February 25th, 2013

Elf

Wedding Planning

I wrote this to aldersprig's 11th prompt "When Fashions have to change to suit (ha) the world."  (I think the connection may be a little tenuous.)

“Why are we doing this?” Stella stared at the calendar planner in frustration.

“Because this is how we do getting married and to show all the people who do business with your father that he can afford to do these thing properly.” Her mother pencilled in another date, this one ‘rehearsal dinner.’

“Fine, Dad can afford all this,” Stella went on, “but the people I want as guests can’t afford all this time and travel. This isn’t the home world where you hop on the metro and go 700k for a few credits without thinking about it. Everyone’s got responsibilities and no-one could afford the fuel for all these trips into town.”

“The people your father deals with are here in town.” Her mother dismissed the objection with a wave of her hand.

“My friends and David’s friends aren’t in town,” Stella said firmly. She looked at the calendar again. “This kitchen tea thing a month before the wedding has to go, that’s the weekend of the house raising.”

“But you don’t need to be there for that!”

“Oh, I’m going to let David’s brothers and my brothers and their friends put my house together without being there to make sure they don’t do something stupid?”

“You have a point,” her mother conceded. “Now what about the next weekend, in the afternoon before the hen’s party?”

“If it’s mainly your friends then yes, but the hen’s party and the bucks’ night are going to be two nights before the wedding so everyone only has to make one trip into town.” Stella added, “Forty-eight hours should be enough time to get David back from anywhere they might pack him off to.” A thought occurred to her, “How would your friends for the kitchen tea feel about painting walls?”

“Have the kitchen tea in your new kitchen, you mean? Her mother thought then said, “That could work.”

“If I get all the ceilings done beforehand and your friends could get just one coat on all the internal walls, that would be a real help,” Stella clarified.

“So,” her mother plied the eraser on the calendar and rescribbled things in, “house raising, kitchen tea, weekend off, then hens’ party/bucks’ night, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and wedding in three days starting the following Friday?”

“Yes,” Stella nodded firmly.

“So, now we have a time line dear, what are you going to wear?”

Elf

What Monsters Fear

I wrote this to aldersprig's 12th prompt "The darkness we didn't expect."

We expected the monsters, we’d sent them here, after all. We expected the monsters to be pissed off that we’d followed them, or to be pleased that we’d come so they’d have victims again. We didn’t expect a warning buoy in orbit above the planet with a list of precautions. We didn’t expect the reception committee we got, but it had been easy to forget that some of the monsters look just like us.

Coglan and Caruso were the first we lost. They went out to scout the northwest sector and never came back. Caruso in particular had been dismissive of the precautions the monsters warned us were necessary for our own safety. The trouble was, the monsters didn’t explain the danger, not clearly.

They’d brought us inside their stronghold but not to hold us as prisoners, because they made it clear that we could go anywhere we liked, during daylight. The catch was that, if you stayed out after dark, you could never come back inside. Ever. We saw them do that to one of their own children.

We hadn’t expected the monsters to have kids, they’d been pretty vicious to ours, but they cherished these and this kid in his teens didn’t come home from the forest one night. His mother, one of the Huntresses, was distraught. He turned up outside the gates after sunrise, but before the sun had hit the ground, and claimed he was okay, that he’d spent the night in a tree. They turned him away, told him that if what he said was true then he knew enough to make himself a safe place – outside their boundaries. The other kids weren’t allowed out into the forest until they were certain he’d moved on. His mother was a pillar of walking grief, but she didn’t object, and no-one told us why.

Now I know why. The precautions they gave us weren’t complete. It should have included “Don’t go into deep valleys where the sun doesn’t shine.” That’s where we found Coglan and Caruso, or rather where they found us.

Coglan took out Tyrrell from behind and broke his neck. Caruso caught Findlay, put his face up to hers and something black oozed out of his mouth and nose into hers. Then Coglan caught me, but he only tied me up, he didn’t do the black stuff thing. Then they ate Tyrrell while they looked at me with their solid black eyes. I can’t help wondering if I’m still alive because they like their meat fresh…

It’ll be sundown soon. Help!