Archive for the Category »Writing «
The corn is dead already, dried husks withered and browned by sun and heat and drought. Sweat drips down the back of her neck; the wind whips against her, driving dirt and bits of dead plants against her skin, but still the air settles in her lungs thick, hot, damp. Despite the wind and debris, she wears her black hair loose, the fall of it covering her back, the ragged ends twisting against her hips.
She sniffs the air; ozone, a storm coming, but there’s little wetness to it. Rains come hard and fast, gone before they do any good. Microbursts that wash away everything in one place while leaving all else dusty and dead.
When she says, the world is burning, the others bark laughs, tongues lolling out, and yip, let it burn.
The wind carries the smell of shit and animal musk and, as they creep closer, a pinch of fear, just enough to make her mouth water. The scents of herd animals, sluggish with thirst and not enough fresh green food. She licks her chops.
Herds of deer are on the move, looking for food and water, even venturing into the suburbs, but they’re rangy, and chasing them down feels like too much work when the farm animals are right there.
She can almost hear Mom growl. Easy hunt meant they’d be discovered, hunted until the pack died out. It’s been such a long year, hot, dry; she’s tired. One easy meal will make them all feel better, stronger. Then they can hunt outside town, find new territory.
Dead grass at her toes, and the others near silent between cornfield and cows.
She drops, lets the change sweep through her, breaking bones, snapping sinew, tearing flesh; grinds down on the howl that threatens to rise from her throat. This close to the house, one noise will bring the humans running.
Four sleek dark gray shadows slip into the pasture. They are downwind and near silent, but something sets off the cows. The soft lowing grows louder, full of fear. The young to the center, bawling. Faster the wolves run, caught in hunt-lust.
She turns so fast she stumbles, only her speed keeping her on her feet. Again that cry, and she can nearly hear the all-too-human mama in it.
It’s just a cow. She’ll break some rules, but that is taboo.
Just a cow, and she leaps, snaps, blood gushing along her tongue.
The rest of the herd moves on, fast and loud; the pack settles in, gulps meat, tender, juicy. They make short work of it, gorging until their bellies hurt. Even so late, it’s hot, and she lounges after, licking her chops.
The same wind they used betrays them, hunter turned prey. Crack, and bright fire nearly takes the tip of her ear. One of the others yelps; she can’t tell which, and she twists, looking for the alpha, for direction. Then it crashes back.
She’s alpha now. There’s a human with a gun.
To be continued with August’s blue moon.
Lightning cracked across the sky, lighting it up. One of the pups whimpered, but Dot couldn’t tell them apart. Couldn’t, didn’t want to, it all came out the same. They all looked like her brother in different ways, even the one that wasn’t actually related to him, sounded like him, smelled like him – she couldn’t take it.
“Shh.” The hay rustled as Trouble crouched next to them. The sharp scent of their fear faded, leaving that familiar-strange mix of family and not.
Patch was three weeks gone, his old lady said. Skittish under the last full moon, quiet where he was normally loud, talkative. Dot didn’t know him like that. He was the runt three litters after her, always silent and still.
Big shadows like bruises stained the skin beneath his old lady’s eyes. Manda, she was called, a human name for a wolf. “My parents liked to play pretend,” she said, and bared her teeth.
Patch gone, and their nearest neighbors, too, three of the four adults in the wolf pack. Five pups, four Patch and Manda’s, one their neighbors’, and Manda left to watch them. She slept fitfully in the corner of the barn, hugely pregnant, hands pressed against her belly even in her sleep. It rose like a full moon, third litter and maybe the last.
The breeze shifted, blowing into Dot’s face. She gulped it down, searching.
Behind her, a yip, cut off sharp, and she spun, crouching low, hands and feet against the boards she’d cleared of hay, ready for her shift. (Hay stuck to fresh-changed fur, made her itch, with no hands to scratch it free.)
Manda was awake, and on her feet, arms curled under the swell of her stomach, holding its weight, and her eyes were wide and dark, all the color bled out of them.
“They’re coming,” she growled, teeth sharp behind bloody lips. “They’re coming, they’re coming, they’re coming.” Her words rose into a howl by the end, high and thin, wolf crying for her pack, but only silence after.
Then, quiet at first, gaining volume and strength, Trouble raised her voice, head tilted so that her dark braids tumbled down her back, covering her bare brown skin. Around her, the pups lifted their heads, weak calls that made her jaw ache like claws on glass.
Too much like pack, and Dot was lone wolf nose to tail.
Thunder rolled, and with it the rain, gusts of it shaking the barn doors, covering their trail, the marks they’d left behind and their smell. From nothing to thunderstorm, and the snap of wind strong enough to knock over small wolves, nothing could track them through it.
“Shift,” Dot ordered, drawing herself in tight, muscles straining. The others turned toward her, watched her, and she shook her head, shifting back on instinct. She ran alone, no others to slow her down, but their hearts raced, and each breath pack pack pack. “We’re running.”
Running meant one more night safe and free.
May Milk (Super) Moon: Moonlit
June Strawberry Moon: Great Wide Open
The road unfurls like a river of black blood, slick and dark in the dusk. The sky stretches above it, above us, as big and wide as anything I’ve ever seen, more shades of blue than the ocean we left behind two weeks ago. Storm clouds rise like mountains, grey-black and heavy with water. Despite the threat of rain, the top’s down, and the wind whips around us, carrying the smell of wet, green things growing and, just at the edge of the rising storm, the scent of ozone.
Thunder rumbles. I press my feet into the dash, the cracked vinyl warm and rough against my toes, and tip back my head. We’ve been driving for months, and I thought I’d seen every version of the sky, but this opens up above us unending in its darkness, like I could start running now and never reach daylight again.
For the first time since we left my pack, I don’t feel lost, not even in this great wide open, just free.
A thin track runs off to the left, into the corn fields – the plants aren’t sky high yet but big enough for the cover we need – and we turn onto it, sliding the car between rows of genetically modified super plants, rah rah rah technology’ll save the world.
It smells off, wrong, and I wrinkle my nose against it.
Don’t matter how bad it stinks. Moon’s rising, we’ve got to stop. I have to shift.
One at a time, I press close, breathe in the scent of them: mouth, armpit, crotch. I suck the air in through my nose, again through my mouth and over my tongue, memorizing the smell I’d know even asleep and three quarters dead.
That’s the idea. Breathe them in as a human, slide my scent along their skin, and the wolf in me would let them alone once I changed.
Three months, we’d been on the road, circling and circling the USA, staying away from other wolves’ territories, and I hadn’t come close to hurting them, but each month, the possibility was there. It’d always be there, until my boys gave up their humanity in a slick wash of pain and teeth and blood.
I strip and leap from the car, one hand on the door frame pushing myself clear. Soon, I promise myself, already panting, soon,, and then the pull of the moon is on me. I’m alone when I start running, mud squishing between my toes, and as it rushes through me, I leap, into the corn, into the darkness, into the sadness of hunting alone.
They’ll wait in the car, tranq gun at hand just in case, music off, voices low. Sometimes I leave little gifts on the hood and then don’t they grumble, blood on the paint, and by the time the sun comes up, I’ll be curled up somewhere, thirsty and sore and dirty and alone.
But they’re always there when I come back, and I will never not return.
Oh dear. Apparently last month’s new experiment was left a draft and not an actual post. That explains so much! So here is May’s Full (Moon) Flash Fiction, “Moonlit,” and in a moment, I will post the entry for June.
At this point, technical issues and time constraints have led to such a lengthy delay of “The Rise and Fall of Cassandra Jones” that I am a bit overwhelmed at trying to recreate what was lost and catch up. I am shelving it this year, and instead will be writing flash fiction. Or at least my take on flash fiction, which I have randomly decided will mean 500 words not counting the title for this project.
To kick off Full (Moon) Flash Fiction for May’s Milk Moon (Supermoon), I present:
I felt swollen, my skin stretched too taut, too thin. I would burst soon like an over-ripe piece of fruit. Not quite there, still safe to eat, but almost not, sweet and heavy on the tongue, one breath, maybe two, from the rot lurking just beyond the wash of juice. I licked my lips, tasted metal and dirt, and rolled over onto my back. The hot air sank into me, sweat springing up beneath my breasts, along the curve of my stomach and thighs. I pressed bare feet against dry grass and stared up into the creeping darkness. Sunset was seven minutes after the (super) moon rose. I shivered at the thought of sunlight and moonlight (sunlight reflected, refracted, twisted, broken into something new) kissing in the sky.
Anticipation, but a specific kind, sexual, sensual and warm. I stretched, languid, calling my lover to me. She crept across the edge of my (world) vision, (moon) woman reaching for me with pale fingers so gentle, so cold, and tugged me into the shadows underneath the old oak tree.
Her full mouth, slicked red, twisted into a smirk, and she crawled along me, lingering at the bone of my ankles, the dip of my knees, the long lines of flesh up the inside of my thighs. I canted my hips up at her, wanting, but she rested her hands on my stomach, digging her nails into my flesh, and leant forward, dark hair tumbling down across my breasts.
“Soon?” she asked, voice the quiet rustle of a soft wind through the cornfield. Any stronger, and it would drown out other noises, creeping through my senses and bringing the hair on the back of my neck up. (I ran through corn on four legs, on two, pushing aside the stalks, and at ten, at sixteen, at twenty-two, it chased me, wind-fast through the darkness.)
“Two minutes.” The words grumbled in the back of my throat, and I coughed to clear them. “Little less.”
“No time.” She sank into me, nudging her thigh between my legs, pressing into the hot, wet pulse of my cunt, and my heartbeat was so loud in my ears, her chest silent. She was right, we didn’t have time for this, I couldn’t come so fast, but still I arched into her, grinding against her (bad dog, no humping, and my laugh bubbled up, spilling out with the ferocity of a howl). “I’ll be watching.”
In the distance, the pack I would join once I shifted. She couldn’t get close to me then, my girl, bruised fruit mouth and (stolen) blood on her breath. The smell of her all over me kept me wary of my family, waiting for me to come to them beneath the moon.
“Oh,” I said, “now”
She dropped a kiss to my hungry mouth, tongue across the spot I’d chewed rough (bloody), and she was gone, lost to the sky. My back arched, a howl clawing up my throat, the monster rising from within.
In honor of Lupercalia, here is an excerpt from WEREWOLVES IN LOVE, a work in progress about werewolves in love (and the various ways that werewolves love). (Clever working title, innit?)
At this point, the main character has only recently been bitten and is still learning about her new abilities. Neither sex nor interacting with humans has been forbidden to her, but she was warned by the female alpha wolf to be careful, because she’s a whole new woman in a whole new world now.
No sex in this excerpt, just how hard a first time meeting can hit a werewolf.
The garage itself was perpendicular to the office and the big bay doors opened off the side street. Gravel crunched beneath her trainers as she walked around the side of the building; stones twisted and she corrected her balance without conscious thought.
She took a deep breath to calm her temper and then another, testing her senses. There was oil, fresh from whatever cars where inside the garage and older, embedded in the ground, in the rocks and the dirt. There was the sharp bite of gasoline and hot metal which set her teeth on edge.
There was the tang of sweat, of hot skin and warm blood; her tongue curled.
Someone was working in the garage. She heard steady breathing and the faint scrape of cloth on metal.
The far bay door was open and she angled toward it. There weren’t many lights on inside, which must make it difficult for the mechanics to see what they were doing. She stopped just outside the door, still caught in the sunlight, and cleared her throat.
No response, but she could hear a heartbeat.
The car in the next bay over was hoisted into the air but the one directly in front of her was still on the ground. From underneath it came the groan of metal, then the scrape of it across concrete and a man on a creeper rolled out from under the car and his scent washed over her fully, no longer masked.
Her mouth went dry; she licked her lips, but her tongue felt like sandpaper. She couldn’t stop staring. She didn’t want to stop staring, because damn. He sat up, draped his arms over his knees, and watched her right back. His arms were bare and thick tattoos curled around his biceps. The black ink contrasted nicely with his smooth brown skin and though she didn’t recognize any of the designs, the twisting lines seemed detailed.
He grinned and her gaze dropped to his mouth. He had full lips and stubble along his jaw. She wanted to put her tongue to his skin, to bite at the corner of his throat, to make him bleed.
She caught herself before she took another involuntary step forward.
“Can I help you?” he asked. He growled. His voice was low and dark, gravel on the edges. Rough. It made her twitch, covered her skin with goose bumps and chills. She calculated quickly; five big steps to reach him, two if she ran, and probably she could hit him from here if she leaped. He was hunched forward, protecting his vulnerable belly and throat, but if she put her hands on his shoulders and shoved, she would lay him flat, open him to her cunt and her mouth and her teeth – she could fuck and bite and rip and tear –
She moved again without realizing it and he hauled himself to his feet. He was big, much bigger than she was, probably six and a half feet tall, maybe more, and wide at his shoulders and hips.
Didn’t matter. She could take him. Even if she was a lone wolf.