This is it. This is the big push. My word count marathon. Some of it is glorious, some of it is crap, all of it was a labor of love and stubborn determination. Behold my madness.
“Alright child. You’re free of what was riding you, but I don’t know that its wise to send you back out into the streets if someone assaulted you. Can you go home, or will that cause problems between you and your family?”
“Umm….” Rain thought it over more carefully, now that she wasn’t fighting to stay calm with the elemental riding her. “I should be in school right now….”
Meliki nodded, unsurprised. “I suspected as much. If you left now, you wouldn’t be too terribly late, but I hesitate to send you out there alone…”
“I can walk with her now,” Asha chimed in, and Nanae elbowed her in the ribs.
“You would remain safer if you didn’t broadcast your attachment to Rain, little one,” Meliki pointed out to her gently. Asha’s face fell, and she returned to the busy work Nanae was having her do.
Meliki was quiet a moment, trying to figure out how to best handle this. “I’d rather not keep you out of school and have your step-father have more cause to restrict your visits to us. So far, his claims are baseless, but if we begin interfering with your daily life….”
“What about Rinna or Rabe?” Nanae suggested, and it was Asha’s turn to glare at her. Nanae continued, unabashed. “I know they both tend to take advantage of their fey connections and skip school whenever they feel like it, but they both have good reason to be there, and good reason to stop by here on their way, since we’re between the school and the tattoo shop. The girls are the best pick for an incognito escort Rain for the day, I think.” She turned and addressed Rain more directly. “You’ll still be late, but will it work?”
Rain nodded, trying to think of the best place to hang out while she waited for first period to end. If anyone asked her where she’d been later in the day, she’d just make up something about forgetting her backpack at the studio. It wasn’t likely anyone would go back to the studio to check that she’d returned, but enough students had seen her there that morning that it wasn’t worth straying too far from that truth.
It occurred to Rain to be worried that she seemed to be so good at stretching the truth lately, but she was more worried about that man who’d grabbed her on the street.
“I think that would work, if we can get a hold of them soon enough.” She didn’t like the idea of bothering random girls who regularly skipped class on their day off, but if they were from 8-Leggs, well, at least they weren’t random strangers. Just truants she’d never met.
Meliki nodded and went for the phone. Nanae smiled at Rain and sent a burst of warmth through her tea. “Drink up, cara. It’ll help you feel more settled after everything that’s happened this morning.
[NOTES: So then, does this happen before or after she meets Rinna? Must be after, but I guess it makes sense she wouldn’t remember everyone’s names, especially being all shook up right now.]
12:41 pm 12 mins 535 words
Rain recognized one of the girls as the one she’d met the other day sipping coffee in the lobby at 8-leggs. She was Rinna, so the other one was Rabe.
Rabe was something else.
Like Rinna, she was short, and had strong ethnic features, though she wasn’t Asian but rather Hispanic. Despite her hair being bright cranberry red and her eyes an almost glow in the dark green, it was clear in her tan and her full lips and generous curves that the tiny girl was Latina. Not to mention the flashy make-up and jewelry, or the I’ll cut you attitude she brought to the table.
Rinna stepped forward first, clearly used to shutting Rabe down. “Hello again, Rain. Rinna, remember me?” At Rain’s nod, she continued, gesturing to Rabe. “This is Rebbie, or Rabe, whichever. The Rebel doesn’t really care what you call her, as long as you call her when there’s fun to be had – isn’t that right kitten?”
Rabe flashed a cat-like grin, and suddenly her eyes were more at home in her face. This was a girl who would eat you alive, if given half a chance. If not, she’d make a chance.
“I hear some creeper was giving you trouble out there, chica?” She extended a hand with long, painted fingernails that matched her hair. Rain shook it, feeling the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.
“What are you?” she breathed, before she realized what she’d said. She blushed at the rudeness of her question, but Rebbie just laughed it off.
“I’m a Therian, honey. Cat trapped in the body of a human. It’s such a shame, really, that cheetah is one of the harder therianthropies to catch. Believe me, I’ve tired-”
Her sultry pout was cut short by a sharp elbow to the ribs from Rinna. “Come on, lazy cat. We’ve got to get Rain here to school, before the losers outside lose interest and there’s no one for us to beat up.”
Rain paled at her words, both at the thought of deliberately courting a fight, and that Rinna had indicated a plural.
“There was only one guy chasing me,” she said softly.
“Well, there were two assholes out on the corner when we came in, chica. Don’t worry, we can take ’em.” She flashed her another predatory grin, and Rinna rolled her eyes. Her crazy amber eyes that seemed to flicker with flames in her obvious excitement at violence. Rain shook her head, dismissing the idea. She was seeing what she expected to see, knowing Rinna was a pyro and Rabe was a cat – but she hadn’t know she was a cat when she’d first made that comparison. Maybe there was something to this eye thing after all.
Covertly, she tried to catch a glance at Asha’s or Nanae’s eyes, but they were both studiously ignoring the trio, trying to stay busy. It wasn’t too hard, the on their way to work or errands crowd was in full swing by the time the girls had gotten there from 8-leggs.
“Well, come on then,” Rinna said, breaking Rain out of her thoughts and pulling her out of her seat. She reach down for her backpack, slinging it up on her shoulders and followed her escort to the door.
Rabe started prattling loudly as they hit the streets, giving Rinna the cover to whisper to Rain, “Don’t look at ’em, don’t even think about ’em. These guys are low level punks, they won’t hurt you while you’re not alone. Just have a good time walking with us, and we’ll watch your back for you.” Then she turned and interrupted Rabe, just as loud as she was. They were clearly drawing the attention of everyone around them – then Rain realized they were doing it on purpose. Rinna was wearing flashier clothes than she had been when they’d first met too, she realized, and there was more red in her hair than just the two streaks in front. The girls were obviously decked out to grab attention, meaning no one would miss them walking by. Anyone even half paying attention would see them all leave together, and anyone passing by would notice them. No chance for anyone to quietly make any moves. Smart cookies. Something inside Rain’s chest unclenched and she even smiled as she listened to Rabe and Rinna trash talk each other.
At school, they went around the side parking lot to the gym side entrance. Lots of kids came and went this time of morning doing band stuff, so there’d still be plenty of people to see them, and a reasonable reason to loiter. Sure, if a teacher saw them, they’d probably be sent back to class, but Rain could always hide out in the bathroom or something til the bell rang. It wouldn’t be long, judging by the trickling of people in twos and threes carrying drums, flags, orange plastic cones and the like.
Rinna leaned up against the side of the building and pulled out a cigarette. Rabe made a face moved to stand on the other side of Rain, making a snide comment about how much that shit stank.
“Oh, don’t be bitchy,” Rinna said, flicking her lighter. When she’d had her first drag, she said slyly to Rain, “It’s a great excuse to always have a lighter on me. Not that I need one anymore,” she said, flicking a small flame to life on the tip of her index finger, “but it was handy when I was younger.”
Rabe gave a humph and moved further away, turning her back on them. Then she spotted someone or something that caught her eye, and wandered off in the direction of the band kids, tossing something over her shoulder about being right back.
“Aaand there goes Rabbie,” Rinna said, leaning back against the wall again and closing her eyes.
“Will she be ok?” Rain asked, staring after the disappearing girl.
“Oh yeah. It’s never a question of the Rebel being ok, but more a question of while whoever she’s after be ok by the time she’s done with em. Rebbie likes it a little rough,” she said with a laugh.
Rain shook her head and tried to think about anything else.
“ARE YOU GIRLS SMOKING?!”
A shrill voice cut through the air, startling both Rain and Rinna out of their reveries. Rinna recovered first, giving the librarian wide eyes as she dropped her hand by her side as if trying to hide her smoke.
“No, ma’am, I-”
The thin woman cut her off, holding out her hand. “Give them to me. The pack, the lighter and all.”
“Oh, I don’t have a pack ma’am, I bummed this one and a light off those two dudes over there.”
Rain, and the librarian, turned to look in the direction Rinna was indicating,and sure enough, the two thugs had followed them from the shop and were trying to keep an eye on them without being seen. The librarian, with bigger fish to fry, left the two girls and stormed straight for the hedges and the two men.
“MR. BARKER!” she yelled, calling to the band director. “Call for Clarence! These men are loitering and giving cigarettes to the children!”
Quick as a flash, she reached out and caught both the thugs by the ears, giving them each the tongue lashings of their lives. One of the band kids had run inside, and was coming back with the school’s D.A.R.E. officer, who was already on his radio. Satisfied that Rain would alright, Rinna moved off to round up Rabe and get outta dodge before anyone remembered them and came look.
“We’ll be around Rainy, don’t leave school without us, ok?”
Rain nodded, then moved quickly inside, taking Rinna’s lead and making herself scarce.
1:56p 34 mins 1330
and then Raev sat down to bang out like a hundred more words, cause she was at 43794 or some shit, and honestly, that close, you may as well tough it out. Yeah, the scene with Rinna and Rabe is finished, but you’re damned close girl, so just go with it. Besides, that scene was a lot fun to write. Pretty different from the Rebbie in Spiders so far, but that -is- the Rebbie in her home turf, comfortable and all. I can see her having a badass chica shell to hide in- lot of hurt there, lots of reason to hide. It’s her version of smile until you mean it, I think. Still, I’d really like to see Kain help the Rebel unlock her cat form – maybe do a scene at some point between Kain and Meliki about it? I’d like to see that.
…60 words short. Are you shitting me? Surely you can bang out another 60 words of bullshit. Hell, that was 140 words there without even trying, really. You’re a true english major, baffle them with bullshit. But seriously though, dont’ forget to mention to Cait about that Kain thing.
Mmk, that oughta do it. -200 on the nose before this? Creeepy.
Alonso was furious. It wasn’t that JJ had messed up, he’d come to expect that, but he was pissed that they’d been outsmarted by a stupid little girl. It was so Disney movie plucky young hero bullcrap. He hated it. He felt enough like a comedy duo being saddled with JJ was it was, but with any luck, bringing this girl who could house elementals without being bound to them would impress LBB even more than the lightening bug he’d meant to bring him would, and he’d get JJ turned in no time. Hopefully, that would do something to alleviate JJ’s natural aura of slapstick hijinks and they could really make something of themselves.
He’d endured the tongue-lashing from the nanny-goat of a librarian, only pulled a little power to make them forget why they’d been questioning him and JJ in the first place, and retreated quickly to regroup. Initially, he’d come to rescue JJ and reclaim the elemental he’d worked so hard to summon – but why pour his own energy and sweat and blood into such things when he could just parade around the human elemental detector and bottle whatever she scooped up? He’d harvest waaaay more energy for LBB that way, and with almost no cost to himself. All he’d have to do is follow the girl home, whisper the right words to her family, and no one would miss the kid again. He wasn’t sure if he could the whammy on the girl directly, but kids were funny things, bending so easily when you put on the right pressure. He’d learned that as a kid himself, and it was a lesson that had gotten him where he was now. No longer the scrawny runt of the gang. No, he’d started his own gang, him and JJ, and now they were in good with the new player in town. He’d show them, he’d show everybody, and Alonso was getting in at the ground floor. The only way left from rock bottom was up.
3:02 pm 336 words 20 mins
Rain wasn’t sure how she was supposed to meet up with Rinna and Rabe again that afternoon, but the problem was solved by Zig waiting in the parking lot on his bike. He waved as she lingered under the arch way, scanning the lot for the goons from before. She laughed when she saw him, waving back as she walked over to him.
“Need a lift kiddo?”
“I’d love one,” she answered, taking the helmet he offered her.
Her mother gave her a knowing smile when she came home, the question of why she hadn’t taken her bicycle to class this morning answered as far as she was concerned. Rain couldn’t decide which confused her more – the fact that her mother asked why Zig wasn’t staying for dinner, or the fact that her mother was cooking dinner at all. [NOTES: I’m clearly hinting that Myles is changing tactics, why?] She was more and more like her old self lately, and Rain found herself smiling and relaxing into the familiar. Maybe everything was just wonky because it was all so new, so fast. No one had said anything blatantly bad about Myles, just implied that he was a little over-zealous in his protectiveness of her. And bad about not filling her in on things. But that made good sense, considering. It had to be hard figuring out how to break it to a kid that the only parent they’ve ever known and trusted can’t help you with the world altering changes you’re going through. She could really see where he was coming from.
That stopped her in her tracks. Since when was she empathic toward Myles. Yet she’d done it more than once lately. Sometime was up. But no one had said anything was wrong with her, just that her magic was sealed – which she was grateful for- and that her mace was a lojack -her cell had been the same when her mother had pinched to get her daughter one before Myles. Maybe it was the house. Had she felt friendly towards her step-dad anywhere but at home? She’d have to start keeping track of this sort of thing. When she was done having dinner with her mom she’d go upstairs and dig around and see if she could find a diary or something.
JJ beamed with pride as they followed the motorcycled kids in their beat up old buick. He hadn’t understood why Al would let the kid outta his sight, once he’d convinced the overgrown mall cop to back off. But when they came back in the car, and follow the girl uptown to her very swanky house on the hill, JJ understood. They never coulda kept up on foot. Al was so smart, JJ was real proud to call him boss. Everything was coming up roses.
But when Al didn’t pull in the driveway, kept driving past the nice house and around the bend of the curve, JJ couldn’t help but ask, “Ain’t we gonna nab her Boss?”
Alonso reached out and smacked him without blinking. “Of course, not, it’s broad daylight, in the middle of a real nice neighborhood. Kid going to school downtown shouldn’t be living all uptown like this – not with all the private schools around. Something’s up, Jay, and I intend to get the scoop before I make an ass of myself and botch the whole thing – ya got it.”
JJ nodded, all smiles again. Al was so smart.
Rain had been so caught up looking over her shoulder for goons, that it was another three days before Rain realized she hadn’t seen Myles.
Sure, she usually did her best to avoid him, and he never got home until after she did, but still, she’d usually see his car at some point, or hear he and her mother talking, or he’d knock on her door and say he was taking them all out to eat or something.
But she hadn’t seen him since she’d given him that hug and thrown him all off balance.
It wasn’t unusual for he and her mother to disappear for a few days, but for him to leave her mother here? Unheard of.
So when she came home from school that day, and her mother was in the kitchen like she’d been all week, Rain pulled a bar stood to the island and helped herself to the fresh cookies her mother was cooling there.
Her mother asked her absently about her day, but it wasn’t the disinterested distraction she’d become used to. Just her mom engrossed in laying cookies onto the sheet so she could get them in the over. When she’d finished, she grabbed the milk and two glasses and shared some cookies with her daughter.
Rain decided to just go for it.
“Where’s Myles? I haven’t seen him all week.”
“Oh,” she answered, dunking a cookie, “He’d off to one of his meetings. He’ll be back sometime next week.”
Rain raised her eyebrows. “And you didn’t go with him?”
Her mother reached out and patted her hand. “No, honey, I thought I’d spend the weekend with you. Unless you had plans with that boy?” Her mother’s soft smile said she wouldn’t mind if she did.
Rain hadn’t honestly thought about Zig much all week. She’d taken the bus to and from school and holed up at home, avoid goons. She’d also been enjoying just having dinner and watching tv with her mom, each day that she’d come home to find her mother waiting feeding her desire to come home faster and do it all again the next day. Things felt right again, and she was soaking it up.
Which triggered her warning flags.
She tucked the though away for writing in her journal tonight as she reached for another cookie.
Only, she’d never actually dug out a journal. Or written down any of the thoughts she’d intended on. Everything was just as foggy and muddled as it had been earlier that week.
She decided it was time to go and talk to Rook again. With Myles away, the risk of him tracking her there would be lessened, right?
She’d go later on Saturday, after spending the morning with her mom. Maybe they could have a barbecue by the pool or something, before August gave way to September and it got too cold.
They ordered in pizza and had a movie night, Rain falling asleep on the couch with her head on her mother’s shoulder.
4:45pm 1094 30 mis
Caitlin had been invaluable partner in this last stretch. Just as Raeven had been about declare that she was out of steam for the day, Caitlin provided the little boost needed to get back at it. She didn’t really have much to say, but she wasn’t going to let a measly 5k stop her from winning. She had almost done it. Gotten a whole three k in today. It was almost halfway through what she needed to have done. What she needed was a fresh look.
Time to jump around in time some more.
Myles has been working on something. A bit of a bobby trap. =when= someone messed with her magic – and he was sure it was when, not if- they would be attacked by his spell, and he would be able to show Rain they’d been using her and he was protecting her and how he would help her through all of this and it would all be ok and pull her closer to him.
Meliki went into her garden, reaching into the core of the earthly plane, pouring her prayers out to her mother, asking for guidance. This child had death magic – it was not a thing one typically saw in humans, or witch kin. Yes, witch magic came from dragons, and dragons were the keepers of the realms of death, of the soul, but the soul also belonged to life, was the source of all magical power, and witch magic had so many paths on this plane to choose from, it very rarely went the route of death.
No, more likely, she was something else.
So Meliki poured her prayers unto the Earth, letting the spirits of the mother she walked on guide her voice to the ears that must hear it.
Then she went to speak to Kain.
“She wants to talk to us,” Jon said, looking up from his phone.
Rain had known she’d get sucked in again if she didn’t stop and do something right then, so under the guise of texting her boyfriend to tell him she was staying in that weekend, she shot a desperate text to Jon.
Something’s wrong with me. I need to talk.
Rook perked up from where he’d been playing with the stage curtain ties. “Oh?”
Jon shrugged and went back to staging glasses for when they opened in an hour or so.
Rook made an irritated little noise, but didn’t raise to Jon’s bait, instead returning to fiddle with the curtain.
When Rook wasn’t looking, Jon shot back, Name the time and place, we’ll do what we can for ya.
Rain awoke the next morning, still on couch, curled up under an afgan. Her mother was in the kitchen, making pancakes. Rain reached for her phone to see what time it was, and saw the message from Jon. Right. She was stuck in the twiligh zone and needed help. Still, help could wait til after pancakes, right? No, text him now, and keep the ball rolling. She’d lost a whole week to this already, who knew how much time could slip by if she let it.
Anywhere, as soon as possible. I keep losing myself.
While she was at it, she sent one to Zig.
I need to talk to Rook and Jon. Something’s happening.
And then her mother realized she was awake and called out that pancakes would be ready soon, and Rain padded into the kitchen happily.
Zig brought the text to Meliki, hours later when he finally woke up for the day. She suggested he work it out with Jon when best to take Rain where. This was out of her league, and area of interest. [NOTES: TIMELINE ISSUES-WHEN DOES MEILIKI SAY ‘IN THREE DAYS TIME’ ABOUT HER CONTACTS? WHEN DOES ROOK TALK TO FROST?] She’d turned these problems over to the people responsible for the mess, let them deal with it. She wasn’t about to bring her sithen into the middle of war that had nothing to do with the peoples of this plane anyways.
But she wouldn’t begrudge the girl her allies, and Zig was already in too deep. He was a known associate of the girl’s, so he may as well help her out now.
5:35pm 20 mins 712 words
859. It seemed like such a paltry goal. Paltry, what the fuck did that word even mean? Not worth much. Alright, learned something. Now then, 859 words. Surely less than that right now, but you can’t let the word count become your enemy. It must stay your tool, so stay focused, and keep writing!!!
Zig came to get her after her mother went to bed. It was stupid, but she just didn’t want to miss any time with her mom. Who knew when this sweet reverie would end? So he pulled into her driveway a little after midnight and blew up her phone til she answered.
“Hey sleepyhead, I’m here. Come on down, and we’ll find out what’s going on with you, ok?”
Rain nodded into the phone, a clear sign that she was too tired for this. But Zig kept babbling at her from the other end, repeating things like “Get out of bed. Are you out of bed yet? Pull back the covered and put your feet on the ground and stand up. Are you standing up yet? Come on, get some clothes on and grab your shoes and don’t forget your keys! You’ll just have to come back up for them if you don’t get your keys the first time. We have to leave them at my place, remember? Are you out of bed yet?”
Finally, she made it downstairs and climbed sleepily onto the back of the Vespa. She was glad he’d brought it, she doubted she could have stayed on the bike at this point. He’d been thinking about how loud it would be, but then again, he didn’t think 3 a.m. was that late. He’d somehow expected her to still be up.
When they got to the shop, Tripp was waiting outside to take her keys for them. Rain was half asleep and drooling onto the back of Zig’s jacket, but Tripp unclipped her keys for her and straightened her a little more thoroughly onto the seat. Then it was just a quick jaunt down the street to Rook’s.
Jon had dutifully cut everyone off at 2 like Rook had asked, so by 3, everyone had sobered up and gotten bored and left. Sure, they could have officially closed, like any other bar, but Rook never did anything the way he was supposed to.
By the time Zig pulled up with Rain closer to 3:30, Rook had nearly paced a hole in the floor.
“Calm down, carid. She’ll be here.”
Rook had turned to snap something back at him when Zig knocked on the door, a sleepy Rain leaning heavily on him for support.
“Aiya!” Rook cried. “She looks like she’s been drugged!”
“She was probably just sleeping,” Jon said calming. “You know, like a normal teenage girl.”
Rook didn’t even bother to shoot him a dirty glace as he rushed forward to help Rain to a seat.
“What is it, dearheart? Are you alright? Jon said you haven’t been feeling yourself.”
Jon rolled his eyes heavenward at Rook’s dramatic mothering and shook his head. He pulled a bottle from the fridge under the counter and poured a drink for the girl. As he brought it around the counter, both Zig and Rook gave him dubious looks.
“Relax,” he said, making a face at the pair of them. “It’s orange juice. You both know I wouldn’t let a minor drink in my bar.”
He didn’t mention to them that he’d laced it with some of his special blend, a tincture of his power herb, a plant he’d grown from when he was a small boy. His leaf tended to taste of sweet mint, though he suspected that was simply because that’s what he expected it to taste like. But it was tasteless in its suspended form, and he would use his influence over it to help wake the kid up.
Rain took the drink without thinking, sipping absently as he sleepy brain tried to come into focus. The cold, tart juice helped, hitting her tongue with a jolt. As she came mentally into focus, she realized everyone was starting at her expectantly.
“Ah, she must be waking up,” Zig said with a smile. “She’s blushing.”
She reached out and hit him without thinking. Zig just laughed, though he did rub his arm.
Jon pulled up a chair, pulling himself more into Rain’s focus. Let the clowns clown around all they wanted. He would help the kid at least.
“Alright Rain. You said something was wrong, what’s happening?”
“I don’t to leave my house,” she said, staring into her orange juice. Before she could start to feel silly about it, she let it all come spilling out.
“My mom’s been really different since she married Myles, and I don’t ever want to invite any of my old friends over, and they never seem to call or text me anymore, and I didn’t want to leave the house all summer, and then school started and I started to feel like myself again and my mom’s started acting more like herself and I just want to spend time with her while it lasts but I can’t hold a thought lately. I’m not as angry at Myles anymore, I’m even starting to see his side of things but that’s so not like me but when I went to write it all down so I wouldn’t forget I spent all night on the couch watching movies with my mom instead and I know it all sounds really dumb but I just keep losing time and its freaking me out.”
She took a long breath when she’d finished, and another gulp of her orange juice.
“Sounds like a basic reluctance spell,” Rook said, studying his fingernails. Under the table, Jon kneed him for sounding so disinterested. Just because this was old hat to them didn’t mean it wasn’t all new and scary to her.
Rook sighed dramatically but when on to explain.
“Your step-father is a witch, right, and it’s not uncommon for witches to spell things they consider as belonging to them. Sometimes its houses or cars or stuff, but sometimes its people, especially people the witch doesn’t want other people thinking about too hard.”
Jon cleared his throat, and Rook gave him a dirty look. Zig took up the silence.
“It might be you directly, but its more likely just the house he moved you into. That’s why we you started going to school again, things changed a bit. I don’t know about your mom, but the house being spelled bit makes good sense.”
“Yeah?” Rain asked, the first glimmer of hope starting to fill her eyes. Maybe she wasn’t just being a stupid teenager after all.
“Yeah,” Jon said, leaning back in his chair. “It’s possible. I think it’s more likely he has it over you directly, though, so that anyone that has anything to do with you is affected. A house is a house is a house – if it were important to him, he probably wouldn’t have moved you two into it.” He stopped, knowing he was started to sound biased against her step-dad. He was, but he didn’t want that to be the prevailing thought here. He wanted to give Rain sound information so she could make her own decisions. He formed his thoughts carefully, knowing his herb in her system would transmit his moods to her and affect how she was thinking.
“At any rate,” Rook cut in, tired of pouting. “All this is very easily solvable. You just need to teach yourself to keep your shields up while you’re at home, instead of relaxing them like you might usually do.”
“Uhhh, about that…”
Zig was trying to make himself look small while simultaneously trying to draw attention to himself by speaking.
“She, uh,” he stammered. “She doesn’t really have any shields yet.” The rest of his words came out in a tumbled rush. “I’ve been trying to teach her but she’s just not very creative and we haven’t gotten very far yet.”
“Hey!” Rain cut in, indignant. “I am too creative. I’ve been writing short stories all summer long, thank you very much.”
“Oh, you have,” Jon said, sitting up straighter and leaning in in interest. “What about.”
Rain blushed again, and it was her turn to try and become small.
“Nothing really,” she mumbled into her juice. “Just, stories about how people die.”
Rooks eyes grew huge, and it was only Jon stomping on his foot and kept Rook form pouncing on her. “Oh?” Jon asked, maintain calm interest. He would coax it out of her, he just had to keep focused on the mind state he wanted her in, which meant keeping himself thinking nice, neutral, reassuring thoughts.
“They’re nothing special, just little, everyday deaths about people that could have been from around here. Or anywhere really. Just little things, like a kid choking on an apple seed, or an old lady having her heat cut off cause she didn’t pay the bill. It’s nothing very good…” she trailed off.
Jon nodded, knowing exactly what she was talking about. Rook could touch the thoughts of anyone who would know death -which was everyone, really- and Rain could touch their memories. Currently, it was only the strongest deaths that spoke to her – those that had already happened, and happened recently and nearby. As she grew stronger, she could be able to touch the memories of anyone that was subject to death – and again, that was almost anyone. Some memories were harder to reach than others, but once she’d come to hold her share of Death, it would become so natural…
Jon blinked rapidly, knowing those thoughts weren’t his own. Mentally, he waved a hand at Rook, chasing him out. These were not things Rain needed to see yet.
“Sooo….” Rain said, as everyone had gone quiet.
Jon sighed and rubbed his temples, trying to figure out how to put this.
“Your stories are real,” Rook said impatiently. “Everybody dies, and what you’re writing about is the echo of their deaths. Your connection to your own head is very lose, and it’s easy for you to make room in your skull for other people – but most people are still attached to themselves. It’s only the dead and incorporeal that will find their way into your mind accidentally. Anything else that winds up there is there on purpose.”
Damnit Rook! You’ll scare the girl! he shot to Rook mentally.
I’m tired of tiptoeing! he hissed back.
Zig, who had been watching this all quietly, stepped back in.
“It’s not as bad as it sounds kiddo. Jack sees ghosts all the time, and Delphi and I both have visions of future sometimes. Most people are more loosely seated in their own bodies or time lines that you’d think, but they never really talk about it, cause, well come on. You’re pretty freaked out about it now, huh?”
Rain nodded vigorously at this and clutched her glass. Zig reached out and patted her arm. “Same with anybody else kiddo. We all grow up thinking we’re alone and crazy or freaks or whatever, but there’s more of us than you think.”
He gave her his best big brother smile. “We’re here for ya kiddo. You’re not alone.”
Rain stared at him a moment, then shoved back her chair and flung her arms around him and cried.
“I think this is why they call her Rain,” Rook whispered to Jon, who elbowed him in the ribs.
– 6:32 pm 1968 52 mins
They were in the last two thousand words. They were going to make it. It wasn’t even 8 o clock yet and they were almost done – hell, the might be enough words by the time she finished to cut out all the notes, paste it together in something like chronology and see what she’d really gotten done. Not that everything else didn’t count, she just hated how disjointed this whole project was. Surely, as she got better at this marathon writing thing, it would come easier, but for now, she was just happy to have nearly finished. Less than 2000 words to go.
A big, 2000 word finish. Rain could do that. She didn’t know how, but surely, I mean, they’d come so far already…
She looked back behind her at all the words laid out, all the things they done.
She’d had breakfast – a lot. She’d written stories, about the fallen dead. She’d gone to school and to yoga and the Early Bird – she’d met Asha and Zig and Jon for the first time (not to mention Rook, so she wouldn’t).
Rain looked back at the 48,000 words looming behind her. It was an impressive word pile, but they still had a long way to go.
Zig reached out and took her hand. “But I’ll be here for it.”
“Me too,” said Asha, coming up on the other side.
Rain squeezed both their hands, giving them each a great big smile.
“Alright then, let’s do this.”
When Jon had gotten Rain quieted back down, it was clear the girl was spent. It was time to get her home. Everyone agreed the only thing to really be done at this point was have her work on her shielding. Without that protection in place, she was open to pretty much anyone and everyone, and it was only a matter of time before the wrong person noticed.
Suddenly Rain was reminded of why she’d avoided everyone this week.
“Actually, someone did chase me the other day.”
“Oh yeah,” Zig said, suddenly remembering picking her up the other day.
“They WHAT?!” Rook screamed, leaping to his feet. Jon didn’t even bother to try and calm him down, he was too thrown off by that declaration himself.
Rain flinched back from the angry little man, but answered him anyways.
“On the way to school. I was walking, and there was this lightening elemental, and this guy tried to grab me and we shocked him and I ran to the Early Bird and Meliki called the Spiders and they walked to and from school and everything has been fine since then.” She shrunk back on herself when she’d finished, feeling like a guilty little kid.
“Well,” Rook said venomously. “Jon, remind me that I owe Meliki a fruit basket.” Jon made a face and Zig snorted, but Rook pressed on.
“I’m not angry at you, Rain, I’m just upset that anyone else is taking a notice of you. It’s bad enough your step-father’s all wardy wardy, I don’t need to look over my shoulder about someone else.” He stopped himself, even before Jon had to give him a gentle cough in warning. “Look honey, we’ve waited a long time to find you, and no matter you want to do with you life, I’m still going to be protective of you, so you’ll just have to get used to my little outbursts, ok? Either that or stop being in mortal danger. Whichever works best for you.” He waved it off with a dismissive hand, walking back towards the bar and stairs.
“Don’t mind him, kiddo,” Jon said, standing as well. “He means well, he’s just addicted to theatrics.”
“I heard that,” Rook muttered, rather loudly for a mutter.
“Obviously. You’re still in the room, aren’t you?” Jon called over to him.
Rook humphed and glided up the stairs, all the world like a Southern Belle.
Zig covered his mouth to keep from laughing.
Jon put a friendly hand on Rain’s shoulder. “Just look out for yourself, kiddo. Work on your wardings and we’ll put an ear to the ground about this creep of yours, ok?”
“Uhh, two creeps, actually,” she said meekly. “The guy had a friend after we left the coffee shop. They followed us to the school, but our officer was talking to them when I went inside.”
“Good, good!” Jon said warmly. “That’s actually a lot to go on, kiddo. You did good.” He gave her a smile and a little squeeze to her shoulder then moved back to give her room to stand. Zig did the same, moving toward the door but staying close enough to help reassure Rain.
“I’ll keep in touch kiddo, let you know what I dig up, ok?”
Rain nodded, feeling better with someone else on the case. It really helped to not feel so alone. Without realizing it, she reached back for Zig’s hand, who was there in an instant. He gripped her tight, and she squeezed back, then yawned.
“Go on with you now girlie,” Jon said, a bit of some sort of brogue creeping into his voice. “Get ya some sleep.”
She nodded again, yawned again, and followed Zig out the door.
– 8:36 pm 791 words 25 mins
Spiders Rain has met
Zig, Tripp, Jack and Rinna, Delphi and Seven, Rabe and Rinna …ooooh Z. Do I really want my last 2k to be Z?
Moira stalked through the streets, hating this place already. The placid little homes sitting behind their perfect little white fences screamed peace and serenity, life and abundance. She wanted blood, and chaos, craved war and conflict. There was none of that here.
And yet, there was a spark of it here. A piece of her former power.
There had to have been, or there would be nothing to have drawn her here.
She swept through the streets, blood-red cloak streaming behind her in an icy wind that carried with it the sound of rattling bones. She would find it soon enough. And until then, well, people died every day.
Bei and Miel are dark, beautifully dark. Miel is hispanic, Bei looks somehow both asian and ethiopian. They’re really only up at night, because Miel is very weak. Either she doesn’ feed enough, or he distance from the kiss, or something, but she’s not strong enough to take anything but moonlight.
Incidentally, the fact that bei is a moonwalker says a lot about how powerful she is a solar based plant fey.
I JUST WANT TO FINNISHE!!!!!!!!
Meliki allied with an Oracle? She knows more than she should, and is more powerful than she should be.
Raeven needed to figure out the fiasco with the well water again. Originally, it had been written that Rain would have to go back every day to keep from being torn apart – but is it still working that way? I have written it that way – how do I want that to go? It was mostly to give her a reason to stay in contact with the Spiders, but that seems to have worked out well enough on its own (heh, well enough – quiet you) So the question remains? What do we do with it? Re-work it so it’s not as big a deal as it was, or re-work the confrontation so Rain goes to see Meliki every day? Notes for the edit.
Ok. So my NaNo file officially has enough words in it to validate the work – now what? Do I want to keep writing? No. Do I want to validate this piece of crap? No. Do I want to start stringing it and see where I really stand? Pretty much, yeah. Ok then, have fun with that. Alright then, I will. Well ok then. Alright. Fine. Good. No I said good. Ok.
there were still 2.5k words to hammer out if she wanted to feel she’d done this right. Sure, she’d submit the whole enchilada, but she wanted to know she’d actually written 50k worth of NOVEL. This whole ‘any jumble of words you only work on in november” crap wouldn’t cut it for her. She wouldn’t feel accomplished unless she did a proper 50k. Otherwise she could have quit weeks ago when they’d hit 50 k with her nano and other writings combine. Not happening. So here she was babbling out again, more words that didn’t count. Whatever.
Rain stood shook still, not knowing what to do.
She’d gotten pretty used to being able to just wander down into the Underground and strike up a conversation with whoever was their while waiting for Zig.
She wasn’t prepared for the evil blonde bitch from hell.
How long had see been coming here and she’d never met this big ball of crazy? Cause it was clear she was crazy. Rain couldn’t say how she knew, but it just radiated off the girl in waves. They stood there and started at each other a moment, until a sick smile spread across the pale girl’s face.
Rain actually jumped a little bit, and the blonde girl laughed.
“What are you doing down here girlie? Nobody’s home…”
Zig came around the corner from under the archway then, stopping in his tracks. “Z, what are you doing out here?”
“I live here!” she shrieked, face transformed into a mask of hatred and rage. She turned on her heel, long, pale hair streaming behind her as she stormed from the room.
Rain hadn’t realized she’d been shaking until Zig came and put his arms around her.
“Hey kiddo, you ok?”
She nodded, a little too rapidly, and wrapped her arms around Zig’s waist for a hug.
“Hey, sorry about that. I didn’t know Z was awake yet, or I’d have texted you to wait for me upstairs. Zero can be a little …intimidating.”
Rain scoffed. “I don’t think that’s quite a strong enough word. What the hell is wrong with her?”
“That apparent?” Zig asked, already knowing the answer. He shook his head, leading them to the couch. It was a long story. It made him tired just thinking about it.
“The short version is that Jack, Zero and Seven were all involved in a pretty nasty fey mix up as kids. Z came out the worst for it, as you can see. I think it’s also part of why they’re all so pale, but that might just run in their family.”
“Wait- that crazy bitch is related to Jack?” Thinking back on it, she could see it, but at the time she’d been too deer in the headlights to notice much.
“Yup,” Zig said glibly, taking the “crazy bitch” comment in stride. It pretty much summed Z up perfectly. “They’re twins, actually, and Seven was their little brother – well, is actually, that hasn’t changed, but what happened to them was a long, long time ago, when Seven was just a little kid, about Delphi’s age. I think that’s why they get along so well,” he said after a moment’s pause. “It’s kinda like, he’s picking back up where he left off, ya know?”
Rain nodded and tried not to think too hard about what growing up with Z must have been like.
– 485 words 20 mins