This writing was for the Front Lobby Bench, whose August topic was:
I want to try a much broader topic this time, just to show that topics don't have to be a paragraph-plus long concept. So this month, it's Fairy Tale. Do whatever you want with it, but if you'd like a little more guidance, here are a few suggestions:On thinking about my X-men character Angel and her love, I realized their story was very much like a fairy tale, so that's what I used to write this fairy tale. Instead of using Alyssa's story, as I had already written that before the topic was posted, even though it is technically the tale of a Fairy. Heh.
- Fairly straight forward retelling of a fairy tale
- Story from the perspective of a different or new character
- Fairy tale in a new setting
- A story that uses or examines the conventions of a fairy tale
Once upon a time there was a teenage girl who lived with her father and four older brothers. She had long fiery red hair, deep green eyes, and porcelain white skin. Her father and two of her older brothers were law enforcement officers, with the youngest boy likely to follow in their steps.
When the girl was born her mother named her Angel, because after four boys that's what the baby girl looked like to her. But Angel's mother died when she was eight, leaving the five males in the family to try and raise her. They didn't have much problem doing so, treating her like every other member of the family: a boy. That is, until she started physically developing. At which point the only way her older brothers knew how to deal was to become overly protective. Her father did his best to raise his daughter along with his four sons, but could only do so much. In the end, the only female influence Angel had in her life was from her two tom-boy school friends (so not much) and her own memories of her mother.
One day while Angel was out playing a ball game with other teens, one of them pushed her from behind and she suddenly lost control of her arm. A blue glow then appeared around her hand, clearly magical. Everyone was surprised, and curious at first. They all knew about magic, but only a few had actually seen any before. Angel felt very nervous, both from uncertainty of what was happening and from the tingling sensation of the magic through her skin. Then she felt the magic trying to forcibly leave her. Before she could say a word, it leapt form her hand and a tree in front of her exploded. Many of the teens ran, including Angel who was the most scared.
The magic effect continued to plague Angel over the next several days. Any time she was touched more roughly than a tap or she accidentally ran into something, the blue glow appeared around one of her hands and within seconds would leap from her and cause something to explode. It got to the point where Angel was afraid to put her hands anywhere but under her own arms or get too close to people, for fear of accidentally hurting someone.
Her father was very concerned, but had no idea what to do to help her. Then out of the blue he received an invitation to meet a man who claimed to be able to help Angel. Her father did some research on the man before deciding to meet the man to see if the claim was valid. After a week of research and meetings, Angel's father decided to bring Angel to the man's school for "the gifted" to see if she'd like it.
Angel was soothed to find other teens who were going through issues similar to her, manifesting magical powers. But when she accidentally blew a small hole in a roof, she was quickly reminded of how dangerous she could be to others. She decided to stay at the school so she could learn how to control her magic.
Over the next couple months she learned her body generated destructive magic under the principles of kinetic energy, and how to "hold on" to the magic that would appear around her. Her rough and tumble lifestyle with her brothers led to her magic developing strongly. But it also meant she had the strength to do other things with her magic once it was under control, such as flying. She made a new best friend and couple other good friends at the school in that time also.
Then it came time for the school's yearly dance ball. None of Angel and her new friends had dates, but they still went shopping for outfits and the girls had a hair braiding party, which Angel attended. It was her first party with only girls, and she found it fascinating. During the braiding party there was a knock on the door. When it was opened, there stood a handsome prince. Tall, lithe, and acting a bit shy. He asked to speak to Angel.
Out in the hallway, the prince introduced himself and asked if he could escort her to the ball. Angel was very surprised, but not knowing what to do said yes. Bart, the prince, brushed his auburn brown hair from over his eyes and smiled. Then he bowed, and left. Angel went back in to the party with her friends, where much giggling and excitement abounded for the rest of the night.
The ball was like a dream for Angel. Bart was an excellent dancer and conversationalist. He made some obligatory dances with other important girls, but always came back to Angel with a smile. But most surprisingly, Bart and Angel won King and Queen of the ball. Even though Angel was sure it was because of her prince being so well known, she enjoyed being crowned anyway. Then she and Bart got their own dance, and it was as if the rest of the world melted away. The song they danced to was called "And Then He Kissed Me". Still, the most magical moment for Angel came when Bart walked her to her room after the ball was over. Or rather danced her there. The sky was clear and the stars were bright and shining. The air was only slightly cool, but enough to prompt Bart to put his cloak around Angel. All the way one or the other of them hummed. At her door, they paused and admired their surroundings. Then Bart leaned in and kissed her.
From that moment on, Bart and Angel were together whenever duties and lessons didn't demand their time. Angel's control over her magic was steadily growing, and she started learning about Bart's magic powers also. She learned there was a very powerful magician who had blessed - or cursed, depending on how you look at it - Bart's family with their magical abilities. But that same magician fed off those powers and systematically came to consume each member of the family. Only Bart's Uncle had been able to evade the Magician so far, because of the help of his Aunt, but Bart didn't tell Angel how his Aunt and helped his Uncle.
Bart and Angel became an official couple just before Holiday. Neither of them wanted to leave each other for so long, but due to their separate families' responsibilities it couldn't be helped. They waited together on the staircase before the school's front door to be picked up. When the time came for Bart to leave, Angel told him she loved him for the first time.
Throughout the year Angel's family could tell she was turning into a woman. It was obvious she loved Bart, and she seemed to be growing out of childish and teenage ways. Angel's brothers put Bart to the test several times, and he always came out besting them.
Eventually Angel had mastered her magic enough to be safe, and so decided to return home. But she still kept in contact with her friends at the school, and of course her prince. They dated regularly. Angel's two tom-boy friends at home thought he was the best thing. Even those who had disliked Angel over her good looks, couldn't find fault in Bart.
One night Bart didn't show up as agreed. Angel spent hours out on her father's porch waiting for him, worrying more and more. Eventually her father tried to coax her in out of the cold night air, but she refused to leave where she had promised to meet Bart. She and her father had a serious conversation about the relationship then, during which he came to the realization his little girl was no longer that. Angel confessed to her father that she was scared that this Magician had found Bart. Her father left to do what he could to try and find his daughter's prince.
Eventually Bart appeared, very haggard, worn and injured, clearly having fought off a magical assault. Angel promptly put him to bed, and after securing her father's permission for Bart to stay at their home, she spent the next days tending to him, nursing him back to health.
Eventually Angel's youngest older brother took her aside and they had a brother to sister talk about men and women. Satisfied Angel was still a young woman but in her right mind, the family finally willingly accepted that Bart was going to be in their future.
But then Angel suddenly decided she couldn't deal with her life anymore and she needed to go away on an extended vacation. It was a surprise to many, and devastating for Bart. Some suspected foul magic was used to force her to that decision, but no one was certain and Angel refused to give a reason. Even though Angel assured Bart she still loved him, he felt like she left him as well. Still, he wrote her everyday, and she wrote back as she was able. But his will slowly eroded away without her.
The day came when the Magician surfaced again. Both he and Bart knew the only loophole to the family's curse, and that without Angel, Bart was at the Magician's mercy. He cast his most powerful spell to capture and start devouring Bart.
Far away, Angel felt something was wrong. She didn't know how, but she could tell it was time to go home, that she needed to reach Bart. She left as soon as she could, and traveled the very long journey straight through to Bart's family's castle, using all the magic she had within her ability to get there. By the time she arrived she was so worn from the trip she had a hard time flying and could barely even walk anymore. On entering the castle she came across Bart's Aunt, who was crying. Angel asked where Bart was, and the aunt motioned to a door. She tried to seem hopeful at the sight of Angel, but it was clear she thought Bart was too far gone to be saved as she had saved Bart's Uncle from the Magician. Angel hesitated only for a moment, then took a deep breath and forced herself to open the door.
On the other side Bart lay suspended in the air by the Magician's strong magic. It arched around and through him, taking energy and flesh from his body. Angel already knew what she was going to do and immediately started to sing. She sang "Then He Kissed Me", the song she and Bart considered their own, changing some of the words to fit the two of them. She slowly moved towards Bart as she sang, looking all around for the Magician. She made it right up to Bart's side before the Magician appeared. In a moment of indecision Angel nearly lost Bart, but her instincts told her to ignore the Magician and not confront him magically. Instead, she turned to Bart and at the proper moment in the song she sang to him that she loved him. She had to cross the threshold of the spell eating away at Bart to truly reach him, and did so willingly. Then she repeated herself, but this time whispering to him "I Love You".
As the magic surrounding Bart started to pull at Angel too, Bart woke up. He turned to her, and they kissed. The magic of true love forced the Magician's spell to immediately brake with a large bang and a bright flash. Angel was knocked unconscious from it, and so failed to see Bart drive off the Magician.
Once it all was over, Bart and Angel recovered together and, of course, lived happily ever after.
This writing was for the Front Lobby Bench, whose July topic was:
We're Alone.It is just an outline of a story, but there's still answers in there.
It's the future (however distant or close is your choice). We humans have mapped the heavens, have found thousands upon thousands of extra-solar planets, identified the composition of them all with advanced technology, and turned all sorts of listening devices spanning the frequencies to the Earth-like ones for decades. And what have we found? Nothing. Not one peep. No signals, messages, pictures, accidental broadcasts, voices, or any sort of non-astronomical sounds. The final analysis? All of science is agreed. We're alone.
Earth is the only planet on which intelligent life has arisen. What does that mean for us humans? How do we react? How does this impact our advancement as a race, if at all? Where do we turn our technological efforts now?
Yes, the future. Far enough that there are viable means of space travel between solar systems, if not galaxies. I've not yet decided if the mode if space travel is linear, as in actual physical travel through space at high speeds, or some other method like folding space or extra dimensional.
Humanity hasn't changed too much since the announcement of no extra-terrestrial life. Withing the first couple decades after the announcement there was a noticeable though small surge in religion, especially those that proclaim humans as the ultimate creation of God or as the last step before spiritual enlightenment. Surprisingly it was the entertainment industry that took the biggest hit, as interest in alien stories and movies rapidly declined. But Hollywood and its counterparts are not to be kept down, and adapted to other drama sources for their stories. Science itself was pulled down at first, as dispelling the theory of life having evolved on other planets caused a widespread questioning of other generally accepted scientific principles, but it quickly adapted. Now scientists make sure they have evidence in support of a hypothesis before it is called theory, and lack of proof the hypothesis is wrong does not make it right enough to be acceptable. Advancements have been made in medicine, transportation, communications, convenience appliances, and of course weaponry. Still, overall the day to day life of people didn't change much. People still work to earn money, still go to school, still meet and marry and perhaps divorce, still try to find the meaning of life, and still go hungry or go to war.
This story focuses on the day one hundred years after the announcement, chosen specifically by the head scientist for its symbolism. Today is the day he launches a supposedly working prototype time vessel. Time machines have been made, travel to the future was achieved a whole lot easier than to the past since that's the way humans naturally progress through time. But the only kind that can send things to the past have been limited to data packets: information, messages, things that can be reduced to being transmitted via light or wave particles. And even those can only transmit back as far as when the machine accepting the arrival of the data was first created. It seems the idea of only being able to travel to a time in which whatever is traveling has already existed has won out over the idea of not being able to exist more than once at the same point in time.
Now this scientist believes he has a working machine that can transport a living being to the past using the powerful light and energy fields generated by stars, using the same technique current time machines use to send light to the past, and much in the same way except also shielding living matter from the strain of the journey. And since any given star, such as Earth's Sun, can be billions of years old it means a person could potentially travel billions of years back in time!
What could be done with this advancement in technology if it works? The possibilities are numerous. But our scientist has a special task in mind. After the initial test jump of one day to the past proving successful he intends to take genetic material with him, such as proteins and amino acids and whatnot, along with a lifetime of interstellar data he has amassed, back to the far past. Then he will travel the Milky Way galaxy to seed planets of the correct composition and state to allow for evolution like occurred on Earth. His desire a two-fold achievement: 1) prove evolution, 2) allow for the development of extra-terrestrial life in the same time frame as life on Earth, so that we're not alone.
The only hiccup in his plan, from his point of view, is when one of his assistants piece together what he's intending to do. The assistant has major concerns over the plan, and tries to convince the scientist to not go through with the plan. Firstly, no one knows how actions in the past might affect what is known to be the time line. If he succeeds - in creating other life elsewhere - he would change at least the past hundred years, possibly for the worst. Can time even change, or would the scientist be destroyed in the attempt? Or what if creating a temporal causality loop would unmake all of creation? If God exists, that would possibly bring in a whole other set of issues.
The assistant is not willing to take any of those risks, and definitely not willing to let the scientist do so either. The assistant tries to enlist help from the other assistants in stopping the scientist. Sabotage is decided on, though they know that will only delay the scientist. Ideally they would want to replace the scientist as the test subject, but getting a volunteer and one that is trusted to not attempt anything in the past, is hard. Some sort of government intervention or the creation of a group to oversee the ethics of time travel, if they - ironically - have the time to get such things established. The original assistant secretly considers murder as a last option.
Labels: FLB, Story Idea
This writing was for the Front Lobby Bench, whose June topic was:
I have yet to pick/find a disease that fits what I want for this story, so please keep that in mind as you read and wonder where the details on that are. Otherwise, comment away! Comments of all nature are more than welcome.
A Guardian is a being that is created in response to a deep, unfulfilled need of a child. They take various forms and serve various purposes, depending on what the child in question needs. They are invisible to most and generally dismissed as imaginary friends. But their existence is key to many a child's growth and well being.
Where do Guardians come from? Do they even exist before children need them? And what happens to them when the children they help no longer need them?
Jordan took the seat to the right of her husband as they both sat down in front of the doctor's desk. The office wasn't anything out of the ordinary for a child psychiatrist. There were shelves of books behind the desk, taking up the entire wall. A spacious window with a nice view occupied the adjoining wall, bordered on one side by the various degrees and memberships this doctor had. But the window was only glass and frame, no way to open it. In front of the window was a large open area, a muted color designer rug designating how much space was to be uncluttered, surrounded by a couch on one side, two easy chairs with an empty end table between them on another side, and the doctor's special ergonomic chair kitty-cornering with the last two open sides. The wall across from the desk, beyond the open area, was lined with shelves and storage devices for children's toys, all of which were neatly put away. The last wall's only notable decoration was the door from which patients and their parents entered, as Jordan and her husband, Jackson, had just done.
She waited nervously for Doctor Hall to move around his desk and take his chair, which took longer than normal due to his getting on in years. Then Jordan waited more anxiously as he opened their paper work and reviewed it. He made the typical doctor non-committal "hmm" sound, and the stereotypical motion of looking down then back up the chart as if he could read a whole page at once in a few seconds simply by scanning it backwards. He even had the little metal framed glasses, which he held up slightly with his right hand so he could peer out from underneath them at what he was supposedly reading. All of it simply unsettled Jordan further. Shouldn't he have already seen all of this? Shouldn't he already know what was wrong with her daughter!? Why was he going through motions and wasting time right in front of her when he already had the answer!
Jackson put a steady hand on Jordan's arm, signaling her to calm down. She managed to peel her eyes away from the doctor to look at her husband. He was leaning slightly over the arm of his chair towards her, his face was empty of emotion but his eyes were steady and strong. She could practically hear him repeating to her "It's okay, everything is going to be fine," as he had over and over again the last several days. She simply nodded, then slumped back in her chair to await a verdict.
Doctor Hall finally set the folder down, clasped his hands together over it, and looked up at them. "Your daughter is quite sane," he informed them bluntly. "Much more so than would be expected under the circumstances," he added with a trace of approval in his voice.
Jordan failed to react. She was waiting for the "BUT". This sounded like good news, BUT there was always more. There had been every other time they had talked to a doctor in the last several years.
Jackson simply nodded, as if saying of course his daughter was in perfect mental health.
"Her outbursts, her occasional anti-social nature (introspection), her sudden mood shifts, her refusal to be parted with the stuffed animal," Doctor Hall, went on to say, "are all consistent with her situation." He moved one of his arms and picked up a piece of paper. "With your permission, if you recall, her medical records had been sent over. Everything is as I would expect it to be for someone with as severe a disease as she has." He set the paper back down and leaned slightly back in his chair.
(Here it comes,) Jordan thought, and braced herself for the bad news, squeezing Jackson's hand. He placed his other one over hers.
"It is quite clear to me," Doctor Hall announced, "Elizabeth has a Guardian."
Neither parent responded. Jordan blinked a few times while her mind tried to process what she had just been told, but she came up with nothing. Was that bad... or good?
"A guardian?" Jackson eventually asked for the both of them.
Doctor Hall nodded. "Yes." He paused a moment, then leaned forward on one elbow, taking his glasses into his hand and almost nibbling on the end of one side. "You see, a guardian is a being that responds to certain needs in a child. It can take pretty much any form the child wants, whatever is most useful in relating to the child. Different needs cause different guardians, and a child's guardian can change over the years. Guardians, if not bound up in a beloved object, are invisible and so of course considered imaginary friends," he explained with a dismissive wave of his hand holding his glasses. "Those in a physical form," he started the other side of the explanation by opening his other hand and moving slightly outwards, "are generally considered safety blankets or comfort toys. Eventually children out grow their guardians, and most go on to lead perfectly normal lives." His hands returned to their original positions, one on the desk, the other holding the glasses near his mouth in a thoughtful manner. "But guardians are essential to many children growing up healthy and well adjusted, especially in extreme cases like your daughter's." He paused again, looking back and forth from Jackson to Jordan with a look that asked if they had any questions so far.
"So when she's talking to Claire, her stuffed animal...?" Jordan started to ask slowly, trying to put together some understanding of what she was being told. "Holding only half a conversation..."
"She is actually talking with her Guardian," Doctor Hall confirmed. "And it is talking back, to her."
"So... Claire is real?" Jackson asked, his voice full of doubt.
"Undoubtedly," Doctor Hall replied.
Jordan and Jackson turned to each other, sharing a look. "Okay," Jackson started to speak first, turning back to face the doctor, "say we do believe you-"
"I do," Jordan interrupted. "Such things can be real, I know it." She glanced sideways at Jackson. "We, know it."
Jackson gave a quiet "hmmph", and sat back in his chair, indicating he was not about to fight this argument.
Doctor Hall quietly looked back and forth between the two for a moment, then let the comments slide. "Elizabeth's case is special, however," he continued on with his explanation. "I have been tracking guardians for decades. It's not typical for a guardian to have a very normal and real type name such as Claire. Unless it's a doll that comes pre-named and becomes a guardian." He gave a slight shrug as he opened his hands to the two in front of him, indicating this just happened to be the case. "Younger children have too hard a time pronouncing real names, and in general children prefer to pick identifying names, like binky or blanket, or simply make up creative names." He looked down at a pile of folders on one side of his desk. "I've been able to follow several guardians through the childhoods of multiple children, despite name changes, as their characteristics and behavior with the child they are guarding do not change. Even when I come across new Guardians, usually they are simply new to me but have been around, already identified by another specialist." He looked back up at the parents. "I do not believe this is the case with Elizabeth and Claire. I think Claire may be a new guardian."
"New guardian?" Jordan asked, the oh-no feeling in her stomach knotting tighter.
Doctor Hall nodded. "In all my years, I have only come across a new guardian two other times, and my associate here has only come across one once. All three times, the Guardian was an older sibling of the child in question, one who had died before the younger child started manifesting symptoms of a guardian."
Jordan inhaled broken sounding breath, turned and grasped her husband's arm with both her hands. She shut her eyes tight as her head dropped slightly.
"I have to ask," Doctor Hall's voice spoke quietly, respectfully, almost with apology, "did you two have an older child?"
Jordan clenched her teeth to keep her chin from quivering as she breathed.
"We had an older daughter," Jackson's voice replied very slowly, fighting to keep control. Jordan could not tell how he was fairing, for she didn't dare open her eyes. "She died, from the same disease Elizabeth has," Jordan continued. "Her name... was Claire."
Whatever Doctor Hall's reaction was, Jordan did not see. She simply clung to Jackson as she fought back a wave of grief. She felt Jackson's arm pry itself from her grip and move around her body. There were words from him in her ear, meant only for the two of them, but she barely heard them. It was only his tone and his form she was able to react to. But with his help, Jordan soon managed to regain control of herself enough that she felt she could interact with the doctor again.
"We thought," Jordan said in unsteady voice, "she simply remembered it from when she was younger. Elizabeth was one and a half, but she had known her sister's name by then, had been able to say it, when- when Clarie...."
"In all three cases before this," Doctor Hall spoke so Jordan didn't have to, still with subdued voice, "the older children had died from what they were then guarding the younger from. One case even had the guardian passed down from sibling to sibling, though in different forms, until the last grew up." He leaned forward, and with his best comforting voice offered the couple, "This is a good thing. With Clarie, it is much more likely Elizabeth will survive."
Jordan raised her eyes to look Doctor Hall in his, and believed him. She sighed out what hurt she could, and relaxed in Jackson's arms.
Jackson nodded to the doctor. "Then what do we have to do?" he asked. "I mean, we can't go telling her caregivers and teachers that her older sister's spirit is causing her to act out."
Doctor Hall nodded in understanding. "You continue with Elizabeth as her doctors instruct, and I will handle her teachers. Any caregivers- nurses or whomever- can be told or not as you see fit, as much or little as you see fit. They already deal with many patients, and since Elizabeth is not violent I doubt they much care how she gets through her sessions and treatments, so long as she does."
Jackson and Doctor Hall went over more details and specifics, Jackson being sure all possibilities of any sort he could think of were taken care of. Then a little round of small talk, before it was clear the meeting was starting to wrap up.
"Do you have any other questions?" Doctor Hall asked.
"Doctor?" Jordan asked lightly. "Are all guardians... like ours?"
Doctor Hall smiled a little, almost bittersweet smile. "Yes. All guardians used to be children. They tend towards being with children who are going through similar things as they did before they died. It seems to be how they know how to help best."
Jordan nodded. "And when the child grows up," she started another question, her eyes taking on a far off look, "they always move on to another?"
Doctor Hall started to shake his head. "Honestly, I do not know what happens to them all. There are many, yes, who move on to other children. I've been able to match several, my colleague many more, and across the country some of my guardians have been found just as I find those first identified by others. In fact, all of those who were not tied to an object have turned up again, eventually, with another child somewhere. Though only some of those who were material have turned up again." He shrugged. "I do not know what happens to the rest, or even what happens to Guardians when they are between children needing them."
Jordan nodded slightly, and leaned her head against her husband. "I do."
Doctor Hall looked genuinely surprised. So much so, it was his turn to not speak for a moment. "You do?" he finally managed to get out. "What?"
"They sleep," Jordan replied simply.
"Sleep," the doctor echoed neutrally.
Jordan nodded more firmly this time. "Mine still does. She hardly wakes up anymore. But, she's still there.... I can still feel her when I need her."
Jackson sighed deeply. Doctor Hall looked to him, and he nodded solemnly back. "She has this doll," he started to explain to the doctor. "Ever since she was a child...."