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November 2011 Grab-Bag

Embala

The elements are...



a toaster

a Preserver

a decision

a failure

splat

last minute




All works must be related to Elfquest, whether canon-based, original character, alternate universe, or whatever. Writings must contain all the above elements. Art can either contain all the elements, or illustrate one of the writings.

RedheadEmber

Last minute

a preserver

a decision made

to fix a toaster.

SPLAT!

Total failure!

Embala

Roflmao

Who called a Preserver to do a Troll's job?

RedheadEmber

Not me... I just reported the case...

TrollHammer

Ok, ok... It was me, Ill admit it.
You see...
The toaster was left under a tree,
Who's decision it was: anyone it would seem.
But as the snow of winter fell from that tree...

Splat, into the toaster went the slushy mess.
Impending failure, the toaster's duress...
But more than its mettle was put to the test!
A preserver, it would seem, had been landing for a rest.

The snow, of course fell into.the slot
and the preserver.found he was cold, a lot!
For the snow took the perserver with it, believe it or not.
Its a good.thing the toaster wasnt hot!!!

TrollHammer

But my story isnt through!
I played a part, it is true.

I was going to meet with this preserver
but it made.me wait, the shurker.

And so bored, I began to slump
Against the tree tree with a thump.

And that bump caused the snow to fall,
The preserver found it "not funny at all!"

But my sides did split!
On him I blame that every bit!

For it was him that had waited until the last minute!!!

WolfMoonSky

LOL Redhead and trollhamer!!!Big_laugh
okay! I decided to make a story here! Wink
It's not good but I atleast try! Wink It's a sad one.

The wrong and painful decision of a father.

He was going to lose her, his best friend, his sister...

Vermus sighed, turning again, staring up at the sky. He didn't know what he was going to do once Leia was gone. What could he do? He was so used to hearing her giggle in the early morning hours...how could he wake up everyday, knowing he was alone?

And then there was Kapo. Why did he want Leia now? There was no doubt the man was like a father to Leia, but how, after so many years, did he seem so be ready to enter into her life again? It wasn't him that was there for her when she needed someone, when she was alone. It was wolfie and their tribe. She and the others understood Leia's side, that after so many years, she wanted a real father.

And somewhere inside Vermus's heart, that stung.
Obviously, he would never be a good father for the young cub. Young? she wasn't that young anymore, though still a cub.

Only more moments after he shut his eyes for the first time that night, Vermus heard a quiet voice coming from the den where Leia and her father were sleeping. Vermus forced his tense body to relax, and he shut his eyes, listening with his ears open. He heard almost silent footsteps coming through the den, and in the darkness, when he opened his eyes slightly, he saw a shadow silently making its way toward the sea.

Only Vermus made his presence known.

"What are you doing?" he said without emotion, but his eyes were narrowed, staring at the shadow that tensed in shock. As he looked behind himself, and seeing his face, he was panicking.
"Now, who would go outside at this time?" he said, walking towards him, while Kapo looked at Vermus with wide eyes like a deer caught in headlights.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" he growled lowly, his voice calm but low in supressed anger. His blood was boiling, sending his own heart racing in anger. Kapo stammered for a moment, and Vermus took a single threatening step toward him. Kapo tried avoiding his eyes.

"I...I have to change the plans with...with Leia," he said nervously, swallowing the lump in his throat. "Something's come up and-"

"Don't you dare lie to me, you damn coward," Vermus snarled, his anger hardly supressed now. "If that's true, why the hell you sneek out at this hour?" At this, Kappo said nothing, looking away. "You really are a damn coward, Kapo. You were sneeking out so you wouldn't have to tell Leia you didn't want her."

That's not true, Vermus," Kapo said, suddenly looking up at Vermus. "It's not that I don't want her. I...I just-"

"Then why, Kapo?" Vermus interuptted, his voice raising. "Why leave your own cub alone in the forest? Why?"

"I...I wasn't ready!" he replied, shaking his head. "I wasn't ready to take care of a child." He paused, and Vermus bit his tongue. "I thought I was...but when her mother died..." He sighed, looking away. "I couldn't do it!"

"So you just left her then? Hope that some...some creature will come and pick her off quickly, huh?" When Kapo didn't reply, Vermus took another step toward him, his voice lowering dangerously. "What kind of father would do that, huh? I was hardly a cub myself when I found her, Kapo. But when I saw her, alone and crying for her father that left her, I couldn't leave her there. Do you think I was ready?" Vermus's voice was raising, his eyes were blurred with angry tears. Kapo had said nothing, looking at the ground. "Do your really think I was ready to take care of a a cub when I had to struggle just to take care of myself?" Vermus narrowed his eyes. "High ones, how pathetic." Kapo lifted his head suddenly, looking angry.

"Well, I'm glad it all worked out for you!" he said, his voice raising. "Puckernuts, Vermus, I was scared."

"You were scared?" Vermus nearly screamed. "I was a cub! How scared do you think I was? I thought she would die!" He paused, glaring at Kapo. "But I started to love that cub like my sister, maybe even as a daughter, and I took the decision..the decision to take care of her."

"Well, I'm glad you're a perfect father for her then, Vermus!" Kapo shouted at him. "I'm glad a cub could take better care of her than me! At least she had someone to look after her!"

"Then why, Kapo?" Vermus shouted, then lowered his voice, looking at him hopelessly, with anger burning like fire in his brown eyes. "Then why did you come back? and then leave her again!?

For a moment, Kapo said nothing, avoiding Vermus's eyes. He seemed to be struggling for an excuse, but in the end, he sighed, shaking his head. "I wanted her to. I really did...but...I still can't do it. I'm not ready yet." Kapo looked up this time. "But I will come back. I will take her with me one day." Even as he said this, Vermus could see him lying. Kapo walked towards the sea, looking for the last time at Vermus. "Tell her that for me, will you?"

Vermus said nothing, simply watching Kapo as he walked way. "I'll tell her the truth, Kapo," Vermus said, his voice low. His heart cracked in his chest. "But the truth will break her heart." Kapo seemed to hesitate, as if changing his mind. "If you walk away now, don't ever thinking to come back, even though we both damn well know you won't."

Vermus gave him one last look.
"That was all she wanted, Kapo. Her real father."

After another moment, and without a word, Kapo walked away and Vermus stood alone in the forest. He hoped that Kapo would change his mind, turn around and take desicion to take Leia with him, but another part of him was glad that Kapo was gone. But he knew very well how this would kill leia.

Sighing deeply, he turned around, walking towards Leia's den....and stopped short when he saw Leia standing by a tree, staring at ground, lifeless.

For a moment, Vermus simply watched her, his heart breaking for the her.
How much had she seen and heard? Had she been there the whole time, listening to the shouts between her father and Vermus? Vermus couldn't move, couldn't bring himself to ask Leia if he was alright. For a moment, all he did was stare at Leia.

He swallowed the lump forming in his throat, and Leia suddenly moved, walking like she was in a trance-like state, walking by Vermus without even looking at him. Vermus reached out to her, but didn't touch her.

"Leia...?"

By now, Leia was looking around herself, and at hearing her name, she whipped around suddenly, her eyes wide and her body tense, and she shook her head quickly. Vermus shook his head, wanting to kill Kapo for doing this. He was about to speak, but Leia got there first.

"Of course he would just leave," Leia said angrily. Vermus simply watched her, his heart breaking for the cub. "He did it once. It's easy to see he would do it again. I lived without him for half my life...without a father, and look at me!" She threw her hands in the air, her voice loud. "I'm fine, I'm great! I'm an healer, I leaned about the human language, and who gets thanks for that? Not him." When Leia walked by him once again, Vermus managed to get a glimsp into her eyes, and saw that the anger was just a wall, just an emotion sat up to be strong, to hide her real one.
But with every word, Vermus could see the wall being torn down.

"I don't need him," she said, and with every word, her voice got lower and lower, her steps slower and slower. "I don't need him...I was without him for more then half my life. I can...make it without him..." After a moment of repeating this to herself, with Vermus silent to her side, Leia stopped in her steps, her eyes finally breaking away from the anger, and filling with a sadness Vermus had never seen her like that before and his heart nearly shattered in two when Leia turned them toward him, her blue eyes filling tears as the anger she built around him to show he was strong melted away. She stood in front of Vermus, looking at him for the first time.

"Why doesn't he want me, Vermus?" Leia whispered, her voice breaking and sounding absolutely heartbreaking to Vermus's ears. With those words, tears began to fall down Leia's face, and in single moment, Vermus did something he never did enough.

He took his younger sister in his arms, and hugged her tightly as she cried into his shoulder.

"Why doesn't he want me?" Leia whispered into vermus, and Vermus rocked her gently from side to side, not able to hold his own sorrow back. Pain and sorrow were in his face, as he listened as Leia sobbed quietly in his ear. "He promised...he promised...Why am I not good enough?"

For awhile, Vermus couldn't speak, couldn't find any words to comfort his younger sister. He simply let her cry until he could find the words.

"That's not true, Leia," Vermus whispered back in her ear. "He's not good enough for you. He's not good enough for you..." Leia sobbed quietly into vermus's shoulder, and Vermus could do nothing anymore then simply let his younger sister, his best friend, cry.

Vermus stayed that way, letting leia sob into his shoulder. His eyes wandered to the ground where Leia's tears had dropped, and held his sister tighter when he saw it.

"I'll always be here, Leia..." he said, closing his eyes. "I won't leave you...Everything will be wonderful someday...I promise..."

Behind the rock, three young elves have been watching what happened. The always happy goldshine started sobbing while Aguil looked at his feets in sorrow. The elves stared at them, not making a sound. A few minutes after, Aguil putted an arm around Goldshine as they both started to walk toward their den.
One of the tree stayed for a while, and looked at the poor elves.
Closing her eyes, she started sending to someone...

*One day, You walked out of her life, without saying a word to your dear
daughter. A girl who at once you smothered with hugs, who at once you
Adored the ground she walked on, who you left behind in the forest. To defend herself against humans who were out to get her when she was alone, who suffered of abuse, Because you left her. And now you came back, after so many years. She was filled with hope. All she wanted was a real father, that was all she asked. You're her father, a father who came back in her life again, and at that time, you got some decisions to make, some difficult ones. But no one knew what those decisions were, no one knew that those decisions were so painful, no one knew that you woudl decide to leave her behind, again. Since you left her, she is a haunted cub, who'd rather die then see the face of the man who left her behind for a second time. This was your decision. We can only accept that. You made the decision to not be her father, to not be in her life, and that decision is filled. .


You don't know the things you miss in life...but you will, but it will be to late for you. She belongs to us, we are her family, and you didn't want to be a part of that. All I have to say to you is goodbye stranger, I hope you never have to make such decision in your life ever again and if you may have to do it, then you should take the good decide, instead of what you did now. Shade and sweetwater.*

Embala

This seems to be the last grab-bag ... in case you desperately look for an aim for your creative powers, Sailor Wink

jeb

Better late than never, as they say. My contribution is here.

[Deleted User]

Oh, this one is oh so very tempting...

Embala

Allow me to quote myself:

Embala said

LOVE it!

Love that you left the identity to the reader's choice ... this can be a well-known elfess, one of the Firstcomers we never met, a future born - or jeb Wink

lunakat

I decided to preserve my rep and finally write another grab bag... So a toast to last minute entries! Let's hope this one's no failure! Cheers! ... And splat!

The Baker


Minyah was baking bread. The smell wafted through the village, mingled with the windblown scents of wild-blossoms and desert shrub. It drifted up to the cool, damp caves where the Wolfriders had retreated to hide from the midday heat. And it found its way into the nose of one snoring, red-haired elf.

Pike woke with a start. He rolled out of the furs he shared with his wolf, Hotburr, and sniffed. Hotburr looked up with a whine, then dropped his head back to his paws.

“Lazybones,” Pike snorted. The wolf huffed and closed his eyes.

All around him, the tribe lay resting. Most elves, like Treestump, One Eye and Clearbrook , Woodlock, Rainsong and the cubs, along with their wolves, occupied the main cave. Others, like Dewshine and Scouter or Moonshade and Strongbow, had found themselves quieter, more private niches off in some smaller caverns. Approaching the mouth of the den, Pike could smell that Cutter and Skywise had been here together, but he did not see them.

And, speaking of smells….

Stepping out into daylight, Pike inhaled the dry, dusty air. Eyes half closed, he followed the delicious aroma… clambering over boulders and creeping past cacti… past the outer huts of the village… past the well… past the dark-skinned maidens with their woven skirts and sly smiles… past the friendly villagers tilling their gardens… around the corner…. to where a plump, warm-eyed female tended a flame deep inside a bowl- like, clay structure. Pike crept silently up behind her as she peered into the fire. She was holding one end of a long wooden handle that disappeared inside the giant, clay pot.

“What’s that?” Pike asked in her ear.

“Whoooah!” Minyah jumped, dropping her paddle and clutching her aprons. She turned around with a scowl.
“Look what you made me do!” she cried, wagging her finger at the Wolfrider. These strange newcomers had no manners. She threw her hands into the air. “All that work, and now it’s ruined!”

“What’s ruined?” Pike cocked his head. Reprimands had little effect on him.

“My bread!” Minyah seized the handle and pulled her paddle from the flames. On it was a charred lump.

“Well, that’s a failure!” Pike exclaimed. “I hope you’re not gonna eat it!”

Minya glared at him. Splat! She dumped the blackened mess at his feet.

Pike just peered around her. “Where’s the good-smellin’ stuff?” Sighing, Minyah rolled her eyes. She padded over to where a small, cloth covered platter rested on some stones. Lifting the corner of the cloth, she revealed, to Pike’s delight, fresh loaves of warm, steaming flatbread.

“Yesss!” Pike reached out eagerly. Minyah swatted his wrist. “Ow!”

“Oh, no, no, no! You don’t get to come over here, ruin my baking and eat my bread!”

Pike sulked and sucked on his hand. “What do I get to do then?”

“You’re going to help me bake!”

Sometime later….

“I don’t like this!” Pike frowned. He was sitting cross-legged, a mortar and pestle between his knees. It felt like he’d been grinding forever! “What’s the point of it, anyway? I thought we were making bread!”

Minyah sighed once more. “You have to grind the meal first, then mix the paste with water. That creates the dough, and the dough bakes into bread.”

“Hmmph,” Pike hunched back over his task. “I don’t like it. Hunting’s better. You get to eat what you catch right away!”

“Right away!” Minyah gasped. “You don’t cook it first?” Pike shook his head happily. She crossed her arms and studied him. “But even with hunting, you must work, must you not? Don’t you have to track your prey?”

Pike shrugged. “Yeah, sure.”

“Well, this is the same thing!” She clapped her hands. “Time to knead!”

“Need? I always need… to eat!” Pike reached for the bread, again. Minyah slapped his hand… again. This was getting old! How much work had to go into a simple meal?

When Minyah showed Pike what “kneading” was… he almost decided to leave. Bread just wasn’t worth it, curse his nose! But… that same nose made him turn around, made him glance longingly at the hot, sun-warmed loaves. And something Longbranch once told him finally crossed his mind.

“It’s hard work, to preserve a memory,” Longbranch had said, “especially when you are the preserver of the tribe’s memory. But the work pays off. Someday, Pike, what you learn you will remember, and what you remember, you will pass down to our cub’s cubs… long after this old branch has broken off the tree. “

That’s what I am, Pike thought, a preserver. And this… he glanced around at Minyah’s tools and the product of all their hard work… this is just another story someday to tell.

Mimicking Minyah, he clapped his hands and rubbed them together. “Okay. Let’s knead!”

When the kneading was done… and to Pike’s surprise, it was quite fun! Like mucking about with river clay… Minyah showed him how to pat the dough into a ball and press it with a flatstone. Then, she deftly scooped the patty onto the paddle and handed it to Pike.

“Who, me?” Pike asked, surprised by her faith in him at this critical juncture. Minyah nodded.

“Thrust it into the flames, and hold it there for a short while until it bakes.”

Gamely, Pike turned to shove the bread into the oven. Unfortunately, at the last minute, he tripped, twisting the handle he held and sending the dough flying. With a quick move, born from years of practice with a spear, he swung about and caught it with the paddle before it hit the dirt.

“Wheew!”

Minyah smiled and clapped him on the shoulder. “No need to impress!”

With a grin, Pike pushed the paddle into the oven and held the bread over the flames. A short time later, Minyah tapped him on the arm and he withdrew his loaf.

By Bearclaw’s beard, how good it smelled!

“Congratulations!” Minyah smiled. “You are now a baker.” Proudly, Pike placed his loaf on top of the pile to cool. Minyah offered him the less heated loaf he had been reaching for earlier. But Pike shook his head.

“If you don’t mind,” he said, “I think I’d like to wait and taste the results of my own hard work!” Minyah nodded, understanding. She handed Pike the mortar and pestle. He took them with a grin. Together they began to make another loaf.

Later that afternoon, Skywise and Cutter strolled by. Skywise sniffed and paused. *Cutter, wait up!* He trotted over to where Minyah and Pike were busy kneading dough. After a moment, Cutter followed.

“Well, this smells delicious!” Skywise remarked. He glanced around curiously, eyes landing on the fresh pile of flatbread.

“Shade and fresh baking to you,” Minyah smiled, never glancing up from her work.

Cutter smiled back. “Shade and good hunting. Well, Squirrel cheeks,” he laughed at Pike, “Looks like you may have earned a new name! Dream-Keeper…? Spear-Wielder…? Bread-Maker!”

“I’d be happy to have it, Cutter!” Pike grinned.

“Ow!”

They both turned to see Minyah waving a wooden spoon, and Skywise shaking his hand. “If you’re going to steal my bread,” Minyah scolded, “then you’re going to have to work for it!”

Pike stood and dusted the meal from his hands. He clapped a hand on Skywise’s back and another on Cutter’s shoulders. “I’ve got it, Minyah!” He pushed the two elves down and handed each a pestle. “Time to get to grinding, my Chief! Let old 'Bread Maker' show you how!”

jeb

Excellent! Love the way you included toaster and preserver, very clever!

lunakat

Thanks! I liked yours too. I really loved the mystery and ambiguity of it- that the character might have been Jinx, or might have simply been another elf, stranded and blending in to the human world. It was entirely plausible, and brought the story of the elves into something approximating modern day. I loved the implication of an alien living among people, waiting for her spaceship to come back and get her after so many years. It emphasized, in just the right way, that Elfquest, as much as it is a fantasy story, is also sci fi. Kudos!

[Deleted User]

I like both very much!

Mm... bread.. Nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread!

Still tempted to jump on this one, but behaving.

Embala


Still tempted to jump on this one, but behaving.

DO.IT! D*** do it, Kojiyumi! Pleeeeeeeeease Puppy_eyes

It is the wrong time for "behaving". Right now "behaving" and RL issues and ... what else make the grab-bags starve.

FEED.IT.!

Be sure ... we had a lot of crazyness and weirdness here before - we all survived it. INCLUDING the writers ansd artists in questions Wink

lunakat

Live a little, Koiji! (Good behavior is boring!)

Embala

jeb said

Excellent! Love the way you included toaster and preserver, very clever!
Dittos jeb!

You've unlearned nothing during the long time of your hiatus, lunakat. Too busy for more at the moment ... just one thing: I LOVE the little "artistic interlude" - It's nice to have PIKE showing off his skills. He's underrated too often.

Reminds me of a "picture series" gathered by another member long ago ...
"Pike's Lessons". Pike watching the Sunvillagers
- doing claywork at one of the huts
- forging
- talking about seeding and harvesting
... maybe more. Scenes are scattered somewhere over EQ #3 to EQ #5.

Someone is inspired to do a series ... or different authors can add to it? I might hunt down the pics if needed.

[Deleted User]

Have y'all MET my muse? I see EXACTLY how this one would go, and THAT, my dears, is why I am behaving. Laugh

Embala

Have y'all MET my muse?
Give us a chance to get introduced to him.

[Deleted User]

You've seen my ancient thread. I somehow sense this one is not safe to turn him loose on.

Embala

I neither can nor want to compel you into this, Kojiyumi. You decide.

Still taking a bet against you: the grab-bag and we would survive the experiance. Even enjoy it the one way or the other.
Worst that could happen is some controverse lively discussion - not really a bad thing.

[Deleted User]

I shall discuss it with my muse and... we shall see... by this weekend perhaps...

lunakat

Oh wow! I just realized this is the 2011 grabbag! I thought it was for this month.

Must go dig up November...

[Deleted User]

lunakat said

Oh wow! I just realized this is the 2011 grabbag! I thought it was for this month.

Must go dig up November...


That's okay... I wasn't paying attention, either!

Embala

There are other old grab-bag threads - no one would complain when they are revived as well Wink

[Deleted User]

Never did get around to this one...

Embala

Kojiyumi asked me to post this one for her - she's on her phone and not able to do it herself.


Wings

The band of silk that kept him in blissful darkness was of a slightly rough weave. Not enough to be uncomfortable, but enough to make him want to reach up and adjust it. Strong hands holing his wrists down with gentle firmness prevented that, however, and he focused his attention, instead, on what the second pair of hands were doing. These hands were delicate, each touch a butterfly kiss as they slid up his calves, trailing a musky oil over his flesh. Softer than the silk as they moved back down, one cradling his heel, the fingers of the other tracing the tendons across the top of his foot, to his toes, sliding under to stroke slowly, sensually, at the arch, setting off a spark of sensation, far beyond a mere tickle. He couldn’t remember the start of this game, but now every sense was in overdrive as he squirmed back against the wall of muscle holding him steady.
He startled when a tongue tickled his fingertips. Strange, he thought, rough. Up and down, suckling on them… He drew back, though, when sharp teeth began to nibble at them.
His reward was an eight of razor sharp claws sinking into his hand along with the teeth.

Pain raced from wounded hand to brain with the speed of skyfire, ripping him from the dream and slamming him face first into reality. His reaction was immediate and reflexive, ripping his hand away from the attack and swinging back down. Only his confusion and his assailant’ reflexed prevented the outcome from being anything more than a near miss as coherence gradually set in.
Now fully awake and upright, Wyl gingerly rubbed the punctures and scratches adorning his hand and glared with baleful eyes at the ball of cream and gray fur that sat by his knee, returning his gaze with eyes as hard and blue as glacial ice. He knew that look.
Feed the cat. Now.
Windchaser. His daughter’s precious and extremely evil cat. A cat capable of cowing his lupine companions into a corner. A cat who had destroyed three bowstrings, countless fletching, and the laces to every pair of boots and sneakers he owned. He didn’t hate the cat despite that. Not really. He just wasn’t too overly fond of her. Especially not at the moment.
“You’ll get your food... after I get dressed…” his voice was a low growl, brown eyes locked on blue, neither giving. Until he realized some of the wounds were deep enough to have begun to bead blood. Great. As if his day wasn’t already going to be painful enough.
Knocking the cat to the floor with a toss of his legs, he slowly ambled upright and dragged towards the bathroom. He needed a shower. His mind flickered back to the dream, pre-catbite, and he felt his cheeks color a bit. A cold shower.
It was going to be a long day.

He should never have gone down to the snake’s office, but he was feeling a mix of belligerent and over confident, thinking he could take her on with no problem that day. Thinking it would be something simple like demanding he extract some quick piece of schlock for the house’s splatterpunk rag, he braced for conflict he was sure would end in her getting a story out of him… but not without a fight. . He wasn’t going to just roll over and give her what she demanded. It was the demanding part that got to him. He actually enjoyed writing stories that got comments of “ew, gross!” from even his kids.
He was fairly sure he was the only writer of all of Blue Mountain’s catalog who wasn’t frightened of Winnowill, and was willing to go toe to toe with her over what he wanted.
She blind-sided him this time, though. He went in ready to throw a hundred bad ideas at her that she’d throw back into his face, and on they’d go.
Well, that’s what he got for thinking ahead.
No, she wanted him to do a signing. Small bookshop. One town over. He was getting tired of this. She was rather annoyed at his… failure to realize his potential. She tried constantly to convince him with backhanded comments. His skills were worthy of the big screen, but he was governed by his small-time mentality. Content with the success he had.
And he was.
He found no appeal in the flash and dazzle of popular visual media. The extent of visual he delved into was the occasional dabble into still photography. He’d gained an appreciation of the art from—

A quick send as he ruffled his hair dry with an oversized towel told him everyone was already out of the house. Not that he didn’t know this. Both of his children had school, and his lifemate had a… meeting… with some… client… two cities over… leaving him alone with…. The cat….
….and the pest now…. Buzzing… around his head…. And singing.
Yeah, this day was going to be a trial of his patience. Which was getting shorter and shorter with every breet-a-deet.

Picking through his closet, he tried to ignore the screeching of the bug buzzing around him as he dressed, chattering incessantly about nothing and everything and making his skull throb. The stupid thing had been gifted to his son by one of the boy’s friends, who he later found out was under order to get rid of it himself. So they ended up with it. Its actual name was Bumble, but Wyl was content to refer to it as the NeoPres Nightmare. He wasn’t totally sure what twisted lunatics figured out how to clone Preservers, nevermind larger, but he wanted to meet them. And beat them to death with a rusty nailbat. Preservers belonged in the medical industry, to military, and science. Being useful, lifesavers. They did not belong mass-generated as fashionable companions to the people who had the money to buy them. It was wrong.
Nevermind being extremely detrimental to the mental stability of people who hated the obnoxious insectoids. Like himself.
So now, to sum up his morning, his hand was throbbing from the cat attack, making doing up the laces of his doublet a painfully slow process, his head was hurting from the preserver’s singing, and he still had a day of dealing with questions about his writing process that he was positive would lead to a burning homicidal rage that he couldn’t unleash roiling in his chest ahead of him.
He could feel the burn starting the third time he had to redo his eyeliner because his hands were shaking from restraint. And that was with the bug locked outside the bathroom. It was the incessant chirping and chattering to be let in that was fueling it.
At least going to this stupid book… thing…. would get him away from it.

“Go away” was a phrase, he’d learned, that was not in the lexicon of most preservers. Especially where “High-things” were concerned. He thought they were conditioned from hatching to obey, but had been told that they were conditioned to be helpful, not just obey. So telling one to go away was not being helpful. And unfortunately this one had caught on to his asking to go wrapstuff small dogs in the neighborhood. It came back “much vexed” after getting hit with a power washer for wrapping up the yapper down the block and showed it in true preserver fashion. Wyl was an hour combing the sticky webbing out of his hair with Dia’s help.
No time to risk that level of mess now. Just ignore it…
He let the kitchen door swing back on it, hearing a leathery thump, and smiling to himself. It darted through on the next swing, flying into his face, chattering its annoyance at him.
His frustration meter went into the red.
He was DONE. Grabbing the little creature, fingers over its mouth, he slammed it into the blender, popping the lid on. It fluttered around wildly, pushing at the lid. Wyl’s lips curled into a deadly smile and he shook his head, letting his fingers run over the buttons.
“You. Will be. QUIET. I hear a squeak out of you, and I hit the smoothie button. Got it?”
Bumble nodded rapidly and went quiet.
Turning away from the blender, Wyl leaned back against the counter and sighed, enjoying the morning silence. His ears were ringing deep in his skull from the preserver’s voice, and he reveled as it slowly faded. Apparently deciding to threaten the little monstrosity with imminent death was the key to peace and sanity.
He was busy making a quick breakfast, two slices of dark brown bread dropped into the toaster while he hunted jam in the refrigerator. Just a quick breakfast. He didn’t have any time for much more considering how late he’d slept, and how long it took to get ready.
He didn’t hear the door whisper open a crack. He certainly never heard the soft footfalls on the kitchen tile. Or the soft thump of paws as they jumped up onto the counter. Soft paws that padded at the agitated bug in the blender, wings fluttering against the sides of the pitcher. That fluttering was all he heard.
But he turned just in time to realize that maybe his decision wasn’t so great after all... In that last moment right before everything went horribly wrong.
In retrospect he’d think maybe the microwave would have been a better idea.

“WINDCHAS—” was all he got out… before his morning went from bad to a nightmare out of one of his own short stories.

Less than two weeks ago, he’d walked into the kitchen to… there still weren’t words for the disaster. Dyrr and some of his friends were raiding the kitchen. Every cabinet was open. Every surface was covered in something either slimy, sticky or a mix of the two. When Wyl walked in, one of them was trying to jam an entire bowl of fruit into the blender, putting all his weight on the lid while holding down the button, causing belches of liquid to spew up over the sides onto the counter.
Taking a single step into the kitchen, Wyl put his bare foot down on a dropped raw egg, feeling the shell further crush under his pad, the slippery yolk squishing up between his toes.
“What. The. FUCK.”
Dyrr looked up from making a towering sandwich and caught his father’s gaze, the eyes darting from one boy to the next, down the line, and finally settling on him. There was a faint red glow at the center of his pupils that… well…. Yeah, this wasn’t good.
“Guys. I think we need to—” Geoki, his best friend since he could remember, elbowed him with a dopey grin on his face.
“Dude, your dad swore!”
“Geo—”
“That’s, like, the most I’ve EVER heard him say…!”
That’s when the kid making the fruit mes lost his grip. The blender tipped over and barfed lumpy orange froth all over the counter and onto the floor. Wyl’s vision went RED and his lips pulled back from his teeth.

Wyl really didn’t remember much after that save walking back in later and the boys had almost finished cleaning up the room. In perfect silence.

It all happened in a breath. A blink
He never noticed how far away from the refrigerator the kitchen counter seemed. Not when there was a cat on it. A cat who was standing on the blender buttons, pawing at the preserver inside the mixer.
His fingers wrapped around her chest just a second after her weight depressed one of the buttons.
There was one other thing he’d never noticed, not being a major kitchen denizen. He didn’t notice the blender pitcher had cracked from the force Dyrr’s friend had put on it while trying to blend. Not a huge crack, not enough to really be obvious… but enough to ensure the lid didn’t quite fit right anymore.
There was a hideous wet scream from the counter, and he dropped the cat, almost threw her across the room, turning back to the blender, staring at the swirling mass of color in frozen horror.
The seal between lid and pitcher chose that moment to fail.
He felt something warm splatter across his face and chest. Something dripped from his bangs, down the side of his face. What hadn’t hit him had made a mess of the walls in a swirling spray.
It was impressive how much... blood... was in such a tiny body.

There was no time to clean this up. At all. Wyl simply closed his eyes and reached out with numb fingers to press the off button on the blender, feeling the pressure increase behind his eyes.

He felt Windchaser winding around his legs.
Behind him, he heard the toast pop up as a car horn honked.

Winnowill had sent one of her peons, a junior editor by the name of Kureel, to drive him over. Really to babysit and ensure he actually showed up. He’d been at the curb no longer than a minute, honking only once before he saw the writer stride stiffly out of his house in a whirl of anachronistic velvet and suede and down the walk towards him. He could see the scowl from a mile away.
He was looking down at his phone, sending Winnowill a message to let her know they were underway as Wyl got into the car, slumping down. Kureel was no big fan of the writer. Their attitudes clashed impressively among OTHER issues they had with each other.
“They’re expecting us to be on time. Let’s g—” Kureel’s jaw fell. Patches of Wyl’s russet hair was stringy with something… sticky looking, darkening it. Similar was in long splatters across the sleeves of his loose jade green shirt, and hints of it gleamed still-wet on the dark velvet and brocade doublet. One cheek was smeared with the stuff, and across his nose bridge and other cheek, it was stippled like little freckles.
“What…”
**Drive.**
Kureel ignored the hard send. There was something in Wyl’s hair. Something crumpled. Before Wyl could pull away, Kureel reached up and plucked what he thought was a dead leaf from the other elf’s hair. Strange. It looked like—
“Is this… a butterfly wing?”
**DRIVE.**

The “splatter gore” look he’d donned had garnered mixed reactions from amused awe, to wrinkled noses. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew this day was going to end up in a story somehow. One way or another.

When he got home, he pointedly avoided the kitchen and headed straight upstairs to rest, unbuttoning his doublet and pulling it off, tossing it into the hamper in the bathroom as he stopped to wash his face The blood had dried into a strangely tacky substance, like half-dried glue, and he thought maybe the vest might be a total loss. It was just... unpleasant on his skin.

The house was almost painfully quiet as he entered the bedroom, and he felt the guilt setting in as he toed off his boots. He really hadn’t meant for this to happen. He wouldn’t really have blended the bug himself. Maybe boxed and posted it to another continent, but… He hadn’t anticipated Windchaser getting up there and—
Sighing, he lay back on his bed and looked at the ceiling. Trying to decide how he was going to explain to his family what happened. Best to be direct and honest, as usual. And try to keep it quiet. Despite his appearance of the day. Everyone thought it was makeup, anyway. So, that reduced his chance of ending up on cruelty charges and having to sit in jail for who knows how long over the whole incident. He sensed he wouldn’t survive long behind bars. A week at most.
Pushing himself upright, he ambled towards the bedroom door, resigning himself to going and cleaning the kitchen of the remaining blood before it set up totally and couldn’t be removed without a knife.
Sharp teeth suddenly sank into his ankles, claws digging into his foot. He didn’t even have the energy to yelp.
Oh. Yes.
That’s right.
In all the chaos, he’d forgotten.
He’d forgotten to feed the cat.
Sighing, he shook her loose and headed downstairs to open a can for her, and start the scrubbing before—
“Dad? Hey, you home? I—WOAH. What happened in HERE?”
He was sure one day he’d look back on all this and laugh, but for now… for now…
For now he had to find the words.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And I just had to include this old image... because between it and the challenge prompt... yeah... this story was meant to come around...

jeb

I sympathize with the anger caused by that particular form of feline wake-up call, having experienced it once or twice myself. Also think it would be hard to resist the impulse to puree a preserver if they existed in real life.

TrollHammer

heh heh heh... They'll never know who told the cat to go in there... err.. Oh, this thing is on?



Ahem... So, anyway, great story! I'll have to do a search and see if you've got more stories around! Thanks to Embala for posting it too.



Never keep your muse locked up... It likes it too much down there in the dungeon, it would seem.



Probably should refrain from keeping your muse in kitchen containers as well. Just a thought.

[Deleted User]

He has a knack for getting into the strangest situations.

And he prefers catacombs to dungeons, anyway. Much more cozy. And better decorated.