Wednesday Randomness: Promptly Penned #17

Hi all. Today is a promptly penned post. I gave it a fair shake, I swear.  It’s been all kinds of crazy here. The hubs is off on a long-ass business trip, I’m sick, and life, in general, with its regular brand of madness… But enough about that. Here’s what came to me. The prompt will be in bold in the story.


“Hurry! Before Gran comes back!”

I glanced over my shoulder and glared at my little sister, Hattie, who was in the window, keeping a look out. Or at least that’s what she was supposed to be doing. Instead, she was staring at me, clearly freaked out.

“Shhh. Keep watching, for crying out loud!”

Once she did that, I turned back to the bookshelf in front of me. Perched on the chair I’d dragged from the desk, I reached as I high as I could. Almost there… My fingers scrabbled along the spine of one of the books I was after. So close…

They were my mom’s, and I just wanted to see. She had magic, just like Hattie and me. And there had to be something in them, something more than what Gran was teaching us. We weren’t like kids in books who had no idea what they were – we were witches. Or magic-users, as Gran called us. We were meant to keep it secret from everyone else but here, in Gran’s cottage, she was teaching us all about ourselves and the “great power and responsibility” we had. Or so she said.

Honestly, based on what we’ve learned so far, magic wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. For example, there were 20 spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff. What was the point of it all then? How was dinking around like this supposed to be a responsiblity? I didn’t get it. So, I thought if I could read Mom’s journals and her books, maybe I could figure some of it. And…well, I missed her and Dad. I wasn’t stupid or anything. I didn’t think magic could bring them back or let me talk to them from the grave. But this could make me, and Hattie, feel closer to them. Even a little.

I was able to drag the slim book closer to the edge and grasp it fully. I pulled it down and cracked it open. My breath caught at the sight of my mom’s handwriting on the pale pages. Before I had a chance to read anything, Hattie squealed.

“Cody! I see her car!”

I jumped off the chair – I’d get the other books later – and dragged it back to the desk. I heard the front door open, creaking on its hinges. Hattie stared at me, face pale, gray eyes wide.

“It’s fine. Sit on the couch,” I whispered, tucking the book into the loose waistband of my pants, the cover hard and cool against my belly. I yanked my t-shirt down to cover it.

My sister sat on the couch carefully and faced the TV, which was playing some ridiculous educational program neither of us had any interest in, but Gran thought was worthwhile. I ignored the guilt that weighted on me as I flopped down next to her. The book was our mom’s – and by all rights, it was ours now that she was gone. And I wasn’t a little kid anymore, no matter what Gran thought. I was ready to know more about magic – certain there had to be more.

“Sorry it took so long!” Gran exclaimed as she came into the room. “Mrs. Miller was feeling more ill than she let on, and I wanted to be sure she was all right before I left.”

“S’okay,” I mumbled.

“You must be starving.” She dropped kisses on the tops of both of our heads before hurrying toward the kitchen. “I’ll make some sandwiches.”

As soon as she was out of sight, I sprang up. I looked down at Hattie, and she nodded. We’d promised to always look out for each other, and I knew she’d keep her mouth shut.

“We’ll look at it tonight,” I whispered, then ran out into the foyer and up the narrow stairs to my room. Heart pounding, I pulled out the book. Unable to resist, I opened it again and ran my fingers over the words – words Mom had written – and my eyes started stinging.

“Cody!”

I nearly fell over when Gran’s shout traveled up the stairs.

“Yeah?” I yelled back.

“Come on down. You can practice the new tea spell you learned yesterday while I fix lunch.”

I huffed a laugh then answered, “Be right down, Gran.”

I shut the book and shoved it between my mattress and the boxspring. I knew this was the right thing. There had to be more to magic, more to me than making tea. And I was ready to learn it all.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah MullinGwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

May Photo Fic – “The Conversation”

Happy May Day! 🙂 Today’s a photo fic post. Usually we end up picking stock photos for these but this picture is actually one I took a few years agao when I was in the UK. It’s one of my fave pics from that trip – this day was one of the highlights of my time there.

We visited the Neolithic henge stones in Avebury, and it was an amazing experience. While walking around the henge, there was this tree with carvings in the trunk and hundreds of ribbons tied to the branches.

Anyhoo, I’m visiting the world of my serial, Your Lies (which I’ll be posting chapters from again soon!)

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
Lying to Myself
The Lies We Tell
The Choice Lies Before You 
“Little Heaven” (Song Fic) 
Uncertainty
Promptly Penned #9 

This story isn’t about the hero or heroine of the serial but a follow up to a couple of flash fiction pieces I did from this world.

Awakening (from Male #1’s POV)
“Iowa” (Song Fic) (from Male #2’s POV)
Promptly Penned #15 (From Male #1’s POV)

For this piece, I’m still in Male #1’s POV. So here we go…

“The Conversation”

My chest grew tighter, and my magic vibrated as I got to the top of the hill and came to stop beneath the huge tree. My power had been calmer the past few days. Getting away from campus, away from my responsibilties, my assignment had been exactly what I needed. I dreaded going back, but I didn’t have a choice. Not really. I hated it, but it was important, necessary. It was what I’d been working for ever since…

I laid my hand on the rough bark – right over the carved names, Molly, Squidge, Owen – and closed my eyes for few seconds.

“Hey, Mol,” I whispered, tracing a finger over her name. “Sorry it’s been a while. Haven’t been able to get back ’cause…”

Sighing, I let my arm fall to my side then turned around to sit with my back against the tree. Letting my head rest against the wide trunk, I looked up at  the hundreds of ribbons tied to the branches and dancing on the gentle breeze, and thought of Molly. I hadn’t visited her grave since the day we’d buried her. Just the thought of it made me want to boot. But here…here, I felt close to her, like I had all those times we’d come to this spot before. Tying our own ribbons among the rest, making our wishes. Stupid innocent childish wishes.

And we’d talked. About everything. If there was one person in this life I’d been able to tell anything, it’d been my big sister. Sure as fuck didn’t have that now. So when I could, I came here and talked to her. And, somehow, no matter how silly and useless it was, it helped.

“Fuck, Mol, it’s so hard ,” I continued quietly. “Doing this. Hiding what I am. Having to be around the fucking assholes, day in and day out. Having to see him. Nick.” I practically spat his name. “Pretending I don’t know what he did to you.”

I scrubbed my palms over my face, magic pulsing quickly beneath my skin. Getting worked up wasn’t going to help anything. I had to stay the course. For me. For all the magic users suffering. For Molly.

“Things are moving in the right direction, though. I’m where I need to be to do what needs to be done. Maddock and Delia…” I laughed lightly. “I had my doubts about them, even with what I’ve seen. Thought there was no way Maddock would ever be on our side, let alone a driving force. Not with what he came from. I could see he’s a good guy from the start, completely in the wrong about magic users and magic in general, but beneath it all, he’s good. But still, I doubted. Then, he met her. And, man…drawn together from the first moment, those two. But, shit, things are going to get so much worse before they get better. For Maddock and Delia.”

I closed my eyes again, the images from my dreams flashing behind my lids. “And for me.” I swallowed the lump in my throat that threatened to choke me, knowing what was coming. And soon. “I’m scared, Mol. So fucking scared, and I have no one.”

I sat, silently, tears blurring my vision. Deciding enough was enough, I pushed to my feet and turned to look at our names again – carved into the wood years ago by Molly when our baby brother was born. I tapped Squidge, remembering how much I hated the stupid nickname she’d given me and wishing more than anything to hear it again.

Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out the length of silky green ribbon. I ran it through my fingers.

“You’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned him yet.” I smiled even as my heart thudding painfully, The day Molly had been taken, I’d lost more than a sister. I’d lost my chance with a beautiful guy who was fucking perfect. Traded what could have been with him for the path I was on now. And even though I knew it was the right thing, I couldn’t completely banish the regret I felt every second of every day.

I pictured his gorgeous green eyes, same damned color as the ribbon I held now. I remembered how they looked at me before, the happiness, joy, lust and the beginning of something more in them.

“I thought going away to university meant being free of him, of the reminder of what I couldn’t have anymore, but… What were the odds we’d choose the same damned school?  I see him almost every day, and it hurts. So fucking bad. He hates me, Mol, and it kills me.” I cleared my throat and moved over to one of the lower branches. “But for the greater good and all that, yeah? More important than something that could have happened.”

I reached up and tied the ribbon around the limb. And made the same wishes I made every time I was here, every time I talked to my sister.

I wish you were here. I wish I could have a chance with him. I wish things were different. 

Stupid childish wishes, still.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Siobhan Muir

April Song Fic – “Ever the Same” by Rob Thomas

Happy Monday! It’s time for another flash fiction. This one inspired by “Ever the Same” by Rob Thomas.

I love this song. It’s one of my favorites. I went into the world from my “Albion’s Circle” series for this flash fic, and wrote a glimpse into what I feel is one of the most important relationships in that series. And it isn’t one of the romantic relationships.

I have delved into this world in flash fic before, so if you’d like to see those, here are the links.

“Merlin’s Cave”
“The Hammer’s Coming Down”
“I Will Possess Your Heart”


~Arthur~

“Arthur.”

I looked up and found Anna standing in the doorway, hand braced on the wooden frame, looking as exhausted as I felt.

“If you’re busy—”

I snorted and pushed my chair away from the desk. “I was paying bills. Nothing exciting, and nothing that can’t wait. What do you need?”

Her lips quirked upward. “Always to the point and ready to jump in without even knowing what I’m about to ask for. I’d forgotten that about you.”

“Well, It’s been a while, hasn’t it? A very long while,” I pointed out, familiar sadness weighing heavily over me.

“Yes,” she murmured. “My memories are coming back—the ones from Camelot that were hidden…” She blew out a long breath. “But I’m realizing that time may have passed, but you’re the same Arthur. And you are exactly who I need, right now. Who he needs.”

I stepped closer. “Merlin?”

“He won’t listen to me.”

I nodded, knowing things were still strained between the couple. Mostly because of Merlin’s self-sacrificing tendencies, especially when it came to the woman before me.

“And another thing I know, that I remember,” she closed the distance between us and took my hands, “is when I can’t get through to him, you always can.”

“That didn’t happen often—you not getting through.” I squeezed her cold, trembling fingers.

“It’s different now.” She inhaled deeply, closing her eyes a moment against the tears that welled up. When her bright green gaze was on my again, she continued, “He doesn’t see me as he did then. He looks at me and all he sees is his failures. Not how I look at the past, Arthur,” she said quickly when I opened my mouth. “But he does. All those lives, never finding me or being able to save me… I’m not the same Annwyl from Camelot. Not to him. Not really. So, I can’t get through to him the way I did then. But you can.”

I sighed, not exactly agreeing with her, but I wasn’t prepared to argue it. Not when there was Merlin to deal with.

“He won’t sleep,” she said before I could ask what the issue was. “He’s pushing himself too hard. For me, for you, for the Circle. He’s trying to figure out a way to find Jamie, to stop Mordred, to,” her voice cracked slightly, “to make things okay between us. He isn’t giving himself time to rest, and he hasn’t…hasn’t taken the time to grieve at all, let alone properly.”

“I’ll talk to him,” I assured then kissed her cheek.

“Thank you,” she said as we parted.

I headed out into the hallway then toward the stairway up to the third floor—Merlin’s space. I stopped and looked back at her. “You need to rest, too.”

“I will, when I know he is.”

Shaking my head, I made my way upstairs. Merlin wasn’t exactly alone in the self-sacrificing department. Hell, that could be attributed to damn near everyone in this house. Myself included. Of course, it was sort of a requirement when you vowed to come back, life after life, to fight against things most people believed were fantasy.

I didn’t bother knocking on the door and strode into the large open room. Merlin was at his desk, old books open and covering the space in front of him. His dark hair stood on end, from his habit of shoving his hands through the strands in frustration, and he was pale as fuck, with dark circles underscoring his eyes. Eyes that he could hardly keep open. Stubborn bastard.

I walked over to his side and settled a hand on his shoulder.

He startled slightly and sleepy blue eyes peered up at me. “Arthur?”

“Come on. Bed.”

Shaking his head, he turned back to his books, pulling one closer. “In a bit. I just need to—”

“You need to sleep. You can look at this with fresh eyes in the morning.”

“Arthur, I don’t need a fucking keeper,” he snapped. “What I need is to work, to figure out what to do, what to…”

And there were those hands in the hair…

I shifted and, gripping the back of his chair, pulled it back. Then, I grasped his elbows and yanked him to his feet, ignoring his protests. I pulled him around the desk, past the shelves of books and the table weighted down with even more books, to the large bed at the opposite side of the room.

I pushed him to sit on the edge of the mattress then crouched down to untie his boots. He jerked away, and I grabbed him by the calf, scowling at him.

“Merlin!” He stilled, and I pulled off both boots, tossing them to the side before standing. “If you want to sleep in something other than what you have on…”

He glared up at me, and I returned the hard look, not giving an inch. He pushed to his feet, hands clenching and unclenching at this sides.

“Don’t need a keeper,” he said again.

“Not a keeper. A friend,” I murmured. “A friend who worries. A friend who loves you.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed audibly. “Low blow.”

I lifted a brow and waited. He muttered under his breath, and in a blink, he was standing there in a pair of pajama bottoms and threadbare t-shirt.

“Now, you’re just showing off.” I bent, reaching around him, and pulled back the duvet and sheet. “In.”

He looked as if he was going to argue again, but after a moment, his shoulders slumped as he sighed.

“In,” I repeated, a bit more gently.

Woodenly, he moved onto the bed, laying on his back and staring up at the ceiling. I toed off my shoes and stripped down to my boxers and t-shirt before climbing in beside him.

“Turn off the lights, Merlin,” I instructed.

“Arthur, please,” he whispered.

“Lights,” I said, adding a bit what Merlin called my “royalty” into my voice, knowing what needed to be done, knowing what he needed.

He blinked rapidly, then all the lights, save a small lamp across the room, went out. His breathing quickened and became harsher with each exhale. When his trembling shook the bed, I rolled onto my side and laid a hand on his chest, over his heart.

“It’s not all on you, Merlin. Stop carrying it all.”

His entire body jerked, and he shook his head frantically.

“You need to give some of it up. Give some of it to me, so you can rest. So you can be better and do what needs to be done. The weight of it all is crushing you, my friend.”

“You’re one to talk, sire.” The snarkiness of his words was completely ruined by the tears in his voice.

“Yes, and when the time comes—because it inevitably will—when I need to give up some of what smothers me, when I need to rest, you’ll be there to remind me, won’t you? It’s what we do.”

“I can’t sleep. Every time I close my eyes, I see…”

“What? What do you see?” I asked when he fell silent. Because it could be so many things. Living the lives we did, there was no shortage of horrors to relive in the quiet unguarded moments.

“Arthur,” he said, voice small and quiet. “I killed him.”

I closed my eyes as my throat tightened, the pain from that loss still a very fresh wound. “It wasn’t your fault. You know that.”

“No, I don’t. I don’t know that,” he bit out. Then, his hand covered mine. “Whose fault is it, if not mine? I should have…should’ve done it differently. Should have figured another way to stop it.”

“It was Mordred,” I said, loud voice echoing through the room. “He set that in motion. And don’t start down the road of questioning or diminishing the choices we make. We all made the choice to be here, and to give our lives if necessary. He did what he believed to be right.” Even as I was assured Merlin and believed everything I said, with every ounce of my being, I couldn’t quite bring myself to say his name, yet. My fallen knight. The first of the fallen in this life.  “And he’d be pissed as fuck, Merlin, if he knew you were blaming yourself. Don’t lessen his choice, his sacrifice like this. Honor it. Be better.”

“How many more are we going to lose, before this is over? Before we stop him?” He gulped. “Am I going to lose her again?”

Merlin moved closer, just an inch or so, but it was enough. I pulled him the rest of the way and held him—like I had hundreds of times before, like he had held me just as many times, if not more, when I was the one in need.

“We will stop Mordred. And we’ll keep Anna safe.” I said firmly, closing my eyes, praying I was right, this time.

“I’m so tired, Arthur.”

I had to fight to keep quiet, to not cry at the depth of pain and sorrow in those four small words. Silence settled over us, and slowly, Merlin relaxed and grew heavy in my arms. I continued to hold him as sleep finally stole over him, trying to give him what strength I could, hoping it was enough.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mulliin | Gwenydolyn Cease
Kris Norris | Paige Prince | Siobhan Muir

(and a big welcome to Siobhan who will be joining us for flash fics!)