A Sketchy Plan for Diversion

It only stands to reason that I should write up each of those six options I came up with yesterday. Surely that’s how the pros might do it? Right?

1) Therefore she determines to break into the pumping station to rig the timers, but she needs a magician who can hack the timers.

“I need a hack or a tweak or whatever you call them.”

“It won’t work, Woo.” Cursnahmola, the old spell-spinner, perched on a worn felt rail near his lamp. He’d folded his book closed but kept a long finger in the fold. He no longer shaved his head in the manner of a spinner, but he kept it close. The black had lost its youthful gleam and was well salted even into the brindle of stripes cascading down his thighs [into his stocking].

“I haven’t even told you what I want.”

“You want a chron. You want a chron so you can adjust the sluice timers at the pumping station. Woo, you’re not even the first person today asking for one.” He licked his top lip like he was about to return to his book and turn a page, but set it aside on the table instead.

Woo took his concession of reading as an invitation to outline her plan.

“That’s more subtle than what the others had in mind. Still won’t work.”

“What aren’t you telling me, Nahmi?”

“He can’t spin a chron without first reading the timer. Someone would have to go with you,” a voice from the kitchen interupted. Woo hadn’t seen Mohnil, Cursnahmola’s apprentice, when she entered the dimly lit suite. He’d sat quietly at the table as she outlined her criminal scheme.

Turning to Cursnahmola, Woo threw out her hands at the realization she’d not been speaking as privately as she’d thought.

“I’m too old to keep secrets from him,” Cursnahmola said, and then continued, “Not someone. Not you. Me.”

[initially I was thinking Mohnil would approach Woo after this meeting (and maybe he still can), but now I’m thinking that Nahmi will tell her no then do it himself alone.]

349 words on day 949

Nineteen

Fleh! I haven’t written since Thursday. Let’s call it a mixture of good reasons, laziness, and spoiled opportunities. I did fiddle with the Hartwhile piece, made a spreadsheet of some threads I might devote my final hundred days to, and joined a genealogy site to help organize the Bringer family tree. So, there’s that.

Narkkid put two fingers in her mouth and whistled. The girl stopped abruptedly and turned. Narkkid waggled the [something characteristic] cylinder in her hand. Even at this distance, she could see the girl’s lips tighten into a pissed sneer. The she scanned up, looking to the sky over the Hartwhile shop.

“Incoming,” Tjon said. When the three looked back to the girl, she was gone.

“Hide it.” Narrkid handed the cylinder to Tjon. “Uma, get up out of there and get back to work on that Shortle’s. He wants it before noon.”

Narrkid was scooping coffee grounds when the police landed.

###

Tjon closed the bug scanner and dropped it into his apron pocket. “Nothing here. It will take me longer to do the perimeter. If you even want me to?”

Narkkid stepped back from the huddle and walked over to the still open front bay threshhold. Honey Farm Circle wasn’t the quietest part of [town], but it wasn’t the most raucous. Red Rodney’s, the…[some description I don’t feel like doing right now]. “No. Don’t bother. We don’t want to look more suspicious by being more thorough. Something tells me our little friend won’t have much trouble staying unfound. Uma, the Shortle’s?”

“Done, boss. Want me to put a bow on it?”

“You hear his message?”

“No, then?”

“No, but bring it over front. I don’t feel like two trips up my butt today.” Uma and Tjon laughed; Narkkid went on, “Tjon, you’ve got twenty minutes to scan that tube—nothing harsh—then I need you back on that new Bainbridge.”

Neither Uma nor Tjon moved right away. Narkkid sensed they wanted to talk about the girl since they hadn’t done that amongst themselves—only to the police—but she wanted to think about it to herself for the same reason. “Nineteen…”

352 words on day 903

A Cool Blue Mage’s Cassock

This follows the Crainstock, LTD. stuff you’ll find somewhere else on 1000 Days

The extended warmth of the traverse and the uncanny sensation of being piped like frosting onto a cake told Kera she’d stepped through a portal and not just a door. There was a déjà vu hiccup mid-trip she wondered about, but soon forgot as she was deposited onto the black sand of a broad flat beach. The sunglasses in Donna’s pocket made sense now.

Twenty-five mages circled a great metal band and hummed a low continuous monotone. Kera had expected a torus instead of a band. The band was…

Donna roughly twisted Kera around, placed her free hand in the center of Kera’s back and guided her without apology to a white tent. Kera got her hands up in time to part the flap as Donna pushed her through. Magic cooled the air inside and flattened and packed the sand to a black gloss. At the back—in a ring of padded folding chairs—Mr. Balasubramanyan sprawled across a pair of them with his head in his knees; he didn’t look up. Donna pushed Kera behind a tri-fold. “Get undressed. All the way. Earrings, contacts, patches. I’ll get you a cassock.”

Kera heeled off her sandles, shuffled out of her Levi’s, and quickly unbuttoned her blouse. She hesitated a moment before unclasping her favorite flower bra, but then continued and stacked that neatly on her growing pile of clothes. Donna returned and tossed a blue mage’s cassock over the top of the tri-fold.

“Tattoos too?”

“Don’t be flip, Miss Woods. All. All your ink was natural or you wouldn’t be in our employ in the first place.”

Donna’s repeated word struck just as Kera slid her panties past her knees; shame…

xxx words on day 879

The Hartwhile Custom Flit and Repair Shop

Working without a net here today. I wanted to extend my Hartwhile Garage story, but I can’t seemt o find it on the web. Not being able to find it means that I’ve never posted it and that it’s lost to the text searching of my root folder here on the computer. Not a difficult task but one which will further distract me from writing. So, no net.

Not recalling the owner or the badger’s names may make me crazy. I swear: I’ll be quick. That was easier than I thought.

Narkkid punched the garage door button with two fingers. The door rose like a stage drape as the hinged metal slats coiled onto a spindel three meters above her. The mechanic stood without stooping as the door chugged past her face. Some mornings an anxious customer witnessed her theatrical opening—most times, not. This morning as the cool outside air rolled into the front bay of Hartwhile Custom Flit and Repair Shop at the twelve o’clock spot on Honey Farm Circle so did a body.

“Tjon? Tjon! Get in here. We’ve got another body.” Something like a badger trotted up to the doorless doorway between the front bay and the big bay. He wore a pocket-riddled green vest; a human-sized Phillips head screwdriver ran down his back in a sheath like a sword.

“That’s the second one in a week,” Tjon said.

“Are we still clean?”

“It’ll just take twenty minutes.” Tjon bounded over to the body and snuffled the nape of the neck.

“And give Uma another half-day with no work,” Narkkid said. “She won’t thank me for that.”

“I don’t think this one’s dead, Kiddi”

Narkkid stopped scowling. “Good then. No police. Uma! Get in here and give us a hand.”

A woman in blue coveralls filled the same doorway like a serving of mashed potatoes. Her hair was thin and white and short; she really needed a hat.

“That’s the second one this week,” Uma said.

“But Tjon says this one ain’t dead.”

“Good then. No police. Want me to give you a hand?”

Narkkid palmed her forehead and rubbed her hand down her face to her chin like an egg. After a moment and without removing her hand she said, “Yeah. I do.”

“What?”

“Just get the shoulders. I’ll get the feet.” Tjon hopped onto a workbench and began tepping on a monitor.

###

Uma crossed the arms over the stomach and hoisted the body up from its shoulders. “Where to, boss?”

Narkkid looked over to Tjon.

“Hang on, ladies,” the badger-ish mechanic said without looking away from the screen. “Nothing in the police blotter. Nothing on the news. Let me check craigslist.” Tjon peeked over the monitor at Uma.

“Come on, schab. This…” Uma inspected the body. “…this girl’s heavier than she looks.”

468 words on day 865

Frannie’s Finger Finale

Revisiting that dialogue exercise I came up with a few weeks past. No updates to the chokingly sluggish flow yet.

Probing-Rebuffing
“Where did you get that Pop-tart?” Momma asked.
Sarah stared at her mother. I climbed on the counter—which I’m not supposed to do. I got into the cabinet—which I’m not supposed to do. I tore open a new box because I didn’t want strawberry—which I’m probably not supposed to do. I used scissors to open the foil—which I’m not supposed to do. One fell on the floor and the dog ate it—which he’s not supposed to do. I’d better tell the truth: “I dunno.”

Sarcasm-Seriousness
“What? It’s black.”
“Chris, your aunt died. Take off the concert t-shirt and find something appropriate.”

Abruptness-Calming
Kevin twitched from a forgotten dream to upright in bed. A flop sweat adhering the sheets to his chest.
Socks purred in his lap and nudged his belly for attention.

Anger-Niceness
Captain Oswald Rockford slammed the canopy of the mech closed—a difficult task given the dampening effect of the nuematics—and stomped his boots into the actuators. He detoured eye contact with his co-pilot while he snapped on toggles and pecked at his screen hard enough to stun his fingertip.
“I bought coffee,” [some rank lower than captain] Marta Hanrahan said.

Despondent-Cheerful
“I’m never going to get this math done. I don’t understand the point of the quadratic equation. I mean, ‘Who cares? Who really cares?'” Brain tossed his book bag to the bottom of his locker like he was dumping a body.
“Did you see that Bonnie Archer transferred into our class though? Hot! Let get there early.”

Inhibitory-Encouraging
“You’re not going to be able to get to the mailbox without burning your feet. Get some shoes on or don’t go.”
“Mom, I’ll be quick and run on the grass. You’ll see.”

Uncooperative-Supporting
“I don’t care how much they ‘appreciate me volunteering my time and effort’. I’m not loading full porta-potties into my pick-up.”
“Kyle, what else are they going to do? It’s starting to rain and you’re the only one with a truck. Come on I’ve already got some other guys to help us lift them up and strap them down.” Todd jingled Kyle’s keys then then pressed them into Kyle’s chest when he didn’t immediately reach for them. “Circle it around back, bud. Thanks.”

Uncaring-Caring
“I just don’t care.”
“Well, I do.”

Demands-Trivializing
“Give me the gun. Now!”
“It’s not even loaded.”

Prohibitive-Unrestricted
The sign read: Authorized personnel only. No public entry.

Frannie shuffled the Post-it out of her pocket and tekked in the code on the keypad.

The latch clunked promisingly, but the door to the man-trap didn’t open. She pressed and held the clear button for a moment and started over—this time using a four instead of the nine she’d thought it was the first time.

The latch clacked. Even more promising!

Frannie twisted the knob and stepped into the man-trap—just one biometric hack away from the raised floor. She saw the entry-alarm strobe to life in the next room but couldn’t hear the siren through the thick bullet-proof glass. The sentry startled to his feet and would have knocked his coffee off his folding table if food and drinks were allowed on the raised floor.

She snatched her photo-ID up from the zip lanyard on her belt and held it up as proof of her authority. The sentry shook his head and pointed to a blank space on his side of the man-trap which matched up with a fingerprint scanner on her side. Frannie held up her index finger like a question; the sentry looked exasperated and motioned again to the scanner on her side.

Frannie pressed her finger lightly to the scanner so that the frayed edges of silicon wouldn’t register.

629 words on day 844

Rhoda’s Death

Let’s get Rhoda killed off already…

Rhoda coughed then cringed from the pain. “Dammit.”

“Hold still, Rho-sweet,” Wendel said. “It’s not as bad as it looks. You’ve only been abed a day. We’ve got the time to find Morgan.” From behind Wendle, a monk squeezed her arm firmly then released his grip slowly; it was as bad as it looked.

Wendle tucked a few of Rhoda’s lavendar highlights behind the girl’s ears. This close she looked like her older fair-haired sister Morgan. Wendel knew they looked alike, all the Bearforts favored their father’s northern heritage, but she had not realized how much the girl’s dark hair and braids defined her. Nor how much she herself had let that dark hair convince her that Rhoda wasn’t Morgan’s little sister.

Wendle felt Rhoda’s warm breath on her own lips, and when she closed her eyes she betrayed Rhoda with a thought of Morgan. [expand that here, but not now]. Wendle opened her eyes to the cooling sensation of Rhoda inhaling.

“Is it dead?”

Wendle bit back a sob and nodded her head just enough.

“Good. I lost my foot though?”

Wendle echoed the nod. Rhoda looked to the darkness in the rafters for a moment. Then, reclaiming Wendle’s attention, she said, “Skin it. And have it taken back home.” The girl hadn’t lived on the Bearfort estate since before Wendle and Morgan were wed, but there was no question which home she meant. “Tell my father it choked on my foot. That’s good for a laugh at the table.”

Wendle nodded a third time and felt a smile stretch across her face. “It is and I will.”

Rhoda pressed the cuff of her shirt to Wendle’s tears. She surprised Wendle by hugging her close where Wendle smelled the girl’s black hair and tan skin. Melon from their bath this morning; dust from the road this afternoon. The undabbed tears on Wendle’s opposite cheek smeered through the würm’s blood on Rhoda’s own. Then, in her ear: “No one cries for me. No one. Now get out and get Morgan.”

The strength of Rhoda’s shove put Wendle on the polished floor and sparked the monk up from the stool where he waited for today’s last death. The monk insinuated himself to Rhoda’s side; rough fingers searched out a pulse on her neck. Wanting to do as Rhoda commanded—wanting to find her Morgan, Wendle stood but didn’t leave. “Is she?”

The monk situated Rhoda’s lolling arm to her chest. “Near enough.”

“Will she…”

“No,” he said. His placid face emphasized the point. “If you leave a little money, we’ll see she’s taken care of.” Wendle wanted to rain fire down on the man and his monastery. How dare he dismiss her death like turning a page to find another waiting. Blah blah….

Wendle looked at the girl. “She was a sorceress. A…the Bearfort sorceress.” She snatched the monk’s attention from the floor. “And my sister.” Wendle’s words dropped like a bell from a tower.

“Then you have my gratitude for being able to serve [our lord] and my assurance all will be well taken care of. Thank you.”

When Wendle reached the infirmary’s archway to the outside hall she stopped then turned and came back to Rhoda’s bed. Kissed her sister’s lips and left faster this time than the first.

There are pieces to this that I very much need to clean up and pieces that need repairing but for now I’m done.

578 words on day 841

Mother Notion

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/80/Prokudin-Gorskii-09-edit2.jpg

A low flat road of a bridge leashed the island to the core of the city like a loyal mastiff. Its subtle undulations at each pier testified to both its age and its commodity; two newer bridges in [name of city] had already been rebuilt. But Mother Notion knew the bridge wasn’t a leash and [name of island] wasn’t a hound—at least not a loyal one.

“Boy!” Mother Notion called out the summons like a person being attended upon despite having traveled to [name of city] from [somewhere] alone. As it happened there were boys around and I’ll make that seem more obvious in some later revision of this text.

The clump of boys behind the woman singled out one of their number and cajoled and coerced him toward her. She smiled encouragement his way and he immediately stopped resisting the others to come stand in front of her. “Yes, Sister?”

Mother Notion drew the boy’s attention to the four raised scars encircling her left forearm. “Sorry. Mother. Yes, Mother?” The clump snickered.

She squatted to join the boy at his height; her bead-heavy hair hung to her thighs as she leaned forward. “I am Mother Notion. What is your name, son?”

The boy looked to the clump for help but got none. “They call me ‘Rabbit’, but my real name is ‘Brian’.” He looked down.

“What would you like me to call you?” Mother Notion smoothed her hands to the tops of her thighs to her knees brushing the strands of beads aside. The boy’s eyes reversed the movement of her hands tracing backward into the shadowed crevice and then up to the crevice of her chest. With a bent finger, she tilted his chin up so his eyes could join hers again. “What would you like me to call you?”

“Rabbit.”

“‘Rabbit’ it is then, but there may be times when it won’t be appropriate for me to call you that. I may sometimes need to call you ‘Brian’. Will you be able to answer quick to that if I do?” Rabbit nodded.

“Rabbit, I am not from [name of city]. I am from [somewhere]. Do you know where [somewhere] is?” He pointed and looked north. “Nearly so.” Mother Notion corrected the angle of his arm carefully to the east without looking away from his face. When his pupils dilated she stopped. “There.”

Some stuff I can’t squeeze in before I run out of time this morning.

Mother Notion produced a silver shim from behind Rabbit’s left ear. “How long would you carry my bag this?”

“All day, Mother!” She squashed a laugh into a tight smile at Rabbit’s enthusiasm then serioused up her face.

“How far down that bridge.”

Rabbit erased his smile and swallowed. “Maybe halfway.”

“Then I’d better give you two.” She fanned the single shim into a pair of coins. Rabbit didn’t smile, but he did nod.

483 words on day 833