Midnight Moon – “The Marking”

“The Marking”

She was angry.

Anger persisted as a side effect of her ability to control fire; the emotion rolled through her like molten lava, threatening to spew through her pores at any given moment. The mind, Aurora would always say, controlled the body, therefore the mind should always be strong. (Of course, Angelia would not always agree, being more agile than mentally controlled.)

But the soul, Felice interjected softly, superseded them all.

Her soul toiled with restlessness and fury. Perhaps that was why, when she picked up the bo, even though her mind and body had transcended to a space of peaceful tranquility, her fingertips darkened the mahogany wood.

“You can refuse you know,” he told her, back straight, the grip on his own bo firm but casually dangerous.

A muscle twitched in her thigh–the only movement of her body. Her soul, on the other hand, smoldered with contempt.

“Like hell I will,” she shot back.

The weight of the looks from their allies thickened the air between them. The wind held its breath; the sun did not blink.

She sprang first, swinging the stick as rushed forward. He stopped her onslaught with a smooth lifting of his own bo. Every move of hers, he evaded. Every blow, he blocked. Goddammit! she cursed inwardly. She wanted to win. As the blood thudded through her body and mind, her soul coveted victory. Yes, Felice won the argument this time.

However, her mind produced an idea: burn him.

Their training focused not only their physical and mental development but also on their special abilities. They were gifted. Why else were they here?

Her eyes narrowed on a spot on her opponent’s hand. Wanting to best me, are you? Her eyes went tawny. Let’s see you forget me now.

The bo clamored to the ground as a cry met the spectators’ ears. They watched as he paused, looking at his hand, then looking at the dark-haired young woman before him in stupefaction.

Her soul was smug. No matter how many times he defeated her now, that scar would be there forever.

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Midnight Moon – “A Gifted Christmas” Scene Two

To all of you out there, I hope you have had a restful Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!

Don’t dread going back to the norm too much, and I’ll try not to as well 🙂

______________

II

Sophia Flannery, better known as Sophie, peered at the adults before her. She barely knew them; this event marked the first time the thirteen-year-old had seen all of them since she entered the world in a hospital in Asteria, blessed by the Crown Princess. Judging from what her world had taught her, the people that formed this group were diverse and precious.

The aforementioned Princess now stood at her twin’s elbow, fighting to calm the nerves that Miyori Arashi made awry. Aurora Sanford, Sophie knew, possessed a strength of mind that rivaled a monk; from the whispers, the furtive looks in certain directions, Sophie figured something had sent her off-stride that went deeper than a parlor trick from the resident magician.

The rest of the adults continued the dinner preparations; Moira-Selene Thomas, her lifesaving talents momentarily unnecessary, laid out the silverware with unerring precision. Megami Takumi Hill, radiant in green sheath dress aimed to make Jamie Cook, her date, drool (and certain others burn with jealousy), arranged the table decorations with panache. Sophie’s eyes swept over them and did not stop until she spied Daniella Thomas holding two wineglasses by their stems in one hand and gesticulating with the other. Kaneshi Tsukimori appeared to be the other person in this exchange but held up his end rather poorly. He seemed distracted. He and Aurora both?

“A pretty girl like you does not need to be thinking this heavily at such a moment.”

The melodic voice of her aunt Bridget resembled the presence of the Gifted Nine in its rarity; ever since Bridget suffered the loss of her husband–Sophie’s uncle–she flirted with the outskirts of familial attention; she visited sporadically and never lingered. That made her touch on Sophie’s shoulder ever the more precious.

“I’m just wondering is all,” Sophie responded idly.

“Wondering what, my sweet?”

“Why they’re so sad. It’s Christmas. They should all at least be stumbling around on spiked eggnog.”

Sometimes Bridget forgot her niece’s level of perception; so long had she endeavored to protect Sophie that she had neglected to prepare her for the dissolution of her innocence. She hadn’t had time to prepare herself.

Bridget followed Sophie’s olive green gaze. Ah, she mused. She knew the shadow hanging in the background of this scene–she could almost see the flash of black hair so dark it was blue.

“As much as I wish I could explain to you,” Bridget murmured, “you’ll understand more than I would like by the time the night is over.”

Before Sophie could implore her aunt to elaborate, Isabelle entered the room, blanketing everyone in her gentle peace. Samantha, Gretchen, and Melanie tiptoed in behind her all carrying side dishes, while Miyori stumbled into the room with more than a few battle lumps and the inanimate ham. Jessica escaped virtually unscathed–status quo for the Warrior.

“I believe it’s time to eat,” Isabelle announced.

In the back of the room, the aforementioned Detective Michael O’Lara held up a bottle of wine. “And drink,” he added, earning a few chuckles.

As hostess, Isabelle only sat when her guests were seated; she initiated the passing of the food and only received when everyone else had a helping. She smiled at the exultation expressed over plates; her smile only dimmed when she noticed subtle signs of suffering.

Her gazed locked with Bridget’s. Not yet.

“So Mo’s gonna be the DD tonight, right?” Eric teased Mick.

“Believe it or not, I can hold my liquor better than some,” Mick rejoined. His light eyes flicked in Moira-Selene’s direction.

“I cannot help that my post graduate education did not include Keg Standing 101,” Moira-Selene quipped. “I believe drinking is a pasttime better partaken in the privacy of one’s own home. Men are gentler devils under their own roofs.”

“Sometimes I don’t know if it’s coming out of her ass or if she’s quoting Shakespeare,” Danie remarked, already on a second glass of wine. Jessica rolled her eyes.

“All right, gemelas,” Isabelle chided. “It’s Christmas. Save the quarrelling for Boxing Day.”

Danie leveled a jesting violet stare upon her twin. “At midnight I’m coming after you with a Nerf bat.”

“That’s if you can find me.”

Danie sat back abruptly with revelation, eyes dancing. “Oh hermana–are you staying at Mick’s tonight?” She whistled bawdily, making her sister blush.

Gretchen sipped on wine. “Good thing someone’s getting some.”

Samantha frowned. “Gretch, I don’t know why you’re complaining. I know you’ve been having fun with your–” Samantha bit off the rest of her sentence; she could feel the phantom kick from Isabelle. Sophie watched her intently.

“Your floatation device,” Samantha finished lamely.

Megami giggled. “I love when they’re waterproof!” Evident it was then what Jamie gave her for Christmas.

Despite themselves, the adults engaged in mildly mischievous conversation; Sophie, so observant of the looks that passed between her mother and aunt, hardly noticed the subject matter.

Finally, after the meat had nearly been reduced to bones, Bridget gave a nod and rose from her seat.

When she returned, she hefted a canvas framed in gilt that nearly dwarfed her. Conversations dropped off as the attention fell upon this new occupant.

“I know we agreed not to exchange gifts,” Bridget said to the quiet room, “but I believe we can make an exception for this one.” Her hazel eyes hovered on the solemn man before her. “Kane?”

Kane looked up, dark eyes wide and slightly startled. He could barely speak as Bridget presented him with the painting done by his late sister’s hand. The colors sizzled with their warmth. The touch of the artist was deft, showing skill along with care. The movement of the two figures conveyed a pause in combat, the climax of a man and woman sparring: the searing of the man’s left ring finger and the golden eyes betraying the show of power.

“It’s called The Marking,” Bridget explained.

Danie placed a hand over her heart. “The day in Victoria Field when we fought…”

“Where–?” Kane choked out.

“She asked me to keep it for her,” Bridget responded. “It’s been in a storage unit this whole time. I found it two weeks ago.” Kane raised his eyes to hers. “It’s yours, Kane. I know you’ve been missing her lately.”

Kane nodded silently, awed by his gift from the sister thought he had long lost. After a moment, he murmured, “Arigatou gozaimasu.”

After a beat: “Could someone explain what the hell is going on?” From Mick O’Lara.

Moira-Selene all but smacked her own forehead.

Laughter entered again as Angelia, who had been supervising at the time, attempted to explain the context of the picture. Blushing glances passed in-between Kane and Danie; some of the heaviness in his heart had disappeared and it showed in his eyes. Even Aurora seemed a little lighter.

Sophie understood, wrapped up in that moment, the spirits of Christmas and Sakura Tsukimori were vital in this room, and they were as welcome as life.

Midnight Moon – “Men Are From Mars…”

I wrote this one back during my freshman year of college when I was dating Mr. Shameless and before I conceived Midnight Moon in this overactive brain of mine. I haven’t decided to Moira-Selene’s love interest is going to be quite yet. The best part about this, for me as I read it, is how the characters interact with one another.

_______

“Men Are from Mars, and Women Want to Kick Their Asses”
 

PART I

Moira-Selene would never understand men, no matter how long she lived.

Sure she was the smartest girl in the Thomas family (aside from Jessica, of course), but she could never figure the puzzling mind of a man. No book or magazine could relax the permanent crease she had in her forehead because of her new boyfriend. She realized this, and quite dejectedly so, as she sat in the living room of the apartment she shared with her sister Danie and her cousin Jennifer. The clock blazed the numbers of eight, four, and nine, and Moira realized that her Saturday night was shot.

“I’d stop waiting by the phone if I were you,” Danie muttered from behind Cosmopolitan magazine with her raven hair in a deep conditioning. “He’s not going to call.”
“Whoever said I was waiting on him to call?” Moira-Selene inquired defensively.

Danie lowered the magazine, its cover proclaiming one hundred and one sex positions, and raised one perfectly arched eyebrow as if she were Dwayne Johnson’s long-lost younger sister. “Hello?!” she trilled. “Look at the eager, I’m-gonna-win-the-Publisher’s-Clearing-House-Sweepstakes look on your face! I know that look.” She paused with a reflective expression. “Sometime ago, I had that look on my face, too.”
Moira-Selene rolled her eyes. “Danie,” she began patiently, “if I may recall, I think a certain roommate of mine was shooing everyone away from the phone last night to make sure she got a call from a certain, oh, what’s his name again?”
If Danie’s hair hadn’t been wrapped up in the towel, she would have tossed it nonchalantly over her shoulder, but she lifted the magazine back to eye level instead. “We’re not talking about me, here. We’re talking about you.” Danie threw the pillow at her. “Now get away from the damn phone. Make some cookies or something. I’m hungry.”
Gee, what a loving sister she was.

But Moira-Selene heaved herself from the couch and walked into the kitchenette, hearing Jennifer’s giddy voice drift in. Even though Danie could be a bit brash, she had a good idea. Making cookies would take her mind off Duo, and then she could think clearly. With resolve, she turned to the pantry to take out the ingredients. That was when the phone rang. Her heart galloped, and she stalked out of the kitchenette to answer it.

“I’ll get it!” Danie sang out, diving for the phone as if it were a life preserver. Moira-Selene watched with hopeful, wide eyes. “Hello?” The longest pause in the world. Then Danie grinned. “Oh hi Danny! I didn’t expect to hear from you tonight.” She gave Moira a look that said, Go away, the phone is mine.

Aw, damn. Toll House, here Mo comes.

Moira-Selene drifted back into the kitchen. She retrieved a huge bowl and a wooden spoon. After throwing together the ingredients, she whipped them into a frenzy until her arm screamed at her. When she stopped, she found herself crying softly into the cookie batter.

Moira dropped the bowl onto the counter despondently. What the hell had made her like this?

Oh. Yeah. Right. Gotta go back and explain…

*              *              *

Ten months ago, Moira-Selene Eleanor Thomas had been a single woman. If anyone had brought it to her attention, she’d badger them with a long, verbose explanation about how she and members of the opposite gender were not compatible, and the ones with fully functioning brain cells opted to go for the silly, blond-haired type.

Then Jennifer would get all pissy like someone gave her Suave shampoo instead of Pantene, and she’d have to amend her statement: they went for the dumb girls—no matter what hair color they had. And then they understood.

“But Mo,” Gretchen said on one occasion as they were at Belvidere’s, “not all guys are hormonal football game-watching, beer-guzzling, Playboy-perusing freaks.”
“But a lot of them are,” Samantha broke in, sipping water.

“Some of them are sweet,” Gretchen insisted.

“Do you include your last five boyfriends in that category—the ones that cheated on you, if I may recall?”
After Samantha said that, Gretchen sighed and returned to her own water. Moira-Selene knew that Gretchen’s love life wasn’t exactly the best in the world, but she did have a point. There were exceptions to every rule.

“You just gotta show those guys who’s boss,” Danie declared. “Be confident. Don’t them step all over you.”
“Yeah, but no one likes to be bossed around,” Gretchen pointed out.

Danie held her hand out, bent at the wrist as if she were expecting some rich businessman to kiss it, and prepared the table for another Daniella Thomas enlightenment. “I didn’t say ‘boss him around,’” Danie said. “There are many ways to get a man to do what you want him to do.”
Samantha rolled her eyes. “Danie, holding out on sex only works sometimes. Sometimes that backfires, and he goes looking for other bestial opportunities—if you know what I mean.”
Danie laughed like a Southern debutante with magnolias up her butt and a huge rock on her finger. “Samantha, Samantha. You don’t hold out on him forever! There’s this thing called teasing. And then you…”

Moira-Selene shook her head wordlessly and tuned Danie’s Dear Abby moment out. She felt slightly disillusioned and even more confused. Ever since she had left home when she was sixteen she wondered if there would be anyone for her. And even more, how would she go about finding him?

Zeus was about to answer her, loud and clear.

*              *              *

When Moira-Selene and her missing amour had met, Moira-Selene had been shopping with Gretchen and her friends Christine and Megami. Gretchen had tricked her into going shopping for a new bathing suit since the California weather warranted one.

“Do not try on a one-piece!” ordered Gretchen as Moira came out of the dressing room. “If you get that, I will get Jennifer to make it a bikini.”
“Teeny weeny itty bitty yellow polka-dot bikini!” exclaimed Christine and Megami at the same time. They fell into laughter and Moira shook her head.

Gretchen tossed a sky blue number at her that would have had Justin Timberlake in cardiac arrest. “Try this one on. I wanna see it on you.”
Moira peered at the two pieces of scant fabric in her fingers. “I don’t think Barbie could wear this, Gretch.”
“Well, not with that so-called ‘anatomically correct’ body.” Gretchen pushed her into the dressing room. “Now put it on! No one’s around but us. I promise.”
Moira disappeared into the fitting room, half-wondering what the hell had gotten into her. She was the demure one, the one who opted for class instead of flash. And now Gretchen had pressured her into squeezing into something that she could have cleaned the bathtub with. What was the world coming to?

Moira nearly fainted when she saw her reflection.

Is that me? Is that woman me?

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”
Moira panicked. She could see the drool pooling at men’s feet already. She couldn’t go out there in that bathing suit. There was no way. Over her dead body!

“MOIRA-SELENE ELEANOR THOMAS…”
Gretchen was going to make a scene if she didn’t get out there, so Moira stepped out of the fitting room. Gretchen fell into silence. Megami looked stunned.

“Nice pecs, mate,”Christine retorted.

Before Moira could say anything, a loud voice broke the silence.

“Damn! Look at that hottie!”
Moira was suddenly glad that she hadn’t eaten or drank anything yet.

Frozen in disbelief, Moira stared at the young, long-haired man with her mouth open wide. Gretchen leaped up and ushered Moira back into her fitting room, jerking the curtain shut. Gretchen turned her older sister around and helped her with the strings. Quickly, they got Moira back into her regular clothes. After sharing a knowing look, they paused to listen to the conversation outside, peeking out from behind the curtain.

“Hey, where did that girl go?” the guy asked. Apparently he hadn’t left.

“Um, she’s gone, mate,” Christine lied, talking loud enough so Moira and Gretchen could hear. “You just missed her.”
“Yeah,” added Megami.

“You know her?”
“No!” Megami and Christine said in unison.

Meanwhile, Gretchen sighed and shook her head. “This little shopping trip was a disaster,” she whispered.

“You had good intentions, Gretch,” Moira whispered. “I know you didn’t intend on a warm-blooded American male happening by just as I was in that bathing suit.” She gathered all the bathing suits up. “But I’ve got to take care of this. If I don’t, he’ll never go away.”
Gretchen could only watch, flabbergasted, as Moira opened the curtain and stepped out casually into store. Megami and Christine halted in their Three Stooges-caliber lying. The guy grinned impishly at Moira.

“Well, I must say, the bathing suit looks better on you,Ehe commented flirtatiously.

Moira tilted her head and gave him an expression Jessica would have been proud of. “Oh? Like a muzzle would look better on you?”
Christine snickered loudly. She turned sharply and dragged a red-faced Megami away as the guy’s smile faded. Gretchen was still slightly openmouthed.

“Oh, so you’re one of those types,” the guy said.

“I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about,” Moira said, standing straight. “But I do know this: I do not associate with guys who find interest in me solely based upon my physical appearance.” Then she added, “And I know you’re of that type. So if you will, please get out of my way.”
But the guy was persistent. He remained firmly in front of Moira with his arms crossed. Even though his expression was slightly serious, there was a twinkle in his eyes.

“Not until you tell me your name,” he persisted.

Knowing that she was two steps away from punching him, Moira mustered up her patience. “The only thing I am going to tell you is that it would be wise to get out of my way.”
Was he laughing? Was the guy actually laughing at her?

Something inside her snapped. She thrust the bathing suits on a nearby rack and crossed her own arms.

“Are you getting out of my way or what?” Moira demanded.

“Not until I get what I want,” the guy told her, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes.

He was never going to move. She stepped to the right. So did he. She stepped to the far left. So did he. She snorted with anger and grabbed his arm. He began to grin, only to realize that he was sailing over her shoulder in air. When he fell to the ground with a big whoosh, Gretchen, Christine, and Megami all went slackjawed. Moira did a Danie-like hair toss and stalked off past a startled sales associate.

“Ay, mate! She bloody near broke that bloke in half!” marveled Christine.

Gretchen sighed once again as Megami led the two of them away from the recovering guy. “Why do I have a feeling this is far from over?”

To Be Continued…

¡En Español! – “Santa Daniella” Act One, Scene Two

Santa Daniella
La Historia de Danie Thomas (Tomas)

LOS PERSONAJES
El personaje principal, Daniella
Sus hermanasJessicaClaudiaMoira, y Gretchen
Las amigas de Gretchen, MegamiMelanie, y Cristiane (Christine)
Sus padres quienes son divorciados, Irene y Roberto (Robert)
Sus tías, Elisa (Elizabeth) y Rebeca (Rebecca)
Sus primas, Casandra (Cassandra), Samantha, y Jennifer
El fotógrafo de LibreAidan Bloom

La editora de LibreMelissa Buckley
Su hermanoEric
Su mejor amigaCharlene
La amiga nueva, Miranda
La esposa nueva de Roberto, Maria (Mary)
Las hijas de Daniella quienes son gemelas, Shannon y Abigail
Los padres nuevos de las gemelas, Victoria y Harlan Taylor

ACTO UNO

ESCENA SEGUNDA
(En la cocina, Irene, la madre de Danie, está hablando con sus hermanas. El pastel de cumpleaños está encima de la mesa. Dice, “¡Feliz cumpleaños a Claudia, Moira, Danie, y Gretchen!”)

Rebeca: Este pastel me parece muy bien, Irene. Las chicas van a enamorarlo.

Irene: Eso fue mi intención. (Suspirando) Mis hijas necesitan un buen cumpleaños. Espero que este pastel nos ayude.

Elisa: Estoy de acuerdo, hermanita. Honestamente, Irene, yo creo que debiste abandonar ese…ese hombre hace mucho tiempo.

Irene: Yo sé eso, hermana. ¿Pensaste que nunca lo pensé? Yo espero que no. Soy una mamá más mejor que eso.

Elisa: Hermanita, no pienso que tú eres una mamá mala. Nunca pensé que tú eras una mamá mala. Tus hijas te quieren por siempre. Lo sé.

(Irene la da una sonrisa pequeña y empieza a preparar el desayuno.)

Elisa: Por supuesto, el hecho que Jessica te había defendido es prueba que tus hijas caminarían encima del océano para tú.

Rebeca: O darían su padre un puñetazo a la nariz…

(Irene se ríe.)

Irene: ¿Qué hora será?

Elisa: Serán siete y media, yo supongo.

Irene: Ay, tengo que despertarse a mis hijas—

(Un grito viene de arriba. Las risas tontas vienen después. Irene deja caer su cuchillo.)

Rebeca: ¿Qué fue eso?

Irene: No sé, pero—

(Danie anda en la cocina con una cara roja. Está muy enojada.)

Irene: ¿Daniella, qué pasó?

Danie: ¡Esas mocosas destruyeron mi dormida! ¡Pu…pu…pusieron una serpiente de un jardín en mi cama!

(Unos momentos luego, tres chicas andan en la cocina. Dos de las chicas tienen pelo negro y la otra tiene pelo castaño rojizo. La chica con el pelo castaño rojizo la mira con ira a Danie.)

Moira: ¿Qué está pasando aquí?

Claudia: Oímos algo que nos despertamos. ¿Todas están bien?

Irene: Pues…tu hermana… Tu hermana está teniendo dificultades con las amigas de tu hermanita.

Danie: (Más enojada) ¡Esas mocosas!

Jessica: (La chica con el pelo castaño rojizo) Hermanita, ¡¿está loca?! Son las siete en la mañana. ¡Tú puedes despertarse los muertos!

Danie: (Mirando con ira a Jessica) ¡Tu hermana menor y sus amigas pusieron una serpiente de un jardín en mi cama!

Jessica: (Suspirando) Daniella. Tranquilízate. O te estrangularé.

Danie: (Gritando) Tú no me estrangularías. (A Irene) Mamá, ¡haz algo!

Jessica: ¿Qué yo dije? Mira, hermanita, tú necesitas tranquilizar.

Irene: ¡Gretchen! ¡Ven aquí ahora!

(Silencio. Gretchen viene en la cocina con Megami, Melanie, y Cristiane.)

Irene: Chicas, ¿pusieron una serpiente en la cama de Danie?

(Más silencio.)

Irene: (Severamente) Gretchen—

Gretchen: (Tranquilamente) Si, Mama. Pusimos una serpiente en la cama de Danie.

Danie: Yo voy a morirte—

Jessica: Daniella Elizabeth—

Danie: ¡No me digas lo que hacer!

Jessica: ¡Yo puedo decirte lo que hacer si yo quiera!

Claudia: ¡SILENCIO!

(Todas no hablan.)

Claudia: Gretchen, pide perdón a Danie. Danie, acepta su disculpa. Y Jessica, no la digas lo que debe hacer por una vez en tu vida. Para el amor del Dios, ¿podemos tener un cumpleaños decente?

Moira: Claudia tiene un punto.

(Silencio.)

Gretchen: Lo siento, Danie.

Danie: Acepto.

Irene: Bueno. (Pone su brazo en torno a los hombros de Danie y Gretchen.) Yo espero que podamos divertirnos.

Jessica: Ellas habrán divertirse.

Claudia: Jessica…

¡En Español! – “Santa Daniella” Act One, Scene One

Kids, stay in school. There. My public service announcement for the day.

It vexes me to say this, but here it goes: while in college, I attempted to get a minor in Spanish (I believe everyone should be bilingual or multilingual, you know?) but I punked out my last semester and ended up short two classes. So I carry the shame of taking the time to take upper level Spanish courses and yielding nothing. Well, except this.

I started this during that mind-fermenting time period and I hope to finish it someday. (Find it funny this is about Danie.)

So put this in your Google Translate and smoke it! Ha. Jesting.

__________________

Santa Daniella
La Historia de Danie Thomas (Tomas)

LOS PERSONAJES
El personaje principal, Daniella
Sus hermanas, Jessica, Claudia, Moira, y Gretchen
Las amigas de Gretchen, Megami, Melanie, y Cristiane (Christine)
Sus padres quienes son divorciados, Irene y Roberto (Robert)
Sus tías, Elisa (Elizabeth) y Rebeca (Rebecca)
Sus primas, Casandra (Cassandra), Samantha, y Jennifer
El fotógrafo de Libre, Aidan Bloom

La editora de Libre, Melissa Buckley
Su hermano, Eric
Su mejor amiga, Charlene
La amiga nueva, Miranda
La esposa nueva de Roberto, Maria (Mary)
Las hijas de Daniella quienes son gemelas, Shannon y Abigail
Los padres nuevos de las gemelas, Victoria y Harlan Taylor

NOTAS DE LA AUTORA
1. El nombre de Megami significa “diosa” en japonés.

ACTO UNO

ESCENA PRIMERA
(Nuestra historia empieza en una casa tranquila. Son las siete en la mañana. Las cinco hermanas de la familia Tomás están durmiendo…pues, nosotros pensamos que ellas están durmiendo, pero la más pequeña de las hermanas ha ido a hurtadillas en el cuarto de su hermana con sus mejores amigas, Cristiane, Megami, y Melanie. Daniella está durmiendo en su cama. El cuarto de Daniella es oscuro. Gretchen pone un dedo a los labios y camina a la cama.)

Melanie: (En un susurro) ¿Es ella dormida?

(Danie bufa en su dormida.)

Gretchen: Sí. Ella está durmiendo como una piedra. (A Megami) ¿Lo tienes?

Megami: (Con una sonrisa) ¡Claro que si! Nunca olvido redención.

Cristiane: Este es una idea muy mala.

Gretchen: (Dando una palmada a Cristiane en su espalda) ¡Baka! ¿Vas a ayudarnos a hacerlo o no? ¡Si no, sal ahora!

Cristiane: (Enojada) Tú no eres una buena amiga.

Melanie: ¡Cierra la boca! ¡Ella puede despertarse!

(Silencia.)

Gretchen: (A todas) ¿Están listos?

(Melanie y Megami contestan “sí.”)

Gretchen: Bueno. Házlo, Megami-chan.

(Megami saca una serpiente del jardín de Irene. Melanie alza la manta de Danie y lo pone al lado de la pierna de Danie. Melanie, Megami, y Gretchen se ríen y salen del cuarto con Cristiane. Fuera de la puerta, Gretchen habla.)

Gretchen: Bueno. Es terminado. Debemos ir atrás a cama antes Danie se levante.

Cristiane: Creo que este es una cosa mala que hicimos a Danie.

(Las otras chicas la empujan al cuarto de Gretchen para tener una discusión.)

Melanie: Mira, Cristiane, tu sabes que a Danie no la gustamos. Yo digo que ella lo merece.

Cristiane: No estoy de acuerdo. No creo que Danie merezca eso. ¿Por que no lo olvidan y la perdonan?

Melanie: Es obvio, Cristiane.

Megami: ¡Si! Danie es cruel a nosotros. Necesita aprender una lección, en mi opinión. Danie piensa que es tan importante porque tiene un contrato con eso agencia de los modelos. (En una voz aguda) “Mi nombre es Daniella Tomas y no desayuno esta mañana. ¿Qué es tu nombre? Quizás tú puedes ser mi novio si no desayunes también.”

(Gretchen y Melanie se ríen. Cristiane la mira con ira a Megami.)

Cristiane: Todavía creo que se llevamos bien con Danie. Ella habla sobre nosotros malamente porque tiene esa amiga cruel.

Megami: ¿Ay, Charlene, ne?

Cristiane: Exactamente. Esta chica…es muy mala. A Charlene no le gustamos y no permite que Danie piense diferentemente.

Megami: Charlene es como un gato con un actitud malo.

Melanie: Un perro macho es lo que ella es como, tú quieres decir.

Gretchen: Chicas, no debemos continuar a decir sobre esto. ¡Es mi cumpleaños! Honestamente, yo espero que hablemos sobre otras cosas.

Melanie: Buena idea.

Megami: Yo creo que debemos decir sobre muchachos.

Otras: ¡¿Muchachos?!

The Woman in the Fire – “Avery” Part I

As a writer, I go through phases during which one character is more appealing to me than another. At the moment, Danie holds a particular fascination for. She is one of my original characters and has changed form since I created her in 1994. (Can you blame me? I was only nine years old!) I posted about her on The Fall Girl a couple of months ago, listing reasons why I would love to be her for a day.

The Woman in the Fire is my chance to tell Danie’s story and to strengthen my writing–as is any opportunity.  I hope you all like her. She is going to be bullheaded, rash, witty, insolent, and beautifully bitchy.

_____

“Avery” 

The only thing she remembered after the Incident was waking up in a stinking alley amid jagged soup cans and her own blood seeping from a head wound.

It had been cold; the thin layer of cloth she’d worn—a back-closure hospital gown—barely trapped her body heat, and the concrete had usurped any heat that she managed to maintain. Her muscles quivered violently. The pain radiating from her middle had been so immense that her head swayed against the weight of near-oblivion. Her legs had not been strong enough to support her; she had earned more bumps and bruises for trying to stand. There had been no clues to identify her current location or how she could have gotten home. She had been powerless.

It had been a sorry state of affairs.

She hated shit like that.

So she simply forgot.

*              *              *

Life improved marginally after that. She found herself assimilated into a group destined to save the world because of her gift.

Gift? you ask.  Yes, our dubious heroine had an ability that had flared up like a bad rash during her life but turned out to be important. Imagine that. So burning down her big brother’s treehouse when she was six hadn’t been such an awful offense after all.

She had been taught to kick ass like by some chick who claimed to be a princess (she still didn’t quite believe it) and how to control her “power.” It had been sort of fun once you got past the hierarchy bullshit.

That is, until one of her group mates had been killed violently by an unknown assailant. The group had split faster than a strained butt seam. No one could trust anyone else. Since no one knew for sure who ended Sakura Tsukimori’s life, the possibility that one of them had done it could not be ruled out.

Bye, bye, superhero team. Hello, lone wolf.

*              *              *

“So you say you don’t remember what happened to you? That’s quite fascinating. I mean, it sounds almost impossible.”

Dammit. Not with this again.

It had been a little over two years after…the Incident. She was no longer the naïve seventeen-year-old left for dead in a Manhattan alley; no longer was she the fiery eighteen-year-old who had burned coifed rich boy Kaneshi Tsukimori. She was now a cynical, indolent nineteen—freshly so, as of one week ago—and matriculating at AudboneHeightsUniversity. She had no illusions about entering the workforce with corporate hopefuls and congregating around a water cooler. She merely lingered there to pass the time until she found something else to carry her to the end of her life.

It was the middle of the day, and she had one more class left: Contemporary Mathematics. She had been sitting in the StudentCenter with her Contemporary Mathematics book on her knee and a bottle of Mountain Dew in her hand under the guise of trying to study. In actuality, she was merely trying to pass the time in a cool place. She had given up trying to care about schoolwork. She had been approached by a classmate from her Psychology class. At first, the encounter seemed innocuous, but then he had ejaculated that statement into the air.

He didn’t know, the prying fucker, but the gloves were off.

There were not many things in this existence that bothered her. But this was on the list, along with fat-free sour cream and Britney Spears. Her past was forbidden ground, riddled with mines.  If he had been aware enough (and not blinded by his infatuation), he would have seen it practically screaming from her eyes. Verboten! Danger!

Inwardly frustrated, she three-pointed the empty Mountain Dew bottle into a nearby trash can. Perhaps those weeks at basketball camp during adolescence hadn’t been for naught. A tiny triumph.

She turned to her companion, eyes filled with feigned inquisitiveness. “What’s your name again?”

He flushed under her unwavering stare. “Rob—my name is Rob. We, uh, were in the study group during the section about Sigmund Freud and the tripartite model in Dr. Webster’s class. You know…”

“Yeah…right.” She recalled the experience as being mildly annoying, but her sociable cousin had wheedled her into it as she did most social interaction these days. Her lips curved at the edges. A hint of contrived mirth. Rob should’ve been petrified. “Can I ask you something?”

Excited by the opportunity an exchange with a beautiful, elusive girl, Rob sat down, leaning forward with apparent interest. “Oh yes, of course.”

“Do I look like the kind of person who would make up some soap opera-esque bullshit about being found in an alley with no memory of what had happened to me just to pique your asinine interest?”

Rob blinked, blindsided. In his fantasies, this was not the direction things took. “Wh-what?”

“I hardly have the time or patience to exchange pleasantries,” she went on, voice going flatter as she spoke, “or share with you a time in my life that obviously is no one’s business, especially yours. So if you are finished wasting my time…?”

His face contorted with disgust. “Excuse me for saying, but you are a cold-hearted bitch.”

As he rose indignantly, she settled back into her seat and nonchalantly delved into Contemporary Mathematics again. “Damn straight, Bob.”

“And it’s Rob,” he spat over his shoulder.

As he stalked off angrily, she snorted to herself. “Shame only one of us cares.”

“Daniella Elizabeth—”

Exasperation. She felt it coursing through her veins. At the sound of Jennifer Dunne’s mezzo-soprano voice, her cousin suppressed a growl, and Contemporary Mathematics slammed shut with a thud.

“Leave me alone, Jen,” Danie said. “I am not in the mood to be chided.”

The blonde rounded the chair and came to stand in front of Danie, brandishing a sketchbook and a text on fashion during the twentieth century. She was impeccably outfitted in a peasant top and jeans. Danie would have felt inferior in her drab T-shirt and cotton pants, but she had grown out of such behavior.

“You are not going to have any friends if you keep treating people this way,” Jennifer pointed out. “Rob was just trying to be nice.”

“Rob”—she uttered the name with as much venom as she could muster—“is a passive idiot who was attempting to find a way into my panties by feigning an interest in my sucktastic life.” Jennifer pursed her lips together, cornflower blue eyes troubled. “Trust me, I was saving him a world of discomfort.”

“I’m sure he is thanking you right now deep down inside.”

Danie shrugged at Jennifer’s ironic tone. “It’s what bitches do. We shoot people down and shake them from their illusions, which is helpful in any case. Shit, I practically deserve a medal. Is there a Nobel Prize for Bitchery?”

Jennifer shook her head and rubbed a temple as Danie rose to her feet and stuffed her text into her backpack. She strode away, and Jennifer rushed to match Danie’s ground-eating stride.

“The Delts are having a party tonight,” Jennifer informed her cousin as they exited the StudentCenter. The late summer day was bright and hot. September had not yet cooled in the slightest. Danie rolled her eyes as she shielded them from the onslaught of the light until they could adjust. “I think you should come with me. It’ll be fun.” She looped her arm with Danie’s when she didn’t say anything. “Much more fun than working at the bar.”

“As if,” Danie countered. “I’d rather hang out with the dubious characters at the Rusty Elbow more than the puke-worthy sorority crowd.”

“Hey!” Jennifer protested. “Those puke-worthy people are my friends.”

“Here’s a news flash, cous: you have horrible taste in friends.”

Jennifer gave Danie a little shove. “At least I have friends.”

“Ooh,” Danie retorted, “I feel so wounded. Jen, you’re so mean. Lemme go slit my wrists.”

Jennifer gave up on being appalled and couldn’t stifle her chuckle. “Dee—”

Danie stopped right in front of the Vincent Hall, also known as the Engineering building, which housed her next class. She placed her hands on the shorter girl’s shoulders and peered at her meaningfully.

“Look,” Danie began, “thank you for taking me on as your community service project. I am sure the general population appreciates your efforts and you will be practically up for sainthood for dealing with me. But no thanks. I am fine, Jennifer.”

A hint of a frown marred Jennifer’s pretty features, but Danie did not linger to reassure her. She learned that the best way to stop Jennifer’s mother-like fussiness was to become elusive. In other words, to run like hell in the other direction.

Danie understood Jennifer’s compulsion to look out for her wayward cousin; as the youngest in her family, Jennifer hadn’t had a chance to lavish her protectiveness upon anyone. (Samantha, headstrong and tomboyish, would have balked at that faster than you could say eye shadow. Samantha was the oldest. Couldn’t be any other way.) And Danie was well aware of the fact that Jennifer most likely reported to her family about her well-being—something she didn’t have the patience or caring to do herself.

So she had turned into your stereotypical solitary vagina with a chip on her shoulder. She daily considered the possibility of getting PMS Life tattooed on her back.

Was she justified? Hm. Let’s recap:

  1. Was left for dead in an alley at seventeen
  2. Started burning people (Wait, that was actually fun.)
  3. Earned the distrust of at least nine other people—but she didn’t trust them either—ha!
  4. Had to deal with irritants like Rob My-Name-Is-Not-Bob
  5. Maintained the status of a social pariah

Well, the jury was still out on that one.

As she walked through the halls of Vincent Hall, no one stopped her for a quick conversation before class. She wove through the crowd, her long strides moving her quickly across the floor. Danie came to the door of her classroom and waited along with the rest of her classmates to get inside. As she lingered in the crush, an itch broke out between her shoulder blades.

She remembered this feeling. Someone is staring at me.

With little finesse, she whirled around to look behind her. Before anything suspicious could catch her eye, she heard the grunt of the person behind her. Oops.

“Hey watch where you’re going!”

If she hadn’t been so embarrassed she would have given him a piece of her mind. But as it was, she was in the wrong and she knew it. She frowned, but thought nothing more of it. There was no reason for anyone to follow her. She didn’t mean anything here.

TBC

Midnight Moon – Happy Birthday, Danie and Moira-Selene

In honor of Danie and Moira-Selene’s birthday, on September 2nd, I wrote this story. Moira-Selene closely resembles me in temperament  so it’s not surprising that she feels uneasy about birthdays. Danie, of course, arms herself with a wearisome itinerary and alcohol.

Gotta love being a twin 🙂

The Fall Girl


September 2, 2009

You don’t have to be a clairvoyant to know a birthday will reek of mild embarrassment. It’s a fact of life that permeates through time and space. And it usually wears a sombrero.

That feeling that comes over you when you are dining in a restaurant when, all of a sudden, the room is alive with singing, clapping, felicitations in a different language (depending on the kind of restaurant). Sympathy. That poor person, uneasily, uncomfortably in the middle of the chaos. You feel sympathy, but deep inside you’re glad it’s not you. And if you are the one in the middle of the whirlwind, well, nothing more than the ground swallowing you whole will suit the moment.

When it comes to birthdays, I think of them like I do a tempestuous thunderstorm–I would rather cover my head and wait for it to pass.

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