Google+ The Bluestocking Firefly: August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flashbacks II

Haven't written in awhile, so thought I'd try to get something out. This isn't quite the scene as I envisioned it while in the shower (ah, the shower. It's like the steam encourages creative energies), but then again, I'm very tired and it's been a stressful week, so whatever. This is another flashback sequence, this time into Amy's past instead of Grayson's.

Links to the rest of this story may be found here.

Annieka lugged the chair from her mother's vanity over to the closet and clambered up onto the seat. Standing on tiptoe, her eyes were just level with the edge of the shelf; she wasn't tall enough to tell if the toy ships confiscated earlier that day had been secreted towards the back where she couldn't see them, or if she was looking in the wrong place entirely. The manor had hundreds of hiding places.

About to climb down and return the chair to its original position, she heard voices in the hallway and froze. She wasn't allowed in her parents' bedroom; it was one of the few places in the manor that was completely off-limits. Panicking, she pushed the chair into the closet and dove in behind it. With the addition of the chair as well as herself, Annieka had trouble angling the closet doors closed, and as the bedroom door opened she sank to the floor and tried not to breathe.

Seamus Brenner swept into the room, bringing with him the familiar smells of engine oil and amber incense. Annieka peeked through the narrow crack between the doors and watched as her father strode across to the bed, his robes swirling around his feet. Swearing under his breath, he uncinched his sash and shrugged off his robe, revealing a dusty flight suit underneath, and tossed it to the bed; it slid from the quilt and pooled on the floor in a dark heap. He stood for a moment with his hands on his hips, head hanging, staring at the patterns in the carpet.

"Dammit, Abby," he said at last, turning around, and Annieka realised her mother was standing in the doorway, "you know I can't let you do this."

Abigail Brenner stood quietly, her hands clasped at her waist, and watched her husband as he prowled restlessly around the edges of the room. "When we were married," she said, "we agreed to raise our children together. We agreed to listen to each other. You have stopped listening, Seamus." Her eyes followed him as he moved to the window and leant on the sill. "All you care about is going forward. Moving up. Making sure the universe knows you have arrived." She crossed the room and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. His muscles tensed beneath her fingers. "Ambition is not everything, Seamus, and I will not let you raise our children in the shadow of the Commission."

Seamus swung around, and inside the closet Annieka shrank back against the chair, feeling her mother's dresses brushing against the top of her head. The look in her father's eyes scared her, made her want to run away as fast as she could and at the same time run out and fling her arms around her mother and promise to protect her. But she could only sit still, afraid of discovery, and listen.

"The Commission's shadow stretches everywhere, Abby," Seamus said harshly, gripping her arms. "Those with ambition rise; those without it fall and are trampled underfoot. I have seen it happen again and again, and I will not have my children - "

"I will not have my children in the Commissioner Guard!" Abigail cried. "For god's sake, Seamus, Annieka is only seven and you have her up in a two-seat strike-fighter three days a week learning how to fly."

"She loves flying," he countered. "She'll make a damn good pilot one day."

"Absolutely not," Abigail replied. "The only flying she'll be doing in the near future is when she gets on the transport taking the two of us and Cam off Idylla." She hesitated. "I am sorry, Seamus," she said softly, reaching up to touch his cheek. "But you are not the same man I married fifteen years ago. You used to be so full of laughter and idealism and...and love. And now you are so
blinded by your damn ambition that you're trying to force our children to grow up before they're ready, and I'm so sorry but I just can't - I can't let you do it." She stood on her tiptoes and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I will never stop loving you, you know," she whispered against his cheek, and kissed him.

Seamus pulled her against him, his hands creeping up to cradle her face as he returned his wife's kiss. A tear fell from his eye to her face and ran down her cheek as he snapped her neck, dripping from her chin and leaving a dark stain on her collar. He held her as she sagged against him, staring blindly at the wedding photo hanging on the wall opposite.

"I know," he said. "But I can't let you take them away."

Annieka held her hands tightly over her mouth to keep from crying out as her father killed her mother, biting into her sleeve. As soon as Seamus turned his back to lower Abigail to the ground, she eased the closet doors open and ran for the hallway.

Seamus heard the footsteps when she was halfway down the corridor and lifted his head, catching a glimpse of a shoe as it disappeared around the corner. Seeing the open closet, he swore and pushed to his feet, running out into the hall. There was no sign of either of his children, but he knew one thing for certain: one of them had been in the room. One of them knew he had killed their mother. The only question was which one.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Just at the moment I'm waiting for my ride to arrive so I can move to Nottingham, so I thought I'd provide a little bit of insight into Morgan Grayson's past. I'm writing on the spot, here, from some brainstorming I've been doing, so as always this is rough and subject to change.

Links to the rest of this story may be found here.

Grayson leant back in his chair and slowly rotated back and forth, a grin on his face as he watched the woman on the vidscreen. "You think of a name yet?"

Sophia sat back on her heels. "I thought that was supposed to be your job," she teased, pushing hair back from her face and leaving a streak of dirt across her cheek.

"What are you planting?"

"A vegetable garden," she replied, holding up a tiny plant. "By the time the baby's born in spring I'll be able to send you out to pick cucumbers from the garden to put in the salad."

Grayson's smile faded from his face. "Soph - "

She put down the plant. "Morgan, you promised."

"It's not that easy, Soph - "

Sophia pushed herself to her feet and bent awkwardly to retrieve the vidscreen, giving Grayson a momentarily disorienting view of her legs and stomach. "How hard can it be, Morgan?" she asked, walking inside. She set the vidscreen down on the kitchen counter and sat down on a stool with a sigh. "I
need you here. We'll both need you."

Grayson rubbed his forehead. "Asking the Commission for a transfer isn't like picking berries, Sophia," he said, more sharply than he'd intended. "I'm an engineer. I'm more valuable shipside than dirtside."

Sophia opened her mouth, closed it, opened it again, and finally said, "All I can say is that I sincerely hope the Commission values you as much as you think you're valued, Morgan. I'll talk to you next week."

The vidscreen hissed and went dark, leaving Grayson in a silent room.

* * *

Commandant Marshall pulled his pistol from its holster and held it out to Grayson. "Convince me," he said. Grayson looked up and met his eyes, and then his gaze dropped to the pistol in the other man's hand. He reached out and wrapped his fingers around the grip, and then turned to face the woman across the room.

Sophia smiled. "It'll be okay," she said.