To the Stars!

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may

Welcome to May!! The image we’re writing to this month is an awesome SciFi scene. I was a bit stumped at first, but then remembered the hint of an idea I came up with about  . . . 8 years ago. Hope you enjoy!

 

The meeting room of the Dyson City-State Directorate was huge and imposing. Lush carpeting, marble floors, and an authentic wooden table spoke of absolute wealth. However, it was a wall of floor to ceiling windows that let a visitor know he or she was in the presence of power. The windows displayed a view of the connected walkways, travel tube and buildings of the upper echelon, as well as the top of the dome that protected the city. It truly was an amazing and awe-inspiring sight. Of course, no one in the room noticed the view, they were all too busy yelling and arguing. Executrix Katrill Owen, leader of the directorate and thus Dyson itself, eased back in her chair. She had been in the job less than a handful of days and the council was beginning to realize she could not be controlled. She wondered how long it would be before they tried to murder her as they had her father.

Katrill leaned forward and rapped on the table. The room quieted immediately. “It seems to me a trade agreement with the other city-states would be in our best interest, especially Vorn. We have technology and they have room to grow. If we trade our tech for some of their dome space we can only come out the winner.”

Colin Phipps smiled at her. “Katrill you are new to the council and do not understand the nuances of the trade agreements. If you would allow me to take care of this—”

Katrill turned cold green eyes on him. “Mr. Phipps you are out of order. You do not have leave to call me by my first name. As for the trade agreements, I understand them quite well since I am the person who wrote them to begin with. If I wish your opinion or assistance I’ll ask, but I doubt that will happen.

“In any case,” she went on, “I’ve already spoken to Executrix Fallon of Vorn and we are in agreement. She and I signed the agreement this morning.”

“What?” Letham burst out. “You can’t do that.”

“Oh, yes I can. The Council is an advisory board only. I have full and absolute authority to make decisions. The agreement is good for every citizen of Dyson.”

Jathan Douglas, her uncle, cleared his throat. “Let us adjourn until next week. I’m sure we are all tired and coming back refreshed will be best for everyone.”

The assembly rose and bowed to Katrill, then filed out of the room. She relaxed back in her chair and enjoyed the silence of the room. When it was empty, the room was fairly pleasant. Of course, it never stayed empty for long when she was in residence. There were always people who wished to come and petition her for some favor or another. Too much, people wanted too much from her, took too much from her.

She stood quickly and paced to the window. The view was magnificent. Walkways lined with beautifully tended gardens created a framework for the sparkle of the dome itself. Katrill never tired of the view. But she wondered how the people, her people on the lower level survived. In her entire life, she had never been anywhere but on the top tier. She knew the building she currently occupied was hundreds of stories in the air, but she hadn’t ventured even ten down, ever. People called Grounders lived in the lower levels of the buildings. They were the caretakers of the buildings, ensuring nothing ever went wrong. The people who lived on the ground or the Stews, as it was called, eeked out a living best they could. Finally, there was the Underneath. Katrill shivered. She had heard stories of the people who lived in the underground labyrinth of Dyson. They were dangerous killers, thieves, answering only to themselves. These were her people, all of them, but how to help them.

The only people who were allowed to even gain an audience with her were the Echelon, the ruling class, and the elite rich of the city-state. And they imagined they could rule her, manipulate her. Never again, she told herself, never again would she allow herself to be taken advantage of, used as if she were nothing. Her father had done this and look where he ended up. Dead. She hadn’t had anything to do with it, contrary to the rumors. But she wasn’t sorry he was gone.

“Katrill.”

She rolled her eyes, once again, she was interrupted. “Yes, Mr. Phipps, what can I do for you?” She turned to face the man who had been her betrothed.  He was a handsome man, or that’s what people told her, with his carefully coiffed blond hair, blue eyes, and impeccable clothing choices. Colin knew exactly what to wear to show off his five-seven frame to its best. Katrill had never found him handsome. In fact, she found him fake and pretentious and a total bore. So, when her father was murdered, she had immediately broken off the marriage contract. Colin had been her father’s choice, never hers. Personally, if her father liked him so much, he should have married him. They would have been very happy together.

He smiled at her as if she were a small child needing to be placated. “I do not like how you speak to me in the meetings. Darling, people must see us as a team. Once we’re married and head the council together—”

“We are not getting married.” Katrill said, firmly. “We have already had this discussion.”  She hated that smile and the tone he used on her.

“Your father’s death has made you confused—”

“No, my father’s death made me happy. I do not wish to contract with you. I never wished it, but he insisted. He is no longer here and I am free to do what I wish. With whom I wish. You will only address me as Executrix, nothing more. You do not have my leave to use my first name, ever. Now get out and do not speak of this to me again.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “You’ll be sorry.”  He turned and huffed out of the room as Jathan reentered. He raised his eyebrows at Katrill and shook his head. “Your father never should have made a contract for you with that boy. He’s weak. You’d run right over him.”

She gave a slight smile. “But that’s the point. He’s weak and father wanted to control him.” She turned back to the windows. “So how are you this day?”

“Well as to be expected since my favorite niece is upset.”

She smiled at the older man and shrugged. “I’m your only niece, I believe.”

“That’s true.” He gave her a brief hug. “I worry about you. After what happened to your father, I don’t think it’s safe. You need some type of body guard, someone who can watch over you all the time.”

Katrill sighed. “Uncle, we’ve been through this before. I do not want someone living with me, getting in my way.”

He paced about and Katrill smiled. Jathan Douglas was her mother’s only brother and Katrill loved him dearly. Since her mother had died when Katrill was very young, Jathan was the only connection she had to the woman who had given life to her. From image cubes, Katrill knew her uncle had the same white blond hair and clear green eyes. The same eyes her mother passed to Katrill. Though Katrill had chestnut hair, like her father, mores the pity.

“What about a Bio-Guard?”  Her uncle asked.

Katrill shrugged. “I don’t know much about them.”

“They are human animal hybrids specifically engineered to be whatever a person wishes. Some want just a pretty pet and others, like you, need protecting. From what I understand, once an imprint happens, they are loyal to the death.”

“Yes, but I don’t want anyone—”

“Katrill,” her uncle cut her off. “They are essentially animals. You feed and water them, and give them a place to sleep. It’s not as if you’re sharing your home with a person.”

Katrill sighed, her uncle worried about her so much. She understood why, she was the only link he had with his beloved sister. Maybe she should look into a Bio-Guard. What could it hurt? If she didn’t find something that pleased her, she could leave.

“Okay, I’ll check into it.”

Jathan smiled. “Good, good, that makes me feel much better. You need to start taking your safety more seriously especially since you plan on shaking up the status quo.”

She kissed his cheek. “How could I not since you worry so? I don’t want that.”  

Now head on over and see what Siobhan came up with.

Wordless Wednesday February 2019

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I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for Wordless Wednesday . . . other than not be wordless, obviously. Then I thought about just how gray and horrible it’s been here for days and days. It either snows or rains (usually rains) pretty much every day. So, yeah, it’s time for beautiful flower pics. The pics are from botanical gardens I’ve visited over the last few years. Enjoy!

 

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Jessica     Bronwyn     Siobhan    Kayleigh

 

 

An Image in the Mirror

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I really like our flash fiction picture for February. It took me a bit to come up with a story, but one it hit I was off and running. Hope you like it.

Sophia stared at herself in the mirror. She saw a woman with cool eyes and serene features, but that wasn’t the reality. The reality was she was scared shitless. Who wouldn’t be when her parents were going to sell her to the highest bidder? Oh, no one called it that, of course. They were too classy to call the “coming out” ball an auction, but that’s what it was. Women, girls really, were paraded around for the wealthy Coadjutors to view and, if one was to his liking, he approached her parents or guardians to work out a deal.

Sophia knew her parents would hold out for a large payment since she was a virgin. It wasn’t a secret either since it said so right in the catalog that was handed out to each Coadjutor as he entered the enormous ballroom. If she could, Sophia would run away, but there wasn’t anyplace to go. Her parents owned her until they sold her to the highest bidder.

Closing her eyes, she breathed in and out of her nose, trying to get her pounding heart under control. It really wasn’t any use though since she was scared. Okay, she was terrified and deep breathing wasn’t going to fix that.

“What are you doing?” her mother whispered angrily in her ear. “Turn around and smile.”

Sophia looked at the woman who had given birth to her and felt nothing but contempt. From the moment she could understand anything, this woman had explained that she was a commodity. They were raising her to elevate themselves. That was it. So, they’d put money into her. Giving her dance and voice lessons, teaching her comportment all so that she could be sold into wealth and power.

Pinching the underside of her arm, hard, her mother yanked Sophia across the room to where her father waited. He stood next to a man older than he was and she crossed her fingers that they were just friends.

“Ah good,” her father said, with a smile. “This is our daughter, Sophia. She is only twenty-two and a virgin, so her power is untapped and ripe.”

Sophia forced herself to stand perfectly still because, she knew, if she moved at all, she would run. Run and never stop.

The man she didn’t know looked her up and down. “I will need to check. I cannot take your word that she’s a virgin. My Daimon would not be pleased if we were to offer for her then found out she’d already been taken.”

“Of course,” her father said, “I understand. I’ve already reserved a room.”

Before Sophia could react, her mother and father had her by the arms and were dragging her into a small room that held a shelf bolted to the wall and a chair.

“Don’t give him any problem, girl,” her father said and backed out the door.

The stranger gripped her chin in his large hand and tilted her face up. Turning her head left and right he studied her.

“You’re pretty enough,” he pronounced. “Now pull your dress up and sit on the table.”

“Excuse me?” she finally forced out.

“I need to check to see if you’re a virgin. Get on the table and spread your legs.”

Sophia stared at him. “Have you lost your mind? You are not going to touch me.”

He smiled. “Oh, I like a fighter. Yes, this will be quite good.”

He grabbed her and wrapped an arm around her waist and he tried to shove a hand up her dress. Sophia fought, but could feel his hand run along her leg. He began to pant and rub himself against her so she tried to kick out at him.

“That’s right,” he said, “yeah, squirm around and fight.”

Sophia held back a sob as she fought harder, then he released her as she staggered forward. Spinning, she found a man she didn’t know holding a knife to her assailant’s throat.

“Doesn’t look like she wants your hands on her,” the new man said conversationally.

“I don’t,” Sophia said.

“So, love, what do you want me to do to him?”

Without hesitating Sophia stepped forward, raised her dress and kicked the man who attempted to assault her right between the legs. Crying out, he dropped to the floor and cradled his genitals.

The unknown man smiled and bowed. “Well, I guess that fixed him. I’m Raiden.”

“Sophia,” she said and curtseyed.

He held out a hand. “Come, let’s get out of here.”

Smiling, she took his hand figuring anywhere was better than where she was.

 

Jessica     Bronwyn   Kayleigh

What a dump!

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Welcome to the first photo flash fiction of the new year!! Obviously, we’re using the pic above to write a short piece. I can’t wait to read what the other bloggers are going to do with it.  Hope you enjoy what I came up with.

 

“Okay, take off the blindfold.”

Andromeda really didn’t want to. She hated surprises, especially the surprises her younger sister Rhea presented to her. Usually, the surprise involved some kind of horrible decision that Andromeda would have to get her out of. Crossing her fingers that this time would be different, she slowly pulled the blindfold off.

The room she found herself in was all wood. From the ceiling to the cabinets that lined the wall. The floor could possibly be wood too except she couldn’t see for all the trash, broken glass, and paper that was strewn about. Bare wires dangled from the ceiling where some kind of light fixture probably hung at one time.

“Well?” Rhea said, practically bouncing on her toes.

Without thinking, Andromeda uttered Bette Davis’s oft-quoted line. “What a dump.”

Rhea gasped. “What are you talking about? I know this room looks rough, but wait until you see the rest of the house.”

Rhea grabbed Andromeda’s hand and dragged her out into an equally dismal hallway. Large holes decorated the walls as the main stairway sagged dangerously.

“This will be the perfect place for a bed and breakfast,” Rhea enthused. “All it needs is a little work. There are a lot of bedrooms upstairs and the kitchen is huge, and, as you saw, there’s a butler’s pantry.”

Andie rubbed her face. “Bed and breakfast?”

“Yeah, you know, the B&B we always talk about opening. Now that we have our inheritance it’s the perfect time.”

“I have a job with a fairly prestigious hotel. I like it. It gives me a salary and benefits. And, my portion of the inheritance is going to help me finally buy a home.” Andie looked around at the disaster surrounding them. “Besides, even if I would think about throwing away everything I have and opening my own inn this wouldn’t be the place. It needs way more than a little work. I’m sure the electrical and plumbing all need to be updated as well as the HVAC system. From the brown stains on the ceiling it needs a whole new roof. So yeah, the best thing that can happen to this place is it burns down.”

She turned to find Rhea staring at her with wide eyes. Wide guilty eyes.

“What did you do?” Andie asked.

“Well it’s the perfect place,” Rhea repeated herself. “So, I bought it.”

“You what?”

“I bought it,” Rhea said, her voice firmer this time. “I signed the papers this morning.”

“What were you thinking? You can’t afford this place. It’s a wreck, but I’m sure with the land and as big as it is, it’s not cheap.”

“No, there you’re wrong. I bought it outright so there’s no mortgage.”

“How?” she asked, though the sinking feeling in her stomach already told her how.

“I used our money. I used our money to buy the house. It’s going to be great. Once we fix it up the place is going to be incredibly popular. There’s even a ghost here. That’s going to pull people in since they love that kind of stuff.”

Andie took a breath, then another. Calm down, she told herself. Just calm down. Stay calm.

“You stole my half of the inheritance to buy this dump? And, somehow, you think that’s okay?”

“I didn’t steal it,” Rhea insisted. “I used it to give us an incredibly future. We’ll own our own haunted B&B.”

“Oh, it’ll be haunted alright, since I’m probably going to kill you dead.”

Jessica Jarman    Bronwyn Green   Kris Norris   Siobhan Muir     Kayleigh Jones

December 2018 – Waiting . . .

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Hello and welcome to December. I can’t believe it’s the last month of the year already. And, this is our last photo flash fiction of 2018. This picture struck me as somewhat sad and, I decided no way. It’s the holidays so no sadness. Hope you enjoy what I wrote.

Sara sat on the twisting stone stairs with her chin resting in her hands. The little red dress did nothing to keep her warm, but she’d rather sit in the drafty old stairs then head back to the party. She loathed her mother and step-father’s holiday party. Everything was too bright, too loud and there were far too many people. She’d lasted about an hour, her norm, but she couldn’t leave. Oh no, her mother expected her to mingle and talk. That wasn’t Sara. That was never going to be Sara.

The crowd overwhelmed her. She never knew what to say. So, she hid. This year, though, her mother has chosen to hold the party at a castle. Oh, not a real castle, since they were miles and miles away from the United Kingdom. Someone, she forgot who, decided to build a replica castle in the middle of nowhere and now people could rent it out. Her mother has been so excited. Sara, not so much. She didn’t know the place as well as the hotel her mother and step-father normally chose so she sat in the drafty stairwell that led up to one of the towers.

A slight noise caught her attention and she looked up to find Jack watching her. He was so handsome with burnished blond hair and cool blue eyes. Her mother insisted on labeling him her older brother, but she certainly didn’t think of him that way. She’d been sixteen when her mother had remarried. Jack was her step-father’s oldest son and he’d been twenty-six and deployed when her mother and his father married.

Not long after, Sara had sent him a birthday card since her mother had told her it would be “the polite thing to do.” Dutifully, she’d purchased a card and had written an awkward introduction, never expecting anything in return. She’d been surprised to find a letter from him a few weeks later. It hadn’t been long, but she’d liked how he didn’t talk to her like a kid, so she’d written him back. That has started their exchange of letters and, Sara had felt, she finally had someone she could confide in. She could say all the things to Jack she wasn’t able to say to anyone else.

In the nearly six years, they rarely met face to face, but they always wrote. In fact, she was the first person to know he was leaving the service. And, that he was planning to move back to the city. The whole idea confused her. Sara was so glad he’d left the service, but she didn’t know what she was going to do without her confidante. There was no way she could say the things she’d said face to face. And, now that he was back, he had a life. She knew he and a friend had started their own business and that he was dating someone. She’d overheard her step-father tell her mother he thought it was serious. So, Jack didn’t need her letters. Didn’t need her.

He stepped forward and sat on the step below her. The black tux he wore stretched taut over his broad shoulders and it took everything she had not to reach out and touch him. Turning, he propped his shoulder against the wall and smiled at her.

“I’ve been looking for you.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean why? I wanted to see you. No,” he said, shaking his head, “I had to see you.”

She gave a small shrug. “Well, here I am.” Nervously, she picked at the hem of her dress.

“Sara,” he said, reaching up to take her hand.

God, the shock of the warmth of his hand almost made her freeze. How long had it been since someone touched her? That she let anyone touch her? She couldn’t remember. It didn’t feel bad though. No, not at all. It made her feel real, more present.

“Your hands are cold.”

He took both of her hands in his and gently rubbed them. She finally looked up to meet his eyes and he gave her a small smile.

“There you are. My Sara. What do you say we get out of here? It’s too cold to sit here and I don’t want to go back to the party.”

“What about your date?”

His brow wrinkled. “What date?”

“Your dad said you were dating someone.”

He gave a small laugh. “No, I’m not. Besides, I came here to see you. To talk to you. So, are you ready to leave? We can go someplace and get something hot to drink. Talk.”

Sara didn’t hesitate. “Okay.”

He took her hand and pulled her off the steps. Tucking her hand in the crook of his arm he led her out of the cold stairwell and into warmth and light.

Bronwyn       Siobhan

November 2018 Wordless Wednesday

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Welcome to Wordless Wednesday! If you know anything about me you know I can’t post anything without chatting. I mean, I wouldn’t want you to sit and look at pics without knowing where the hell we are. Though, if you’re a history geek like I am, you could probably guess. If you’re not, the pics below are all from Colonial Williamsburg just a few short weeks ago. We had so much fun!! If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.

 

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Bronwyn Green      Jessica Jarman       Siobhan Muir