Guest Story by Ré Harris – Mother, You’re Over Reacting

[Today’s post is another guest story from a good friend of our’s over at Sparks In Shadows, Ré Harris. She too is an aspiring writer with a pension for helping others – a passion we’ve gratefully been on the receiving end of a number of times. Her kindness, generosity of time, and passion for the arts truly is a motivator which we’re glad to have around.

She’d also seen Wendy’s work on our Saturday Rejects post, and was compelled to jot down a few words. I think the story utilizes the mood of the piece exceptionally well.

Check out her original writing below and stop by her own blog to say hello. And just in case this isn’t as fictional as we all think, make sure not to tick her off!]

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Mother, You’re Over Reacting – By Ré Harris

“Mother, you’re over reacting.”

“Jen, I just hate to see you smoking again. I only asked if there was any way I could help.”

“You can. Just stop.”

“I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t mean to…”

“Stop!”

Lily could tell this wasn’t the day to tell her daughter something important. She had hoped this would be a good one, with that smooth enjoyable kind of conversation they shared as often as they did those moments of mutual aggravation. She looked away from Jenny to the neat, colorful boxes of teas set up on the shelves of the café, across the room to the baristas hustling dutifully in the distance, and to the few other customers at tables having their own conversations with tablemates, or their laptops. She decided to wait for Jenny to set another tone. And hoped that this in itself, wouldn’t make her daughter more touchy.

“Mom, stop sulking.”

“Honey, I wasn’t sulking.” This seemed insufficient, as if it could unwittingly set up more bad feeling, so Lily added, “I was trying to be quiet for a minute and think of something interesting to say on another subject.”

There was a moment of conversational silence, filled with sips of their own cold beverages, the distant whir of the cappuccino frother, and a hesitant sigh from Jenny.

“I’m sorry, Mom. I know that I could be a little nicer when I tell you to back off. I know we’ve talked about this before, and I know you only say this stuff because you care. And I know that if you were just a friend, this stuff would roll off my back!” Jenny heaved a longer, heavier sigh. “I’m trying, okay?”

Lily nodded. “Thanks for the apology.” She wondered when they could meet again. She had to tell her soon, and it shouldn’t be over the phone.

“So, Mom, tell me what’s going on with you.”

Lily hoped her surprise at her daughter’s deliberate calmness didn’t show. It warmed her heart, as well as gave her the opening she needed. “Well, um, I do have something to tell you.”

Jenny grasped her glass with both hands and said, “Shoot.”

“Okay. Well, you know my fiftieth birthday is coming up.”

“Yeah, and now that Gary and I are through, you’re thinking I could spend it with you.”

“No, I don’t expect you to spend the whole day with me. You’ve got your work and everything so whatever time we spend is fine… wait… you and Gary are still broken up?”

“Of course, we are! Why would you think I’d go back to him after what he did?”

“Well, you’ve changed your mind about things before.” Lily had never liked Gary, but she was smart enough not to tell Jenny what she really thought. Things could change in a nanosecond.

“Wait– didn’t I tell you what he did?”

“No, Honey, you didn’t.”

“That jerk– that asshole took me to Jackson’s, you know that coffee shop in my neighborhood? Where I go ALL the time, or used to, until he pulled– uhh! He made me so mad I could just… Anyway, I think we’re standing in line, but it turns out we’re not, and he points over to this chick behind the counter with this long red hair, like a fucking Botticelli– only in size two jeans– and he says, ‘I’m going out with her.’ I say, ‘Wh-What?’ instead of belting him, and he says, ‘We have to break up, because I’m going out with her. I think I’m in love.’ ” Jenny stops to take a breath while her mother’s mouth hangs open. “I don’t know why I didn’t slap him. I didn’t tell you any of this?”

“No!” Lily said as her mouth closed.

Jenny looked at her mother, barely noticing the glint in her eyes, and she continued, “I hate him. That was a mean thing to do and a mean way to do it– especially after we talked about moving in together. And I thought he loved me!”

“Are you okay, Honey?”

“Yeah, I’m fine now. I just hate him. And I can never go back into my neighborhood coffee shop! My favorite one! That rat bastard!”

“Well,” Lily began, smiling, her excitement now visible to her daughter, “this sort of makes it easier! You see, and I know this is going to be a lot for you, but just bear with me because, you know, this is just how it is– like things with you and Gary. Okay this is what I need to tell you: In my family, the women change on the day after our fiftieth birthday…”

“Menopause…?”

“No, no, not that! We get bigger for a while, and much taller and, uh, scaly– but for only a day.” Jenny looked askance at her mother as she went on. “You see, all through time, the women in the family have all changed this way. You’ll have wings, too, but just for the day! The thing is, we get very hungry and we have to eat someone, but because we know it will happen, we can choose! You pick someone evil– the more evil the better– wait, I wonder why my Great Aunt Fiala didn’t eat Hitler? Oh, wait, she was in Czechoslovakia and he was probably too far away… and he was so well protected, she might not have been able to get at him… ” Lily said this part while pointing to nothing in particular, pointing just to make the point, “… anyway you have to stay kinda close to home so you can get there in time to change back. It only happens once a year, the day after your birthday, once you get to fifty, but you get the year in between to find someone else in the newspaper or whatever, because you have to be sure– you have to do your research! But anyway, I’m so lucky this time because that asshole, Gary, he can’t go around hurting my daughter that way! He deserves it!” Lily lifted her purse off the chair next to her and took a pen and pad out of it. Clicking the pen, she turned to Jenny, “What’s his address, dear?”

Jenny stared hard at her mother while the rapid tapping of her glass against the table, as her hands trembled, attracted the notice of café customers close by.

Posted in Dark, Death, Fantasy, Guest Stories, Murder, Relationships, Saturday Rejects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Blood Of The Hunted

[We’re proud to share that today’s post has been published over at Wolves By Strangers, a site we found in the first days of our blogs creation, which we’ve diligently followed since. WBS boasts a serious collection of wolf fan art, and a reverence for the lupine no less than our own. Each new post features a stranger’s depiction of a wolf, which can range from classic, to comical, to outright wild (a la the ride through the tunnel in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory). Unless a submitter attaches their own story, the WBS crew will pair every piece with humorously original observations.

Check out the site and send your own wolf themed art in! Don’t miss out on the chance to take home the best cookie jar ever by participating in the first ever WBS contest.

Also be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter (@AlphaStranger).]

Warm rays of light beckon my eyes to open. A cold air tickles my throat as I breath in the first morning breeze.

Soft strands of grass stretch tall in the lazy light when I raise my arms and legs high to do the same, granting my little green friends a much needed reprieve. The night had been cool, but not unpleasantly so, and the steam from the nearby spring, rising to battle the chill, kept a constant blanket of warmth in the low gorge.

Trees full of leaves, waving and shoving about in the soft wind, vying for a spot with a view of the surroundings, crowd in on all sides. Wide oaks with armies of branches standing vigil over their short-reaching kingdoms.

They wrap greedy arms high over the small dell, capturing what heat they can from the happily oblivious spring, and keeping it for us. They protect me form eyes I do not wish to see me, as I protect them from the wild things that lurk in the darker parts of the forest.

I prop myself up to leisurely survey the area. The small brook, born of the seemingly endless spring, flows down and over a small drop-off into another shallow gorge at the end of my own.

Rolling to my feet I can hear the hushed thrashing of the rest of my living bed, rejoicing in the fresh air. I quietly approach the bank of the spring, quietly being the only way to move in the forest, and kneel between a pair of delicate ferns.

The pool greets me with bubbles that rupture the clear surface. I dip my hands into the heated waters in response, scrubbing away the sleep from my face. Quickly cooling water trails down my arms and bare chest, gooseflesh chasing in its wake.

Going back for another handful, my hand stops abruptly as my eyes tell them something is wrong. A subdued red, a color unknown to this part of the wood, reflects off the water to my left. The rippling surface teases me by withholding vital details, yet reveals enough to tell me something hides on the other side of the thick ferns.

No time to reach my blade, still concealed under a series of roots near my bedding, my fingers probe about for a suitable weapon. They earnestly close around a solid river rock, worn smooth and hard.

My heart thumps the opening of a battle hymn that only I can hear thundering in my ears. The muscles in my arms and legs tense in anticipation of the pounce they know I am about to ask of them. Eager to heed my call they surge with strength as I jump through fern fronds, river stone held high.

Swinging wild, my attack fails to connect, given the posture of my intended victim. Curled in on itself, what is left of itself anyways, is the husk of some animal that had been viscously ripped apart. Right next to where I slumbered? How did I not sense this? How did I not wake?

Blood coats the trampled grass and dubiously swaying foliage surrounding the scene. Bits of viscera and gnawed bone litter the ground, which I can feel slip under or jab into the soles of my feet.

In the center of the ring of carnage rests the largest portion of left-overs. A large ribcage, picked clean. Dirty scraps of fur rest nearby. The carcass hasn’t yet begun to smell of decay, which means this kill is recent.

Grabbing a fallen branch near my feet, I kneel down for a closer inspection. With a prod the scrap of fur dislodges from a nest of gore and rolls over on itself. I quickly stand at the sight of a pair of eyes glaring up at me, much like the ones that stare back at me in the water every morning.

Another human! The hunt must have already begun.

I crouch low once more and scan the opposite bank of the spring. The woods beyond echo with all the appropriate sounds – bird song whipped through the rustling boughs by a meandering wind. A strained moment passes.

My nerves loosen as I consider the possibility that I am indeed alone.

Just as I begin to drop my guard a low growl menaces me from behind. Time stops. The bird song slows to a muted hum and I can hear the individual leaves within my guardian trees flail about as if in warning. I can smell the fetid breath of my opponent across the short distance to the edge of the clearing at my back.

I slow my breathing and fully concentrate on the rhythmic thudding of the heart in my chest. It will tell me when to strike.

Little green allies across the lawn cry out in alarm as the beast at my back stalks closer. They whisper to me his proximity. They shout to me when he is about to surge. They wail in protest when he does.

At the last moment I spin around to meet my attacker, using the momentum of the turn to aid the strength of my blow. A monstrous grey ball of fur, fang and claw hurtle towards me, too close to bring my meager weapon to bear – I’d misjudged the speed of my opponent.

The much larger figure cashes into me and pushes me back into the pool, dashing the serenity of my home into the liquid, me along with it.

Completely submerged, I wrestle with the dark form, my fingers tangling in matted hair. Rough padded feet brush past, jagged nails dig shallow furrows into my exposed flesh. I shove away to put distance between myself and the beasts thrashing weaponry. The turbulence caused by our struggle keeps me from seeing where I am in relation to my assailant.

Then, just as quickly as I found myself submerged, the water clears of angry bubbles and dark fur. Spinning in all directions I can no longer see my assailant.

My lungs let me know it’s time to move and I breach the surface with a sputter.

Wiping the water from my eyes I twist about to locate my withdrawn adversary. My eyes narrow when I find him, a massive grey wolf standing statuesquely a short distance away.

“You idiot!”, I hiss, the force launching water-droplets form my lips.

The wolf’s ears perk up and turn forward, listening intently.

“The hunt is upon us and you play games, Fenris?” I continue.

At the mention of his name, Fenris hunkers down with his forepaws while arching his backside high, tail wagging playfully. His tongue lolls form the side of his mouth, an eager pant escaping his toothy maw.

I stride forward, my steps taking me out of the pool. Steam rises from my silhouette. Setting my feet firmly in front of his much larger paws, I plant my fists on my hips and stare accusingly into his white eyes.

After a moment, Fenris yips sharply and smoothly rolls onto his back, exposing his belly and neck to me. I can’t hold out any longer and a wide smile betrays the anger even now slipping from my face. I can’t blame him. It’s been a long winter, with little decent hunting to be had and no battle to speak of. Some fun with the onset of the spring was hardly inappropriate, despite the the fact we were still at war and the cleared snows meant renewed fighting.

Joining him on the ground I nuzzle up to his wet, yet still soft, fur. My fingers know all the best places to scratch.

A few more and I rise back to my feet. He sits up to join me.

I gesture to the human remnants nearby.

“Your handy work?”

He barks out his affirmation.

“Where are the others?”

He looks to the tree line and lets out a clear, but short, yowl. Two similarly coated, yet smaller, wolves bound over the lip of the dell, nipping at one another in a game of tag. They stop their play long enough to say hello with a nudge and receive a quick scratch behind the ears. They are Gorm and Dylla, Fenris’ younger brother and sister. What they lack in size, they make up for in speed and stealth.

I watch them leap away to continue their fun, seemingly careless of the previous night’s encounter with the manling. Uncomprehending of the meaning behind a lone man in the woods. There would be more. This was just a scout and the rest of his hunting party would soon follow.

In response to my dark musings, my large companion nudges my hand with his wet nose. I let my touch follow the familiar curves of his snout, to come to rest on the comfort of his wide brow. We watch the younger of our troupe together.

“They are ready.”

I look down into Fenris’ intelligent eyes.

“Tonight the hunt begins anew. Only this time, we are the hunters.”

Turning away, I can feel Fenris watch me as I head to gather my gear for the coming battle.

Posted in Combat, Dark, Death, Fantasy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Guest Story by Purple Chimp – Pride

[We’ve asked our readers to submit their own stories for a chance to have art drawn to their words. Our friend, Purple Chimp, was one of our first submitters. He wrote some short prose based on our “Mother, You’re Overreacting” piece from one of our Saturday Rejects segment. Wendy opted to draw an original piece for the submission.

Check the rest of his other work over at Boring, Banal and not at all Bodacious – I recommend Mr. Fingers’ Adventures.]

We named her Abigail in the hope that she would be the bringer of joy.

She failed on every conceivable, measurable scale. Driving him away with her crying.

She was a hassle growing up, problems at school, problems with other kids. Stealing my clothes, stealing my make-up, stealing my smokes.

They say she looks like me. That could not be further away from the truth, the little slut.

I have seen the way she looks at him, the way she dresses, the way she flirts with him.

She is nothing like me, she is nothing to me.

Posted in Dark, Guest Stories, Reflection | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Fear and Loathing

“A drug person can learn to cope with things like seeing their dead grandmother crawling up their leg with a knife in her teeth, but nobody should be asked to handle this trip. Bazooko’s Circus is what the whole hep world would be doing every Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This was the Sixth Reich.”

-Raoul Duke, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998 film)

It’s was a long-er but busy weekend. I fell behind and had nothing to contribute for this blog/project.. so this morning I decided to draw two of my favorite characters from one of my favorite movies as well as include one of my favorite quotes. I am aware that this may only be humorous to those that have seen this film but if you haven’t, you should because you are missing out.

Also, please excuse my grammar and/or lack of appropriate punctuation..  Unfortunately, I am not a writer and I simply write the way I talk.. but don’t worry, Rory will be back soon.

🙂

-Wendy

Posted in Book, Dark, Thought | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Saturday Rejects – Lonely, Nature’s Vanity and Contemplation

Another week has snuck by and with it a few more of Wendy’s sketches almost managed to go unnoticed. Luckily for the betterment of humanity I have absolute access to all of her secret hiding places, which allows me to ensure these beautiful pieces of art don’t become lost to the sands of time.

I’ve dubbed this drawing “Lonely” since I can’t help but feel the acute pangs of loss when studying the lone figure and the fine lines that so simply illustrate the cold of solitude. This one was held onto longer than others since I really wanted to write about it, but Wendy’s just putting out too much good stuff for me to keep up with everything.

This piece is obviously special and has a lot to say, I just couldn’t understand it enough to bring the story to life. I hope you have better luck unraveling it than I did. Enjoy!

This is just a practice piece using a photo as reference which I’ve named “Contemplation”. I imagine a man sitting by himself at a chess board in the middle of a wind swept park. Playing against himself, he struggles with the defeat that he begins to realize is imminent. We all beat ourselves up about the decisions we make, sometimes backing ourselves into a corner of defeat – which I think Wendy captures here perfectly.

It’s been a great week for Fiction & Foibles. We’ve seen some amazing art out there and made some good friends. Can’t wait to see what the next week brings. Thanks for stopping by!

Posted in Dark, Experience, Reflection, Saturday Rejects, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday With Friends – 7 Deadly Princesses, Wolves, Mazes and Sex Changes

It’s Friday and we’d like to share all the new friends we’ve made and the amazing things they provide for our enjoyment.

But first, I’d like to share one of Wendy’s pieces that I think is beautiful – The flow of the lines invoke a bit of tranquility for me. It reminded me of a shortfilm I saw recently called “The Butterfly Circus” (check it out here) which carries a message of hope, determination and family. I highly recommend you catch it.

CorinaWrites – 7 Deadly Sins of Disney Princess
Wendy stumbled across Corina’s site while browsing some new art content, which shefound in this post featuring our favorite Disney princesses represented as the 7 Deadly Sins. While there are a couple that seem a little off, the others make compelling statements. While Corina is not the artist (you can find them here), she obviously does value beautiful art and seems to take great pride and time to find some great works to share with the world. Cool site to watch.

Sparks In Shadow – Another Writers’ Dilemma?
Sparks In Shadows is a blog I found while flitting through writing content and the message I found definitely struck a chord with me. Every artist, regardless of medium, struggles at times with identifying with the voice inside and Sparks puts words to this dilemma so succinctly. What impressed me the most is, while her writing is undoubtedly for the benefit of her own growth, it’s very obviously intended for others as well. I think Sparks In Shadows has spent more time on Fiction & Foibles, providing feedback, than she probably has developing her own blog’s content – which is a credit to her true desire to grow with a community, instead of just within one. Very cool person.

maze a day – Maze 4
We found Maze while just browsing through art and really liked his beautiful, yet simple, idea of crafting a maze a day for the next year. The pieces are already beautiful, but I can’t wait to see what a year’s worth of practicing such precise art will do! These things are great and we have a lot of fun seeing the new directions he takes each day.

She Waited on the Couch to Die – Summer
I found Moof while looking for some light reading and was immediately blown away by her moleskine art projects. Her art style mirrors the tone of her writing perfectly, and she’s very talented at both. A good deal of angst and wit to be found at Moof’s blog – I’d definitely recommend stopping by to check it out.

The Literary Bandit – Hero A Day: Notorious W.O.L.V.I.E
As a long time nerd, The Literary Bandit has a special place in my heart. The artist and author behind the operation clearly has a deep rooted interest in all things nerdtastic and my hat is off to him for making me smile every morning with another quick drawing (under 5 minutes) of my favorite comic book heroes and villains.

Wolves by Strangers – #57 “Wolf vs. T-Rex”
One of the first blogs I found when jumping around the interwebz and for obvious reasons (wolves rock) Wolves by Strangers is being included here today. WBS features pictures and writings about, you guessed it, wolves, as submitted by the viewing community. A lot of fun to see what people come up with, of which I’ve linked to my favorite so far.

LAFEMMEROAR – Man from Malutopia – Story of Genital Proportions
LaFemme Roar was another early writing blog I found with a particular pension for discussing the eternal struggle between man and woman – that might be putting it lightly. The first post I read was a finely crafted recounting of an experience with a potential suitor at a grocery store which guys all sorts of sideways. While the topic was a little out of my arena, the storytelling and writing craft was top notch. As Fiction & Foibles tries to maintain a fictional content theme, I was excited to see when LaFemme Roar opened a new page specifically dedicated to fiction. Her writing style and creativity makes for a great combo in her first fiction installment linked above.

Posted in Friday With Friends, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Down the Rabbit Hole

 

‘It was much pleasanter at home,’ thought poor Alice, ‘when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn’t gone down that rabbit-hole — and yet — and yet — it’s rather curious, you know, this sort of life! I do wonder what can have happened to me! When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one! There ought to be a book written about me, that there ought! And when I grow up, I’ll write one.’

-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Posted in art, Fantasy, Logic, Thought | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments