Friday, 31 December 2010

Friday Flash: And the Mysteries Knew Me

Going through an old notebook, I found this little piece.  I'd say it's circa 2008, though possibly as early as late '07.  I was a bit spotty with dating my work in here.  Uncertain time-line aside, I do remember that it was one of those things I wrote in a torrential flood of inspiration and then had no idea what I was going to do with it, especially since I didn't know about flash as a writing style at the time.  So I'm posting it here, with a little on-the-spot editing and a new title.

And the Mysteries Knew Me

She sat with me all the while, singing the songs we'd learned in the empty places. Her voice shone with her wings, both lit from some wondrous source. As I lay there, listening, I could feel it. The velvet night wrapped me up in its warm embrace and carried me up through the higher planes of its silence. When I sought to look, I found that my eyes were no more, nor was my body.
The song though, was a thing I could see, a thing I could touch. Her voice became my world and my world became the stars. Light came to the deepest shadows and dark engulfed where light had been. I was ecstatic. When I laughed, my voice was that of the stars which were bells, shimmering in the highest of the heights.
Then the skies became cold, so cold. The very marrow of my being shivered and ached. I found my body again and with it, I found agony. My laughter was no more. My screams ran at right angles to my being. Her song now was a keening, a wailing despair echoing in my existence. The world trembled, and I trembled with it.
Within eternity I wept, tears running hot over cold sweat. Her voice was softening, a whisper then. The chill became bearable, the kind found in a draughty winter shelter. The song slowed. My trembling eased. My breath ragged, I returned to myself, but I was changed. Innocence gone, I now knew the mysteries and by the gods, the mysteries knew me.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Friday Flash: The Seeking-Rhyme

Here's a wee bit of Friday Flash for you all.  A short little scene, really, it's something that was in the first chapter of my WIP.  I'm going to cut the chapter in the final piece but I like this scene.  It shows the kind of person Michael would like to be and maybe would be if his past didn't continually hunt him down to bite him in the ass.

The Seeking-Rhyme
“S'cuze me, mister?” A small voice called out. Michael turned to look out of curiosity, and was surprised to find that the small child had actually been addressing him. Nevertheless, he squatted down so that he was at the child's eye level.
“Yes, wee-one? What is it?”
“I lost my mommy,” said the child. “I was looking at something, and when I looked back, she was gone!”
Michael glanced up and down the street. “Well, she can't have gotten too far, I imagine. We'll find her, don't you worry your little head. Where was the last place you saw her, then?”
“Over there, by the window with all the shiny things in it.” The child was pointing at a bead store down the street, with many examples of beaded flowers and animals on display.
“All right, we'll start there,” said Michael with a smile. He took the child's small hand in his own and together they walked towards the store front. When they got there, he crouched down again and looked the child straight in the eye. “Now, I'm going to show you a little trick, and with it we'll find your mommy, easy as anything. All you have to do is close your eyes and spin around, all the while saying this little seeking-rhyme. It goes like this: Spin and shine/ Seek and find/ I have lost my mommy-mine/ Spin and shine/ Seek and find/ I shall find my mommy-mine. When you stop, whatever direction you're facing, that's what direction your mommy will be in.”
The child looked at him doubtfully and mumbled, “That won't work.”
“Oh it won't, will it? Well, there's no harm trying though, is there? Come now, I'll do it with you.”  He stood up then and started spinning, and the child reluctantly joined in. Together, they recited the words:
Spin and shine
Seek and find
I have lost my mommy-mine
Spin and shine
Seek and find
I shall find my mommy-mine
They opened their eyes to see a woman rushing down the street, frantically searching this way and that, calling out as she went.
“Mommy!” the child exclaimed, and started running towards the woman.
“Oh, my darling!” she cried, scooping the child up into a fierce hug. “Oh, I was so worried about you, where on earth did you get off to?”
“A nice man helped me, Mommy, we made a spinning song and then there you were!”
“Who helped you?”
“That man there, with the long coat,” the child replied, pointing towards Michael.
“Where..? Honey, I don't see anyone in a long coat,” said the woman, perplexed, then she shook her head. 
“Whatever, doesn't matter. I'm just glad you're safe!”
Michael smiled and nodded to himself, then went on his way.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Oatcakes of DOOM!

In an effort to keep blogging, I've decided that if I think of something I want to blog, I'll do it now, not 'sometime later.'  Also potentially keeping up with theme days.  Who knows, maybe Saturdays will become 'Cooking With Eric' or something.  Right now, the only thing I promise you is Oatcakes.

I started with this recipe on the Canadian Living website to get an idea of ingredients and proportions.  I'd started messing around with it already on the first batch.  Any time I make something on the sweet side of oats, I use cinnamon and nutmeg, so that was a no-brainer for me.  This time however, I went all out.  One of the first things I changed was to use the handy-dandy servings converter on the site to calculate proportions for 100 servings.  Their original 36 was good, but I'm using these babies as a staple snack, so I need to be able to make more at a time.  So from there we have:

4 1/4 cups rolled oats
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cold butter or margarine
~1 cup cold water
cinnamon, nutmeg and honey to taste

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt, with a generous dash of cinnamon and a less generous dash of nutmeg.  Nutmeg is a powerful spice, and a little goes a long way.  Cut up the butter or margarine and mix it into the rest by hand until mixture is pebbly.  The original recipe wanted me to use knives or a pastry blender, but I have no such blender and find getting in there with my hands more effective and satisfying anyway.

Add honey and sprinkle water in a little at a time.  Press it together with your hands, adding just enough water to hold the dry ingredients together.  Again, hands.  This is baking, we're meant to get our hands dirty.

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Form balls (a little larger than a golf-ball) and flatten onto a greased baking sheet to make cakes approximately 3/4" thick.  The 1/4" thickness in the original recipe was good enough, but I found it too dry and wanted something more 'cake' and less 'cookie' anyway.  This seems to work.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden on the outside.  Let cool.

The whole thing makes about this much(minus the two that I already ate):

Share and enjoy!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Flash Friday: Lockbox

This was originally for a contest, but I never did finish it before the deadline.  Instead, I kept it around until an ending occurred to me.  Now I'm sharing it with you.  Proof that I should be writing fantasy rather than crime or noir.


I shuffled into my room, not bothering to turn on the light, and fell into bed.
“Ow! Sunnova-” Rubbing the back of my head, I got up and flicked on the light.
There was a box on my pillow.
It was a standard metal cash box, which explained why it hurt like hell when it connected with the back of my head. Since it remained inert after a blow that threatened to give me a concussion, I figured I could safely assume that it wasn't wired to explode. I picked it up and began examining it.
The box looked brand new, without so much as a scratch on it. No name, no note, nothing to indicate where it could have come from, and what's more, it was locked. There must be a key, I decided. Who would leave a locked box on my pillow with no way for me to open it? Oh, sure I could pick the lock, but if I didn't have to put in the effort, I wouldn't. I looked around for a place to put the box while a searched for a key, quickly realizing why whomever had gifted it to me had left it on my pillow. There was nowhere else to put it.
Ok, so the place was a mess. Who was I trying to impress? For me the room was little more than a place to crash out after a long night of either hunting or hiding other people's secrets. I didn't really care what they were up to so long as the money was right, and until now, none of it had ever followed me home. Hell, I wouldn't even know if this was my work following me home until I got the box open.
I gave the back of my head another rub before tucking the box under my arm while I searched through the rumpled bedding one-handed. After a little while, I spotted a glint of metal where the key had fallen between the pillows. Keys, actually. It was the standard two keys on a small split ring that came with the purchase of such a cash box, confirming for me that it was bought new just for this purpose. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I balanced the box on my knees and unlocked it.
The small figure inside stood up.
“T'were 'bout time, Jack-a-daw, though I'd thank ye not to rattle me 'round so,” he said, dusting himself off.
I stared at the fey creature for a moment before closing the lid on him again and locking it. Whatever he wanted from me could wait.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Sample Sunday: Christmas at Barnaby's

Since it is now technically Sunday, I figured I'd take advantage of #SampleSunday and post a sample here.  This is a rough scene from a short story in progress derived from a novel just newly into the editing stages.  And yes, that is all the context I'm giving you.  For now.  And now, I hope you enjoy them as much as I've enjoyed bringing them to you:

The Faerie mummers from Christmas at Barnaby's

They were watching the mummers, Michael sitting at Barnaby's feet. Isabell sat before Tristianne, her arms around Lisa. It was, to say the least, an entertaining show.
“My Lord,” said Michael, “are you quite certain hiring the Faeries for this was such a good idea?”
Barnaby raised an eyebrow. “We always hire Faeries. Besides which, where else could we find mummers these days, particularly ones who will perform in the Realm?”
Michael shook his head slowly. “I suppose, my Lord. It's just that this here is the strangest Herod I've ever seen.”
Lisa looked more closely at the Faerie cavorting before them. She wasn't sure what the creature looked like it might be, but she definitely couldn't see how Michael had gotten the biblical king out of it. “Herod? How d'you figure?”
“Who else would the villain be?” said Michael, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
Lisa watched the Faerie a while longer as it pantomimed running off the end of a cliff like Wile E. Coyote.
“Michael,” she said, “you might not have watched any TV, but between this and the carollers back there, I think these Faeries have.”
Isabell giggled and the Daemons smiled while Michael just shook his head again. “Strangest Herod ever,” he repeated.