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Archive for February, 2013

The well was poisoned. But that wasn’t what started the killings.
Father said it began sooner than that.

“How can you stand it?” a tiny voice whispered. I glanced over at my younger sister, whose face was pale white and pinched with fatigue and horror.
“It is truly a hard affair, Cesny,” I admitted with careful diplomacy and sorrow, a careful blend my father used so well. After I said it, I could have kicked myself—“tough” would have been better.
“Do you really think so? You’ve stood in front of that mirror and brushed your hair for an hour now.” She made a face.
“So?” I arched an eyebrow. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Can’t you hear them?” Cesny looked intently at me, her violet eyes flashing with some overflowing emotion I didn’t care to identify. “It’s so loud. I can’t sleep.”
“Please,” I interrupted abruptly. “Don’t be stupid. They don’t make a sound once it’s completely dark outside.”
“Can’t you hear it?” she whispered. “If they aren’t screaming, then it’s those bells chiming. You can hear it, can’t you? It sounds so close. It all just echoes in my head. When will it stop?”
“It just started the other day,” I replied, frowning hesitantly in the mirror. What was her problem, anyways?
“You’re so selfish!” Cesny suddenly screamed. I jumped, taken completely by surprise. “How can you care about your stupid hair while everyone is dying? They’re all dying, Wrenna!”
“What’s to be is what’s to be,” I replied sagely.
“That’s what Father says!” she exclaimed furiously.
“And he’s always right.”
“He’s not this time,” she muttered bitterly.
“I wouldn’t say that if I were you!” I whirled around so I could see her face to face rather than just a reflection. “That’s treason against the king!”
“Who’s going to prosecute him for his crimes?” Cesny wondered in a brooding tone. “Who’s going to care about his wrongs?”
“What wrongs?” I asked impatiently.
“You’re seven years older than me, and you don’t get it!” She was shrill again, and I winced as my ears rang. “Those people didn’t do anything!”
“They’re sick,” I said in finality. “They’re sick, and we can’t catch it. Or else we’ll die, too! Is that what you want, Cesny? To die like those commoners?”
“Wrenna!” My sister looked utterly shocked. “It doesn’t matter what class someone is born into! We all feel the same pain, the same fear… No one wants to die,” she ended miserably. “And not like that.” Her eyelids fluttered shut. “So much screaming…so much agony…I can hear them all the time. Why couldn’t the poison at least kill them quickly?”
A cold dread was slowly working its way up my body. “The sickness,” I murmured.
“What?” Her eyes snapped open.
“It’s the sickness.” A faint feeling now swooped upon me. “Mother has been whispering about it all night. She says the sickness is fighting it, and the poison is fighting the body, and the sickness is fighting the body, but all that happens is that it takes longer to die. And pain. There’s more pain.” Shuddering, I gently and precisely set my hairbrush down on the table top. It wasn’t to be thought about. I just wouldn’t be able to take it.
“Let’s talk about something else!” I suggested in as bright of a voice as I could.
Before my sister could react, a sharp scream sounded from somewhere in the castle. Both of us jumped, and both of us instinctively crouched ever so slightly, waiting for an attack. As soon as I was aware of what I was doing, I tried to straighten up, but one look at my sister’s frightened eyes and I jumped onto the bed next to her. We were huddled there when my father’s closest advisor threw open the door. Screaming, we clutched at each other.
“Hush!” he told us sharply, and we shrank back with fear even as we recognized him. “You must listen, and listen carefully!”
The awful screeching rang out again, and shivers covered my body like a parasite. I could barely speak, but I was suddenly very aware of my silken hair, brushed to perfection, caressing my cheek. It burned so quickly that I let out a silent gasp and swung my hands up to brush it away from my skin. My sister yelped as I accidentally hit her, but the advisor severely hushed us.
“Listen!” he thundered. Then he sighed, and his shoulders hunched, revealing him to be the old man that he was. Like magic before my eyes, his face became more lined, and his hair grew greyer.
“What’s wrong?” Cesny whispered. A tear had formed and fallen down her cheek, and she brought to mind a particularly moving painting I had seen years ago. She already sensed what was wrong.
“Your mother…” He trailed off, seemingly lost in thought. Then he shook his head and gathered himself, but I would never see him again in a light of authority and strength. “Your mother has caught the sickness.”
We both gasped, but my sister let out a low moan. My hand covered my mouth, and it wouldn’t stop shaking. “There’s no time for grief!” he went on. “We must begin to isolate parts of the castle.”
“But mother–!” my sister wailed.
“Is lost to us, Child,” he said sadly.
“You can’t kill her!” I shrieked. My hand clamped over my mouth as if my body felt betrayed by my outburst. No, no, this wasn’t happening.
“My suggestion,” he began, looking us gravely in the eyes, “is to lock yourselves in here.”
“But we’ve no food or water!” Cesny protested.
“Get some! In haste! Then…forget everyone. Forget us all.” He got a far-away look in his glassy eyes. “Isn’t that what we planned to do? Forget the world outside of the castle walls? We locked everyone out and tried to kill them. We plotted to begin the land anew with foreigners and our own offspring. Perhaps the gods punish our arrogance. Perhaps…” His voice trailed off as he lapsed into brooding again.
Cesny’s head whipped around to face mine, her eyes wider than ever and her terror tangible. “Wrenna…”
I stared into those eyes and wondered if mine looked as haunted as hers. “Ret, get out.”
“I beg your pardon?” The old man glanced over at me, but my eyes never strayed from Cesny’s.
“Get. Out. Go to the kitchens, get as much food and water as you can, and bring them back. If you want to stay with us, stay. Otherwise, never come back.”
He stared for only a split second. It couldn’t have been a half an hour when there was footsteps at the door, and then he appeared again, burdened by bags and boxes of food. “Let no one in,” he whispered, and then I never saw him again. I knew I would never see anyone else again, except Cesny. We barricaded the door and waited. If the sickness came to us, I knew there were two options: A slow, painful death, or a slow, painful transformation into…something else. I wasn’t sure which was better, if either one was. But it didn’t matter, for I wouldn’t be me either way afterward. The food would run out eventually, but I couldn’t discuss that with Cesny.

She caught the sickness first.

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Embrace

The snow kept falling down.

There was no wind, but the descent was cyclic in nature nonetheless, and the sparkling, lazy swirls of snow-cyclones made me dizzy. An unidentified humming droned on in the background, somewhere far away enough to not be visible. Then again, maybe the snow had covered it already, hiding it. Maybe the snow has affected my eyes. The twirling, trailing snow is all I can see.

The world was muffled. There was the constant hum and the continuous snow—and silence. A wonderful, breathtaking silence born from these crystal-jewels that sprayed from the sky and blanketed the mortal world. I could have cried, but some irrational voice warned me that my tears would freeze on my face, in my eyes, and so I didn’t. If they froze in my eyes, I wouldn’t be able to see anymore. It would be like looking up through an ice-covered pond, and my tiny fists would pound against the ice, pleading—let me out! let me out! But I would not break free. My last sights of the world would be of the grey sky, through a kaleidoscope, as the light fades away.

I hear her yelling for me. Her voice is so harsh, so ugly. It’s destroying the perfection that has enveloped me. I want to whisper, I am now a part of it. But I can’t. My lips are frozen shut.

She’s screaming now. Barking my name, as if the uglier she sounds, the faster I’ll want to reach her. She doesn’t understand—can’t understand—that I’m not longer hers. I’m no longer Loreena. I am no longer a kid, a dumb, bad, dirty *kid*. I am just an extension of the cold, of the snow. The tears want to come again, but I force them down. Crying is for children, and I am a tiny snow flake that kisses the ground.

The snow is supposed to fall all evening, all night. I’ve been here for hours, and it hasn’t even hesitated for a second. I wonder if someone could see me, if they came upon me. I kept my face uncovered for a while, but then I stopped wanting to move my arms. The snow will make a lid, a perfect box, and it’ll mold to my body and bear me away underground. Just like Pa. I hadn’t been allowed to climb into his magical box, because it was his “new home for one,” but now I have my own. His of wood, mine of snow. It doesn’t matter, I hope. I’ll make it work the same.

The noise has stopped. Maybe she thinks I’m hiding in my room somewhere. She won’t find me. For once, I have chosen my place.

It’s so soft. The more that lands on me, the more I love it. It was so cold and wet at first, but I am a part of it now, and it loves me as I love it. Finally, finally…

It’s beautiful! The silence is so beautiful! Even the hum is dying off. There’s only the snow, falling, hugging, kissing…and my breath short, shaking…my heart, and it sounds wild and cacophonous in my head. Cacophonous…unharmonious, not-pretty. She said it was a “big word” that dumb kids didn’t know, but I looked it up. She thought our choir was cacophonous.

It doesn’t matter. All I wonder now is whether I will see that bright light that Mrs. Felix talked about. It bothers me that I might miss it. The snow is over my eyes now, and I bet I look just like a bump in the ground. What if I can’t see it? It’s all so bright anyway. But not really cold anymore. It’s pleasant, actually. Just how I always imagined being hugged would feel…

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My favorite guilty pleasure–young adult books. I love YA. I found this one at B&N, where I normally don’t go, but I had a gift card. I started looking through the section, and I found this book. It was paperback and only $9.99, and the cover looked good. I judge a lot based on the cover, which probably isn’t good, but I’ve always had that problem. Back summary sounded even better, so I was in.

Great book! There was another one of the author’s mentioned on the back, so I’m assuming this isn’t her first, which means I will be looking up any and all others she has written. The simple summary: A teenager (I think 16 or 17) named Delaney is with her best friend Decker as they go to meet up with some friends. They live in Maine, and it is winter…and they go to cross a frozen lake. Well, Delaney ends up on the lake alone, right smack in the middle, and she falls. Ice shatters. And she goes under. She dies. She is actually declared dead, but then something happens–and she is alive, but she is in a coma. But only for 6 days. And the unthinkable happens again–she suddenly wakes up. Her brain shows signs of trauma and damage, and yet she actually shows no symptoms…except she keeps getting these itches and feelings of being pulled…and always towards someone who is going to die.

It’s supernatural, and it’s not. It’s what I like to group at magical realism, which was my favorite literature to study in college. Everything is normal and “like real life,” except she can sense the dead. But there’s nothing *supernatural* about it, if that makes sense. It is only explained as in her brain was rewired incorrectly or some trauma caused this to happen. It’s not vampires and zombies jump out, or she can time travel or anything. I love fantasy, so I’m never bothered by stuff like this. Some people don’t like it, but I say give this one a try even if you’re not crazy about the “magical/supernatural” part. I think it’s very well written. It does play out like the typical YA in that there is, naturally, a triangle going on. Which actually turns into two triangles, but whatever. I don’t like romance books, but I have come to accept that part of YA and embrace it. It never gets mushy or graphic anywhere. There are no sex scenes…the worst part is a making out scene.

The only warning I will say is this: If you are easily depressed, especially when it comes to the topic of death…not for you. I am easily depressed, and especially with the topic of death, but I always ignore my own warnings because I like to torture myself. The whole book is basically poor Delaney questioning what it means to be human, why did she live, why did others die, what is death, etc etc. And she is constantly drawn to the dying. So there were times I had to stop reading because I could just feel myself getting a little dark, so to speak, lol. But the book is not necessarily even written darkly, compared to other stuff I have read. It is, of course, sad. I cried at parts, but then again, I cry very easily.

So go read it! 🙂
AV

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It’s blog Wednesday!! Not really, I just put up two today, so it’s your lucky day!! Wooooohooo!!! The other post was a rant, so I feel like I should put up something not angry inside, haha. Soo….here’s my sad/funny/stupid snow tubing story.

First off…I have never gone before, and I have never really even sledded before. I don’t like snow; I don’t like cold; I don’t like heights and going fast and wind in my face…wow I sound boring and weird…oh wait I am weird…

Anyways…but I do live in Pennsylvania, so it’s not like I’m unaware of this stuff. I just haven’t done it. So…I can make stories really long, so I always try to shorten them to bearable lengths. I went with my husband and his two guy friends that I really like. We are in a van, with the two friends in the back. First off, the roads are horrible. We just had a lot of snow coming down over the past few days and it wasn’t stopping then. I didn’t even think we should go (because I really didn’t want to go anyways, haha), but we ended up going. It took a really long time to get there because we were going slow. So I was car sick and cranky. I get motion sick pretty easily, haha…another good reason to go!

We are going through this park where it’s at…and the place is huge. There’s, like, a golf course and a boating place and a race track thing and God only knows what else. Where we want to go is, of course, at the very end. As we’re pulling up to the building where we think it’s located, Friend 1 spots the side of a mountain where there is a bare track and starts shouting, That’s where we’re going!

I am prone to panic attacks. I promptly start having one. Friend 2 says something like, I thought it was about 9 stories we’re going down. That didn’t help the panic attack. And they were serious. They weren’t putting it on. Husband gets angry because they made me freak out before we’re even there, haha. So I’m all mad and not really speaking to anyone. We park and go into the building, and the lady at the counter says we have to go outside and go a few more doors down to a little outside kiosque thing. I go into the restroom and try to calm myself. My feet and hands are already frozen, because I have really poor circulation.

Long story short, I’m mad but I’m already there so I just sign the waiver and start up with the guys. The hill we’re going down doesn’t look *that* bad. But I’m cold and bitchy. We get a tube, and they hook us up to the machine that drags us up the hill. That part scares me, which tells me it’s probably not a good idea to do this. I just keep repeating in my head: I’m not going to die. I’m not going to die. It will be over quickly, and then I never have to do it again. Maybe I will even like it. Etc, etc.

Husband is trying to be nice and patient, and he suggests we go down together. So we’re in our own tubes, but we hold each other’s handles, so we’re “connected.” My heart starts going as we drag ourselves closer and closer to the edge. And then…we’re off!

My heart drops as I think about it, haha. It. Was. Awful. Husband is a big guy, and he got in front of my tube. We go *fast*…a lot faster than the other people were going that I watched! I was going forward, and then I got turned around backward, and then I was forward again…the wind is in my face, I’m going over little bumps, my glasses were fogging up, and there is ice EVERYWHERE…it is in my hair, on my cheeks, in my eyes, on my lips…I couldn’t even scream. I was just moaning, and it sounded pathetic even to me.

It seems like it goes on and on forever…we finally get to the bottom…and I stumbled off as fast as I could, yelled, “I am never doing that again!” and just starting *swearing*. Like, no joke, I could not stop myself. The “f” word just keep tumbling out of my mouth over and over and over and over again. I could hear myself, and I thought, there are children, shut up!! But I couldn’t. F, f, f, f, f, f, f….f!! But the actual word. And I really don’t swear out loud that much. I never did until I met my husband, haha, but even now I really don’t swear a lot, and especially not the f word. But it was just there. And I finally just clamp my mouth shut, and husband goes, “Let’s go over by the fire.” So we throw our tubes back where they go, and he walks me over. He takes my glasses and tries to wipe them off, and I’m just not even saying a word now.

Seriously…my hair was iced over. I was just frozen. And so upset I couldn’t even say anything. Husband is trying to be all nice to me, haha. We found out later, and it makes sense when you’re sane and being logical…that the more weight on there, the faster you go. So that was our first problem, lol. And then apparently husband had both feet in the snow trying to stop us from going so fast, knowing I would freak out, and he was kicking the ice up on us, haha.

So needless to say…I am never doing that again. And we went back to the car and waited for the other two to finish. Gah. I may be a loser, but I can live with that 🙂
AV

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Next to books and writing, music is my life. I LOVE music. I like a lot of different kinds of music, too, and I was hoping that every once and a while I would spice (?) up this blog with some music talk 🙂

The Birthday Massacre–Hide and Seek
Now, if you don’t know who they are, you should probably go look them up 🙂 I guess the best way to describe them is dark techno/dance music. They have a female singer, whose name I can’t think of right now…Oh, yeah–Chibi :)…and she is really different from a lot of other female singers I listen to typically. I have enjoyed their previous CDs, with the one before this (Pins and Needles) being my favorite. Overall, I really liked this CD. I think the first two songs are the best, but I don’t really dislike any of the songs on Hide and Seek.

It seems generally slower than their other CDs to me…and I’m not sure “slower” is the correct word, but it’s the first that comes to mind. The music just seems a little different, but I’m not usually one who listen to a band a long time and the second they change their sound a little, I freak out and say they’re going main stream or selling out or they’re crap now. I try to give everything a chance, and like I said before, I listen to a lot of different bands/singers/genres. So maybe that’s why it doesn’t always bother me when a band sounds different. I think of this way–if a band puts out 4 CDs, do you really want every single one to sound all exactly the same? How boring, lol.

I would have to say I have only one complaint, and it’s kind of a stupid one…I can argue against myself about it, which means it’s a weak complaint 🙂 It’s a really short CD. And I automatically think, I spent $12 on this and it’s barely or not even 40 minutes (didn’t really time it). Then again, I’m going to listen to it over and over and over again, so $12 is not that much after all. There are 10 songs on there, but they must be really short songs. I think it’s just when I really like a song, I wish it would be really long so I can enjoy it longer 🙂 Then again, maybe if it were longer, it would become terrible and I wouldn’t like it anymore. So…yeah, like I said, not a really good complaint, but nonetheless, there it is.

So, yeah! If you like creepy things, here is a link to a youtube page that has the video for their song Looking Glass:

And here is one to their song Blue, which is always strange and creepy:

Well, hopefully I have given some of you a new band to listen to, for better or worse 🙂

AV

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