I was late to this and I’m sorry

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Here’s my clue for the scavenger hunt. Due to technical difficulties I wasn’t able to post it today and didn’t have time to do the questions part. I’m so sorry!

Rules:

•  The hunt begins on 5/7 at midnight EST

•  Don’t rush! You’ve got all weekend (until Sunday, 5/9 at midnight) to hunt. So take your time, checking out all the unique posts along the way. Share your thoughts in the comments or the blogs with your friends!•  Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the clue (code stream) on each blogger’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at the final stop on Grace’s site.

Here’s your clue: We are so excited to share

And you can find another clue over at Daisy’s blog! Have fun!

Incorrect Quotes

Characters

I was inspired recently by one of my friends to find incorrect quotes using ScatterPatter’s generator (Warning: some of the quotes in the generator have language– I’ve changed any of the language for this blog post)

These aren’t from my book or anything. They’re just funny quotes that I thought fit my characters. (or didn’t fit and I still found funny)

Flame: English is a difficult language. It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.
Em: You need to stop.

Nathaniel: WHAT’S YOUR TYPE
Flinn: Anything, honestly, but feisty brunettes especially
Nathaniel, desperately, as Flinn bleeds out: YOUR BLOOD TYPE
Flinn: Oh! B positive.
Nathaniel: DON’T TRY TO CHEER ME UP JUST TELL ME YOUR BLOOD TYPE
Flinn:

Vera: Where’s Em, Choi, and Flinn?
Michael: They’re playing hide and seek.
Vera: Where?
Michael: I don’t think you get how this game works.

Nina: Rules are made to be broken.
Em: They were made to be followed. Nothing is made to be broken.
Flinn: Uh, piñatas.
Choi: Glow sticks.
Michael: Karate boards.
Nathaniel: Spaghetti when you have a small pot.
Nina: Rules.
Em:

Em: In light of what you did for me, you can hug me for four to five seconds.
Choi: FORTY FIVE SECONDS?!?
Em: No! Four to five seconds!
Choi: Too late!!!

Nina: Nothing in life is free.
Flinn: Love is free!
Choi: Adventure is free.
Em: Knowledge is free.
Justyn: Everything is free if you take it without paying.

Flinn: You can de-escalate any situation by simply saying, ‘Are we about to kiss?’
Flinn: Doesn’t work for getting out of speeding tickets, by the way.

Em: Dumbest scar stories, go!
Nina: I burned my tongue once drinking tea.
Flame: I dropped a hair dryer on my leg once and burned it.
Flinn: I have a piece of graphite in my leg for accidentally stabbing myself with a pencil in the first grade.
Chio: I was taking a cup of noodles out of the microwave and spilled it on my hand and I got a really bad burn.
Michael:
Michael: I have emotional scars.

Choi: Posts a super low-quality image to the group chat
Em: If I had a dollar for every pixel in this image, I’d have 15 cents
Choi: If I had a dollar for every ounce of rage I felt in my body after I read this text, I would have enough money to buy a cannon to fire at you
Michael: Actually I did the math, Em would have $225, not $0.15.
Em: Fam I’m right here….
Vera: If I had a dollar I would buy a can of soda 🙂
Choi: while you’re there could you buy me an apply juice please?
Vera: Sorry I only have a dollar
Choi: 😦
Michael: Hey I just realized my friend is right, Em would have $22,500 because it’s a dollar for every pixel, not a cent
Vera: If I had $22,500 I would buy a can of soda and an apply juice
Michael: You can buy anything you want with $22,500
Rani: Yeah and they want soda and apply juice
Michael: Apply juice to what
Nina: Directly to the forehead
Em: Great chat everyone

Em: Can I be frank with you guys?
Nina: Sure, but I don’t see how changing your name is gonna help.
Flame: Can I still be Flame?
Vera: Shh, let Frank speak.

Okay, that’s all for today. 🙂 I’ll have a legit post sometime soon. Meanwhile, you can get updates by signing up for my newsletter.

Can I even write anymore?

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The question sounds ridiculous, I know. How could something I’ve spent over half-a-decade pouring my life into vanish into thin air? How can a talent that I’ve honed and improved upon vanish without a trace or head injury?

It’s weird for these words to evade me. It’s weird that the thoughts inside my head can’t be transcribed onto paper. It’s weird that this relentless passion of mine could disappear down the drain after a week of too much busyness to make time for one of my greatest loves.

Right?

Someone please tell me I’m right in saying that the impossible is impossible. Please tell me I’m right in claiming that my writing isn’t disappearing down the drain and that the feelings of failure sweeping in are just that– just feelings, and when I take a break from the ever-draining tides of school everything will be okay now that the kryptonite is gone.

Because I can’t live with the fear of the playful dance of words disappearing from my brain. I can’t live with the idea of it all going to waste.

FUN AND EASY WAYS TO SUPPORT INDIE AUTHORS [Guest Post By Angela R. Watts]

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I’m breaking the hiatus for a hot second to celebrate the release of Angela R. Watts’s new book, Golgotha! It’s releasing tomorrow, and I’m super excited to be a part of the blog tour and release. Without further ado, here’s a post by Ms. Watts’s about how you can support your favorite indie authors!

Independently published authors have incredible stories to offer. So, how can you show your support? Here’s a list of easy, and fun, ways to support your favorite Indie authors!

Review their Books!

Amazon is the BEST place to review Indie books. You can also review the books on Goodreads, Kobo, and so forth, but I highly recommend Amazon is your first stop!

This step is HUGE and so, so useful for authors! If you enjoyed a book, be sure to leave a review!

Word of Mouth!

Did you enjoy an Indie novel? Share about it! Post it online, tag some friends, let your circle of the universe know how cool that book was! Word of mouth goes a long way in the book world.

Follow the Author!

Follow your favorite Indie authors online! Your support and engagement helps us produce content and beat algorithms. And kind comments put smiles on our faces!

Fan Mail!

Do you like drawing? Authors love fanart of their characters! Do you like photography? Sharing a picture of your Indie book(s) and tagging the author(s) in the love is amazing! You can also email your favorite Indie authors and tell them how much a book meant to you!

Request Books at your Library!

You can donate copies of books to your libraries OR request the books through the library, too! This helps authors reach even more readers. Don’t forget to take a picture of your favorite Indie book on a library shelf and share it online, authors love seeing their books in the wild and will send you all the virtual cookies!

There are probably more ways to support Indie authors, but this is a basic, super easy list to get you started. Supporting Indie artists is fun and is greatly appreciated. We love giving you content. When readers return the love it is even better!

GOLGOTHA BLURB

Four unlikely companions must band together to escape the Realm of Bones and save their kingdom from a reign of darkness.

Prince Moray will lead his empire to glory, even if it means dabbling with forbidden black magic. But when their parents are murdered, Moray and his brother, Finnigan, are cast into Golgotha—a realm where hope is dead. Finnigan fiercely believes his god, Elohai, will rescue them, but Moray will never trust again.

Princess Ama, promised in marriage to Moray to ensure her clan’s safety from rival tribes, arrives just before a coup and becomes trapped in Golgotha with the smart-mouthed mercenary, Gunnar. Surrounded by strange monsters and ravenous demons, Ama must fight to hold on to her faith—or lose everything.

Despite Ama’s Gift of prophetic dreams, Finnigan’s Gift of energy, Moray’s magic, and Gunnar’s blades, nothing can rescue them from themselves. If they fail to escape, darkness will devour the entire kingdom.

Shadow and Bone meets Mark of the Raven in this epic for fans of faith-based young adult fantasy.

AUTHOR BIO

Angela is the bestselling author of The Infidel Books. She lives at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, where she raises horses, dogs, cats, and snails. She’s been writing stories since she was little, and when she’s not writing, she’s probably drawing or working with her amazing clients.

Website: angelarwatts.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaRWattsauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelarwattsauthor/

Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/v7y6r0

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PeculiarAngela

GIVEAWAY LINK + INFO

One winner will receive a signed paperback copy of GOLGOTHA, along with character art prints, a bookmark, and a GOLGOTHA map. You can enter here!

Perfidy: Four

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Happy Easter! Here’s another chapter of Perfidy.

Most of the time Aisa did what she was supposed to. She worked hard. She completed the assignments for her internship. She brought honor to the name of Ayerba. But to find out that your king is dead and to realize that your country was about to fall into turmoil– She tilted her head and stared at the plate of chocolate chip cookies. There had been seven when she’d planted herself on the couch. Now there were three. 

She grabbed another one. The country going into turmoil allowed for missed meetings and sticking around Wong Path for a little too long while eating Sai’s famous double-chip cookies. 

By “too long” she meant “Completely missing the meeting that would decide the fate of their kingdom.” 

Maybe she should just move to Anniotter. Secluded kingdoms with lots of snow sounded pleasing. And she’d heard that their hot cocoa was beyond compare. She shoved another cookie in her mouth and studied the painting opposite her couch. It was massive, wider than she was tall, with delicate ink strokes depicting a lake and a tree with pink blossoms. She’d stared at the scene many times, but the repetition never drained the peace the picture brought hter.

The flowers matched the maroon wall and the delicacy of the whole image complimented the chandlers and other decor around the cookie shop. 

“Aren’t you supposed to be at the meeting?” A voice sounded from behind her. 

She turned around to look up into the face of a dark-haired guy, probably a few years older than her. “Who are you?”

“Balor.” He leapt over the back of the couch and landed on the third of the three cushions. “You’re Aisa, right?”

“Yes.” She hesitated, but pushed the plate of cookies towards him. “Want one?” 

“Yeah, thanks.” He grabbed a cookie and set it on his dark pants. All of his clothes, in fact, were black. “It’s chaos in there.” 

“Second civil war start yet?” She tucked her legs under her and smoothed down her skirt. His expression sent shivers through her body. She’s meant it as a joke. He, apparently, had not taken it as one. 

“I give it twenty-four hours.” 

Panic struck her. “Precognition?”

“Phasing.” He shook his head and ran a hand through his thick hair. “I can walk through walls.” 

She studied him with the same fascination that she had the painting. He, unlike the picture, seemed entirely out of place in this delicate shop. Sure, she wore solid black, too, and had dark hair and skin, but her outfit matched the feel of the shop. The delicate lace on her skirt toyed with floral patterns.

His thick leather jacket didn’t. 

The silk of the couch clashed with his all-terrain pants. He looked like he had just returned from war. 

“Is your gun in the car?” Aisa grabbed the last cookie.

“Motorcycle.”

She gawked. “Why in Rowhux do you have a gun?” 

“Well.” He shoved the cookie into his mouth. 

She nibbled on hers. What was he doing with a gun? They were almost completely banned in Rowhux. Only the military and foreigners had them– or nor who feared for their safety. He had just admitted that he was not a nor. She detected almost no accent. Military was barely existent. War hadn’t taken place on Rowhuxian land for almost two centuries. 

He tried to mumble something through his cookie-filled mouth, spewing crumbs across the mahogany table. She shook her head and scooted back. Maybe he was insane. Insane people with a gun sounded less than pleasant. 

He tried again. “Do you have any tea?” 

“No.” 

“Oh well.” He took a moment to chew and swallow most of the cookie.

Aisa tried again. “The gun? Why?”

“I assassinated Lord Cactus.” 

He what? Aisa blinked. “Pardon?”

“Aren’t you an intern? Do they teach you what it means to be assassinated, or is that for when you became a senator or a lady?”

“No, no.” She struggled to keep her jaw from dropping. “You assassinated him? Did he die?”

“I believe that’s the point of assassination, love.” 

And so that’s how Aisa found herself sharing a couch with a murderer. A few minutes passed in silence. Was he here to assassinate her? Why would he want to assassinate her out of all people? She wasn’t important. 

She also felt the need to clarify this. “I’m just an intern.”

“I know. You’re studying under Brell, right?”

“Depends on whether or not you agree with Brell.” Though, considering that he assassinated Cactus, he probably sided with Brell.

“Brell likes nors. I like Brell.” 

“I like nors.” The words came out too fast. 

“No.” He shook his head. “But you don’t dislike them. I’m not going to kill you, Aisa. I just needed to get things started.” 

“A war?”

He ignored her question. “What’s your magic?”

“Death.” 

He smirks. “And I’m the assassin. By the way, your friends will be here before long.” 

“Friends?” She’d almost forgotten about them coming.

“Mocha, Jael, Nadia, Edison, and the others.” 

“Oh.” Aisa nibbled on her cookie. “Won’t they recognize you?”

He snorted. “Everything was chaotic. They’re not going to recognize me.”

“Why are you here then?”

To see how everything plays out.” 

Aisa shifted in her seat. Why did his answer make her feel so uncomfortable? 

The bell over the door jingled. Aisa turned to see Jael enter. Aisa had never seen the lady rumpled, but Jael’s hair was everywhere, and her pencil skirt featured a large rip to the middle of her thigh. She looked– angry. Like she could punch someone and not blink an eyelash about it. Aisa shrunk back into the couch. 

Behind Jael followed Nadia. The dark-skinned girl’s forehead shined with sweat. Her normally curly hair frizzed out like a lion’s mane. She, too, looked angry, but with more of a wet anger as her golden eyes glistened with tears. She beelined for the couch, sitting beside Aisa with barely a glance at Balor. 

Jael stalked over with cookies a moment later, pulling up a chair that screached across the wooden floor. Aisa glanced back and forth between her friend, Nadia, and Balor. He wasn’t kidding. He’d killed Lord Cactus. The pit in Aisa’s chest filled with panic. There was no stopping this, was there?

She shivered. “Jael?” 

“Aisa?” Silver eyes pinned her down. “What?”

“Are you alright?”

Jael shook her head. “No, I’m not.” 

“Why?”

“Lord Cactus is dead. War is starting.” 

“It doesn’t have to.” 

Jael held Aisa’s gaze. “Yes, it does. Nors cannot be treated fairly until something radical happens. Mocha blames me– us– for Cactus’s death.” 

Footsteps sounded from the side hallway. Aisa’s heart leapt into her throat. Mocha could be here. She knew he could be radical. She’d hung out with him the least, after being welcomed into the group a few month ago. What if he was here to end the war before it started. No one else seemed to pay attention to the footsteps. 

Two people came around the corner. 

She breathed a sigh of relief when she recognized Edison’s black-and-white hair and blue fish. In front of him stood the short-and-stout Mister Sai Cornelius Path with a new plate of steaming Swableberry cookies. 

“Hey kiddos,” Sai grinned, his wrinkly face familiar with the motion. “I figured Aisa would have eaten all the cookies by now so I’d bring you more. These are on the house, ’cause I told Soph that I wouldn’t make anymore. She’s just jealous that she can’t bake.”

Sai and Sophie had always insisted that they weren’t nors, but their powers were that he was absurdly good at baking, and she could cook anything she put her mind to. Aisa reached for a cookie as he set them down on the table. She’d smiled and nodded politely when Sai first explained this too her, but after eating one of the cookies, she did believe it. 

“Oh dear, Nadia, m’girl, what’s wrong?” Sai had spotted the tears streaming down the girl’s cheeks. 

Nadia wiped her tears. “Cactus was assassinated.” 

“Oh dear.” Sai’s face paled. “Oh dear, oh dear. I need to talk to Sophie about this. I will return in a bit, kiddos.” 

“Bye, Mr. Path.” Balor waved as Sai disappeared back into the hallway. 

Edison continued to stand awkwardly in the doorway, his fish bobbing through the air. 

Balor cleared his throat. “Jael, when war starts, I stand with you.” 

Jael’s gaze flickered from the doorway to the boy. The skin between her eyebrows wrinkled slightly “Who are you?”

“A magic-user who supports nors.” 

“Ah. Powers?” 

“Phasing.” 

The anger in Jael’s eyes hardened to something– something dangerous. Cunning. A determination. Aisa shoved another cookie into her mouth. 

Jael nodded. “Okay, we’ll take you.”

Hiatus!

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Guys, life has been chaotic lately. I’ve been changing jobs, keeping my grades up, pursing publishing, and a billion other things. Thus, I haven’t had much time to write blog posts.

That said, it’s not super surprising that I’m going to take a hiatus from writing blog posts until April 13th. (That’s three weeks.)

I will still be posting chapters of Perfidy, though maybe not as constantly as before.

I’ll also be active on my instagram and my newsletter (there’s actually another one due in a week or so) so subscribe/follow to get updates there.

Top right photo is Jackson and Ly. 🙂

Perfidy: Three

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Jael didn’t like a lot of things. She didn’t like rulebreakers, or cheaters, or that redhead who always picked on her in grade school. She didn’t like people who thought they were better than everyone else, or people who put her on a pedestal, or people who said something and did something else. Most of all, she hated people who thought human beings were more valuable because of the extent of their powers, rather than the content of their character. 

So while public speaking didn’t top the list of her favorite things, the aforementioned list was the reason she was standing onstage right now in front of the assembly. It was also the reason she would head to Wong Path tonight, to convert her friends into followers, and protect her people. 

The room stilled. 

“Lords and ladies of the assembly, we have gathered here tonight because our great monarch is dead. We will soon have a time of mourning for his life, but before his death we listened well to him. His request was that after his passing, we implement a new government, to make it fair and equal to each citizen of Rowhux.”

Someone shouted from the group. “Fairness and equality aren’t the same!”

Jael scanned the room, but couldn’t put a face to the unfamiliar voice. She cleared her throat. “Exactly, which is why we must define what makes a human equal. Why are we judging based on powers? I am a nor myself, and yet I stand among you, as capable as anyone in this room.” 

A different voice. “Blick the nors.”

“That would be what your ancestors did, and that’s why your own power is so ‘nishing weak.” Jael’s words burst from her. “You shouldn’t blame today’s nors for your weak power. It’s not our fault. Most of us are your kin, you know. And we aren’t worth less because you have decided that magic equals value.” 

A murmur swept through the room. Jael straightened her posture and smoothed the blue pencil skirt. “All that to say, I believe it unfair to insist that nors are at fault for society’s problems. I believe the responsibility ought to be fairly distributed and nors should be allowed rights that they are not currently holding.”

Another murmur, like a low rolling wave with sharp splashes of descent. 

“I believe that no monarch should sit on the throne, as magic-users would refuse to sit under a nor, and nors would be oppressed by magic users.” The tension in the room swept through her veins. She needed to finish this before weapons– magical or otherwise– were drawn. “A democracy presents itself as the highest solution, as long as all citizens, every citizen, has the right to vote.” 

She cleared her throat and walked off the stage. Scattered clapping– polite, but not affirming– emerged from the audience. Her stomach turned. THis was not how it was supposed to go. She needed supporters. She needed people who agreed with her.  And then Mocha stood up. 

This time the cheers turned genuine. Anger flushed her cheeks. This is why they needed more nors in the assembly. They shouldn’t be cheering for someone like Mocha because of his beliefs. 

That wasn’t to say that she hated Mocha. He was a nice enough guy– good sense of sarcasm, suave and well spoken. But he also held to humorless mistreatment of nors. Segregation was high on his agenda– not surprising, considering his apprenticeship under Lord Cactus. 

Mocha ran a hand through his thick black hair, his already slanted eyes narrowing even more. “Wonderful introduction by Senator Jael.” He emphasized the title—emphasizing her nor, and her non-aristocratic heritage. “It’s obvious to all of us, though, that her bias towards integration is strong. Too strong, some would argue. Implying that those Dios did not bless with powers are equal to those who he did is pure blasphemy.”

Jael’s eyes narrowed. Bringing Dios into this conversation—insisting that he created some better than others… That was the blasphemy. She eyed Lord Cactus at the front, his posture straight and proud. What did he and Mocha have against the nors? It made no sense, their constant tearing down of her kind. Pride came before a fall, though. And heaven knew that she prayed to Dios daily for the fall of anti-nor sentiment. 

She just didn’t expect the fall to come right then, that very second, as a bullet shattered the glass above their heads and a slew of glass and metal rained down aiming precisely for Lord Cactus’s neck. 

Jael had no time to react even as she watched the bullet plunge through the lord’s spine and his proudness quite literally fell– from his seat, onto the floor. She leapt to her feet and spun around. A dark figure stood on the roof. His features were sharp even though he was backlit. Brown hair. Blue eyes. Pale skin. He hoisted his gun, and then was gone. 

She spun around as the assembly converged around the dead man. Mocha still stood on stage, his eyes glazed over and slack-jawed. Emergency services. They needed to call emergency services. She grabbed her phone. No signal. She tried to shove her way into the crowd, but even the fringe was too thick to push through. She looked over her shoulder again, but the dark-haired young man wasn’t on the roof, which meant he wasn’t actively aiming to kill anyone else. But he could have set a bomb. They could all be in danger–but people were too busy gawking, all too close to the front of the room and blocking everyone’s escape. Jael struggled to breathe. They needed to get out of here. They were targets. Too easy to kill. She tried to yell, to get Mocha’s attention. He had the microphone. He could give orders. 

Her shout was lost in the crowd. 

She kicked off her heels. She had to get out and call emergency services. ‘Nish. This skirt was hard to climb in. she thought she heard a seam rip as she climbed onto the table. Mocha was onstage, still staring numbly. 

Another gunshot rocked the room. More screams. Jael ducked, covering her head. Why were people still in the room? Why weren’t they trying to escape? A purple stream of magic flew over her head. Someone floated into the air. Jael stood and lept from her table. The table she jumped for trembled as she landed. The exit was six desks away. She stumbled backwards, avoiding the large falcon that darted past her. 

Then she jumped again. 

Five desks. 

Four. 

Someone else screamed and suddenly the room was shaking. Jael stumbled as she hit the third table. The slick surface repelled her touch and she slid, landing on top of a large woman with purple hair. Jael jumped to her feet, struggling to push forward. A chair slid from where it stayed as the world tilted to one side. Jael forced her way through the crowd and found herself at the edge of the stage. Mocha was sitting now, but still unmoving. She climbed up the stairs on all fours and crawled over to him. They had to get out of there. 

“Mocha.” 

He looked over at her. “What the blick is happening, Jael?”

“Come on.” She could barely hear him over the cacophony,  but grabbed his arm anyways. He tried to pull away, but she gripped him tighter. “Come on.

And then the roof fell.

Perfidy: Two

Serial Story, writing

Dead? Mocha clicked his pen on and off, on and off on his desk. Well, this certainly was an interesting development. 

As the words lingered in the air, the room exploded into gasps. Someone wailed. While Mocha wasn’t all that attached to the king– a head of state who did nothing seemed utterly pointless– he couldn’t deny that the world as he knew it was about to crumble. He yawned and leaned back into his chair. Jael was a few rows in front of him, no longer the epitome of calm and collected. Instead, her phone was blindingly bright on her desk and she scribbled furiously on a notepad, glancing between the paper and her phone. 

Mocha flicked his fingers and a red streak of magic shot forward, knocking Jael’s phone off the table. She took a moment to notice, but soon her eyes flicked back to where the screen didn’t exist. She glanced over her shoulder, shooting Mocha a glare, before snatching her phone from the floor. He smirked. She let too much bother her, as most nors did. For all her abilities, she simply didn’t have the right experience to try to run a mostly-magical country. Her ideas for a more democratic government wouldn’t be taken seriously. 

His smirk slid off his face, though, when she was the first to stand. Mocha’s knuckles turned white as he gripped the table. What did she think she was doing? The suppressed rage manifested into burning telekinesis in his fingers. He struggled to confine it as it sparked around his palms and Jael made her way onstage. 

She reached down and helped Aisa to her feet before returning her focus to the shell-shocked messenger and removing the microphone from his frozen fingers. She smoothed down her skirt with one hand before gazing out at the assembly. “Lords and ladies of the assembly, now is not the time to discuss matters such as norism and immigration. The king instructed us to form a more efficient union after his passing, and it seems that time has come. There will be time to mourn soon, but let us recess as an assembly and reconvene tonight. Then we can begin to make decisions regarding our country’s future. May Rowhux thrive under the lit moon.”

The crowd echoed her final sentence– the parting blessing Rowhuxians had used for years. Mocha’s eyebrows brushed his low-hanging bangs. He thought he’d be six-feet-under before Jael would ever admit that norism wasn’t the most pressing issue. A murmur arose as the assembly stood. Mocha glanced around. So they wouldn’t listen to him about how ridiculous the traditions regarding exits were unless it was an “emergency”? He rolled his eyes and snatched his backpack from the floor, slinging it over his shoulder and earning odd looks from some of the older lords around him. Mocha barely resisted rolling his eyes. Why were backpacks so stigmatized? Briefcases were harder to carry and held less. 

He shoved into the crowd, weaving in and out of the nearly-two-hundred people all trying to exit the room. One of the ladies his backpack knocked let out a loud, dramatic gasp. Mocha sped up and ducked his head. The last thing he needed was trouble from one of the ladies. Jael would know her name. Jael knew everyone’s name. He frowned at the thought. She actually had a fighting chance to implement her plans in the assembly. 

“Oi, Mocha!” A gruff voice sounded from behind him. 

He spun around to see Nadia. Her dark skin glistened with sweat, and the heels that she wore added extra height to her already lanky form. “What do you need?”

“Come ‘ere.” 

She turned a corner and slipped into a small restaurant– one of the three food courts in the building— promptly sitting down at a table. Mocha slid into the seat across from her. Nadia leaned forward, resting her head in her hands. “I was late to the assembly and then when I finally got to the room, everyone was leaving. So what’s up?”

He frowned at her loudness. “The king is dead.” 

“Dead?” Her eyes widened in alarm. “What’s going to happen to the government?”

He leaned back in his chair. The question of the hour. “I’m not sure.” 

“And what will that mean for your estate?”

Hm. He hadn’t thought that far forward. “I have a plan.” 

“Including ridding Rowhux of nors?” She raised an eyebrow, a smirk playing on her lips. 

Mocha suppressed a sigh. It wasn’t like Nadia’s powers advanced society all that much in themselves. Turning into a bloodthirsty polar bear rarely made anyone happy with her. Yet somehow she still considered herself one of the highest magic users around, and somehow had gotten a lot of the assembly to agree with her. “Perhaps.”

The smirk grew into a full-fledged grin. “That will be wonderful. Can you imagine how much stronger we’d be as a country if no one had nor blood?”

He had to admit, the thought had crossed his mind more than once. The one thing he could never quite figure out was how Nadia managed to say this stuff in private, yet profess to be one of Jael’s closest friends. At least he didn’t like the nor among them. “Yes, Nads. I can.” 

“Anyways. See you tonight at the Path’s.” 

Oh, yes. Mocha’s frown deepened. He’d been dreading it all week– having to watch everyone do Jael’s bidding at the get-together for their group of interns. He normally avoided the parties and made excuses regarding working on his estate, but had finally promised Nadia he’d come under the circumstance that vanilla cupcakes were provided. She had sworn it would be so. 

“Anyways, I need to head out if we don’t have anything else to do but argue today. And you probably gotta go talk to Council Rivera, right?”

‘Nish. He’d forgotten about that. Rivera would have a plan for the meeting tonight. “Yeah, thanks. Bye.” 

“See you tonight.” 

“Yup.”

Nadia scooted her chair out, stood, and left the restaurant as quickly as she had entered. Mocha put his head in his hands. What were they going to do now that the king was dead? Some had recommended a democracy, but that would allow the nors to take positions of power too easily. Perhaps a monarchy would work well. Sit a magic user on the throne and their line would have power for the rest of eternity. 

What about him? He would lead well. He could keep the nors in line.

Except people would argue against it, because a monarchy was what the king had said to avoid. 

Mocha glanced up as someone slid into the seat opposite him. He recognized her face from somewhere, but didn’t know her name. Her large blue eyes were wide in desperation, and there was a tiny, strange looking hat balanced on an artful tower of hair. There was a strange symbol on the pin of her lapel. 

“You dislike nors.” It was less of a question and more of a statement directed towards him. 

He wasn’t sure how to respond. Some of the assembly thought that dislike of nors immediately made one untrustworthy. “Why do you ask?”

“I’ve heard you say it. You’re going to take over, right?” 

He shifted in his seat. Could she read his thoughts? 

“I’m not a telepath.”

He was beginning to doubt that. 

“I promise.”

“Okayyyy…” 

“My sister is a nor. Please spare her when you take over.”

He grimaced. To have one nor sibling was almost as bad as being a nor oneself. He should know. “I’m not planning on exterminating them.”

“Oh.” She stared at her folded hands. “Just promise you won’t hurt her.”

Define hurt. “I promise.”

“Thank you.” She stood. Her skirt flowed around her as she strode out of the room.

Where Dreamers Go To Die.

flash fiction, writing

The hostess hears everything. She’s behind the desk where the waiters and waitresses congregate to talk. She’s near the bar where the drunk people spill their secrets. Granted, she’s also HSP and gets sensory-overwhelmed easily in which she blocks everything out– but she picks up on many of the things that are said.

For example, she knows that the assistant manager is a talented artist and linguist– he actually went to college for illustration. Illustration. That’s so cool. But he warns everyone within earshot not to do art as a career. Look where it got him: The assistant manager of an overpriced, run-down restaurant. And he speaks English, Russian, Spanish– maybe more, she had zoned out– yet he rarely uses the latter two. Russian. Impractical, but amazing. Yet with his talents, he’s stuck running a restaurant where the waitresses don’t like him. And he’s given up on his dream.

She knows about the waiter’s sister– the sister that went into communications and ended up working in a different field. Communications. That’s what she wants to go into. Once again everyone within earshot is warned not to go to school for any type of art. She struggles not to laugh at the waiter. He used his school money for drugs. His sister altered her dreams.

She knows about that one waitress whose hair is always styled so creatively. She knows that the waitress wanted to do interior design but somehow, along the way, got stuck making less than three dollars an hour and relying on other’s generosity with their tips. Interior design. What a neat major. The waitress wants to help with wedding planning. Someday. But that someday seems very far off and for the moment the waitress has contented herself with the melancholy truth that she doesn’t have the ambition to pursue a career like that right now.

The hostess has talked to the waitress with dreams. The one who knows that she’s only going to be working temporarily until she can start her welding apprenticeship. The one has some vague form of a plan for her life, but right now is stuck in the cycle of endless days and underpaid hours and meaningless seconds.

Stuck. That’s what the hostess fears. That’s what seems to ooze out of every corner of the building and into the suffocating, depressed stink that fills the restaurant. A stuck-ness. A contentedness with the unfulfilling. A twisted happiness in the days of working for nothing and drinking it away at night. There is no drive or motivation for these people. They have resigned themselves to giving up their dreams and their talents. They have no desire to use the beautiful, wonderful, overflowing gifts that God has provided them with. They won’t pursue anything else. They’re numb and they’re broken and they’ve found themselves trapped in the grey routine of working until you die.

The hostess can no longer see the restaurant as a graveyard. It scares her.

Because that graveyard is where dreamers go to die.