Six Sentence Sunday: Cages

This week, I’ve decided to go back to an old piece of a project, something I wrote last year for LiveJournal’s Fantasy Big Bang. I had written my required ten-thousandish words of it and wrapped up an ending of sorts for the deadline, but the story in itself, I knew, was far from done.

What I didn’t know, however, was what in the hell to do with it.

Except now it is Fantasy Big Bang time again, and suddenly, I think I just might know, that it might just be time to return to that world and explore.

So hey, here goes. :)

The humans no longer had any use for the shores. The sea provided no sense of wonder that their new magic could not outshine, and it was uncomfortably primordial besides.

Roots no longer mattered, in this day and age. They only wanted what was sparkling and shining and new.

The reasons they voiced were logical, of course (we can’t trust the ships not to rust too; now we don’t need to brave the waters for energy or food –), but in truth it was fear.

If you give humans a key, inevitably they will twist the metal and try to make it a cage.


Six Sentence Sunday: sparkling and shining and new.

Another Sunday, another six sentence snippet of Ark! :)

As the humans abandoned the beaches in constant echoes of waves, the animals filtered in behind.

The humans no longer had any use for the shores. The sea provided no sense of wonder that their new magic could not outshine, and it was uncomfortably primordial besides.

Roots no longer mattered, in this day and age, when they only wanted what was sparkling and shining and new.

The reasons they voiced were logical, of course (we can’t trust the ships not to rust too; now we don’t need to brave the waters for energy or food –), but in truth it was fear.

If you give humans a key, inevitably they will twist the metal and try to make it a cage.


Sample Sunday: I am apparently easily distracted by physics. But here, another sort of shiny!

I confess, I’ve not been terribly active in the whole social-networking scene of late, but I swear I have a good excuse!

I’ve been researching theoretical physics. Despite my raging phobia of maths.

(Yes. The math-phobe suddenly adores physics. Welcome to me. Ah well, at least it is giving me a wealth of story ideas and inspiration, so I suppose I can’t complain.)

In any case, I am popping back in for Sample Sunday, to share yet another little snippet of Ark, my post-apocalyptic steampunk-tastic WIP. :) (Apparently it got claimed for both art and a mix over at LiveJournal’s fantasybigbang, and I’m really curious to see how it all turns out!)

Everyone built walled cities, in the After. Walled cities, safely wrought with magic, with a castle-like Keep in their centre from which all the magic was sourced.

The Outside, by then, was far too dangerous to consider. The rust ate away, for years and decades after, so that crashes were commonplace even as they grew. Thunderous things, buildings and bridges all suddenly tumbling down, so loudly they could often be heard from inside the walls.

(Even as children, they had been enthralled by the noise, laughing and flying curiously to windows as it reduced others to tears.)

Outside was forbidden, and even in their bravest exploits they had never managed to flee far from the walls.

“We could die,” he warned her as they approached the southern Gate, himself not sounding unduly concerned.

“We’re already dead!” she cried, throwing herself between its widely-spaced bars (the Gates did not have to be terribly effective at keeping people in, not by that day and age) and hearing her voice catch on the wind.

And he followed in the wake of her welcome.


Sample Sunday: So when you accidentally start writing a steampunk-flavoured novel…

Things you do when you’re Jacey: Accidentally start writing what appears to be a fairytale-and-steampunk-flavoured post-apocalyptic novel.

Bonus points if said novel was originally supposed to simply be a ten-thousand word fantasy story, for LiveJournal’s fantasy big bang.

Welcome to my blender of a brain.

My current WIP (the one I’ve posted snippets of, with Anchor and Desdemona) has just hit the 8k mark this afternoon (making it long enough to officially submit there as a rough draft once it’s edited); and I now know whereabouts the story is going to stop when I send it off to the big bang.

But the story, it seems, has absolutely no plans of stopping there permanently. Oh no.

It apparently wants to be a novel proper, from the look of it now.

And, well, while this certainly wasn’t anywhere near what I had planned…who am I to argue? Besides, it suits me well enough, I suppose.

This one isn’t my baby — that would be Ghostis — but I’d like to have a little more experience before I get that one officially and finally underway. I’d like to have something else under my belt, in the hopes that it will help give me the confidence I need to completely tackle Ghostis. Which I’ve been lacking for about…oh, twelve or so years now.

So this one it is. And for right now, at least, its working title is Ark. (We’ll see if it sticks.)

And I’m aiming to have it finished by my birthday, near the end of October. I figure that’s as good a goal as any, and I need something to keep me on task.

And if I put that out publically here, I’ll have to keep myself on task. :) I can’t resist a challenge, even if the challenge only comes from myself.

To seal the deal, I’ll even throw in another rough snippet! It is Sunday, after all.

So here. :)

“I’ll build you a castle,” he whispered in her hair as they sat in the corner, “where the walls are all made from bits of the old things.”

She bit back a laugh, tossing her head as if his voice had tickled her scalp, and her mane made strange scrawling scribbles where it fell down his arm. “And you would have us stay in one place, then?”

“Never! We would be…” He stopped, and struggled for the word, one of the old ones that was slipping from common speech. “We would be nomads, and the castle wouldn’t be our home, but rather our life’s work.”

Her head tilted, this time to the side. “Our life’s work?”

“Of course. It wouldn’t be a place for us to live, but rather a monument.”

“Ahh,” she murmured, already almost beginning to understand.

“Our home itself would be everywhere else. We’d travel out, walk the black streets during the day, and only return when our arms were full of interesting things. Then we’d stack them up all through the night, and sleep in the shadow of the new wall they’d made, and be out again and walking in a new direction by dawn. We could make it a monument to everything that we don’t know.”

“Everyone else would think it worthless and pointless and ugly, you realise.”

“You wouldn’t,” he countered. “I wouldn’t. And beauty is what you make of it, anyway.”

She smiled at him, sleepily, already ready to lose herself beside him in this world he painted. “We’d do this forever?”

“Forever,” he promised. “It’s a bigger world than they say, out there.”

“And there’s no one to remember it but us.”

(She thinks of the box, the one with the cracked glass lens, that he’d made her take home years before. And all of a sudden, she thinks she finally understands its purpose: Sometimes, you have to make your own memories, and you need someone else on the other end to make them worth remembering after all.)


Six Sentence Sunday: Meet Desdemona!

Several Sundays ago, for Sample Sunday, I introduced the world at large to Anchor, the equine of my WIP who was the first to make my own acquaintance.

This Sunday, for Six Sentence Sunday, it’s the feline’s turn!

(Of course it is. It is always the feline’s turn.)

Cats can read, of course.

It’s an unnecessary skill, when one is already so close to being omniscient, but we’re practical creatures all the same. If we’re going to be sleeping on something, we may as well make the most use of it we can.

(Personally, I prefer Shakespeare. My humans called me Darling, but in my heart I answer to Desdemona — pointless and silly to many people, perhaps, but they’ll still talk of me for years after I’m gone. I’ll see to that.)

She’s a determined lady, this cat. Even shredded all of her peoples’ toilet paper before they drove her out, just so she could make a statement.

She regrets nothing.


Sample Sunday: Meet Anchor!

Today is Sample Sunday!

And so, I’ve decided to share the beginning of the piece I am currently working on for LiveJournal’s fantasy big bang — which is a sort of fairytale, but turned on its side.

Enjoy! :)


They began to forget, when they opened the box.

Their metalworks rusted, and magic ate rust; it fed on fantastic city-sprawls as opalescent ivies crept up sky-scraping walls.

But the screams faded swiftly to soft gasps of awe.

It was in essence a trade: Unasked for, perhaps, but seemingly fair.

Their black spiderwebs, built for sharing speech, all fell in a shower of sparks; but the word telepathy wove its way about the streets instead. The shiny-topped treethings came tumbling down with the webbing as well; but then fingers snapped and spheres suddenly glowed. The loud moving boxes clattered to stops and so clogged up the roads, yet the humans just laughed as commonplace rugs took on lives of their own and rose up high above.

And if we animals, the pets and the parklife and the populations of farms, all shied away or snarled in fear —

Well, by then, the eggs had appeared.

They found them in bushes, in the tops of the trees, and put them by the fires that they’d had to relearn. (The humans, I’d noticed, seemed ironically closer now, moving closer to base instinct and farther from brains.)

And I say it ended when they started to hatch.

A matter of perspective, that, I suppose; but then who’s around now to argue, or tell me I’m wrong? (Or, indeed, who’s willing to listen at all?)

So yes. It all ended with the eggs.

Seasons change; rebirth is perhaps the most natural of all things. But nothing about this was natural at all.

The eggs cracked open to cries of delight, and shining beaks poked forth, or long swirling horns, or eerily-dry feathers in a rainbow cascade — once I saw fire and a sliver of scale —

They stopped caring about us entirely, then.

These were creatures moulded to the new world, or perhaps the world had been moulded for them. It was the same end result, either way.

Leave them to their own devices, the humans said of us with their eyes. They won’t obey, they’re hateful now, we’ll all be happier if they just go away

Doors opened in tandem, and there was enough unearthly singing to drown out our cries. To drown us out or drive us out; one or both, I’m still not sure.

So we left, and again they forgot.

(I still hear the children crying sometimes, in the deepest of sleeps, and calling out a litany of once-familiar names; but the parents soothe them with baubles and these moments too pass.)


My name was Anchor, and I was born on a farm. I think I was beautiful once, before; I had a shining black coat and a long flowing mane. These days I have brambles and ribs etched on my sides, but I am still alive.

I suppose that’s a beauty in its own right.

And in a way I am one of the luckier ones. I never had a person, not one for me alone. I was cared and provided for, and if everyone was sufficiently kind, so too were they impersonal.

Strictly speaking, now, I have no one that is mine to miss.

(Although perhaps that is a burden all its own. I have no one to miss, nor any proper memories to tide me through. I don’t know whether to pity or envy the others I come across, and this sort of confusion isn’t befitting of a beast.)

I’ll simply say I miss the world.

The world, as it was, and not just a dream.

Humans never did see what was right in front of their noses, and maybe we are the only ones who were ever really awake.