Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sunshine Family - prologue

It started at summer camp. Every year at this time, Mom and Dad farmed us out between relatives, grandparents, well meaning family friends and various camps in order to have to a month to themselves. By the time we hit 7 or 8 we sort of understood why. We're a large family and none of us is exactly what you might call quiet. Even the not so big on talking people in the family are as the littlest one put it once, "Loud Thinkers."

So yeah, it started at summer camp. Our magic that is, well to be perfectly correct, I should say our discovery that we *had* magic. Funny huh?

So to set the stage for you, this was one of those old time boy scout type places. Out in the middle of freaking nowhere. Swamp monsters, spooky ghosts, and tree frogs galore. All manner of creepy crawlies. Total blast. We were in Echo Cabin. Me, my twin sisters, and four other girls from various places around the place we lived, plus one student counselor. It was getting to be late and we were all in bed with the lights off. Cassie the Counselor was already mostly asleep and we girls ranged from dead to the world (Toni) to card games underneath blankets with small flashlights (Beverly, Tori, and Eileen) and various stages in between. I was almost asleep when I heard my sister Chastity scream.

I cracked open my eyes to see Chastity in one move, leap out of her bunk, rip off the cute tightie whities she'd been wearing, land on her feet and then begin stomping all over her underwear. Deeply amused by this, I propped myself up on my elbows, "Chas? What are you doing?" She looked up at me, eyes blazing, "There was a bug in my underwear. There WAS a BUG in my UNDERWEAR!!!! I hate bugs. I hate them! I hate them! I HATE them!" She almost trembled with righteous fury. Cassie sleepily made a comment about how now the bug is dead so please go back to bed. Chastity shook her head, "Like. Hell. I'm. Sleeping. There." Felicity snickered once, before offering to share her bunk with our sister. Chastity grabbed her blankets and her pillow and shook them out vigorously, muttering about bugs and how the cabin should be bug proof and how she wished that it really was bug proof and all the bugs in the cabin would just spontaneously go away. She stopped shaking out her pillow and blankets when Cassie rolled over and gave her the evil eye and got into Felicity's bunk. We laughed over that one for ages.

Echo Cabin never did have a problem with bugs or really any other type of vermin after that , though. So that's where it started.

Little did we know that's where our lives would begin to change.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

051. Water

Water had never felt so good, he decided as he poured some of it over his head. "Ho, Ender, mail call." One of the soldiers called, and he stood up, stretching briefly. "Thanks," he told the private who'd brought it. He walked back to his tent as he opened his letter. Scanning it briefly, he snickered as he saw Morgan's postscript.

"What's the news, my friend?" His tentmate and Coalition partner, Tulien asked when he saw the letter in Ender's hand. "Just some updates from home and a quick note from an old friend." Ender remarked, "We're going to be pulling some quick and dirty raids soon. Might want to make sure all our troops are up to spec on their stealth skills."

Tulien raised an eyebrow, "You got all that from a letter, my friend? Or are you dabbling in the ways of the mystics now?" Ender grinned, "No, it's something I inferred from the way she worded the postscript."

"She, my friend?" Tulien teased.

"Commander Morgan, 'Lien. She and I were in the same house back in school. First thing you learn at Litchfield is how to read what your house mates aren't saying." Ender smiled, "Morgan's easy to read once you know how."
Tulien returned the smile, "I hadn't realized you and the Commander were so close. Your world and ours are very different, my friend. Not that we didn't already know that." He replied wryly.

Ender nodded, "Yeah that's true. Morgan, Twyla, Christian, and I were all fairly close to each other. A lot of what Litchfield gave us in the way of training at least, helped us develop close bonds with each other, both in the larger group and in our smaller house groups. It worked out well for us."

Tulien nodded as he finished polishing his sword, "Well we'll be ready, for whatever she throws at us. It's not like we haven't been training for the past few months. The new recruits are finally up to the point where they won't kill themselves or us, so that's all to the good. We'll start running Stealth drills later tonight, just to keep our hand in." Ender grinned, "And maybe a "Catch the Sergeant" drill tonight or tomorrrow? That could be entertaining for all parties involved."

Tulien shook his head once, "Indeed."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

086. Choices

“It is your choices that make you what you are, more so than that of your name, race, kindred, heritage. It is those decisions you make every day that build up all that a person is. It’s how you react and deal with the great of decisions that cements what you are. Never forget this, little one. There is always another way. Choose wisely, Ignatius. Be more than they expect. Show them that to be Dark does not necessarily imply Evil. Live happy, marry for love, and remember that there is always another way, my child. Do not become bound to your fate like I did, but live to out do it.”
He carefully smoothed out the letter to him from his mother. The last letter he’d gotten before she’d left him. One of these days he would take it and show it to Alyssa. Once he’d proven himself worthy of her. He’d share these final words from his mother with her.

008. Weeks

It took them a long while, but it had finally been done. The Core was safe, the Vale had been cleansed and they were done. There were no more enemies to fight, all that was left was to survey the damage done and take steps to repair it. The war had lasted for four years and they were a significantly smaller group then they had been when they’d first arrived here, but it was over now.

They could rest.

No one appreciated this more than them – the warriors who’d fought and bled for this land. Now was a time for mirth, not grief, as the old rhyme went. No more blood and tears shed, now was the time for laughter and smiles. It didn’t matter where you went now in the Vale, the air shimmered with magic now. With the removal of the taint, it seemed that the Vale had unleashed a flood of magic that made the elements almost dance with pleasure. One of his compatriots had made the comment of ‘planetary Miracle Grow,’ which while a bit much to contemplate at first, did make sense.

But there were those that did not share in the festivities there, a slight bittersweet twist to the planet’s joyful harmony.

Adrian still mourned for Melori. The young lord had thrown himself into working wherever, whenever he could. Anything to take his mind off of the woman he’d lost, to distract from the jagged hole where half his heart had been.

He was not alone in this. There were several of the veterans that worked silently beside him, doing all they could to restore the damages caused by the war and the taint. Those who passed through the days and cried themselves to sleep at night.

050. Spade

"William! WILLIAM!"

"Have you seen William?"

"William Cas…Garrett. I'm looking for a teenager named William Garrett."

"He's over there, ma'am with the other dissenters. But you can't go over there, its restricted access only." One of the school security officers pointed over to a fenced off portion of the quad. Eelysa looked to where the officer pointed and ran up to the fence, "Gid, I can't see him! I can't see him!" she cried frantically. Gid rested two hands gently on her shoulders, shooting a pleading look at Beth over his shoulder.

"Easy there soldier, here's my card. Swipe it and then let these nice people go in to find their son." Beth handed her Identicard to the soldier guarding the entrance.

The soldier scanned it and then returning, snapped a quick salute, " I can let you go in, Ma'am, but… they don't have access. Only you. It's orders, ma'am, no civilians, no unauthorized personnel."

Beth nodded and turned to the other two, "I'll go in and see if I can find him for you. Make sure he's okay."

The naked relief in both Eelysa's face and Gid's eyes was almost painful to see. Beth turned and walked into the fenced off area of the local high school. "Will! William Garrett!" She called out as she walked through the students and various corpses on the ground. With every step she took she became more and more furious. This should not have happened. It was a small incident that was mishandled that then escalated into the armed (armed!) security firing into the student body. The entire school was under lockdown now; the innocent lumped in with the guilty. She felt a tug on her elbow, quelling the urge to turn and toss a punch at the person trying to get her attention, she looked over to see a skinny teenager in a guard's uniform. "Ma'am, he's…uh, over here, ma'am." The guard pointed to where a cluster of boys were by the old maple tree. Beth quickly strode over there, the boys getting out of her way until she saw Will. She fell to her knees beside him, one hand seeking his. "Will! *Oh* Will!" she exclaimed, dismayed as she saw him propped up by the tree trunk, one hand half pressing a wadded up t-shirt against a crimson stain on his white dress shirt. He looked at her, smiling slightly, "Aunt Beth, hey. Tell Mom it'll be okay, will ya?"

Beth shook her head, " You can tell her that yourself." She smiled at him, hoping he couldn't see the tears forming in her eyes.

Will ignored her and kept talking, "And…tell Dad that I hope I did him proud, would ya?" Beth closed her eyes and sat back on her haunches, "You knew."

Will chuckled, "Yep. Thought they could hide it, but it was kind of hard to ignore the obvious, y'know."

Beth nodded mutely, she looked straight at Will, "He is proud of you, you know. You're his greatest achievement."

"Imagine that," Will grinned, "I love 'em both. Bye Aunt Beth, be seeing ya." He said as he closed his eyes. His grip on her hand went limp and she bit back a sob. She carefully slid her hand out of his, and after laying a kiss on his forehead, she slowly rose and made her way back to the gate. As she walked back to the gate, she watched as some of the workers at the school began to slowly start digging graves. The soldiers would stop them, she knew, once they realized what they were doing, there was a policy of tagging the dead and examining them before they were cremated.

She walked through the gate, head held high as she went to tell two old and dear friends the news of their son's death.

---William Anthony Garrett Casey was laid to rest in a small section of the major botanical preserve attached to the school that started because of him. In order that no other child would have to go through what he went through. ---

067. Snow

067. Snow

She sat outside, waiting for something, a sign, anything. It was biting cold, and her long sleeved turtleneck and long pants were not match for keeping the cold from seeping into her, but for now that was a secondary concern. Today was the second anniversary of the ill-fated rescue mission, the one that had led to her somehow landing herself here on this alien world. She still remembered those last few moments, the earth had shaken all around her as she hurried to disable the last bits of the Osiris technology and erase anything that might have carried the slightest clue about their whereabouts. She’d sent Niko ahead her in the ‘net up to where their ship was, rapidly finishing up her duties and then at the very last second, diving into the net right before the rest of the building came down around her ears. For some reason she’d woken up here with the ‘stalkers and ‘shifters. Presence had blessed her with such good friends here and that the stupid stunts she’d pulled on the mission had thankfully not harmed Nuitari at all. She smiled at the thought of Night, he’d be two soon. She knew the DeMarco’s and the Alexanders were looking forward to throwing him a party. Her little man, full of the DeWitt spunk and grit, he was a true trooper. Her thoughts continued in this vein, she was so lost in thought that she didn’t hear the door opening and closing behind her.

She was slightly startled when a voice behind her spoke up, “You know most humans have the sense to come inside when they’re cold. “ She didn’t turn around, “I’m not most humans, Kiley, and you know that.” “Yeah, but you’re still shivering and why in Presence’s name were you even outside with no coat?” the shifter asked as he plopped down beside her, heat radiating from him. She leaned closer to him and he put an arm around her. “It’s hard to explain, Ki.” “I’ve got time, Mystery.”

She sighed, “Alright, it’s been two years today, Ki. Two years since I got here. And I can’t help but think of how I left things back home.” She let out a small half-laugh half snort, “Back on the vale, the Shaman Leoni, she told me once that courage would be my greatest defense and cunning my ally. Yet when it mattered, I ran away. Took the coward’s way out” Kiley shook his head, “You? Never happen.” He smiled crookedly down at her, “You don’t know how to quit and the one that names you coward had better answer to me. You’re one of the bravest souls I know.” Morgan shook her head, “I ran away, Ki, ran away and went on the rescue mission, even though I knew it was a suicide mission and that we’d likely not come back. I ran because I was scared.” Kiley looked down at her face, tasting her sincerity, “Scared of what, Mystery?” he asked gently. “Lots of stuff, stupid stuff, “ she said a touch bitterly, “Things between Night’s father and I…were good, but it was going too quickly and I just got scared, so I ran. I left, without even really explaining myself to him or my parents and siblings and then I wound up here and yeah.” Kiley hugged her closer, “I for one am glad you did.” At her quizzical look, he explained, “You gave us back our hope, Mystery. We were a sunken people before you came. Tied to an endless war which we couldn’t win and knew it,” he paused for a moment, “You and Night have given us by your very presence here, hope that maybe we’re not struggling in vain. That there’s salvation out there for us yet, a Home.” Just as he finished telling her that, the skies opened up and it started to snow lightly. “ Well would ya look at that?” Kiley said, marveling, “It hasn’t snowed here in ages.” Morgan turned her face up and stuck out her tongue to catch some of the snow flakes. “ Presence bless.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

045. Moon

part of the 1oo_original ficlets I'm doing for a community over at Live Journal.

It felt good, he mused to himself as he ran barefoot through the city, to being doing something again. They'd waited so long for this. Their timing had had to be absolutely exact, but for all the frustration and the seemingly endless waiting, it had paid off. He motioned to one of the others with him and they peeled off from the main road, heading towards what used to be an old Tube station. He came to a halt gradually, resting himself finally against a nearby wall.

" Pr'sence be blessed, I've missed this." he spoke quietly, breathing deeply. "I can almost not remember the last time I breathed clear fresh air." His companion chuckled once, "Canned air does get to you at first, after a while you stop noticing it." Dorian shook his head, " I don't know how you live like that, it drives me batty."

"That's cause you're Pre, man. You remember the Beforetimes. I've only ever known this." His companion commented, "We never knew there was something like this to miss."

He nodded, wiping the sweat off of his forehead, "I know, dude, I know, but we're aiming to change all of that." Just then his wrist band emitted one soft beep, "We've got to get back." He remarked wistfully. "Herself is beginning to worry."

"Yeah," his companion grinned, "Race you there."

"You're on."

They took off once more, running silently in the moonlight.