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Friday, April 23, 2010

Witches Don't Wear Socks CH One PART III

**(I'm a slowwww typist, so I guess the blog gets impatient and sends my work to drafts. )**



After spiking my hair a little more and putting on my makeup, I pulled a long black sweater over my head and some black leggings on, then shoved my homework and my sketchpad in my backpack. I stopped to give Charlie, my gopher snake, a couple strokes on the head. As I pulled my hand away, he lunged and bit my forearm through the thick sweater.

"Ouch! What was that for?" I checked the bite; it was barely more than a couple of scratches, but they stung. Gopher snake bites were not dangerous, and charlie had never bitten me, or anyone else, for that matter. I had even fed him the night before, so her shouldn't be cranky. I was really not looking forward to a day that was starting out as badly as this one. I headed straight for the coffeemaker.

Taking the back stairs, or what Mom said were the servant's stairs, I passed through the butler pantry, then dragged myself into the kitchen. Mom was rinsing her coffee cup in the sink.

"Your running late; your sisters have already left." She looked me up and down as I poured myself a cup of coffee."What are you supposed to be?"

"Doesn't anyone in this household say 'Good morning,' anymore?" I don't know why it even mattered to me, since I couldn't manage good manners myself before lunch, let alone proper etiquette.

"Good morning, Alex," cooed my mother snidely. "What are you supposed to be dressed as this morning?"

"A fairy princess. Where's the sugar?"

"Thought so. The black lipstick was a dead giveaway. How many times do I have to tell you that stuff stunts your growth?" She turned her back to the sink and leaned against the counter as she crossed her arms.

"The lipstick or the sugar?"

"The coffee. You can't afford to loose out in that department."

"I believe it's referred to as 'failure to thrive', or so I'm told." After opening three cupboards, I found the sugar bowl and tipped it over my coffee cup.

"That's a load of crap. You're petite. That doctor was trying to find a way to blame me for your small size as a baby. You ate like a horse - that hasn't changed - you just didn't sleep more than two or three hours a day. Without rest, it's hard for a growing body to...well, grow.

"Don't worry, I still blame you."

Mom playfully smacked my shoulder with the back of her hand.

"Hey! Hot stuff coming through. I want it on my insides, not my outsides. Is there any bread left? I smell burnt toast."

"That's it there on the table." Next to a jar of raspberry jam and a pot of honey was a stack of almost black toast. Martha Stewart my mother wasn't. Even though she was home all day, she spent most of her time transcribing medical records for doctors in her home office.

"How does the cereal situation look?" I asked as I placed my coffee cup on the table.

"We're out of milk. I need to pick up some groceries today."

"Can you pick up some more frozen mice for Charlie?" I rubbed the bite on my arm. "And I suppose eggs and hash browns with a side of pancakes are out of the question?" I opened the refrigerator door and basked in the wave of cool air.

"Hello? Will you look at the clock? Time to get rolling, birthday girl."

I cringed. "I don't do birthdays."

"You're too young to be trying to dodge them already. You'll regret skipping them, mark my words."

"I only regret skipping meals. Birthdays - not so much." Time to change the subject. "Where's Dad?"

She dropped her crossed arms and turned her back to me, busying herself with re-rinsing her cup. "He left early this morning. He had a flight to catch before sunrise."

"But he just got home last week! And today's...never mind." I slammed the fridge door. How could he skip out on my birthday? Halloween was the one day he and I ignored together.

"It's the gypsy in his blood. And it's his job, honey. Did Greta talk to you this morning?"

"I believe that's 'Great Grandmamma' to you...wait - to me. Just 'Granmamma' to you." So much for trying sassy so early in the day. "Will you let me finish my coffee?" I picked up my cup and took a slurp.

"Did she warn you?"

"Yeah, yeah, got the message. Big bad bogeymen out to get me. Got it. Next topic." I plunked myself down at the table. "Better yet, no topic, just silence."

"This isn't a joke, Alex. How often do you get a visit from a dead relative?"

I gave her a deadpan stare.

"Okay, fine, I forgot for a minute who I was talking to. I mean how often do I get a visit from a dead relative."

"She came to you, too?" Okay, I'm a little slow on the uptake before my caffeine infusion. "You don't see ghosts. How did you manage to see her?"

"She just appeared in the bathroom mirror this morning. Is that cool or what?"

I snorted. "Yeah. So cool."

"Anyway, she didn't feel you would take her seriously."

"I can take care of myself, Mom. I've been doing it for fifteen years now, as of sundown."

"Sure you have.




Witches Don't Wear Socks Chapter one PART II

**(Sorry, something went wacky!)**

Cassie rolled her eyes and then continued with her mascara application. "Where is your school spirit? I can't believe you don't get involved in any school activities. What's wrong with you?"

"I didn't get that gene. Come to think about it, are we even related?" I squeezed around her into the bathroom.

"I'm guessing not." She closed the mascara tube.

"Wait! what's that over there?" I pointed across in front of her to my bedroom doorway.

"Where?" As she turned to look, I gave her a shove, sending her onto the landing, and slammed the bathroom door.

"I wouldn't have fallen for that," I called through the closed door. Then again, in our household, you never know what, or who, could pop up out of nowhere.

If I were Cassie, I'd have convinced the door to melt if someone did that to me, but I'm sure the thought never crossed her mind. Another reason to wonder if we were really sisters.

"Alex is so mean." I heard Raz comment outside the door.

"She's just not a morning person, that's all." Ah, Cassie, forever the optimist. But optimism must come easy to those who live a charmed life.

"She's not a day person, either," Raz retorted.

That was quite true. I was a creature of the night. I spent most of my days among the walking dead. I never seemed to have any energy until the sun went down.

"That was extremely rude, young lady. You should be treating your sisters better than that. They will always be there for you, after all." I looked over my shoulder in the mirror to see my great grandmamma behind me, except she didn't look like herself. Did I mention that you never know what or who'll pop up out of nowhere?

"See?" even an old gal like me can get into the Halloween spirit." She twirled around to show off her flapper dress. And her flapper body. "I was a pretty hot chick in my younger days, don't you think?" She looked to be in her mid-twenties, her hair short, dark and wavy, her skin smooth and rosy, her eyes bright blue and sparkling.

I shivered and made a face. I hated it when people shifted around in different forms. I found it irritating. I suddenly had a visual flash of some of the drawings I had produced lately.

"Don't make such unbecoming faces. It might freeze like that!" Suddenly, her great grandmamma face filled the entire mirror, every wrinkle and crevice amplified. "BOO!"

Like I said, I hated it when people did that.

"But on a more serious note, I have a warning for you," the huge face in the mirror told me.

"Dress up for Halloween or I'll be forced into a pizza party with my class?"

"Much more serious than that, I'm afraid."

"What could be worse than that?"

"It's Halloween, my sweet Alexandria, and the veil gets very thin on this day."

"Tell me something I don't know."

"Enough with the attitude, and quit interrupting. You are in danger, young lady."

"Danger?" I was barely awake. "What did I do now?"

She shook her head. Just being who you are, I'm afraid."

Enough said. Nothing good could ever come of being me.

"It's also a new moon. That means the veil becomes even thinner. We will do what we can on this side, but not all the Aspects are under our control. We have our own battles to wage over here."

"What, exactly, are you saying?" People expected way too much of me before I was fully conscious.

"You, my sweet Alexandria, are a beacon in the dark to all that reside on this side of the veil. Good and evil spirits and beings are drawn to you. And chances are that some of those evil beings may make it through the extremely weak barrier that will result at sundown tonight.

"Like I said, we will do what we can to keep them back, but you need to be wary. Protect yourself, and ask your mother to perform some extra protection spells over you before sundown tonight. Oh, and before I forget, Happy Birthday, my sweet, Alexandria." Suddenly, it was my own reflection in the mirror, puffy brown eyes and dark, short, spiky hair sticking out everywhere, and my ever-present silver pentacle necklace standing out against my light brown skin.

"Great. Another wonderful birthday to look forward to."




After spiking my hair a little more and

Witches Don't Wear Socks - Chapter One

It didn't matter that most of this old house was carpeted; the high ceilings caused voices to carry. "Witches don't wear socks!" I heard Raz yell. I opened my bedroom door to find her standing at the top of the stairs in her underwear with her hands on her hips and a wide-banded, pointy black hat on her head.

"I could dig out a pair of Grandma Stella's itchy black wool stockings for you, if you like." Mom's voice carried up the stairwell.

Raz gave a six year-old's exaggerated huff. "I'll find something else!" She turned from the stairs and spotted me in the doorway. "Morning, Alex. What are you being for Halloween?"

"Me. What are you supposed to be?" I was beyond slow, first thing in the morning.

"A scary witch," she cackled, raising her clawed hands next to her face.

"You don't look very scary."

"But YOU sure do!" Giggling and shrieking, she bolted for her room and slammed the door.

"OH! Burned by a six year-old. Slipping at your game, are you?" Cassie called from the bathroom across the wide landing.

I hated morning people.

She was applying mascara, and of course, was already dressed in her cheerleader uniform. Her long, dark hair was styled into cascades of ringlets, and a light blush highlighted her fair, slightly freckled cheeks. She had taken to Mom's Irish roots, while I had the darker complexion of my Mediterranean-born father.

Stepping out of my room, I felt the usual tingle as I passed through the wards Grandma Stella set over my room. I dragged myself over to Cassie. "She's just lucky I'm not awake yet." How's that for a sharp retort? I'd had another lousy night's sleep. That made for three nights in a row. I'd felt compelled to draw lately, which wasn't weird, but my drawings had been - well - dark. I wasn't even sure myself what I was drawing, but I found them disturbing, and I tossed most of the night, trying to figure them out.

"Aren't you going to dress up? The more people in your class in costume, the more points you make, and the closer you are to earning a pizza party."

"Oh yeah. A pizza party. In class. With a bunch of morons. Next time, maybe."

"What do you mean, 'morons'?" Cassie was everybody's best friend.

"Boys. Need I say more?"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Epiphanies

I apologize to all (3) of my loyal fans for my prolonged absence. I've been deep in my two writing courses, Scene Fundamentals, and Writing the Young Adult Novel. That is, when I can make time for them. I have some catching up to do there, too.
It's kind of annoying, that I should be focused on Witches, since I'm using it in my courses, and I am making some interesting observations about the characters and plot lines, but my mind decides to run off at the most inopportune times to wrestle with Time Wardens, then tangle with a third, as yet untitled novel idea. I have a whole crop of characters for that one that continue to introduce themselves, interrupting my class work. I've come to the conclusion that I have no choice; I have to become a full-time writer. It has nothing to do with fame or fortune, or even talent, for that matter, but it's where my heart is, and if you ask my husband, my mind is off somewhere other than in the here and now, more often than not. And it's not about cranking out story after story, it's the stories that ask me to tell them. They're all over the place - YA, fantasy, Sci-Fi, and even a murder mystery on a back burner, all plotted out.
I've also been stalking the blogs by Larry Brooks (storyfix.com) and The PlotWhisperer by Martha Alderson, which I'm finding extremely helpful in educating myself about the novel writing process. Now, to get those drafts done, polished, and on the road...