LotSF: Respect

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I sprinted through the forest full-tilt, the anger and adrenaline coursing through my body pushing me past my pain. It was like my body was fading away with every step, the aches and wounds unravelling and leaving just my soul exposed. I hurdled fallen branches, pushed off of jutting rocks, wove between trees lightly and powerfully and nimbly. I felt faster than the river, lighter than the air. I didn’t just feel free, I felt capable.

Unstoppable, even.

The bearskins were faster, more desperate, more afraid, and they scrambled haphazardly through the trees towards some unknown destination. They plunged ahead, skidding and stumbling, but only ever went a few dozen metres before pausing to see if I was still following. Their pale, vile eyes flickered white in the failing light. They snapped and snarled at one another as they fought to get away but still I kept running.

I knew it was there, the fire between my fingers, the little black vortex churning ceaselessly within my chest. It was driving me on, pushing me through every twinge of pain or weak muscle. I wanted to rip into those bearskins, burn them alive for what they’d done, and the thought of finding their little hidey hole, where obviously there was something important to them, filled me with a dangerous hunger.

Steady, the wind seemed to croon as it twisted around my body. Steady.

I was more than this anger burning beneath my ribs. I was more than the blindness and the pain and the fear. I was more than loss and isolation and desperate risks. I was alive and powerful and I was not stopping for anything.

I leapt up on a rotting stump, planted my boot against its wood, pushed off and hit the ground running, kicking up leaf mulch and pebbles. My breath thundered in my ears. I wanted to go faster.

But rising above me was a steep ridge, lying across the forest floor like a bony spine beneath the grass and leaves. The bearskins’ claws raked deep gouges in the dirt as they frantically clambered up the incline and threw themselves over the other side.

I sped up, kicking hard as I fought gravity and my own heavy body. I grabbed shrubs, thick tufts of grass, anything within reach that could help pull me to the top. And there I stood at the crest of the forest’s backbone. My chest heaved. My legs shook. The aches and pains came coursing back.

I turned, looked behind me. Smoke curled up from the ground where liquid handfuls of flame had scorched the dead leaves. You could see the deep orange trail of smouldering forest tracing my steps hundreds of metres back into the darkness. That was me. That was me passing through the forest, as powerful and unstoppable as I was, and leaving my ugly black mark on it.

That damage was my fault.

My ribs shuddered as I fought to normalize my breathing and I slowly turned again, looking back ahead of me on the other side of the ridge.

There it was. Their hidey hole.

Bearskins swarmed like ants in the little hollow in the middle of the forest, their greasy pelts catching the moonlight, their pallid eyes reflecting white daggers in the darkness. They churned around their dingy camp, between piles of rotting meat and hoarded junk. The bearskins I’d been chasing flooded into the hollow, stirring the others to run faster and more erratically, until they were a chaotic, senseless mass.

I scanned the mass of seething bear pelts, searching for any tiny sign of anything that might be a clue. There was nothing. No sign of Faith, no sign of any gypsies, no sign of anything that meant anything to me. What had I expected anyways? That these brainless monsters would really be hiding anything important?

The swarming bearskins had started to slow, not quite as frenzied as they’d been when I first arrived, and I watched them with a curled lip. They were horrible creatures, monsters that preyed on emotional weakness, that inspired the same fear they thrived off of, and here they were in front of me. Afraid of me. So what did that say about me?

Maybe I belonged here.

I half slid, half clambered down the side of the ridge, tiptoeing around animal carcasses and rusted metal until I stood in the centre of their camp. They instinctively moved away from me, surrounding me in a circle that spun and bristled and pulsed constantly. The faint moonlight rode like a serpent on their backs. Their continuous motion was dizzying and infuriating and I wanted them to stop.

“Where are they?” I snarled at the beasts, and a low growl passed through the pack. A few of them swerved out of the circle to snap their jaws at me and a flicker of fear sparked in my chest. These monsters could kill me if they wanted to and it was their fear of a magic that wasn’t really mine–that I couldn’t really control–that kept me safe. If they decided they weren’t afraid of me anymore…?

The spark of fear flared hotter and now the bearskins were dodging in and out at me, snapping and snarling, made hungry by my worry but still cautious in the glow of the fire dripping from my fingers. The fear in my chest kicked harder, spiraling into something big and fierce, and my efforts to contain it only seemed to compress it into something sharper. The bearskins slowed, scraped their claws, turned inwards to glare at me. A few of them stepped towards me, threatening and huge.

The anger flared defensively, using the fear as ignition to make it burn hot and unwavering, and the bearskins leapt back from it. I sent them into a maddening dance, pulled like a magnet by their obsession with my fear, repulsed forcefully by the heat of my anger. They didn’t know how to respond, they didn’t know how to treat me, and we stood in a tense stalemate.

I swallowed tightly. Balancing the fear and anger like a pendulum where my heart should be, I took a step towards the bearskin directly in front of me. It immediately retreated, but I let out some of my fear, drawing it back, then held it there with a flash of anger. It felt scalding and nauseating in my throat, the potent emotional cocktail, but it held the bearskin transfixed as I took another step, and then another. I was standing a breath away, our eyes locked. My heart pounded, fury stretched taut across my shoulders, as the monster and I faced each other with ruthless respect.

It was a respect caked in dread and hostility, but it was respect.

My breath steamed hot and restless.

“Find them,” I snarled softly, baring my teeth in the darkness.

The bearskin growled lowly, pale eyes flickering, and then it took off into the night.

***

*collapses into an exhausted heap*

This was an effort to write. But it is done and hey, look, it’s the 15th. I’m sort of not really on schedule.

I have things I would like to do and a direction I would like to pursue and a whole lot of vague thoughts and aspirations but I have no promises for when any of that will happen. For now, I am tired.

Night.

LotSF: Chasing Fear

PREVIOUS CHAPTER

I tripped on a root, exhaustedly catching myself against a tree trunk and standing weak-kneed for a moment to try to catch my breath. I was becoming progressively clumsier as I went on, less and less steady on my feet, less and less able to keep myself going every time I tripped. My whole body felt like a throbbing bruise. Every muscle wanted me to lie down on the forest floor and give up.

And this felt so terribly hopeless.

Why was I out here, wandering the forest alone and injured?

How could I ever find my horse in hundreds of acres of trees, when I didn’t even really know if she was alive?

But I had nothing else. Nothing to lose. Nothing to do but keep moving, keep walking, keep trying to fix the mess I’d made. So I pushed myself away from the tree and focussed on putting one foot in front of the other.

Almost an hour after I’d started walking, as the sun sank lower and lower towards the horizon, I noticed them. Bearskins. Creeping silently between the trees on either side of me, easily keeping pace. Their hungry, greedy eyes were fixed on me, glowing yellow and amber in the dying light, and my hand reflexively dropped to my hip. My sword wasn’t there. I was weaponless, surrounded on every side by dozens of monsters that could easily tear me apart.

But they weren’t attacking. They kept me surrounded, they kept their eyes trained on me, but not a single one of them stepped towards me. If I stopped walking, they paced restlessly, antsy and jumpy and skittish. They were afraid of me. Afraid of my ugly, flaming magic, most likely. It made me feel astoundingly powerful, knowing they wouldn’t dare touch me, but being this close to something so brutally dangerous raised the hairs on my arms and neck. It was so incredibly eerie.

The sun sank lower, burning the sky red and gold, and still I hadn’t even come close to finding Faith. I was tiring myself out, disorienting myself in this massive forest, and keeping myself company with a pack of bearskins–company that made my stomach twist into all sorts of horrible knots. This didn’t feel like progress. It felt like it was making things worse and I was growing desperate.

But over the next little ridge, I found a river.

Judging from the size and speed of the river (plus a pretty desperately hopeful bias), I decided it was safe to assume this was the same river the gypsy camp was built alongside. That meant that if I followed it in the right direction, I would find the gypsies and possibly even Faith. Except that I couldn’t figure out which direction would take me to the camp. I knew vaguely the direction we’d ridden to fight the bearskins, but had that been up- or downriver? I couldn’t remember enough to give myself a clear answer. I couldn’t even use the position of the sun–I’d never thought to pay attention to its location when we marched out.

I was lost. Completely and utterly lost, with a 50/50 chance of becoming found.

I could walk forever, trying to find the camp, and as injured and fatigued as I was… what if I didn’t make it? What if the gypsies weren’t even there? What if the bearskins finally realized I was too weak to hurt them and attacked me?

Feeling helpless and powerless and so horribly lost, I waded into the cold water. I walked past my thighs, up to my hips, water flowing under my dusty, ashy armour, before falling to my knees and letting the river rush over my shoulders and chest. My blood mingled with the water where it flowed past my damaged shoulder and I wished it would wash the rest of me away, carrying me along the river’s course, dumping my ashes into the lake where they would settle to the bottom.

I felt the water drag at my body, urging me to join it, to give up my pointless quest, to just admit that I’d failed and run away from all my problems. Its weight was so tempting, so soothing, and I wanted to follow wherever it might take me.

This was so, so hopeless.

But it was my fault.

did this to Nolan. did this to Faith. did this to myself.

So was going to fix it, damn it.

I felt it again, the little stirring anger in my chest, that ugly black hole where my magic used to be. It burned like a coal within my ribs, urging me up onto my feet, pushing me out of the river. I was angry. At myself, at the bearskins, at the woman who’d kidnapped Nolan, and that anger drove me on, drove me up, drove me onto the riverbank. I staggered, lungs heaving, feeling an electric energy build inside me that I could neither stop nor control, and I felt heat brush against the insides of my palms. I looked down at my hands, remembered the flames.

Small, lazy yellow tongues of fire dripped down my fingers.

The bearskins stirred anxiously in the shadows of the trees. I turned towards them, raised my hands. They pressed back, away, clamouring over one another to try to escape me. They were terrified of the magic.

The anger kicked up in my chest. I wanted to summon massive torrents of flame, I wanted to hurl them at the beasts and punish them for what they’d done to me. But I bit back, reined in the fury, held white-knuckled onto the fire in my hands. I would not let this anger overcome me. I would not let it consume me.

Because while the bearskins were doing everything they could to escape me, they weren’t fleeing randomly into the forest. They were gathering at a specific point, some of them darting off into the darkness but all of them following the same path. I walked towards them and they funnelled along that path, never straying, never breaking away.

There was something there. Something they felt they could run to. Something that made them feel safe.

Maybe it was the woman who’d stolen Nolan. Maybe it was something else.

But it was better than wandering alone in the dark.

The anger, the determination, lifted me above the pain and fatigue.

Fire clutched tightly in my hands, I took off after the fleeing bearskins at a run.

***

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I did it. I actually wrote a LotSF chapter.

It’s horribly late (it’s currently 1:23am, whoops) but it’s done. It’s here. I did it!

It feels good. It feels really good. I am proud of myself. And I am so much happier with the way this chapter went than the way it was going before.

Again again, thank you everyone for being patient and all of that, I hope this was worth the wait.

For those who are possibly new to the whole thing, welcome welcome. I hope you enjoy.

And I hope everyone is having a good weekend thus far. I will see you all sometime tomorrow (or later today, since it’s already Sunday) for my regular posting schedule.

Good night!

-Alex

 

 

Some Preparatory Words

Here we are, March 31st (shhh, please just pretend), the day before I finally begin to update LotSF again.

Or so you thought! Haha, April Fools’! I’ve actually given up on the story and am throwing it in the garbage. Goodbye. Adios. Rest in pieces! *jazz hands and glitter*

Okay, no, obviously I’ve not given up on the story, but with the amount of effort it’s taken to figure out what to do with it, I kind of do want to take this big old mess and toss it in the trash. Siiigh.

You’ll notice it’s a really weird day for me to be posting (Friday vs. Wednesday), and that’s because I wanted to say a few things before the next chapter of the story goes live tomorrow. First off, if for some reason you’re new to Language of the Small Folk, here is a great place to start (the links to the story are all on that page). Second, I’ve decided to make some changes to the story that I honestly didn’t think I was going to make.

I noticed as I was rereading the story (yes, I reread things I wrote FOUR YEARS ago, oh the pain) that after the second chapter of Winter, there is a huge change in tone. It’s like, we go from the struggle of not giving up in Getting Up, and then in Guidance suddenly I’m writing about this random forest lady who gives me a gift of warm light and huh? Then the next two chapters are just… off. They’re very off. I think maybe it was the result of me not writing as consistently as I did in the beginning of this project but wow it’s really hard to read.

It’s just not right. Which is also maybe why I had such a hard time continuing the story. It somehow meandered off into some weird part of the forest that it was never really supposed to go.

I hummed and hawed about it, because the point of this story was to just go where it took me, and it was important that each chapter just be allowed to exist as an intuitive expression of my heart and soul and blah blah, so it felt… wrong, in a way, to consider going back and changing those last three chapters. But I really don’t like them. I hate them. And they make this awful, awkward lull in the story that would be really disconcerting to anyone reading the story for the first time.

So I have indeed decided that I am going to remove the 3rd, 4th, and 5th chapters of Winter from the LotSF timeline.

The chapters will stay up on the blog in their original format, and I’ve changed it on the About LotSF page so that it’s clear they’re not a part of the story anymore, but for the intent and purpose of the story you can pretend they don’t exist. Erase them from your memory, banish them from the realm, forbid them from ever stepping foot in this place again. Or y’know. Something less dramatic.

Because of this, I am picking up immediately where I left off in the second chapter of Winter, Getting Up, and will hopefully be able to better match the tone and content that suits the story. I feel that this “fresh start” will allow me to write the story better and bring me closer to the ending I’ve imagined.

As always, thank you guys for being patient with me as I go about mucking the story up and changing my mind every time I turn around. It’s a bit chaotic but that’s what makes it more fun, right?

Lastly, as we gear up for the release of the next chapter, here is a lovely little summary of the story thus far, in case you understandably don’t want to read through a story that’s four whole years old (just think of the sacrifice I made for you).


After winter leaves her deaf and blind to the Small Folk, Alex is determined to find the root of the problem so she can get her magic back. With Nolan’s help, she sets off to meet the gypsy tribe, intending to help them with a simple emergency and potentially trigger her lost magic.

The feathered Small Folk are wounded and desperate; the threat plaguing them is worse than it first seemed. A pack of bearskins are on the hunt–vicious, violent creatures that feed off of fear and emotional distress. Simultaneously confronted with the devastating discovery that the barrier blocking her magic is psychological, Alex is not prepared for the battle ahead of her.

The gypsies fight as bravely as they can but the odds are not in their favour. The gypsies begin to fade, Nolan’s life is put in danger by a bearskin unlike the others, and Alex’s anger surges as the battle gets out of her control. Finally, in a burst of flame and fury, the blackness crowding her heart flares and leaves her cold, injured, and alone. The bearskins have been beaten back, but Nolan is nowhere to be found.

Stumbling through the forest, Alex is now left to figure out on her own how she can save her best friend and find Faith in the bearskin-infested woods…


Again, if you would like to read the first part of the story, the PDF is here, or all chapters are here.

That’s all for now. I will see everyone tomorrow for the oh-so-(probably not)-anticipated release of the next chapter.

All the best.

-Alex

A Foreign Language

There is one thing that is more neglected than my poor blog, and that of course is Language of the Small Folk.

I remember exactly where I left off. I remember it so well because I probably tried finishing that chapter a dozen times without success.

I had been writing every LotSF post on the spot, usually the same day it was published. It worked pretty well for me; I’d get into the heat of the moment, really feel the emotion of the particular chapter, and just let the story take me wherever it flowed. But for that last chapter I was working on, it really didn’t work.

I think I may have perhaps written myself into a corner.

Oops.

I mean, I know where I planned to go with it, I know how I wanted it to lead into the rest of the story, so it’s not like I couldn’t work with it. I just… lost a bit of the passion, I think, when I started into that scene, and it made it really hard to write it.

So what on earth am I going to do.

Since I’ve been blogging more, I’ve been enjoying the rigors of a schedule to give me a deadline and keep me motivated. I’ve been considering doing the same thing with LotSF–perhaps I will be more reliable and more motivated if I actually have set dates in which each chapter is due.

My idea is to post two chapters a month: one on the 1st, one on the 15th. If those days fall on a Wednesday or Sunday (a regular posting day), I’ll publish the regular post either on the day before or the day after, to keep things a little more spread out.

I mean, once upon a time I would post at least one LotSF post a week (and for a while it was every other day, believe it or not), so this leaves a lot more wiggle room than there used to be. But I think every 2 weeks isn’t so bad, and it will give me plenty of time to work on chapters in between deadlines.

I plan to resume the story with the new posting schedule starting on April 1st (April Fools’, I know, sorry). So hopefully that gives you guys plenty of time to reacquaint with the story and gives me time to get everything ready.

Now of course, I have a feeling it’s been so long since the last update that most of the people who were reading it don’t remember so well what happened last. My own memory is pretty foggy, and I’m the one who wrote the darn thing. So when I do post the next chapter up on April 1st, I’ll be sure to include a brief summary of the story so far, just to get everyone up to speed (and remind myself where exactly I was going with this).

But in the meantime, for those of you who might be new, or maybe just want to read the chapters again (which would be insanely flattering), I’ve compiled the whole first part of the story (named Spring) into a PDF that you can read or download here. Plus, the links for all the chapters for both parts (Spring and Winter) can be found on the main About page for LotSF here.

Thank you for your patience and huge thanks to those who have read every chapter. It means the world to me that you guys enjoy the things I put so much passion into (even if that passion seems to come in fits and bursts).

All the best.

-Alex

LotSF: Snow

 

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Author’s Note: as of April 1st, 2017, this chapter has been removed from the LotSF timeline.


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If asked, I couldn’t explain exactly what it was that made it feel like the ladder was calling me. I would’ve guessed it was curiosity that encouraged me to reach out and touch the lowest plank, as if I intended to climb it, but it felt like there was something more. I wasn’t the one who’d made the ladder but I wondered if I’d ever climbed this tree. It certainly didn’t look familiar. I couldn’t bring up any memory of this tree in particular, no matter how hard I thought about it, so if I hadn’t climbed it, then why did it feel so important to me?

I ran my thumb along the rough, weathered wood musingly, trying to put a finger on why this tree was special. Was it intuition, or was I just missing something? Did the forest woman have something to do with it? Was this the moment that I was supposed to trust myself? And was I supposed to climb it?

I looked up the tree trunk dubiously. The ladder would make the climbing easier, but it was an awfully old ladder. Some of the planks were split and most of the nails were rust-ridden–if they weren’t missing entirely–and the ladder only went up so far. At a certain point, I’d have to climb onto one of the branches and then I’d be on my own. I’d gotten a lot of practice tree-climbing when I was younger but I hadn’t done so in several years. Too many years. The last thing I needed after everything that had happened was to fall out of this massive tree and break my neck.

But the tugging. This tree, this ladder–they were pulling at my soul, yanking on my bones, driving me forwards until the urge to climb the ladder was almost too much to bear. I put one foot up on the first plank, contemplating the wisdom of going ahead with this. My body was still aching, my shoulder complaining loudly behind my curiosity and my hips and thighs knotted with a quieter pain. Could I even physically get myself up the tree? If my shoulder or legs gave out… I backed away from the tree, firmly decisive. I couldn’t do this. It was insane. I would just get more hurt. And there was no reason for me to climb this tree. I needed to find Faith. Unless she was waiting at the top, perched on one of the branches, climbing the tree wasn’t going to help me. I had to move on. But my feet felt rooted to the spot.

She told you to trust yourself.

I can’t trust myself if I’m dead.

Why are you so afraid? You can fight bearskins but not climb a tree?

I’m not afraid of the tree. But my fight with the bearskins is the very reason why I can’t climb the tree. I’m injured.

You’re strong.

I’m injured. My shoulder is torn up. I can’t climb a tree.

You know you can.

Yeah, well, I know I shouldn’t.

you could.

I’ll regret it.

Maybe. Maybe not.

I ground my teeth and shook my head, turning away from the tree. I didn’t need this indecision. I didn’t need this crossroad. How could I even think about climbing it? My body was too battered. And it had honestly been years since I’d even attempted to climb a tree. I could just imagine the struggle I’d have to go through to haul my butt up there. And not to mention getting down at the end. That would be a disaster.

But…

…it would be kind of fun.

Nooo, it wouldn’t be fun. I shook my head again, scornfully. What part of hurting myself would be fun? Absolutely none of it. But being up in a tree again, high above the ground, pretending I was a bird, one with the wind… that was the part that would be fun. That was the part that my landlocked heart longed for.

I turned back towards the tree, taking a hesitant step. I could at least try… I touched one of the planks, giving it a little tug to see if it would support my weight. It seemed sturdy enough… and my left hip seemed to hurt less than my right, so I could use that leg to pull myself up…

I was so tempted. But my shoulder. It was hurting even more now, as if reminding me how bad an idea this was. I sighed and let go of the plank. There was no way. It was an entertaining idea, and on any other day I wouldn’t have hesitated, but it just wasn’t going to happen. Not today.

Making up my mind once and for all, I turned sharply away, picked up my boots, and started walking in the opposite direction. I cast a yearning look over my shoulder, just one last glimpse of that enticing tree, and as I turned my eyes back to the forest, I caught a flash of white along the edges of my vision. I followed the movement, pausing uncertainly, and saw it again–a dash of white darting between the trees, caught for a second in the moonlight. I watched it with narrowed eyes. What was that? I couldn’t think of anything white that would be running around in this forest, but I supposed that–

–the white flash stopped, frozen in place for just a heartbeat, and my breath caught in my throat.

It turned dark eyes towards me. We stared at one another. It took just a fraction of a second, barely enough time to think, and then the connection was broken as it leapt and sprinted away.

But the image was seared into my mind.

It was a unicorn.

It was Snow.

***

Whaaaaat?! LotSF so soon?! I know, I know, it’s exciting that you don’t have to wait two months for a new chapter. Please, try to contain yourselves.

In all seriousness, though, I actually couldn’t wait to write this one. For a while there, as I was writing the earlier parts of this story, I had veered away from my original vision and inspiration, and I think that may have been a factor to why it was so difficult for me to update frequently. But now I’m getting back to the raw spirit of the story and it’s exciting! Thus the early update, hooray!

And a unicorn too! I have always always always loved unicorns. Still do. But I’ve never really had the opportunity to write about them. (Well, there was this one story I attempted when I was younger, but that was a flop. I’ve never had the opportunity to write dedicatedly about them, we’ll put it that way.) So this is an exciting experience. We shall see where it takes us, yes?

For now, I am going to have to take myself to bed. Toooo tired. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend. Have any exciting plans?

Good night, friends.

-Alex

LotSF: Childhood Calling

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Author’s Note: as of April 1st, 2017, this chapter has been removed from the LotSF timeline.


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A sharp twig dug into my heel and I cringed, sidestepping off it quickly before I put my full weight on that foot. I stopped and rubbed my heel unhappily, glad it was my right foot this time and not my left. I’d already made the mistake of stepping on a rough patch of lichen that had pretty well chewed up the sole of my left foot. This early in the spring season, I hadn’t quite built up the leathery toughness I was used to on my feet.

I sighed. But it was nighttime, and I wasn’t supposed to walk with boots in the forest once the sun went down. That was what I’d learned back when I was a kid–you wear boots at night, you get bad luck. And at this point, I needed all the good luck I could get.

Ugh, but what a pain. I’d forgotten how many pointy things there were hiding on the forest floor, under the leaf cover. Twigs, lichen, stones, pinecones–sometimes bones, even. Lots to get hurt on.

“How did I do this as a kid?” I muttered under my breath, pushing a branch aside so I could keep following the path. Seriously, though–how had I managed to survive romping through the forest barefoot and armourless as a kid? How had I not gotten scratched to pieces, or broken any bones falling out of trees? I mean, I had a few scars from scraped knees and cut palms throughout the years, but I couldn’t remember complaining about sore feet back then. And I used to go wild, running and jumping and crawling all over the place.

A wave of nostalgia rolled over me, thick and irresistible, and I felt a twinge of longing for my younger years. The days when I could just climb up any tree, quick as a squirrel, and survey the forest like it was my kingdom. The days when I could fit in those little nest-like nooks that formed at the bases of the trees, where the roots curled and twisted over each other. The days when I didn’t run out of energy and I never felt so angry as I did nowadays.

Heck–I missed the days when I could understand the Small Folk. When I could see them.

It had been so long since I’d  been a part of that world. This winter had been so long and brutal… almost six months of darkness and deafness. Six months without seeing a gypsy sprite, or a trick-it, or a turn-up. Six months feeling like my tongue had forgotten how to speak because I couldn’t remember the language of magic that had brought me such joy.

The Small Folk magic had been a gift. I was blessed at birth with the ability to hear and see their world, to speak their language. I had grown up with it, learned from it, let it shape my life. And now I had lost it. I’d lost it because… of myself? Because of some psychological block in my mind that was preventing me from tapping into it?

The problem was I didn’t know how to get past that. I didn’t know what part of my mind was cutting me off from my magic and it was driving me insane. Long gone were the days of my childhood when I could believe in anything without thinking twice–when belief was a matter of the heart, and not the mind. I didn’t know how to tap into that youthful state of being. I didn’t know how to go back to the old me, the me that could use magic.

And now what was I doing? Wandering a dark forest with the owls and the fireflies, still looking for my horse even though I had no clue where she was. That strange forest women had told me to trust myself and that I would find my heart again, but what was that supposed to mean? Probably something that I wouldn’t be–

I stopped. Blinking and turning in a half-circle, I looked around me. Something about this particular place felt familiar, though I knew I hadn’t been here in a very long time. I searched my memory, searching for an experience that just barely escaped my grasp, and failed to remember why this place was significant to me. But it was, there was no denying that.

I kept walking, slower now, my eyes searching the darkness for any landmark that would remind me what this place was. I couldn’t for the life of me figure it out, but as I came over the crest of a small ridge, I saw something that caught my attention.

A tall, fat, gnarled old tree stood proudly just beyond the ridge. I didn’t recognize the tree exactly, I couldn’t even begin to recall its name or its history, but I knew at once that it was special. Because crawling up its sides, fastened on with rusty nails, was a ladder made of weathered planks. A ladder made by a child.

And it was calling to me.

***

I just got back from camping with my parents for the weekend, so of course I had to write some LotSF.

It was so good, to get into the forest for a little bit–especially since spring is in full swing over here. I actually went for a couple walks in the forest near my house (the one that inspired me at the beginning of LotSF) which was a bit of a nostalgic trip. I can’t believe I started writing this two years ago. Crazy.

Also, some LotSF news for you: I’ve created a Google Doc of part 1, Spring. It’s the same story, with all the pictures included and everything, but it’s put all together in order so that it will hopefully be easier to read for newcomers or for anyone who wants to read it again. It’s a work in progress right now, but I’ll link to it when I have it closer to being done (it’s taking foreveeeeer). I’m thinking of posting it elsewhere too, like maybe Wattpad, for those who don’t like Google Docs all that much (*coughcough*me*coughcough*). But yes, this is the news. You’ll be able to find the link here or on the LotSF about page.

Oh! Whoever’s been reading through all the LotSF chapters these past few days (yes, I can see you in my stats)–I don’t know who you are, but hey, thanks! If you’re new and catching up, welcome! If you’re a regular reader going through it again, well thank you very much. I’m quite honoured that you’re giving my story a read.

And also in my stats–I keep seeing that some of the views from my blog lately are referrals from Twitter. Are you the same person reading LotSF? (Who aaaaare yoooou?!) Anyways, welcome Twitter person! Thanks for clicking through and checking out my stuff. Much appreciation.

All right, all right, that’s enough from me. If you’re in Canada, happy Victoria Day! If you’re not, well, I hope you have a swell Monday. You shall hear from me soon.

Take care.

-Alex

LotSF: Guidance

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Author’s Note: as of April 1st, 2017, this chapter has been removed from the LotSF timeline.


PREVIOUS CHAPTER

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“…Find Faith…”

I’d been wandering the forest for a long time. I didn’t know how long exactly, but I had a feeling it had been hours. The sun was starting to set. My body ached much worse than before. But all the anger, all the frustration, had been dulled by my ceaseless wandering to the point where I wasn’t feeling much of anything. I wanted to go home. I wanted to find Faith and Nolan and I wanted to go home.

The shadows of the trees around me were long and twisted in the falling sunlight. I stepped wearily between them, forcing my body to keep moving, afraid that I would just collapse if I stopped walking even for a moment.

I wondered how I was going to find Faith in a forest this big. I didn’t even know which direction she’d gone, and here I was stumbling along in what might be the complete opposite way. I thought briefly of calling out to her, to see if she would come to me. But as much as I wanted to, I felt mute. It felt like my throat was sealed shut. Like my lungs were empty. I couldn’t form her name on my tongue, let alone shout it loud enough for her to hear. And so I kept silent, and kept walking.

It was getting so much darker now. The sunlight was slanting down at a sharper angle, shining into my eyes, streaming like blades between the trees, blinding me as I struggled to guide myself. I squinted and raised a hand to ward off the harsh lighting, but there was little I could do to stop the sun. It was determined to shine as fiercely as it could and there was nothing I could do to dim it.

It was making it harder for me to get my bearings, though. I knew I was in an unfamiliar part of the forest, that much was clear, but my blindness made it impossible to see any paths snaking through the trees. I couldn’t tell where exactly I was going and it was driving me insane. I wanted to see. I didn’t need the headache this light was causing me.

And what was I even doing, wandering like this? Was I stupid? There was no way I was going to find Faith just based on luck. The enormity of the forest, the enormity of my task… it was overwhelming. What was I doing? I wasn’t going to find her. Frustrated and helpless, I growled and snapped a skinny branch off a nearby tree. I then angrily peeled off its bark, stripping it down before snapping it again and dropping it on the ground.

“What am I doing?” I muttered, turning circles as I ran my hand through my hair. This was hopeless. I would starve before I found Faith. But I was too restless to stop. So I kept moving. There was no point, but I needed to walk. I needed to find something.

And after several more long minutes, I did exactly that. I found a river, wide but shallow, lit up like a stream of gold fire in the last of the day’s light. I couldn’t be positive, but it looked a lot like the river that ran by the gypsy sprite encampment. If it was the same one, then I needed only to follow it and I would be back in familiar territory. Where the gypsies–and maybe Faith–would be waiting.

But which way? I could either go upriver or down, but I couldn’t remember which way would bring me to the gypsy camp. And if I went the wrong way, I would be worse off than I was now.

The sunlight thickened, reflecting blindingly bright off the water’s surface. I squinted and turned in a circle, weighing my options, trying to reason out my course of action. If I could only remember

“Alex.”

I spun immediately, my hand reaching for my sword, and then looked down at my hip with stunned disbelief. My sword was missing, something I’d failed to notice on waking after the battle. Heart pounding, I looked up at the source of the voice, ready to fight with my fists if I had to, but soon relaxed my posture when I got a good look at the strange woman. While she certainly looked human, it was clear there was something about her that wasn’t quite so.

“Alex?” the woman said again, this time making it sound like a question. I stared at her, unsure whether I should answer, and she stared back with curiosity vivid in her eyes. She crept forwards on bent legs like a cat stalking prey and I watched with wary interest. The golden light made her skin look like gleaming bronze and lit up her eyes like burning stars, but there was something else beneath the surface that made me think that maybe she was one of them.

One of the Small Folk.

“Why have you forgotten?” she asked, her voice barely a whisper, as she reached one trembling hand out towards me. Her hand seemed to call to me but I shook my head, resisting the urge to take it. I didn’t know this woman. I didn’t know if I could trust her.

Those burning eyes gazed long at me as her hand lingered in the space between us. “You have changed so much, haven’t you? And I do not think you like these changes…” She took another step forwards, shoulders angling towards me. I didn’t know how she knew me, because I didn’t remember her at all. I didn’t remember this wild woman, wearing the colours of the forest, her hair woven through with flowers. Maybe I had forgotten her when I forgot the language of the Small Folk. Maybe she was just another piece of magic no longer within my reach.

But yet… There was her hand. Just a bare two feet away. I could take it. I could join her, go wherever she was offering to take me, maybe even remember what I had lost. No. There was a part of me that knew I couldn’t do that. Whoever she was… I could not join her.

And I think she understood.

“The forest is deep in your bones,” she murmured, blinking slowly, holding me pinned with that steady gaze. “You have gone deaf to its voice, but you have not lost its blood.” She lifted her hand higher and turned it so that the palm was facing upwards, cupping the last of the sun’s flaming light. “Trust yourself. You will find your heart again.”

I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to ask her a thousand questions–about who she was, what I should do–but I sensed there was no time. Because just as the last of the sun’s light began slipping out of the sky, she turned quick as an arrow and darted back into the trees. I shook my head, startled by how fast she had gone. It was like she’d never been there.

Except that the anger that had burned so constantly within me these past weeks had faded.

The darkness, the hopelessness–it was being drowned out, beaten back by a golden light.

I didn’t know who that woman was, or what she had done to me, but I knew that the gift she’d given me was priceless.

She’d given me hope.

***

Yay, another LotSF chapter!

Last week was my first week at work at that stupid factory job. Well, most of it was training, and I haven’t actually done any work yet, but I am officially initiated into the factory workforce. Yippee. There were high points and low points, not gonna lie, but for the most part… it was okay. Survivable, let’s put it that way.

The nice thing–and something I maybe didn’t expect–is that the people are great. I can’t even tell you how many times someone reassured me that the work wasn’t so bad, or how many times someone went out of their way to talk to me/make me laugh. I even have a couple sort-of friends, if you can believe it. So I shall survive. I may not be happy about it, but I will be alive.

And I have to say, writing this chapter was so wonderful. First of all, no anger in this one, so that’s a relief :P And just… writing about the forest, and the sunlight, and imagining what magics lie beneath the surface… it’s so soothing. I was thinking earlier today about how spring is coming, and I’ll be able to start pressing/drying leaves and flowers soon. I am beyond excited. It kept me very busy last year and I can’t wait to do it again :D

I hope you lovely people are doing well. You let me know if you’re not, okay? Cause that’s unacceptable. We gotta make sure you’re all doing okay.

Take care, guys :)

-Alex

LotSF: Getting Up

469

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I didn’t want to get up.

Standing up would mean taking responsibility. It would mean facing the real world, and facing the long battle ahead of me. It would mean pain, and sorrow, and suffering.

But lying here, curled up on the ground… I didn’t have to face anything.

I’d been crying for a long time, even though my heart was past the point of aching anymore. A cold trickle of tears was still sliding down my cheek. I didn’t even know what the tears meant. They just wouldn’t stop.

I wanted to close my eyes and slumber forever, forgetting everything. I wanted to dream of the past, when I could speak the language of the Small Folk, when Nolan was there beside me and we were happy. But that felt so long ago. It felt like just a dream, like it had never been reality at all. If it had been real, then wouldn’t I still carry memories of such happiness in my heart? Now my heart was dark and empty. How could those sunny days have been real?

I wanted so badly to close my eyes and give up. I had done this, after all. I’d been so consumed by my anger, so worried about getting my old magic back that I’d ended up destroying everything. I had ignored Nolan’s efforts to help me, ignored the fact that my own loss was hurting him, and now he was gone. You did all this, without even trying.

I wanted to lie there forever. I wanted to stop hurting everyone else. But part of me was terrified. What would happen if I let go? What would happen to Nolan, or to Faith? I had hurt them. But I still loved them. And I needed to know they would be okay.

I couldn’t just give up.

You owe them.

And yet, as much as I knew I had to get up, as much as I wanted to stand so I could help them, it suddenly seemed as though just standing up was the hardest thing I’d ever done.

Get up. You have to help them. Get up. Get up. Get up.

But I had no strength. I told my muscles to work, to push me up, but they were too weak to obey. I was being pressed into the ashy earth and it was taking me in as its own. I would be swallowed whole, consumed. I would be free of my responsibilities. I would be free of everything.

But they need you. You owe them.

I pushed harder. I put one arm under me, propping myself up on my elbow. It felt like there was a thousand-pound weight on my back, bearing me down, but I had to get up. I put my other hand on the ground and pushed, and now my torso was lifted free of the consuming earth.

My shoulder throbbed with pain but I had to ignore it. I had to keep going. My arms were shaking, but I got my knees under me. I was farther off the ground. I was getting there. I was getting up. Just a little bit farther.

I put my boots under me and steadied myself, head swimming with my weakness, before slowly straightening. I swayed as I stood tall. My legs were numb, as if they couldn’t bear my weight, but I was stable for now. I could walk.

And so I started walking. I walked away from the cinders and ashes, towards the forest. I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t even have the sense to check the sky, to try to find my direction from the sun. I just kept walking, hoping for a sign. Hoping I would find something, or someone.

My footsteps were uneven and I wasn’t sure I could make the trek ahead of me without falling, but I persevered. You have to help them. You can’t fall. I focussed my thoughts on Nolan. He needed me. He trusted me. All this time, he trusted me to be there for him, and I wasn’t going to let him down. I couldn’t. Not now.

Thinking of him hurt, but I steeled my heart and kept going. There was no place for weakness. I had to go.

How could you do this?

You have to fix it.

How could you be so heartless?

I have to fix it.

I didn’t know what to believe. I just had to keep moving. I had to hope for something. Anything.

I stumbled and caught myself against a tree. I swayed for a moment, regaining my balance, and closed my eyes as I fought off a rising wave of sickness. That was when I felt it. A gentle breeze on my face, cool and insistent. I opened my eyes, heart pounding. There it was again, but stronger, wrapping around my shoulders and settling on the bridge of my nose.

“Alex…”

Oh gods. Nolan.

“Nolan,” I whispered aloud. “Nolan, where are you?” My voice rose in volume as I grew more desperate.

“Find Faith…” he said through the wind, and I shook my head.

“No. No. Where are you?”

I needed to know. I would find Faith, yes, but I needed to know where he was.

“Please…” he said, and I could feel the breeze fading. I was losing him again. And I didn’t know where to look.

The wind unravelled from around my shoulders and ebbed away from my face and I was left alone again. I wanted to scream at him to tell me where he was so I could save him, but there was no point. He wouldn’t tell me, or he couldn’t, and the wind was gone anyways. At least he was alive.

But where was I supposed to find Faith? I looked around me, at this great big forest I had stumbled into. Where would I find my injured horse amongst all these trees when she could’ve gone anywhere, in any direction?

I didn’t know. But I had wandered into this woods with only the hope of finding something, and that had found me Nolan’s voice. So I was prepared to keep wandering. To keep hoping.

I had to find her.

***

Another LotSF, and in not bad timing either.

I really don’t know what to say. I’m tired. And I need to catch up on things, as per usual. And that makes me more tired. Yawn. But I feel excited, for some reason, like something good is going to happen, and I guess it’s true. I’ve got some good plans for the rest of the week so there’s certainly a reason to be excited. I’m raaambling.

Also, I don’t know if the picture I used at the top really fits this chapter, but ohhh well. I guess the blurred effect of the droplets kind of represents how LotSF Alex is feeling right now, so there’s that.

All right, I’m off to bed (in a bit). Have a good night everyone :)

-Alex

LotSF: Winter Rising

It’s baaaaack!

And heavens above, did it take forever or what? The last time I wrote LotSF was in August. Holy crap. Long enough to forget what happened, eh? I’ll catch you up in just a sec, but first a boring update: this blog is under construction at the moment, whoop-dee-doo. I’m making new pages and compiling info and drawing pictures and this that and the other to make it presentable. So don’t mind the mess. But! I’ve decided to try out a monthly newsletter, and I have that page up and running. If you go to the menu and hover over “News”, it’ll drop down so that you can select “Newsletter”. There’s a form where you can sign up if you’re interested (or just shoot me an email at valourborn@gmail.com). The first issue’s going out February 15th.

Now, onto the story! Here’s a link to the last chapter, and a short summary below:

After a grueling battle with the bearskins, Alex was overwhelmed by the dark magic in her soul and unleashed its power in a burst of flame. However, despite the strength of her magic, she was unable to stop Nolan being abducted by a strange human woman living amongst the bearskins. Now, empty and alone, Alex must find her own strength to overcome the anger that so plagues her.

And so comes Winter.

***

467

I shivered.

I couldn’t catch my breath, I was so cold…

Couldn’t think straight… but there were memories, flashing erratically.

Please…

don’t hurt her…

I groaned, feeling my cheek pressed against something sharp… something gritty…

…why are you doing this?

What’s wrong?

What’s wrong?

What’s…?

A shudder ran through my body, forcing air out my lungs as my chest contracted. I coughed, breathing in something fine and gritty. Ash. I lifted my face. My neck was sore from lying there so long.

“N-Nolan?”

I meant to speak the name aloud, but something wasn’t right. The words didn’t come out. I coughed again, gagging from the bitter taste in my mouth. I tried to push myself up, off the ground, but my arms were trembling with the effort.

I hummed, an uneven sound that was more like a whimper, just to be sure I could still make a sound. I spat ash out of my mouth, disconcerted. “What…?” I said, this time forming the words and spitting them out of a raw throat. Everything hurt, and the pain was starting to ebb into sharp focus. It was more than just my neck and my throat. My shoulder burned. My back was knotted with bruises and aches. My legs felt mostly numb, but I knew it was a hidden pain, waiting until I tried to stand before it sprang into action.

I forced my arms to work. I pushed my chest off the ashy ground, struggling to get air in my lungs past my uncontrollable shivering. I put my knees underneath me, steadying myself. I rocked back, sitting on my heels, and waited for a wave of intense nausea to pass.

I screwed my eyes shut, wrinkling the bridge of my nose. I couldn’t… I didn’t know. I couldn’t think straight. I had an urge to vomit but I felt so empty. I looked at the backs of my hands. There was… blood. And soot. I studied the blood and my shoulder ached, reminding me. I was wounded. I had been bleeding.

“Nolan?” I murmured, my voice hoarse. I knew… I knew what had happened to him, but… I didn’t want to. Everything was clouded. Everything hurt. I hissed through my teeth and grabbed my forehead with one hand, squeezing tightly as if that would help me think. I inhaled as deeply as I could but every breath just dissolved into a shudder. My back was throbbing with pain…

I swallowed. My throat stung, and my eyes. I opened them again and looked at the ground. The ash was everywhere. That was my ash, I remembered. I’d made fire. And it had hurt me. It had emptied me. All that time, I’d gone around with the anger building in my chest, and this is what it felt like now that it was gone. No, not gone. Depleted, maybe. But the seed of it, the very heart of all that anger… I could still feel it pulsing in my chest like a heartbeat.

I looked around me, taking in the full scene. There was nothing to take in. A barren wasteland. Ash and soot. Bear pelts, and scattered bodies of colourful birds. No one was here. Nolan was… gone. I’d lost him. He’d slipped through my fingers and I didn’t even know where to look for him.

I didn’t want to sit there any longer. I forced myself to my feet, pushing through the screaming muscles along my hips and thighs and calves. It hurt to stand. It hurt even more to walk. But I staggered forwards, searching the ground for footsteps, or clues, and finding nothing I could understand.

There was nothing. No one. Nolan was kidnapped, taken by a woman I didn’t know to some dark lair I couldn’t find. And Faith… I thought of Faith, who had been so badly injured the last time I saw her, in the midst of that awful battle… even she was gone. I didn’t know where she would go. The bearskins could’ve eaten her, or she could’ve bled to death alone in the forest, and either thought made hot tears well up in my eyes. Both of them… I’d lost both of them.

I had no one to rely on.

I didn’t know what to do.

I didn’t want to stand anymore. My legs didn’t want to support me. What was left for me, in this barren field? I knelt in the ash and doubled over, clutching my ribs. I sobbed, and the sob was deep and racking and painful. All my breath escaped me, ripped out in an anguished scream, and then I inhaled shakily and started again. Every sob was ripping me apart, digging a sharper pain into my heart, but I couldn’t stop. The grief inside me cut into my soul and I wanted it out. I wanted to force it out with every desolate cry.

I needed help. I had nothing. I had no one. But I needed help to make this right.

And there was no help to be found.

What was I going to do?

***

Oi. That was incredibly difficult to write. More difficult than I thought it would be, really.

Mostly, I think, because I try to put myself in these scenes and really feel what’s happening. I’m usually in a bad mood when I write LotSF, so the dark feelings come easily, but I’m actually doing quite well tonight so it was a bit of a challenge to put myself into such a desolate position.

But yes, I’ve finally started this story back up again. In the time I spent not writing it, I thought a little bit about what it means to me and why I started writing it in the first place. I’m not going to say just yet what impact this story has had on me, but I can tell you that my reasons for writing it now are very different from when I started. Back then, it was a simple adventure, but now? Now it’s a journey. Now I’m purposefully going somewhere.

Anyways, I must go get some sleep, dear readers. This week is gonna be fun, let me tell you. I hope that you are all well, and that you have a fairly pleasant Monday. Until next I write :)

Are you going on any journeys right now?

May you have faith that, wherever you’re headed, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

-Alex

LotSF: Flames

CHAPTER 1

PREVIOUS

Alex,” Nolan said, his voice half a whimper. I saw his chest heave with a sob as he began to break down. And I heard the snarling of the bearskins increase in volume, in response to his emotional pain.

And just as he collapsed to his knees, I felt the anger heave within me.

If he died, if he got us killed… I would not let him ruin my life.

Fuelled by a swelling fire deep within me, I raised my sword and leapt at the nearest bearskin. I dug my blade into the hide covering its shoulder, sinking it to the hilt in the monster’s flesh before the bearskin began to scream. It writhed, turning its head and snapping its teeth where I clung to it, and our eyes met. The creature wore the tattered scalp of a grizzly bear on its head, but beneath that was its ugly, humanoid face with the crooked teeth and red-rimmed eyes which now glared at me with feral stupidity. Its jaws closed in empty air, failing to reach me, but then another bearskin came from behind, crashing into me and knocking me off of its shoulder.

I rolled as I hit the ground and lifted my sword to take on the new bearskin. I was surrounded now, with my own circle of bearskins closing around me tighter and tighter as I slowly stood. My anger roiled, slamming against my ribs in an effort to get me to move, to attack everything that threatened me, but I was struggling to think straight, rationally. I was not going to die. One of the bearskins–the one I’d injured, no less–finally let out an ugly roar and charged me, but didn’t get very far.

“Stop it!” Nolan screamed, and his high-pitched Wind Voice was edging on hysteria as he commanded a gale to sweep down, knocking the bearskin clear off its feet. A wordless shriek caught in his throat, Nolan came closer, entering the circle, churning the wind into a whistling vortex around me so that the bearskins found it difficult to keep their footing. I saw how bravely Nolan was acting, how strong his magic was, but I couldn’t ignore the tears streaming down his face. He probably intended to sacrifice himself to save me, using his magic to keep me safe but leaving himself open to an emotional attack.

I did not need to be saved.

Not by Nolan. Not by anyone. I could save myself.

So, losing all self-control, I shoved Nolan and pinned him to the ground, my blade finding its way to his throat. His spell died, the wind dissipating with fitful bursts, and he could only yelp as he found cold steel pressed to his skin and met my menacing eyes. “Stop this,” I commanded, my words barely recognizable as my own, they were so twisted with rage. “You are not going to die here. I am not going to watch you die, not after I did so much for you, do you hear me? You’re a damned coward, Nolan,” I snarled, and his deep eyes flickered with disbelief and anguish.

“Please Alex, why are you doing this?” he beseeched, sounding pitiful. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong!” I screamed at him, and then pain exploded in my shoulder as dagger-sized claws crushed through my armour and I was wrenched backwards.

The bearskin pressed me to the ground, claws slipping deeper into my shoulder, and then two more came clamouring closer, crowding around me so that I couldn’t see the sky. I could hear Nolan though, screaming madly, and then I felt the same thing he was undoubtedly feeling–the bearskin magic.

The bearskins could feel the dark, angry magic in me, knew its secrets and danger, and they sought to use it against me. The pain in my shoulder was maddening, blocking out sense and reason while bringing to life the powerful heat burning in my chest. It was consuming me, my anger–but even as it flooded my veins and filled my muscles, it was lending me a mindless, terrible strength. With that strength, I kicked the bearskin off me, fighting to my feet and surveying those beasts that threatened me.

As I stood there, my own blood dripping into the grass, my chest heaving raggedly from all the pure rage that was washing over me, my mind struggled for control. I remembered threatening Nolan–why had I done that?–I remembered… losing my sword… somewhere. I couldn’t focus. My anger was burning me alive, swallowing my thoughts… I had had enough of this. I was done. I wanted this all to stop!

And that was when my anger truly burst free.

I raised my hands, giving some horrible shriek, and the dark magic within me found its release, escaping in a burst of sweltering flame. All around me, bearskins were engulfed in the blazing fire, and their howls filled the air as their fur was singed and their flesh was scorched. The fire devoured the grass in its path, leaving behind a black circle of death and ash. And I stood in the centre, surrounded by pain that was the result of my uncontrollable anger.

And worse than the pain that the bearskins were feeling was the reverberating agony that ripped through my system.

Clutching my ribs, struggling to breathe, I sank to my knees and desperately tried to focus, to think, to stop. My fingernails dug into the ashy soil, my breath squeezed through my gritted teeth with a whimper, and every nerve was alive with overwhelming dismay. Then, cutting through it all, was Nolan’s terrified, pleading voice.

I looked up through my veil of pain and saw him shaking, held firm in the grip of a strong arm with a new blade–a short dagger–pressed to his throat. One of the bearskins had stood on two feet, her bear pelt slipping off her shoulders, and I saw that she wasn’t a bearskin at all. She was a human, and on the edge of her steady knife hung Nolan’s trembling life.

“Please, don’t hurt her,” Nolan begged the woman, those endless tears still running freely down his face. I realized that he was talking about me and felt the familiar anger and indignation rise, but I suppressed it anxiously. My fear sharpened my thoughts, cleared my head, because I realized that I was about to lose him. Nolan was inches away from leaving me. No…

“Oh, I won’t hurt her,” said the woman with a wicked smirk. “I only want you, dear.” She then stepped back, dragging Nolan with her, while the bearskins came around me again, using their magic in a last attempt to crush me. This time, there was no anger left to stir within me. I was empty, exhausted, filled only with an irresistible desire to sleep…

END OF PART 1

***

Yay, more LotSF and after only 2-ish weeks! Amazing!

And yes, this is the end of Part 1. Somewhere partway through, I realized that this was just the start of an adventure that acts in two parts. So this part, unofficially, shall hereby be known as “SPRING”, and part 2 will be known as “WINTER”.

It’s very… interesting, writing scenes with such swelling anger in them. It’s impossible for me to write it without simultaneously feeling it, so I’m sitting here silently fuming on the inside as I rile myself up just so I can accurately describe what it feels like. It’s a breathtaking feeling, to feel something so strong, but not always in a good way.

Anyways. Ugh. Tired. I’m at that point where my head is starting to swim and I don’t want to do anything. I’m just barely conscious enough to write creatively, but emails and such are out of the question. Too much thought. Save for morning.

Off to write, then off to bed. A new Your Story submission shall be posted tomorrow.

Till then, have a good night.

What makes you angry?

May your anger find an escape that is painless to you and those around you.

-Alex