Names Week 2 – #2

The north wall caved in and a beam of sunlight illuminated the dust motes that had been disturbed by the falling stone. Amelia stood a few feet away, not wishing her toes to be accidentally crushed by whoever it was outside.

“Well, that was surprisingly easy,” came a joyous tone from the other side of the hall. She heard armor creak as a number of people moved around the base of the tower. “Quickly, men! Pull these stones away!”

After a year of waiting, of probing the tower’s every stone, of exploring every possible weakness for a way out, she could wait a few moments more. Bit by bit, hands reached in and widened the hole until it grew to the size of a man. She credited the builders with the quality of their craftsmanship; with more shoddy workmanship, the entire structure may have collapsed after its base was damaged.

When the hole was the size of a man, the gleaming spectacle of an armored knight bent to step through. Lifting his helmeted head, he pulled back slightly at seeing her standing right there. “Lady Amelia Rothburg, I presume?”

“Two more days and I would have to walk home.” She stepped up and clapped him on the shoulder. As the sound rang through the chamber, she pushed past him and stepped out into the fresh air. A small contingent of six other knights stared as she relished in her first moments of freedom, a giddy laugh bubbling up from inside her.

As much as she wanted to stand and enjoy everything, she could not forget her responsibilities. Her husband had to know she was still alive, had to know who it was that had taken her, and she hoped none of the damage done in her absence was irreparable. Looking toward one of the knights she pointed away from the tower and asked, “Is Fellbridge that way?”

“Y-yes, my Lady.”

Seven horses stood nearby and she quickly chose one that looked the most well-rested. Jumping into the saddle – ignoring how her skirts rose to her knees – she called back to the men, “Then you’ll know where to find me!”

Names Week 2 – #1

(Link to this week’s exercise)

 

The sea sprite, no larger than a starfish, sat on the harlot’s motionless chest. She laughed as she dipped a hand into the blood pouring slowly out of the body. “Has immortality turned you into a poet?”

Dylan’s shoulders lifted as he cleaned the blood off of the dagger. “Thanks to you, I have a lot of time to think while the Silver Wave is docked.”

“You can leave any time you want.” She raised her dripping fingers to her lips.

“Some day,” he muttered, “but not today. I still have half a world and a hundred women to see before I die.”

Ten straight years aboard the corsair, ten years bound to the sea and all her ways was not enough to deter him. Having amassed a small fortune for himself – and the crew – what need did he have to leave when life’s pleasures could merely be brought to him? His name had spread from England to Africa, and there was a lot more ocean for it to cover. Every assassin that failed to kill him only added to his fame, the legend that was Captain Dylan Osbert.

 

Brief Interjection – Jan. 11, 2017

So, doing these writing exercises with names reminds me of the “name crisis” I went through as a child. Though I enjoy having the name Shannon now, it wasn’t always the case. It sounded odd to me, especially coming out of my own mouth, and I also went through a bit of a case of “grass is greener” syndrome.

I wanted to be a Sarah. The name Sarah sounded lovely, smooth, and graceful, a regal name for a little princess. As I grew up just a little more and began to read more, I wanted something unique, a name no one else would have. Because of the (ridiculously cheesy) movie “Three Ninjas,” and with one of the characters having the name Colt, I decided I wanted to be called…. (it’s embarrassing even mentioning it) “Filly.” My prodigious powers of hindsight cause me to cringe at even considering it, but I had a lot of super-great ideas when I was a kid.

I never really brought up the idea of changing my name, of trying to get others to call me anything else… until 8th grade. At the beginning of the school year, our teachers called out each of our names on the roll-call and also asked us what name we would like to be called. I mustered up the courage to speak up in a couple of those classes and *gulp* asked to be called Filly.  One of my teachers approached me after class and basically said, “I respect you, but I’m not calling you that.”

One of my other teachers obliged, and thus that was my name in his class during that year. I’ll admit I enjoyed writing that name on the top of assignments, but felt increasingly embarrassed being called upon as time went on. Even after that year, I would occasionally still be called by that name, but fortunately high school came along with a new campus and new teachers and a chance for me to accept wholeheartedly the mantle of Shannon.

I have still toyed around with the idea of going by a different name from time to time, and with the advent of widespread Internet usage, I became accustomed to being called by number of different aliases. To some, I’m still Amethyst Star. To others, I’m Aletha Prime. To a smaller group, I’m just “E.”

While I’ve enjoyed going by various monikers, I am Shannon. There’s always the chance that if I was ever published that I would go under a pen name, but I’m content and happy being the Shannon my parents know and love.

(And for those who may be tempted to come up to me and call me Filly “for old time’s sake,” don’t. Please, don’t. Just don’t. Seriously, don’t. No really, Corrie, don’t.)

Names Week 1 – #3

Lillian’s purple pen flew across the page as she pushed Princess Sunflower off of the side of the north tower. Tears filling her sapphire blue eyes, she kept Prince Marcus engaged in a duel with the Duke, knowing he would not be in time to save his true love. It had taken her four weeks to get to this chapter, and all of those nights spent scribbling away under the covers with her owl-shaped book light were paying off. Her brilliant tale of adventure, magic, and true love neared completion, and soon the whole world would know the name Lillian Cross!

Leaning against the scratchy white pillows, she shut out the flashing lights of the TV and the reporters’ and their stories about policemen and firefighters and government people. Her kingdom needed her!

Names Week 1- #2

(This week’s exercise.)

***

Three red lights flashed slowly over the door. Sarah knew it was sealed, the lights signaling “Extreme danger! No exiting permitted under any circumstances!” At least those were the words Director Marcus used. It wouldn’t matter how much she prayed, how much she wished for those lights to stop flashing; she wasn’t going anywhere.

It was easier to watch the door. Some stood near the windows, watching the black eddies swirl past five floors down from the tsunami shelter, waiting for the next wave to try and topple the stout building over and over and over. They peered up at the sunless sky, at clouds that only brought more rain… more despair. Sarah preferred the sight of the gray metal door with its cold indifference. At least the blinking lights could change at some point. They would tell her some when it was safe to leave, when she could finally reunite with her family.

“Are you hungry, Mrs. Francis?”

Hitoshi’s outstretch hand held a small plate of dried trout and buttered bread. The salty fish smell caused her stomach to contract, another connection to the water that kept her away from her children.

“No, thank you.” She pulled the gray fleece blanket more snugly around her shoulders as she met his worried brown eyes. His hair was neatly combed, and while his suit was as rumpled as everyone else’s clothing, his face appeared to have been washed recently.

“Would you like something else? You have not eaten much. I can get you-”

“What’s the point?” Her own blonde hair lay tangled and limp against her back, faded black streaks of mascara lined her cheeks, and her red eyes moved underneath puffy lids. The dark blue long sleeves of her blazer sported white spots where she’d wiped her eyes and nose over the last two days. “I have no one to stay strong for.”

Hitoshi’s gentle hand hesitantly reached forward and rested on her shoulder. “You stay strong for you.”

Meeting his eyes, she replied lifelessly, “I’m supposed to be dead.” Her finger pointed to her left towards the door, south-east. “I was supposed to be in Derdin, covering a story about school teachers’ wages, but I was called here.” She ticked off the series of events with her fingers. “If I hadn’t come to Lepsun City, if I hadn’t found a sitter at the last minute… if I had stayed home instead of telling my husband I’d ‘be right back,’ I would have been caught in the first wave.” A sigh slipped slowly into the air. “I could have died with them!”

 

Names Week 1 – #1

Thank you Katie for setting up these next challenges! This week we’re focusing on the impressions we get when seeing or hearing particular names. (Link to the assignment.)

***

Beyond the old, warped window, Wilmer Kaine eyed the moving truck parked in their driveway. On the grass, his daughter and granddaughter chased their floppy-eared spaniel in the warm light of the late afternoon sun. Amelia and Catherine were the only legacy he would be sharing with the rest of the world once he was gone, at least that anyone would know. Whether that day was another ten years off or an hour later, he made sure every moment he could spare was put toward cherishing their every movement and ensuring their future was one worth living.

He’d always worked for a better future, but not always for his kids. For a time he worked for himself. Before that it was for Abacus. Before that it was for the Marine Corps and the State Department. In the beginning, he simply worked for a mechanic named Davis, making the world better one oil change at a time.

A quiet laugh briefly misted the glass. If Davis was alive, he would have stopped recognizing Wilmer years ago. Time and strong men had beaten the delusions of grandeur out of his mind. His vulgar speech was replaced with wit and charm and fluent Cantonese; his overalls became tailored suits; and his sidearm felt as natural in his hands as a wrench once had.

The black file cabinets, each securely locked, held his story. Only his late Martha had an inkling of what was in those stolen files, and he never did blame her for not wanting to know the rest. God knew he would erase the past if he could.

Taking one last look to make sure his loved ones were engrossed in their fun, he crossed the polished bamboo floor and took the lock of the nearest cabinet in his left hand.

12-18-12

He may not have been able to erase his past, but with the burn-barrel in the back yard, at least some of it could go up in smoke.

 

POV Week 3 – #2

(Photo owned and copyrighted by Katie Johnson. Photo credit: https://katierenejohnson.com/)

 

 

After taking a few more pictures, the last of the Covered Ones stepped away from the windows and entered the elevators. The door closed and the wall dinged before Harriet cocked her skull to the side with a quiet pop. Was it time now? She’d been good all day, and good gracious, she was starving!

Quiet pops and cracks came from the others, but they didn’t move much. Had to be good. Had to obey. Obey the Covered Ones.

“Hell on a stick, Grant! Where’d you pick these up?”

“Louisiana. Some mom and pop shop was using one as a display. Found out where they got it and picked up their whole stock before anyone else!”

Harriet remembered talking: the moisture in the facial cavity, the flaps of skin that kept it close, the hunk of meat taking up too much space, and the glorious jaw and teeth that made the whole thing possible…. Jawbones… Scrumptious, unless the 32 candy bits were fake. What did her own taste like? If they didn’t come soon, she might just find out.

A bag rattled, tiny pieces inside clinking like dice. Her skull swiveled and her jaw creaked, her teeth lightly tapping together. Now? Now?

“Alright, you science projects! Put the merchandise back and line up against the railing.”

Free to move, Harriet pulled the platinum rings off of her metacarpals and set them within the designated slots of the black velvet-lined box. Grant removed the diamond-encrusted belt from around her pelvis and placed it into its own carrying case. Once she was free from adornments, she joined the others by the railing and a toe clicked impatiently against the cement floor.

“Now,” Grant explained as he put closed up the last case, “if we weren’t moving locations, we could leave the merchandise on. These’re the only mannequins that’ll fight back if you try to rob ’em.”

The bag moved into the new guy’s hands. Now? She’d been good! The bag opened. A cup went into the bag and the Covered One gave it to Richard. Another cup went to Alonso. A third was put in Olivia’s dainty hands. Her bones shook when she gripped the fourth cup and saw all the pretty pieces inside.

She gripped a large bit on top and placed it between her teeth. Crunching down, a wave of fulfillment crept through her bones. Ulna, 23 years old male, loved to hike… camping trip with his new girlfriend, Arianna. Slipped on a smooth boulder coming down the trail. Arm broken in four places. Eugene wouldn’t be hiking again for a while.

Stirring the cup, she wondered if any more of Eugene’s pieces were in there.