the courtesy of flinching.
Simon was a dick. And he stood in her way.
“I need to go through, Simon, please move,” Mabel said in the sweetest voice she could muster up and for her it wasn’t that sweet. She gritted her teeth and smiled. She was certain she looked like a monster trying to smile at its prey.
“Not happening, Mabel,” Simon said.
“But I said please.” Mabel considered twirling a piece of her hair around her finger or winking or whatever the human girls did to get what they wanted. She didn’t understand the magic, but admired it. She lacked magic of any kind unless you considered soul zapping magic, which she did not. It was a party trick.
“Finally, you’ve learned some manners,” Simon said. “But you’re not going through this door.” Simon rolled his shoulders back just a fraction, but it was enough for Mabel to take a step back. He was frighteningly beautiful for a demon or an angel or whatever he was.
He was a dick.
Mabel disliked being wingless. Everyone had wings. Simon’s wings were glorious and blood-red. All Mabel had were two scars on her shoulder blades where her wings should have been. She wondered what color her wings would have been if she had been allowed to keep them. Mabel liked to think they would have been a black almost midnight blue color. It didn’t matter. Wings or no wings, Mabel couldn’t go through the door without Simon’s permission and he would never give it to her.
“Simon, I need to know. Please. Just a peek,” she asked. Begging was beneath her, but at this point she would try anything. She needed to know what was through the door. She needed to see what the winged ones saw. Mabel needed to belong just once before it was over.
Simon sighed. He relaxed his body just a little. The fire in his eyes burned softer. “There’s nothing behind the door, Mabel. It’s a trick. It’s a lie. Just an exit into nothing,”
“You’re telling me it’s an exit? What in the hell does that even mean? There is no exit. We don’t exit, Simon. We don’t walk through a door to nothing. Why would it need a guard? Why would it be a big secret? Simon, you’re a liar,” Mabel said, clutching her hands into fists. She wanted to punch him in the face again even with the knowledge she couldn’t hurt him.
“It’s the way out of here, Mabel. There is more to the universe than us. If you went through the door, you wouldn’t be able to come back. You’d be gone to this world forever,” Simon explained, but Mabel stopped listening.
There was more to the universe than us? How could that be? This was the only world Mabel knew. The magical winged creatures and the horned beasts of hell or heaven or wherever. That was real. Mabel’s heart ached. More than ever she needed to go through the door. She needed to see for herself if Simon spoke the truth.
Mabel whispered, “I don’t belong here, Simon.”
“This is your home.”
“No, it isn’t. If there is more out there, Simon, I want to see it. I want to know it,” Mabel said. She hadn’t realized until that moment how much she meant it. She would go through the door and she would see everything.
“I can’t let you. I shouldn’t have told you. Go away, Mabel. I’m done,” Simon said. The fire returned to his eyes, he stood taller and spread out his wings blocking the door completely.
Mabel wasn’t about to let Simon stop her. She could bring fire to her eyes, maybe not quite like Simon or the others, but there was a fire inside her stronger than all the angels and demons had combined. She was going through the door.
“Come with me, Simon.”
From behind his mighty wings, Mabel heard the door open.
©Danielle Tauscher 2017
*Writing prompt from terribleminds