*Beautiful Books *The Writing So Far* Two, Not Three*

*Rises from the dead* Hello! I’m here to bless you with a sloppy post and you’re here to not judge because that’s not nice. Anyway, linking up with Beautiful Books again because again, they gave me questions. Which is nicer than most people. Please enjoy and have a nice day!

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Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

So far, so good. For the most part. I haven’t totally met the word count that I wanted to but I’m writing every day so it’s okay. I’ve only missed two days out of… five. Okay, so not so good. But like, performances for my play start tomorrow so I’m still scrambling to get ready for that. (Honestly, doing better than I thought I would.)

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

Everyone’s house bleeds with the occupants. With their thoughts, moods, feelings, memories, possessions.

The beginning of the book is narrated by Asher so basically everything sounds like this. It’s been hard to write but at the same time really fun. (He is also constantly quoting books and poems and its sooooo fun to write, you don’t even know.)

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

Honestly, probably Kell right now. She’s right really sassy but in a much different way than I usually write sass. She makes arguments that make no sense but yet bring you to agree with you and her words never really fit together correctly but you still get what she’s trying to say. She’s sometimes really witty but also completely confusing.

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-Probably Roan at some point

What do you love about your novel so far?

All of it?? No, not all of it, who am I kidding? I like the novel so far as a whole but there are certain parts I don’t love. Roan is changing a lot throughout the course of the novel and I’m not sure if it’s in the way I want. I just have to be very careful to watch if I’m staying true to his character.

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

Not many but I keep switching/forgetting/replacing names and it ends very messy and I’ll probably get to editing and lay in a puddle and cry. As I often do. xjyd

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

I think the beginning was the best to write because it was from Asher’s point of view. But the middle was also fun because Kell is just really funny sometimes and it just is extremely fun to write from her POV. She often spews lines that are nonsense but still hilarious?? Like how does she do that?? She should tech me honestly.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

Okay well, this Halloween I went trick or treating of course (As Barb from Stranger Things in case you care) and I got a bunch of candy. So usually what I’ll do is I’ll reward myself with candy about every 500 words I type. (Oh my gosh, of course I use self-control with this. How old do you think I am? Five?)

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How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

A friend and I are currently using each other to be accountability partners. (What else are friends for?? Pssh… Not for a social life, that’s for sure.) And so far it’s been super helpful. She cheers me on when I’m in a slump and checks in on me a few times a week. It’s been a new experience because I usually just have writing be a one man job. If there’s anyone you can buddy with, I highly recommend it.

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

Ummm… dying? Or maybe those playlists on Spotify based off Stranger Things Characters cause those are sickkkkkk. (Sorry guys, I talk about Stranger Things a lot. Just expect it from me from now on.) No but they’re great and sometimes this thing pops up and makes your dash look like the Upside Down, what more do you want? Look ’em up, you won’t be disappointed.

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This one is so far my favorite by the way.

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See? Upside Down Filter, pretty bomb.

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

  1. It’s okay to be a puddle. Sometimes even better than okay. Puddles are just what writer’s turn into when returning to their natural state. DOn’t worry about it, we’ve all been there.
  2. Work on characters before plot? This is more preference but I usually never plot. This time I plotted only two or three scenes of the whole novel and it worked great because I had done so much character work. My characters mostly just move on their own in my head now which is incredibly helpful. But I know some people like plot more and that’s you’re own personal choice. You do you boo.
  3. STOP EDITING! Yes! You! The person with the keyboard and sloppy first draft. (No offense to your first draft but… that’s how they all are.) Look, I know you think you’re different and you can make it through life with only one draft. You probably couldn’t be more wrong if you tried. You’re gone have to edit it so much your eyes will hate you by the end. So why don’t you just put off the part till alter and enjoy the writing part of writing. Just save the piles of editing for later. Trust me, it’s hard but it’s worth it.

Okay guys! Glad you came to my mess of a post but grab some fudge cake on the way out and have fun writing those novels! 

Bonus piece of advice #4: Make these collages because people like them and it’s reason to be on Pinterest. 

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*Beautiful Books*

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Okay so knowing me, I posted late, go me! But that’s okay. Cause today is the kick off for NaNoWriMo and it’s my first time and I’m freaking out. So yea, you should just be happy you even got a post . I’m linking up with Beautiful Books since they provide these wonderful questions and I’m forever indebted to them since I can’t come up with questions these great. (You can come collect my service whenever needed Cait. )

Also Paper Fury wrote a super helpful post on NaNo and y’all should read it. You know what, read all her posts. And her book when it comes out in June. And become her writing slaves because she deserves it. 

So! Without further adieu, let the questions begin! Enjoy learning all the new deep, dark secrets of my soon to be written novel. Comment below what ya think!

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What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea? 

This novel is a kind of back story of another novel I’ve been working on’s characters. The character’s name is Roan and while doing a challenge on this blog, I realized I wanted him to be one of three triplets. (You can read the challenge here, if you please.) I didn’t really mean for it to be anything but I fell in love with the idea of their lives and it turned into this.

Describe what your novel is about!

So it’s called Two, Not Three and it is about these three triplets as they turn 18 and finally escape foster care. They  acquire their own house and start to truly thrive in the world around them. Money is tight and limited and sometimes they fight but it’s worth it. It’s worth it because they finally can make their own decisions.

But then tragedy  creeps in the back door and pulls the tapestry of their lives apart. They scramble to recover, to piece their lives together. But as they do so, they start to wonder if they are living correctly. They start to wonder if maybe they are trying too hard. If they are dreaming a dream that’s completely impossible. It’s very emotional and hopeful interesting, I don’t know, I like it so far. Also, no love interests or anything, which is actually the way I prefer it because who has time for love when they could be doing cool stuff instead? (Certainly not me.)

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

The novel has the strong feel of the color orange throughout it. I have a couple collages for it and a lot of Pinterest photos for the whole aesthetic of it. Kinda similar to these>>>

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Introduce us to each of your characters!

The three main character are the triplets, obviously.

Roan acts as if he’s the oldest. Everything is on his shoulders, or so he feels. Throughout the whole story, he is struggling to accept everything and sees the situation as his fault. He tries take every blow for his siblings but in the end it causes him to be more vulnerable.

Kell is going to fix everything. Right away. All the way. No exceptions. She does’t see things as her fault but knows it’s her job to fix it. She will find the answer to the problem and never stop to consider if there is another one or if there is no answer at all. She has a hard time keeping priorities straight and never fixes herself because she has to fix everyone else.

Asher is the youngest, well, that’s how everyone treats him. Asher is along for the ride, watching everything that happens. Writing everything down. Or he’s in a book, his mind tracking with every syllable and letter. He wants to be an outsider to all the problems but while he’s trying to separate himself, he’s diving deeper into the mess.

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I don’t usually use an outline. I just pick an end point and a couple of ideas on how to get there. I like to drink tea or coffee or unicorn blood right before I’m writing, if I have it next to me while I’m writing I’ll forget about it. Then it will cold and who wants cold unicorn blood? (Totally kidding guys, I’m not that evil.) I do get writer’s block a ton however if I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing. Often, I’m writing the completely wrong thing that doesn’t go with the story line at all. One time I wrote like 10 pages on how one of my characters came to like a certain color. So I need to at least stay on topic occasionally. (I say occasionally so y’all don’t expect too much of me.)

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

I think I’m most excited about the characters. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking them through and giving them depth and complexity. It’ll be fun to finally see them come to life on paper.

Also super hyped about writing in Asher’s point of view. He has a really unique POV and is different than everyone else I’ve written. He thinks in book quotes and poem lines half the time so I’ll have to study up for that. (When I say study up, I mean I’ll add these quotes when I actually edit this thing)

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

The novel’s setting as only a few different locations. One of them is their house which is broken down and worn but still homey. It has this cracked white tile that for some reason makes up the whole feel of the house. Asher has hidden notes all over the house for a reason only he knows and the walls are a faded blue. Outside, plants grow wild and trees hang low over the roof. The house itself is a grey but some of it has been painted a variety of other colors.

I have feeling a lot of it is going to be set at the beach as well because of Roan’s love for it.  The beach I’m thinking of is windy, cloudy and the air thick with salt. But I’m not quite sure yet.

Asher also goes to a independent book store a couple times. He has read almost all the books there but never has the money to buy anything. The books are used and the owner sleepy but the store is alive and waiting to be discovered.

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

The goals for the triplet’s is to make their mark on the world before they die. No one is standing in their way except for the phenomenon of life itself.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

By the end of the novel, everyone is very different. They are closer together but different in the way they were before. I actually have no idea, I haven’t written it yet.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I want the reader to realize life is hard. Harder than they can imagine. But there’s always some hope in the end, that you can eventually recover.

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*Part 13* *When We Met, Hell and Heaven Collided*

Roses and Writings

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Alright guys, so, I have an annocument. This year I’m doing NaNoWriMo (Nation Novel Writing Month) and for those of you who know what that entails, you’ll understand how I will actually die and will not have the energy to rise from the dead. So… Not sure how I’ll often I’ll be able to post… So that means… We might have to take a month off of these story. I’m really sorry but that’s just how it’s going to have to be I think. I will try to squeeze one or two parts of the story in but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to. However, I think I have some other post ideas so maybe I’ll do those. Anyway, have fun reading this next post!

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If you’re new, here are the other posts. OneTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTen, Eleven , Twelve

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For a second I was scared, a scream bubbled up and it started to leap out of my throat but it turned into a squeal. A squeal because suddenly there were three tongues licking me and a set of paws pushing me down to the floor. I could barely hear Erlik yelling at the three headed dog because if a head wasn’t licking me, it was barking.

“Stop!” Erlik pulled at the ruff of the dog’s neck and looks at me, eyes wide. “It’s never done that before…”

“It?” I asked with a frown. “Does it have a gender?”

“I don’t know,” He was staring at me, like really intensely. It was driving me insane and I stopped making eye contact. He helped me up but still held the dogs. They sniffed me, pushing their noses into my palms.

“You don’t know?” I raised my brows, how does he not know?

“I never checked. Geez, calm down.” He sighed, “Technically it’s a girl but I think the middle head is a male.”

“Weird…” I pet the dog then turned to him. He stopped staring, thank the heavens. But he still looked confused.

“How are you here?” He murmured, peering at me those deep dark eyes that had to end one of these days.

“Jumped into the pit,” I said, “Smart huh?”

“No,” He shook his head, “No, no, no, no. This is really, really bad.”

“It can’t be that bad, I mean where are we?” I looked around. It was dark except for a soft red light that seemed to just fill the air without a source. It was really warm though, which is nice. It felt likes a blanket that just came out of the dryer.

“Hell. You are literally in hell,” He rubbed the back of his neck and let out a soft groan.

“Wait really?” I looked around again, “Isn’t hell supposed to be awful with dogs guarding the gates to eternal suffering or whatever?”

“Dogs,” He pointed to the three headed pup that he’s holding. It’s not scary though? Just a mutated dog? “And the gates of eternal suffering are a little down that way. Mostly for decoration though. But that doesn’t matter, what’s matters is why you’re here.”

“I didn’t want to lose you… Also, I had no clue you lived somewhere so cool.” I looked around again, it really is warm. The kind of warm that buries under your skin and stays with you for a while. Was this what he was so scared of all the time? Coming back here? And if this was really “hell” like he said it was, wouldn’t it be so much worse? This just seemed a little creepy.

“This is not cool,” He looks irritated, “You can’t leave. Well, maybe, I might have a way. It’s risky though. But your mother is probably going to want you back home and anyway, you can’t stay down here.”

“Okay, first of all,” I sigh, “You don’t get to decide for me. Second of all. My mother isn’t going to know I’ve been missing, I’ve only been gone a few hours so I can go back up once it’s time for dinner. Third of all, calm down.”

“Everything you just said was wrong,” Erlik murmured, he pulled his collar up higher. “First of all, I get to decide, I’m the decider in hell and you’re just going to have to deal. Second of all, you’re mother will definitely know you’re gone. Dying takes at least two days if not more, so she’ll have noticed by now.”

“Wait.” I stopped him. “What do you mean dying?”

“Well you jumped in the pit right?”

“Right. But, I didn’t feel any pain or-“

“You don’t, not if you jump into the pit. It’s just a gateway for me, humans aren’t supposed to go through it.”

“So what you’re saying. Is that, I’m dead… And you are too?”

“Yes.”

“Oh.”

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WELL, the next time I’ll see you, I’ll be drowning in words and pages. Yay… Wish me luck!!

 

*Part 12* *When We Met, Heaven and Hell Collided*

Roses and Writings

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Tada!!! New title!! Go me!! Also!! New graphic!! Go me again!! I kinda like it, I think it fits more, although it’s rather long. I don’t know, please enjoy this part and tell me what you think below!

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If you are new, please, please read the first parts which you can find the links to rigggggghhhhhtttt…. Here. Please and thank you, have a lovely day!!

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It was so much colder than up there. The cold seeped into your bones like a tea seeps into water. The cold burrowed so deeply into your body until you couldn’t tell what was cold and what was warmth.

It was dark down there too. The kind of darkness that caused shadows to grab a hold of you and make you afraid. I wished to go up there, to just experience a touch of light or bit of warmth.

But I couldn’t. And I most likely never will be able to. I lost that privilege. I had a job to do and I ignored it. I spent to much time up there and now I must suffer down here.

My timer sat next to me, rubbing it’s wet noses across my palm. Every time they got hungry, I got sent back here. I was their master but they still controlled me in some way. Three heads, one body, didn’t act like a monster but could be one. I didn’t have a name for it even though others did. It was just my only friend down here but on occasion my enemy. For it decided when I needed to be down here. It decided when I should being doing my job. A perfect guardian for a neglectful worker. It also helped me with my job, helping me decide. And I was forever deciding.

Deciding whether or not they deserved this. Deciding whether or not I had the heart. Usually I didn’t. And the dog would remind me what I was supposed to do.

I was just so cold. I still had my jacket. But it did nothing, the woolen lining didn’t hold any of my body heat. I didn’t know if I even had any body heat left.

I was just starting to get used to it. The cold. Sure I was still shivering and felt awful. But I was starting to come to terms with the fact that I would freeze until the end of time. But then the dog become uneasy.

It was pacing, hackles raised, nose wrinkled in a snarl. I watched it carefully, it had never acted like this. Had never acted… afraid. I stood up and bit my lip, waiting, in silence.

We waited for a long while, that dog creature and I. It pacing in so many circles that it wore a track in the ground with it’s giant paws.

Then, foot steps. Light but hurried. The dog growled, low and guttural. My hands went to the dog’s ruff, gripping it loosely. Its short hair was soft in my hands.

The foot steps were followed by a voice. Her voice. My breath caught and for a second I almost believed it was her. It couldn’t have been though. She was up there, warm and bathing in the sunlight. I had just been dreaming, been hoping too much. The dog was uneasy about something else.

“Erlik?” It sounded just like her. I still couldn’t breathe. What if it was her? What if she came all the way down here? “Erlik, where are you?”

“Who are you?” I called out, my voice shaking.

“It’s Percy, you idiot,” She sounded annoyed. I couldn’t believe it’s really her. My mouth went dry and my heart beat faster at the thought of her.  “Keep talking, it’s dark down here, I’ll follow you’re voice.”

“How- Why- How?” I couldn’t form a complete sentence.

“I jumped into the void thing in the forest,” Her tone was so matter of fact and calm, did she know where she was?

“Why?” I wanted to groan and demand she had to go back up. I was excited she was here but she was not supposed to be here. She was not supposed to be in hell. She was supposed to be up there, being sunlight and petals.

“Cause I missed you, I know it’s stupid since like…” Her voice trailed off as she comes into view. Our eyes locked and my heart was about to explode out of my chest. She grinned. And my fingers slipped off the dog’s neck. It rushed to her and I couldn’t stop it.

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Also, have an aesthetic for your troubles,

One for Percy because she’s very aesthetic. (I have a couple more of these for you to endure, don’t worry.)

*Part 11* *Soft Petals and Furious Scribblings*

Roses and Writings

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Kay guys! Big news! By Monday, I will have a new title for this since the working one does not fit at all. I’ll let you know in the next post what it is so you don’t fear out and be all confused and what not. 

Yea, I’m aware this is a few days early. Yes, I have a reason. I’m going to be on vacation for a few days over the weekend and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to post friday. So you’re welcome! Please enjoy this next part!

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If you’re new, you find each part listed below. Feel free to catch up and enjoy the rest of the story as they come out. Also, if you have already read these, it never hurts to re-read now does it? 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Part Nine

Part Ten

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I sat against the door for a while. My arms around my head. Angry tears leaking onto my jeans, creating little lakes in the denim. My shoulders shaking. I wasn’t crying for him, I told myself. I was crying because I knew I was an idiot for falling for him. When all I knew was his name. I fell for a stranger. And I was pissed.

I cried for a while. Hot angry tears that kept coming from who knows where. After a while though, whatever hidden reservoir they came from emptied and I got up from my spot. My back ached and my nose was running. I blew my nose on a paper towel and went into the bathroom to look at myself.

My eyes were red and puffy, my cheeks wet, my hair plastered to my face. I washed my face and dried myself. I sat on the bathroom counter for a moment, I needed something to do. Something to think about. Besides him. If I thought about him, I would break again. I hear my mother come in. She calls out a greeting but I don’t answer. I just wiped my nose and rinsed off my face.

“Honey!” My mom yelled, her gentle voice a song. “Are you home?”

I didn’t answer. I just opened the door slightly and walked out to the hall. I stepped lightly on my toes and started to walk out the front day.

“Persephone!” My mother called out. She sounded excited about something.

“Mom, I have to go!” I started to leave again, but she stopped me.

“I’m making your favorite for dinner, be back in time?” Her eyes were wide and open. And so, so excited. I nodded slowly.

“Yea, yea I’ll be here, what time?” I smiled, plastering it on painfully. There was a gaping hole in my chest and I was covering it up with a band-aid.

“Around seven, it’s going to take a while to make,” Her smile was so big and genuine, I tried to match and nod.

“I’ll be there, for sure,” I grabbed my sweater and slipped out the door, leaving her there smiling. I went into the woods. I knew exactly where I wanted to go.  But I didn’t know how to get there.

I entered the thick of the forest. Something was different about it, something was off. And not off in the way it used to be, off in a different way. I pauses and stares for a few minutes. Oh… oh. It was like a regular forest. It’s pretty but not too pretty. The sun shined through the trees but not to the point where it’s painful to look at. It’s dulled. Drastically. I kept walking, hoping that the place I was going to hasn’t disappeared.

After an eternity, I found it. I found the gaping hole. The hole that led to Erlik, that had to lead to him. Because if it didn’t, I didn’t know where else to find him. It was funny. I came out here to stop thinking about him but… I was now here to find him. To talk to him.

I felt the pull almost immediately. The steady hum of promise causing me to creep towards the edge. I curled my hands into fist, my nails pressing into my palms. I had to jump.

If I jump I could find him.

If I jump I could say sorry.

I could be with him.

I took a huge breath. And I stepped off the edge, letting myself succumb to the darkness.

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*Part Ten* *Soft Petals and Furious Scribblings*

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Roses and Writings

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We made it to part ten!!! Go ussss!! There’s a surprise at the bottom for you guys for making it the far. I would prefer if you read the part before going and seeing what it is but it’s not like I can force you to read it or anything, as sad as that is. Anyway, enjoy the next part and let me know what you think below!!

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If you’re behind or new or just want to re-read everything cause it’s that good you can find the other parts right…. here.

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When I came back, it took a full day to recover. It had never taken that long before. The whole day, my fingers and toes were numb and the rest of me, shivering. Uncontrollable shaking. My lips were blue and my jacket did nothing to help with the cold. It was inside of me now. The chill. At first it had just been a little bit of ice but it had taken hold of my inner self and had consumed my whole. I had managed to get warmer by sitting right next to a fire all day and late into the night. But I was still freezing, even though it was over a hundred outside.  Last time it had only taken a few minutes to warm up. Something had changed. I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to come here many more times.

I knew I looked like hell. And it was fitting. I felt like hell. My hair was flat on my head except in certain parts where it stuck up. I had gotten paler. My dark circles bigger. My worry lines deeper. My collar around my neck. I was always shivering. It was the middle of the summer and I was freezing. I never truly warmed up either, I stayed cold.

I needed to see her. Just one last time. Just once more before I had to leave once and for all. I had searched wildly for her. I couldn’t find her though. She wasn’t in the coffee shop. I still hadn’t checked the forest but… I didn’t want to be the close to the opening. If I was that close, I might go back early. Everything to do with the opening was unsteady right now. Including me.

I decided to check her house. She had told me where she lived once, as a conversation started. She was hoping I would say where I lived. I didn’t, for good reason. I walked quickly to her house. My feet catching on the sidewalk and my hands stuffed in my pockets. It was so cold. So, so cold. I got to the door and knocked on it, my numb fingers hurting from the hard wood.

It opens slowly. She peeked out, when she saw me her face morphed into a frown.

“What are you doing here?” She asked with a sharp tone. She looked worse too. She was still gorgeous but her hair was not as wild and her make up smeared.

“I need to say goodbye.” I say quickly.

“You don’t want to say hello first?” She scoffed. “Erlik, why don’t you just leave okay? Right now is not a good time.”

“I really need to say goodbye.” I repeated, rubbing my hands together.

“You know what I realized?” She still hadn’t even opened the door all the way. I could barely even see half of her face. “That you’ve never touched me. Not in any way shape or form. You’ve never given me a hug. When you hand me things, you’re extremely careful, you make sure our fingers don’t touch. And when I almost fell down that pit or whatever that was, you grabbed my sleeve, not my arm. Also, you never say my name. I’ve never heard you say it, ever. And another thing, I don’t know anything about you. Except your name. And that you hate coffee. So, I think how that I’ve realized, you’re a total stranger. And since my mom doesn’t like me talking to strangers. I think you should be on your way.”

She starts to close the door but I put my foot in it. I need to say goodbye. I need her to know that I’m leaving for good. That this will be my last chance to see her.

“Erlik, come on, let me close the door,” She growls. I can hear the hurt in her voice, raw pain that’s leaking from her heart. Pain I’ve caused. I can’t make it go away. But I can make sure I don’t cause anymore.

“Let me say goodbye. And you’ll never have to see me again,” I whispered. The cold was spreading, from my fingers to my palms. I knew my time was short, maybe only a few more minutes. Maybe less.

“I don’t want to see you ever again,” Her voice cracked and she tried to shut the door. For half a second I could’ve sworn I heard her crying.

“You won’t have to,” My throat tightens.

“Bye Erlik.” She mumbled. She didn’t mean it. She thought I would be back. That it was a joke. I felt myself falling and falling further from her and my breath caught as I struggled to say the words. Those two words. Those two words that will end it all.

“Bye Percy…” I said weakly. The name still wasn’t right on my tongue. But I used it so she would know I was serious. So she would know I’m not coming back. “Have a nice life.”

I don’t hear her response.

Because I hear a howl.

And I know my time is up.

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Yassss A Erlik collage, does it get much better? No, no it doesn’t. 

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Also, I might be doing NaNOWriMo so I might take a  semi-hiatus the month of November. I have this really amazing idea for a new novel and will spend October plotting it. I’ll most likely post it on this blog if I end up liking it. I hope you guys have a wonderful week!! See you Friday!!

*Part Nine* *Soft Petals and Furious Scribblings*

Roses and Writings

Dude. We’re almost at part ten… That’s insane. I’m almost done writing the whole thing and you guys are going to love it. Hopefully. Anyway, please enjoy. And if you’re new, you can catch up by reading parts, onetwothreefourfivesixseven, and eight. Comment below if you can, I really appreciate it!! 

***

I tried to follow him. That day when he disappeared. But I wasn’t fast enough. I wasn’t able to find him. He seemed so scared when he left, his face had gone completely white. And it wasn’t just because of how pale he was. It was because he was scared. I had been scared too, but I’m not sure why.

We had been sitting in the roots of that tree for so long and he had left right when I had asked the question. The question that was eating me alive. Where are you from? What did they do to you there? Why are you so scared? Should I be scared of you?

I had almost reached for his hand. I had almost laced our fingers together as he wove his through the grass. But I didn’t and now I’m regretting it. Maybe if I had just held him there for a little longer, he would’ve stayed. Maybe he would’ve answered my questions. I should’ve just held his callused and scarred hands. If I had held him there, he would’ve stayed.

But I didn’t and now he’s gone. He’s probably going to be gone for a while. Like last time. No use looking for him. I start walking home, the clouds roll with thunder, reflecting my mood. I bite my lip and try to calm my heart. It’s beating wildly, still recovering from when I saw Erlik last. Every time I saw him, it took a while for my heart to recover.

By the time I got home, it was almost dark. My mother greeted me with a tight hug. I didn’t hug her back, I don’t understand why she holds me so tight. I haven’t been gone long.

“Peresphone,” She murmured hugging me tighter, “Where have you been?”

“Just around mama,” I sighed, she was still hugging. Her arms wrapped around me like serpents and her breath in my ear, “Don’t worry, I haven’t been getting into trouble.”

“I’ve heard rumors about a boy, is this true?” She pulled out of the hug and held me at arm’s length, her green eyes holding mine.

“I’m sure there’s a boy somewhere in this town mama, there’s probably a lot more than one,” I shrugged, her fingers clenched around my shoulders. She wanted straight answers, no jokes.

“But is there one you’ve been spending time with?” She asked, a golden eye brow arched. The fine hairs match her waist length locks.

“Yea,” I said very plainly. I knew what’s coming next, might as well get it over with.

“You know I don’t want you making stupid mistakes?” Her voice is soft and rhythmic. I wished so much that I was seven again and she was whispering lullabies that made no sense in my ear. Not telling me how to live.

“Yes mama,” I nodded, just to play along. I knew the next line.

“And you know boys are usually stupid mistakes?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, I want you to be careful. No stupid mistakes.” She said, her voice firm and solid.

“No stupid mistakes.” I said, turning to go to my room.

“So no boy.” She added, “Please, don’t talk to the boy.”

“No.” I said. My voice came out harsh, “I will still talk to him. But I won’t make any stupid mistakes.”

“Persehpone…” Her voice is warning me.

“It’ll be fine mama. I don’t think he’s coming back anyway.” And I truly didn’t. I thought he was gone. I thought I had pushed it too far with asking him about his past, that I had driven him away.