Cycle 6 - Stories!!

Posted by Kat 06/29/2020 2 Comment(s) Inanna's Game,

Ready, Set, Write!!

 

We are ready for the next batch of Inanna’s Game stories! What have you created with this cycle's inspirations?

 

This cycle’s stories should be utilizing the inspiration that was posted yesterday. Once you have written your tale and corrected it to make it as readable as possible, please post it here as a reply to this post, so that others can read your work. Make sure to put the snippet, character, and scenario numbers that you used in the top part of the post!

 

Two days before the next cycle starts, comments and voting for the best story will be cut off at 5 PM. The following day, a winner will be announced.

 

Each story remains the copyrighted material of the author posting the story. Please give us the title of the story, the identification of the snippets, characters, and scenes that you attempted to use, as well as any comments you think applicable.

2 Comment(s)

S. L. Donnelly:
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Pixies and Lava
S.L. Donnelly
Snippet 3, Scenario 2, character 2

Chapter One – A Hot Afternoon

The long afternoon stretched out before them like an endless path. Seven-year-old Elizabeth Spencer sighed heavily and flung her arms into the cool grass. “I’m bored,” she said to her brother Noah. They sat on the grass in their backyard and watched the clouds go by. Her long brown hair was heavy against the nape of her neck in the August heat, and she wiped at her bangs with the back of one hand. “Do you want to go get a game or something?”

She touched the edges of the sheet she had tied around her neck like a cape. Sometimes, Elizabeth liked to pretend she was a superhero out to save the world. Noah thought it was dumb, but what did he know? He was just a brother.

“Dad is working and has a meeting. He doesn’t want us in the house until lunch unless it’s an emergency,” the thirteen-year-old said. Noah was a decent babysitter, but on days like this, Elizabeth missed her mom and her friends. Her mom owned a bakery in town and had to work six days a week. Elizabeth didn’t mind staying with her dad, but she missed time with her mom, too. Maybe, Elizabeth thought, she’d ask if she could go to work with Mom one day before school started again.

Briefly, she wondered what the fairies were up to and if she could ask them to play. Elizabeth had first met the flutter of fairies that lived in her backyard a year ago. They were sometimes busy doing their own thing, but the pixies liked to play, too.

Noah stood up suddenly, and his eyes took on a mischievous look. A lock of brown hair dipped across his forehead and for a moment, he looked just like a younger version of their dad. “Watch out, Lizabet! The ground is turning to lava!” With a little laugh, he stood on a nearby landscaping rock.

Elizabeth smiled up at him before finding her own rock and balancing on its edge. Maybe brothers weren’t all bad. Noah, at least, had a good imagination. “Oh no,” she called, lifting her hands to frame her face in mock-horror. “What are we going to do?”

Reaching down, Noah hefted a nearby brick and tossed it a foot away into the grass. “We need to make our way back to the patio. It’s our only chance!”

Near the koi pond, the flutter of pixies who lived in Elizabeth’s backyard began to stir as the fairies realized the two kids were doing something. Suki, the explorer of the group, flew to see what was going on. “Is everything okay?” the fairy asked with a frown as Noah continued to toss a path of bricks and other landscaping items across the yard.

Elizabeth smiled at her friend. “Everything is fine. We’re just playing a game called ‘The Floor is Lava.’”

“Oh, that sounds like fun. Can we play? Pixies love games,” Suki asked. She held her hands up in a prayer-like position. “Please, please, please?”

Noah answered, “Sure, but you can’t use your wings.”

“The idea of the game is that the grass has turned to lava. We need to get back to the patio,” Elizabeth explained.

Seeing the game was taking off, Noah lifted his hands in a “time-out” gesture. “I’m going to get a few cushions from the patio to make a path, okay?”

“You have thirty seconds,” Elizabeth warned. She closed her eyes and began counting, “One Mississippi, two Mississippi…”

Racing off, Noah grabbed three cushions from the patio and tossed them haphazardly into the yard. Pausing, he picked up several small toys left out and placed them on two of his islands. He returned to his starting block just as Elizabeth finished counting to thirty Mississippi.

“Okay, here are the rules,” Noah declared as two more fairies joined them. Suki, Radish, and Drake turned to listen intently. Noah was familiar with the way pixies liked to make their own rules, so he worded them carefully. It was Elizabeth’s opinion he just liked to hear his own voice. “The grass is lava. We have to jump from island to island to get back to the patio, which is home base. There are toys scattered on the cushions for us to collect. There’s one for each of us.”

“But you can’t just fly,” Elizabeth said. “That wouldn’t be fair. You’d never touch the grass.”

“But our legs are too small,” Suki pointed out. The pink-haired fairy stuck one leg out to prove her point. “How about if we flew just from cushion to cushion? We’ll leapfrog.”

After a minute of thought, Noah nodded. “Okay. That sounds good. If we do fall, we lose a limb.”

“He means we pretend to lose a limb,” Elizabeth said, clarifying things for Suki, Radish, and Drake.

“Right. But you can grow it back by collecting a dandelion. If there are no dandelions close by, you can do three jumping jacks.”

After a brief pause to explain, and then demonstrate, a jumping jack, the fairies nodded. “First one to the patio wins.”

“Wins what?” Radish asked.

Noah and Elizabeth exchanged a glance as they each shrugged. “How about the winner gets to start lunch first,” she suggested. She turned to the fairies. “You can have some of our carrot sticks, if you win.”

“Sounds good,” Suki said. The five players all nodded in agreement with the rules as they began the game.


Chapter Two – The Yard is Lava

“I said, FIRE! Blast your incompetent eyes!” Noah roared, pretending to be the Admiral of his own ship. He pointed in the direction of the patio. “Be warned, men. Every craft that slips by our cordon is a threat to our world and loved ones!”

“What about girls and fairies?” Suki asked, but Noah only rolled his eyes at her impertinence. Elizabeth folded her arms over her chest and glared at her brother. He sighed.
“Girls and fairies, too,” Noah amended.

Just then, their dad Spence appeared at the sliding glass door. Opening it, he looked at the mess in his once-neat yard and shook his head.

A flurry of activity erupted on the bridge of each cushion, as Noah added, "I expect to hear nothing but the guns firing. The battle for Patio Hill is on!”

“Ahoy there, Admiral Horatio Nelson,” Spence hailed his son, interrupting their activity.

Noah frowned. “Who?” he asked.

“Famous Admiral in the Napoleonic Wars,” Spence explained. “What are you guys doing?” Spence walked to the edge of the deck to get a better look at what his kids were doing.

“Dad, look out! The grass is lava,” Elizabeth called from her position. “We need to navigate to safety.”

Spence nodded. “I see,” he said. His expression was somber, but his kids’ antics inwardly amused him. He was thankful to be working from home so he could be a part of their games and lives. It was one of the reasons he loved his job both as an IT Security Specialist and a dad. “Carry on, but I want all those cushions, rocks, bricks, and whatever else you pulled out put back where you got them from, you hear? We don’t want your mom to come home from work and find a mess.”

“Aye, aye, Captain,” Noah said with a jaunty salute as his dad walked back into the house.

The players all resumed their game. The fairies had a definite advantage in that they never over-estimated a jump or failed to make it to the rock.

“My legs, my legs,” Noah cried when he missed his next target. He rolled to one side and flopped around as though deeply injured.

“Quick, do six jumping jacks,” Elizabeth called as she balanced on one foot on a brick. She took a deep breath and tried to keep her balance. Her cape swung and brushed against her knees. Briefly, she wondered if capes were a good idea. Noah groaned as he got up and began counting out the exercises.

“I want to do jumping jacks, too” Drake declared as he purposefully took a header off his rock. “Help, help,” he cried as he stood up.

“Hurry up. Do three per burned body part,” Elizabeth encouraged.

The fairy tried to get his arms and legs going in combination but wound up looking more like a popcorn kernel bouncing off a hot surface than someone doing calisthenics. Suki and Radish decided they wanted to play jumping jacks, too.

“Oh no,” Noah cried out. Once again, he fell into the “lava” and writhed around on the ground. “It’s got me, Lizabet! Watch out! I’m turning into a Lava Monster.” With a growl, he rose and lifted his hands over his head as though he were an ogre. “I’m going to get you!”

Elizabeth gave out a combined shriek-scream and ran away from her brother. Despite the encroaching lava, she raced toward the ultimate safety of the patio. Unsure of this new part of the game, the pixies shouted and flew behind the little girl. Suddenly, Elizabeth turned and used her cape as a shield. “Fairies, behind me,” she called. Elizabeth turned to Noah. “Beware, Lava Monster. I have the Shield of Water.”

Noah came to a sudden stop as Elizabeth wielded her blue cape. She untucked it from around her neck and waved it at him like a weapon. The fabric blew fluidly in the air.

Behind them, their dad opened the patio door with a basket of sandwiches and carrot sticks. Their morning game was soon going to be over. “Blast you, Water Bender,” Noah cried, shaking his fists at her. “You found my weakness. Now, let’s have lunch!”

Elizabeth laughed and chased after her brother. The fairies, spurred on by promises of carrot sticks, followed.

“Go wash your hands,” Spence said as he set up lunch on the picnic table. Absently, he wiped his hand across his black T-shirt.


Chapter Three – Clean up

Noah and Elizabeth sat in the living room, watching a cartoon after dinner when their father came in search of them. Elizabeth yawned. After a long day of playing outside, she was tired and feeling like a lazy bear cub. “I let you off earlier. Time to clean up the yard from your game,” Dad said.

“But it’s getting dark out, Dad,” Elizabeth said with a pout.

“Then you should have done it earlier,” Spence said. Looking up, she realized her dad wasn’t going to budge.

“Oh, fine,” she said with a grumble and a huff. Together, she and Noah put their shoes back on and made their way into the backyard. She looked up and gasped with wonder. “Oh, wow, Dad. Noah. Look!”

Noah and Spence crowded in behind Elizabeth, and they all looked at the vast expanse of night sky. Distant stars glowed with pinpoints of seductive light as though beckoning them with the siren call of promised riches. They stood enthralled, speechless, and frozen in place on the patio. It was as if the universe stood still, waiting for a sign of unknown portent. Just when everyone was sliding back into the here and now, a shocking explosion of light and percussive force, sent their serenity scattering.

Spence winced at the explosion of fireworks in the sky. Elizabeth slid her hand into his and held it tightly. Finally, the brief light show was over, and her father breathed a sigh of relief. Unable to put it off any longer, Noah and Elizabeth rounded up cushions and landscape stones and put them back into place.

Clouds blew past the moon, obscuring the available light. Seeing the problem, her dad turned on the porch lights and re-illuminated the backyard.

Suki flew by and waved at Elizabeth. “Are you going to have another game of Lava?” she asked.

Elizabeth shook her head and yawned. It had been a long day. “Not tonight. It’s my bedtime. We just need to clean up our mess.”

Suki nodded but pouted. “That was a lot of fun, especially when Noah turned into a Lava Monster. Drake is already practicing the story.”

Elizabeth grinned at her friend. “I can’t wait to hear it,” she said.

As the last of the cushions were put away, a low rumble came from far off. The first drops of rain hit Elizabeth on the forehead and cheeks and made her giggle in response. Spence joined his family in the yard as the rain began in earnest and soaked into the parched grass. The tension from the day's stress slowly dissolved, washed away by the rhythmic action of the water.

Martin W.:
07/10/2020, 07:24:05 PM

This is well written and amusing. Consider this my vote for a talented writer.

Mary C:
07/13/2020, 04:36:47 PM

Nice story! Enjoy reading this author every game!

Caroline Roberts:
07/13/2020, 04:39:59 PM

Great series, love the story hour ones of these. Thanks for writing them!

Taki Drake:
07/13/2020, 05:59:29 PM
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The Sum of Our Memories

by Taki Drake

Snippets 3, Scene 1, Characters 1

Amanda could not remember when she had not ached every time she took a step. It had been so long since she had been comfortable, let alone loved. It was easier if the young woman did not think about what life had been before the explosion that had changed her world. Sometimes when everything was dark at night, and she looked into the sky, she remembered, stabbed by shards of emotion and images that slashed her soul and filled her eyes with tears.

Without warning, the defining memory played back like a video in her head and consumed her. She was small again, leaning against her father’s strong chest. Gazing out of the old-fashioned windows of their family trade ship, Poppa was telling her about how even though the vastness of space was dark that the little pinpoints of light were really stars, and some of them had planets where many people lived.

The child had only a dim understanding of what a planet was. Her family lived on their spaceship, carrying cargo from place to place and eking out a living in the cold reaches of the Rim. The adult now knew that it had been a lonely existence without playmates and the social interaction that the planetside children got at a very early age. However, she had been happy and loved, challenged by her parents and their crew to learn and explore ideas and experiences.

She once again heard her seven-year-old voice saying, “Poppa, this is the first time I ever thought that darkness was looking back.” When her father had asked her what she meant, the little girl had pointed to two growing lights that seem to be a pair of eyes staring at them.

The child did not understand why her father had tensed and said in a strange voice, “Mandy, I want you to go back to your cabin right now. Get your teddy bear and crawl into bed. Remember to fasten the webbing, okay?”

She been an obedient child and trotted off to do what she had been told, even if confused about the sudden change in her father. That was the point when her world had started to go askew. Amanda was helpless to change the path of the memory even though everything in her cringed away from what she would see once again.

Rushing crewmembers and loud sirens had battered her hearing and terrified the child she had been on the way to her cabin. Her mother had rushed in to check on her briefly before racing back out of the chamber. When the little girl had clung to her parent’s body, the woman had given her a fierce embrace and a kiss on the forehead. Only much later did Amanda realize the gesture of affection, and the moisture that had coated her face had been both her mother’s goodbye and expression of grief.

Amanda sometimes wondered what would have happened if she had stayed in her cabin. The frightened little girl that she had been reached for the security of the quilt that her favorite crewmember had made for her when she was a baby but was unable to find it in its usual place in her bunk. Suddenly she had remembered that it had been left in the hydroponics room.

Desperately needing the comfort of the soft fabric, the little girl had climbed out of her bed and run as fast as her chubby short legs could move her to reclaim her treasured blanket. Clutching her stuffed six-legged bear to her chest, Mandy had run to the plant-filled room to retrieve the quilt. Remembering that she had been sneaking fruit from one of the miniature trees that were her mother’s pride and joy, the seven-year-old girl crawled under the heavily-laden branches where she remembered last seeing it.

Before she could extricate herself, the ship’s intercom clicked on, and the little girl heard the angry voices of strange men and her father attempting to make himself heard. Her Poppa sounded scared, which is something Mandy had never heard before. He was always so calm and happy. Her mama would say that her father was born to value every moment of his life and refused to dwell on bad things.

The young girl expected that the angry men would listen to her Poppa and then they would be happy too. Instead, she heard one of them roar, “… Every ship that gets by us is a threat to our world and way of life! We do not allow pirates in our system, and that is all you are!”

Her Poppa tried to argue, explaining that they were a small trade ship and that they had a regular route through this region, but the angry man would not listen. Instead, Mandy remembered him yelling, “I said, fire! Blast your incompetent eyes!” There was the sound of people being hit, and then the bad man screamed, “I expect to hear no argument, just guns firing!”

Almost right away, the ship that Mandy called home felt like it had crashed into something. The world seemed to turn upside down, and she remembered smashing into the tree trunk, as everything went black.

Gasping and covered with sour-smelling sweat, the woman who had been that little girl worked on taking even deep breaths. As the brutal grip of her memory slowly released, Amanda stepped back into her grown-up reality.

She had been only seven years old when she had learned that wallowing in sorrow or despair did not get her anywhere. The sole survivor of a mistaken and unwarranted attack had left her damaged and orphaned. For many years, she had moved through a fog of physical pain and grief, lost and isolated in the grip of an institution that had never wanted an alien child.

The day that she was informed she was considered an adult and must immediately leave her home of eleven years, Amanda had made a decision. She could curl up and die, allowing failure and destruction to define her life, or she could choose to move forward.

Remembering her mother’s smile, and the warmth of her father’s embrace, Amanda stroked the bedraggled six-legged teddy bear with its ratty fur and pulled the threadbare quilt over her mangled legs. Smiling, the young woman focused on valuing every moment of her life, refusing to let the bad things last in her thoughts.

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