In the last post ‘Cooking the books’ I gave a list of ideas/games for writing practice. I hope you were able to try them out.
Or at least some.
Anyway, I thought I’d better show that I practice (!) what I preach.
I have a wonderful friend who indulges me my writing quirks and he gave me a list of three items. (Thanks MJ). The three items are included in the ‘story’ and the story is just over 3,000 words.
You might want to pour a cuppa first.
Keep in mind that this was never suppose to be published, it’s just a practice ‘story’, one of many I have in my files. It beats a blank page any day.
Just for this practice run I watched car racing, both Formula 1 and the V8’s, got hooked on ‘Top Gear’ (the price you pay for your passions), and took a little from real life when I used to work in the Taxi Industry and we had a workshop out the back. I also researched the elemental compounds of crystal. All for a short 3,000-ish word story that wasn’t supposed to be published.
Time in practice is never wasted. Okay, so it may not go towards ‘The Story’, at least not in plot or character development, but the foundations you learn, writing practice runs like this, builds your arsenal towards writing ‘The Story. Just as a player of a sport spends time in training, developing muscles and techniques, which he then uses to play ‘The Game’ – the ‘muscles’ and techniques you develop here will be used when you write ‘The Story’.
Oh, and don’t forget to have some fun while you’re at it.
- Single red rose
- Formula 1 Race car
- Broken crystal vase
Jordan stood with crossed arms and a look of concentration. Out the window the roaring whine of the engine followed the Formula 1 Ferrari around the track. Manasseh Muter, a rookie whose resume included go-carts champion wins as a kid and not much else since, was taking the car through its paces.
Hitching a smile, Jordan knew, for some reason, that his name meant ‘causing forgetfulness’. Even from here she could tell the time trial was fast. The line was good, even if he had a habit of taking the corners a touch too early. Behind her she heard the gasped cursing from Evan as the car skimmed the finish line. Obviously the driver was good. He had to be to illicit any response. The last four drivers had received a passive nod for their troubles. Intrigued, Jordan turned from the window as Manasseh finished the track to head towards the pits. She walked to the consoles to check out the results over Evan’s shoulder.
“Wow.” She breathed. The results were nearly off the charts. “And you want him to be the second driver?”
“He’s not as good as Wolf.” Evan said mildly bringing the two drives up on the same monitor, comparing them as the images overlapped.
“Wolf’s not a rookie. I’m willing to wager if you brought up Wolf’s first times this kid will be walking all over him.”
Evan gave her a sideways glance. “I wouldn’t mention it in front of Wolf.”
“Lips are sealed.” She promised as she looked at the times on the other monitor. “He’s steady too. His times are within a half second of each other every time.”
“He gradually gets faster as he warms up. His line is good, surprising since he hasn’t been on this track before.”
“I would offer him the trial over the other four.”
“We try all of them on a wet track like we discussed.”
“Then we offer him the trial over the other four.”
He gave her a long-suffering look. “Don’t count chickens before they hatch.”
“So when do we meet him?” Jordan grinned. She knew Evan had made up his mind. Unless this kid didn’t take off at the starting line in the wet trials…he was in. Talent won over experience any day.
* * * * *
“Manasseh, I’d like to introduce you to the crew.”
Jordan made one more turn at the wrench then uncurled herself from the vehicle while Evan introduced the team.
“Gareth, Louis, Dieter, Kieran, Neil and over there is Jordan.”
She nodded a ‘hello’ as she wiped the grease from her hands. It was the best she could do. Working in a male dominated industry she met more than her fair share of good looking guys but Manasseh truly topped them. There was nothing obvious to scream ‘gorgeous and sexy’ but the overall package was fantastic. Lean in the way of all athletes of the sport he moved with indescribable fluidity as he reached out to shake Louis’ hand. His grin was easy, his aura of masculinity was undeniable and his gaze was intense. She shivered as she imagined that his gaze lingered longer on her than any of the others and suddenly wished she was dressed with a little more femininity then oil drenched dark blue overalls and an old faded cap.
“Where’s Wolf?” Evan asked as he glanced around the workshop.
“Pizza run.” Louis explained.
Evan laughed. “What did you bribe him with for that?”
“Jordan’s paying and she told him he could have whatever he could find for himself.”
“Glutton for punishment.” Dieter teased.
Jordan saw Manasseh’s head snap up for a second glance at the revelation to her gender. She was used to the reaction by now but for the first time she found herself blushing under his gaze. Turning her back she grabbed the wrench again and made a dive for the vehicle glad to have something to hide behind. Her reprieve didn’t last long. A few minutes later she heard Wolf’s German accent and the appetising aroma of pizza permeated the workshop amid the appreciative chorus from the boys.
Taking as long as she dared Jordan rolled up her sleaves and scrubbed her hands. If she dallied too long she was going to miss out on food but for the first time in her life she was stripped of her usual comfort of being ‘one of the boys’. For the first time in her life, she didn’t want to be.
“Nobody move.” She announced reaching the circle of munching blokes. “Who stole the meatlovers?”
“Evan took the last slice.” Dieter informed her with glee as everyone turned and ribbed Evan for the offence.
“Quick and the dead around here.” Evan told her unrepentant as he bit into the slice in question.
“I have one I haven’t eaten.” Manasseh told her offering his plate.
Her heart thudded as she waved him away trying to act normal. “It’s cool. There’s other stuff here.”
Grabbing two slices of Tropical topped pizza she searched the cleared work bench for the drinks.
“Don’t tell me you buggers got to the last of the Solo too.”
“Evan.” Dieter said again with a pointed finger.
“There was more when I took mine.” Evan defended.
“Here.” Manasseh held out an unopened can.
“Thanks.” Reaching across she took the can from him. She was struck by the strangest sensation as their fingers touched around the drink. The cold of the can clashed with the heat of his fingers and she had a sudden awareness of him. It wasn’t like anything she’d read in the few romance novels she’d managed to smuggle on the road. It was if she was aware of the sensations he felt. The cool of the metal chair he sat on, the slick scent of oil and grease under the pizza that he could smell, she even felt an impression of how he saw her and she was stunning. At least to him. He released the can and reality snapped back around her. Bewildered she drew herself crossed legged on the upside down milk crate and stared at the can of drink in her hand. There was absolutely no way she could have experienced what she thought she had.
“Come on Jordy, don’t pout just ‘coz I ate your pizza.” Evan teased.
She blinked and looked up as the other boys made ‘you’re-in-for-in-now’ noises. “You’ll have something to pout about if you call me Jordy, Evan-tide.”
“Ohhh, I’m so scared.”
In response she gave a slow smile and let the other’s make her threats for her.
“She’ll grease your seats like last time.”
“No way, I reckon she’ll hook his brakes to his horn.”
“That was funny.”
“I know, she’ll set the computer up to show everything in Japanese.”
Jordan laughed at Kieran’s idea. “Now that is something I’ll have to try.”
They kept going as she took her first bite of pizza. Slowly she frowned as she looked down at the slice. The toppings were definitely Tropical; ham, pineapple and cheese. She chewed again. The flavours in her mouth were barbeque sauce, beef, chicken, and the distinctive bite of salami and pepperoni. Swallowing, Jordan cracked open the can and washed down the mouthful. Again she took a bite of the pizza and the flavours of a meatlovers slice burst over her tongue.
Slowly she lifted her gaze and locked eye-contact with Manasseh. His smile was barely a twitch of his lips but she knew without a doubt that he had everything to do with what she was experiencing.
Weirded out, she froze for a moment then looked down with a smile as she bit into the pizza again. Whatever this was, she wasn’t going to complain. Meatlovers was her favourite and this was the best she’d ever tasted.
* * * * *
Towel drying her hair Jordan padded from the bathroom in her pajamas. After today’s little experience she wasn’t sure she could sleep but her body was so exhausted. Standing by the bed with her eyes closed she stilled in her actions. In her mind’s eye she could suddenly see an image of herself from behind. To see her like that she would have to be outside her window. The problem with that was her bedroom was on the second floor well away from any tree or ledge.
“You’re crazy.” She whispered to herself but she knew that if she turned around now, Manasseh would be at her window. Dropping her hand and letting the towel fall across her shoulders Jordan turned. The lights turned the glass into a mirror and she couldn’t see outside. Considering that he could do what he was doing she wasn’t sure she wanted to let him in. However, despite her mind screaming that this couldn’t possibly be happening, she felt a strange peace that this was the right thing to do. Crossing the room she opened the window.
“We don’t have much time.” Manasseh stepped through the window as if he’d been standing on ground outside.
“They already know.” Jordan had no idea what she was talking about but she knew it was true.
Closing the gap between them Manasseh reached out and cupped her cheek in his palm before moving in close to kiss her. The kiss was a home coming. A missing part of her she hadn’t known was missing, suddenly and completely returned. Through their kiss their minds intertwined and she remembered everything.
“I almost couldn’t find you.” He whispered as he broke the kiss.
“Don’t leave me again.” She begged her arms holding him close. “I don’t like hiding.”
“It’s not safe Your Highness.”
“Then why are you here?”
He pushed the damp strand of hair from her face. “I missed you.”
Closing her eyes she breathed deeply on the scent of him. Not the scent of his body but the familiar scent of his entire being, of who he was. “I missed you too, but you dance with danger. Tonight there is no moon but by sundown tomorrow…if you are still here they will strip you of your power. What if you hadn’t been able to unlock the memory shield?”
”I wielded it in the first place.” His fingers traced light patterns on her skin but his touch reached her soul.
“What if I didn’t recognise you?” Her protest was weak and they both knew it.
“You always recognise me.” He whispered.
“What if you hadn’t been able to find me?”
“I would have come back next month. I always do.”
“It’s not safe.” She whispered. “You’ll lead them to me, and this will be all for nothing.”
“Then order me to stop coming. I dare you.” His mouth was on hers again evoking sensations she had waited so long to experience again.
“Maybe this one last time.” She breathed.
He grinned. “One last time, your Majesty. You know, I’ve always wanted to try this in human form.”
Jordan shook her head. “Not likely. I’ve missed the faire way for too long.”
“As you wish.”
Without another word Manessah’s body began to glow through his skin. The glow reached out with caressing tentacles enveloping them both and she sighed with relief as the heavy cumbersome human form dissolved around her. Freedom from her prison of safe haven was glorious and she curled into his arms as he took them both into the light filling the room. The transformation in size sent electric tingles through her but she didn’t mind. Extending her arm behind his back Jordan released the power of creation from her finger tips. The wilted red roses set in the crystal vase lifted their weary head and regrew their fallen petals, unfurling like slowly awakening children. She’d bought the roses on a whim days ago and with a smile of understand she knew now, that it had been no whim. Carrying her across the room Manessah lay her gently on the velvet petals and with a wave of her hand they were cocooned in their own scented seclusion.
* * * * *
Manessah joined her on the window sill as she sat watching the night begin its swan song. She leaned into his embrace and closed her eyes.
She could sense them on the other side of the curtain between worlds. Pinpricks of light she could barely perceive and yet knew without a doubt where each of them was.
“Sometimes I don’t know why we even bother with this. They won’t give up.”
“Be strong your Majesty. It can not last forever. You are stronger than any of them. That is why they fear you.”
“Would it not be easier to simply give it all up and remain human?”
“Easier yes, but not safer for those who must live under the Pretender’s rule.”
“It would be safer for you.”
Manessah kissed her forehead. “If I must sacrifice myself for the whole, I will. You know that. I also know you would.”
“The time has arrived hasn’t it?”
“It is near.”
“Are they ready?”
“No, but they will follow you.”
Jordan thought of little band of fighters Manessah had been able to pull together. Twelve in total. Twelve against the entire world order of the Pretender.
“Ask it your Majesty. Ask me to fight at your side.”
“It is not your task to do. You have a far greater role to play.”
Manassah gave a sarcastic snort. “Ambassador and messenger. That is a fantastic role.”
“It is the most important.” Jordan rose to her feet as the sky began to pale. “The barrier is breached. They are coming.”
She had to act fast. Manassah was strong and the only way to ensure he did as she needed him to was to catch him unaware. Turning she held her hand out to him. Standing he slid his arms around her and bent his head. As their lips met Jordan uncurled the power which had remained dormant for nearly twenty human years.
Manassah stiffened in her arms and she knew he knew. She felt his automatic push against her power, fighting what she was doing. He never said a word. His head shook his denial and she could feel his confusion, anger, pain and his overriding protective instinct for her.
“It’s for the best.” She whispered as his glow withdrew into his body and faded completely. “You’ll understand in time.”
Her memory shields were not as strong as his. Though hers were good, she knew he would also hold a niggling feeling there was something elusive if he could just grasp it. She wished she could spare him that, but she didn’t have his talent.
“I will come for you.”
Lifting him with the control of her power she gently set him down on the carpet. The shimmer began but she didn’t have time to watch him grow to human size. In human form Manassah was safe from the Pretender’s gaze, but without his protective shield her presence would soon be sensed. As long as she hurried she would make it into the feriae world in time.
* * * * *
“This is all she left?”
Evan re-read the note. “I’ve been called home … This tells me nothing. What the hell does she mean home? She lived here for twenty years. I watched her grow up damn it. Home. Screw this for a joke. I’m calling the police.”
Lifting his eyebrow Manassah held out his hand for the note. He touched Evan’s fingers in the transfer and that one touch was all he needed. When Evan picked up the handset he didn’t dial 000.
“Rachel, it’s Evan. Quick question for you. How long as Jordan been working for us?…I think she started when she was fourteen….yeah that’ll be right. How much holiday is she owed?…Twenty four? That’s almost six months. Thanks.”
Evan hung up the phone. “Damn inconvenient at this time of year for taking time off, particularly six months worth.”
“There’s not much you can do.”
“No. The boys can pick up her workload no worries, but I’m sure going to miss her. Anyway, let’s get you onto that track again, I want to see what you can do with the new adjustments.”
Following him out Manassah quietly closed the office door behind him. He had trained himself to block even his own memory shields. Jordan’s was as easy as tissue paper to disengage. He knew she was powerful and she had talent in areas not seen for generations but he could gladly strangle her right now. His talent was in memory not in the physical. He couldn’t break free of this human prison even if he wanted too. He had to wait for Jordan.
With his mind only half on the job he took the vehicle though her paces and brought her in easy. He didn’t understand Evan’s enthusiasm for the times. He could do far better but Jordan had warned him against doing anything humans would think was too spectacular. Even in human form he could still sense the elements around him and it was easy to keep the machine on the wide pathway they called a road. He’d done faster speeds in close grown forests without all their ‘protection’ gear.
* * * * *
Letting himself into Jordan’s human home he dropped the bag and held out his hand. It had been during the laps that he recalled that somewhere here he’d felt the elements of Halite, Sylvite, Fluorite & Cryolite. The combination of which made a Tassable-Key between worlds. He stilled, and then picked up the crystal vase. Everything he needed in one place. Dumping the flowers and water he deliberately shattered the vase. Using the limited power which remained he gathered the pieces and fashioned a flat oval. It was worth using the last of his power for this. He may not be able to be with her but now he could see her. He knew she was safe.
As he sat on the bed and watched her, there was nothing he could do.