No NaSty Today…

No NaSty today,
Alyss went out to play,
With friend and dogs she went quite wild,
And ran and jumped and acted like a child,
And then she went to have some tea,
Her friend’s way to say: “Thanks for helping me,”
And now she’s back, with her word count nil,
Realizing she was delaying the thrill,
So, alas, no NaSty today,
Alyss went out to play.

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NaStyRoMo – Part 9

As a writer, you know your strengths and your weaknesses. And, admittedly I have to confess that this chapter combined two of my strongest weaknesses. I’m not terribly good with certain types of dialogue and this kind, ‘story telling dialogue’ as I think about it, is definitively my black sheep. Combine that with me trying to bring a key element of the plot over and you have something that’s a little bit disastrous in my opinion. I tried to rewrite it, or try something different, but alas, that failed as well. So, I present you with this original attempt at it, and hope that you’ll come back for part 10 so that I can redeem myself…

Bitten – Part 9

Now.

Once again they were sitting in Francis’s living room, facing each other on opposite sides.

Unable to stay in bed any longer, Vaughn had managed to get herself up and freshen up a little bit. Francis didn’t have a mirror which frustrated her a little bit because she couldn’t see the extent of the damage to her neck and shoulder but she also realized that she didn’t have the strength to face that yet. The wound was sore and itched, but her bandage was clean at least. Before they sat down, Francis first made her some hot tea and something to eat. They didn’t speak, because there was nothing that they could say to each other until Francis explained herself. Romulus also left the cabin and only returned when they were seated in the living room.

He had not spoken to her again, but Vaughn knew that it was out of choice, not because he couldn’t.

Vaughn wasn’t sure what she should feel when she sat slumped on the couch, looking at the woman who had quite clearly changed her life. She knew that she should’ve felt scared but admittedly she was so tired by the time that Francis helped her sit down on the couch that she just wanted answers.

Francis wasn’t looking at her, her face troubled as she looked out of the window, her thoughts clearly miles away. Then, with a visible effort she pulled herself back and turned her piercing green gaze on Vaughn, their depths immeasurable.

“Before I can tell you what happened to you,” she said softly. “I need to tell you what happened to me, years ago when I came here.” She paused, obviously struggling with words and memories. Romulus whined softly and again, Vaughn could understand him. Although he didn’t use words, her mind interpreted it as such.

‘I’m here,’ his whine whispered. ‘I’m here.’

The love that Vaughn sensed in his gesture towards Francis was so acute that it almost hurt to feel it. She swallowed and steeled herself against it, against the foreign feeling of having an animal’s thoughts in her mind.

“You are,” Francis said softly and touched his head. “You are my pet.” She sighed softly and turned back to Vaughn. “After my miscarriage I became… A little lost. The horror of my rape, that I had ignored so well until then, coupled with the relief and pain that I felt with the loss of the child turned me against myself. I won’t go into it as it’s a part of the past, but you have to understand were my frame of mind was.” She sighed. “I wasn’t me, I had become something that functioned on instinct alone. Antonio had not wanted to send me back to the cabin but he couldn’t keep me there, in the town. When I came back here I spend hours just wandering through the forest, not seeing anything except the path that I picked through the rough wood. Some nights, if I wandered too far, I would just remain there, sleeping in a ditch or a tree hollow.” She sighed softly, regret clearly on her face. “I was as mad then as they think that I am now.”

She paused again, looking out to the forest but soon carried on, standing up so that she could move to the window.

“On one of my walks, I stumbled onto something… That changed my life.” She dropped her hand, and immediately Romulus moved to her side, she touched him, her gaze remaining on the world outside. Vaughn moved a little forward, trying to see her face, but she didn’t have the strength to stand up.

“I stumbled across a wolf’s den. An occupied one but unguarded, the cubs old enough to be left on their own.” She looked down at Romulus, her gaze fond and full of love. “There were five of them, but only one was brave enough to come out and see who I was. Knowing that I shouldn’t, knowing that it was wrong and dangerous, I sat down in the ground and encouraged the cub to come to me. It didn’t take a lot of encouragement and I stayed there all afternoon, playing with him and his littermates who eventually deemed me a safe playmate. It was… rejuvenating. I went home before the pack came back, feeling as if a small bit of my world made sense again. I was worried that the mother might move them because I had been there so I returned as quickly as I could, naïve and ignorant of course. I don’t know what I planned to do exactly, but I had felt so at peace when I played with the cubs that I wanted to be apart of that, to find a way to… Belong with them.” She paused and turned back to Vaughn. “You see, my grandfather did that. I don’t know what his first step or first touch had been, but he too had managed to get himself integrated into a pack. Although I didn’t believe him in the beginning, I knew that he believed that, like with St. Francis, there are moments in our lives where we… Become integrated with the world around us. He was quite religious and believed that, in the beginning, God gave Adam and Eve the means to speak to animals, which was why they were supposed to name them.” Francis shrugged. “I’m not going to comment on such matters, what matters now is what happened to me.”

She paused again and sighed.

“When I returned to the den though, I encountered something I had not anticipated.” Her fingers gripped Romulus’s hair. “Someone had been there just after me and had not only destroyed the den but killed all the cubs. I couldn’t believe it, I stood there – seeing the desecration and… I just couldn’t believe that anybody would want to do such a thing. I felt so many things in that one moment, anger, loss, grief even guilt and pain. I walked around, trying to see if I could find anything that would show me who was responsible. The only thing I found though, was some fresh tire tracks on an old logging road nearby and, eventually, the she-wolf where she had crawled to die. Her body was bloody and clearly broken. I couldn’t tell whether she had been shot or whether who ever had managed to catch her somehow and beat her.” She shook her head, anger flashing in her green eyes as she turned back to look at Vaughn. “People here don’t think. They still hate these animals as much as they had been hated in the time that people started settling here. They didn’t even bother killing her quickly and taking her fur, they just seemed to have done it for the pleasure of it.” She shook her head again, a sound much like a growl deep in her throat. “I went to her, my heart aching with loss, thinking that I would take her and the bodies of the cubs that I could find to my cottage and bury them there. It was only when I picked her up that I suddenly realized that she was still alive. I panicked and quickly put her down, not wanting to hurt her more but in that moment I believe that she panicked as well and bit me.”

Francis became quiet and stared at Vaughn who was frowning at her. “You don’t have any scars,” she pointed out. “None that I can remember anyway.”

Francis smiled slightly and touched her upper arm. “It was here,” she said. “It’s faded with age, and I have to confess I had it reduced because I didn’t want to people of the town to recognize it as a wolf bite”

When Vaughn nodded slowly she continued, moving back to the chair with a tired sigh.

“Needless to say it hurt,” she said. “But… More than that, there was what I can only describe as an explosion inside me. My world literally short circuited and for a few seconds I could feel everything. I could feel the trees around me and the ground beneath my feet even though I had shoes on. I smelled the water on the fallen leaves, the decay in the undergrowth. I smelled the wolf’s blood, my blood, and that of her cubs. In those few seconds, I felt everything, her need to protect her young and her knowledge that she had failed, her fear of me, her panic and her strange knowledge that death was imminent. And, as I screamed out in pain and fear, trying to pry her jaws from my arm, I sensed her deep, urge and need to howl one last time, to tell the others around her what had happened. Her howl rose up in my being and finally escaped from my lips as I collapsed underneath her. The world around me faded and I truly believe that in those few seconds, she and I were one being.”

She trailed off, and looked at Vaughn who felt shaky and confused. She sensed it inside her, the howl that Francis spoke of. She could feel the after affects of a touch on her mind that was not her own. And she knew quiet suddenly what had bitten her but she didn’t know quite what had happened.

“What happened then?” she queried, hugging herself, aware of the throbbing in her shoulder.

Francis smiled and touched Romulus’s head. “I woke up to the sound of a child begging me to get up, I was confused and disorientated. I didn’t know who I was, or what I needed to do, but then I saw Romulus – the only cub who had managed to survive, probably because he had followed me home and wasn’t there for the massacre, I knew that I had to take care of him. I pushed his mother, now dead, from me and picked him up. He did not question me, his mother’s smell all over me and my presence a reminder of the good day that we had had before. Like you, I didn’t remember much in the beginning, but I managed to find my way home and see to both his and my needs. He filled the hole in me that had been left by the death of my child and I in turn, became his mother.” She smiled gently and looked down at the wolf. “I soon realized that I could talk to him, direct him, listen to him and more to the point, I could hear the others, as they howled out their grief about the massacre. They don’t communicate as we do, not essentially. Their language is a mixture of gestures and sounds so don’t think that I’ve had endless conversations with them. But – we can say to each other what we need to say, our respective minds able to analyze the string of supposedly foreign gestures into something that we can understand. In my mind, Romulus is a complicated human and in his, I am a complicated wolf. What I really am now, I don’t know and I have never tried to understand it because it is a gift that I have embraced. It has given me a new life and a new sense of purpose. On that fateful day, I finally stopped running and just became who I am now.”

Vaughn swallowed dryly and sniffed. “And who is that?” she queried, too scared of the answer.

Francis smiled and shrugged as she sat back. “Just Francis Mosse,” she said. “Nothing and nobody else.”

The silence stretched around them as Vaughn tried to piece together her own memory and try to put what Francis had said into perspective so that her own life would make sense. She remembered the need to howl and she remembered fear, and hate and love that was not her own. When Francis stood up to sit beside her on the couch, she didn’t look up immediately, but looked at Romulus, his eyes ageless as he stared at her.

“Should I tell you now what happened to you?” Francis queried softly, but she shook her head, shaken.

“I know,” she said quietly as her mind latched onto a memory. “I remember…”

&&&

To Be Continued…

NaStyRoMo – Part 7.

Dudes, I’m glad this day is over, lol. It was hot, frustrating and very very long. Not terrible I have to say, but certainly not one I’d want to repeat. I hate working doubles at the restaurant, probably because I hate working day shift. But, I can’t work for the rest of the week so it was necessary. Anyway.
Firstly – I’d like to say that it’s 50 days to Script Frenzy. As a reminder – Script Frenzy is the sister project of NaNoWriMo in which you have to write a 100 page movie script in 30 days (April). It sounds intimidating, but really – it comes down to between 20 and 30K because the formatting takes up quite a lot of space. Freeware like Celtx makes writing and formatting easy. If you love writing and love a challenge, consider participating – I certainly will be.

Now, on with the show .

Bitten – Part 7.

Now…

Vaughn woke up screaming, crying, coughing as the howl that she had wanted to sing almost choked her.

‘Oh god,’ she thought as she returned to herself. ‘I was the wolf. I was there, in my memory, but I was the wolf…’

Crying and frightened she curled herself up in a bundle. ‘What happened to me?’ She thought, sobbing and hot. ‘What’s happening to me?’

There was a low whine and to her increasing horror she understood it immediately, as Romulus’s strong need to comfort her washed through her senses. “No!” she sobbed. “No, no, no.”

He whined again, the wave of security he tried to instil in her ten folding when he put his front paws on the bed and licked her face. More emotions washed over her and her delirious mind put words to them.

‘The Night demons aren’t real, be calm. They are not real.’ His gesture brought no comfort as she pushed him away, frightened.

“They are real!” She sobbed. “I can hear you, they are real!”

Another presence joined them as hands touched her shoulders and back. “Easy Vaughn,” Francis said softly – a note of fear and concern in her voice. “It’s okay, ssh…” When she didn’t respond, Francis carefully lay down beside her and held her close, speaking to her with her body instead of her words. The comfort and familiarity of her presence was too real to ignore and slowly but surely Vaughn felt her raw panic subside. She realized that she was still holding onto Romulus, her hand gripping his fur where she had pushed him away. It must’ve hurt, but he remained quiet, his golden eyes looking at her with a open expression she had never seen before. She sniffed and rubbed at her face, unable to stop crying but feeling quieter within herself. Against her back, Francis, her lover, stirred and rubbed some hair from her face.

“What did you dream?” She queried softly. “Are you alright?”

Vaughn carefully let go of Romulus, smoothing down his fur where she had gripped him and carefully turned around to look at Francis, at her calm green eyes and her worried face.

She remembered.

She remembered how, after that first night, she would repeatedly deliver her order late so that she could spend the night. She’d follow Francis out into the forest where the older woman would howl with Romulus and seemingly every wolf in the forest. She knew then that she should’ve been alarmed by the act – but it seemed so natural, so beautiful that she never questioned Francis’s behaviour. She couldn’t get over how wonderful it was to see the wolves accepting her and acknowledging her. Although Francis asked her, she never had the courage to try howling herself.

When she stayed over, they had to share a bed because Francis’s cottage was not equipped to accommodate two people in the winter. They flowed from being friends to lovers with a comfortable ease and things were good throughout the winter and spring…

It was summer now.

Vaughn looked at her lover, her heart heavy with fear and bewilderment yet, despite herself, she reached out and gently touched the woman’s cheek, tracing the line down her jaw to her chin and up again to her hair where she allowed her hand to rest.

“I know what you are” she said softly looking up into Francis’s deep green eyes that could see so much of her. “You’re a wolf, if not in body then in spirit.” She tightened her grip on her lover’s hair and drew her closer. “If you love me as much as you have made me believe these past few months, then I suggest that you tell me what happened in the forest. Who bit me, and what have I become?”

&&&


 

NaStyRoMo – Part 6

Hey guys!

And, I survived my weekend. I’m always surprised that I do, not always very relieved about it, lol, but fully commited to the next week none the less. Here, for your entertainment, we have part 5. Admittably, I struggled a bit with it, considered ditching it completely and eventually struggled on, hoping that it wasn’t going to break the flow of it. I need to add another paragraph really, but I wasn’t going to be able to finish it for tonight. So, you’ll just have to wait till tomorrow. 😉 Or, the next day – I’m working a double shift and then starting a short course on Wednesday… Regardless, I’ll try my best to get it here as soon as possible!

Enjoy!

Bitten – Part 5.

Now.

With her nose touching the cold snow and her tail straight as a sign of alert, she trotted towards the clearing. She could smell him there, the other wolf, as he sang to the night. He had a sad song, filled with confusion and loneliness. He was alone tonight, his pack mate – the complicated wolf, not there.

Saddened by his song, she took a deep breath and answered him, telling him of the sorrow that she felt and how she understood his feelings of rejection. The Complicated did not feel as they did, did not think as one of them. She was of their soul, but sometimes her heart was elsewhere.

She allowed her voice to trail off and moved forward, catching a whiff of a foreign smell. An intruder yet…

The Complicated was with her.

She stopped and listened, hearing their voices filter through the trees.

“It’s not far,” the Complicated said; physical pain like a shadow in her voice. She was still lame, but had managed to fend for herself despite not being able to run. It was a strange world that she managed to live in… “He should be near the next rise.”

“Is it safe that I’m here Francis?” The Human replied, her voice strong though she smelled faintly of fear and uncertainty. “I mean, you say that they know you but…”

The Complicated laughed – a pleasant sound that warmed her heart. “If you are with me, they won’t hurt you. These wolves here…” The Complicated trailed off. “Wolves are different from other animals Vaughn. They have haunted man’s myths and legends all through the ages. Their howl can instil wonder and fear alike.”

“What does it instil in you?” The Human asked to which the Complicated chuckled again.

“Wonder,” she said. “Awe. Sometimes, a touch of intimidation. I’m always struck by how much we don’t know of the world, of how people have become so blunted towards it, towards communicating. We live these singular lives, lonely lives. Families eat together but never speak and people live alone, never to reach out.”

“Like you?”

She could hear the Complicated’s mirth. “No Siobhan,” she said softly. “Not like me. I reach out just… Not necessarily to people.”

They had reached the clearing, their voices travelling easier through the open space. She was close, but not quite ready to join them. The Human made her uneasy, and she couldn’t understand why the Complicated had brought her along. By the sound of the Other wolf’s voice, he couldn’t understand either and he fell silent, his voice fading away as if it had never been. Curious now, she trotted closer, until she could see them. The Complicated and the Human was standing some distance away from the wolf, watching him as he watched them.

“Why did he stop?” The Human whispered, her hushed voice travelling to where she was sitting. The Complicated hesitated, her eyes fixed on her pack mate’s.

“He’s waiting,” she said carefully as she took an unbidden step forward.

“For what?”

Again, the hesitation and a spark of fear. She thought that the Complicated would answer, but didn’t. The Human looked at her, then at her wolf. She raised her front paw to touch the Complicated but paused.

“What’s he waiting for?” she asked again. Finally, after some consideration, the Complicated sighed and looked back at the Human.

“Me,” she said softly. “He’s just waiting for me… As is she.”

For the first time, the Complicated looked her way, acknowledging her presence. She did not walk forward immediately, but waited. Although she wanted to greet the Complicated, she was not going to do so in the Human’s presence.

“We’re not… alone?” The Human’s voice was scared, longing for comfort from the Complicated but she didn’t step back to touch her but kept looking in the direction of the forest.

“Athena is here,” she said softly calling her by the name she had given her. “She’s… there. In the trees. I doubt that you can see her.”

“How can you?”

“I know her.”

They were waiting for the Complicated, all of them. She was the reason that they had all gathered, the one they all unconsciously looked to. She herself didn’t understand it, didn’t understand why she craved this Complicated’s attention. She didn’t understand how she could be a wolf, yet walk on two legs, or how she could sing with all her heart, yet result to the endless yapping of human speech. She didn’t understand her, but she accepted her and accepted her need to communicate with her and her pack mate.

“They are… waiting for me to join in,” the Complicated said finally, her voice ringing with embarrassment as she looked to the ground.

Her words surprised the Human, and for a few moments all she could do was look at her. Then, fearfully, the Human took a step back and hugged herself.

“Then… go.” Her tone was rich with uncertainty, yet contradicting, she could hear her encouragement. “If you want to, then do it Francis. That’s… What I came to see…”

The Complicated laughed softly, though it wasn’t with mirth. “You came here to see me do something that other people might consider to be insane?” She queried. “You surprise me Siobhan.”

The Human laughed. “Ah, no,” she said. “But, I came here to see you. With your wolves. I want… to try and understand. I’m not surprised that you do it Francis, I somehow expected it. He’s expecting it, and this Athena. Go, I’ll stay here.”

The Human took another step back, not out of fear this time, but to give the Complicated space. They looked at each other, then, unexpectedly, the Complicated crossed the difference between them, seemed to lick the human in the face, and turned around to join her pack mate. He whined in greeting and loped towards her, ecstatic that she was going to join him.

She too, shivered in anticipation and walked to the edge of the clearing, waiting. The Complicated walked through the snow and towards the spot where the Other wolf had been howling earlier where she stood very still and listened to the forest around her. She took a few deep breaths, then she lifted her head to the heavens and sang…

&&&

 

 

 


 

Not getting NaSty today.

With you guys anyway, there’s no telling how I’ll treat my other fellow waiters. I have to work a day shift today, which starts in an hour (laughs because I can’t cry about it), and considering that I only got to bed after 2am (and it’s now 7:55am) I don’t have any time to write. J I’ll try to get something out tomorrow, but weekends are my partner’s. I don’t see my other half during the week. Sorry about this!

For those of you enjoying NaSty, may I suggest two things. One is to particiapate in WriYe, which is International Writing Year. Go wild and google it. The other is Script Frenzy, which starts in April. You’ll find it here:

www.scriptfrenzy.org.

I’ll be participating. J

Have a great weekend!

Alyss