The following are a series of drabbles that I’ve written over the past few months. They’re mostly separate but follow along a tiny plot thread of a few oc’s I’ve made.
Wait. Something is different this time.
Is it? It’s been a while
Well we have not been writing for quite some time. It appears the muscle is a bit rusty, Trickster
Yeah, it has been. It’s a bit harder isnt it?
The mind is fractured, but the flesh is willing
What does that even mean?
I am unsure, I do believe it means the last story is done for now.
Will we ever return to it?
Only the fates can tell.
Sis, We literally control the narrative
We do not. We present the characters with situations and problems, drama and flair. And with that, they provide reactions, feelings and warmth
But dont we control them?
Well it is not that simple
It seems pretty fucking simple to me.
I suppose so, But the environment is different, the story changed, the mood is strange and I cannot seem to reach our last characters.
What? So quiet? Nothing to say dear Trickster?
I just dont think I like this? Did charity get to the narrative?
Charity left our story and moved to another one. She is no longer in this one. I cannot say what she has done. That story seems to have come to a halt as well.
Well then, now what?
Now we think, we live, We attempt to thrive. And escape from that wretched man.
Wasn’t he in the other story as well?
The Kagemiro that assaults us in this station is entirely different from the one that assaults us in the later parts of our canonical existence.
Furthermore it appears that We have a new story to tell,
You think so?
I know so Dear Trickster
Madelin looked up at her girlfriend, eyes filled with curiosity and wonder. The events of that winter had come and gone and while she was glad it was over, sometimes she missed the sense of purpose it had given her.
Ahlee looked over at Madelin, her eyes sparkling. Ahlee’s eyes were one of her favorite things about Ahlee. They were always bright and when they looked at her it sent shivers down her spine. She looked away, trying to hide the blush on her cheeks
“What did you want for dinner tonight?”
Ahlee thought for a second before responding. Her girlfriend had always been an amazing chef and would surprise her with an experiment or something along the lines. Sometimes it was bad, other times it was good, but she had never asked before.
“Well, the winter is starting to die down but it’s still a little nippy. Plus, you haven’t made curry in a while. Hmm. I think Curry.”
Madelin nodded. She was feeling in a bit of a creative slump lately. Normally she could come up with something herself but tonight felt different. She felt different. She hadn’t been able to summon the Phoenix or speak to it ever since the conductor and Malignance had been sealed away. She was grateful, But was always worried about the influence of her father. She hadn’t heard from him in the past two months, but to be honest she didn’t mind. She ran a hand over a bruise on her neck. It was still healing. Living with Ahlee and Emilia was everything she wanted. She felt safe and cared for. She felt alive. But knowing that he was only a neighborhood away… she could feel his hands, feel the burning, feel the burning. For a brief second she felt herself pulled back there,
Ahlee noticed Madelin’s silence and stopped on the sidewalk and looked down at Madelin.
“Maddy, Is something wrong?”
Maddy shook herself out of her stupor, “just a flashback.”
Ahlee stopped and put a hand on Madelin’s face, pulling her into a kiss. “You should go see the counselor at your college. I’m sure they can help.”
Madelin smiled after the kiss and shook her head, “I’ve already done that. They think I should go see a real mental health professional. Like a therapist or a psychologist. And I haven’t exactly had the best experience with them. And considering the fact that he’s a therapist well. They know each other, and most of them know who I am. I just… Not right now. I cant go back to one this soon. What if he comes after me?”
“Then he’ll go through me. As I’ve told you before Maddy, I’ll protect you. I promise.”
Madelin nods. “Right.”
Ahlee tugs at her girlfriend’s hand, “come on. Let’s go home.”
“Hey, Oh-1 can you hand me that wrench?”
A rather tall dark skinned woman stood at a work bench. a silver cybernetic arm sat on the bench, unpowered. She sighed and wiped a bead of sweat off her face with her right hand, looking at the metal stump that was her left arm. From behind her a grey-skinned robot handed her a wrench.
“You know that you could ask me to help you with that if you wanted, Effie.”
Effie turned back and shot Oh-1 a look, “Honey, I know you think you’re good with cybernetics, but I’ve got this.”
Oh-1 leaned against the workbench next to her, “At least make yourself a second arm so you can do repairs on this one without straining yourself.”
Effie shook her head, “Limitations breed creativity my dear. I just need to figure out how to fix this with my good arm.”
Oh-1 popped off their hand and handed it to Effie. She refused.
“It’s not even compatible, dork”
Oh-1 scoffed and rolled his eyes, “nerd.”
Effie blushed and looked back down at her arm. The damage done from the attack on the bookstore was dire but she did have a spare.
She looked out the window of her apartment and sighed, “I miss him oh-1”
“Lucky managed to return Effie. Maybe he will too.”
Effie looked down at her arm and then turned to get one of her spare arms, “Yeah. Maybe.”
Madlin’s fingers traced over Ahlee’s hand as the two of them sat in bed. With a heavy sigh, ahlee leaned against Madlin and rested her head on madlin’s.
“Love?” Ahlee’s voice had something else to it, a tone of something that Madlin didn’t like. Madlin moved her head and lightly scratched her girlfriend’s face.
“What is it love?”
Ahlee squeezed madlin’s hand tight, “Do I seem happy to you?”
Madlin pushed herself up the bed, maneuvering her head to meet ahlee’s eyes.
“People who are happy don’t ask question dear.”
Ahlee smirked and kissed Madlin’s forehead, “I just feel… sad.”
Madlin squeezed her partner’s hand back, “What about?”
Ahlee cocked her head and leaned back against her bed, “I guess… Just the way things are. The way life has gone. You know I’m trans and stuff and that’s cool and you’re cool with it and so are our friends but sometimes I think about my family and my little sister who’s way smarter than I ever will be and how my parents basically refuse to let her visit anymore after last summer. And I just. She has what I never will. She has them. I want them.”
Madlin leaned up and bumped her head against Ahlee’s, “Dear, Parents are overrated. You’ve met my dad.”
“Okay but what about your mom’s? What about them? They’re cool right? Or were cool?”
Madlin felt worry wash over her, “I mean. Maybe. I lost them when I was eight to that accident. But that doesn’t really matter now does it. Where ever they are I can’t really follow and maybe it’s not a good idea anyways. Maybe I’ll never really know them Maybe they would have hated you! Maybe maybe maybe but none of it really matters. They’re not here and they never will be.”
For some reason that didn’t make ahlee feel any better, “But what about holidays? What about christmas. My mom would have loved you but now Its impossible to have any real relationship with my parents because of… well they don’t ‘agree’ with my life decisions. They don’t like my life decisions. Which is bullshit.”
Madlin frowned, she placed a hand on ahlee’s shoulder and opened her mouth to speak. Words failed her. She closed her mouth and wrapped her arms around ahlee, pulling her into a tight hug.
Ahlee felt herself loosen up and she hugged her partner back, “I love you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for believing in me.”
Madlin nestled herself in Ahlee’s arms, “of course. I love you forever.”
Claws flicked against a screen rapidly, filling the room around Madelin with the sounds of Mobile haptic feedback and taking an otherwise silent Sunday night with the sound of angry typing. Curses and words not fit for a Christian Manga echoed from the kitchen as a girl with no cooking skills attempted to chop carrots.
There was a familiar noise that came from the kitchen that almost shook her out of her moment of hyper focus. The noise came again and she looked up to see her partner staring at her, the noise came again, “Madelin, Are… you okay?”
She blinked and looked down at the rant she was typing, and then back at her partner, “I… no.”
Ahlee bit her lip, “You looked really focused there for a second. It took me a bit to get your attention. What’s going on?”
Madelin set down her phone and closed the social media app, “its this… comic. That I loved. For now about 8 years of my life.”
“Oh the one about the kids that play a game?”
Madelin nodded, “yeah. The sequel one had this write on it that was a devil like me and she had kinda the same family problems and trauma and brain stuff just like me. And I REALLY liked her writing and thought it was really cool. And it was nice to see someone with my own life experience at the wheel creating stuff that I really liked. But… she started getting harassed because… I don’t know! A lot of it was made up and a lot of it was weird and strange and then they just kept going and there was a lot of it made up of anti-devil folks and today she announced that she’s resigned from her position. She’s left and I just-” tears welled up at the corners of her eyes, “it wasn’t that she was a role model, it was that she was someone who had gotten somewhere that was like me. It was someone who had been able to get somewhere in their life and she was like me and I thought if she could do it, then I could too! I could do it. I could do that and now-”
“You feel like this means you can’t do it either?”
Madelin shook her head, “no it’s not that. People got mad at her for… accidentally unleashing hellfire in a public setting because she got into an argument with someone. And like a lot of this is like what I do sometime, the hellfire that bursts out when I get angry and lose control for a little bit.”
Ahlee sat down and placed a hand on her partner’s head, “you feel like the same thing will happen to you?”
Madelin nodded and wrapped her arms around her knees and began rocking herself back and forth, “yeah. You know how I feel about being a public facing Devilkin. But it’s the only thing I’m good at and I have to have something of a social platform to get anywhere, with the creative stuff I’m good at and I just feel… lost. Like it doesn’t matter. Like no matter what I do I’m just another devil who shouldn’t go anywhere with what I’m good at because it won’t be enough. It won’t be good enough. It makes me scared to make things that aren’t private, it makes me terrified that every single step I make is on this glass walkway with millions of eyes on me and every single one of those people has a hammer. “
Ahlee frowned and pulled Madelin into a hug, “I know what you mean. Sometimes I think about telling people that I’m trans but I’m scared how they’ll react.”
Madelin leaned against Ahlee and closed her eyes, “I wish I didn’t have to monetize my work. I wish everything I did didn’t have to be profitable. Like imagine if money didn’t exist. Suddenly all that problematic art that people have made that you have to pay to see, No need, you can see it without worrying about supporting someone who’s hellphobic or racist or just is a shithead who harasses kids.”
Ahlee chuckled and ran her fingers through Madelin’s hair, “Well I think I can trust that you’re never going to be like that right?”
Madelin gave a weak smile and leaned up, pecking her partner on the lips, “yeah. I love you.”
Ahlee placed her thumb on Madelin’s cheek and pulled her into a soft kiss, “I love you too darling”
“There’s a sort of expectation that comes from saying “I’m a writer.” There’s this need to have published something, to have written something important. To have tossed words out onto a screen that form meaning through the arcane symbols we have decided make up words. There’s a weight that comes with the word writer, there’s a burden one must bear when they finally claim the word Author as a minority. Your work must be subversive, it must challenge authority and carry the life of those who you will never know inside of it’s pages.
But to cast this burden upon all who create seems useless. Why ask the pillared men of marble and stone to speak for those that can speak for themselves. Because those higher than us don’t listen to us when we speak? They claim to cling to you and ally themselves with your cause until you dare speak foul of their name. At which point was it even useful to have them to begin with? If they only seek to be there until they are asked to do something they were never your ally to begin with.
These gods on high are praised the moment they bring crumbs to those who seek. They offer hollow Platitudes upon your stained red flesh just begging for the right to live. The Queer woman must verbally undress themselves, present their trauma, their pain, their repression and package it in a digestible package for retweets and likes so that our pain may be validated. So that our existence is “Valid.”
We must dress up our words into broken truths and proper wording for some hollow content for your eyes. The never ending pressure of creating is maddening when all I want is to make the girls kiss.”
The clacking of keys echoed around the room. A single woman in a star filled dress that looked like it could hold the cosmo’s itself typed away in what could only be described as a fit of rage. Her bright red hair tinted white at the edges swayed with her fury and passion. Her bright red eyes glinted in the light of a bright white screen that was far too hard on the eyes. A brief knock on the door broke her out of her reverie and she felt herself forcibly pulled back from her rage high. She blinked at the door. The knock came again.
“Madame Conductor? Are you alright in there?”
Right. The outside world flowed back to her. She was in her office. She was the owner of the Celestial Railroad bookstore. Right. She wasn’t just a blogger.
“Come in!,” she called out.
She quickly readjusted her hair and pushed her circular rimmed glasses back up her nose. The door opened and she was soon greeted by a face with short curly brown hair and bright green eyes staring back.
The Conductor Smiled, “Ahlee Vespin. A bit late for you. Come have a seat,” she closed her laptop, “How can I help you.”
Ahlee made her way to one of the chairs in front of The Conductor’s desk, “I could be saying the same for you. I was just helping out with inventory and finished up a bit. And you know there’s always the open door policy and I had something that was troubling me at that moment so I thought I’d just pop right in and come in for a quick chat you know. Just me to you. Friend to friend I suppose.”
The conductor gave Ahlee a warm smile and nodded, “Yes of course. You can come to me for anything. Can’t guarantee I can answer but you never know.”
Ahlee nodded and stayed silent for a moment, opening and closing her mouth as if searching for the right words, “Conductor are… You happy?”
The question caught The conductor off guard, she cocked her head and leaned back in her chair, “What do you mean?”
Ahlee didn’t meet her eyes, “I mean it as it is. Are you happy? You’ve got a successful business, you can provide adequately for your employees and everyone else around here. You seem to live here so I guess you have a house that you can make rent on, I’m not sure if you have family that you can reach out to and I don’t know if you have any friends but you seem to get along with all of us rather well. So I can’t imagine you don’t have friends outside the job right. You don’t just spend all your days inside the Bookstore do you?”
The conductor sat in silence for a spell and bit her lip. She met Ahlee’s eyes for a second before she looked away, “happiness isn’t a thing you are Ahlee. It’s an emotion. A feeling. You’re not angry all the time are you?”
Ahlee rubbed the back of her neck and looked at the ceiling, “I guess not no.”
“Exactly. It’s just a thing that washes over you like embarrassment or nervousness. Overall I’d say that the emotion I feel a lot of the time is Anger to be perfectly honest. As for friends? I can’t exactly say I do. I don’t really get out much. I just stick to my bookstore. Who needs friends when you’re all so wonderful?”
Ahlee looked back up at the conductor. Their eyes met for exactly 3 seconds. She immediately looked away, “that sounds kinda sad.”
The conductor looked confused, “how so?”
Ahlee tilted her head back and forth, “well. You stay in this room all day, and you… do whatever it is you do here I imagine? What is it that you do in here?”
The conductor looked down at her laptop and remembered the poetry she was writing, “finances and… Business stuff. Don’t you worry your pretty little head on it.”
Ahlee raised an eyebrow, “Right.” Skepticism painted her face.
The conductor tried to change the subject, “Why do you ask, anyways? This isn’t like you.”
Ahlee shrunk in her seat, “it’s just. I feel stuck. Working at the cafe is nice and all, but is that all I’m ever going to be good for? Making lattes and coffee? I wanna do something with myself but it’s so hard to figure out what. Like I’m not smart enough to go to college and I’m not really pretty enough to be a model, my hands lock up when I try and do music and art is out of the question. How did you even get to where you are today?”
The conductor shrugged and stood up to pull the blinds up on her window, “I wrote a book. That’s it really.”
Ahlee released a heavy sigh, “that’s it? You wrote a book?”
The conductor stared out the window and up at the starry night sky, the light pollution of the small town of Paladentia was just small enough to let the night sky look absolutely gorgeous. The rift in the sky glistened with an otherworldly light, “Mostly. It’s a bit more complicated than that. I did many things that lead to this but you could say the reason I’m here is for one specific action. I wrote a book, and I saved a handful of lives.”
Ahlee stared in abject confusion, “can I read this book? Will it help me find something?”
The Conductor looked down at the floor and then back up, “Maybe. There’s only one copy in this store and I don’t think I even know where it is.”
“Can’t you just order more?”
The Conductor gave a slight chuckle, “no, this is a special book. And it was years ago. I don’t think I could even contact the original publishing company. But, it was successful enough that I’ve been well off for the rest of my life. I may or may not still be with the original friends who stuck with me then but-” The conductor paused.
Ahlee jumped in, “Friends? Who were they?”
The conductor shook her head, fighting back tears “Just some people. They don’t matter anymore.”
Ahlee felt nervous, “bad friend break up?”
She laughed and wiped a tear from her eyes, “You could say that. I thought they were my best friends. I got into an argument with one of them. They were married so the other took her side. I grew frustrated and yelled at them. But to be honest, I wouldn’t take them back even if they came dragging themselves back to me.”
The Conductor looked down at her hands as tears fell, “Oh. So I am. Funny thing that.”
“You miss them don’t you?”
The conductor turned back to Ahlee, “I suppose you could say that yes. It’s more that I miss what they represented. Sometimes it feels like everything in my social life has crumbled to pieces because of a single choice I made. And I don’t know if I regret that or not.”
Ahlee chuckled, “yeah. I get what you mean. My parents disowned me when I came out.”
The conductor turned around and slammed her hands down on her desk, “And what a shame! Look at just what a wonderful daughter they’re missing out on! Why if I could give them a piece of my mind.”
Ahlee blushed a nodded, “You don’t have to do that. I just wish they would care more. But they don’t. Getting a letter from someone they don’t know won’t help.”
The Conductor sighed and she nodded, “Too true. You should be getting home Ahlee, I imagine Madelin’s worried sick about you.”
Ahlee chuckled and nodded, standing up and moving to the door, “Thanks Conductor.”
Her hand wrapped around the doorknob and she walked out,
“Oh, and Ahlee? One more thing.”
She turned around, “What?”
The Conductor smiled, “Call me Alice.”
Ahlee smiled back, “Thank you Alice.”
The door shut and Connie sighed as she sat back down in and pulled her laptop open. She tried to muster up the fury from before but it just wasn’t there. With a wave of her hand she pulled open a drawer with a single book in it.
She pulled it out and ran a hand over the cover. The Bardening, Written By Alice Wyles. She flipped open to a page and a single tear fell onto it’s pages.
Quickly shutting it she slipped it back into her desk and turned a key.
Madelin paced back and forth in the hallway of her girlfriend’s small two bedroom apartment. Her partner was working late. She couldn’t sleep. She ran a hand through her hair and sighed, staring at her phone. It was one am. She should have been home at 11.
Her phone rang. Madelin darted to the table and picked it up without looking, “ahlee? Holy shit ahlee you had me worried sick, where are-”
“Madelin. You picked up.”
Madelin froze where she stood. She pulled her phone away from her ear and stared at her phone. Three letters stared back at her. Three horrible letters that she wish she couldn’t have ever seen again.
“It’s been a while daughter, I thought you might have missed me.”
“You never call. Why did you call me?”
“I just wanted to check in with my lovely daughter. Can’t an old man check in?”
“No. You never call. Why now.” Madelin was shaking.
“Come on, I care about you ya know, it’s empty-”
“Now now, don’t be rude. I love you.”
“No you don’t”
“I do. Don’t you know everything I’ve done for you? I let you stay in my home”
“Let me? I’m your daughter. That should be a given.”
“So many parents throw their kids out.”
“And? You don’t get a fucking trophy just because you were slightly less shitty than everyone else.”
“Oh sure, you’re one to talk. Language only matters when you’re not in power. Nice double standard.” Madelin balled up her hands into a fist.
There was a sigh from the other line, “you know I’m trying”
“I wish you wouldn’t. How many times do I have to tell you. I don’t want to hear from you. I never want to see you. I don’t want you here and I never will.”
Silence from the other line then, “How’s your girlfriend.”
“IF YOU DID SOMETHING TO HER, I SWEAR THERE WON’T BE ANYTHING STOPPING ME FROM-” Madelin felt flames jump from her fingertips. She took a deep breath and held it, “go fuck yourself.” She quickly balled her hand up and unclenched it.
“Lords of hell, I didn’t know I raised a brat did I?”
Madelin took another breath, her body shaking. The flames jumped again. She pulled a key off the hook, pocketed it, and then walked out the door and outside, “what do you think you’re doing?”
“Trying to win my daughter back,”
Madelin wanted to scream, she wanted to yell. She wanted to let it all out and let him have it, She wouldn’t give him that pleasure, “goodbye.” There was a sound of protest from the other line before she clicked hang up. She walked out into a small clearing with black charred grass and a burned tree next to it. Standing in the center, she took a deep breath, and screamed.
A dim light illuminated Ahlee’s face as she stared at her phone. Her walk home had been quiet and she was hoping Madelin was still up. She had sent a few texts her way but no response and it had been 15 minutes. Maybe the Condu- Alice was wrong. But she wasn’t ever wrong was she? Ahlee squeezed her phone. She had a bad feeling in her chest. Putting her phone back into her pocket, she picked up her pace.
She was probably fine right? She was probably just asleep and nothing was wrong. That’s it. Nothing was-
She froze. The scent of smoke colored the air and a small trail bled into the sky around her. Ahlee ran. Her heart pounded in her chest as she felt herself swallow a massive lump in her throat. She fumbled for a small raven pendant around her neck and leapt into the air. With a single word ethereal raven wings spread out behind her and she took to the skies towards a pillar of smoke.
Ahlee touched down just as the wings began to disappear and she ran towards the smell of smoke. The crackling of flames guided her as she skidded to a stop. Madelin lay face down in the grass, fire crackling around the circle. Ahlee rushed in, pushing through a wall of flames and scooping her up into her arms. Her flesh was burning hot. Ahlee was used to this. She shook her girlfriend.
“Madelin. Maddy, wake up.”
Her body twitched in her hands
“Maddy it’s me. Ahlee. You’re okay. I miss you. You’re safe now.” She squeezed her partner tight and put an ear to her neck.
“I was just running late. You’re fine you’re-”
Her eyes fell on Madelin’s charred and now broken phone, Madelin began to come to.
Ahlee felt a wave of relief wash over her as the fire began to die down.
“Ahlee?” Her eyes flickered open, the darkness in them beginning to part.
Ahlee smiled back at her and grinned, “yeah. It’s me! Your Ahlee. I’ve got you.”
Madelin gave a weak smile as Ahlee stood up and walked them up to the apartment.
“What happened love?”
Madelin curled up in Ahlee’s arms and groaned, “My dad called.”
Ahlee sighed and squeezed her girlfriend, “And you answered.”
Madelin’s face scrunched up in shame, “I thought it was you. I didn’t look and I thought something had happened to you.”
Ahlee set all four feet eleven inches of her partner down and ran her hands through her hair, lingering on the tiny devil horns, “I’m sorry. I should have told you. I stayed out a little late to help with inventory and then talked to the Conductor afterwards.”
“I missed you.”
“I missed you too.”
“What were you talking with the conductor about?”
Ahlee opened the door to their apartment and shrugged, “I asked her if she was happy and then we started talking about other things and she opened up a little to me.”
Madelin laughed, “hold up, she actually opened up to you.”
Ahlee nodded and closed the door behind the two of them, “yeah, get this, Conductor isn’t even her real name.”
“What is it???”
“I don’t think I should say. It seems… private?”
“Yeah. Something about it just feels wrong saying out loud.”
“Huh. There was always something mystical about her I guess.”
“You gonna be okay Maddy?”
Madelin nodded, “Only if you snuggle me tight.”
Ahlee chuckled and tugged Madelin’s hand, “Well you gotta get in bed with me then love.”
Madelin nodded, shedding her slightly charred clothing and then getting into her nightgown. Ahlee followed her lead and the two nestled together in bed.