Hospitality

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A single foot, fur-clad against the outside elements, crossed the threshold.

The second foot, likewise insulated against the frozen ground, hesitated to cross the boundary.

Snow pressed around the bundled figure in the doorway, blowing into the hearth-room of the ancient keep.  The brutal winter wind teased the glowering flames in the fireplace, setting spidery shadows dancing along the thick stone walls, yet the gale blowing at her back was nothing compared to the dire stories being shouted at her from the dim hall.

Slowly, deliberately, she slid her recalcitrant limb through the doorway at the urging of a tiny form of indeterminate gender, waiting to slam the heavy wood door against the raging blizzard.

**THUD**

With the surcease of howling storm winds and punishing ice crystals, she stood, dripping slush, and listened to the stones of the hearth.  They spoke eloquently (as only stones can) of the recent past they had witnessed.

It sang to her ears only, using the tongues of flame burning solemnly above the grate.  As it whispered its dark tale, it highlighted the scattered bits of evidence around the room using the shadows cast –  a filament of iron embedded in the hard-backed chair.  The faint outline of a hastily-scrubbed pool of fluid on the flagstones.  Flakes of ash, not of wooden origin, scattered about the floor.  As damning as these small vignettes were – they paled in comparison to the single spot of scarlet overlooked on the hearthstone itself.

A chair, to the opposite end of the hall, it’s seat enshrouded in shadow the flames light feared to touch, took a deep breath, speaking the ancient rite in the Master’s own thin, reedy voice…

“Enter and be well by my fire on this miserable night, stranger.”

Frigg dropped her snow-covered cloak on the flagstones, preparing for her ‘work.’  The stains of false Hospitality would be cleansed by fire and blood.

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My Stuff – Flash Fiction

Greg at Almost Iowa offered up a challenge on his post the other day…pick an object, and write an essay or a bit of flash fiction about it.

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

Greg…ya had me at Flash Fiction 😀

Sooooo…live and in living color, straight from my work desk to your screen…I present you with:

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The Smurf and the Wookie…

…A love story

A story by Peyton

A very long time ago, in an office far, far away, a little girl sat, eating her happy meal, trying very hard not to look at the toy.  It was brown and horrible-looking, and, worst of all…it was the toy given to the boys at McDonalds, not the girls.

But Mommy had promised to fix it after work, IF she was good…so she ruthlessly shoved a few more french fries into her mouth, and tried very hard not to look at the boring plastic shape.

 

“Maybe,” she thought, chewing through her last bite of hamburger, “the nice lady by the front phones will talk to me?”  So, looking carefully around the cubicle wall for Mommy, she darted across the hall and up to the front desk, boring brown plastic shape still clutched firmly in a fistful of ketchup-stained fries.

Today, the nice lady was in Daddy’s office with Mommy, talking about boring things.

AH!

On the nice lady’s desk, perched proudly next to the plastic cup of paper-clips, a little form in blue and white.

“Well…that Smurf is a LOT prettier than this old brown thing…”

So, up on the nice lady’s chair she went…

The Smurf and the Wookie had a glorious time that Wednesday afternoon at Mommy’s office – they danced on the nice lady’s desk, they played hide & seek in the file cabinet, they squished the french fries because they were really, REALLY big worms.  AND…the best part was when the smurf tied the Wookie in a big chain of paper clips.

After all that – the little girl decided the Wookie couldn’t go home with her and leave his best play-friend behind… (and, besides, Mommy said she’d fix it, so she was getting a new toy!)  With the logic of youth, the Wookie had to stay, happy and proud to be on the nice lady’s desk with his buddy the Smurf.

And the nice lady said she could play with the both of them anytime she had to come with Mommy to the office.

 

 

To this day, the Smurf and the Wookie hang out on my desk, smelling slightly of that epic, long ago french fry/gigantic worm ketchup-smothered battle.

They’re still best buddies.

toys at the bar

This Chick Walks into a Bar…

Book 2

The Arcanum Infernata says:

“Those who encounter daemon, Those scored by tooth or claw, Those fortunate enough to walk from the beast, Those burdened of stolen magics, forevermore.”

For those of you not fluent in cryptic Grimoire-speak – it means:  You survive a fight with a demon, and you get their powers.  Do not sell your soul to Satan, Do not die & work your way up the Hell Ranks…just go directly to power.  Do not pass Go…and do not collect $200.

Cool, huh?   How could a girl resist?

What the damned Arcanum failed to mention was the damned thing you stole powers from would chase you to the damned ends of the damn Earth to regain it’s damned abilities. That’s a hell of a catch there.  A rather important bit of a codicil to the ole’ contract conveniently penciled in extremely fine print in an unreadable font.

Trust me on this one…you do NOT want an extremely pissed-off demon dogging your every move.

I see you squirming on your barstool.  Rethinking that pick-up line?

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction-Pyromaniac

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I’m back to digging through some of the older Flash Fiction pieces again.  This week, I’ve been reminiscing over fire.

As it’s been cold up here in Frosty Wisconsin, is there any wonder why my thoughts were turning to extreme heat sources?

The flash piece below was my offering for Flash! Friday’s 2014 anniversary celebration…and was the 2nd piece I officially submitted to their weekly frenzy.  I have to admit – I was shocked senseless when my entry was chosen as one of the 12 semi-finalists.  Now, I don’t have access to the original photograph, but it was stunning.  A small building (think: cabin in the deep woods) fully engulfed in flame in the dead of night.   I do remember they had a strict word count on this one (150 words on the nose…no more, no less) and the usual 24 hour time period to submit.

I can’t believe I never slipped this up on the T&T – it’s one of my favorite pieces of flash.

And, accompanying the piece is not my usual flash banner – the image is one I got a mind-shot of when someone on Google+ shared a picture of a close up of the front grille of a pot-bellied stove.  I just had to create something in ‘Shop to bring that vision to life.  One of my first attempts at actual drawing in ‘shop.  I think it turned out well 🙂

 

Pyromaniac

150 words

Flame.

Orange against black. Subtle licks of cerulean, scarlet, saffron and emerald flare into being to vanish in an instant without a trace. Elongated fingers of incandescence stretch into the void to momentarily paint their essence onto the obsidian night sky.

Inferno.
It is alive with movement – sliding, shifting, waving, weaving – its hypnotic, primal dance both beautiful and terrible as it crafts a timeless, mesmerizing, elemental ballet of destruction.

Blaze.
The voice of combustion, a low, throaty growling howl of clean air transformed to sweltering luminescence, whispering secret desires into the ears of those who worship it.

Immolation.
They listen, comprehending the flare’s song in that most primitive portion of the brain. They stare, glassy-eyed and slack-jawed, into the complex twisting leap and swirl of the living flame. They are powerless to resist the compelling demands of spark, ember, pyre.

Intentional.
Some men just need to watch the world burn.

Visitations

 

First…I’d like to personally thank each and every unique visitor to the T&T – these poor scribblings from this humble scribe are a sloppy attempt at a clumsy gift for such lofty and Auguste Personages.

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I couldn’t resist borrowing (and MASSIVELY paraphrasing) those words from Taita, slave to the Lady Lostris, from the book River God by Wilbur Smith.  If you want a tale of Ancient Egypt, SET in Ancient Egypt, that really comes alive in your head – go dig this one out.

And the sentiment is genuine – if I didn’t have regular readers on this, my tiny slice of the blogosphere – I’d probably have abandoned it by now…

I’d like to think my personal blend of sarcastic whit & photography, wrapped up with a chainmaille bow & served with a slice of keto-cake is at least a “smidge” entertaining…

And…because you guys come and read and like my stuff, I get to return the favor – checking out your blogs and your words and your brand of entertainment…so thanks for writing, as well as reading…your work is appreciated!

Reading & writing – like 2 peas in a pod…

 

Unintentional Funnies attracted some unusual attention, in the form of several very Christian Bloggers.  As I visited their sites, I was flooded with a deluge of scripture and pondering of the faith.  I’ve no reason why this particular post drew in those who find comfort writing about God, as there wasn’t anything even remotely faith-like in it…

NOT that I’m complaining – everyone is welcome here at the T&T to read, share, comment, or even condemn if I’m WAAAAAAAAAAAY off base.  I try to avoid subjects that have measures of conflict built in rather like the way certain subjects were forbidden at the dinner table when I was a child.

Typed my Mom’s voice:  ‘Two things never discussed in polite company:  Religion & Politics.’

So you’ll never see the T&T fall into the political or theological pathways.  There are other, more hardened writers out there, to handle both these spectrums.

I’ll just keep observing my little bit of world, and share those with you…

You’re welcome!

 

 

 

 

On Unintentional Funnies

 

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We humans are communicative creatures… we LOVE to share words and concepts.  In our ancient past, these words and concepts were shared verbally, through stories and music, by tribal elders or mystical-persons, or, in the case of music, through the musicians and performers.  And everyone learned by having these traditions passed down verbally.

A little later, and the first writings appeared – pictorial at first, then cuneiform, hieroglyphic, hierarchic and other forms blending easy to reproduce abstract line-forms and pictorial representations,  and finally arriving at standardized alphabetical characters through a series of subtle metamorphosis.

I find it amazing that our languages are just as alive as us humans who created them.  They evolve right alongside us…  And, even if we’ve not added a single new letter to our alphabet for generations, we’ve added a multitude of new words, shortcuts, and pictograms as we continually explore communications.

Look at what the electronic revolution has done for us.  Instead of writing out “You made me chuckle at that one…” now, a simple LOL or picture of a laughing ball crystallize the message in a minimum number of characters.

I see this as both good, and bad.  As a writer – I see it as a dreadful shame that our beautiful language is being pared away bit by bit.  That new minds aren’t being afforded the opportunity to explore the diversity of adverbs and adjectives, piecing together old words in new ways to bring another’s imagination to full-color life from black & white print.

But I also see the efficiency of shortcuts and pictorial representations coming back to our communication attempts…and I love the artistic creativeness of some of our emojis..

 

Sometimes, our shortening of words or imposed limits on characters within an electronic ‘field’ have unintended, and hilarious, consequences.

This morning, as I checked my email – I received a notification that Maggie at The Zombies Ate My Brains had posted a new blog entry.  Here’s what I saw:

 

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Hope they used the underwires to clean their teeth…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flash Fiction – Calling all Cars!

 

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

I sometimes miss the old Flash Fiction website – it was a vibrant online community of semi- (and not so semi-) hobby writers, who gathered at least once a week to be challenged to produce a small piece of original fiction.  Inspired by the photo prompt or directed requirements – we operated on a tight timeline to pop out a tiny slice of creative wordplay.

I’m sharing this piece again – as it was one of my favorite flash pieces, and, well, ’tis the season 😀

 

 

 

Calling All Cars!

157 words

“Calling all cars!  Calling all cars!”

Every year, we get the call.  Every year, we respond.  Every year, our department fails to close this decades-old case.

“Person of interest male, white, late 70’s, portly.  Full facial hair, white.  Last seen wearing bright red suit and hat with white fringe, black belt, black knee-boots.”

My hands curl around the steering wheel, mentally preparing for the yearly bloodbath.

“Suspect get-away vehicle tiny sleigh pulled by 8 animals of reindeer origin.  No plates evident.”

My partner and I lock eyes, knowing …HATING… what’s coming.

“Ocular trauma to multiple victims.  Eyes replaced with charcoal briquettes.”

I yank a cigarette from the pack on the dash.  “Shoulda been nice…” I whisper, even as my partner mutters  “It’s always the naughty ones…”

“Suspect 3.75 inches tall.  Last known locations… “

A string of addresses follow, blanketing the car in a wall of sound.

“Public Enemy number one…” I growl, flipping on the siren.