Marcus loved power, almost as much as he loved women.

The two women in his bed-- Suzie, he thought, and Lynda? Lydia?-- had been a good distraction from the polling numbers lately, but he needed to get his mind back in the game. Work hard, play hard. He left a couple of hundred-dollar bills on the end table and let the girls sleep in. The maid service would eventually come and kick them out of the room, and he didn't want to leave them stranded. He liked these two, and would probably call them again, especially that Suzie.

With a grin, he exited the hotel lobby and stepped toward the waiting limo. Cassius, his driver, was holding the door open with the professional, blank expression that Marcus had come to know and trust. Cassius had seen some things happen in the back of that limo, and had never once so much as batted an eyelash. He also carried a supply of cleaning chemicals in the trunk that were quite good at removing certain bodily fluids from the supple leather while leaving it soft and buttery smooth. He was a keeper: good help is hard to find.

"Good morning, Marcus," said a deep voice from inside the back of the limo as Marcus moved to sit down. Startled, Marcus looked into the eyes of his Uncle.

"Uncle Quint, what an unexpected surprise."

Marcus quickly regained his composure, seated himself and adjusted the sleeves of his shirt. He did this more to display the family-crest cufflinks that his uncle had bequeathed upon him when he had turned 18 and been given the position of prime assistant to Governor Cato. His uncle was one of the behind-the-scenes movers and shakers in the political world, a "facilitator" in polite terms. In less polite terms, he was a "fixer", or a "cleaner".

Cassius rolled up the privacy wall and pulled the limo away from the curb.

"Have a good night last night Marcus?"

"Yes, Uncle, it was rather nice."

"I'm sure it was, the young ladies seemed rather pleasant. I do hope you tipped them well. It does make them easier to keep quiet in the long run, but you really should consider finding just one or two and sticking with them for a while. It would help make my job easier."

Marcus opened a bottle of water from the limo bar and washed down a couple of blue-and-white pills provided by his doctor. His uncle snorted with disapproval.

"May I assume, Uncle, that this is not purely an inquiry into my social life?"

"Marcus, we have a problem."

Quint handed Marcus a manila envelope, thick and heavy.

"As you know, your journey from Governor to Senator has been well-received, despite your somewhat extravagant dalliances. We've been readying the path for the advancement of your career to the next level."

"And I do thank you for that, Uncle. You have been very good to me."

"Yes, well, it hasn't always been easy, as you do tend to require some extra care from time to time. Unfortunately, this latest problem has become something not so easily handled."

Marcus was staring with disbelief at the papers in his hand, the words SUPERIOR COURT and COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE in capital letters on the front page. He quickly flipped to the last page, where he saw his wife's signature in blue pen.

"Porcia? But we have an agreement..."

"Apparently she no longer wishes to abide by whatever agreement you may have had."

"Oh, God. What am I going to do?"

"Marcus, there are a lot of people who are very heavily invested in your future. This kind of disgrace is not the kind of thing that will withstand public opinion, and we simply can not let this run its course."

Tears were beginning to form in Marcus's eyes. "I'll talk to her. We can work things out somehow. I'll convince her."

"It's too late for that, Marcus. She had already filed the paperwork with her attorney. Luckily, he's one of ours, so the papers were intercepted before they could do any real harm."

Marcus felt the blood drain from his face.

"What... what did you do?"

"What we had to, dear boy, what we had to." Quint took a couple of cigars out of his inner coat pocket, trimmed them, and lit one, handing the other to Marcus.

"It was no mean feat. Your dear wife has a history of mental illness that goes back some time before you even met. Depression, chronic but treatable, and she was doing quite well. Unfortunately, she developed a rare, fast-moving form of cancer that was untreatable, and the stress simply proved to be too much to bear, dear thing. That will be the official finding. Oh, and she wrote a note describing her undying love for you, and how she didn't want to burden you during your transition to the next leader of the free world. Quite endearing, really. At least that is what the final reports will show."

Marcus felt the world begin to turn white around him, and a rushing sound began to fill his ears.

"The sudden but inevitable death of your loving and devoted wife will have the side effect of a swelling of sympathy, which has a fairly large expected return in the polling numbers. You will of course be taking some private time to mourn and dwell on whether or not you should remain in the race, but after a few weeks, you will decide that in honor of your deceased wife, and because of her pleadings, that you will continue with your campaign. It's quite brilliant really. Should have thought of it long ago, before we had to take down Jules. That whole mess could have been avoided. And you child, you know well enough how messy that whole incident was."

Quint took the unlit cigar from Marcus's hand and lit it for him.

"Oh, and Cassius is turning out to be quite an excellent writer. We shall likely employ him as your head speechwriter once your term begins, Mister President."

Marcus looked at the lit cigar in his hand for a long time before slowly raising it to his lips.

The Cheese Man

The skies were dark, the kind of deep green darkness that makes Midwesterners think of tornadoes and hail and putting the cows in the barn so they don't get all agitated and make the milk turn sour. I was on my way home from school, and the dark skies made kind of happy because I wouldn't have to do that particular chore tonight, as Pa had already brought the "ladies" inside. That's what he called 'em, the Ladies. I didn't really understand it at the time, but he'd always chuckle a little when he sold the milk down at the co-op and brought home a few bags of groceries and a little something special for himself.

The school bus met the Cheese Man on old county 35. His wagon was ancient, like pictures I had seen of old carnival wagons, washed-out faded paint proclaiming EXOTIC CHEESES FROM AROUND THE WORLD, worn out letters spelling AM ZI G and AST UN ING still mostly visible through the grime and wear. A skeletal gray horse pulled the wagon slowly, looking like each step would be his last but always making just one more puff of dust when his hoof touched down.

The gravel road was barely wide enough for the school bus and the old man's wagon together, so Mr. Fox-- the bus driver-- had to creep slowly past. I could have reached my arm out the window and touched the side of the wagon. I probably would have too, until I saw the Cheese Man himself.

He wore a faded cloak that looked like it might have belonged to a magician that you see in those old painted posters in the lobby of the movie theater. It had once been a dark reddish color, like burgundy, and still had the gold trim around the edges in most places. He wore a wide-brim leather hat that shielded most of his face from the sun, but it was his eyes that caught my attention, a sharp steel-cutting blue color that locked onto mine and stared. I felt my heart stop beating as we slowly passed, and I couldn't look away.

It took an eternity for the bus to creep by, and just as we pulled past to the point where I could almost no longer see him, he touched the two fingers of his right hand against the brim of his hat as a sort of salute.

The world came back when Judy Jorgenson started yelling at Emmet Haley for hitting her with a wad of gooey spit. I felt the world slowly come back to life in a sort of watercolor haze, and those sharp eyes of the Cheese Man almost faded from memory.

By the time I got home, Pa was already making dinner: chicken and potatoes, and some stringy green beans that we had put up for the winter. I had chores to do before we ate, and if I didn’t finish them in time, I’d be in for a whuppin. With the storm coming, I had to bring in all of the laundry from the line and make sure all the shed doors were closed and latched. It was still better than bringing in the cows, and I really didn’t mind all that much. Plus, I got to drive the Chevy into the shed.

We didn’t have a TV yet, but Pa liked to listen to the radio. His favorite show was the Grand Ol’ Opry out of Nashville, and we listened to that over dinner and while I did homework.

The storm came, as sure as we knew it would. We didn’t get hit the hardest, but it was still plenty rough. There was hail, and we watched for tornadoes, but it was the wind that was the worst, and a smell that came with it like electricity and old socks. I went to bed that night with the thunder and wind, and wondered about the Cheese Man and his old horse and wagon, whether they had weathered the storm.

That night I dreamed.

I was running in the woods on a clear moonlit night, running away from something that I somehow both knew and couldn’t picture, but I knew I had to get away. There was an old abandoned cabin there, a small shack in the woods that had long since lost most of its roof to rot and decay, and I ran inside to try and hide.

There was a bedroom in the back, and a closet that still had most of a door left intact, so I crouched down and hid as best I could, and looked out through a crack at the open doorway of the main cabin.

A silhouetted figure popped into view, arms outstretched and holding onto either side of the doorframe. The figure sniffed the air, then looked right to where I was and slowly stepped forward. I pulled my head back and crouched in the corner even more, trying to make myself invisible, but the door flew open and a pair of strong, bony hands grabbed me by the collar and pulled me to my feet.

It was Pa, sort of. It was Pa, but madder than I had ever seen him, with a fire burning in his eyes. He pulled me close to his face and started yelling at me, but no words were coming out, just the silence and the sound of the wind. He seemed to get madder and madder that I didn’t understand him, and he began pulling me closer and closer to his face, his yelling getting more and more animated, but still no words coming out.

As he pulled me closer, the smell started, like rotting meat left to turn way too long, and the skin on his face started to peel and crack, maggots worming their way out of his flesh. I started screaming.

When I woke up, I was doused in sweat, the rotting smell still lingering in my nostrils. I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night. I didn’t dare.

When the bus got us to school the next day, there was a surprise. The Cheese Man’s wagon was parked in the vacant lot across the street, and he had opened up the side making a sort of theater, complete with velvet curtains and a small stage. The inside of the wagon was far different than the worn exterior would have led me to believe: the colors were rich and beautiful, the textures deep and rich, and the smell was wonderful. The Cheese Man himself was nowhere to be seen.

The first class warning bell rang, and we hurried inside. English was first with Mrs. Peterson, and she had us reading Robinson Crusoe. Everyone else didn’t seem to like it, but I thought it was okay, and I liked it better than Huck Finn that we had read over the winter. Today though, everyone seemed restless, even Mrs. Peterson. It was probably the smell of the cheese wafting in through the windows, because by the time the second bell rang, my stomach was growling something fierce.

Jimmy Kim pretty much hatched the plan to ditch third class, and me, him, and Randy Bristol decided to head over and check out the Cheese Man’s wagon. It’s not like we hadn’t ditched before, and besides, we were all starving.

Randy was the bravest of the three of us, and he was the one to knock on the door. Some sounds of movement inside, and the door opened; the Cheese Man stepped out into the sunlight, his faded robes still somehow looking regal despite their age and faded glory.

“Ah, young boys I see, come to sate your curiosity about exotic cheeses. So tell me, do you like what you see?”

I had expected his voice to be as dry and dusty as he was, but it was mellow and warm and powerful, and strangely relaxing.

He told us stories of far-off lands where the various cheeses were made, of the strange ways of the natives in some of the lands, one place where whole tribes of short dark-skinned men stood on one leg and walked for hours at a time in their dreams. Along with each story, he gave us each a taste of the cheese he was describing, and it was like tasting a different piece of the world each and every time.

We had lost track of time, and had been at the wagon for nearly two hours when Mr. Marsters came over to fetch us. He was as mad as I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Mr. Marsters plenty mad, but the Cheese Man and his calm relaxing voice seemed to tame the anger right out of Mr. Marster’s red face, and with a shake of hands and a small gift of a roundish wheel of cheese, Mr. Marsters brought us back to the school.

There was a letter of course, and I had to have Pa sign it and bring it back the next day. I dreaded the ride home, because I knew I was gonna get a righteous whuppin.

When Pa read the letter, he started shaking. Not a mad kind of shaking, Pa didn’t shake when he got mad. It was more like he was scared. He told me to go up to my room, to shut the door and stay there. I did what he said, especially if it got me out of a whuppin, and I really wasn’t all that hungry anyway after all of the cheese. Maybe even a little sleepy.

I woke up to voices downstairs in the kitchen. It was Pa, arguing with somebody. Not yelling, but agitated, pleading. I snuck out of bed to listen, not quite being able to make out words, and then I heard the unmistakable voice of the Cheese Man, firm and solid, but with no warmth this time, like talking stone.

They spoke words that I couldn’t quite understand, like a different language that I had once known and forgotten. I didn’t know Pa could speak any other languages, and that surprised me more than anything.

The Cheese Man saw me then, his blue eyes latching with mine, and he beckoned me to come down the stairs. Pa turned to look, and I’ve never seen that kind of look on his face before, a combination of horror, grief, and sadness. I can only imagine it was the same kind of look that he had when we lost Ma, but I was too little to remember back then.

“It is his time,” said the Cheese Man.

Pa slumped into a chair then, defeated, looking older than I’d ever seen him look. Tears started to well up in his eyes, and Pa never cried. Ever. He looked at me for a minute, then stood up to give me a hug.

“I’m sorry Barnabas,” he said, then turned away and walked to his bedroom and closed the door.

I stood there for a full minute, trying to understand what was happening.

“Barnabas,” said the Cheese Man, “A good old family name.”

I turned to look at him and was drawn in again by those impossibly blue eyes.

The same color as my Mother’s eyes.

The same color as my own.

And then I knew.

Crimson Petals

A crooked smile
Crimson Petals in the snow
Love waits forever

Char had walked by this wall on her way to work almost every day for the last three years and she had never noticed the bits of graffiti written there by young hands, idle with dead time. It was always just a part of the background of city noise, like the constant white noise of distant cars passing, or the distant bark of a lonely dog. Somehow, this one time, the words caught here eye, and she stopped and read it again.

A crooked smile

A haiku is not the general form of graffito on these walls. There was an art to some of it, some of it really good if you liked that sort of thing, but mostly it was just taggers marking their territory, pissing spray paint or poster markers on buildings and streetlamps and mailboxes, most of it only suggestive of actual words.

Crimson Petals in the snow

A certain beauty to this. smooth, arcing lines, painted on with an artist's grace, brush strokes visible in the gentle curve of the letters. She reached out her hand to touch them, wanting to discover if they felt as graceful as they looked.

Love waits forever

The bus pulled up, hissing and screeching like an asthmatic dinosaur growling for her to get on. As she sat down, she took one more glance out the window at the words blurred through the grime on the glass, and as the bus drove away, she felt an odd sense of longing.

Her day at work was the normal drudge routine. Reports to read and correct, markups of grammatical errors that she knew wouldn't get corrected because her boss felt that they were rakish stylistic choices, invoices to sort and mark and file into categories that sometimes changed week to week. It was her own personal hell. Or not really hell, more of a purgatory, a place of limbo, of just existing, formless and void.

A paper cut then, sharp and mean and deep enough to well up a couple of drops of blood onto Smithson's expense vouchers. They seemed to happen more often now with the cheap paper that the boss got for the printer, coarse and rough-feeling like it was made of old cardboard boxes. She went to the tiny office kitchen for a bandage.

The kitchen was a typical office kitchen filled with unimaginative white cabinets and drawers designed by someone too boring for Ikea, the smell of slightly stale coffee and the lingering death of burned microwave popcorn filling the air. There were small splashes of color here and there, a couple of decorative wicker baskets for packets of sugar and something resembling creamer, leftover ketchup and mustard packets mixed in with the occasional soy sauce or fortune cookie from Wong's, and a bundle of chopsticks with WE DELIVERY printed down the paper wrapper in faux Chinese script.

The first aid kit was in the marked cabinet, but had already been depleted of simple bandages with a "need to buy more" note left in their place by some thoughtful but clueless individual. She closed the cabinet and turned to get one of the paper napkins from the pack on top of the microwave when she saw a new sign that had been taped to the refrigerator door saying IF ITS NOT YOUR'S, DON'T EAT IT, and cringed a little inside.

She hated this place. Not enough to leave, but enough to be disgruntled. She snatched one of the errant fortune cookies from the WE DELIVERY basket and tore it open, the crinkly plastic wrapper making a satisfying sound as she crushed it and tossed it at the trash bin. She decided she'd come back later with a sharpie and some White-Out and fix the sign, partly because it would drive her a little nuts to see that every day, and partly because it would piss off whoever put it up in the first place.

The thought made her smile a little as she broke open the cookie and put a piece in her mouth, the slightly-stale sweetness dissolving on her tongue. She looked at the tiny slip of paper inside.

Love dies in the winter, and wakes in the spring.

She let the fortune drop from her fingers and into the awaiting trash can, deciding that perhaps she'd just leave the sign be.

It was dark by the time the bus dropped her off at the stop, late from last-minute changes that the boss absolutely needed for his 8 AM meeting with a Very Important Client, Powerpoint slide after Powerpoint slide of inane data and tables with annoying little animated figures helping to "spice things up". One of these days she was going to replace one of his slides with a picture of Goatse or something equally vulgar and wrong and laugh her ass off all the way to the unemployment line.

Then she froze. She saw a man, a tall, thin figure wearing a dark gray hooded sweatshirt facing the wall where the haiku was written, brush in hand. She held her breath and watched as his hands moved slowly, hypnotically, thin fingers generating the beautiful lines and curves of another poem.

In sleep without dreams
Martyrs dance upon her veil
Her hooded eyes tear

As he finished the last caressing stroke, she saw him lift his other hand and place a gentle kiss on the wall, as if in memory of someone.

"That is beautiful."

The words came out of her involuntarily.

The figure turned. She couldn't see his face, but knew he was staring at her, eyes burning.

"I'm sorry to intrude, but I saw your poem earlier, and thought it was wonderful, and now that I've seen you write another, I just had to tell you--"

There was a flash of something silver and sharp, and a burning pain in her throat. She fell to the sidewalk, and remembered the pain from the paper cut earlier in the day, the drops of blood staining the white paper

Crimson Petals

and as she hit the sidewalk, she saw the words on the wall burning like embers, moving and writhing, beckoning her with their undulations, dancing to music she could barely hear.

She saw the man then in sharp focus. Tall and thin, a brush in one hand and a scythe in the other, and as he stared at her with loving eyes, she made a crooked little smile.

And then she slept.

(no subject)

If we have to put blame on someone, it was Davis. He's kind of an asshole anyway, but we all had a part in it.

I suppose I should go back. We had finally succeeded with the full nanofiber weave. Essentially it's like a rope, a very very fine rope made up of a few thousand strands of carbon nanotube-- "threads" I guess you'd call them, though that doesn't really describe it. Ever seen a hawser line that ties up one of those big ships in the harbor, about a foot thick? Well, think of a human hair next to that. Then think of the nanothread as that same kind of scale, but smaller. Yeah, fun stuff. Anyway, we've been pulling the nanothreads in continuous lengths for a couple of months. We have spools of the stuff now, tens of kilometers on a spool the size of sewing thread.

The weaver. We built up a machine to weave the nanofiber into "rope". It's a little tricky since we're dealing with a continuous length, but Shruti is some sort of wizard with topology, and she does extreme knitting or crochet or something like that, and came up with a weaving design that lets us weave the threads into something that not only doesn't unravel, but tightens up when you pull on it, kind of a cross between a Chinese Finger Trap and spider silk. You know about spider silk? No?

Yes, yes, back to the topic. We finally got the machine working perfectly on Tuesday. It's a brilliant piece of engineering if I do say so myself: we manipulate the thread in three dimensions on a rotary axis using coherent laminar flow air blasts from what I call the Piezoelectric Nanocannon. That part was all mine, and a significant triumph in engineering.

Okay, we're able to weave the thread into a stretchy cable-- I have a sample here somewhere. Oh, you have one already? Yes, watch the ends, we have to cut them with a high-output CO2 laser, it's like trying to cut diamonds otherwise. Harder, really: the nanofiber is perfect.

Well, we had successfully pulled over five kilometers of nanoweave onto a spool. That's well over ten thousand kilometers of original fiber, and it was a huge milestone. And as you well know, milestones require celebration. And yes, there was alcohol involved. Strictly speaking, there is no alcohol allowed in the lab, but really, nobody has access to the lab but us anyway, and this was deserving of celebration.

Like I said, if we have to blame someone, blame Davis. He came up with the idea that we should try stringing the nanoweave between buildings. You have to remember, this stuff is about as strong as a half-inch steel cable. Davis had the idea that if we stretched it between the A tower and the AC unit on the C building, we could have a fun little ride with one of those hang-on-the-pulley things that you see in the Army training camps, or on the YouTube videos. He was all gung-ho for it, and had the equipment in his car. He dared us. Like I said, he's kind of an asshole, but we were a little drunk, and perhaps a bit wanting to prove that what we had was perfect.

How did we run the cable? A fucking bow and arrow, that's how. Davis again, some sort of bow-fishing rig. An easy thousand feet, and he nailed it the first time. We had a bit of a problem figuring out how to tie off the nanoweave without actually cutting through the steel supports. Turns out that Shruti had that figured out as well, and came up with a kind of hammock-y thing. She's really quite amazing.

Davis was the first across. He whooped and hollered, and was having a pretty grand time. Shruti was still a little nervous, so I went next, and I have to admit, it was a lot more fun than I expected. I don't normally get that kind of adrenaline rush in my daily life, so I was probably grinning like a bastard by the time I was done. And when Shruti finally came across, she was near hysterics, crying and laughing at the same time.

Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the adrenaline, probably a little of both. I kissed her, heard and heavy, and though it took her a second, she kissed me back.

I'm a little at a loss as to what happened next. We made it back to the lab before... well, let's just say that we gave in to our baser instincts. I suspect Davis may have had another go or two on the high-wire, as that's the kind of thing he does.

Anyway, we left the contraption up there, strung between the buildings. We-- Shruti and I-- had pretty much forgotten about it, and I'd guess that Davis wanted to keep it up there indefinitely as his own sort of personal plaything. You can't see it from the ground-- hell, you can't see it from ten feet away.

How were we to know about the skydivers? The bigwigs didn't let us know, they wanted to keep it a "surprise". And I suppose it was more of a surprise than they bargained for.

It's all really a sad confluence of events. I'm certainly sorry that Ms. Carlyle was so incredibly unlucky to manage to hit the field so perfectly as to hit the nanoweave. A few feet higher and she would have missed it completely. And I am also sorry for the bystanders below who caught the brunt of the half of Ms. Carlyle that came down upon them so unceremoniously.

I do feel bad, really, but I hardly think that blame can be placed on any one person. There was a distinct lack of communication all around, and I'm sure that you agree that we have to chalk this one up to "death by misadventure". There really is no other description for it.

Now if I may be excused, I need to meet with my team to discuss how we handle the rather unfortunate but still exciting events. Our nanoweave held up under some stresses it was never designed for. I'm sure that management will be very happy with the results.

(no subject)

Her stripper name was Oubliette. It was really all anyone knew to call her.

When the guys asked her about her name, she'd tell them that it was French for a place of forgetfulness, because that was her secret power: she would make them forget about things. And they would forget just a little, and they'd leave a little happier and a few hundred dollars lighter. And at the end of the night she'd leave, and head home, to who knows where. She never really seemed to let anyone get close enough to know where she lived or even her real name.

At least no one could remember.

There was good reason for that. She was indeed named after the Oubliette, the Place of Forgetfulness, but it wasn't really her name as much as her title. She had been a member of the White Court, graced from birth with a particular talent to weave herself into the threads of thought of another, and feed. It was luscious, filled with complexities and patterns, truth and deception, pain and pleasure beyond imagining. Her title, and her duty, was one to serve the Court, as both counsel and means of punishment, or in rare cases, redemption.

Those were the worst, when she was tasked with unweaving and feeding on the memories of those who had earned the gift of Redaction, of Erasure by the Court of every trace of memory of some transgression. Most of the things she had to swallow were at best distasteful, and at worst incomprehensibly evil. It was at those times she would weep, sometimes for days, as the tinge of evil permeated her entire body.

The Day. She remembered it that way, with capital letters, draped in velvet as red as blood. He had been one of the lesser counts, brash and abrasive, cocksure and alive with a kind of charisma and energy that stole and devoured the hearts of young women (and as it turned out, more than a few young men), and he had managed to fend off Erasure with some deft political maneuvering and a few well-placed disappearances. The Court had narrowly awarded him Redaction.

The ceremony was intended to be public and humiliating. The count was not one used to humiliation, and looked into her eyes with a kind of hunger, a broad grin starting to form on his lips.

Their coupling-- and that was how she was compelled to look at it was as a 'coupling'-- was forceful and invasive. He invited her in, smooth and silky, then closed around her with great arms like a bear. He had done this before, and she could feel him invading her, tickling her, unweaving her like she had unwoven so many before her. She felt him merge with her, entwining himself so tightly within her that she could no longer tell where she ended and he began, losing herself, feeling herself being drained, mixed, duplicated and shriven.

And then the words, Felt, rather than heard.


Capital letters. Solid, form and substance. They gave her a core to wrap herself around, to sink her roots into, to stab and feed, and rip and shred and devour, raw energy and lifeblood and screaming, and a sort of blind pressure that was born of panic mixed with a feral intensity, and everything went white.

When she woke, she was surrounded by handmaidens, wrapped in shrouds of ritual cloth torn from the Narthex, and self-consciously naked.

The Prefect loomed over her, scorn in the lines of his face. "She has regained consciousness, sire".

A smell. Electricity, and copper, and something else, something sharper and deeper. And the voice:

"She has taken that which has earned Redaction. She is forefit."

There was a scurry of activity, something that she remembered more as white noise than anything. There were slashes of crimson, some violet, something that she remembered tasting sharp and tangy and metallic, and the kind of darkness that comes with a deep sleep.

When she woke, it was a bit like surfacing from a dream. There were tendrils of vision of something horrible, but the reality of her vision was quiet and clean, with the smell of freshly-washed linens.

"Milady is awake. Milady should prepare."

The Prefect, His voice somehow hollow and empty in the hall, and with a tinge of something approaching respect.


"For your voyage. Quickly now." and the sound of robes rustling, fading into the distance.

The last minutes after that were a blur. There were hands that bundled her into something that may have been a carriage, the sense of deep sleep and the smell of the ocean and earth, and her waking on ground new and foreign.

And the hunger. When she woke, she fed on an entire village, invading their dreams without even having to touch them. She left them with hollowed eyes and minds so vacant that when the winter came, they simply died.

She learned, after a time, to moderate her hunger. That part of her that had been touched and invaded so long ago, that greedy desire, was tempered by her own sensitivity. She knew now that the White Council was rebuilt over time, and that she was legend in its hallowed halls, and that for her own sense of survival, she had to learn to moderate her hunger, to sip rather than gulp, and to keep her profile low and quiet, sleepy and dark. The lonely, desperate men who came to her club and fawned upon her had memories that were for the most part poignantly sweet considering the evils of her past, and left her with enough sustenance to keep her satisfied, and enough cash-on-hand to allow her a comfortable physical existence.

And the occasional vermin that came in and allowed themselves to get close enough to taste? Well, once in a while a girl can indulge, can't she?

(no subject)

So, yeah. Writing. LJ-Idol.

an explanation of why the 6-ft purple bunny is looking at you funny, holding a gun to your head, and making you do this, even though you don't want to, and you're scared

The six-foot purple bunny? She's my bitch. She thinks she has the upper hand (paw?) on me, and I let her think that. It gives her room to grow, and a little bit of a leash to run on.

I let her think she can escape. A little bit at a time. It gives her hope. She tries, and almost makes it.

A little bit farther every time.

She always fails. It's a part of her nature. Really, a bunny doesn't have the opposable appendages to actually pull the trigger, but that she's actually aiming it at my head this time is a step up from last time.

I'm proud of her.

She will collapse in a bit, crying, and needing me to punish her for what she has done. And this time, the punishment needs to be severe, loving.

One of these times, she will actually kill me.

Maybe by then she'll be able to survive without me.

(no subject)

Laptop seems to be alive again today, it may just have been a weird hibernation thing that it got caught up in, or it may have overheated or something.