It's Labor Day weekend here in the US, and we're all in the end of summer mode that the holiday implies.
To help chase away the doldrums, how about a sale?
All day Sunday, August 31 and Monday, September 1, you can take 20% off all purchases at Torquere Press and at Prizm Books by using code "laborday14" at checkout.
Don't forget to check out the free reads there as well, and get a copy of Please Don't Feed the Alligators, a collection of fun short fiction from a great groups of authors.
- Morwen Navarre
- I've been writing since I could first hold a pencil, and by all accounts I didn't limit myself to paper. Walls, tablecloths and the occasional sibling were all fair game, and it shouldn't be surprising to learn that markers were banned in my home with all due haste. Although I now content myself with inconveniencing electrons, the desire to bring the stories in my mind to life hasn't waned. In my spare time, I read, putter in the kitchen, and relax on my terrace, weather permitting, with my corgi who strives to be part muse, part food disposal. I'm also addicted to coffee and have a close relationship with my Keurig.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
It's been a while, so let me offer a short story for your amusement...
All rights reserved by the author, and unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
"What have you found?"
He looked up, a bit of cobweb caught in his hair. His eyes were narrowed against the relentless sun that reached into the stone alcove. "I'm not sure. A bit of pottery, but it's impossible to say where it's from until I find more."
She knelt beside him, as awkward as a colt. It had not always been that way, and the memory of a dancer's grace made his heart ache for a moment. He placed the scrap in her hand, his fingers dusted with sand. He watched her turn the shard over, her thin fingers still deft.
"The glaze is beautiful." She stroked the scrap with one finger. "It reminds me of something."
"You bought me tea cups in that color," he replied, feeling his lips pull up into a smile. "To replace a broken tea cup."
"I don't remember that." She looked up, tentative, and then smiled when she saw his smile.
He touched her cheek, feeling the dryness of her skin. It used to feel like silk under his fingers. "It doesn't matter. It's a little thing. I just remembered because I always liked the color."
"Indigo. It reminded me of your eyes." She sounded uncertain, as if she was trying to convince herself of something. "Do you still have them?"
"They're in our kitchen, yes. Back home." He stood and offered her a hand. "Let's take a break for the day. It's late enough, and we can watch the sunset while we eat something."
She let him help her to her feet, her hand cool despite the heat. "It's just soup."
He pulled her close to him, his arms around her. She had never been more than a slip of a thing, but she felt even more fragile now. He tilted her face up to look into her eyes.
"Soup is fine," he told her. "I wasn't expecting a gourmet meal out here, lovely one."
She flinched when he used the endearment, and he felt the now familiar ache.
"I'm sorry," she said, her voice no more than a whisper. She slipped out of his arms, and handed him the scrap of pottery.
"There's nothing to be sorry about," he replied, keeping his voice gentle. "I forgot for a moment. That's all." He paused and looked up. "It's going to be a lovely sunset, don't you think?"
She looked up as well, and he saw her frown a little. "It looks like there are clouds building. Do you think we'll have a storm?"
"It's always possible." He looked, but saw nothing on the horizon. "We're almost at the season for it."
"If it does, we won't be able to see the stars when we're sleeping." She sounded wistful, but she let him take her hand again, and lead her to the camp.
He had made their camp in a small stone building that had survived the years intact. It was no more than a hut, really, and had no significant historical purpose, but it provided better shelter than a tent against the chill of the night, and the sand carried by the wind that rose when the sun went down.
On other occasions, in other places, they had slept beside a campfire, eschewing even a tent, entwined together under the stars. It was not uncommon for her to seize on a memory like this, although it never failed to make his throat tighten.
He barely tasted the soup, as he watched her eat with the dutiful manner of a child expected to clean their plate. The kettle was heating for tea, and he rummaged among the provisions to find some sweet cookies.
They shared the cookies, sipping tea to wash them down, and she let him put his arm around her as the colors changed in the sky. She felt like a shadow against him, insubstantial and likely to vanish, but he forced his thought away from that dark path.
No one could explain what was wrong with her, what was causing her to fade like an old painting on this forgotten temple's wall. He had asked in more places than he could count, and the answer had always been the same. Watching her turn into a stranger was almost more than he could bear, but he would not leave her.
Thin wisps of clouds had formed, and the colors played off them like dancers with long ribbons. She laughed in delight, and for a moment, he let himself believe that she could still recover, that she would come back to him. He found himself laughing with her as the winds picked up, lifting her hair away from her face.
He had not meant to do it, but he turned and kissed her, tasting the tea and the sweet hint of cookie as he slid his hand into her hair. He expected her to flinch away, but this time, she did not. For once, she did not push him away, and beneath the ache that he could not escape, he felt the fluttering of desire.
She did not protest when he tugged at her thin sweater, and her fingers found the buttons of his shirt. Her skin was cool and dry as she pressed herself against his hand, feverish with need. It had been so long since she had needed him like this, and he ignored the little voice in the back of his head that cautioned him to go slowly.
It was a familiar dance as they clung to each other, clothing discarded with haste until they were both naked. He could feel his skin tighten in the cool air, the sky on fire with sunset. It gave her too-pale skin a gloss of color, and made her look like she had when they first met, masking the way her ribs showed through her skin.
He rolled over onto his back, heedless of the sand beneath him, to let her take what she needed from him. She weighed no more than a breeze, and when she lowered herself, burying him within her, he could feel the heat that still burned deep inside. He wrapped a hand around her hip to steady her, the other finding the moist nub hidden within her folds. Her back arched, and she sighed when he matched the pace with which she rose and fell on him.
She was almost herself again as she took her pleasure, and he could not look away from the sight of her. Her cheeks were flushed with her arousal, and her eyes had darkened, signaling that she was close. He felt her thighs tighten, and she shivered as she ground down with an almost silent groan, her orgasm making her clench around him tightly.
As much as he wanted to let himself join her, he held back. It had been so long, and he wanted her to feel that one more time, to watch her come undone again. She did not appear to disagree as she rocked her hips forward and back, churning him within her. That coaxed a gasp from him, and he felt his throat tighten as he remembered the way they would talk, teasing each other with words as well as touches.
He felt her tightening again, and it was almost too much for him. He needed to let himself come this time, if only to pretend for a few precious minutes that they had all the time in the world ahead of them. He looked at her, and the tears that trickled down her cheeks were enough to break his heart.
"Please," she whispered, and ground down harder, letting herself fall over that edge again, her walls gripping him so tightly that he had no choice but to let go and join her. His hips left the ground as he came, pressing into her, wanting nothing more than to hold her. She sank forward, letting her head come to rest alongside his, and he could feel her tremble against him.
"It's all right," he murmured into her hair, his throat tight and his eyes burning as he eased back down to the sandy floor. "I love you."
"Don't," she said, and her voice wavered and broke. "We should sleep now."
"I'll bank the fire, after I get you settled." He let her pull away, pull off him, and he watched her gather her scattered clothing. Her shoulders were hunched inward, and he ached with the need to hold her again. He knew she would only pull away, and so he sat up, reaching for his pants.
Their bedrolls were set up inside the hut, side by side so they could share warmth. He watched her crawl into her side of them, her face pale and damp with the tears she had shed, and he helped her pull up the coverings. "I'll be right in," he said, as her eyes closed.
Despite his words, he sat and watched her, watched her breathing even out and slow into the rhythm of sleep. She looked like herself when she slept, the fine lines of pain smoothed away. It was hard to believe that she was slipping away, and that he could do nothing to save her after the way she had saved him, when she had taught him how to open his heart to love again.
A rumbling from outside the hut broke the spell, and he stood, looking up at the clouds that gathered overhead, obscuring the stars as they boiled across the darkening sky. As he stooped to pick up the rest of his clothing, the pottery shard fell to the ground, and he could hear her voice as she gave him the new tea cups, shy and so unsure of herself.
He had been taken by surprise. He was so much older, after all, and she was eighteen, with her future ahead of her. She had looked up at him as she handed him the cups, and he had known right then that he loved her. He had not known how much until this moment, when a shard of pottery reminded him of all he was losing.
He turned the shard over in his fingers, feeling the smoothness of the glaze even after all these years buried in the sand. "I love you," he said again. There was a flash of lightning, and the rains came, washing away the tears that scalded his cheeks.