Jenn’s Birthday Gift

Among my NaSty Nine Plus One friends, we have a tradition of giving each other stories for our birthday. You might have noticed the two entries for Witch Appreciation Week and Demon Appreciation Week. Well, for my birthday it was Vampire Appreciation Week (because I do like my Ivy…) and my friend Jenn gave me this story. Not having a blog of her own, I told her I’d host it here. J Needless to say, I love it! Thank you very much Jenn, it’s the best birthday party ever!!

A Party for Alyss.

With the envelope in her hand, Jenn stepped into the NaSty transporter and beamed herself to South Africa to surprise Alyss.

*ding dong*

After giving the doorbell a quick ring, Jenn hid her hands behind her back and waited.
 
“I’ll get it! It’s my birthday!” Jenn could hear Alyssa yell through the door. The running footsteps faded into silence and the door swung wide open. On the other side of the thresh hold, Alyss stood with her mouth haning open. “Jenn?”
 
Grinning like a Cheshire cat, Jenn held both arms out with the envelope in one and said in a sing song voice “Happy Birthday!” And with a resounding “Omph!” she found herself landing on her ass when Alyss tackled her.
 
“Oh my god, oh my god, OH MY GOD!” Sitting up on top of her friend, Alyss squeals, “What are you doing here?!”

Gasping for breath, Jenn held out the envelop.

Sliding off to one side, Alyss took the envelop & ripped it open. As she scanned the contents of the card inside, her eyes went wide. “We’re having a party in the R/I club for my birthday? Really?” Scrambling to her feet, she quickly held out her hands to Jenn to help her fellow NaSty to her feet. “Awesome! Let’s go!”

“Um, Alyss, you might want to tell your mum you’re going out and close the door.”

“Right.” With a big grin on her face, Alyss turned back to the house and did just that. After pulling the door close, she turned back to Jenn and queried, “Ready?”

And with no further ado, the two NaSties, headed back to the transporter.

* * *
Meanwhile in the R/I Club house, the rest of the NaSties; along with a few special guests; were getting the place decorated. There was a rainbow of balloons arching over the doors to the patio, streamers hung from the ceiling and confetti on the table tops.

Each of the NaSties brought something yummy to eat and it was spread out on the table. Tony brought some vegetarian lasagna, Ryan a Caesar salad, Tiffany nachos, Suzi, humus, Mud a veggie, cheese & crackers tray, Marsha brownies, Aheila a fancy French torte, Jenn a chocolate fountain and Kylie everything to drip in the fountain!

Around another table stood Minias, Beej and Al. They were in charge of the drinks but wouldn’t let anyone else see. Coffee could be smelled, but that was about it.

“Please tell me there is something on that table besides coffee,” called Kylie. The only response was a wave of a hand and one thumbs up.

Up in the streamers hung from the ceiling, all of Jenks kids were playing tag. Jenks himself was on lookout duty at the front door for Jenn & Alyss. Back in the corner by the fridge, was Ivy and Rachel getting the last of the candles put into the birthday cake.

As they turned to face the room, Rachel reached up and brushed some flour off Ivy’s cheek.

With a muttered thanks, Ivy scanned the room to make sure everything was in place. As she watched, the patio doors opened to admit Other Half who had gone to get Kim. “Sorry we’re running so late, I had to get get an email off to my editor before the end of the day.” Kim explained.

“Hey, hey! The gangs all here.” Kylie sang. “Ohmigosh! The music! We forgot to turn on the music!” With a quick leap, she was over to the CD player and Takata’s voice came blaring out.

“Woops!” Kylie quickly turned the volume down, just in time to hear Jenks rub his wings together.

“They’re here!” Jenks called and quickly shot up to herd his kids to the middle of the room.

As all the NaSties and special guests gathered in the middle of the room, Rachel used her magic to light the candles as Ivy picked up the cake. Then they too turned to face the door.

* * *

As they popped into the DS page and made their way towards the R/I Clubhouse, Alyss whispered, “I can’t believe that you guys went to all this trouble for my birthday.”

Pushing Alyss ahead of her, Jenn rolled her eyes. “Oh please, we’re NaSties. What better excuse to get together than another NaSties birthday!”

Once they got to the front door, Jenn reached around Alyss and pushed it open.

“Happy Birthday, Alyssa!” everyone chorused from inside.

With a quick move, Jenn was infront of Alyss, pulling her in. “Come on, hun, let’s go party!”

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Enter the Dragon Part 1.

This piece of silliness was inspired by a forum game on The Nasty Writing Web. It’s called Corrupt a Wish and the object of the game is for one person to make a wish, and then for the next person to ‘Grant’ it but with a little bit of corruption. For instance: I made the following wish:

Alyss: I wish my room was warmer.
To which my friend Aheila replied: Granted! A dragon chooses your bedroom as his new home. You have to feed him and deal with the dragon dung. No way are you strong enough to force him out. And he doesn’t like Basjan.

When it was my turn again, I made the following wish:
Alyss: I wish I had milk for my cereal.
Another one of my friends Marsha came to my aid: Granted. The rather ugly dragon who refuses to leave your home heard you wish for milk and since he doesn’t like Basjan…*poof* you are now going to have to try riding a milk cow.

I have great friends.

This story found its origin there. I couldn’t help myself. Minias is the property of Kim Harrison, author of the Hollows series. My story does not reflect her views in any way and I do not make any money out of it. If you’re wondering about the character Minias in my room, please read the following post.

The Dragon

It was with a great sense of relief that Alyssa finally returned home after spending three weeks living at her cousins home with the three cats, the two dogs and all of her allergies. Although she had enjoyed the space of having a house to herself, she couldn’t wait to return to her small, one room garden flat. She might barely have enough space in there to turn around in (mostly because the place was filled up with two bookcases, a writing desk, her bed, drawers, clothes cupboard, more books, a television, PS3, her geriatric dog and her horse riding stuff…) but it was hers and she liked it.

Walking up to her room, wondering why her dog wasn’t there to greet her, Alyssa was about to unlock the door when a sharp smell reached her sense. She grimaced and rubbed her nose, the burnt acidy smell almost overwhelming. She wasn’t the only person living in her room. A couple of months ago, a demon called Minias – who was fleeing from his crazy lover, took up lodgings underneath her bed, shaping the dark abyss of chaos into something liveable. She hadn’t been there personally, but she suspected that it was quite nice. Despite sharing the same space, they rarely saw each other, save for the odd occasion when Minias made Alyssa coffee as part of their original agreement. She didn’t want to know what he did in his spare time and he in turn thought that her life was pretty boring so he wasn’t interested. Lately, Alyssa was almost willing to call him friend, but it was a far stretch – especially on days like this.

“Minias!” She snapped as she threw her door open. “What the hell is that smell?!”

The demon had been visiting a NaSty friend of hers Jenn during the time that she was away at her cousins and she hadn’t thought that he’d be back so soon.

As soon as the door opened, there was a startled cry from inside and a loud crash that could only be her pile of dvd’s falling over. Alyssa gaped as a pony sized dragon flap it’s leathery wings and hiss at her from her bed where it had clearly been sleeping. It jumped to the floor and came to her, forcing her to slam the door in its face.

“What the…” Alyssa leaned against the door surprised, unable to comprehend what she had just seen. When she saw her sausage dog look at her from round the corner of the house she motioned wildly in the air. “Is that a dragon?!”

Her dog Nikki gave her a ‘Well Duh’ look and disappeared again.

Gaping at her, Alyssa stepped away from her door and opened it, taking a peek inside. The dragon, who was now close to the door, leapt at her again. Alyssa slammed the door shut just in time and stood there for a few moments, her heart beating in her chest.

“Bloody hell!” She cursed suddenly and whipped out her mobile phone. “That demon is a dead demon.” She wasn’t sure whether Minias was there or not but there was one way to find out. As she waited for the phone to connect, she heard a scratching sound from the other side of the door. “Oh no you don’t,” she muttered as she put her weight against the door. “You’re not…”

The phone stopped ringing.

“..lo?” The voice on the other side was muffled and sleep filled. Alyssa didn’t have much sympathy, her mind occupied with other matters.

“Jenn!” She snapped. “Jenn, is Minias still there?”

The panic in her voice drew through to her friend. “Alyssa?” she queried in a hushed whisper. “What’s wrong?” There was another muffled voice from the other side of the line, but Jenn obviously stood up out of bed and left the room. Alyssa took a few deep breaths to try and control her temper.

“Is Minias still there?” she queried. “I really, really need to speak to him.”

There were more sounds from the other side of the phone as Jenn put on a robe. “He should be,” she said slowly. “What’s wrong Alyssa?”

Her fellow NaSty let out a deep breath. “There is a dragon in my room.”

“Ah what?”

The dragon threw itself against the door, making a loud bang. “There is a dragon in my room!” Alyssa snapped. “A big, NaSty one with leathery wings! It’s trying to eat me!”

Jenn was quiet for several seconds before she exclaimed something loudly in a language Alyssa couldn’t understand. “Jenn!” She moaned. “This is no time for GREEK! Oh gods… It’s whimpering.” Sure enough, the scratching and banging stopped, replaced instead by a pitiful whimpering sound. Unable to help herself Alyssa opened the door a bit and looked inside again. The dragon was now sitting down on the floor, looking at her with its snake like amber eyes.

“Alyssa!” Jenn shouted from the other side of the phone. “Did you open the door?!”

Alyss made a considering sound. “Hmm,” she said and carefully opened the door a bit wider. “You are an ugly little shit aren’t you? Has Minias just left you here all by yourself? Are you hungry…” She paused. “MY FISH!!” She leapt into the room without thinking and rushed the three steps to her fishbowl. Sure enough, the tank was ominously empty.

“No!” Alyssa hollered. “No no no! Bad dragon, bad dragon!”

The dragon seemed undeterred by her tone of voice and started bouncing up and down, ecstatic with her presence. It knocked the phone out of her hand as it started rubbing against, her, sending it flying underneath her cupboard.

“Now look what you’ve done!” Alyssa said in dismay, still in shock over her fish. “Get… Get down! Get down! Sit!” She forced all the command that she could manage into her voice but it didn’t seem to make a difference. Instead, the dragon bounced back onto her bed and gave her pillow a friendly shake. Growling to herself, Alyssa fished her telephone out from underneath the cupboard, only to find that the line has been disconnected. Sighing in dismay, Alyss pushed herself up and went over to the bed to sit down, feeling that she’s established that the dragon wasn’t going to eat her.

“Great,” she muttered as she sank down next to the foul smelling creature. “Now she probably thinks I’ve been eaten.” She tried to dial the number but instead got connected to the Cellphone Lady that lived in her phone. “You have reached your call limit,” the woman said cheerfully. “Please recharge your account.”

Alyssa groaned and shook her head. “Skippy doo,” she said and looked at the dragon. “You realize your master’s most probably going to die for this right?”

The dragon didn’t seem concerned as it pulled another one of her pillows closer and started sucking on it. Alyss wanted to scold him but was interrupted by her phone. Looking at the caller id, she quickly answered it. “Jenn!” She answered. “Hi.”

“Oh thank goodness Alyss!” her friend said. “I thought that you were eaten!”

“No,” Alyssa said miserably. “But my fish were. Where’s Minias?”

“Here,” Jenn replied sounding very relieved to hear that her friend was still alive. “I ran to find him.”

Alyss growled as the dragon nuzzled her back, sniffing her hair. “Pass the phone on and stand back, this might get loud.”

Despite the situation, Jenn giggled as she handed over the phone. There was a pause and then a very distinguished.

“Yes?”

“Minias,” Alyssa’s voice was soft and slow. “Have you been briefed on the situation?”

There was a pause and then: “I have been informed.” Another pause. “Are you… alright?” Normally, Alyssa would’ve been touched by his almost show of concern but right now, she was only angry.

“NO!” She snapped. “He ATE Rachel and Linden Minias! My room is a mess! Close to destroyed! My dog is hiding somewhere in the house and there is a big bloody ugly lizard devouring my pillows! Is it even allowed to do that?!”

“Now, calm down Alyssa,” Minias said levelly from the other side. “Getting all worked up won’t help anybody and you might antagonize it.”

There was a mini nuclear explosion in the southern hemisphere. “I’m the one being antagonized!” Alyssa yelled. “Minias? Where did this bloody thing come from?!” There was a confused sound from the dragon as he looked at Alyssa, her face almost as red as her hair.

The demon must’ve realized that he might just have pushed her a bit too far because his approach was a little bit gentler this time. “Well,” he said quietly. “You’ll have to describe it to me Alyssa, because I wouldn’t know. It’s not mine.”

On the bed, the dragon shifted and turned so that it could coil its tail around Alyss’s waist and, to her ire, it put its head over her shoulder. “It’s but ugly,” Alyssa growled as she shifted the phone to her other ear. “Bugger off you.” She tried to push the dragon away. “It’s pretty muscular, it’s got knobs on its head like a giraffe, it’s got a tail that forks like a bloody earwig insect, it’s got paws like a dog rather than claws. It’s pitch black. Yellow eyes. Why did you make that sound?”

Minias paused innocently. “What sound do you mean?”

Alyssa growled at him. “That sound that you make when you’re trying not to laugh. Minias?!”

The demon swallowed a chuckle. “I’ll have to come and look at it Alyssa,” he said. “But, it doesn’t sound hostile. Just sit tight, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“Just sit tight?!” Alyssa snapped. “Minias! There… Is… A… Dragon… In… My… Room!”

“Consider yourself lucky that it isn’t a man eating butternut,” the demon said. “I’ll be there as soon as I can manage. Oh and Alyssa?”

“WHAT?!”

“I have Rachel and Linden with me. Your fish are safe.”

The young woman deflated like a balloon. “Oh,” she said slowly. “Ah.. Thank you.” She could hear Minias’ smile in his voice.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can, but it’s going to take a while because you know the limitations that I have.”

Alyssa sighed and rubbed her head, feeling a pounding migraine making its way to her. Behind her, the dragon rumbled and twisted so that he could put his head in her lap. Feeling better now that she knew he didn’t devour her goldfish she felt strangely better about the very dire situation.

“Don’t get caught,” she said miserably. “And, just… Come back and deal with it. Say good bye to Jenn for me, tell her I’ll contact her later when my head’s a bit clearer.”

She switched off the phone and threw it onto her desk, looking at the dragon’s head on her lap. He seemed to have settled and was now rumbling happily. Muttering to herself, Alyssa squeezed her throbbing temples and then carefully touched the dragon’s face, feeling its warm, leathery skin.

“This is going to become NaSty isn’t it?”

The dragon crooned in response, pushing against her hand for more. Alyssa sighed again and shook her head.

“I am going to regret this day.”

To Be Continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brief Interlude.

I always tell myself that I’d post a blog a day, but somehow I never get round to it. My studying, personal writing and work got in the way this week but I thought I’d drop in and say Hi.

It’s two days to my birthday – the 22nd of July. I’m never quite sure how I feel about birthdays. Because of the time of year (see post Remembering Arlene) I get terribly introspective. The world moves at a slower pace inside me, even though the month seems to rush by. I had always looked forward to Arlene and my birthday together and since her death, it seemed slightly futile to look forward to this date. I’m also (and this is going to sound terribly vain) dreading getting older, climbing closer and closer to the 30 mark. I don’t have a problem with 30 per say, but I do have a problem with the fact that I feel as if I have essentially wasted a year of my professional life waitressing and slugging through life back here in South Africa. If I had been inching closer to 30 as an already successful business woman, things would’ve been different, but as it is – all I have to show for my almost 26 years is a big, fancy degree that’s brought me nowhere and two years of adventuring that doesn’t mean anything in my country.

Of course, I can’t just look at it like this.
Although I haven’t accomplished anything professionally, I have accomplished quite a few things in my soul. And, there have been some good things as well. Many good things. NaSty things, Basjan things, Other Half things.

So, I invite you to come and share it with me, on the 22nd of July – when I (unlike approaching the day with my usual doom and gloom) will point out some of the things that I am proud of, brag with my gifts (put your reading glasses on!) and close off the chapter of my quarter century, while trying to look forward to the next one with enthusiasm.

Yours in writing,

Alyssa.

Sinking the Ship.

I read a book once, giving advice on how to write a good detective story. The theme wasn’t really applicable to me at that stage, being more in a fantasy mood, but the advice the author gave stayed with me long after the author’s name disappeared from my mind.

He said that: Writing a book is like inviting people along on a cruise ship with you. Your first step is getting them onto the boat and making sure that they are still with you when you leave port. You must then take your passengers (readers) on a magnificent journey, showing them wonderful sights that they have never seen before, each experience leaving them begging for more. When they are happy and content and settled into your cruise, you have to take your boat and sink it.

A friend of mine wrote about The Quest for Emotionally Complex Moments, a topic which made me remember this piece of advice. I came to realize that this image of a boat, this idea of telling a story, giving the readers everything that they desire and then sinking the ship, was an approach that I loved to use. I loved the yank the proverbial pond out from underneath the duck. I believe that’s why I can’t really write comedy, why inevitably, angst, drama and desperation, find their way into my work. The fear, the terror and the surprise of a sinking ship is where I get my thrill. The key to this is emotion. Emotion is what drives the ship, what fuels your creativity and what plants the seeds of creativity. Emotion is an untameable force, begging for an outlet and whether it finds its outlet in music, books or movies, you know that if enough emotion is channelled into your story, you will get an explosive, anguish filled, breakingly beautiful journey.

One of my readers from The Touch of Green Fire once said (upon completion of the story):

I don’t know what to say, this story was just incredible, i swear to you that
everyday i was checking with hope of an update for this amazing story, i think
it was a journey and a dawn good one if i may say so, they were ups and downs
and a promise of a uncertain future, just like in real life, i certainly
appreciate very much this story and i can azure you that it has a special
place in my heart and in my knowledges, i will cherish this as long as i can
remember and when i forget i definitely would come back, cause a have learn
many things and i have found some answers…

 

In this review, summarized (and justified) more than a decade of my writing and the reason why I write.

Life.

In writing, I capture a bits of my life, bits of my emotion, bits of the world. The cruise, the travel of the plot, isn’t just an exploration of my character’s lives and their circumstances but also of mine. Their emotions are bits of mine, chiselled and worked in such a way that I can deal with it myself. Their questions are mine, the answers they receive ones that I have discovered through them, and through life sometimes.

The reason for this is because the author of the ‘How to’ book provided me with another piece of advice: When you have left your passengers to flounder around in the water, with no hope of being saved, throw them a life jacket and pull them aboard another vessel. You will have their gratitude, and loyalty forever.

For all the anguish in my stories, all the dark and desperate pain, there is also hope. And absolution, and answers if not the ones that you always want.

Because my friends, that is what I try to capture in my work, through emotion:

Hope. And Life. And inevitably, Love.

Do you want to get NaSty?

I’ve used the term quite a lot the past couple of months – using it as a referral to my NaStyRoMo project and the people whom I met there. To recap – NaStyRoMo 2010 was a project proposed by a now good friend of mine, Antonio Rich, whom I met on Kim Harrison’s blog – The Drama Box. He challenged us to write a story of romance with a super natural twist in February. My blog story Bitten found its origin there as well as my friendship with the people whom I feature in a NaSty Pixie tale. The project, based loosely on a NaNoWriMo principle of dedicating a month of your life to writing, wasn’t as strict as NaNo (in which you need to write 50000 words in one month). It merely required that you write your story, finish it by the end of February and share it so that others can see what you accomplished.

So, we’ve once again decided to embark on another project – this time titled NaStySuMo or National Story of Superheroes Month. The idea is to write a story featuring any kind of superhero or person with superhero powers from the 1st of August 2010 to the 31st of August. And…
We want YOU.
We’ve decided that, instead of keeping it amongst ourselves, we want to try and recruit as many people as possible but there was a problem. How do we do that? Where do we host it? How do we tell enough people of it?

Simple – create a website.

It’s with great pride and excitement that I present you with the Official Nasty Writing Web.

With this, we hope to make NaStyNess a little bit more official, allowing others to come in and join us.

Here you can read the month’s stories, interact with other writers and have fun in our forum. Registration is simple –but not required if you do not want to interact. Our focus is on everybody from bloggers to poets, song writers and fan fiction authors. Here, we also offer a place for people to host their stories if they cannot do so on websites like blogs, FanFiction.net, FictionPress or places of your own design.

So, come and join us! You do not need to write a story to be allowed to participate in the forums. There should be people who provide feedback as well. 😉

Everybody is welcome, we might be NaSty, but we are also Nice…