Thirty Days of Genius – Day Ten

He stumbled over the clock in the dark.  The face read exactly 7:03, same as every other clock that had been working at the time of impact.  He was just a child when the meteor storm hit nearly twenty-five years ago.  It was the largest the earth had ever seen, with over twenty giant meteors hitting various places nearly simultaneously.

Besides the massive damage to the impact sites, the meteors also created a worldwide EMP, knocking out power and shutting down all electronic devices.  In a matter of days the looting and rioting started.  In weeks people fought over the food and water.  With no communication system, anarchy reined.

Millions were presumed to have died in the first few years as the dust clouds blocked the sun.  Plants started dying.  Without the plants, animals died off as well.  Cities could not support their populations, so those who could fled to the country.  However, without shelter and readily available food and water, many perished.

Most people had never had to hunt or farm or forage for food.  Only a slim few survived, most who had already been living close to the land.  He had been lucky.  His mother was living in a city, but had went to stay with her parents when the news of the asteroids had first broken.

He shook himself out of memories of the past.  The wind was whistling strangely though the skeleton of the tall building he was standing in.  None of the buildings had any windows left, not after twenty-five years of riots, gangs, and turf wars.  Nothing was standing in the wind’s path tonight.

He had returned to the city, always a dangerous task, to retrieve a photograph for his mother.  It was her dying wish to see her long lost husband just once more.  He promised to get it even while he neglected to mention just how dangerous retrieving it would be.

The city was eerie at night but it was safer to travel under the cover of darkness.  The city was viciously guarded by whichever gang was currently winning the war.  He only had vague memories and even more vague directions from his mother to guide him to the right apartment.  It was going to be a long night.

Writing prompts:  wind, meteor, clock

Thirty Days of Genius – Day Nine

The mantle of responsibility has fallen to me and that is why I find myself writing this letter.  Llamas.  It may seem like a random topic to some, but to me, it is dire indeed.  At the tender age of four years, six months, and nine days old–yes, the date has been burned irrevocably into my memory–I was the victim of a vicious llama attack.

My mother laughs it off to this day.  “Gregory,” she says, “that llama did not attack you.  I was standing right there.  He just nudged you to see if you had any food.  You really should let this go.”

To that I laugh.  I must warn others of the impending doom upon humanity if these vicious creatures are allowed to roam free in petting zoos, real zoos, or anywhere else.  What happened, you ask?  Well, I will tell you.

I was minding my own business, just walking around enjoying my first trip to the local petting zoo.  I had already petted the goats and sheep.  I was deciding where to go next when I was viciously pushed to the ground from behind.  I scraped my knee.  I bled!  It was horrible!

Looking up to see what had caused this tragedy, I came face to face with what can only be described as a monster.  A pointy head with those beady eyes on that long, long neck that was attached to that round body; it was traumatic indeed.

Now this is where most people start laughing, but this is no laughing matter.  If it wasn’t for my shout of surprise, I’m quite sure the llama would have continued its attack.  I could have died in a petting zoo that day.

And so, Mr. President, I’m sure you can see why llamas must be banned from our country.  I’ve grown up scarred for life and I don’t want this terrible existence for anyone else.  I anticipate your prompt attention to this matter as the course of action is clear.  Thank you for your time.

Writing prompts:  mantle, llama, writing

Thirty Days of Genius – Day Eight

‘Does life get any better than this?’ she wondered idly.  It was a beautiful spring day.  The sun was shining and a slight breeze was blowing, keeping the temperature nice and mild.  She and her friends were currently lounging in the gazebo in her back yard, sated after their impromptu picnic.

Her eyes drifted around the group, settling briefly on each established couple and lingering speculatively on the ones she could see forming before her eyes.  It was spring after all.  Her eyes landed on Akio and dropped shyly as she caught him looking at her.

Akio was fairly new to the group because he had just arrived from Japan in January for the spring semester.  He was studying aboard for at least a year and maybe more if he enjoyed it.  He was quite cute, with dark hair in messy spikes.  She wasn’t the only one that thought so and he was always surrounded by girls.

She refused to be part of a group of fangirls, so she never made a move.  However, she couldn’t help but find him attractive, especially now when they were lounging around, relaxed.  She gasped as a hand moved into her vision, interrupting her thoughts.  She looked up into the smiling face of Akio.

“Walk with me, Eva?” he asked softly, his eyes smiling.

Writing prompts:  life, friends, gazebo

Thirty Days of Genius – Day Seven

I risked a sideways glance at the new queen, hoping my lack of decorum would go unnoticed but knowing even if it wasn’t, she would not care.  I was here to guard her, though with just the two of us currently in the room, she was safe.  She looked tired, slumping slightly in the throne and frowning into the distance.

Today had been a rough day for her and she still had not had time to let it all sink in.  She had been awoken before dawn with the news that her parents had been murdered on their way back from France.  That meant that she was to be crowned the new queen as soon as possible.  She had not had time to shed a single tear before she was whisked away into preparations.

The news went out with the dawn and as many lords and ladies as possible were notified of the crowning of the new queen.  After the crowning, she was forced to sit as each lord wished her well and promised loyalty.  For each one she smiled and nodded, thanking them.  Only the final lord of the evening was left and he was just arriving.  The queen had been getting ready to retire for the night when word of his impending arrival halted her.

She straightened and smoothed her expression as the doors were thrown open.  I did the same, especially when I saw which lord had arrived.  My hand went involuntarily to rest on my sword, a move not missed by the newcomer.  Lord Smythe had been after the then princess since she was a young girl.  He had first petitioned to court her when she was just twelve.  Her parents had denied the request.  Smythe renewed the request every year but was continually denied.  The king and queen knew their only duaghter could do much better and find a more suitable match.

A servant walked in behind Lord Smythe carrying a rather large oddly shaped wooden item.  It sort of resembled a pine cone.  Smythe stopped a few feet too close to the queen, a leer partially hidden behind a smile.  My hand flexed around my sword.

“My dear, it’s so good to see you again.  I only wish it was under better circumstances.  Your poor parents,” Smythe let the words slide smoothly from his mouth.  His voice rang with false sincerity.  “I’ve brought you a present to congratulate you on your ascension to queen.”  The servant moved forward.  “It’s a pineapple sculpture from the far away West Indies.  It carries with it a meaning of welcome to the native people there, just as I’m sure I’ll be welcome here.”  His smile was so filled with foulness that it was difficult to look upon.  I only hoped the queen still had her wits about her after such a long day.

“Why thank you Lord Smythe.  I’m sure this will make a very nice adornment for the stables, to welcome all of our guests into the castle.”  Her smile was innocent but I could see the humor dancing in her eyes.

“I was hoping it would be in a bit more personal location as it was quite difficult securing its passage all the way here.  Perhaps your chambers or your sitting room would be more appropriate?”

“Oh no, I couldn’t possibly hoard such an exquisite piece.  The stable is by far the best location.  There everyone will get to enjoy its beauty,” the queen reiterated, a hard look coming into her eyes.

Smythe fumed to himself before stepping threateningly towards the queen.  I was in motion before I even realized he was moving, my sword drawn and held steady against his neck, my body blocking him from the queen.

“Call off your dog, Madeline.  I will have you, mark my words.  Your parents are not around to protect you any longer and you will be pressured into taking a husband.  You will be mine!”

“My lady,” I asked calmly, “what are your orders?”

“Release him.  He is to be banned from the castle.  Send that dreadful thing home with him as well,” she waved at the pineapple.  She stared into his eyes, willing her words to reach him.  “I will never be yours, no matter if you are the last man on the planet.  You are hereby exiled from all royal property.  Any attempt on your part to enter a royal establishment will be considered treason against the crown.  Watch your steps Lord Smythe because I am not as lenient as my father.  Step a toe out of line and I’ll see you hanged for it.  You are dismissed.”

I escorted Lord Symthe to the door along with his servant and sculpture.  I turned him over to the waiting guards, letting them know to pass the word that he was banned from all royal property and to make sure that he had an armed escort to deliver him back to his estate.

When I returned to the throne room the queen was sitting slumped in her chair, trembling.  She looked up as I entered then went back to slumping when she realized it was just me.  As her chief guard, we had a long history of friendship and she knew I could be trusted.

“Did I do the right thing, James?” she asked quietly.

“You did well, my lady.”

“How many times have I told you to call me Madeline or even Maddy when we’re alone?” she sounded exasperated which was an improvement from unsure.

“You are the queen now, my lady, and should be addressed as such.  Besides, Maddy makes you sound like a spoiled child.”  I grinned at her so she would know I was merely teasing.

“Why you!” she laughed and my heart lifted with the sound.

Writing prompts:  pineapple, meaning, queen

Thirty Days of Genius – Day Six

I stared at my spellbook, stumped.  This was not something they taught in school, even mine.  The wolf in my kitchen was freaking me out with his subsonic growl and drooling fangs.  The alpha in the corner with the dark coat and piercing eyes was freaking me out even more.

Maybe I should mention how I came to be in this situation.  I’m Isabella Freeman, witch for hire.  Currently I was trying to figure out how to un-Were the werewolf in my kitchen.  Even his alpha had not been able to force him back into his human form, so he had turned to me for help.

The longer John, the Were currently slobbering on my floor, stayed in his wolf form, the more wolf-like he became.  His human logic and reasoning were being replaced with a wolf’s instincts.  Marcus, the alpha, casually told me he would have to stay lest John decide I was food instead of friend.  Knowing it was only Marcus’s influence that kept John in control was not helping my anxiety.

I wasn’t worried about turning Were if he attacked because nature decreed a witch’s DNA was not compatible.  Even most humans would not turn Were if they were bitten or attacked.  Most would die, but not turn Were.  The reason is that they lacked the correct set of genomes for the Were virus to latch onto.

These days all children were tested for the genome and compatible children were watched closely by the local werewolf pack.  Eventually they would be approached about joining the pack.  Those that refused were supposed to be left alone although sometimes “accidents” happened.

Only alphas were Weres from birth.  They were almost always born from Were couples, but occasionally someone outside the pack would birth a Were alpha.  The parents were generally happy to give the baby to the pack, for a small adoption fee of course.  Finding a wolf in your son’s bed was not a pleasant experience.

Marcus was a Were alpha from fully human parents.  John was not an alpha and had voluntarily contracted the virus when he was twenty.  However, none of that really helped me now.  Something had happened a week ago and John refused to leave his wolf form.  Marcus was being tight-lipped about what had happened.

I had already tried a calming spell to no effect.  I was eyeing a spell that returned an item to its normal form.  It was more of a counter-curse than an actual spell and it was supposed to be used on inanimate objects but I was out of ideas.  A few key substitutions should make it work, though I’d have to cook up a potion to make it most effective.  Forcing a potion down a wolf’s throat wasn’t too high on my list of things I wanted to do in my life but neither was getting on an alpha’s bad side.

Writing prompts:  mention, birth, school