Story snippets!

Chatterbox: Inkwell

Story snippets!

Story snippets!

What's up y'all, Star here! After getting some interest on my birthday thread, I've decided to start posting parts of my work back up on the CB. Some of you older CBers have seen my novel, and those characters will be featured heavily in my short stories. But if you haven't read it, no worries! I'll always provide a quick explanation of the background and characters before I post something. Depending on the popularity, about half of the stuff I post will be from my re-written novel (more info can be found on the super-long reply to Kitten on my birthday thread), and the other half will be short stories, some related to my novel and some not. (I also have some short screenplays, though I won't post those unless I get a special request from someone to read them, since they have a weird format.) I thought I'd start with the short stories, and give you guys a chance to put in some input! I have three short stories to pick from, and I'd like you to vote on which one you'd like me to post first. I'll post increments every Tuesday and Friday, since all of my work is handwritten and I need to have time to type it up (which I hate doing, hence the staggered updates). Here are the options as they stand now:

1. "Crow's Coffee"; A fully completed short story featuring never before seen characters, Angel and Roman. It's a coffee-shop romance with a magical twist! Genre: romance; trigger warnings: someone gets beat up (there is also a gun in that scene, though it is never used), a sexist boss, and there's also a kiss or two. (I'm calling it a trigger warning, but all of my work is appropriate for the CB. I'm just letting you know what's in it that people may not like.)

2. "Pirates"; An unfinished AU of my novel where Zoey is a mermaid, and the Eagles are a pirate ship crew, captained by Sterling. Genre: action/adventure; trigger warnings: unfinished, but so far the most daring thing is someone gets treated for a stab wound, Zoey transforms into a human without clothing on (and there is an ensuing search for an appropriately sized pair of pants, though again, everything is CB-rated. There is just a mention of her lack of clothing before someone gives her a coat).  

3. "Kismet"; an unfinished red-string soulmate modern day AU (wow adjectives) featuring Feroc and Tyrian. The official-ish synopsis is "Feroc and Tyrian are trying to find their mysterious soulmates by following the red string of fate. The catch? Feroc's colorblind." Genre: romance (though more like comedy if I'm being honest); trigger warnings: unfinished (like. really unfinished), the main relationship is between two guys (though all of my stories feature LGBTQ+ characters, so you probably shouldn't read any of them if you're not a fan), and someone will probably get beat up eventually, but I haven't written it yet.

Uh, yeah! Those are the short stories. Tell me which one you'd like to see! I'll tally up the votes in three days (so on Friday of this week) and then post the first section of the selected short story. Once the story is finished (or once I run out of content, or when I feel like it) I'll also post bits from my re-written novel. I'll include background for those, but probably not for the short stories (or screenplays, but again, those are only by request). Hopefully I covered everything, but feel free to ask if you have any questions!


submitted by Starseeker, age on hiatus, y'all can call me Star
(July 14, 2020 - 10:14 pm)

Wow, this was really good! It definitely seemed to change genre partway through, which I was kinda glad about. I love circle endings too! 

Um... does Tonya have a backstory and appearance? 

submitted by DoodleGirl , age 13, Earth
(August 18, 2020 - 3:14 pm)

That was so good!  I absolutely loved that story, Starseeker. At the beginning, I wasn't super thrilled about it, not because of your writing (which is is amazing) but because of the premise of the thing. I'm not a huge fan of plotless romantic stories, which was what Crow's Coffee seemed like at first, but WOW! It is so much more than that, and it was incredible.

I'm a little sad that you aren't going to be posting from Kismet, but I understand your position, I've felt the same way often enough. Do you think you will be posting the rewrite of Kismet later?

Also, for the Q&A: What gave you the idea for Crow's Coffee? 

submitted by PygmyOwl
(August 18, 2020 - 11:57 am)

First of all, thank you so much for your awesome comments! I got more on this chapter than I think I’ve gotten on any individual chapter before. I love hearing your thoughts, so always feel free to speak up! Second of all, if you noticed a little something weird with Tuesday’s trigger warning, it’s because my original warning was changed by one of the Admins to better fit the guidelines of the CB. The word I originally used was changed to “potion” throughout the entire story, which if I’m being honest, fits the magical vibe a little better anyway. I didn’t know if any of you were wondering why I provided a trigger warning for potions, so I thought I’d clarify. (No hard feelings though! Like I said, I thought the changes made it fit better with the magical aspects of the story, and I trust the Admins’ judgement.) Today’s update is going to be a little different than normal; for one, I’m actually typing this up Wednesday night, since Friday is definitely going to be busy for me. Second of all, after this note, I’m going to post the epilogue, then reply to your comments, then answer the Q&A questions, and finally post the three short story nominees. I wanted to post the epilogue first so that if that’s all you came for, you don’t have to go through a whole long post to find it. (I mean, I hope you read the whole thing, but no hard feelings if you don’t! It’s definitely going to be a long one.) Without further ado… the epilogue!


Epilogue— Three Months Later

“Roman! Tonya! We’re going to be late!” I call. Tonya bounces around the corner, wearing a bright pink bikini and a giant pair of white sunglasses.

“Can’t be late to your own vacation!” She chirps.

Roman rolls his eyes as he, too, comes around the corner, but in a more modest pair of swim trunks and an old t-shirt. He plants a quick kiss on the top of my head, then grabs the stack of stuff Tonya left by the front door and heads out to the car. Tonya grabs my hand and tugs me out after him.

“C’mon, c’mon, let’s go!” She singsongs, hopping into the backseat of her Jeep. Roman takes the driver’s seat and I sit next to him in the passenger seat.

“You seem more excited about this than the girl this is actually for,” Roman says to Tonya, rolling his eyes theatrically.

“I am excited to go to the beach. I’m just not sure that my new job at the Department of Magical Affairs deserves this kind of celebration. I’m only an office worker,” I reply.

“For now,” Tonya interjects.

“For now,” I agree. After the video we made went viral, an investigation into Pierre LaFranca’s business was made, just as we planned. The testimony I provided about his discrimination, as well as the evidence Roman and Tonya discovered about his involvement in the potion ring, was enough to get Mr. LaFranca into court. Before the trial even began, dozens of women from LaFranca United offices all over the world started quitting their jobs, refusing to work for a company that doesn’t respect them. My phone has been blowing up with well-wisher’s messages— and Christine Rivera tells me that before she quit, too, she saw that Mr. LaFranca’s phone was also blowing up, but with less friendly messages. When the day of the trial came, a thousand people gathered on the courthouse steps to cheer me on. A thousand! I don’t even know half that many. With my story and the physical evidence of my attack, plus testimonies from Emmira about my injuries, Christine Rivera about my promotion, and the stories of the dozens of women who had been similarly discriminated against and even threatened, we were able to land Mr. LaFranca in jail for a year. That gave Roman and Tonya enough time to find irrefutable evidence of the drug ring operating within LaFranca United. Mr. LaFranca’s sentence was extended to a life sentence, and his cronies, including Jared and Jean-Briault, are also facing serious charges. They may be able to pay their way out eventually, but in the meantime, LaFranca United has removed Mr. LaFranca as CEO indefinitely. I heard that they’re flying someone in from New York to take his place. LaFranca United also offered me an official apology and a new, better job— better even than the promotion I’d been hoping for. But I turned them down. Roman and Tonya helped me get a job at the Department of Magical Affairs instead. I’m just an office worker now, but I hope I get the chance to become an agent soon. I joined LaFranca United to make a difference in the world— and I have, just not the one I was working towards. I think I can help a lot of people by working at the Department of Magical Affairs, whether it be as an office worker or an agent. Speaking of agents, Roman and I are still together, and our relationship is stronger than ever. Now we don’t have to hide it behind false names and death threats. We can just be Angel and Roman.

“Angel girl!” Roman says, and I lift my head from the window. “We’re here.”

Tonya and I help him unload our stuff and spread the towels out on top of the sand. Tonya skips down to the water, but Roman stays behind to help me put on sunscreen.

“Hey Angel girl?” He asks me suddenly.


“Now that Mr. LaFranca’s in jail and you’re working with the Department of Magical Affairs— is it all over?”

“The unpleasantness is all over,” I reply, taking his hand. “But we are just beginning.”



There it is, y’all! Oh man, I really got to love these characters through rewriting and editing this story. I already have plans for them to make a cameo in Kismet, though, so it’s not the end forever. I might write a spin-off about Angel’s new life in the DMA, including some magical hijinks as well as romance, because I’m a sucker for true love. I hope you all enjoyed Angel’s journey! Now, to reply to some comments…

@NoOneKnows, THANK YOU!! :D I’m so happy you liked the story that much! 

@Peregrine, I hope the epilogue lives up to your expectations! It’s super cool that we share a similar writing style. I might upload a picture of one of the pages of the handwritten version, just to show y’all how crazy my mind is with all the rewrites.

@Hawthorne, thank you so much for the compliment! :D

@Quill, first of all, I really want a cannoli now. I can’t say for certain that I’ve ever actually had one in my life but they look really tasty!! I hope you like the upcoming stories as much as you liked this one!

@DG, yeah lol I can never stick to one genre. I also tend to center my stories around acts of violence, which is, first of all, an unfortunate trait to have, and second of all, makes it difficult to write romance since violence isn’t romantic. In this case, Angel’s attack is the act of violence; Kismet also centers around an act of violence, as does Rain, how they met, You Are My Sunshine, Superhero Shorts, this is the end, and Pirates. That’s… actually all the stories I’m going to post on here, minus my rewritten novel portions (which now that I think about it, also center on violence. Dang.). 

@PygmyOwl, like I just mentioned to DG, I can never stick to just one genre. (The only exception to that is a series of short plays I wrote which are all one genre each, but that’s different.) And… I might post Kismet??? I’m honestly going back and forth on that. I’m going to cover it in the Q&A because it’s such an issue at this point.


Q&A TIME! Who asked the question will be in italics, the question will be in bold, and the answer will just be normal font.


From Peregrine: Did your mom ever become an astronaut? She, sadly, did not. She was an accountant, and she also worked for Sprint for a time before stopping to raise my sister and I. She works for a local nonprofit now. Even though she didn’t become an astronaut, she loves space, and she’s passed that love on to me! Hence my name and my tentative future plans to become an astrophysicist/aerospace engineer/NASA employee. 

From Hawthorne: Do you plan out the whole story in your head before writing it down, or do you just start writing and see where it takes you? First of all, that’s an excellent question. I sort of do both? I plan out a big, dramatic moment that I work the story towards (usually the “moment of violence” I referenced in my reply to DoodleGirl earlier; in this case, Angel’s attack) and then I let the characters guide where the story goes. So I sort of have a rough outline in my head, but it’s very flexible. My rewrite of Kismet is the first time I’ve ever really tried to plan out a story chapter-for-chapter, but even then it’s a flexible outline.

From Quill: What does Angel look like? Haha, well, that’s also an excellent question.  When I was first writing this, I pictured her more like me— light brown hair, blue eyes— but her name also brings up a mental image of blonde hair, so I’m very torn. If I had to pick, I’d say straight or slightly wavy dark blonde hair that’s usually slicked into a French twist for work; light blue eyes; and pale-ish skin. She’s not paper-white, but she’s not tan, either. She usually wears sensible high heels, a pencil skirt, and a button-up blouse or blazer for work; or a cute, trendy outfit on her own time. She’s pretty much average height but the heels give her a few extra inches. She’s pretty slim and not very curvy, with long fingers and long legs. She’s a runner.

From Quill: What is Roman’s backstory? How did he become an agent? What was his past like? I actually hadn’t thought about this before, but it’s very interesting. I imagine him growing up in an unprivileged neighborhood. He probably has siblings, definitely a sister. (Though, every character I’ve written recently has an older sister— Angel does, Zoey does, now Roman does too— I blame my own older sister for making such an impact on my life. I love her, though. <3) He’s very protective, so I bet he has a younger brother. Roman does have strong magical abilities, so he could have been drafted into the DMA to be an agent; I’d like to imagine that he signed himself up, though. He has a good heart and he’d want to make the world a better place, so what better way to do that than to “stop the bad guys”? He might have also joined to better protect his younger brother; like his brother was bullied for having weak abilities, and Roman would always protect him. Roman might have joined the DMA to make the world better for people like his brother. (I have no idea if this is a good answer or not; I’m kind of thinking on my feet, and I feel like there’s not just one right answer to these character questions. I always try to leave my characters a little ambiguous so that everyone can see something of themselves in the character.)

From DoodleGirl: Does Tonya have a backstory and appearance? In the notebook where I handwrote the original story, I actually have a little doodle (haha, name puns) of Tonya. Originally*, she had pale, freckled skin, and curly red/brown/dyed hair pulled into a messy ponytail/bun. She wears a lot of brightly colored/patterned shirts, which match her loud personality. She’s pretty fit and muscled, since she does do a lot of active, physical work for the DMA. She’s also on the shorter side, and she’s curvy and thick. She wears daring eye make-up, and despite doing physical work for her job, she loves pretty things and bright colors. (*I’m torn on her appearance— I don’t want all my characters except for Roman to be white, but I also don’t want to create forced diversity. I don’t know. If y’all imagine her a little differently, I’m all for it! The most important thing about Tonya is her personality, not her looks.) As for backstory… well, to be honest, I never gave her one. I’d imagine that at the beginning of the potion cartel mission, she got partnered up with Roman for the first time, and they quickly became friends due to her infectious (wrong word to use during a quarantine, maybe?) personality. She proudly third-wheels Roman and Angel (as evidenced by her involvement in the epilogue) and will tell anyone who listens that she was responsible for them getting together. She’s very loyal and easy to talk to, so she probably has lots of friends; I don’t imagine her having a family though, not because of some tragic accident or anything, but because she’s determined to keep them safe and away from her dangerous job.

From PygmyOwl: What gave you the idea for Crow’s Coffee? Well, I actually read a little writing prompt (or was it a news story?) online about a girl who’s lactose intolerant and always orders an almond milk latte from the cute barista, but the cafe doesn’t have almond milk, so she has to drink soy milk all the time. But then one day the cafe suddenly has almond milk, and she finds out that the cute barista bought almond milk with his own money just for her because she always tries to order it and she hates soy. I thought it was a very cute prompt (news story?) and I wanted to take my own spin on it. The magical abilities thing comes from… well, a lot of places, really. I can’t point to anything in particular, though the magic identification badges that I talked about in the intro to the story (and then literally never referenced again within the plot, oof) are inspired by military pins, though. Like the kind on decorated veterans, the ones that are a bunch of different colored rectangles and squares that all fit together? I don’t know what it’s called, and the internet isn’t helping, so I’ll just draw it and add it to the drawings at the bottom of this post. As for the whole agent plot twist thing… I don’t even remember at this point. I think that was an example of my plot outline being “flexible” like I was talking about sometime near the top of this post. Fun fact, Crow’s Coffee (originally titled Fallen Angel) was written in about 3 days during bouts of insomnia at 1 a.m. It’s like the shortest amount of time I’ve ever taken to write a full story. But it also means that I have very little idea why I did what I did, since I was half asleep for a lot of it.

From PygmyOwl: Are you going to be posting the rewrite of Kismet? …yes. I think. I’m going to talk a lot about Kismet real fast, since it’s definitely my most controversial story. The original was rushed and I felt like I was at a dead end. Now, I’m trying to rewrite it. For the first time ever (like, first time in my entire life), I’m planning a story out chapter-by-chapter. That means that so far*, they are actually ending up shorter than my usual chapters (about 1-2 pages; Crow’s Coffee was about 3-4). It’s really not going as horribly as it could me, though I’ll admit I’m a bit at a loss as for how to fill in the gaps between events. *I have recently injured my hip, somehow, despite really never doing anything that could possibly injure it. I always sit weirdly, either cross-legged or just having my feet up off the floor, but I can’t do that any more because it hurts. The only place I can actually sit without it hurting is at my desk, which means that I’m now spending long amounts of time sitting down with nothing to do except write! Basically what I’m going for here is that I wasn’t originally going to rewrite Kismet for a long time, but now that I’m confined, I’ve already started the rewrite. I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to post it or even present it as an option, since I always like to build up a backlog of chapters before I post any of them in case I can’t write something in time for the next update, and I only have 2 chapters of Kismet so far. You might be saying, “But Star! You have like 3 weeks until school starts! That’s plenty of time to write a short story!” To which I would tell you that you are right. But I also know myself and my work ethic. So… *shrug* Might be enough time, might not be. I’ve already written like 7 pages just trying to get this post typed up, so I’m definitely capable, but it’s whether I will actually stop procrastinating and actually do it that’s the question. Kismet also contains themes of homophobia (the “moment of violence”), gender identity, and some words and phrases that I’d have to edit out for the CB. It was originally intended for my irl friend who has a significantly different sense of humor. (I mean, I already do edit my stories to make them CB-ready, but I digress.) With that being said… Kismet will not be one of the nominees for the upcoming short story. I just don’t have enough written to start posting it. It will be posted soon, just not now. That does, however, bring us to the end of our Q&A, and into the nominees for the next short story!

#1: "Pirates"; An unfinished AU of my novel where Zoey is a mermaid, and the Eagles are a pirate ship crew, captained by Sterling. Genre: action/adventure; trigger warnings: unfinished (but only a few chapters from the end), but so far the most daring thing is someone gets treated for a stab wound, Zoey transforms into a human without clothing on (and there is an ensuing search for an appropriately sized pair of pants, though again, everything is CB-rated. There is just a mention of her lack of clothing before someone gives her a coat).  (Did I just copy/paste that from the original post? Yes, yes I did. It’s the same story.)

#2: “Rain”; a completed one-shot short story that is one of the alternate endings to the original novel’s sequel. It basically centers around Zoey dying. It is, however, well-written and has a beautiful circular ending. Genre: tragedy; trigger warnings: main character death; violence (they are, in fact, in a war); in case you didn’t already see, this is a tragedy, which means it’s going to be sad.

#3: “Chills”; a completed one-shot play that I wrote for a local theatre. Genre: horror; trigger warnings: it’s written in a play format instead of a typical short story; although it is more psychological than physical horror, it is still frightening.


Alright, those are the three short stories to choose from! If you’re thinking that those are some odd choices, you are, in fact, correct. I went though all my short stories, and of those, three of them were tragedies (and I didn’t want to make you pick between more than one tragedy at a time), two were unfinished/unedited (and I need more time for those), and that left those three. All of them have their checks and balances; Rain and Chills are a little “out there”, but they’re both one-shots, so they’ll be done and posted in one week. Whichever two don’t win will return in the next vote to run up against another short story, so if the one you wanted isn’t selected, don’t worry! Hopefully posting one of these will give me some extra time to build up a buffer of chapters for Kismet and also fill in some of the gaps for the other short story I need some time for. (It’s one of my personal favorites, and I’m very excited to post it once it’s CB-worthy!) If worse comes to worse, I can also just post a chapter or two from my rewritten novel to stall for time, lol. Anyways, I think that just about wraps up this horribly long post (sorry Admins). As always, stay safe and stay healthy! <3


(P.S. I think somewhere in there I mentioned drawings, but I haven't actualy drawn them yet, so I'll post them later.) 

submitted by Starseeker-FriUpdate, age on hiatus, y'all can call me Star
(August 20, 2020 - 10:50 pm)

Yay!! I loved the epilogue ('but we are just the beginning' is so adorable), and it was so interesting to read everything from the Q&A! I'm torn between "Rain" and "Chills", but I'm going to vote "Rain"!

(Side note, cannolis are so good, I also want one now!) 

submitted by Quill, 8
(August 23, 2020 - 2:16 pm)

I loved the circular ending, and that h u g e plot twist at the end! It's interesting to see that you write in a similar method to me (aside from the whole writing-a-short-story-in-3-days-or-even-3-weeks thing... that's way faster than I could manage at my current pace!). It's oddly fun to torture your characters, isn't it? (Although obviously torturing people is horrible IRL!)

I had a hard time deciding between these next three options, but ultimately I had to go with Chills. I ruled out Rain because I don't think I could deal with Zoey dying, even if it's an alternate ending, and then between the last two, Chills just sounded a bit more intriguing.

submitted by Kitten, Daydreaming
(August 23, 2020 - 4:31 pm)

My vote is for Rain!

submitted by DoodleGirl , age 13 , Earth
(August 23, 2020 - 4:53 pm)

great work Star, that was excellent <3

submitted by My vote's for Chills, ~Heroes the Fancy Kiwi
(August 24, 2020 - 10:46 am)

Yay! I loved this so much! I expected it to be great, and it really, really was. My vote would have to be for Rain!

submitted by Summer, age tau, Nowhere at all
(August 24, 2020 - 9:43 pm)

I think I would go for Rain, they all sound great, but Rain has the best title, and that is what I turn to when my indecisiveness is just too bad.

submitted by PygmyOwl
(August 25, 2020 - 1:09 pm)

The votes are in! As it stands right now, the tally is:

Pirates: 0 (RIP)

Rain: 4

Chills: 2

So as you can see, Rain is the winner! This is very exciting and rather unexpected. I didn't know if any of my tragedy pieces would even be chosen, ever, because they're sad and not everyone likes a sad story. To be honest, I expected Pirates to win because it almost won last time. But you can see how that turned out. XD (For the record, I'm not offended if one of the stories gets no votes. It's more funny to me than anything. If a story consistently scores one or less votes, though, I'll probably take it out of the running, since why make it an option if nobody wants to read it?) Anyways, on to greener pastures.

The good thing about Rain is that it's a one-shot! It's a bit longer than my Crow's Coffee chapters (6 pages instead of 4), but it's definitely one-shot length. I'll post an intro to the world and the situation in this post, and then put the main story, as well as the poll for the next story, in Friday's update.



This story takes place in the same world as my original novel, Take Wing/This Dark Night. It features all the same characters and all the same relationships, just farther along. Rain, if it were actually canon, would take place pretty much near the end of the second book timewise. But it's more of an angsty side story than an actual canon event. (It could have been canon at one point, but I'm too much of a hopeless romantic.) At the end of the first book, Zoey is stolen away from her friends and taken to Lydianzaa, the island of the mythical winged women known as the Elites. She is experimented on and brainwashed into being the perfect puppet ("the Wraith"), and becomes the second-in-command of the Elites through her missions and training. Rain takes place once the Eagles-- Sterling, Jasak, Feroc, and the like-- have gotten Zoey back and broken her brainwashing so that she remembers who she is. The Eagles have also reclaimed Sterling and Zoey's childhood home, the Griffon royal castle. Zoey is being kept in the dungeons of the castle for her own safety and peace of mind, while the Eagles and their allies are fighting the final battle.

Sterling and Zoey both have magic, but Sterling's is like a single drop in the ocean compared to Zoey. Feroc and Tyrian have accidentally adopted a child. Jasak and Zoey are dating. Feroc and Zoey have become best friends (MAN I MISS WRITING THEIR BROMANCE, LOOK OUT KISMET).

Rain just goes farther into Jasak's head than Take Wing/This Dark Night ever got a chance to, since it's written from his first-person perspective. Fun fact, the character of Jasak is actually Vyolette's AE, Trevor! Trevor was shipped with Zoey (as my AE) right here on the CB, and Vy gave me permission to put him into my novel as well. She came up with the name Jasak, and he's been there ever since. 


Alright! The actual story will be posted this Friday, as well as a Q&A and the voting for the next story. If you have any questions about the situation or the characters that you'd like answered, feel free to post them between now and Friday; otherwise, I'll see you in a few days!


submitted by Starseeker-TueUpdate, age on hiatus, y'all can call me Star
(August 25, 2020 - 7:42 pm)

I think my only question is... how does one "accidentally" adopt a child??

submitted by Kitten, Daydreaming
(August 27, 2020 - 7:42 pm)

What's up y'all, Star here! Welcome to the super-duper-long Friday update. I'll start off with addressing comments, then post the story, then open a Q&A as well as the voting for the next story!

@Kitten, that's... actually a very good question. So, I was re-reading through Rain as I was editing it this week, and there's this little throw-away line about Feroc's kid. It's just something I added at the time to carry on Feroc and Ty's legacy-- if you remember, in the character epilogue post I put at the end of my original novel, Feroc and Ty have become public speakers/self defense instructors and eventually give their public speaking role over to a young trans woman. That woman is the child referenced in the story. And I said that they "accidentally" adopted a child because her very existence was due to an accidental, throwaway line. As for the actual backstory of where she came from, she was the only survivor of one of the burned villages. Ty's great with kids, and nobody would ever mess with someone that Feroc is looking after (plus Ty and Feroc are a package deal anyway), so they were given custody of the child until they found someone else to take care of her. But then she ended up growing on them, and they unofficially adopted her. So that's also how one "accidentally" adopts a kid.

Now, without further ado... Rain! *I might recommend reading through the intro in the last post again, just so that you know what you're getting into. Trigger Warnings: Violence (including broken bones, vomiting, and fighting friends); heavy angst 


Around us, the world rains.

“Jasak, I don’t think we can do this much longer,” Sterling pants. She attempts to wipe the blood off her sword, but there’s just so much of it. So much blood, so much killing, just… so much. Too much.

We’re losing, bad. Even I know it.

I survey the battlefield, wondering how many of our friends won’t be coming home tonight. An idea strikes me suddenly, and I know it’s occurred to Sterling too, because she says, “Jasak…”

“No,” I say firmly. 

“This could be our last stand,” Sterling says grimly.

“And it would almost certainly be hers, Ster! I can’t let her do this.”

Sterling scoffs a laugh. “We don’t ‘let’ her do anything, Jasak. She could be out of that cell in a second and we all know it.”

“I don’t… I don’t think I could stand losing her again,” I admit, the rain coursing down my face. I can’t look Sterling in the eye.

Sterling surveys me, and her gaze softens. “Jasak, if we don’t do this, we’ll lose everyone and everything we’ve ever worked for. Everything.”

“The risks—“ I argue.

“Make sure she knows the risks before making a decision,” Sterling says. “I’m sorry, Jasak.” She closes her eyes and waves her fingers, and in a blink, I’m back at the castle, in front of her cell. We tried to put her in a room, but… she insisted.

She lifts her head at my sudden arrival.

“Hello, Jasak,” she says quietly.

“Hello, Zoey,” I answer.

“It’s not going well, is it?” She asks me.

I shake my head.

“You wouldn’t be here, otherwise,” she continues. “Sterling sent you here.”

I nod mutely. Zoey laughs softly. “She’s always had a head for strategy, my sister. She knows what needs to be done and who needs to do it. Do you, Jasak?” She drifts to the front of her cell in that strange, graceful way she has now.

I meet her eyes. “Yes. But… I’m not… I’m not sure I can.”

Zoey nods slowly. “That’s okay. I just need you to let me out, then I can do all the rest.” 

I grip the bars of her cell desperately. “Don’t you know what this means? If you go out there—“

“I won’t come back,” Zoey finishes, wrapping her hands around mine. “Yes, Jasak, I know.”

“You know— and you’re still going through with it?” I ask her, my voice breaking.

“I have to,” she says simply. “I’ve done so many terrible things with this body. This is the only way to make up for that.”

“No, it isn’t! There has to be another way. There’s always another way!” I beg her.

She squeezes my hands. “If we don’t win this war, there’ll never even be a chance for another way,” she tells me gently. “Please, Jasak. Let me do this. Let me save you, one last time.” She raises a hand and tips my chin down to look at her. “Please.”

A tear slides down my face. “Okay.”

She exhales. “Thank you, Jasak. Will you— will you be the one?”

I nod slowly. Then I step back from her and shakily grab the keys to her cell from their peg on the wall. I unlock the door slowly, and it clicks open. Zoey steps out and I embrace her tightly. Finally she steps back.

“Goodbye, Jasak,” she says softly. I grab her arm.

“Wait— Zoey, take me with you.”

She hesitates. “Jasak, I don’t… I don’t want you to see this.”

“Please, Zoey. Don’t take our last moments together away from me.”

She nods, finally. “Okay, Jasak. Okay. Hold on tight.”

She lifts me in her arms easily, so unlike the delicate girl I once knew. Then she stretches out her wings, the feathers rippling and changing until she easily has a twenty foot wingspan.

“We’re flying there?” I ask. 

Zoey nods. “I always wanted to take you on a flight around the city. This is the closest we’ll ever get, I suppose.”

I wrap my arms around her neck in answer.

Zoey crouches, then launches off the ground with a massive push. We hurtle straight towards the ceiling, but she reaches out with her magic and blasts a hole straight through to the open air. We shoot through it and towards the battlefield. Zoey glances back at the hole in the castle.

“Oops,” she says cheekily, and I laugh. For a moment, it’s just like it used to be— me and her. Together. Uncomplicated. But then we’re landing in the mud on the edge of the field with a wet squelch.

“Where’s Sterling?” Zoey asks, but then a second later, she squints. “Never mind, I found her.” In a flash, Sterling is standing next to us. She looks bewildered for a second, but then her eyes fall on Zoey.

“I heard y’all were in need of some assistance,” Zoey says dryly.

Sterling lets out a sob and rushes forward, clutching Zoey to herself in a tight hug. Zoey holds her just as tightly.

“Sterling,” Zoey says, her voice breaking, “Will you— will you bury me next to our parents?”

Sterling whispers. “I promise. Claws, Zo— I promise.”

Zoey squeezes her one more time, then steps back and turns to face me. “Will you…” she stops and takes a breath. “Will you tell Feroc that he’s the best friend I’ve ever had? And that I would have loved to have been his child’s godmother.”

Tears fill my eyes again. “I will, Zo.”

“And—“ she gulps down another breath. “And I love you, forever and always. And I wish we could have had more time together.” A tear finally makes its way out of her eyes.

“I love you too,” I whisper.

She gulps back a sob and takes a step back. “You two— don’t be afraid to be happy, okay? After— after everything. Don’t let me hold you back.” She takes another step backwards. “I love you both, so, so much. Please don’t ever forget that.” She takes one more step back, then closes her eyes and holds her hands out at her sides. A swarm of dark smoke gathers around her fingers, a menacing inversion of her former powers. Then the smoke swirls down her arms and across her body. It solidifies and crystallizes, turning into sleek black armor and a billowing black cape. 

It’s the outfit of the Wraith, except— instead of a hideous mask on her face, it’s a black crown.

And in that moment, I understand. She isn’t just saving us— she’s saving herself, reclaiming the powers and identity that made her do such awful things. She lifts her chin and meets my eyes, and in them, I see understanding reflected back at me.

“See you on the other side,” she says, and then she’s gone.

Sterling sinks to her knees, but I scan the battlefield. I want to— I need to— to see her. Even if this is the end.

And then, in a flash of lightning and a curl of smoke, she reappears. With her wings and armor, she looks like an angel of death, hovering over the battlefield.

She raises a hand, and the sky begins to darken. Tendrils of black power stretch out of her hands and up into the roiling clouds, creating a swirling storm that covers the entire sky.

I suck in a breath. Holy claws. I knew she was powerful, but this… this is beyond what any mortal should be able to do.

I am no longer a mortal, a voice whispers in my mind. A voice that sounds like Zoey’s. I have been reMade.

Even though she may not be mortal, this is still taking a toll on her. Her whole body is shaking with the effort of keeping the vortex together, and still the smoke gathers around her. Even the rain is pulled in by her, collecting in the spiral before it even touches the ground.

“This is too much,” Sterling whispers. “She’ll kill herself.”

“She never intended to leave this field alive, Ster,” I answer. “And you brought her here, knowing that.”

Sterling remains silent, watching beside me.

The swirling storm keeps growing and growing, and now there are flickers of silver lightning running through it, too. The people fighting have begun noticing as well— shouts and screams ring out, and some people try to flee, like they know what’s coming.

But they’re too late. In a massive flash, the vortex explodes outward, expanding across the battlefield, covering it in a shroud of darkness so thick I can’t even see Sterling beside me. But then the cloud clears, as suddenly as it appeared.

Sterling gasps. “Did she…”

“She did,” I confirm. For all across the battlefield, the enemy soldiers have been turned to stone— black, hazy stone, shot through with veins of silver lightning.

“She really did,” I repeat. Tears come to my eyes. “Oh claws,” I sob. “She— it’s over. She’s gone.”

Feroc comes running up to us. “Was that— Zoey?” He asks. “I only saw a glimpse of her before the smoke settled, but who else could it have been, right? Claws, she’s amazing. I’ll have to thank her. Where is she?”

I close my eyes, swaying unsteadily on my feet. My heart feels like it’s stuck in a vise, squeezing and squeezing and—

I open my eyes. “She’s dead,” I hear a voice say. When Feroc looks at me, I realize that that voice was my own.

Feroc’s face whitens. “Dead? What do you… Sterling?”

But Sterling can only look at him, tears mixed with rain dripping down her face.

Feroc stumbles back a few steps. “Oh… oh claws. Claws. She… she was supposed to be safe in the castle! What… what—“

“We would have lost without her, Feroc!” Sterling screams. “We all would have been dead.”

“She wanted me to tell you that you were the best friend she’d ever had,” I break in. “She— she wanted you to know that.”

Feroc turns to me, a frantic look in his eye. “You saw her?” He says quietly. “You saw her, and you didn’t stop her?”

I just look at him blankly.

Feroc’s face twists with rage. “I’ll kill you!” He roars, and runs at me, throwing me to the ground. “She’s dead— because of you! Because of you!” He screams, throwing wild punches at my face. One of them connects with my nose, and I hear a crunch as it breaks. It takes six of our burliest Eagles to pull him off me.

Maylene’s face appears above mine, filled with concern. “Let me help you up, Jasak. Get some of those wounds healed.” I let her pull me to my feet, but I flinch away before she can heal me.

“Feroc’s right,” I say dully. “This is all my fault. I let her out of her cell. I brought her here. I deserve this.” I touch my broken nose, feeling the bones crack and shift. I know it should hurt, but… it doesn’t. I can’t feel anything. I’m just… heavy. I push my nose again and hear it squelch. Sterling vomits in the mud. Feroc is on his knees now, openly sobbing.

A small voice clears its throat. All of us gathered look up to find Tyrian, holding something in his arms.

“I was there when she— when she fell,” Ty says, his voice breaking. “And I thought you all might want to— want to—“ he shifts on his feet, and the thing in his arms shifts too, a head rolling forward on a limp neck.

Not just any head— Zoey’s head. Oh claws, he’s holding Zoey’s body.

Sterling vomits in the mud again.

I stagger forward as Tyrian lays her carefully in the mud. I fall to my knees by her side, lifting up her torso and laying it in my lap. I cradle her head in my hands, her sightless eyes staring upward. And I know— I know, then, that there’s nothing we can do. That’s she’s gone. I lower my head and weep.

And around us, the world rains.


That's... that's that, y'all. It might be one of the best things I've ever written, even if it is very heavy and gritty. It was interesting, trying to find ways to space out and speed up the dialogue and descriptions to get the reader into the scene. Plus, it's all told from Jasak's POV, who reacts differently to situations and has different thoughts than Zoey. It's definitely one of the more challenging pieces I've written, but I like it nonetheless. I'm a sucker for the main-character-giving-the-ultimate-sacrifice trope, which was the whole point of this one-shot. However, I'm also too much of a sucker for happy endings, which is why this isn't a truly canon scene. I'm working some more self-sacrifice into the rewritten novel (spoiler alert? nah) and finding a balance is difficult. I'm pretty sure I wrote most of this in about an hour, around midnight, soon after the guy I'd had a crush on for a year (and also went on a date with!) turned out to be a massive jerk. It gave me lots of angsty feelings to write with, though, so at least he was good for one thing! When life gives you lemons, turn them into hyper-angsty short stories about death and destruction. 

To be honest, I could have easily posted this in the last update, but I was procrastinating because I'm nervous about what you guys will think about it. It's very different than anything I've ever posted before. 

Anyway! Q&A! Any questions about this story? It's only a one-shot, so there's not too much to ask about, I'd imagine. But you could ask about character appearances, more about the Wraith persona... honestly, I don't know what you could ask about necessarily, but if you wanna ask something, go right ahead!

Also, the nominees for the upcoming short story are...

#1: Pirates! I'm sure by now you all know the story, but if you don't: An unfinished AU of my novel where Zoey is a mermaid, and the Eagles are a pirate ship crew, captained by Sterling. Genre: action/adventure; trigger warnings: unfinished, but so far the most daring thing is someone gets treated for a stab wound, Zoey transforms into a human without clothing on (and there is an ensuing search for an appropriately sized pair of pants, though again, everything is CB-rated. There is just a mention of her lack of clothing before someone gives her a coat).  

#2: Chills! a completed one-shot play that I wrote for a local theatre, featuring a girl in an asylum and her hallucinations. Genre: horror; trigger warnings: it’s written in a play format instead of a typical short story; although it is more psychological than physical horror, it is still frightening.

#3: this is the end! A one-shot short story that I'm actually looking for some feedback on to see if I should expand it into a longer story. It's not urgent, so don't let that sway your decision. The teaser line is "What if the hero... isn't as heroic as you thought?" Basically, it's the story of the 12-year-old "Chosen One"'s final showdown with the "big bad villain". Genre: tragedy? Ish? Sort of comedic, too. It's nothing like Rain; trigger warnings: there is a gun, and a little bit of violence.

Um, yeah! Next post will be up on Tuesday, with the announcement of the next short story and the answers to the Q&A. Stay safe and healthy, y'all! <3


submitted by Starseeker-FriUpdate, age on hiatus, y'all can call me Star
(August 28, 2020 - 4:55 pm)

This actually almost made me cry, even though I haven't even read about your characters before! Although I'm definitely a crier when it comes to books/movies. The "When life gives you lemons" part made me laugh out loud!

hmm, this is a hard one. I think I'll vote for Pirates this time. 

submitted by DoodleGirl, age 13 , Earth
(August 29, 2020 - 9:49 am)

Wow. I agree with DoodleGirl (was it Doodlegirl?)-- this almost made me cry! It's just so sad-- Zoey-- ahhh...

I think I'd rather have something a bit longer for the next story, rahter than a one-shot, so my vote goes to Pirates.

submitted by Kitten, Daydreaming
(August 29, 2020 - 12:34 pm)

Forget about almost, this actually made me cry! It's so incredibly well written, and so sad. As for questions, what was the canon ending?

I think my vote this time goes to Pirates!

submitted by Quill
(August 29, 2020 - 4:46 pm)