Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oktober Sky: Changes in the Air, Part Two

here the boys moved in their uniforms, moving inside them, if you could see close enough, moving inside their cold-clogged minds and hot tiny young bodies under the shoulder pads, moving through meaningless drumbeat yells into the field, burrowing into their white pants and cups towards a hope of safety...

 She saw the warrior through a gluey patch of mucus that covered both aged eyes. Her instinct was to wait, but her desire told her to fly, now, fly above the danger and away. She acted on desire, and was hit with a missile twice her size.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oktober Sky: Changes in the Air

 Walking beside the water just before sunrise, her soft shoes barely disturbed the sand. Her footprints were subtle and hard to read, for she had learnt a pattern of stepping that caused little sound and less imprint. It worked with sand, with dirt, with grass, even in the underbrush of a forest, and her muscles were long since trained to the peculiarity of those movements. The slight ache she might feel after a day of travel meant less than travelling free of followers.

 Though she avoided being tracked routinely, today it was a conscious choice. Her plans if known could call up trouble of a serious nature, and she had built towards this day, this working, for several months in order to avoid notice. The gathering of materials, the choice of a meeting place, the precise wording of the envisioned spell had been pieced together with a seeming randomness, a delicate embroidery of many hands moving at scattered times. No loose ends had been left, she was assured repeatedly, and she'd verified each assurance. Now, on the day itself, a sense of watchfulness filled her like an omen of pain.

 She had been very careful indeed, was still approaching her point most carefully, and yet the sky had filled with ominous clouds, grey edged with yellow; the wind had died to a damp stillness; the normal, gentle sounds of the sea and shore ceased; all the world seemed to wait with indrawn breath.

 Her actions, and perhaps intent, had been noted, and she paused to let that knowledge settle in. To carry on might mean death, or worse... to stop meant the end of her mind's peace, perhaps insanity.

She breathed deep the dank air around her slowly, tasting the clammy tang of her own indecision, then gathered her skirts and ran full out, unmindful of the clear path left on the sand behind.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Oktober Sky: Changes in the Water

 To work strong magicks effectively, the practitioner must prepare in many ways-- she must cleanse herself of dirt, and of cares, clearing mind and body to be a proper conduit of the energies she will use. She must prepare the area wherein she will cast her spells-- this may require cleaning, adding objects to an altar, oiling candles or other special preparations; the practitioner must, in every case, be aware of each mote of dust, each dim corner, each sunlit leaf, each crawling ant that lies within the space where her spell will be built. In this way, she retains as much control of the spell's result as possible.

 Total control is not possible. To keep your spell tight, you must work hardest before the moment you conduct the pure flow of energy, then let it go freely, with a calm and clear mind. Some will say this isn't so, wanting to save themselves time in the beginning of a spell, but all such haphazardly approached enchantments end up weak in effect, or worse-- they may turn against the spellworker. The clearest, strongest, best magick is made by strong and deliberate actions taken by careful, patient spellcasters. A lazy individual, a careless magician or one who seeks haste in the working, will get little good from their indifferent attempts.

 A good spellcaster takes her time in all things. A good spellcaster watches her tea even as it steeps, noting the changes in the water. Thus informed, all her deeds are well done, and life tastes sweet.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oktober Ski: A Night at the Overlook

 The reflection in her eyes tipped him off-- the man behind him, as he lifted his arm to hit Mack, showed as a blurry glitter of movement-- Mack slid aside, kicking out as he went, dropping the surprised attacker onto the floor. In a flash, the edge of Mack's hand came down on his throat, and he was out of the game. The girl didn't stick around to see the results; she turned and made for the door as fast as she could, scattering her scarf and cheap bag in her hurry, and Mack let her go.

 He could have caught up at the elevators, maybe, but it didn't seem important. He knew who'd sent the pair, and he knew why. It was the ring, again, always that damn ring. Sitting in a safe ten floors below, it had managed to call trouble to him, for the third time. A cursed sapphire, not technically the legal property of anyone for over two centuries, although Mack's employer claimed hereditary ownership. His own short guardianship made Mack wonder why possession of this weirdly cut stone in its old-fashioned setting was so hot on everybody's list. Each day since he'd acquired it had brought some new problem, and he had five days left till delivery-- a meeting he'd begun to wish was happening a lot sooner, despite the luxurious accommodations he'd been paid to enjoy.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oktober Ski: The Miso Diary

Day 6 of the diet that can't possibly miss--

 I have to pee every five minutes, all day long. Not sleeping for more than two hours at a time and my skin looks like hell. Forget sex. Forget watching a movie. I may have lost some weight just from all the running to the bathroom.

 My supervisor hates me now, for the constant up/down/up/down during her big-ass meeting yesterday morning. I left 5 times to urinate. She spoke to me afterwards and pretended to understand, then told me to see a doctor if "my problem" doesn't change for the better-- immediately. She's not going to let me do that again-- looks like it's adult diapers during the morning training montage.

 More later-- I have to pee again.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oktober Ski: Cantrip Castle

In my first novel, I wrote a throwaway line about a book two characters had read, called Cantrip Castle. I've worked on the real book since, but never finished. Here, I begin again, adding from the middle.


 Lil dropped the frog onto her bed.

"You're not going to stay there for long," she warned him, "so don't get comfortable."

He hopped over her pillow and onto the nightstand, looking around him. The room was full of pink things. Pink, and frilly, and dry.

 "I'm amphibious, baby. Cotton percale duvets aren't exactly my idea of cozy. Can we get a basin in here, with a couple of stones in it, maybe?"

"What's a basin?" Lil asked.

The frog sighed.

"It's a big, deep bowl, preferably with some water in it."

 "Oh! We have one of those."

 She jumped up, heading for the pink-on-pink door.

"Not too cold!" he called after her. Her head nodded as she skipped out, and the frog found a place on the nightstand to wait, and ruminate on his options. Clearly, this relationship wasn't going to be easy.

---Mari Kozlowski


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Oktober Ski: Fiction, Fiction, Fiction

After many beginnings in September, most having gone unreported here, we are into Oktober, which is always reserved for instant fiction. This year, the plan is to alternate between a few prospective books, adding some new work to each. The first is a fanfic I've just dreamed up, a gathering of stories that may or may not become interwoven, called:


 His wife was trying on earrings now. She'd picked up ten different pairs so far, holding them near her head in turn, assessing their effect against her perfect coif.

 Brennan sat heavily in one of the Overlook's leather club chairs, realizing he might have to wait another half hour or more just for the jewelry to get picked. Then she'd need to decide on shoes, and last of all, a wrap. All of this to go downstairs and mingle with the richest scum in America on a cracked ballroom floor under aging chandeliers, while they ate dried out canap├ęs and lobster that was sure to be overcooked.

 He grabbed a newspaper, bored already. His wife turned from her vanity mirror, hands on hips.

"What do you think about these?"

 He lifted his head from the sports section just as the first bullet ripped through her middle.