Friday Snippet #29

The fog is descending upon the houses outside my window. And it’s freezing cold. I don’t think Nero and I will go for a walk after all. Good news is my desk faces a big window. Also, it’s my mom’s birthday today. Have a wonderful 70th birthday, Mom. Love you.

From X:

“I was worried for you.” Julius moved the few steps from the wall to the bed and then sat on its edge, without coming any closer to her.

It wasn’t right. Touching for them was a necessity regulated by guide-and-guided code of conduct. Allegra felt his warmth and longed to reach out and take his hand, but she didn’t, which only increased the awkwardness. “Thank you.” Her voice came out too low.

But he had heard. “Of course.”

Of course he’s worried about me? Or what? “Couldn’t you sleep?”

“No. Do you mind if I stay with you for a while?”

She finally outstretched her hand and found his closer than she expected. “Can you help me relax?”

“Of course.” He moved on the bed to lie side by side with her, his head on the pillow, only a few inches from hers.

It wasn’t the first time they slept on the same bed. Before exams, they used to quiz each other the whole night. Sometimes, they did it just to prove they could without being caught. A few times, Allegra had asked him, like now, if he could ease her tension. Yet, now it was different.

She felt his gentle invasion at the edge of her thoughts. Spring and singing birds. The scent of washed linens drying outside. Warm breeze playing with her hair. Her eyes closed and she let him in.

“Something’s wrong.”

Words echoed in her head.

“Wake up.”

She turned the other side.


Hands turned her over.

“Smell the air.”

The request was repeated twice before she managed to open one eye and find Julius sitting on her bed. Memories of a few hours earlier rushed in. “What’s going on?” But she had already activated her senses. “I can’t feel her.” Clarissa’s smell was gone. She inhaled deeply and then shook her head. “I can’t feel any of them.”

Friday Snippet #29

Must Post Something Today!

Pink Paradise InkedHow apropos, it is a Friday. Last week, after writing  a lengthy snippet, I didn’t publish it. Not sure why. X is now 11k and I’m still having fun with it. Maybe it will be my  first serial? Stay tuned.

From X. Allegra has just met Julius’s family and they’re now having a moment of playful respite with his two brothers and sister:

“Can I change the scenery?” Clarissa had her hands on a remote control and was already pushing buttons before one of the brothers could reply. The luminosity in the room changed and the placid sound of waves washing over pebbles came seemingly out of nowhere. “Much better.”

Allegra looked at the ceiling where lazy clouds were floating over a cerulean sky. She could have sworn a marine breeze had carried to her nostrils a tangy flavor. As if to answer her question, a seagull’s cry echoed in the distance.

“I prefer the sound of rain and a moodier setting.” Julius was looking at her.

Allegra knew because Andres who still held his brother was staring at her. She felt a strange satisfaction in the knowledge Julius was truly looking at her. It was new. And then she realized what he had just said and wished they were alone. The memory of a picnic came back to her. It had happened only a few days before the whole madness of the Malady started. The world was a different place then. Boring, always the same, never exciting. It was the end of the quarter, all the finals done, and the weather was terrible. The sun had shone through the whole time they were confined inside to study, and now was freezing and incessantly raining. Allegra felt caged and her mood was affecting both of them. After a few days of listening to her complaints, Julius had enough and organized an outing of sort. He said he wanted to go for a walk and led her to the Winter Garden. If Allegra closed her eyes, she could still hear the sound of the rain hitting the glass walls of the conservatory enclosing the Winter Garden. They had spent the whole afternoon lying on the floor on a plush carpet, their eyes to the ceiling, talking of the silliest things. To this day, the aroma of tangerines was connected to that afternoon. “Me too.”

Must Post Something Today!

Friday Snippet #25

Logbook entry #1. It’s the second day of Nanowrimo and I’m still coherent. I’ve written 4k of TCOM and then applied myself to X. All in all a successful day. Marie got branded and Allegra discovered something else about Julius she didn’t know about. Stay tuned to witness my steady descent into the abyss of nanomadness. It’s going to be fun for you. Although, I’ll let you know that both The Priest and Prince of War are nanobabies. The Priest in its entirety and Prince of War partially. Time to do some editing.

From X, just because I’ve become attached to this project.

“Here we are.” Julius sighed out loud while she looked at one of the biggest houses she had ever seen.

“How distant are you from the throne again?” She tried to be funny, but a feeling of inadequacy was settling in her heart.

“Too distant. Don’t get any ideas. I won’t let you seduce me to marry into monarchy.” He laughed, but she didn’t need his power to read auras to know he was frantic.

“You wish.” She playfully swatted his arm.

They walked toward the granite steps leading to the front door, but someone burst through it before they reached the landing.

“Julius! My baby! You made it home—” A woman in her mid-forties, long dark hair and strikingly green eyes, took Julius in her arms and didn’t let him go.

“Mom, I’m so glad you’re here. I thought you were gone too…” Julius kissed his mother on both cheeks. “Are the others…?”

The woman hugged him even tighter. “No, no, everybody’s here. When they came for us, we didn’t let them enter the house. Papa shot them away.”

Allegra felt an uncomfortable ache in her heart and stepped back to distance herself from the scene. Only then, Julius’s mother seemed to realize she was there and directed her outstretched arms toward her.

“You must be Allegra Lionhead, yes? Thank you for bringing my boy back to me.” A ferocious hug followed her words. “I’m Caterina Blanchard. Nice to finally meet my Julius’s guide. He talks so much about you.”

“Mom?” Can we go inside? We had quite a morning so far and I need to rest.” He made a tentative step toward the door.

Julius must have seen Allegra’s reaction through his mother’s eyes. It hadn’t escaped Allegra he had kept a finger on his mother’s arm the whole time the woman was talking to her. She followed them inside the house, making a mental note to ask him later why he went under his mother’s last name.

Friday Snippet #25

Friday Snippet #21

Fall in full bloom in my neck of the woods, the sun shines over reds, yellows, and oranges. To celebrate, I dyed my hair accordingly and added more purple, because there isn’t enough purple in the world. My vitamin D level to the roof, I’m experiencing a moment of exuberant creativity or maybe it’s the dye trickling down through my hair follicles. In the past, absinthe was used to reach such level of artistic nirvana. I believe in style.

From X:

Allegra lead them to the front door, stepping over the marble staircase with reverence. “I used to play with Mirko and Carina, running up and down these steps, imagining they were an astral portal.” She saw herself and her brother and sister laughing breathlessly. One deep sigh stuck between her aching heart and her throat, Allegra moved them forward toward the entrance.

“Hi.” Julius waved his free hand in a salute; he did that every time he had a glimpse of her. The wooden door, big and polished to mirror-like shine, reflected their images back to them. A tall, elegant boy, and a much shorter and diminutive girl.

Details of their faces were fuzzy, but she knew any other moment he would have accompanied the salute with a big smile. He was always happy to see her. He had just done it to make her happy now. “Hi.” She waved back at him out of habit, then freed her hand from his. “Just a sec.” She looked for the right key among the ones dangling from the ring and once she recognized it she went for the lock.

Julius gently wrapped his hand around her wrist. “Never told you, but I’ve always hoped you’d be paired with me.”

Friday Snippet #21

Friday Snippet #19

Busy editing. That’s the short sum of this past week. The longer and uncensored version is available before a cup of tea, if you’re so inclined. Otherwise, I’ll spare you boring details.

From X, because it’s still amusing me to work on it.

“Are you ever coming back?” Julius had stopped abusing the metal gate, which prompted Allegra to plunge her hand past the spider webs and look for the ring with all the keys attached. A quiet Julius was a busy Julius.

Allegra found what was looking for, gave the child another glance to ensure he was still there, was surprised he hadn’t moved at all, and went back to the entrance where she found Julius attempting to climb the gate as she had worried. “Can’t you stay a minute without me? It’s not that you aren’t used to—” She didn’t know how that accusation had slipped through her words, but a vivid image of Julius touching Sofia’s slender arm played in her mind, followed by what he had said to her afterward, “Her eyes see colors in such a different way than yours.” She had never asked him if he meant it as a compliment to Sofia or to her; the memory still put her in a foul mood, but the hurt look on his face made her immediately regret her words. “Found the keys and a child.”

He was surprised by her statement and didn’t reply to her barb. “What child?”

Allegra fumbled through the keys, she couldn’t remember which one was the gate’s, and tried several before finding the right one. “That child.” She touched his right cheek—she could have make contact with his hand as it was customary, but somehow that didn’t occur to her—and turned toward the house to give him a clear view of the porch, the bushes nearby, and a small child half hidden behind the greenery.

Friday Snippet #19

Friday Snippet #18

This week I’ve posted on time and every day. I’m feeling rightfully entitled to boast about my accomplishment.

From X:

“What are you doing?” She felt Julius’s aura pushing her anxiety away and she didn’t like it. “I told you I need to be in control.”

“Your heart rate is too elevated. You won’t be in control for long.” Sometimes, he acted without consulting her. They had huge rows about it once or twice a month.

“Not now, please.” She didn’t want to argue with him, but her sense of smell was already dimming. “You’re blinding my nose.”

“It’s okay, your olfactory power is stronger than mine anyway. You can function even at reduced capacity and still sense more than a normal human being.” He was calm as usual and forcing her to calm as well. “Yield. It’s pointless and you know it.”

She did know. It was how she had passed all her finals with flying colors. She was prone to panicking when under pressure and he couldn’t bear to feel her anxiety building. He had let her have her way only once and she had regretted it. “Just to prove a point,” he had explained to her, when calming her down after failing an important test. But someone who she thought was her father was hiding from her just meters away and she didn’t want to listen to Julius, even though she knew he was right.

“Allegra, reason.” The pressure on her arm increased, until it was uncomfortable and at that point he repeated her name.

“You won.” Allegra emptied her mind and let his aura invade hers. For the briefest moment, she saw blue circles playing behind her eyes, then a sense of calmness descended slowly on her. Wave after wave of blue light covered her until she was in control of herself once again.

“Better?” Julius massaged the spot where his fingers had left a mark on her skin.


Friday Snippet #18

Friday Snippet #17

Still writing for fun. Allegra and Julius are still wandering through Cartaghena.

From X:

The gate didn’t swing open as supposed to. She applied more pressure. “It doesn’t open.” She needed to say it out loud.

“It could mean anything.” Julius moved to her side. “Look ahead,” he instructed her.

Allegra straightened her head. “What did you see?” At first, she had been put out by the way he used her eyes better than she did, but during the years it had proved useful. “I see things through you in a different way than you do,” he had said once without explaining much. But at the first occasion he had avoided them a punishment, she had been grateful for his ability to spot details and never questioned it again. One night, they were out of their respective quarters, way past curfew—a dare from one of their classmates, and Julius saw, before Allegra noticed, their teacher’s pointy shoes emerging from the dark corner she was staring at. That split second had allowed them to run back to their rooms, none being the wiser.

“Something moved at the end of the path.”

She focused on the dark-gray gravel covering the path that went from the entrance to the stairs leading to the porch. “I see nothing.” She opened her nose then and the faintest aroma of sandalwood reached her nostrils. “Dad!” She beat at the metal bars of the gate. “Dad!”

Friday Snippet #17

Friday Snippet #16

Another week, another snippet. Still enjoying this new and surprisingly refreshing concept of writing for fun. Words just form in my mind and fingers click on the keys. Is that easy. Here it is, straight from my imagination, my weekly snippet from X:

“There’s nothing out here.” Allegra had never experienced sensorial blindness, but without her nose to direct her, she felt as if seeing with her eyes  wasn’t enough.

“What do you mean nothing?” He caressed her shoulders the way he did when she was tense.

The slow, circular motions around her scapulae combined with a calming push from his aura normally soothed her anxiety.

But not this time. “My nose doesn’t catch anything. There’s nothing out here,” she repeated, and he finally understood the entity of her words and interrupted the contact between them by removing his hand to give her some privacy. “I don’t know how I didn’t catch it earlier.”

“You were so preoccupied…”

She felt him stepping closer, but he didn’t close the final gap waiting for her to decide if she wanted to be consoled. “I should’ve sensed it immediately.” She was angry. Mere hours out of school and she had already failed.

“It’s understandable—”

“I’m responsible for your life.”

“I’ve survived for nineteen years already.” His words weren’t meant to offend her, but Allegra felt worse.

“I was thinking about my family.”
“I know and I don’t blame you for it. I’m worried for mine too.” He did close the gap this time without asking for permission and she was glad for it.

Allegra leaned on him and closed her eyes. “It won’t happen again. I promise.” She breathed in his scent, the familiar essence of Julius doing the trick to send the tears away. “You’re still here.”

He chuckled at her statement. “I’ve no intention to let go of my guide.” He had started calling her My Guide a few years back, soon after they had been paired. At the beginning it was just who she was to him and she hadn’t liked it—their differences in built and height the source of infinite jokes among their peers. Then, she had realized he was only using it in private.

Friday Snippet #16

Friday Snippet #15

Here it is, and it is still Friday here in the Pacific Northwest.

From X, my little fun project which is getting darker and darker:

With uncertain steps, her heels loudly clicking on the stones, Allegra led the way to her parents’ house, a mere fifteen minutes away from the bridge. A few people hurriedly walked through the alleys, disappearing behind darkened glass doors. She took a good look at the buildings, at first incapable of understanding what was different. Then, she saw it.

“It’s early,” Julius said, “It’s not surprising there aren’t lots of people around.” He didn’t comment on the darkened glasses.

Every single soul on Terra knew of Cartaghena’s see-through skyscrapers. It was as if the fires that had ravaged the earth had also obscured the city’s soul. It was a morbid thought and Allegra didn’t need it.

“I’m sure there’s a reason.” Again, Julius had connected his aura to hers.

“It doesn’t seem right.” Allegra let him calm her. “Thank you.”

“Anything for you.” It was his usual response, but somehow his words sounded different.

She dared looking up and Julius averted his eyes, but she caught a lingering pale blue shade flickering through his aura before he could revert to neutral once more. Longing.

Unsettled by nuances of feelings she couldn’t decipher, Allegra hurried her steps, his hand protectively splayed on her back. Although she was his eyes, in moments like these she couldn’t have walked a single step by herself.

Friday Snippet #15

Friday Snippet #14

Following last week successful experiment, this Friday snippet was written just for fun. Coincidentally, I wanted to know what Allegra and Julius were doing. I left them unattended on a running train last week.

From X:

Cartaghena the Beautiful, it was called. Allegra rejoiced at seeing it still held true. They had jumped down the train worried it wouldn’t stop long enough to let them out. The city was still there. Unwalled. Unexed. Funny how words that hadn’t existed a year ago, now were part of their vocabulary.

“Ready?” Julius took her hand in his and gently squeezed it.

“Ready.” She smiled, not wanting to show him how scared she was and knowing it was a futile attempt. She had thought she could cope with going back home, but she had been wrong. Back at the boarding school, the pupils were shown footages of their home cities to prepare them. Mostly, it was done in good faith to help them visualize what they were going to find once out of the safety of the institute. But there had been accidents. Not every mind was strong enough to accept their families were lost to the world. Unreachable behind dark walls. And that was what scared Allegra the most. The unknowing quality of waiting for the truth to reveal itself. What if there was nobody alive behind those un-climbable barricades? What if the people you loved the most were worse than dead? One look at the glass towers and she sighed in relief; the buildings were mirrored on the placid waters of three rivers insinuating through the city. Cartaghena was intact. The destruction bordering its limits a palpable reminder nothing was what it used to be, but the city had been spared. For now. How long would it take for the Malady to corrupt her city?

“To your place first.” Julius’s good nature shone bright even in times like this.

Friday Snippet #14