Bad title is bad. Yeah, I know, I suck. 😛
I’ve had plenty of time to write this week and all I did was sit and stare at the computer screen filling out more applications and sending in my resume to every job opening I thought I could qualify for. So, when it came to the evening, I’m too tired from staring at the screen to want to think about writing anything, not even the prompts which came up in the #writemotivation G+ group.
A few questions that were posted I gave an answer to. Others, I read and got a good giggle out of them.
The best news of the week came yesterday when the second round of first page/query critiques came out. Naturally, I sent in the first page of Society of Night and Lies. What I got back was better than anticipated. I was expecting it to be ripped apart with questions asking why a cat was talking and drinking in a bar.
Sure, there were questions but more of when the hook was coming not about anthromorphs. The one who critiqued mine did make a suggestion, which a beta had also mentioned, was to trim off the first sentences. Which, yes, I do agree with. Those first few are fluff and not really needed. Something else also stood out clear as crystal to me, if Sabrina is trying to keep from being pulled back into a seedy underground society she used to be an assassin for, shouldn’t there be more mystery, especially surrounding her? More suspense as she tries to figure out how her old ‘boss’ found her and managed to locate her only living relative?
Yeah, I thought the same thing.
More trimming and spacing out information and more with the keeping things to herself so she can follow her own agenda, which is stay free of the Claw and Fang.
Didn’t I mention writing prompts?
May 28th: “What’s that smell?”
“What’s that smell?” Mom shouted when she entered the room. Her hand waved in front of her face with she used the other to pull her over-sized t-shirt up over her nose to help block the noxious fumes. “Did someone die in here? ” Her hacking and gagging was only partially faked. She was really sickened by the stench that filled the room.
In the chair just in front of where mom stood, her son, a rambunctious eight-year-old boy was trying to hide from the smell behind his spindly legs and his tablet on which he was playing a game. “Pee-ew! That’s really, really bad. Dad’s tryin‘ ta kill us, mommy!” He was laughing while pretending to be grossed out by the death-like aroma.
The scent was fading. Apparently not fast enough because mom grabbed the bottle of air and fabric refresher and sprayed it around the room; making sure every inch of the floor was touched by the mist as well as the cats’ tree and the furniture. Even then, that fetid scent lingered behind the floral and cinnamon of the spray.
“Colin,” mom said sharply as she gave the boy an equally stern look. “What have I told you about constantly joking about bodily functions?”
Colin quickly stopped, but he didn’t stop waving his hands to keep the fine mist from making it to his tablet or his nose. He was too young to realize that such an attempt was futile.
While the cats were miffed at having their precious tree with the four tiers of cups and curved platforms for them to sprawl in was lacking their special scents, they were more than happy to receive the petting and chin tickles from the man of the house. He had just ambled in from the bathroom; laughing at his son’s ruckus and the defensive stance that his spouse had taken.
“It wasn’t me, this time.” He looked as innocent as Satan on a rampage. “I was in the bathroom the whole time.”
“It wasn’t me, either, mommy.” Colin piped in with a big mischievous smile on his face. “I wouldn’t put it past either of you, boys.” Then look from one to another as if she were a detective out of an old movie, she asked, “If you two didn’t do it, who did?”
Just then, another whiff of fetid wretchedness drifted toward them. They looked at each other. Neither of them had done it that time. Then they watched as the tom cat leaped off the cat tree and ran from the room. Only one left was the half-grown female and she was grooming her hind leg. Somehow, that little innocent cat had made a stench worthy of a full grown man after eating all day at a bean festival.
May 29th: “It’s not that the women are stupid…” (corrected for the grammar)
“It’s not that the women are stupid…” stated the old trapper, “but most of ‘em ain’t got the sense to tell th‘ difference b’tween a worm and a piece o’ rope. Ya cain’t teach ‘em nuthin‘ without havin‘ ta ‘splain it ’bout thirty fo’ty times a’for they catch on.”
The other men sitting near by nodded and sipped at their tankards; keeping their voices low while the drunken badger talked loudly so everyone in the tavern could hear him. They had their own opinions about women but none of them dared speak them aloud. They learned their lessons long ago.
One of the many patrons of the Jade Moon could have tried to quiet the badger down, or done something to keep him quiet. But, no, they kept drinking. Perhaps they were taking some perverse pleasure in knowing that sooner or later, the badger would be shown why you don’t speak against women in that particular tavern.
As if to ruin their fun, one of the bartender came over to their group. As big as what the gray wolf looked, he moved quickly and quietly. “Sir, you’re being too loud. Would you please talk quieter, you’re disturbing the other patrons.” He was polite and looked professional in his tunic and apron, but he sounded like he really did not want the badger to be quiet.
Bleary-eyed from the mead he had drunk, the badger waved his hand as if he trying to push him away. “I ain’t being loud, sir.” Strangely, he didn’t slur his words, but he definitely was not sober. “I am being perfectly quiet. Ain’t that right boys.” He eyed his companions and gave them a gap-toothed grin as he raised his mug up in the air. “More mead, sir. Me’n the boys here are thirsty.”
The wolf looked over the group as the more sober, and wiser, shook their heads. Some muttering and others keeping their voices down as they sipped from their own cups. He shrugged and left the group alone. He had a feeling they were waiting for the badger to say too much at just the right moment. For just in case, he took his time preparing the new tankard for the soon-to-be victim.
They didn’t have long to wait. The only female bartender in the tavern came down the stairs, dressed in her leathers and sturdy boots for her shift. The dark colors were in contrast to her pale gray fur and long blonde hair. She had no idea that trouble would be thrust her way.
Standing to see where the bartender was, the badger spied the wolf femme as she sauntered over to the bar then lean on it while speaking to a brown furred wolf standing guard by the till while serving drinks to the other patrons. “See boys!” He shouted almost gleefully as he pointed with his empty tankard at the wolf femme. “That’s what I mean. Women ain’t got no sense. She ain’t s’posed ta be dressin‘ like a man. She should be wearin‘ dresses and keepin‘ in th‘ home ta mind the kids.”
In that moment, the tavern went silent. Only a few soft coughs were heard and quickly hushed. Outside, the wind could be heard blowing through the eaves and branches tapping on the walls. It was quiet enough that the mice peeked out of their holes to see if it was safe to venture out to find food. It felt as though everyone was holding their breath.
Sharp ears swiveled toward the badger and his companions then, slowly, the she-wolf turned to face them. Her eyes were dark and her jaw set tight. Each step seemed filled with purpose as she strode over to the badger’s table.
Quickly, the group surrounding the badger scattered, leaving a wide path for her to approach. As soon as she arrived at his table, she slapped her hands down on the surface then leaned in to get nose to nose with the trapper. Her blue eyes were like eyes, showing nothing of the anger that filled her gut from the insult he had made. “What did you say?” Her growl was low and her jaw barely moved, but her lips curled back to reveal rows of sharp teeth. “Did you imply that I am to be nothing more than a maid and brood mare?”
The pride the old badger felt melted away as survival instincts cleared away the alcohol from his system. He leaned back when she moved closer and his knees suddenly felt like jelly. “Um… yes… ma’am…?” Immediately, he knew that was a bad answer.
Before anyone could react, he badger was in the air, being slung about while punch after punch landed on his face. He struggled to get away only to be held captive until the beating ended. He couldn’t tell up from down or where to block to stop the pounding he was taking from a woman; a woman who was smaller than he was.
Somehow, amid all the furious hitting and struggling, they ended up near the door. One of the patrons opened it to allow her to toss the trapper out. Before giving him the boot, she whispered into the badger’s ear, “No one says Frea is a brood mare. Ever. Learn to respect the ladies, old man.” In her voice a threat could be felt. A threat that would ensure he’d never insult her or another woman again.
Out into the windy night the badger flew, his rump well above his head as he soared face first into the cobblestone road. He laid there in the street, groaning from the beating he just took. All that noticed him were the city guards and they shook their heads and tisksed softly. They needed no explanation.
May 30th: “Hush, little one, it’s going to be fine…”
“Hush, little one, it’s going to be fine…” The words echoed softly through Ashlin’s mind while she held the single flower in her hands and held it to her nose. Her sniffles couldn’t be masked by the only token she had to lay upon the grave of her deceased mother.
She had been gone for only a year, and it seemed like yesterday that her mother spoke those words to her and brushed away the tears that crept down her cheeks. She didn’t look ill, and yet, she was so frail and weak. The last few days of her life were spent in bed while her body deteriorated from the fever and coughing.
Ashlin never left her mother’s side during her illness. She helped feed her and clean up the messes the coughing made. She kept her company when she should have been outside playing with the other children in their village. In her heart she hoped her mother would get better if someone stayed with her and took care of her every need.
As much as she tried, she could not help her mother get well. None of the medicines worked and the closest healer was too far away to get them in time even though they tried their hardest. All the healer could do was help ease her mother into death so she didn’t have any pain to fight with or coughing to disturb her path into oblivion.
Father was there in those last moments, grasping his wife’s hand while Ashlin held the other; both grieving for the one person who made them a family as she passed away. That couldn’t have been more perfect with sunshine and warm spring breezes to chase butterflies and wisps through the dandelion fluff. It was a perfect day, just as it was now on the anniversary of her mother’s death.
Only a year older, she couldn’t grasp death fully, but she knew it made her heart break into a million tiny pieces that she had struggled to put together since. Even her father felt the same way and decided the only way to move on in their lives was to move away and make a fresh start. It wasn’t an easy one to make and it felt like they were losing her again because of it.
“Come, Ashlin.” Her father called to her from the wagon. He had already returned to the seat and was waiting for her. Everything they owned was packed in the back beneath a heavy tarp. “It’s time to go.”
She spared him only a quick glance before resting the flower beside the simple tombstone. “Good-bye, mommy. I miss you,” she whispered then ran to the wagon, crying because she could not take the grief any longer.
As the horses started their slow plod down the worn path, a soft voice whispered on the wind as it blew past Ashlin’s ears, “Hush, little one, it’s going to be fine…”