I never can seem to resist the first week of NaNoWriMo. I know I’m too busy. I know Nov/Dec are the BUSIEST baking months of the year. But I love all the writer-centric energy, and I found a lovely prompt a day list like #Inktober, but for writing, and since I’m on a prompt a day habit anyways, might as well get some writing done, right? I don’t have a story in mind, but I’m gonna unofficially track my word count, just to see what I get up to these days. A funsy NaNo, cause I can’t stand to be left out apparently. 😛 So here’s my prompts, feel free to follow along/use these as jumpstarts for slow days. My Tumblr is also good for inspiration and/or reminders to go write.
Pin cushion, Day 6: 708 words/November Total: 3892 words
“What. Even. Happened?”
“We were …hiking. And there was this porcupine–”
“Hiking. In flip flops.”
“And Ripley what? Sat on him?”
Rip wished he could just melt into the wall he was leaning against. Or just fly home. Or pretty much anything rather than stand here on Ashley’s porch, listening to her parents grill her about why her beau came limping home with quills in his thigh. Thigh, damnit. Very upper thigh, yes, but it wasn’t his butt. He just… wouldn’t be sitting down for a while.
Like all good avian parents, they’d tended to his wounds first, with calm and clinical efficiency. Then Mr. Thatcher had just as quietly asked Ripley to stay out on the porch, while they had a word with their daughter inside.
It was all over.
Rip had barely been seeing Ashley for a month, and this was the first time they’d ever gone anywhere alone together. It was supposed to be a pleasant picnic, nothing untoward intended, but he’d had to go and sit on an already occupied log. Ashley had panicked, shifted, and flown back to the house to fetch her brother, who helped him limp back to the house with all the warmth of an icicle. Cool, distant, polite. Well, at least he hadn’t murdered him for “stepping out” with his sister.
But it was all over. Ashley was collapsing under pressure—what pressure? What was wrong with telling the truth?–and Ripley could almost feel the disapproval through the screen door. That was nonsense, of course. No self-respecting avian would let so much emotion leak through their aura. But he could sense it all the same, a grim foreshadowing of what he knew had to be coming.
But he wouldn’t leave. Rip stood there on the little farmhouse porch, thigh throbbing, dignity in shreds, and dutifully waited to get his. Ashley might never speak to him again, but he wouldn’t abandon her. He’d been the one to talk her into leaving the yard, and he’d be the one to take the blame. Once all that was settled, she could make him swear to never darken her door again, but he would see it through.
It was her brother David who came out first. A moment of surprise flashed across the crow’s face, which Ripley took for pure shock. His voice still came out steady and level, but the fact that his face had shown anything spoke volumes.
“You’re still here?”
Rip nodded, doing his best to stand just as tall and stoic.
“Yes, sir. I was asked to wait outside, so I’m waiting outside.”
David wasn’t technically older than Ripley, who aged gryphon slow, but their relationship made him functionally older, so Rip showed him the respect an angry big brother deserved. Besides, the sir cost him nothing. Everyone had always been a “sir” or “madam” to the youngest griffic in the rookery.
David sized Rip up, with that weird, side-eye thing that Ripley hadn’t even been aware of until Ence had asked him why he did it. It was just a feathered thing, he guessed. But now that he knew to look for it, it was obvious, for all that avians went for subtlety. What was he seeing, Rip wondered. Ill-intentions he didn’t have, an “evil” bloodline he could do nothing about? Or a boy, who stayed because he was worried about a girl. That was too much to hope for.
Abruptly, David clapped him on the shoulder. “You’re a good man, Ripley. A little weird, but at least they taught you honor.”
Honor. He’d come home with porcupine in his butt, and this scary big brother was talking about honor. But the smile on David’s face was genuine, and Ripley might have even felt a little bit of warmth radiating from his touch. Though that could have just been the heat of embarrassment.
“Th-thank you, sir.”
David squeezed then let go, heading for the screen door. “Let me grab us a couple of lemonades. It’s going to be a minute before the folks feel composed enough to speak to you.”
Wow. That was downright candid for an avian. Rip just nodded, and wished desperately he wasn’t so honorable.