November Photo Writing Prompt – Lying to Myself

photopromptThis month’s photo sparked another idea connected to my serial story, Your Lies

I’ve done other peices from Delia’s past – events that happen before the story in Your Lies.

The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait
The Lies We Tell

This wee story falls between “Lying in Wait” and “The Lies We Tell”.

11-2015 - AbandonedBarnLying to Myself

My nose twitched, and I sniffled as my eyes filled with tears. From the musty inside of the old barn. Not because I was upset. I mean, I was upset, but I could handle it. Especially now that I was here—alone, away from it all. I wasn’t going to break down, because what was the freaking point? Crying wasn’t going to bring Dad back. It wasn’t going to change my mom’s mind about anything or make anything better.

I just needed break. From the carefully worded lectures, from the looks she sent my way when she thought I couldn’t see, from her forced cheeriness every morning despite the fact I’d listened to her sobbing the night before and could see the evidence of it in her pale face and red-rimmed eyes.

When I’d gotten home from school today and faced the same questions she threw at me every day—Had anyone asked about Dad? Had anyone seemed suspicious? Had I been careful and kept my magic hidden?—I’d lost it.

My chest tightened, and my breath hitched painfully as I remembered the look on her face when I’d screamed at her to leave me alone. If I’d thought her pale before… Well, all color had drained from her face, her eyes had widened, and the hurt that filled her expression almost made me apologize then and there.

Almost.

Her hurt had been no match for my anger, my frustration, my pain. All of the things I hadn’t been able to show, what I was supposed to tuck away alongside my magic as we pretended our world hadn’t gone straight to hell when my dad disappeared.

I snorted humorlessly. It’d gone to hell long before that. That was just another thing we refused to acknowledge. Finding out I had magic, that I wasn’t normal… That had been when everything changed. When it had all started falling apart.

“Dee?”

I jolted as the sound of my friend’s voice. I sat up straighter, pressing my back against the rough wooden post behind me. Using the sleeves of my sweatshirt, that were pulled over my cold, shaky hands, I wiped away the tears that had spilled over then swiped across my nose. Disgusting? Yeah, but I hadn’t thought of grabbing tissues before yelling horrible things at my mom and running away like a little kid.

I saw Kyle through the cracks in the large barn doors before one of them swung open with a creaking groan.

“Dee,” he said, again, on a sigh, as he pulled the door shut behind him. Crossing to me, he lowered himself onto the filthy floor in front of me. Crossing his legs, he scooted closer until his knees bumped mine. “What’s wrong?”

Concern shone in his bright blue eyes, and even though I knew he had the best intentions, that he cared abut me, I couldn’t hold back the harsh bark of laughter.

And once that escaped, I couldn’t stop the hysterical laugher. It swelled grossly inside of me, shoved its way up my throat and spilled from my lips. I wrapped my arms around my middle and bent forward as I shook uncontrollably.

“What’s wrong?” I gasped. “What’s wrong?”

“Hey…” Kyle touched my shoulder gently.

I jerked upright and slapped Kyle’s hand away. He pressed his lips together and refused to look away from me as I struggled to catch my breath.

“It would be easier to ask what’s right, Kyle,” I snarled. “That’s an easy answer. Nothing.”

When he remained silent, his gaze steady on me, I slumped back and shook my head.

“What are you even doing here, anyway?”

The corner of his mouth quirked up. “Looking for you. Your mom called, said you ran off. She’s…she’s worried.”

“Sure she is.”

“Dee,” he admonished. “Don’t do that. She was practically crying on the phone. My mom was still talking to her, trying to calm her down, when I left.”

“Hmmm. Thought she’d be relieved to not have me around. Even if it’s only temporary,” I muttered, well aware I was in full-on self-pity mode. I just didn’t care.

“I know it’s been…tough, for both of you, but she loves you,” he said softly, reaching out for my hands. Shoving the sleeves out of his way, he wrapped his warm fingers around mine.

I didn’t say anything for a few long moments. I should have gone somewhere else. The old abandoned barn was on Kyle’s family’s property—where we’d always met up, especially to talk about magic, to let it out and play without fear. I should have realized this would be the first place he’d look if my mom asked. And, as mired in self-pity as I was, I didn’t want to add to what Kyle was going through. His dad had been taken the same night. We’d both lost our fathers, and he didn’t need to deal with my issues.

“Delia,” he said firmly. “Why’d you run?”

“It’s…” I gulped, swallowing the lump of tears that lodged in my throat, refusing to give in, again. “It’s fine. I’m fine.”

“Bullshit,” he bit out. “Talk to me.”

I shook my head, and his grip tightened almost painfully.

“Talk to me. Please.”

My eyes stung, and my lips trembled. God, he was stubborn. A damned dog with a bone, this one.

“I’m just tired,” I insisted. “Tired of hiding and pretending. Even though I know it’s necessary. And I’m tired of her…” A cry strangled my voice momentarily and I had to clear my throat a couple times before I could continue. “You should see the way she looks at me. Like she’s afraid. Of me. Of what I can do.”

He pulled suddenly, drawing me forward to tumble into his lap. His arms surrounded me, and he rested his chin on the top of my head. I gave in—just for a moment, I thought—and burrowed closer, resting my cheek against where his heart thumped steadily.

“She’s afraid for you,” he murmured. “Not of you. You’re not something to be feared, Dee. She knows that; she loves you.”

I squeezed my eyes closed. I didn’t doubt she loved me, but you could still fear something you loved. And I wasn’t wrong. I wasn’t misinterpreting the way she looked at me. I wished I was the normal child she wanted. Things would be so different, so much easier. Better. But I wasn’t. Pretending I was, shoving my magic down deep and effectively muzzling it, didn’t make it so. It only made it hurt. The ache consumed me from the inside out, devouring everything I was.

It was as though my magic wasn’t willing to let any part of me survive if I kept denying it.

I stayed curled up in Kyle’s arms for a while, his hands stroking over my hair and my back, his soft murmurs teasing my ears. I breathed deeply, evenly, focusing on calming myself. When I drew back and tilted my head to meet Kyle’s gaze, he smiled down at me.

“Better?” he whispered.

I nodded and forced my lips to curve. I must have been convincing because his eyes crinkled as his own smile widened.

“Ready to go home?” he asked in the same quiet tone.

Not even a little.

“Yup.” I leaned forward and kissed his cheek quickly before scrambling from his lap and to my feet.

We walked though the woods together, shoulders bumping periodically, from his family’s land into the small town we called home. When we approached my house, the front door opened, and my mom stepped out onto the porch. She wrung her hands in front of her as she watched us come up the pathway.

“Delia.” Her voice broke slightly. From worry, I told myself, not from fear.

“I’m sorry,” I said immediately. “I shouldn’t have said those things,” no matter how true, “and I shouldn’t have run off. I’m sorry, Mom.”

Her gaze flicked over to Kyle then back to me. “Are you all right?”

I nodded. “I’m fine. Just needed some time, but I’m good.”

A ghost of a smile touched her lips. “Good. Kyle, you’re welcome to stay for dinner, if you like.”

With that, she spun on her heel and went back inside.

“Do you want me to stay?” Kyle asked, his palm skimming the small of my back.

“You don’t have—”

“Do you want me to?” He nudged my side with his hip.

“Yeah, that’d be nice,” I admitted, not exactly anxious for him to leave.

“All right then. I’ll stay.” He tipped his head, eyes searching mine. “You’re sure you’re okay?”

“Yes. I’m much better. Apparently, I just needed some time alone and a good cry. And a quick cuddle with you.”

He chuckled as we climbed the steps and went into the house. Mom was setting the table, and as soon as we walked in, she started chatting. All very normal and happy. Except for the fact not a single word was directed at me. She didn’t even look at me. Oh, she glanced my way, but her gaze skimmed right past me. It was if I were invisible.

That was all right, though. I could deal with. I could pretend and play along. I could lie. I was getting rather good at that, after all. It was my life, now.


Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Paige Prince

 

October Photo Prompt – Unwanted Guests

photoprompt

10-2015 - WomaninWhite

“You invited us here, Ms. Jamison. The contract is signed. We’ve spent a fair amount of money already on this special. There’s no backing out now.”

Lindsey’s jaw clenched and ached as she stared at the man who sat across from her on the large porch. Bradley Coulter—charming, charismatic, too freaking gorgeous for his own good and used to getting his way because of it.

She was going to kill Andrew for this, for putting her in this position. They’d planned on starting a bed and breakfast, opening up the house and grounds for events. Neither had wanted to lose the estate that had been in their family for generations, but this… This was going too far.

“Let me be clear, Mr. Coulter. I didn’t invite you here. My brother did.”

“Because he’s smart,” Bradley said pointedly. “Once this airs, you won’t have any openings for months.”

“Oh, yes,” she snapped. “I’ll so busy catering to a houseful of thrill seekers, looking for ghosts and spirits and who knows what else and making my life a living hell. Quite looking forward to that.”

He shrugged, a lazy movement that stretched the fabric of his t-shirt over his shoulders and torso in a way that was in no way appealing. Lindsey dragged her gaze away from him, unwilling to be like everyone else in the world who was so taken by his perfectly tousled golden hair, his dark blue eyes, his chiseled face and equally fit body. Of course, looking away from him only fuelled her anger and frustration more as she watched people—his people—all over the grounds. Placing cameras and microphones and whatever else they deemed necessary to find the paranormal bullshit they were looking for.

Her eyes were drawn to a woman just on the edge of the treeline. Her white dress stood in stark contrast against the dark trunks of the trees. Her thick hair—it looked black but could be brown—hung past her shoulders and blocked most of her face from view.

Lindsey shook her head. How was she supposed to deal with this? How was she supposed to do her job with this man and his crew all over the place?

“This really benefits everyone involved,” Bradley insisted. “And your brother did sign the contract, and since he owns the majority of the estate—”

“I’m well aware I have no say in whether you stay or not.” She pressed her fingers to her throbbing temples and took a deep breath.

“What exactly do you have against this, Ms. Jamison? Are you a skeptic?” he said, amusement dancing through his words.

“About you and what you do? Yes. I absolutely am. What you do is entertainment, stupid, mindless entertainment. It has its place, I’ll grant you that, but trying to explain every noise, every cold draft, every movement from the corner of your eye as evidence of ghosts?” She snorted. “Please. I don’t think so.”

She turned back to him and found his narrowed gaze firmly on her. The firm lips turned down in a fierce frown told her he didn’t like what the was hearing. So used to females simpering and falling all over him.

“And don’t even try to sell me on all the instruments and data you collect,” she warned. “All of that could be doctored—makes better viewing if you can spout off about EMF readings and all that, doesn’t it?”

“It could be doctored, yes,” he said slowly, “but it isn’t. I can show you, give you a demon—”

“Save yourself the effort. Not going to happen.” She took a deep breath and pushed to her feet. “I may not be able to make you leave, but I do have some say on things. You’ll be provided with a list of rooms that are off limits to you and your crew, and Andrew may have agreed to give an interview about the supposedly ghostly history of this place, but I will not be giving one. Nothing will change my mind on that, so don’t bother trying to charm me into one.”

She strode toward the steps and as she descended, he called out after her, “You should know, Ms. Coulter, I love a challenge.”

A spiral of heat twisted around her spine, and she hated herself for that.

“Be sure to tell your people not to trample my gardens,” she threw over her shoulder once she was certain she could maintain the cool air she wanted him to see. Needed him to see. “I’ll throttle them if they fuck up my hard work.”

Walking across the green, well-maintained lawn, Lindsey headed toward the treeline. Toward the woman who stood in the same place, looking around with a lost expression on her face. She met Lindsey’s gaze, brown eyes wide, as the distance between them shortened.

Stopping in front of the woman, Lindsey hesitated only a moment then asked, “Can I help you?”

 

Bradley slumped back in his chair and watched the prickly Lindsey Jamison walk away. The gentle sway of her hips drew his gaze, and he wet his lips then sipped from the cup of coffee she’d offered him earlier—grudgingly, but good manners clearly had been bred into her very bones.

Her brother, Andrew, had warned Bradley that Lindsey wasn’t exactly happy with the arrangement—highlighting their family estate on his show—but he’d still been caught off guard at the open hostility from the woman.

He’d bring her around, though. He always did. This wasn’t the first time he’d come up against a hard case, and wouldn’t be the last.

Lindsey stopped along the edge of trees that lined the large yard. Setting his cup on the small table, Bradley leaned forward and watched. Even from the distance, he could see her lips moving. Then, she gestured, as if beckoning someone to follow her, and walked farther into the wooded area.

The back of his neck prickled. Perhaps she wasn’t a skeptic, at all, he thought, watching her disappear into the trees. Completely alone.


Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris

 

July Photo Prompt: Awakening

photopromptFor this prompt, I delved back into the world of my serial. But not with my heroine this time. It’s just in that world. For those interested, here are links for the other flash fiction peices that are kinda connected/set in that world:

The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait
The Lies We Tell

And the link to the chapters of the serial

Your Lies


In this peice, I wanted to explore how other people’s magic began…manifested for the first time, and what happens as a result… And this was what came out of that…

07-2015 - BarefootInFieldAwakening

Leaning back, I tilted my head, eyes closed against the brightness of the late autumn sun. I had fought against coming on this stupid ass picnic. I wanted to be out with my friends—not stuck out here with my parents, my sister and little brother. Even as Owen’s laugh echoed in the open space around us, I fought against the smile the kid usually put on my face.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care about my family. I totally did. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with them. I didn’t mind it, I guess. And Molly was leaving next week for college, so hanging out with her had actually been kind of nice. The problem was the way Mom and Dad hadn’t even asked if I had plans—which I had. Freaking important ones, too—intense green eyes, messy brown hair flashed in my mind, and my gut clenched, desire mixing with the anger churning—but those plans didn’t matter to them.

“You need to stop scowling, Squidge.” Molly flopped down beside me and nudged my shoulder with hers. “You’re going to scare the wee one.”

I flicked a glance toward her and rolled my eyes. Mom and Dad were running around with Owen and, damn it, the smile won.

“He’s not even paying attention to me, right now, you nag. And quit with the stupid Squidge, will ya?”

“Yeah, but it’s only a matter of time before he comes to his big ‘brudder’ and do you want to scar him for life?”

“You’re going to scar him before I do. You’re the one leaving.”

She sighed. “I know.” She sighed and leaned against me. “And you’ll always be my Squidge, so stop fighting it.”

I didn’t respond and we sat quietly for a while—Dad was holding Owen up to pick some mulberries from the trees on the edge of the field, and Mom was laughing, probably at his pudgy stained face. It was odd, being so much older than he was. Molly was eighteen, and I was just a year behind her, and Owen hadn’t come along until four years ago. I never asked my parents why there was such a gap, and I guess it didn’t matter. If Owen had been an accident, he was a happy one—for all of us.

“You’re mad at me,” Molly murmured. “That I’m leaving.”

“Not mad.” And I wasn’t. At least, not at her. Maybe at the situation. With a healthy dose of self-pity. After all, she was only one who knew my secret. Well, not anymore. There was one other person who knew, now. But Molly was the only one I could really talk to.

“You should just tell them,” she said—as always, knowing what was on my mind. “It’s not going to change anything. They’re still going to love you, and they’ll accept you.”

“Are you going to tell them about you?” I snapped. I wasn’t the only one with a secret.

She stiffened. “It’s not the same thing, and you know it.”

“They may toe the anti-magic line, Mol, but if they knew—”

“I’m not going to argue about this, again.” She wrapped an arm around my shoulders and rested her head against mine.

“Then, don’t push me to tell them I’m…I’m gay if you’re not going to come out as a magic user. You don’t get to give me advice you’re not taking yourself. Not the way this works.”

“Man, you’re cranky today.” She pulled away and stared at me then her eyes widened. “Oh my God…it was today, wasn’t it? You were going to go out with him, today.”

I lifted a shoulder and looked away. “Doesn’t matter.”

“Of course it does. Can you meet him after? We won’t be here much longer, so you can—”

“He’s leaving tonight.” I glanced at my watch. “Leaving in about half an hour—on vacation with his family until school starts. This afternoon was the only time he had to go out.”

“Oh, Squidge, I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine.”

And I was nearly there in convincing myself it was. We’d already talked about seeing each other when he got back. It wasn’t as though anything was going to change in the next two weeks.

“Anyway,” I cleared my throat, “weren’t you supposed to be meeting friends about now? Big party, bonfire on the beach, tonight, yeah?”

“Yeah, but I don’t have to go.”

“For fuck’s sake, I don’t need you fussing over me. It’s the last chance you’re going to have to see most of them for a while. Go.”

“If you’re sure…”

“Go!” I repeated, playfully shoving her. “I’ll see you later.”

She stood, mussing my hair in retaliation before snagging her sandals off the blanket. She called out to my parents, who waved, before turning back to me.

“Least this family bit’s over, now. You have his number, right?”

“Yeah, I have his number.”

“So, text him. Flirt a bit. Just because you couldn’t go out today doesn’t mean there has to be radio silence until he comes back. Listen to your big sister. She knows what she’s talking about, and is about to do some serious flirting of her own tonight.”

With that, she started down the path along the woods, her dark hair and white dress blowing in the gentle breeze, her sandals dangling from her fingertips.

“Oh, tell me it isn’t with that jagweed Nick?” I called after her, shaking my head when her laughter was my only answer.

I shifted to get up but, suddenly, couldn’t move. My heart raced, and my breath caught in my throat as everything went black, Molly’s laughter still ringing in my ears. Then, even that faded. Replaced by crying. Molly sobbing. My throat closed, and ice filled my veins. I saw her…but not in the field. She was on the beach, stumbling along the waterline. Night had fallen, but the moon reflecting off the lake illuminated everything—every horrible thing. Her dress was torn, dirty, and her hair a wild mess around her pale face.

Rage roared as I saw the blood dripping from her temple down her cheek. What the hell had happened?

I tried to move, to call out, but I couldn’t. What was going on? It was like I was there…but not.

“Please,” Molly whimpered, stumbling and falling to her knees. Her fingers dug into the wet sand as she continued to try to get away… From what? From who?

“Lying cunt.” The snarled words were like a knife to my gut.

A large figure advanced on her, gaining ground, closing the distance between them.

“Filthy fucking magic user. You tricked me. Fooled me into wanting you.”

Nick. The guy Molly had been head over heels for the last several months.

“No, no. I didn’t, I swear I didn’t do any—” A scream cut her words off when he grabbed her ankle.

I wanted to look away but couldn’t as my sister was dragged backward, kicking and crying out. This couldn’t be happening. No way. This was some weird, fucked-up waking dream or something.

The sounds of splashing washed over me, and I, again, tried to look away, block out everything. Instead, the sight of Nick’s hands around Molly’s neck as he shoved her beneath the water’s surface filled my vision. Was now seared into my brain forever.

The whole time, as he held her down, Nick swore and cursed at her, blaming her for having to do this. And I just had to watch. I couldn’t do anything.

Just as suddenly as I was thrust into…whatever this was…I was sitting up gasping for air. I was tangled in something and began to struggle. I needed to find Molly, make sure she was all right. That’s all that mattered right now.

“Honey, stop, you’re going to hurt yourself.” My mom reached for something beside me. “I’ll just call the nurse in.”

“Mom?” I looked around frantically. What the hell? A hospital? “What happened?”

“You passed out and started convulsing. The doctors think it was some kind of seizure.” She smoothed her hand over my hair then cupped my face. “I was so scared, but you’re okay. You’re going to be okay.”

“Where’s Molly?” I demanded.

“Molly?” Mom frowned slightly. “She’s probably home by now. Dad went back with Owen once you were stable, and I tried to text her, but she didn’t answer. Her phone is probably dead; you know how she is.”

The indulgent chuckle did nothing to ease the tight coil of utter fear deep inside me. “She’s in trouble, Mom. I have to go. I have to go find her, now.”

I pushed against her, trying to get out of the bed. A man in scrubs walked in just as I was standing, despite Mom’s best efforts. Dizziness overcame me, and I grabbed the edge of the bed as I swayed.

“Hey, hey, now. You shouldn’t be up.” The nurse…or doctor?…rushed over and tried to push me back onto the bed, and I slapped his hands away.

He was fucking strong, but I fought against him. I yelled and screamed—I don’t even know if it made any sense, but I didn’t care. I needed to get to Molly before it was too late, before…

More people rushed into the room, and I cried out to my mom, who stood near the door, tears streaming down her face, hand over her mouth as they held me down and injected something into the IV attached to my arm.

“Find Molly…need to find her…” I forced past numb lips as darkness sucked me under again.

*****

Two weeks later, I stood beside my parents as Molly was lowered into the ground. My entire body trembled as I looked out over the sea of people who had come to her funeral, and fiery fury battered every cell in my body when my gaze settled on Nick. He dared to come here, had the nerve to be part of the search for Molly when she hadn’t come home. Everyone else thought her drowning was an accident. But I knew. I knew the truth.

I couldn’t do anything about it now—my parents were watching. Watching so fucking carefully since I’d had my “seizure” and freaked out at the hospital. One day, though, they wouldn’t be. One day, there would be no one watching, and I would end him. I forced myself to continue scanning the faces—not wanting to raise any suspicions by staring.

My heart skipped a beat when I met sad green eyes. He’d texted me every day, and I hadn’t answered. Lost in my grief and swimming in my rage.

I’d been so naïve, stupid. Blind to what was happening right in front of me and what needed to be done. And as a result, my sister was gone. Taken from me.

Green eyes still intent on me—now concern shining from them—I had to draw deep for the strength not to react and to drag my gaze away—break the connection. As much as it hurt, I couldn’t focus on him, or what we could have possibly had together, anymore.

How much could change in two weeks?

Everything.


Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones
Kellie St. James Kris NorrisPaige Prince

 

June Photo Writing Prompt – The Lies We Tell

photoprompt

For this prompt, I visited my serial heroine’s past again. If you’d like to read the other flash fiction bits, you can find them here:

The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait

And if those and this spark your interest, and you want to jump into Your Lies, you can find all the chapters that have been posted here.

So this month’s photo is…
06-2015 - PaperHeartThe Lies We Tell

The piece of paper floating in the air burst into flames. My stomach lurched sickly as the bright light faded and ash fell to the wooden floor.

“Damn it, Dee! Focus. You need to focus. It’s not about throwing your power at it. You need to control it.”

Kyle waved his hand and another sheet of paper lifted from the stack that rested on the rickety table—the only piece of furniture in the old barn on his property where we met. It drifted until it hovered in the center of the room between us.

“Don’t just think of it burning,” he said slowly as lines began to blacken on the white page. “Visualize what you want. See it and then use your power to make it happen. It’s a part of you, but it’s also a tool, Dee. A tool you control. Something you can wield and make do what you want. Always remember that.”

Even though frustration bubbled inside me, I smiled when I saw my name burned into the paper before it fluttered to the ground.

“Easy for you,” I said, narrowing my eyes to lift my own page up into the air. “You can practice any time you want. You don’t have to shove it all down and pretend it doesn’t exist.”

Sweat slid along my temples. I tried to focus and direct my magic to do what I wanted. Just like Kyle had been showing me for months—or at least attempting to. If it had been anyone but him, they would have given up long ago. Out of patience with my bumbling and failure to be able to do the simplest of things.

“Don’t blame your mom,” he said, leaning against the table—something I wouldn’t recommend given the state of it, but he managed to stay upright. “After what happened to your dad, she’s scared. And she should be.”

“Your dad…” I swallowed heavily, unwilling to say it. Even after three years, I just couldn’t. Not when it came to Dad. “He disappeared, too, and your mom’s not trying to make you something you’re not.”

The furl of smoke danced up toward the ceiling from the singed edge of paper. I bit my bottom lip and worked to pull the burn downward, just a bit.

“It’s not the same. My mom has magic; yours doesn’t. She doesn’t understand how impossible it is to ignore, how it claws at you and wants to be out. To be used.”

My eyes stung. My dad had understood. He’d been just like me—filled with power and needing to wield it. He’d known how suffocating, how painful it was to pretend to be “normal”.

“When do you leave?” Kyle asked abruptly.

“This would be much easier,” I ground out, “if you didn’t talk and distract me.”

“Do you really think you’re always going to have silence and all the time in the world when it comes to using your magic? You need to be able to do this with distractions, Dee.”

I curled my lip, sparing him a quick glance before looking back at what I was doing. “Next weekend.” College. The next big step. The next frightening step.

“You still need to be careful. Keep it secret.”

“I know!” I snapped. A small flame flared, but I was able to smother it quickly. Though the black mark snaking towards the center made me frown. “I’m not stupid, Kyle. I’m well aware of the risks. Have been for a long time with everyone shoving them down my throat.”

“Delia,” he murmured.

“Shut up,” I said, with little heat. The anger I felt wasn’t directed at him. Hell, it wasn’t even directed at my mom. Or anyone. It was just…everything. The fact I was born like this, had no control over what I was, and that I could be killed. Just for existing.

“I worry about you.”

“You don’t need to. I’ve held it together this long, right?”

I trembled as I tried to keep at my task, pay attention to what he was saying, and fight the overwhelming inevitability of being on my own. Kyle was a year older than me, but had decided to stay while I finished high school. Now, as I was moving closer to the city to attend college, he was going off on his own, too. It was the first time in my life he wouldn’t be there.

“I’m scared,” I admitted in a whisper. “Not of being found out. I can handle that.” I thought I managed to say that convincingly despite all my doubts. “But I’m going to be alone. Especially with you off doing who knows what, who knows where.”

And I was worried about him, too. Though I wouldn’t say that out loud. I knew more about what he was planning to do than he realized I did. Because, damn it, I wasn’t stupid.

Our fathers had been taken when they were investigating the disappearance of other magic users. I didn’t know everything they discovered, but I knew it wasn’t good. And I definitely knew that Kyle hadn’t shared everything about that night three years ago. Not even close. And, now, he was going to follow in their footsteps, continue the secret, and dangerous, work they’d been doing.

“You could always stay here,” he reminded me.

“Not a chance.” I laughed. “Besides, you’re still leaving.”

“Yeah.”

“Off on your world travels.” I threw his lie at him. “Your grand adventure.”

“College isn’t for me,” he said smoothly.

A part of me wanted to call him out on it, to tell him I knew he was lying to me and had been for a long time. I didn’t, though, because I knew he was trying to protect me, and I loved him for that, no matter how unnecessary. It was the story of my life—lies kept us safe. Kept those we cared about safe.

“I know.”

I sighed and, with a wave of the hand, sent what was left of the paper toward him. He plucked it out of the air and his laugh echoed around us. Holding it up, he met my gaze. “You giving me your heart, Dee?”

I returned his smile. The heart was rough, but definitely recognizable as such. “I gave it to you a long time ago.” My face flushed when I realized how it sounded. “Not like that! Just…I love you. You’re my family, and I’m going to miss you.”

He strode across the room and yanked me into his embrace. “I love you, too. And one day I’m going to have to see you fall for some twat, and then he’ll have your heart. So, for now,” he drew back and murmured a few words that resulted in the burnt paper glowing for a moment, “I’ll hold on to this and enjoy being the only one.”

He pulled out his wallet and tucked the heart inside—the edges not crumbling at all. A protective spell, then.

“And,” he continued, “don’t be scared about being alone. Because you’re not. I’m always here. You need anything—anything—you call me. I’ll be there in a blink.”

I laughed and went up on my toes to kiss his cheek. “You’ll want to, but even you can’t be halfway around the world ‘in a blink’,” I teased, still going along with it. Pretending I didn’t know he’d be close, likely in the city. Hell, he be nearer to me than if he stayed here.

He gave a lazy shrug and grinned. I narrowed my gaze. “You can’t…can you? Kyle! You’re telling me you can teleport?” That was a rare as fuck talent, and only the most powerful of magic users could do it—while expending enormous energy.

“I’m not telling you anything.” He tapped my nose and stepped back. “Now…again.”

I cursed as several sheets of paper rustled and travelled toward me. Showoff—he hadn’t gestured or even looked away from me.

“Fine, but one day,” I pointed at him, “one day, you’re showing me how to do that.”

“Maybe.”

I made one of the papers flame wildly, just to hear him laugh, the sound washing away some of the dread and fear that still lingered. Even though I knew it’d only last a little while, I’d take it.


Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn GreenJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones | | Kellie St. JamesKris Norris

 

April Photo Writing Prompt – Lying in Wait

 

photopromptTotally late on this one… Got in super late from a weekend away last night and passed out. And I’d spent the 4 of the last 10 days in the car. Not particularly fun, even though the visits in between were lovely.

Anyhoo, I’m not wimping out. I have a flash peice for this picture. The upside to hours upon hours in the car by yourself? Lots of ideas pop up and there’re no distractions as they come to ilfe in your head.

This is another glimpse into Delia’s life. She’s the heroine from my NA serial that will begin next week. Squee! So excited about it. You can check out the last tidbit from Delia HERE before reading on…or just read on….

04-2015- CoupleNight

Lying in Wait

I leaned against the tree, scratching the growing number of bug bites on my exposed skin. And there was a fair amount of it. Should’ve changed out of the thin, short dress I’d thrown on that morning, but I hadn’t expected to be standing here long after night fell. And honestly, the air was heavy and thick with humidity, even now, and I’d be sweltering in anything else. The small amount of relief I felt as the stingy breeze coasted over my damp skin was worth it. I smacked my neck, grimacing at the smear of blood on my palm. Mostly worth it.

Where was he? I peered down the dark street. This was the way he’d come back, the way he always came back whenever he left for…whatever he was doing. He still wouldn’t tell me anything, saying I was too young, that Mom would have his ass if he involved me at all. Of course, Dad just talking to me about magic, in general, was enough to get her blood boiling something fierce. Which was why I’d waited for her to doze in the recliner before slipping out to meet Dad when he returned. I figured this was the only way I’d get him to share anything about his secret outings. Not that I’d been successful to this point, but at home? No chance there.

Oh, he’d be annoyed when he saw me. He’d get out of the car, all frowns and glares, but that would only last a moment before he’d shake his head and and nod for me to get in. And even if I couldn’t get him to spill about, we’d talk about magic. Freely and without worried looks. I swatted at another mosquito buzzing around my ear and sighed. I knew Mom didn’t mean anything by it. She really didn’t understand why we needed to talk, why I needed to learn about what was inside me. How could she? She wasn’t a magic user. She didn’t feel the power thrumming through her, pushing ever outward as she had to hide that part of herself from everyone out of fear. She couldn’t imagine what it was like to feel as if she were dying because something that was so essential to who she was was being smothered.

“Delia!”

I spun at the soft call, grabbing the tree truck for balance as I tripped over my own feet. Squinting into the night, I tried to find the source of the voice, and nearly fell on my ass when a tall figure stepped from the shadows across the way onto the asphalt.

“Kyle? What are you doing here?”

“Was…was…”

He braced his hands on his knees and bent forward, gulping air. I hurried closer to him, joining him on the road. and saw he was drippping with sweat. His jeans were torn at the knees, filthy, and when he straightened, my stomach roiled when the streetlight illuminated a nasty gash along his temple and the blood coating half his face.

I closed the distance between us and reached up. Before I could touch him, murmur one of the healing spell Dad had taught me, Kyle grabbed my wrists and shook his head, wincing as the movement obviously pained him. He glanced around nervously.

“Not here. Not now.”

“What’s going on? What happened to you?”

“There’s no time to explain. You have to get home. Now. And when they come, you know nothing.”

“When who comes?” I pulled free of his grasp but didn’t move back.

“I was with your dad and mine. They…they…” He pressed his lips together and swallowed audibly. “They were taken, and there are going to be people asking questions. About your dad, about…”

Kyle and his father were the only people other than my parents who knew what I was. Because they were magic users, too. What the hell had they been doing? Who had taken our fathers? Where were they? What was going to happen to them? The questions battered at my skull, and I clenched my hands into tight fists.

“Fuck, Dee!” Kyle grabbed my arm and hauled me to the side, off the road and into the cover of the surrounding forest. “You need to pull it in.”

I followed his gaze, looked down, and saw my hands glowing as my emotions spiraled out of control.

“Where are they?” I gasped.

“I don’t know. They told me to run, and I did. I ran. I didn’t even try to–”

His shame bore down on me, heavy and suffocating. I shoved through the worry and fear and wrapped my arms around his waist. He was just sixteen – a year older than me. If someone had managed to take down both his and my dads, Kyle wouldn’t have stood a chance.

“They said run, you run. That’s the rules,” I said softly.

“We have to go home now.” His voice was flat and dull as he held me tightly. “And when questions are asked – ”

“I know nothing,” I finished, pulling back and looking at him. Before he could see what I was doing, I whispered the spell and touched my fingers to the cut on his head. When he opened his mouth to protest, I spoke first. “They’ll ask more questions if you’re injured.”

He nodded reluctantly. “Yeah, they would. Come on.” He grabbed my hand and started pulling me through the trees toward our homes, rather than along the road.

“You tell me what happened, right? What you were doing?” I asked quietly as we stumbled along in the dark.

“Yeah, I’ll tell you everything I know,” he assured. “When it’s safe.”

It was quiet, except for the sound of our feet in the brush, for several minutes. Then, I could taken it anymore.

“They’re gone, aren’t they? Our dads, I mean. They’re not coming back.”

Kyle tripped slightly ahead of me, and he glanced back, face pale, still streaked with blood. And his blue eyes shining with tears. “I don’t know, Dee. I really don’t know.”


 Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease Jessica De La Rosa
Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris | Paige Prince

March Photo Writing Prompt – The Lies Begin

photopromptI can’t tell you how long I stared at this month’s picture trying to come up with an idea. A happy one, no less, because apparently I’m depressing people. 😛

Well, something finally came to me. This short is actually connecting to the New Adult serial I’m working on – Your Lies – which will be coming twice a month starting in April, and I’m super excited about it. This is a glimpse into the the past of Delia, the heroine.

I don’t know that I can call it happy, but I don’t think it’s necessary sad or depressing… I didn’t break her, Norris, I didn’t break her! 

03-2015 - Orb

The Lies Begin

Parents are stupid.

They think they’re smart, that kids don’t know what’s going on, but they’re wrong. Kids aren’t stupid. Well, some kids are, like Todd Pratt across the street. He was the dumbest. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t stupid, even though that’s how my mom and dad treated me.

I picked at the loose thread on the arm of the couch as I listened them fighting. They weren’t shouting or anything. They were pretending they weren’t fighting—Mom would say they were “having a discussion”—but talking all hushed and behind their bedroom door didn’t make it less of a fight.

That was all they did anymore. Fight. I swiped at my stinging eyes. I wasn’t going to cry like a baby about it, but it made my stomach hurt. ‘Cause it was my fault. If I wasn’t like this, they wouldn’t have anything to fight about. And it was always about me. Even before I messed up today, I’d heard them. The way they’d say my name or the way they’d look at me… Something was wrong with me, and they must have seen that a long time ago.

I didn’t want to be diffrent or messed up. I just wanted to go back to the way it was before–when Mom would smile at Dad like he was the best thing ever, and he would hug her and swing her around when he came home from work.

I sat up straighter when I heard the bedroom door open. Mom hurried over to me and sat beside me on the couch, but Dad walked over and looked out the window. And he looked mad. I felt sweaty and gross all the sudden.

“Delia,” my mom said. “I want you to know we’re not angry with you. You didn’t know any better. Thank goodness it happened here at home and not where—”

“Sylvie!” Dad’s voice boomed, and both Mom and I flinched.

“We’re not angry,” she said again, really slow. “But you can’t do…what you did anymore. Ever. It’s too dangerous, and you could get really hurt.”

“Okay,” I said when she stared at me like I was supposed to say something.

“And,” her eyes flicked over to my dad then back to me, “if anyone, anyone, ever asks you about it, you need to pretend you don’t know what they’re talking about.”

“You want me to lie?”

See? Parents were stupid. How many times have they told me lying was wrong? It was bad, and I should never, ever do it. Now, I was supposed to lie.

“Delia, honey, this is important. I wouldn’t tell you to do it if it wasn’t. No one can ever know what you are and what you can do. Promise me you’ll keep it a secret.” She grabbed my shoulders. Her fingers dug in, and it hurt! She gave me a little shake when I tried to pull away.

“Promise me!”

“Ow! Fine. I promise! Geez, Mom!” When she let go, I rubbed at one shoulder and glared at her.

“Good.” She stared at me, her lips jiggling weirdly. “Now, go get ready for bed.”

I jumped to my feet and looked at my dad, but his back was still to us. My stomach squeezed painfully again. I hurried into the bathroom, and as soon as I was in the small room, I heard them talking in quiet, angry voices again. I slammed the door, not caring if it made them mad. Because they made me mad. They wouldn’t tell me what was so wrong with what I could do or what wrong with me. They wanted me to stop doing the one thing that made me feel…like I was special. And now, I had to lie too.

After brushing my teeth and washing up, I went into my bedroom without looking into the living room. I didn’t hear them talking anymore, so that was nice. The worst was when the fighting happened at night. It just kept me up and made me feel sick.

I changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed. Before I could turn the lamp off, there was a knock on the door. It opened a bit, and my dad stuck his head in my room.

“Can I come in, Dee?”

“Yeah.” I sat up and scooched my back against the headboard.

He shut the door behind him and came to sit on the edge of the bed. “There is nothing wrong with you.”

My breath went funny, catching in my throat. How did he know I had thought that?

“Your mom’s just worried. For good reasons, but she also doesn’t understand.” He sighed loudly. “She’s not like you and me.”

“You? You mean, you’re…”

He held his hand out, and muttered a few words. A circle of light appeared, hovering above his palms. “You can say the word, Dee. When it’s just the two of us, you can say it.”

“You’re magic.”

“Yes.” He twisted his wrist and sent the orb spinning. “They call us magic users.” He scrunched up his face. “But it’s so much more than that. We don’t just use magic. It is a part of us; something that can’t be separated or ignored. The magic is -” He sighed. “I”m getting ahead of myself. The important thing for you to understand is it’s dangerous for people like us out there. That is what upset your mother. She’s afraid of what could happen to you. Here, take it.”

I reached out and laughed in surprise when my fingers wrapped around a solid ball. It was smooth like glass, but warm to the touch. I held it in both hands and looked into my dad’s eyes. It was weird, because he looked so happy, but sad, too.

“I’ll teach you,” he said quietly. “How to use it, but first, I need to teach you to be safe from those who would hurt you if they knew.”

“Why would anyone want to hurt me?”

“Because they don’t understand, and people fear what they don’t understand.” He brushed a hand over my hair. “You are so special, Delia. This is a gift, and you should never fear what you are, but you always, always have to be careful. And that’s why you have to do what your mother said. If anyone asks about magic or magic users, you pretend you don’t know anything. That’s one thing that will keep you safe.”

I nodded. “Okay, Dad.”

“I know you have to have questions, and I promise I’ll answer them soon. But for now,” he smiled that huge smile I hadn’t seen in a long time, “I want you to show me. Show me something you can do.”

He hadn’t been home earlier when I’d gotten frustrated doing homework and had sent my books flying through the air without touching them, making Mom freak out. I thought for a moment, deciding what to do. Taking a deep breath, I stared at the orb in my hands. My whole body felt warm…and just nice, like everything was right and like it should be. Then, dozens of beams of light, all different colors, streaked inside the ball. The glow lit up Dad’s face, and his smile widened.

“Beautiful,” he said quietly.

But he wasn’t looking at the orb anymore; he was looking at me.


Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris