“Lost and useless much?”
I can’t win with her. She’s here, she’s gone. She’s back, she disappears again.
“Sound familiar chica?”
Perched on my desk, she looks down at me, all nonchalant and judge-y at the same time.
“Don’t you have someone else to bother?” I mutter.
I try, I really do try, yet my Muse refuses to leave me alone which is kinda contradictory when you think about it.
I mean, she’s supposed to muse me, help me stir up my brain, give me something to write about, but no, she’d rather hang around my personal space and annoy me. Without inspiring me.
She gets more amusement out of me than I get inspiration out of her.
“Hey little missy! I’m not supposed to do anything.” She hops off my desk and starts pacing.
I hate when she starts pacing.
“It’s not like there’s some big payoff for me chica,” she crouches in front of me and grabs me by the chin, forcing me to look at her. “You’re more like a punishment if you ask me.”
“I didn’t ask you,” I snap.
Her kaleidoscope eyes hold my big baby blues so intently I can practically see wheels turning in her head. Not good.
“Hmm, punishment….”. Her eyes glimmer and shine with something resembling excitement.
Aww hell, here we go again. I can’t help it, I pull away from her and bang my head on my keyboard. On purpose.
Her right hand flies out to grab my hair, yanking my head back.
“Youch! Knock it off, I’m not in the mood for your shit!” I attempt to escape her grip but she won’t let go.
She opens her perfect red stained mouth, her eyes flash the same shade of red and I prepare myself for the verbal onslaught to come but it doesn’t.
Instead she closes her mouth and her eyes transform into a calm waveless ocean.
She continues to stare, not saying a word.
It’s an old fashioned staring contest going on for what seems like hours. Maybe it is hours, I don’t know anything anymore but I stare back anyway.
I swear there are tiny little gears turning inside her pupils and that scares me more than her red-eyed look.
Then, the strangest thing happened.
She switched gears, pardon the pun, in a big way because, for the first time in ever, she, She, my Malevolent Muse and Mistress of my Fate showed me something I never ever imagined I’d see; a tear, a real live salty tear slipped from the corner of her eye.
I was so shocked by her display of any emotion other than anger or sarcasm which probably doesn’t fall in the emotion category anyway but still, what the hell?
Why is my Muse kinda crying?
What did I do now? Because everything is my fault it had to be something I did or didn’t do, yet still I remained stoic.
And yes, my default mode, frozen.
Another tear followed and if I’m going to be truthful with myself, my stoicism was beginning to crumble.
I try and hide it but when it comes down to it, I’m a crybaby. And I have a lot to cry about these days, yet I refuse to let myself fall apart. Maybe I’m afraid I’d pull a Humpty Dumpty and never be able to put myself back together again. Maybe I’m afraid if I start to cry I’ll never be able to stop.
“Chica,” she whispered her pet name for me, soft, gentle, dare I say caring?
She stopped yanking my hair and instead a soft bristle brush appeared in her hand as she gently brushed my hair, slow, soothing, a reminder of my Mom doing the same when I was a little girl.
She began to hum softly, a few words slipped out and I realized she was singing a song my Mom used to sing to me. I closed my eyes, my mind taking me back in time and it was Mom’s voice I heard, “when I was just a little girl, I asked my Mother, what would I be”.
I took a deep breath and realized I couldn’t remember the last time I let myself just breathe. I was so used to chaos in my life that, even though the other shoe had already dropped, even though my life had turned inside out, I didn’t trust, well, anything anymore.
My Muse? She came and went, in and out of my life, she delighted in torturing me, she had the same ridiculous sense of humor I had and she was convinced there was some world-saving that needed to be done and for some reason, she insisted I had a role to play in the upcoming Apocalypse.
But this was a different Muse, another facet to her many personalities I’d never seen and certainly never thought she was capable of, compassion looked good on her.
I, on the other hand, looked like hell. I was the portrait of Dorian Gray in reverse as I spent my days in my Dad’s old sweatshirt and my Mom’s old sweatpants, as if wearing their clothes would somehow bring them back to life.
As she continued to stroke my hair, “Que Sera,Sera” lyrics filled the air. I mean literally, each word she sang formed in the air, swirling around my head, wrapping around my body like an Angel’s hug, bringing me a comfort I hadn’t felt since my life fell apart when my Mom died.
I tried to keep it together but my eyes welled up, I blinked furiously, trying to keep my tears from flowing but I failed.
Like a waterfall, tear after tear fell, fast, furious, and then, without my permission, I began to sob uncontrollably.
Her arms pulled me into a hug, the kind of hug my Mom used to give me.
I broke down completely.
The world I carried on my shoulders for so very long was finally too much for me to handle, the fact that my Muse, of all people, was holding me, encouraging me to let go, to stop trying to be strong and let her carry me for awhile was something I filed away in my mind to be pulled out another time but for now? I let myself feel.
I let myself unfreeze and feel emotions I’d locked up tight and she let me.
It wouldn’t last, this I knew without a doubt, but for now, as I sobbed my broken heart out, as I soaked her clothes with my long hidden tears, for the first time in longer than I could remember, I accepted comfort. An unusual feeling for me, but it felt right, and while I knew reality would set in, things would get back to what passed for normal and the World Saving gig would rear it’s ugly head again soon, I treasured this time.
She, who delighted in driving me crazy, seemed to be the only one to get through to me, to let me be weak at a time I needed to be weak.
“Don’t get used to it Chica,” she said softly as she continued to stroke my hair. “I may have frozen time for you, but I can’t stop time forever.”
She gently held my face, forcing me to meet her gaze. “Let it out my sweet Chica, let it all go. We have a lot to do and while I admit your sadness is so loud it pierces my ears, you need to let it out because you are too full of sadness to let anything else in.”
“Cry little one, cry for everything you haven’t let yourself cry for, I need you strong for the upcoming battle.” She leaned in and kissed my forehead.
“The time grows nearer Chica, you can do this with my help, together we can win, but I need you strong. And you will be little one, this I promise you.”
My sobs grew quieter, my tears slowed a bit as a calmness began to settle over me.
My Muse continued to stroke my hair and softly sing, ” what will be, will be”.
And for once, without any inner argument, I believed her.
[hides head in shame and embarrassment] FINALLY! Fiction Rally Part 4! It’s totally my fault that it’s late [prays TRG won’t throw items at me across the Atlantic Ocean]and I won’t even make excuses. In case you’re just joining in, this is part 4 of the Fiction Rally. You can read Part 3 here
http://thereclininggentleman.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/fiction-rally-part-three/#comment-6389, and because I’m so late with this, there are links to Parts 1 and 2 there as well. Without further ado:
Lilly looked at her watch for what seemed like the trillionth time, as if the hands would move faster just by the power of her stare.
She was used to that, getting what she wanted when she wanted went without saying. But right now, she was not getting what she wanted and she was not happy about it.
“Where the hell is he? He should have been here by now,” Lilly’s heels clicked against the marble tile of her parlor floor as she paced back and forth, talking to her empty flat. She took care not to walk over the few accent tiles her Father had agreed to have installed for her. She’d considered having the entire floor done with Pietra Firma’s most exclusive tiles but Daddy dearest hadn’t been too keen on the idea of spending well over twelve million pounds just for something to walk on. Normally, Lillith would put up a fuss and eventually get her way, but she had too much on her mind lately.
She half-smiled as she looked down at the LuxTouch tiles, beautiful black marble inlaid with mother of pearl and abalone shell, the brilliant raised diamonds forming a floral pattern.
But right now she was beginning to see them through a haze of red as she began to imagine Daniel’s blood running through the tracks on the tile, if she didn’t hear something from him soon Lilly was going to smash his head against the floor. It seemed like the right thing to do if he didn’t produce, he hated those tiles and made no bones about it. He told her she reeked of pretentiousness. He told her that after this, he was done.
Lilly decided to let him think that.
She was nowhere near done with Daniel.
Well that was a different story but Lillith’s perverted sense of humor couldn’t help but use Daniel to continue her plans with Jennifer.
“Who am I kidding?” Lilly said to the empty room, “My plans aren’t with Jennifer as much as for Jennifer. Little “Sister” may think we’re about to bond but it’s not going to be the bonding she expects.”
Pouring herself a dry martini with 4 olives, Lilly sat on her black leather sofa, admiring her reflection in the mirror across the room.
She was gorgeous and well aware of it. Her sleek blonde bob, parted slightly off-center, accented her cat-green eyes perfectly, her sharp cheekbones like subliminal arrows emphasizing their feline shape making it hard to break from her gaze. Her lips were full, kissable, the kind of lips men dreamed of kissing and women dreamed of owning. Some women paid good money for lips like this but Lilly’s were genuine.
One of the few things about her that was.
Finishing the last olive after downing her martini, Lilly got up, made another martini, this time with 5 olives, then walked over to the penthouse balcony, looking out at the Waterloo Bridge in the distance. She imagined Jennifer on The London Eye, stuck on top then plummeting to her death, just another piece of trash on the street, out of her life, out of Daddy dearest’s will, out of Lillith’s hair.
She took another sip of her martini, pulling an olive into her mouth and rolling it around her tongue before biting down on it.
“Where the fuck is Daniel?” Lilly walked back into her penthouse, her mood getting worse by the minute.
If he wasn’t so good in bed she would have gotten rid of him a long time ago.
He hated sleeping with her.
She knew it yet it gave her a sense of perverted pleasure knowing he had no choice in the matter. He owed her. He owed her big time, and even though they’d been lovers it hadn’t lasted long.
Daniel wasn’t like most men, he wasn’t easily controlled and while his body reacted to hers, he told her in no uncertain terms that he wanted nothing to do with her and her world. Lilly didn’t appreciate his brutal honesty and when she found out he’d gotten on the wrong side of the wrong people she decided to step in, pay off his debt and have him beholden to her.
Truth be told, Daniel wasn’t even Lilly’s type, she just wanted to fuck with him for having the audacity to turn her down. He was handsome enough, in a rugged way, but he was nothing, no one. He couldn’t do anything to further Lilly’s lot in life, perfect as it may be.
Lillith was her Father’s Daughter. Cold, calculating, and with a desire to rule the world, at least, the parts within her reach.
Jennifer, on the other hand, didn’t seem to inherent any of Daddy dearest’s qualities. Jennifer was more like her sniveling Mother, another one of Father’s castoffs, weak and pathetic.
Admittedly, Lilly had only met Jennifer once, when they were in their early teens. And that was at their late Grandfather’s funeral. Lilly never understood why they even bothered to show up. Daddy was 3 wives past Jennifer’s Mother, none of his other ex-wives showed up. Lillith was sure they were sniffing around for money but they just paid their respects and quietly left.
Glancing at her watch again, Lilly felt herself wanting to frown at Daniel’s lateness but didn’t want to have to suffer the effects of frown lines over Daniel. Or Jennifer.
Lilly had been planning this little game for weeks, ever since she found a picture of Jennifer in Daddy’s desk, along with a few letters, a little too friendly in tone for Lilly’s liking.
Things had been set in motion weeks ago, all Daniel had to do was make the drop and get his ass back here.
He thought he was getting his last payment, and he was getting his payment.
It just wasn’t going to be his last one.
Finally, my lovelies, as mentioned before,
after much begging and whining on my part The Reclining Gentleman
has been gracious enough to write another version of the Fiction Relay, but this time it’s called the Fiction Rally and it’s just TRG and this girl here writing what will be, well, actually we have no idea what it’ll be, but that’s half the fun. So after going here for Part 1,
please, enjoy, Part 2 of the Fiction Rally. Where this will go? C’mon along for the ride, we’ll find out together!
Hidden behind a copy of a newspaper someone else had left behind, Daniel patiently waited for the train to enter the darkness of the tunnel.
Thankfully she stepped into the carriage alone, no other passengers to get in his way, no foreseeable obstacles, this should be easy peasy, just the way he liked it.
To the casual observer he appeared to be absorbed in the newspaper he held in front of his face, as if he didn’t notice anyone else boarding the train, but he was aware of every movement she made.
Daniel had gotten rather good at observing everything around him while remaining unnoticed. Another little trick he’s picked up on the road, his ability to blend in had saved his own neck on more than one occasion.
It wasn’t long before he noticed the chugging of the train had lulled her to sleep, a deviation from her normal routine he intended to take full advantage of.
Danny took it as a sign, now or never, it was time to earn his paycheck.
He’d been riding this route for weeks now, memorizing the stops, timing the length of total darkness as the train made it’s way through the tunnel, working out every possible variable he could imagine so he’d be ready for anything.
It was simple really. All he had to do was drop off the sealed envelope into her bag and get out of there.
That was it.
Once he was done, he was done.
For real this time. Not only would his debt be paid off but he’d have enough money left over to get out of this place and leave his run of bad luck behind him.
Hell, if he played his cards right he might be able to get out of the bloody country, he needed to leave the past where it belonged and move on. Daniel would have laughed out loud if he was alone, playing cards is what got him in this particular position in the first place. But this was it. This would be his last “errand” to pay off his tab and then he’d be free of the whole lot of them.
As the train entered the tunnel he stood up quietly, hoping the swaying of the cars would keep her sleeping. After the last botched job, Daniel wanted to be sure there was no blood on his hands with this one.
Never much of a napper, Jennifer rarely fell asleep riding a train. She was more inclined to stare out at the scenery as it flew by, sipping on a cup of caffeine as she planned out her day. Then again, this wasn’t her usual day. In fact, things hadn’t been “usual” at all these last few weeks and she hadn’t been sleeping well on top of everything else. When she did manage to sleep for any length of time her dreams were always dark and muddled. She’d wake up shaking, covered in sweat, a feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach.
Her dreams always began differently but they all ended the same way, Jennifer crouched on an unfamiliar floor in an unfamiliar room cradling the body of someone dying. She never saw who it was dying in her arms, but every time without fail she, Jennifer, was crying and shouting for help in her dreams until she inevitably woke herself up, heart racing, eyes swollen from crying in her sleep.
It was enough to put anyone off sleeping but unfortunately the body needed it’s rest, and between the emotional roller-coaster she’d been on and the motion of the train, Jennifer was exhausted. Inevitably, her eyes closed and she began to doze off.
Daniel took small measured steps as he inched closer to his target. The last thing he needed was for her to wake up and catch him messing with her belongings. Truth was, he had no idea what was in the envelope nor did he want to know. All he wanted was to be free of the bullshit hanging over his head. He’d taken on some pretty undesirable tasks in an attempt to get out of the sticky situations he too frequently found himself in, but this was the last of it.
A slip of an envelope into a stranger’s bag and he was on his way to another life.
He’d been keeping tabs on her for weeks as per instructions.
Getting to know her routine was easy with the packet of information he’d been sent, she rarely strayed from it, she seemed to be a creature of habit.
But Daniel was waiting to catch her alone and there always seemed to be someone near her.
Time was running out for him, he was beginning to worry, imagining he’d have to stumble near her in a crowd and slip the envelope into one of her bags.
Until today, when she deviated from her normal routine.
This was the first time he’d seen her take an afternoon train and somebody up there must have been looking out for him because this was also the first time he’d been alone in the same car as her.
His hands were shaking as he realized her bag was slightly open, just enough to make the drop without having to touch her belongings although he did make sure to slip on a pair of gloves just in case.
Whatever was in the envelope, Danny didn’t know if it was legal, illegal, or, for all he knew, it could have been something as simple as a love letter. It didn’t matter to him, all he cared about was the payoff and a plane ticket out of this place.