I didn’t write every day in November, but the days I did write, I will try to match up in December posts here. The first week was really productive, I was pretty happy with it.
Day 2, a writing day 11:09 am 11/2/13
Rook paced back and forth in front of the bar, supremely agitated. He’d felt her awaken over a month ago, but there had been no other obvious signs after that. Not even any vague, could be taken that way if he really wanted to signs. And he really wanted to. After centuries of tracking her patterns and learning to recognize that particular tug in his gut, he’d finally figured out how to predict when and where she would be coming, and had managed to insinuate himself into the community of the town she’d be born in decades before her arrival. No one here knew it was him, and no one following him would suspect this of being anything other than his usual flights of fancy. It was entirely too soon for him to have known she’d come, but a few years later, he’d been rewarded with that particular tug in his gut – and quite far ahead of schedule, too. Rook had taken that as a sign that he’d figured it out this time, he was definitely in the right place. All he had to do was wait.
He’d amused himself for the first few years assuming his new identity, making friends with the locals and enemies with others, building a reputation- he so dearly loved his reputations. Jon had become increasingly short with him until he’d finally opened Rook’s bar and given Jon a place to find new outlets for his frustrations. It wasn’t that Jon resented Rook, more it was that Rook himself was increasingly frustrated, and as his working partner, Rook left all the being frustrated to Jon. Rook handled all the hostessing, and life went on.
However, no one who had checked in with him in the past decade, nor anyone who had come to the bar had been remotely interesting, at least on a grand scale, and Rook was getting tired of waiting. He knew she was here somewhere and he knew sooner or later her signal would get strong enough for other people to notice – not to mention if she was undergoing her Awakening, there’d be all sorts of interesting powers cropping up in her life, almost certainly at the wrong moments in front of all the wrong people and GAH!
Rook slammed a fist down on the bar, earning nothing more than a raise eyebrow from Jon. “Go take a walk somewhere else, birdie. I’m tired just from watching you.”
Rook’s head whipped toward him and he pursed his lips at Jon and glared. “A lot of damned help you’ve been- where the hell is she? Don’t you have anything yet?” Jon just quietly continued wiping glasses – why were bartenders always wiping glasses? Didn’t he buy a damned dishwasher when he’d opened the place? “Some familiar you are!” he spat, spinning away and plopping himself down in a stool. He was in a foul mood, with no one around but Jon to take it out on.
Jon set down the glass he’d been working on and picked up another. “I’m not your damned familiar Rook, we’ve been over this.” His tone was flat and disinterested, he knew better than to let Rook get to him.
“Oh Sergi,” Rook purred, swiveling around on his seat to make goo goo eyes at Jon. “What ever else did you think dedicated platonic life partner meant? You sure as hell aren’t getting laid in this arrangement.”
“If I am or not is none of your business,” he said, putting the glass down and crossing his arms. “And contrary to your popular delusion people are capable of having sex without your presence.”
Rook shushed him with a little tut tut tut noise. “But is it good sex Sergio? No, no,” he said, holding up a finger. “We both know the answer to that. No need to waste your breath.”
“Every word I say to you is wasted breath,” he muttered, turning away to do anything else but argue with his infuriating little boss. It was too early for this shit.
Rook sighed dramatically and lay back against the bar. “I’m just so bored Jonathan. Behaving was never one of my strong suits.”
“Adversity teaches virtue,” Jon tossed back over his shoulder. He was grateful Rook had let up, he didn’t really feel like using up all of his patience for the day before noon. Why he ever left his room before the bar officially opened was beyond him. Masochism probably.
And then Rook was gone, disappearing in a puff of completely unnecessary feathers. Jon rolled his eyes and went for the broom, knowing Rook would never clean up after himself.
Brooke moved through the next several days on auto-pilot, hearing but not listening, seeing but not absorbing. She’d never been particularly spacey, but lately she just couldn’t hold a thought. Oh sure, when a character came to mind, they were engaging enough, but Brooke just couldn’t seem to care. Their lives were all petty and boring and done, no matter how interesting they might be to the characters themselves. Oh, sure, the events leading to their deaths were all compelling enough, if you weren’t already bored to tears of people dying, which Brooke was. Why she couldn’t imagine someone interesting, with adventures, she’d never know.
And then one afternoon, while she was typing up a particularly insistent character’s story instead of working on her English paper, something very interesting, and very disturbing happened.
Brooke fell completely out of her own head.
There was no other way to describe it, she was in her skull one moment, and the next she was just …somewhere else, watching her body carry on without her. Confused, she tried to push her way back into her head, but she couldn’t. It was full. There was no room for her inside her own skull. Panic starting to set in, Brooke pushed harder, and managed to squeeze out the tiniest space in the back of her head, behind whatever was filling it.
It was an ifrit.
She didn’t know what an ifrit was, or had even heard the word before, but she knew it was an ifrit, and its thoughts were on fire. It burned to look at and to touch and it scared her because it was in her head and it had pushed her out. Freaking right the hell out, she shoved with all her might and felt something give, and suddenly she was back in her body and her hands were her own and everything was just as normal as it had been ten minutes ago.
But it had been ten minutes.
7:01 her clock read. 7. 0. 1. Her last IM had been to Mel at 6:47, and then she’d gone back to her little story. Sure, maybe she’d typed for longer than she’d thought- maybe she was making the whole thing up- but a gnawing feeling in the pit of her gut told her she wasn’t wrong.
There had been something else in her body for ten whole minutes.
Brooke ran to the bathroom and threw up.
She felt cold inside, so she striped down and started the shower, turning it as hot as she could stand. She rinsed the bile from her mouth, then just stood for a minute, letting the water slide down her skin. Her skin turned pink, but the heat did nothing to warm her core. There was a hollow feeling inside, like a place where a fire should be burning that was empty and cold.
It wasn’t gone.
Brooke realized quite suddenly that the cold was from the ifrit, naked and lost without a flame to live in, and cold now that it had been outted from the bright warm place it had tried to curl up in. Brooke cut off the shower and wrapped herself in a towel, darting back across the hall to her room. At a lose for what else to do, she lit the hazelnut toffee candle she’d picked up because it smelled like her favorite coffee shop and stared into the flames.
It was probably her imagination, but she could have sworn she watched the flame jump, and a pressure between her eyes released. Completely spooked, she got up from her desk and turned to take in her room at large, determined to find something else to think about. She picked up her dirty laundry, tidied her bookshelves, re-organized her closet and finally, finally, was tired enough she just collapsed face down on the bed and went to sleep.
The candle flame politely burned a little lower so as not to wake her.
She awoke bright and early the next morning, before her alarm ever went off.
Because it was Saturday. There was no school that day. But she was awake at 6:03 anyways.
Brooke laid there a moment, trying to will herself back to sleep, but it didn’t work. With a resigned sigh, she rolled over and got out of bed. She even stopped and made the bed, since she had this whole, wide, empty day ahead of her.
It was really time to start hanging out with other people again.
She’d gone a little reclusive when her mother had announced her engagement and their impending move. It wasn’t even particularly far, she was still in the same school district even, but somehow this huge, sprawling house just felt like a prison. She hadn’t invited a single person over since they’d moved, hiding at first behind needing to unpack, then just going MIA over most of the summer, not answering texts or emails, completely ignoring calls, just apathetic.
It was over the summer that she’d started writing.
She’d wondered at first if it was her way of acting out, these crazy voices in her head telling her about their deaths. Or if she was trying to replace the friends she’d estranged herself from. At one point, she was convinced that was it, that it was her valiant effort to work through the mess of growing up without a dad and blah blah blah. She’d even tried imagining his story, this crazy tale of a man that had died when she was very young, leaving her with a gift for hearing the dead…
She’d gotten absolutely nothing good out of it. Each word was a labor, an effort to see what came next and eventually she got frustrated and gave up.
Putting those thoughts away, she resolved to out into the world and make the most of this day, since she was awake anyways. On the bright side, being back in school meant she’d probably be getting up at a more regular time every weekend, since she was getting up for school. That meant probably getting back into regular classes at the dance studio near Early Bird, the coffee shop she liked to hang out at. She’d avoided it since the move, feeling like it was somehow taken from her, but today she would end her boycott, finally admitting that the only one she’d been punishing was herself.
She changed out of her pjs and into some work out clothes digging her mat out of the closet and tying it to her laptop bag. In went the phone and the little drawstring back she used like a purse and she was all set. She bounced downstairs to the kitchen, making herself a faux Orange Julius with a vanilla breakfast powder and some OJ and headed out the door.
She had adamantly refused when her step-father had offered to buy her a car for her birthday, going so far as to avoid even learning how to drive. Her mother didn’t push the issue, being too caught up in the excitement of their relatively new romance at the time, so when Brooke pulled out of the garage, it was on a bike. She took more or less her morning bus route, not quite knowing her way around here yet but knowing that the studio was near school, and school was that way. Once on the other side of town, familiarity began to kick in and she found the studio with ease.
She’d missed the very beginning of the yoga class, but it was the dance session afterward she’d really wanted to catch anyways. She rolled out her mat in the back of the room, running through some quick spine warm ups since her limbs were pretty well loose from the bike ride. When she felt ready, she joined in with the rest of the class, finishing out the stretches and feeling herself settle more fully within her own skin. Then the yoga people were packing up, and any dancers not already there were gearing up for the belly dance basics.
The teacher chatted at everybody as they all warmed up, talking about this event put on here, and that event there, and this workshop would be offered then. All the soccer moms gave happy gasps when the African dance workshop was announced and Brooke rolled her eyes. Supposedly the instructor was super hot or something, but the class always filled up pretty much within the first day of being posted, and Brooke never bothered. She hated feeling crammed into the dance space, and would hate to deprive someone who really wanted to go. She swallowed down her mental sarcasm and focused on the lesson that was beginning.
After class, Brooke wandered down the street to the Early Bird, a little ahead of the usual pack that walked down there because of her bike. Most of the women were older, well above her age group, but she’d gotten involved with the studio when her school had started letting students sub in regular morning yoga there for Phys Ed credits. Most kids weren’t willing to get up early enough to make it, but Brooke had found it infinitely preferable to dodge ball and walking the track, and had started going on Saturdays she was up anyways, like today. Curiosity about the class afterward made her stay and watch one day, and encouragement from one of the dancers from the gypsy style troupe associated with the studio made her get up and try it, and she’d been in love with it ever since. The tribal style dancing seemed to actually work with the music more than any “dancing” that was popular with her friends, and it just felt right inside her body. Plus, a lot of the gypsy dancers were really amazing to watch and at least one or two of them usually made it to every basics practice.
Break? Nope. 1:50 pm
Beating the after-class wave meant that Brooke could have her pick of the seats, and she curled up in one of the overstuffed chairs in the back and got out her laptop. Feeling pleased and languid from class, she opened a blank word file and just let her mind wander. She unfocused her gaze and let it slide over the various patrons, letting them “speak” to her.
With her recent introversion came an enjoyment of people watching – a way to be near people but not have to be with them. She’d let her mind wander, making up stories about who they were when they left the coffee shop/mall/bus stop. Sometimes they would be rather mundane – this woman on the way to dentist appointment, this man going to the grocery store- but sometimes she’d be feeling more creative. The man with the newspaper was meeting someone in secret and didn’t want to be recognized, the women whispering in hushed tones in the corner were planning …something? No, idle chatter, they weren’t brave enough to actually act on their plans against this Ferdinand dude, but they were pretty pissed with him nonetheless.
Then sometimes, things got downright bizarre.
Most of Brooke’s characters were pretty down to earth people. They might have some interesting point to their stories, but they were ultimately just regular joes, nothing out of the ordinary. But sometimes, when Brooke’s imagination really ran away with her, their stories would stray into the fantastical. The women, and Ferdinand, were werewolves. The blonde walking out the door was a witch, balking at her mother’s pressures to be “more traditional”. One of the newer girls from dance class was a shapeshifter, and when she practiced at home alone sometimes she’d let feathers trail down her arm, adding to the grace of the movement. The sisters who ran this shop were faeries, and that’s why their garden always had the best produce. That thought particularly amused her as she imagined the glum look on the barista’s face was from the oldest sister scolding her about the late season tomatoes. Brooke jumped when the girl shot her a dirty look and the thought Mind your own business lashed across her mind with a vicious sting. Brooke curled in on herself, deciding to pull up an old story and work on it instead.
1388 words 1 hour 9 min 2:12
Brooke wrote for about an hour, nursing her tea long and nibbling at her scone absently. She’d been trying to flesh out the hows and whys leading up to young mother’s death but wasn’t having much luck. That was what usually happened when she sat down to a piece she’d walked away from. It was eaiser to find the details if she wrote in the same space, but even then, it usually wouldn’t come back. She went back to the beginning, again, hoping the original thought would spark something.
All her thoughts were on the baby, and if there was any way they were both going to make it. Realistically, she should just give the kid up, there just weren’t enough resources for the both of them. But love wasn’t realistic…
Nope, no good. All Brooke could see was a pair of pale hands, wrapped around a tiny bundle, staring in confusion at her shaking hands, her shivering hands, and being so tired…
The woman and her baby had frozen to death. She’d placed them in the alley near one of the bus stops on a route she commonly took, that’s where she had first heard them, and it was as lonely a place to die as any. Feeling cold just from the thought of that brutal winter, she got up to order another tea.
225 words 10 mins 7:17 pm