Tag Archives: fiction

It’s finally happened!

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It’s finally happened!

Holding my first book in print was like holding a newborn baby. My newborn baby. I’m fairly certain that I love my other (human) children more, but still… the happy endorphins are real. 🙂

So, like I was saying: Devil in the Details is now available in print, as well as on Amazon Kindle! Advance copies are available now in the CreateSpace - An Amazon Company store, with an Amazon release within the week.

More happy Pics:

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For Kindle and Kindle app users, the eBook version is still available on Amazon.com.

Writing Prompt Challenge #2: Caged

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Prompt # 2: A picture is worth more than a blank page. Take out those dusty photo albums. Pick out photo #14. Count however way you like, but make sure you stop at photo #14. Look at the photo for 2-3 minutes. Then for 10 minutes, write all the feelings that photograph made you feel. Don’t censor yourself. Just write.

Okay, So I did what I was asked. While I take the 2-3 minutes to write this, I’m now studying the picture and getting some feelings. In a moment I’m going to start the 10 minute timer… Wish me luck. J

 

Caged.

I don’t know how long it’s been since my incarceration, but the time has started to eat away at me. I fiddle with my fingers, my hair, my clothes, anything to keep my mind from going crazy in this chamber of deprivation. I’m left with few items with which to occupy myself, but nothing seems to hold my attention like the seemingly teeming amounts of LIFE to be had on the outside of my solitary confinement. I am at least given a blanket, but no pillow. I suppose my captors fear that I would suffocate myself for lack of entertainment. I am also given sufficient amounts of drink, also probably to stave off the desperation that comes with thirst.

I am not entirely alone in my “Solitary” confinement, however. Mr. Biddles is with me. He is a very quiet chap, and not much company, but the length of his ears amuses me, so I tease him. He is either a very good sport, or an idiot who does not understand my ridicule of him, for he never retaliates. I am leaning towards thinking him an imbecile.

Between the two of us, the blanket, the beverage, and the dull drone of the warden’s television set, there is a puzzle of sorts. Even with my dazzling wit, and Mr. Biddles’ modest (or nonexistent) wit, we can’t seem to master the puzzle. I know that the answer to our freedom lies within the solving of the device. Five concentric rings, aligned along a vertical post… If only I could figure out the arrangement.

In my frustration, I yank on Mr. Biddles’ long ears and drag him across the puzzle, longing to start a prison riot to escape the dissatisfaction of my predicament. The rings are no longer concentric, scattering across the base of my confinement cell in all directions. I then begin to scream.

Finally, my warden returns from her vigil at the television. I lift my arms while I scream, incidentally still holding Mr. Biddles’ by the ears. She lifts me from my jail, and I smell freedom for the first time in forever. Life is good.

 

***

 

🙂 Yep, I bet you know what my #14 picture was of.

Lord of Dragons – Live on FictionPress!

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Okay, so it isn’t “Live”, per se. I am working on it. A LOT. So far, my polished rough draft of it is a 100,000 word monstrosity, and it doesn’t even have an ending yet. 😛

If you are interested in it, go take a look! I’ll be posting new chapters as I edit them, with an aim of at least once per week. First two chapters are up. 🙂

HERE IT IS! 

So, here is the synopsis:

Andrew Card is a normal guy with personal issues. For example, he just found out that his dad is dead. The good news is that he left him a castle and a kingdom. The bad news is that it is in another world entirely, and he’ll have to fight his aunt, who already has a death warrant on his head, for it. Add in magic, imps, mysterious persons, and court intrigue.

(They limited me to 530 characters…)

 

Writing Prompt Challenge #1: Black Box

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So, I found a website that has over three hundred writing prompts on it. I’ve decided to challenge myself! I will write something for every prompt. J

So here I go!

Writing Prompt: Close your eyes briefly. Think of one object that’s in the room and focus on it. Without opening your eyes, recall as much detail as you can about it. After three minutes or so, open your eyes and write about that objects without looking at it.

And here is what I came up with:

BLACK BOX

About six weeks before my husband was scheduled to return home from Afganistan, he sent home a rather large black Tuff box. When he told me that he was sending a box home, I didn’t truly appreciate HOW large the box was going to be. In my opinion, it was gargantuan, imposing even, and it sat in my living room, securely locked for several days, serving as the world’s most intimidating coffee table. I believe that all three of my little girls could have fit into it with ease.

So engrossed with curiosity was I to learn what was inside the box, that I often fantasized and had nightmares about the items that my husband might have sent home. The plan had been for my husband to send the keys to the box ahead of time via post, but unfortunately, the box arrived first. Menacing, taunting, and driving me to the outer limits of curiosity. I waited by the mailbox daily, eagerly looking forward to the day that the letter containing the keys would arrive.

I waited in vain. Two weeks, I waited, hearing neither word from my husband, nor receiving the aforementioned letter. I speculated. Perhaps my husband was still adjusting to his new duty station, or perhaps they simply did not have working internet yet? Those were the most innocent of thoughts, forcibly screamed through my brain to shut out the more horrible and terrifying of imaginings. With the lack of word from my husband, and the lack of the keys, the box became more and more of an obsession to me as the days progressed.

I walked past the box constantly throughout the day, staring at it from the corner of my eye. I became irate with my children, admonishing them for climbing on top of the box, leaving toys on top of it, or even simply touching the locks. Even I sometimes had ideas about how out of character I was acting, but it was not something I could help.

Finally, it happened. The rain pounded outside, slamming into the windows in thick thumps as it was blown sideways by the howling wind. It had been six weeks since the box’s arrival. On this particular day, I had sent the children to my mother’s house so that I could have some alone time. It was just me and the box. It had three grooves on the top, with unknown purposes. It was rough to the touch. It smelled of hot plastic up close. It was sealed tight with three master key locks. The page sized packing label was secured to the side with clear packing tape that was beginning to peal from the edges. It was also extremely heavy. I had a hard time dragging it from the living room to the utility room.

I’d had enough. I needed to know what was in the box. I broke the screwdriver trying to open the locks, both by trying to pick them, and then by trying to use it like a lever. The crowbar didn’t really work either. I wasn’t sure if it was my lack of strength, or the metal’s resilience. I pouted, and thought hard for another option. Finally, I spotted the chainsaw.

I bit my lip. It was possible. If I could cut at an angle, I could cut the lip before the lock. I wouldn’t even have to go through any metal. It took me a couple false starts, and one trip to Google to get the chain saw started, but I managed. I even managed to lift it.

Finally, with the smell of gasoline and burnt plastic filling the utility room I had succeeded. The box was no longer secured. Putting the chainsaw down, I smirked while I wiped the sweat from my forehead. Lifting the chainsaw had been harder then I had thought it would be. I approached the box and smiled, ready to finally lift the lid. The stray thought entered my head that I might have just destroyed government property, but I wasn’t sure I cared. I HAD to know what was in the box! Then, I heard the phone ring. I paused, with my hands on the lid. I briefly contemplated not answering the phone, but what if it was my husband? I hadn’t heard from him in weeks, and missing his call would kill me worse than not knowing what was in the box.

With a sigh, I left the box, unopened, and rushed back into the house to get my phone.

 

“Hello?”

Static answered me. “… me? … lo?”

It sounded like my husband from what did come though. My heart skipped a beat. “I’m here! Don’t hang up! Can you hear me?”

More static, but then, “ …me? Don… pen… the box!” Click. Beep, Beep, Beep. The call was disconnected.

Uh, oh.

NaNoWriMo 2012 – Day 10

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While we are officially approaching the end of the first 10 days of NaNoWriMo, I am pleased to report that I am on track! I’m actually a day ahead in the word count, which makes me very happy. I’ve got the best NaNoWriMo group in the world, I do believe. Anytime you get a group of crazy, inventive, like-minded individuals together, you are bound to have a great time. =) As a group, we have collectively written over 860,000 words these ten days, and I have personally contributed 18,179 of those words. Still got a little ways to go, but Riesa’s holding out okay. There is more I can throw her way, I’m sure. =)

So, as a little something extra, here is the rough, rough, rough draft of the first scene in Riesa’s 2nd book, Ghost of a Chance

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The man dressed as a monkey riding a unicycle while blowing bubbles during a 5k race was the most interesting that I’d seen all day, but that was before the snow started falling. Falling snow isn’t so unusual, but it was late October, clear skies, with a high of seventy-five degrees. In Alabama. During a burn ban for dry conditions. At least I didn’t think the Monkey-Man was my fault.

“Not again,” I groaned.

A nearby customer, tall woman with a cute orange sweater, stopped trying on shoes and looked out the same storefront window. “Huh. Funky weather today, yeah?”

I managed a half smile. “Yeah. Funky weather. Can I help you with anything?” I asked, turning away from the window and returning to marking down sale prices.

She waved me off with a smile. “I’m good for now, thanks,” and off she went to the boot isle. I slapped the last label on a pair of purple and black tennis shoes and retreated to unpack a new shipment, distancing myself from the storefront. It was unlikely that anyone would blame the weather on me, but you never know.

The truth is that it probably was my fault. For the past month, strange things had been happening all around me. For example, the weather would turn strange while my thoughts wandered to the gloomy side, or random objects would breaking or levitate depending on my moods. There was one instance where I accidentally made a man’s beard catch on fire. He was hitting on me at the transit station, so he kinda deserved it.

I set the tape gun down on a box in the storage room and grabbed the box cutters. In the past month, I’d had a lot of time to think about the whys and hows, and I came to the conclusion that it was because I was a baby-demonologist-slash-angel-descendant with lots of power and zero control. I had cut myself off from my soul-bound demon, Azaraphel, or Phil, as I called him, and I refused to call him for help. I was in Atlanta to avoid him, and asking for his help would have been counter productive.

Thinking about Phil brought those dark, heavy, unwelcome thoughts back. I wanted nothing more than to call Phil. Even worse, I wanted nothing more than to drive back down to Salem, back to my friends, and back to him. It was a shame that such a thing would end in disaster, like he and I destroying each other. Not that he knew this. I decided it best to keep him blissfully ignorant. Of course last I checked, he was totally furious with me. It thundered loudly enough to rattle the shelves in the storage room. So much for clear skies.

“Grimshaw, is there something going on in here?” Mr. Sorrels, the manager, peeked into the storage room just as a tremor hit. Shoe boxes fell off of shelves as they toppled over, setting off a domino effect across the room. I watched in horror, cast a protective circle around myself out of habit, and waited for the chaos to come to an end.

I stared slack jawed at the disaster around me. “Uh…” was all I managed to say.

“Grimshaw, you’re fired.”

–  –  –

Well, that is all for Riesa tonight. If you are dying to hear more from Riesa, check out the first book in the series, Devil in the Details, now available on Amazon Kindle!

Pipe Dreams

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Hi guys! Its been a couple of weeks since my last post. I have totally been slacking, but I had several good reasons. Lets just say that it has been a tough month. We all have them. Things go awry, the trouble trio pays you a “friendly” visit, and it is almost all you can do to not go crazy! But, I felt inspired and jotted down this little entry. It has one foot in fact and the other in fiction. I’m not going to tell you which parts, though. That would be cheating.

THERE ARE DAYS WHEN I FEEL IN CONTROL. The world is okay, I sort of know what I’m doing, and I halfway have my act together. But then there are the other days; the days when it seems as though my sanity is hanging on by a thread. Days when the only thing I want to do is crawl under my heavy covers, black out the windows until there is nothing but swallowing darkness, and huddle, hidden from the world. The fatigue is oppressive. Nothing seems worthwhile, other than that sweet evocative darkness and the softness of my pillow. And sleep.

For in sleeping, we dream.

A heavy weight presses down on my chest every moment of every day. It nags at me, squeezes every ounce of my strength, and still demands more of me. It is the weight of responsibility. I’m not sure that it is something that I handle. It eats away at me, devouring me, reducing me to a husk of what I thought I was. Perhaps I was only fooling myself. Perhaps all that ever truly existed of me was this near-empty shell, this slovenly, useless piece of flesh, driven by a need for self-satisfaction. Instant gratification. Perhaps, I never truly EXISTED before. My hopes, dreams, aspirations, likes, dislikes, the things that stirred my blood, roused my soul, all pipedreams.

Oh, but we are back to dreams.

The only place where I have ever truly LIVED was in my dreams. But these were mere fantasies and delusions that powered the vacuous form of my existence and artificially filled it, lest it collapse within itself. Therefore, in dreaming, I exist.

But in dreaming of you, I thrive.

So now, let me lay down my head and dream of you. Let me find myself in your confidence, drink in the hope and ecstasy of promises for the future. This darkness will pass and I will not cower from all that seeks to wear me down. But let the darkness pass tomorrow. For tonight, I will cling to my pillow and revel in bittersweet dreams that allow me to hold you close. It will suffice.

Sincerely,

The Dreamer, St. Anne’s Community, Room 302

P.S. Just one more day…

Morning (By the Light of the Velvet Moon page 3)

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Back to Page Two

He slept until well after dawn, and I feared for him. We had both regained our original forms shortly before the rise of the sun. I was thankful that his curse did not cause him to suffer twice in one night, as he slept soundly through the whole process. The sound of snapping bones and ripping stayed with me, however, and I was thankful that the nature of my being kept me from such pain.

I sat back on my haunches outside of my small unhidden den, and guarded the man-wolf. As a wolf, he had been arrogant, definitely, but also handsome. Where I was lithe, he was muscular and half again my size. Where my fur was a pale tan buried in white pelt, his had been a thick, tawny brown. He had been everything that I wasn’t. He looked like the other wolves, for a few hours at least, and I did not. We had another major difference; he was lost, or at least he soon would be when he awoke.

Where he was ignorant to his nature, I was not. I was young and inexperienced, but I knew what I was: a faoladh, spirit wolf, a guide to the lost, and protector of the young. Those are the things that my mother had whispered into my ear during the days of my weaning. I never understood her words, but looking upon the furless form of the man in my den, I understood. Understanding came in the form of a tugging at my heart and the knowledge that I could not leave the cursed one alone.

I was not an expert on men. To be honest, this was the first one that I had ever seen up close. I had seen the shiny beasts that carried them down the black river, but they frightened me so I had never approached closely enough for a good look. He did not seem impressive to me at all. His fur was reduced to a messy mass on top of his head. It was short and needed grooming. At least my woman-form had long thick hair that covered my back, providing me with some warmth. He was almost as bare and just as thin as a maple tree in the winter.

I examined him closely, drawing in his scent. There were remnants of the wolf to his skin, and it barely masked the scent of other. Had I been looking at him with my nose instead of my eyes, I may have mistaken him for wolf instead of man. As that thought crossed my mind, a strong whiff of something sickly spicy assaulted my nose and I sneezed, waking the conriocht.

He made a sound like a growling bear and woke up like a frightened squirrel. He twisted his head and saw me sitting in front of him. My ears perked and I cocked my head to the side as I considered him.

“Holy shit!” he yelped and sprang back, hitting his head on the rock of what had been the opening of my little den. He hissed and rubbed his head, scooting back with his eyes on me. They were honey brown, like his wolf’s had been.

I whimpered and lowered my head down onto my forepaws, looking up at him. I didn’t want to scare him further.

His eyes darted around like a prey animal in search of the hunter. Finally, his eyes fell on me and he licked his lips. “Nice doggy,” he said, holding his hand tentatively out to me. “Those are some pretty blue eyes. You part husky?”

His voice was gentle and nervous, but his words offended me. I sat up and pulled my ears back, giving him a nice growl.

He sat back down and held up both hands. “Okay, okay, not a husky. I get it. Nice wolf?” he asked. I stopped my snarl and recomposed myself, sitting tall.

He looked around the small den and then back at me and cleared his throat. “Uh, whatever happened last night wasn’t me, okay?” His skin started to change color. It was intriguing. I had seen lizards do the same thing but they usually turned brown or green, not red. I wasn’t aware that humans had the same ability, and I wondered why he did it. I had never experienced such a change in my woman-form. Perhaps I did not share the ability.

I will admit to a small amount of satisfaction that he seemed to be the one who was frightened this time, and not the other way around.

I moved away from the entrance and let him stand, since he seemed be looking for a way of escape. Following me out, he stood up in the sunlight and looked around. “Damn it,” he whispered. “How am I supposed to get back to the road? Didn’t think about this part…” For a moment I thought he was talking to me, but then I realized that he was speaking to himself. His voice went a pitch higher. “‘Let’s drop you off at the nature preserve, nobody will be there! You’ll have plenty of woods to run in before you see a single person!’” He tripped a bit over the fallen ivy and hissed something that I couldn’t understand. “Great idea, Ryan!” he said sarcastically once he regained his balance.

I stepped over to him and tried to take his wrist in my mouth. I planned to lead him to the black river where his things were. “Woah, what do you think you’re doing?” he yelped, pulling his hand back and holding it to his chest. I whined and took a few steps in the direction that I wanted to go and let out a small bark. I’m not a dog, but he was familiar with the concept. I met a dog once, and all he did was bark and whine. It was very annoying, and I found him to be extremely rude.

The conriocht took the hint and followed me. “What is it, Lassie? Timmy fell down the well?” he asked.

I stopped and looked at him inquisitively. Perhaps becoming cursed rendered one insane as well. He shook his head and laughed. “Do you know the way back to the road? Is that where you are taking me?” I gave him another small bark. “Okay, sorry. Lead the way, Ivy.” I whimpered and sat down, cocking my head to the side. He named me? “You smell like ivy, okay?” he defended himself. I had a name, Cana, but since I could not convey that to him in words he would understand, I let it slide.

It wasn’t a log walk through the woods before we found the place near the black river, or the road as the conriocht called it, where the colorful skins had been left. I could see a silver glint through the trees, and it drew my wary attention. It was one of those shiny monsters, only this one stood still. Another man stood behind it and called out from the road.

“Hey, Rick! Where you been, man? I don’t have all day to stand here waiting on werewolves, you know.”

The conriocht -or what did the other call him? Rick? – picked up the skins and examined them. “Shut up and just bring me the bag. My old clothes are ruined.”

I heard the other man open the monster. I took the opportunity to hide.

“I’m impressed you managed to find them. I had a thought after I dropped you off last night that you might get lost out here. So, how did your first night as a werewolf go?”

Rick snarled. “Could you please stop saying that word?” He reached into the bag and pulled out a new set of… clothes. I watched him pull them on in fascination. It answered my question of how he could stand having so little fur. “And I don’t remember,” he continued answering. “I probably did some things that I would’ve regretted this morning if I had remembered them. Plus, I think I might have eaten something.”

“Man, that’s just gross,” his friend laughed.

Rick looked around. “Did you see a wolf around here?”

The other shook his head. “You mean besides you? No. Why?”

He sighed. “Nothing, let’s go.”

They left, and I watched from the woods. This was not the last that I would see of Rick the Werewolf. I felt it in my soul.

 On to Page Four

April Showers (Blog Hop)

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This post is for the April Shower’s Blog Hop, hosted by Blogaholic Social Network!

In Honor of this auspicious occasion (my first blog hop), I have taken the liberty of writing a small bit of Flash Fiction, titled (teehee) “April Showers”

 

It was spring, and instead of planting a garden or looking for love, I was skulking in the doorway of an old book store, avidly avoiding the torrential downpour that currently assailed the small town of Whitehaven.  I scowled at the offending sheet of constant rain that blocked my escape through the open doorway. I took a deep breath, fully taking in the musty odor of ancient books, and let out a disgruntled sigh.

“Just make a run for it, lass. So you get a tad wet,” Oliver shrugged, giving me that crooked smile that he usually reserved for old, battered, and rare tomes.

I leveled my eyes at him, glaring over the top of my glasses. “That isn’t funny. You know that they hang out in the rain.” I waved at the doorway. “It’s a frigging monsoon out there. They will be out in droves.” I crossed my arms and scowled, leaning against the Horror section.

He chuckled. It was a raspy, like the sound one gets from quickly flipping the pages of an old book.  “You can’t hide from them forever, Anemone.”

“Ann. Why can’t you remember to call me Ann?” I ranted, pushing my glasses back up my nose. “They are going to find me if you keep calling me by that other name.”

Oliver grabbed his cane and something else, and hobbled around the counter. At first, I thought that he was bringing me a rolled up newspaper, folded longwise and wrapped around a broom handle, but unfortunately, it turned out to be an ancient umbrella. It did not inspire confidence. He thrust the unwanted contraption into my hands and nudged me towards the door. “I suggest you hurry, then, lass. Those manuscripts aren’t going to fetch themselves.”

The old librarian was probably my dearest friend, but it was times like this that made me question his priorities. The rain still showed no signs of abating. I frowned and reluctantly opened the umbrella. It smelled like mothballs. I cocked an eyebrow at Oliver, but he just gave me that crooked smile.  “If they catch me,” I warned him, “I’m going to blame everything on you.”

His wrinkled face curled into a smug smile and he gave me a small wave, effectively shooing me wordlessly out the door.

I stood in the rain, under the ancient umbrella, and prayed that the Nixe didn’t find me. Much to my dismay, I turned towards the street and walked right into one.

I fell backwards, dropping the umbrella and nearly landing in the puddle. The only thing that saved my tush from being completely submerged in puddle was the Nixe catching my arm and pulling me against him. My heart stopped, but not because I was afraid of the water spirit.

No, it was something worse. Flower sprites liked Nixies. It was a Mother Nature sort of thing. I looked into the face of the Nixe and into the face of my doom. All these years of avoiding them and my day of reckoning had come. I, Anemone, am a flower sprite, and Nereus is a Nixe.

There are going to be lots of flowers around the old book house in May.

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We’re going on a field trip!

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Hello, blog peeps!

My muse has been very fickle today. She wouldn’t let me work on my short story, and she barely let me do some edits to Devil in the Details. She didn’t want me to work on my outline for my upcoming Camp NaNoWriMo submission, or the outline for the second Riesa Grimshaw book. What she did want me to do, however, was edit a friend’s novel, and write the following snippet from the second chapter of “Taerne”, a fantasy novel that encompasses both the “normal” realm of existence, and realm of Taerne; a land filled with magic, dragons, and mayhem. This is also where our main characters are going in the following short scene:

The next day, Card finished the last bit of packing, stuffing a few necessities into the side pocket of his vinyl backpack. He took a step back and stared at the bulging zippers with a frown. He wasn’t even sure that he would need any of the things that he had packed. Someone knocked on his bedroom door. “It’s open,” he called out still scowling at the bag.

Brianna opened the door and walked in, putting a small, seemingly handmade bag down on the bed beside his back pack. It looked like a burlap purse. She cocked an eyebrow at Card’s backpack and pointed to it while giving him a pointedly amused look. “Really, Card? We are going to a completely different world, filled with wizards, magic, and God knows what else, and you are going to take that?”

Card shrugged. “What’s wrong with it?”

“Its florescent orange, for crying out loud. You might as well tattoo ‘I’m outta this world’ on your forehead.”

Now my muse is demanding a klondike bar, and is refusing to let me do anything else productive.

In closing, I’d like to ask a question: What would you pack if you had a heads up that you were about to leave your current realm of existence, and why would you pack that?

Conriocht (By the Light of the Velvet Moon page 2)

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Back to Page One

My private place was a small indention in an overhanging rock face, covered over by ivy and tall grass. It was low enough to the ground that someone could step over my hiding spot and be none the wiser, but also open enough that I could get in quickly and easily. I slid in quickly, pressing my belly as low as I could to the dirt. A feral howl rang out desperately. The cicadas no longer chirped. Everything was still but for the running of paws and the desperate call of the unnatural creature that seemed to be drawing ever nearer.

Seasons ago, when my mother called me Cana and nursed me through my pup stage, she told me of the ones who were different. They weren’t born of the fur and traded pain for the freedom of the hunt. I could only guess that this creature was one of those wretched beasts. My mother had once given them a name, but I struggled to remember it. In the near distance, perhaps a mile from my secret place, I heard the final cry of a deer. Conriocht: that was the name of the cursed ones. Men-wolves.

My ears remained perked, twitching to the sounds of the forest. I heard the conriocht howl. His heady musk, wolf with remnant hints of the outside, still filled my nose, and I knew that he could smell me. He was a stranger to this forest, and he called to me to join him. He was like an infant, calling to the pack, and I was the nearest to his senses. I knew it would not be long before he stopped waiting and sought me out.

A worried whimper barely escaped my throat. I was conflicted. I had not known the ungrudging presence of another wolf since my mother left me the spring after my birth. The local pack would tolerate me, but only for so long. They warned their pups against me, and those pups grew, and warned their pups against me. I was lonely. I longed for a pack that would not have me. I stuck my nose out through the hanging ivies and gazed out into the forest.

The moon was now full and high above the trees, casting steady beams of soft light through the gaps in the trees, including one that fell just outside of my den. A moment of panic gripped me, and I noticed, probably too late, the fallen limb that had once filled in the gap in the treetops above my secret place. I retracted my head and backed as far as I could into my den, flattening my ears and tucking my tail as close to myself as I could without actually sitting on it. I was going to have to find a new den after this night was over.

A breeze wafted through the ivies, carrying the scent of the kill on the wind. I knew better than to attempt to hunt amongst the moonlight and therefore had hunted before the sun left the sky. Nevertheless, my ears perked to the aroma, even if it was accompanied by the nearing musk of the conriocht.

Leaves crunched outside my den, and I pressed further to the inside. I was trapped. I could not escape into the moonlight. My only hope was the shadows of my shallow cave. A grey muzzle, tinged with the ocher of remnant blood, poked in through the tall grass and ivies and rudely intruded into my space. He whimpered at me, chastising me for not answering him while he rubbed his sides against mine.

Once I realized that I was safe from the moon for the time being, I found myself annoyed with the intruder. A low growl rumbled in my chest, but it was half-hearted. For an unfamiliar wolf to intrude upon another’s den without welcome was impertinent, but it did not take me long to recognize the reason behind this conriocht’s behavior. He considered himself an alpha. He nuzzled my side and then plopped down beside me, knocking down the tall grass and pulling down a plug of ivy while he did. He was quickly asleep.

I was given to believe that this was often the case with his kind. They embraced the wolf and the hunt for a few brief hours during the full moon, only to fall prone once their hunger and curiosity had been sated. I attempted to rouse him with a nudge of my muzzle, but he remained unresponsive. I huffed through my nose and laid my head on my paws, watching the cursed one sleep.

The moon crept through the sky, and I watched the moonbeams shift with it, inching closer to my paws. The conriocht slept on, as I knew he probably would until morning, and I was thankful for it. The gentle glow crept over his sleeping fur, and touched mine. I sighed in resignation and embraced it as the moonlight pooled, pouring over my skin, enveloping me like a moth’s cocoon. My fur melted away into smooth skin as I metamorphosed painlessly and gently. The glow faded away into the normal shallow rays of wispy moonbeams.

A tear ran down my woman-face, and I whimpered while I ran my reshaped paws through his fur. The sound was odd from my reshaped throat, but his fur was warm and comforting. I hated this new shape. Every sense was dulled, and I felt ungainly. At least I had no need to move for some time. I remembered from experience that my legs would feel as unsteady as a newly calved deer. I laughed, which was probably one of the few human actions that I had a firm grasp on, at the irony of a conriocht curling up next to a faoladh on the night of a full moon.

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