PDA

View Full Version : Exchanges & Departures



Weasel Overlord
21st November 2008, 10:14 AM
HALLO ALL! This is something slightly different for me; mostly being a fic that is IN PROGRESS. I know. LE SHOCK.

It's an original story, and it was set off by an exercise on character that we did in creative writing a few weeks ago. It has since got away from what that exercise was supposed to be, and I am now using it as my way of sneaking fantasy into my portfolio. :D And no, the fantasy isn't around yet. YOU'LL HAVE TO BE PATIENT, MWAHAHAHAH. Or something. Yeah.

So yes, con-crit is welcomed, naturally. Hopefully it'll become quite long (not a sodding clue at this moment in time), but it'll be updated at least once a week, cos I'll probably be writing more parts for creative writing classes too.

Oh, and the title is rubbish and will definitely be changed by the end. :)

But without further ado, I give you;


Exchanges & Departures


I was wearing my best overcoat. It was green, and a bit faded at the elbows, but still perfectly serviceable for tonight. I was painfully aware that my bag looked anything but new, but at the same time, I had a feeling that she wouldn’t really be concentrating on a bag. I smiled at that thought and then immediately wished I hadn’t.

Lowering my eyes to the ground, I controlled the quirk of my lips and made my face a perfect blank. Trusting myself to look up once more, I glanced at the digital clock above the constantly-changing train times. Sixteen fifty… I stopped myself from looking at my watch and worked it out mentally - ten minutes to five. Right. Sighing, I shifted slightly and watched the green lines flicker to fifty-one. Fifty-two, fifty-five, why did I have to be early for everything? I knew she wouldn’t be early, but I had to turn up half an hour beforehand anyway. Just in case.

The words haunted my lips as I mouthed them in a whisper. Being late was worse than not turning up at all, my da’ always used to say, although I never quite found out exactly why that was so. Just took it for gospel, as I did with everything he ever said to me. In a way, I suppose that’s why I was there - in Manchester Victoria - waiting for her. Rusty old belief in my da’.

She’d told me to look out for a red beret, which amused me at the time, but then, I was always too deeply involved in Doctor Who and no-one ever got my jokes. Least of all handsome-sounding young ladies in red berets. I knew well enough not to suspect that she would also be in army uniform, but my mind insisted on imagining it anyway, and I saw no harm in indulging. She’d sounded so… well, professional on the phone. Almost snippy. She definitely knew what she was talking about, anyway, and that’s what counts.

Fifty-nine, seventeen hundred and I caught a glimpse of red bobbing through the briefcases in black. My heart skipped a beat reminiscent of older days with my wife, and I shifted from foot to foot eagerly. What would she look like?

Oh. Like that. The red beret sat atop curly black hair in what she probably thought was a jaunty way, but it looked as if it was going to fall off at any moment. Her heels were pointed and about as thin as my little finger and her rusted red pencil skirt was far too short for a woman her age. She looked about forty, and I must admit, I was slightly disappointed.

She raised her hand when she saw me - we’d agreed that my coat would be green and my bag brown for recognition - and I waved her over, stamping my disappointment down deep and replacing it with what I hoped was a sunny smile.

“Mister Henry Lewis?” Her voice was as economical in reality as it had been on the telephone.

“That’s me,” I said. “Pleased to meet you, Mrs Nelson.” She just stared at my outstretched hand, so I dropped it back to my side and shifted uncomfortably.

“It’s Miss,” she emphasised the s sound as if her tongue had got stuck between her teeth, and I smiled, abashed.

“Sorry.” I felt like a schoolboy being told off. Definitely didn’t like her, which probably wasn’t conductive for why we were here. Never mind. You don’t have to like these sort of people, after all. “Are we doing this here?” I ventured.

“Don’t be stupid. And call me Samantha,” she set off at a brisk walk and I gaped at her back.

“Well, where -”

“There’s too many people.” She didn’t even turn to speak to me, just carried on walking regardless. I shook my head and followed, determined not to let her get the better of me.

“That does make sense. Where are we going, then?"

“A hotel.”

“Oh. Which one? The Crown’s quite close.”

“Not there.”

“Oh. The Hilton, then?”

“You’ll find out when we get there.” She finally looked sidelong at me, her forehead creased in a frown. “You ask a lot of questions, Henry.”

“Sorry.”

“It’s ok.” She sped up a little and we crossed a road almost without looking. It was like she was trying to escape from somewhere, and I wasn’t sure I liked it.

“Are we being followed?”

“Why would you think that?”

“Well, you’ve been looking around a lot. And you walk very quickly.”

“It’s a cold day. And no, we aren’t.”

“Oh. Right then.”

“There’s the hotel. Come on.” She marched through the door, across the polished floor, set a packet of papers on the reception desk and turned to face me. “This is the Crown Plaza Hotel,” she tapped her heel on the floor and looked thoughtful for a second. “This floor is real oak.” I looked at her, bemused.

“Oh, is it really? How… lovely. I think.”

“Wooden floors are rarely oak, Henry,” she looked down at it and I almost caught a hint of wistfulness on her hard face. “Anyway.” She rang the reception bell once, resoundingly. I felt sorry for the bell.

“Nelson and Lewis party,” she told the receptionist, who smiled and took the papers.

“You’re in room two hundred,” he said. “This is your key. Just slot it into the door and you’re sorted.” Samantha took the offered key and set off towards the stairs, without waiting for me once again.

“We’re not going in the lift?” I had a sinking feeling that room two hundred was on the fiftieth floor or something ridiculous.

“Exercise is good for you.”

“Well, yes. I suppose.”

“Keep up.” I sighed and followed, but I couldn’t quite keep up and she frowned at me again as I puffed to the final landing.

“You clearly don’t do enough exercise.” I sighed and just nodded, too out of breath to reply. “The room’s this way,” and off she went again.

PancaKe
21st November 2008, 09:05 PM
Aw. It ended too soon.

Haha this is so intriguing. I'm very curious as to see what happens, where they're going and whats going to come of this strange meeting.

I like the character of Henry and what we learn about him in this chapter. Some nice background, and also how this stupid lady makes him feel like a kid. Poor thing. If I was him, I'd punch her. LOL. I just want to punch everyone.

Yay. Good stuff Weasel - can't wait for next chappy!

Weasel Overlord
25th November 2008, 11:35 AM
Aw, thanks for the review Pancake! I'm glad you liked Henry - I'm quite fond of him myself, actually.

This part sees the introduction of the fantasy element - the mysterious egg! My favourite part, actually. This bit's slightly longer than the first, but it cuts off again in a probably maddening way. Mwahaha. Honestly not intentional, I have to run to a seminar, lol.

------

I stared glumly at the carpet as I followed her, noticing that it was red with a sort of gold pattern on. It looked quite expensive, and I was willing to bet that it was ultra thick if I walked on it without my shoes. It was tempting to try out this theory, but the thought of Samantha’s displeasure frightened me slightly, so I dismissed the idea. Perhaps later on.

“Samantha?” I watched her slot the key card into the door’s handle with one swift movement.

“Yes?” She threw open the door with as little regard for it as she had shown the bell.

“How long will this take? I mean,” I waved my hand at the room. “It looks like we’re staying the night.”

“We are.”

“Will it really take that long?”

“Maybe. It pays to be prepared, Henry.” She placed her bag onto the bed and turned to face me, a strange expression on her face. “Did you think I’d name a price, take what you have and then leave?”

“Sort of.” I suddenly felt a bit guilty for being judgemental. It was me who’d arranged this meeting, after all. Out of curiosity, I suppose. I still wasn’t sure what I’d get out of it, but I think these things are what you make of them. “Uh, would you like a cup of tea?” I noticed the customary kettle in the corner of the room, and was feeling eager to make amends.

“Black, no sugar.” Her face went back to the neutral expression I was getting used to, and I went to fill the kettle, satisfied. While I busied myself with the tea, Samantha sat down on the bed and crossed her legs primly, settling her hands in her lap as she waited.

“We’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for some time, you know,” she said as I handed her the hot cup of tea. She wrapped her hands around it and gazed into the cup.

“When you say we-”

“Yes, I mean the organisation. Simurgh. Huma. Bennu,” her voice lilted attractively when she said the foreign words, as if she tasted them like champagne on her tongue. “Whatever you choose to call us.”

“Simurgh was the one I found in the Yellow Pages.”

“All names are the same, Henry. They’re all a part of the one - the organisation I represent today and tonight. Simurgh.”

“I am sort of curious about what you do, though.” Their advert in the phone book had been a single word - Simurgh - encased in a rectangle. No design, no logo, nothing to hint at what they stood for save the understated blurb underneath. Heirlooms Valued. The egg had been in my family for generations and, finally, curiosity got the better of me. I was expecting Simurgh to be a sort of faux-Antique Roadshow, complete with distinguished men in monocles.

“We value heirlooms, like it says in the advert. Oh,” she said, as an afterthought. “We trade too.” I’d taken a guess about the buying side, since Simurgh seemed to be oddly interested in my egg.

“But what if I’m not selling?” I sat down on the wooden chair, next to the bed.

“Trading, Henry. It’s not the same thing.”

“I know that,” I scowled. “I’m not that stupid, you know.”

“I never said you were.”

“Well stop talking to me like I’m a little boy, then.”

“I wasn’t aware that I was.”

“Well you were.” Her words had nettled me more than usual, but I put it down to prolonged exposure to her and made myself calm down. “Anyway, you said trade? What sort of things do you trade in?” I was interested, if only because I had so little information about Simurgh.

“Mostly heirlooms,” she put her teacup down on the low bedside table next to me, and pulled over her bag. “But for the rarer items, we can usually come to an agreement.” She looked directly at me as she opened the clasp of her rather large bag with a sharp snap. “I am a persuasive woman, Henry.”

“Do you do all of the dealing, then?”

“Only me.”

“Surely you have partners?” She shook her head. “There’s really no-one else? Isn’t it sort of… dangerous?”

She laughed, then. “Dangerous? Why Henry, I’d almost think that you were concerned for my safety.”

A flush crept into my cheeks and I stared firmly at the carpeted floor.
“There are some dangers,” she admitted. “But nothing I cannot cope with. And certainly not enough that I need some partner to look after me. The very idea!”

It was the most I’d heard her say, and it convinced me that this was something she felt strongly about. I decided not to mention it again, and picked up my bag from the floor.

“Is it in there, then?” She looked at the bag, and my fingers tightened about the worn leather possessively. It was stupid to feel like that, I knew. After all, I’d known, deep down, that I’d trade in the egg. But now that it actually came to the time, a wave of uncertainty washed over me.

“Yes, it’s in here.”

“Can I see it?” It seemed a silly question, so of course, I obliged.

The egg was right at the bottom of the bag, and once I’d dug it out, I had to unwrap the tissue-paper from around the box. Once I’d got it free, I opened the lid carefully. The cardboard was fragile from age, and the smell of it always reminded me of a childhood spent in the attic of our huge house, poking around in forgotten corners.

Inside the box, the egg was wrapped in further protection - a small bag of bubble-wrap - and surrounded by scraps of yellow tissue paper, which cascaded onto the floor as I took the bag out carefully. All the bubbles were, surprisingly, still intact and I resisted the urge to pop a few, as I slid the egg out of its home. Putting the trappings to one side, I nestled the precious object in my hands and gazed at it with reverence, Samantha’s gasp of appreciation mere background noise as I took in its detail.

Every time I saw the thing, it took hold of me like that. It held a sort of fascination for me, and it had done ever since I was a boy and the first time my da’ showed me it. It looked, on first glance, like any old Fabergé egg. That is to say, golden in hue, with extraordinary detail. But if you brought it up to your eyes and found the right sort of light, it became something entirely different.

The egg was like an extravagantly-worked piece of clockwork, and its gold was worked in cunning, twisted ways reminiscent of a labyrinth. Between the gold, painted wood peeped out. Oak, my da’ always said, its designs in burned orange and fiery red, all swirls and circles and never-ending lines.

The whole thing was the size of my cupped palm, and it always felt warm to the touch, as if some inner workings projected waste heat outwards. The little latch on one side had always puzzled me, but not as much as the tiny cogs and wheels that covered the top half of the egg and then stopped, suddenly, at that latch. They fitted together in a way which suggested that the egg could be opened, but I had stopped trying a long time ago.

mistysakura
12th December 2008, 09:07 AM
I really, really like the dialogue. It really shows how Samantha knows absolutely everything, and Henry's totally out of his comfort zone. Henry's blathering and hand-waving shows how nervous he is, hehe. And it's Samantha's confidence, bordering on cockiness, which makes her so mysterious. I was so confused when she started talking about hotels. I knew she couldn't be a prostitute, given the economic tone of conversation (although prostitution's economic as well, hehe). And with Henry dressing up, and taking note of passers-by's clothing as if looking for a blind date... The setup worked really well.

I really wasn't expecting her to be valuing heirlooms -- what a twist. The way you described the egg was amazing. Usually, I'm not into magical objects, but this one actually sounds exquisite just on face value. Actually, I'm enjoying this so much that I don't want there to be a fantasy element, I just want it to keep going in its metropolitan, realistic way -- you know when you like child characters so much that you don't want them to grow up, because you think that they can't possibly get better? But I'm sure it won't disappoint me. I wonder why Henry wants to trade... is there something specific he's interested in?

Looking forward to the next chapter!

Weasel Overlord
11th March 2009, 03:33 PM
ZOMG WHAT'S THIS!? An update?! Surely not! Okay, so I got distracted by my Long Fiction submissions and fell out of this story. BUT now I have fallen back in! There will be one more part, after this one. As usual, concrit is delectable and I will give you cake. :D

-----

Briefly, I wondered if Simurgh would attempt to open it, and the thought filled me with a strange longing.

“We’ve never been able to open it…” I remembered my father’s face as he told me that, and realised that my own probably mirrored his. This time was different though. This time, there was Simurgh, and if they were determined, perhaps they could open it.

“I don’t think the opening is a problem you should worry about, Henry.”

“So you can open it then?”

“Of course. But that is not something you need worry about, as I said before. If you decide to go through with the trade, the egg will no longer be any of your business. You would do well to forget all about it.”

“Forget about it? That egg’s been in our family for… decades! I can’t just…” I shook my head. “It’s like asking me to forget about my hand. It’s just been there so long… you know?”

“No. You wouldn’t sell your hand, would you, Henry?”

“Probably not,” I admitted. “That would be a silly thing to do, really.”

“Yes it would. I do hope you’re not having second thoughts...” She trailed off meaningfully, and I knew that she would be able to tell that I was flustered.

“No. N-no, no second thoughts.”

“Excellent.” Samantha pursed her lips together. “I will need to hold the egg and examine it, before we make our, ah, deal.”

“Of course,” I said, looking down at the egg nestled in my palm. Why when it finally came down to it, was it so hard to think about the egg not being there? Why was I imagining a cold, dank hole at home, where it usually lay? No, I told myself. It was time for the egg to move on. Time for it to be out of my hands.

Samantha held out hers, and I gently tipped the egg into her eager palm. Her face took on a strange sort of glow as she looked down at it, and for a second it seemed like she was taking in the heat from the egg itself - sucking it in through her skin - but that was impossible, and as she let out a little sigh, I was jolted from those thoughts.

“Yes,” she breathed. “This is it.”

“It? What it?”

Samantha ignored my questions as she gazed on the egg with something approaching rapture on her face. “It’s finally over,” she said. “Ohh.”

“Over? I’m sorry, I think there’s something I’m not understanding here.”

“There is plenty you do not understand, Henry,” she snapped, but her voice had none of the acid of before. “But do not worry,” she lowered her voice. “Soon you will understand everything, even if for just a split second. It will all make sense.”

“I’ll take your word for it. So are we doing the trade, then?” I was getting restless in this hotel room, and Samantha’s cryptic words were chafing on my nerves.

“Yes. We are doing the trade. I have what you need right here,” she gestured to her bag and I wondered exactly what was inside it. Perhaps it was like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag, and had a standard lamp inside. My lips quirked at the thought.

Samantha opened the bag with one hand - the other still holding on to the egg as if she were afraid that I would take it back - and a horrific smell wafted out, assaulting my nostrils. I gagged. “Oh god, what is that?”

“The egg is a symbol of life, Henry. It must logically be exchanged for a symbol of equal power. And this,” she reached delicately into the bag and pulled out a jar containing whatever was making that smell, “is a salamander.”

“A salamander.” My face fell. “You’re giving me a lizard in exchange for my egg?”

“An amphibian, not a lizard,” Samantha said, firmly. “And it is far from ordinary, Henry. It has certain… properties. It should not be taken lightly.”

“Is that… is it still alive?”

“Of course it is! What use would it be if it were dead?” Samantha tut-tutted, holding up the jar to the light. “See? Perfectly alive.” She gave it a little shake, and the amphibian inside swayed and blinked.

“It looks annoyed.”

“Wouldn’t you be, if you were in a jam jar?” Samantha half-smiled, and then placed the salamander-in-a-jar on the bed at her side, all the while still holding the egg.

“Probably,” I agreed. “So what properties does it have, anyway?” I leaned down and peered through the glass. The salamander just blinked. “I mean, other than the ability to smell like burnt, gone-off food.”

“The salamander is rumoured to be able to extinguish flames with its body, and it’s blood, if smeared on the skin, can protect from fire,” Samantha half-closed her eyes like she was reciting from a book. “But then, it is also said to have no digestive organs and that it eats fire, so we tend to take the rumours with a pinch of salt.”

“Wow,” I said, picking up the jar. I held it up to my face and tilted it this way and that, watching the yellow and black creature sway with the movement, trying to keep its balance. “Do you think it’s true that it can put out a fire?”

“You will find out soon enough,” replied Samantha.

“That’s cryptic.”

“Surely you expect nothing less from me, by now?” She looked amused, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. “The trade,” she glanced down at the egg fondly. “It is satisfactory?”

I nodded. “I think so, yes.” I smiled at the salamander, already inexplicably fond of the liza- the amphibian.

mistysakura
12th March 2009, 09:41 PM
A salamander? Not what I was expecting... it's eerie how the thing has so much control over Henry, given his initial reaction. And the smell -- oh the smell! You described that really well. I also really liked this description: "Her face took on a strange sort of glow as she looked down at it, and for a second it seemed like she was taking in the heat from the egg itself - sucking it in through her skin". Now that we know that Henry will go through with the trade, and we know that Samantha really wants the egg, the suspense has died down a little bit though. Perhaps a few more ominous hints about the future, like what Samantha said about the salamander being able to put out fires, could keep us guessing, since there's not much to guess on at this point (or maybe I'm just dense, hehe).

Just one more part after this one? I was actually expecting this to be a long piece, investigating what Samantha's agency really does, what the egg does, some kind of journey stuff. But maybe I should have guessed from the title. Now that the exchange is done, only the departure is left... there's an awful lot to wrap up in this last part, and I can't wait to see what happens!

Weasel Overlord
13th March 2009, 07:33 AM
Aw thanks Ada! It's nice to see some of those 211 views are leaving a post, hehe. As for the hints and whatnot... well, this is the only story where I've sort of known what I want to happen at the end, so there are a few VERY SUBTLE hints here and there - but it's ok, I only put them in for my own perverted love of etymology, hehe. But I won't say anything else, just in case it's all given away.

As for the last part... I'm honestly not sure how long it'll end up being. Maybe another 1500 words? Or thereabouts. I'm aiming for 4000 with the story either way (it's for my portfolio), and it's on about 3200 right now. I'll see how it goes. ^_^ Although that salamander has thrown off my ideas for the end, so I've had to rejig my plans slightly. :D It'll be good though~

Weasel Overlord
15th March 2009, 11:34 AM
Sorry for the double-post, but I've finished the darned thing!! And WHY did no one point out my terrible, person-switching error halfway through the new part!? I changed from 1st to 3rd, totally without realising it. Durrr. Anyway, I swapped the old part for the new one, which also has a few very minor edits in it - it's still worth having a re-read though.

Here's the final part. I'm not very satisfied with the ending, and I sort of feel like it needs more to it, but I guess you guys will be the judge of that, eh?

-----

“Excellent.” Her hands came together to cup the egg for a second, before she pulled her bag open and placed it carefully inside, and out of sight. She snapped it closed with a sharp click. “I’m not sure we will be needing the room for the night after all. I expected to encounter more… reluctance on your side.”

“Reluctance?”

“Yes. In the past… Let’s just say that the trades have had to be facilitated with blood, on occasion.”

I pulled a face. “I suppose it’s good job I’m nice then, isn’t it?”

“Certainly. We would not trade a salamander to just anyone, Henry. Not even one of your bloodline.”

“Wait a minute… my bloodline? What’s that supposed to mean?”

Samantha sighed and placed her bag primly on her knee. “Your bloodline. Family. Prior generations, yes? You were the first to come forward with the egg; the first to even entertain the possibility of no longer being its caretaker. It does not matter whether you were motivated by money, or whether you are in possession of all the facts - what matters is that you came. You were not coerced; this is your own free will. That is important.”

I tightened my hands around the jar as I digested this new piece of information. “So… so if I hadn’t found Simurgh and hadn’t offered the egg… what then?”

“I’m afraid we do not know. We’re not seers, Henry. Nothing is certain in this world.” She smiled a sad little smile. “Well, some things are, now. But I cannot linger on that.” She sat up, straight and prim on the bed and I was struck suddenly by how thin she looked. Surely she hadn’t looked like that the whole time?

“We must shake on the trade, Henry, and then I think I shall depart. There is really no need for me to stay when the trade is over with so promptly.”

“No. No, I suppose there isn’t,” I said. “You… won’t stay anyway?” I had a sinking feeling that I sounded desperate, but I tried not to let it show.

“I’m afraid not. There is much work to be done.” Samantha stood up and placed her bag on the bed. She held out her right hand, and tugged me upright as I took it, the salamander jar clutched in my free hand. She smiled and tightened her grip, and gave my hand a brisk shake. She shakes hands like a man, I thought briefly, as she let go.

Samantha rubbed her hands together and picked up her bag. She straightened her no-nonsense coat, tugging at the lapels until they lay flat, and picked up the key card for the room. “You had better leave too, Henry. You’ll be wanting to… ah, be somewhere familiar, I suspect.”

I shook my head at her opaque way of speaking and then smiled. “Will the salamander be alright in my bag, do you think?”

“I brought it here in mine; I should think it will be fine in yours.” She walked to the door in a smooth movement, and I hurriedly picked up my bag, placing the salamander inside it as I followed her.

I took one last glance at the room, glad to be seeing the back of the bland, magnolia walls and featureless bedspreads. The beds themselves had been hard, so I was glad that I wasn’t staying the night after all.

The door closed behind me with a soft click, and I crouched down to make sure that the jar was safe inside my bag. I wedged it upright between a packet of handkerchiefs and the squashed remainder of my packed lunch from earlier on in the day.

When I straightened, bag slung diagonally across my chest, Samantha had disappeared. There was no sign that she’d even been there to begin with.
I shook my head, and took my time walking down to the reception, where the man behind the desk was looking bored. He gave me a little wave as I passed, and I smiled at him, resisting the temptation to tell him that his rooms needed a lick of brightness before they bored the guests into submission.

The journey home passed uneventfully. I gazed out of the train window, watching lustreless houses pass me by, and thinking. Thinking mostly about the egg, but the edges of my thoughts were warmed by the salamander. I knew it was irrational to be attached to such a small creature, but it wasn’t like a gerbil or a hamster. I’d seen some sort of intelligence behind those black-ringed eyes.

I wondered whether it was a boy or a girl, and then it was my stop, and I dreamed myself home, pondering names for the amphibian as I walked.
There was a smattering of drizzle - that horrible fine stuff that wets you through - and then I was letting myself in through the front door, taking off my shoes and hanging up my coat.

I put my bag on a chair and took out the salamander, placing it carefully on the kitchen table while I poured myself a glass of milk. It felt nice to have another living being in the house, after so long by myself - even though the little creature didn’t really make much noise.

“You know,” I said, out loud. “I think I’ll call you Sal. I had a dog called Sal once… well, Sally, but you know.” All of a sudden, I felt stupid for talking to the salamander, but I carried on anyway. “She was a Labrador. Sort of yellow, like you, actually.” I took another gulp of milk. “Was Samantha right, then? Can you extinguish fire?” Sal blinked at me, and I could have sworn she nodded her head. “Handy, that.” I finished the milk and rinsed out the glass with cold water. “I don’t suppose I can keep you in that jar the whole time, can I?” Sal blinked again. “No,” I said, putting the glass upside down in the drainer. “No…”

I sat down heavily on one of the chairs and rested my chin on the table. Sal looked out at me, her yellow skin reminding me of jaundice and her throat moving like she was trying to say something.

“I suppose it’s just you and me then,” I whispered. “You and me and the end of the world…”


I think that, if you were to ask me how I knew that the egg had been opened, I would not be able to tell you. I can imagine it, in my mind’s eye - those cogs uncurling and twisting around each other in an intricate dance - the sudden heat that would spring from it, searing the air in a desert haze. The egg would unfold, gently, nothing about its movement suggesting danger. There would only be the shimmer of heat - cleansing, birthing fire - as our world was made anew.

Nothing felt different, there was no great flash of light, or heat, or deadly sirens piercing the air. Just a slight, warm breeze, and the blinking of a salamander.

Lune the Guardian
16th March 2009, 04:25 PM
I also thought that this would have been a much longer piece. I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding, but I got a bunch of phoenix imagery at the end - that the current world was just reduced to ashes and reborn. Henry's lucky that he got the salamander as protection, eh?

I kind of wanted to know more about the mystery woman. What did she mean by "it's finished"? What else did she and her company go through before finally obtaining this egg? What were their goals? If there were some outside references to some other stories or something, I'm clueless.

The ending was so sudden and yet believable at the same time, with a touch of mystery just like how that woman never explained much before leaving. I'm not sure if the world being reborn through fire was meant in a more symbolic or literal sense, but I like how the danger was downplayed and I like how you described the feeling of non-danger, of cleansing. I was particularly fond of the final sentence, "Just a slight, warm breeze, and the blinking of a salamander."

It's a pretty piece. The final two paragraphs leave me with some sense of finality even though I don't understand a lot of things, and would rather have had many more things explained. I feel rather silly, but I get the feeling that I've interpreted everything wrongly. :P

Weasel Overlord
16th March 2009, 04:44 PM
YOU GOT THE PHOENIX IMAGERY!! *glomps* And it's okay about the non-understanding. It reallllly needs a redraft, lol! More clarity!! Bad self!

Thanks for reading! :D You rawk.

mistysakura
19th March 2009, 09:52 PM
Phoenix imagery ftw. Wow, there are more unanswered questions than I expected... like Karin, I wonder if the rebirth by fire is literal or metaphorical. Or maybe it's been hinted it, but I've been too dense to appreciate the hints. It's so mysterious that Henry knows it's going to be the end of the world... And that he ought to be 'somewhere familiar' for the end... I like how you described the salamander's skin as yellow like jaundice. The bit about the salamander being squashed between handkerchiefs and the squashed lunch made me laugh. I'd forgotten how bland the hotel room was, though, so when Henry thought of making a snide comment to the receptionist, I got distracted a bit, wondering if it really was that bad.

I didn't notice the person-switching error. :P Congrats on finishing!

Weasel Overlord
26th April 2009, 08:10 PM
I've rewritten this story, so I figured I'd post it here for some crit before my portfolio's due on Friday! Hope you dudes don't mind!! I do think this version makes more sense though. I took out the silly confusing things, and hopefully made the entire story tighter in general. Concrit MUCH APPRECIATED. :D You guys rock. ♥
(also: I'd like to express just how much I hate the fact that TPM doesn't like tabbed paragraph breaks. STUPID TPM. *kicks*)

Departures & Exchanges

I was wearing my best overcoat. It was wellington green, and a bit faded at the elbows. Serviceable, but nothing fancy. I was painfully aware that my bag looked anything but new, but at the same time, I had a feeling that she wouldn’t really be concentrating on a bag. I smiled at the thought.

I glanced at the digital clock above the constantly-changing train times. Sixteen fifty… I stopped myself from looking at my watch and worked it out mentally - ten minutes to five. Right. Sighing, I shifted slightly and watched the green lines flicker to sixteen fifty-one. Sixteen fifty-two, fifty-five, why did I have to be early for everything? I knew she wouldn’t be early, but I had to turn up half an hour beforehand anyway. Just in case.

The words haunted my lips as I mouthed them to myself. Being late was worse than not turning up at all, my father always used to say, although I never quite found out exactly why that was so. Just took it for gospel, as I did with everything he ever said to me. In a way, I suppose that’s why I was there - in Manchester Victoria - waiting for her.

She’d told me to look out for a red beret. This had amused me at the time. I knew well enough not to suspect that she would be in army uniform, but my mind insisted on imagining it anyway. She’d sounded so… well, professional on the phone. Almost snippy. She definitely knew what she was talking about, anyway, and that’s what counts.

Sixteen fifty-nine, seventeen hundred and I caught a glimpse of red bobbing above the briefcases in black. My heart skipped a beat reminiscent of older days with my wife, and I shifted from foot to foot eagerly. What would she look like?

Oh. Like that. The red beret sat atop curly black hair, and her brown coat was as no-nonsense as her voice. Her heels were pointed and about as thin as my little finger and her rusted red pencil skirt was far too short for a woman her age. She looked about forty, and I must admit, I was slightly disappointed.

She raised her hand when she saw me - we’d agreed that my coat would be green and my bag brown for recognition - and I waved her over, stamping my disappointment down deep and replacing it with what I hoped was a sunny smile.

“Mister Henry Lewis?” Her voice was as economical in reality as it had been on the telephone.

“That’s me,” I said. “Pleased to meet you, Mrs Nelson.” She just stared at my outstretched hand, so I dropped it back to my side and shifted uncomfortably.

“It’s Miss,” she emphasised the ‘s’ sound as if her tongue had got stuck between her teeth, and I smiled.

“Sorry.” I felt like a schoolboy being told off. Definitely didn’t like her, but never mind. You don’t have to like these sort of people, after all. “Are we doing this here?” I ventured.

“Don’t be stupid. And call me Samantha,” she set off at a brisk walk and I gaped at her back.

“Well, where -”

“There’s too many people.” She didn’t even turn to speak to me, just carried on walking regardless. I shook my head and followed, determined not to let her get the better of me.

“That does make sense. Where are we going, then?”

“A hotel.”

“Oh. Which one? The Travel Inn’s quite close.”

“Not there.”

“Oh. The Hilton, then?”

“You’ll find out when we get there.” She finally looked sidelong at me, her forehead creased in a frown. “You ask a lot of questions, Henry.”

“So people tell me. Sorry.”

“It’s okay.” She sped up a little and we crossed a road almost without looking. It was like she was trying to escape from somewhere, and I wasn’t sure I liked it.

“Are we being followed?”

“Why would you think that?”

“Well, you’ve been looking around a lot. And you walk very quickly.”

“It’s a cold day. And no, we aren’t.”

“Oh. Right then.”

“There’s the hotel. Come on.” She marched through the door, across the polished floor, set a packet of papers on the reception desk and turned to face me. “This is the Crown Plaza,” she tapped her heel on the floor and looked thoughtful for a second. “This floor is real oak.” I looked at her, bemused.

“Oh, is it really? How… lovely. I think.”

“Wooden floors are rarely oak, Henry,” she looked down at it and I almost caught a hint of wistfulness on her hard face. “Anyway.” She rang the reception bell once, resoundingly. I felt sorry for the bell.

“Nelson and Lewis party,” she told the receptionist, who smiled and took the papers.

“You’re in room two hundred,” he said. “This is your key. Just slot it into the door and you’re sorted.” Samantha took the offered key and set off towards the stairs, without waiting for me once again.

“We’re not going in the lift?” I had a sinking feeling that room two hundred was on the fiftieth floor or something ridiculous.

“Exercise is good for you.”

“Well, yes. I suppose.”

“Keep up.” I sighed and followed, but I couldn’t quite keep up and she frowned at me again as I puffed to the final landing.

“You clearly don’t do enough exercise.” I sighed and just nodded, too out of breath to reply. “The room’s this way,” and off she went again.

I stared glumly at the carpet as I followed her, noticing that it was thick and red, with a sort of gold pattern on. It looked quite expensive, and I was willing to bet that it was ultra comfortable if I walked on it without my shoes. It was tempting to try out this theory, but the thought of Samantha’s displeasure frightened me slightly, so I dismissed the idea. Perhaps later on.

“Samantha?” I watched her slot the key card in and out of the thin lock with one swift movement.

“Yes?” She threw open the door with as little regard for it as she had shown the bell.

“How long will this take? I mean,” I waved my hand at the bland, magnolia room and the identical two beds. “It looks like we’re staying the night.”

“We are.”

“Will it really take that long?”

“Maybe. It pays to be prepared, Henry.” She placed her bag onto the bed closest to her and turned to face me, a strange expression on her face. “Did you think I’d name a price, take what you have and then leave?”

“Sort of.” I suddenly felt a bit guilty for being judgemental. It was me who’d arranged this meeting, after all. Out of curiosity, I suppose. I still wasn’t sure what I’d get out of it, but I think these things are what you make of them. “Uh, would you like a cup of tea?” I noticed the customary kettle in the corner of the room, set on top of a hideous patterned tray. This room looked like a woman in her eighties had decorated it, and I mentally grimaced at the doilies under each saucer.

“Black, no sugar.” Her face went back to the neutral expression I was getting used to, and I went to fill the kettle from the bathroom tap. While I busied myself with the tea, Samantha sat down on the bed and crossed her legs primly, settling her hands in her lap.

“We’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for some time, you know,” she said as I handed her the hot cup of tea. She wrapped her hands around it and gazed into the cup. “It’s not every day something as valuable as your egg comes to our attention.”

“When you say our-”

“Yes, I mean the organisation. Simurgh. Huma. Bennu,” her voice lilted attractively when she said the foreign words, as if she tasted them like champagne on her tongue. “Whatever you choose to call us.”

“Simurgh was the one I found in the Yellow Pages.”

“All names are the same, Henry. They’re all a part of the one - the organisation I represent today and tonight. Simurgh.”

“I am sort of curious about what you do, though.” Their advert in the phone book had been a single word - Simurgh - encased in a rectangle. No design, no logo, nothing to hint at what they stood for save the understated blurb. Heirlooms Valued. The egg had been in my family for generations and had been the reason for many break-ins and family disputes. I was expecting Simurgh to be a sort of faux Antique Roadshow, complete with distinguished men in monocles.

“We value heirlooms, like it says in the advert. Oh,” she said, as an afterthought. “We trade too.” I’d taken a guess about the buying side, since Simurgh seemed to be oddly interested in my egg over the phone.
“But what if I’m not selling?” I sat down on the bed opposite hers, and sipped at my own milky tea.

“Trading, Henry. It’s not the same thing.”

“I know that,” I scowled. “I’m not stupid.”

“I never said you were.”

“Well stop talking to me like I’m a little boy, then.”

“I wasn’t aware that I was.”

“Well you were.” Her words had nettled me more than usual, but I put it down to prolonged exposure to her and made myself calm down. “Anyway, you said trade? What sort of things do you trade in?” I was interested, if only because I had so little information about Simurgh.

“Mostly heirlooms,” she put her teacup down on the low bedside table in between the two beds, and pulled over her bag. “But for the rarer items, we can usually come to an agreement.” She looked directly at me as she opened the clasp of her rather large bag with a sharp snap. “I am a persuasive woman, Henry.”

“Do you do all of the dealing, then?”

“Only me.”

“Surely you have partners?” She shook her head. “There’s really no-one else? Isn’t it sort of… dangerous?” I put my own cup down next to hers and leaned forward, elbows resting on my thighs.

She laughed, then. “Dangerous? Why Henry, I’d almost think that you were concerned for my safety.”

A flush crept into my cheeks and I stared firmly at the carpeted floor.
“There are some dangers,” she admitted. “But nothing I cannot cope with. And certainly not enough that I need some partner to look after me. The very idea!”

It was the most I’d heard her say, and it convinced me that this was something she felt strongly about. I decided not to mention it again, and picked up my bag from the floor.

“Is it in there, then?” She looked at the bag, and my fingers tightened about the worn leather possessively. It was stupid to feel like that, I knew. After all, I’d known, deep down, that I’d trade in the egg. But now that it actually came to the time, a wave of uncertainty washed over me.

“Yes, it’s in here.”

“Can I see it?” It seemed a silly question, but I obliged.

The egg was right at the bottom of the bag, and once I’d dug it out, I had to unwrap the tissue-paper from around the box. Once I’d got it free, I opened the lid carefully. The cardboard was fragile from age, and the smell of it always reminded me of a childhood spent in the attic of our huge house, poking around under the too-low eaves.

Inside the box, the egg was wrapped in further protection - a small bag of bubble-wrap - and surrounded by scraps of yellow tissue paper, which cascaded onto the floor as I took the bag out carefully. All the bubbles were, surprisingly, still intact and I resisted the urge to pop a few as I slid the egg out of its home. Putting the trappings to one side, I nestled the precious object in my hands and gazed at it with reverence, Samantha’s gasp of appreciation mere background noise as I took in its detail.

Every time I saw the thing, it took hold of me like that. It held a sort of fascination for me, had done ever since the first time my father showed it to me as a boy. It looked, on first glance, like any old Fabergé egg. That is to say, golden in hue, with extraordinary detail. But if you brought it up to your eyes and found the right sort of light, it became something entirely different.

The egg was like an extravagantly-worked piece of clockwork, and its gold was worked in cunning, twisted ways reminiscent of a labyrinth. Between the gold, painted wood peeped out. Oak, my father always said; its designs in burned orange and fiery red, all swirls and circles and never-ending lines.

The whole thing was the size of my cupped palm, and it always felt warm to the touch, as if some inner workings projected unnatural heat outwards. The little latch on one side had always puzzled me, but not as much as the tiny cogs and wheels that covered the top half of the egg and then stopped, suddenly, at that latch. They fitted together in a way which suggested that the egg could be opened, but I had stopped trying a long time ago.

Briefly, I wondered if Simurgh would attempt to open it, and the thought filled me with a strange longing.

“We’ve never been able to…” I remembered my father’s face as he told me that, and realised that my own probably mirrored his. This time was different though. This time, there was Simurgh, and if they were determined, perhaps they could get it open. I would never know, even if they did, but the thought gave me comfort, which overlaid the relief I felt at finally getting rid of the thing.

“I don’t think the opening is a problem you should worry about, Henry.”

“So you can open it then?”

“Of course. But that is not something you need worry about, as I said before. If you decide to go through with the trade, the egg will no longer be any of your business. You would do well to forget all about it.”

“Forget about it? That egg’s been in our family for… decades! I can’t just…” I shook my head. “It’s like asking me to forget about my hand. It’s just been there so long… you know?”

“No. You wouldn’t sell your hand, would you, Henry?”

“Probably not,” I admitted. “That would be a silly thing to do, really.”

“Yes it would. I do hope you’re not having second thoughts...” She trailed off meaningfully. “Do I have to sweeten the deal, a little?”

“No. N-no, no second thoughts. I won’t forget about the thing, but I will trade with you. That thing symbolises too much hurt.”

“Excellent.” Samantha pursed her lips together. “I will need to hold the egg and examine it, before we make our, ah, deal.”

“Of course,” I said, looking down at the egg nestled in my palm. Why when it finally came down to it, was it so hard to think about the egg not being there? Why was I imagining a cold, dank hole at home, where it usually lay? No, I told myself. It was time for the egg to move on. Time for it to be out of my hands.

Samantha held out hers, and I gently tipped the egg into her eager palm. Her face took on a strange sort of glow as she looked down at it, and for a second it seemed like she was taking in the heat from the egg itself - sucking it in through her skin. She let out a little sigh and I was jolted from those thoughts.

“Yes,” she breathed. “This is it.”

“It? What it?”

Samantha ignored my questions as she gazed on the egg with something approaching rapture on her face. “It’s finally found,” she said. “Ohh.”

“Found? I’m sorry, I think there’s something I’m not understanding here.”

“There is plenty you do not understand, Henry,” she snapped, but her voice had none of the acid of before. “But do not worry,” she lowered her voice. “Soon you will understand everything, even if for just a split second. It will all make sense.”

“I’ll take your word for it. So are we doing the trade, then?” I was getting restless in this hotel room, and Samantha’s cryptic words were chafing on my nerves.

“Yes. We are doing the trade. I have what you need right here,” she gestured to her bag and I wondered exactly what was inside it. Perhaps it was like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag, and had a standard lamp inside. My lips quirked at the thought.

Samantha opened the bag with one hand - the other still holding on to the egg as if she were afraid that I would take it back - and a terrible smell wafted out, assaulting my nostrils. I gagged. “Oh god, what is that?”

“The egg is a symbol of life, Henry. It must logically be exchanged for a symbol of equal power. And this,” she reached delicately into the bag and pulled out a jar containing whatever was making that smell, “is a salamander.”

“A salamander.” My face fell. “You’re giving me a lizard in exchange for my egg?”

“An amphibian, not a lizard,” Samantha said, firmly. “And it is far from ordinary, Henry. It has certain… properties. It should not be taken lightly.”

“Is that… is it still alive?”

“Of course it is! What use would it be if it were dead?” Samantha tut-tutted, holding up the jar to the light. “See? Perfectly alive.” She gave it a little shake, and the amphibian inside swayed and blinked.

“It looks annoyed.”

“Wouldn’t you be, if you were in a jam jar?” Samantha half-smiled, and then placed the salamander-in-a-jar on the bed at her side, all the while still holding the egg.

“Probably,” I agreed. “So what properties does it have, anyway?” I leaned down and peered through the glass. The salamander just blinked. “I mean, other than the ability to smell like burnt, gone-off food.”

“The salamander is rumoured to be able to extinguish flames with its body, and its blood, if smeared on the skin, can protect from fire,” Samantha half-closed her eyes like she was reciting from a book. “But then, it is also said to have no digestive organs and that it eats fire, so we tend to take the rumours with a pinch of salt.”

“Wow,” I said, picking up the jar. I held it up to my face and tilted it this way and that, watching the yellow and black creature sway with the movement, trying to keep its balance. “Do you think it’s true that it can put out a fire?”

“You may end up finding out, at some point,” replied Samantha.

“That’s cryptic.”

“Surely you expect nothing less from me, by now?” She looked amused, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. “The trade,” she glanced down at the egg fondly. “It is satisfactory?”

I nodded. “I think so, yes.” I smiled at the salamander, already inexplicably fond of the liza- the amphibian.

“Excellent.” Her hands came together to cup the egg for a second, before she pulled her bag open and placed it carefully inside, and out of sight. She snapped it closed with a sharp click. “I’m not sure we will be needing the room for the night after all. I expected to encounter more… reluctance on your side.”

“Reluctance?”

“Yes. In the past… Let’s just say that the trades have had to be facilitated with blood, on occasion.”

I pulled a face. “I suppose it’s a good job I’m nice then, isn’t it?”

“Certainly. We would not trade a salamander for just anything, Henry.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Samantha sighed and placed her bag primly on her knee. “We must shake on the trade, Henry, and then I think I shall depart. There is really no need for me to stay when the trade is over with so promptly.”

“No. No, I suppose there isn’t,” I said. “You… won’t stay anyway?” I had a sinking feeling that I sounded desperate, but I tried not to let it show.

“I’m afraid not. There is much work to be done.” Samantha stood up and placed her bag on the bed. She held out her right hand, and tugged me upright as I took it, the salamander jar clutched in my other. She smiled and tightened her grip, and gave my hand a brisk shake. She shakes like a man, I thought briefly, as she let go.

Samantha picked up her bag. She straightened her no-nonsense coat, tugging at the lapels until they lay flat, and picked up the key card for the room. “You had better leave too, Henry. You’ll be wanting to… ah, be somewhere familiar, I suspect.”

I shook my head at her opaque way of speaking and then smiled. “Will the salamander be alright in my bag, do you think?”

“I brought it here in mine; I should think it will be fine in yours.” She walked to the door in a smooth movement, and I hurriedly picked up my bag, placing the salamander inside it as I followed her.

I took one last glance at the room, glad to be seeing the back of the bland, magnolia walls and featureless bedspreads. The beds themselves had been hard, so I was glad that I wasn’t staying the night after all.

The door closed behind me with a soft click, and I crouched down to make sure that the jar was safe inside my bag. I wedged it upright between a packet of handkerchiefs and the squashed remainder of my packed lunch from earlier on in the day.

When I straightened, bag slung diagonally across my chest, Samantha had disappeared. There was no sign that she’d even been there to begin with.

I shook my head, and took my time walking down to the reception, where the man behind the desk was looking bored. He gave me a little wave as I passed, and I smiled at him, resisting the temptation to tell him that his rooms needed a lick of brightness before they bored the guests to death.

The journey home passed uneventfully. I gazed out of the train window, watching lustreless houses pass me by, and thinking. Thinking mostly about the egg, but the edges of my thoughts were warmed by the salamander. I knew it was irrational to be attached to such a small creature, but it wasn’t like a gerbil or a hamster. I’d seen some sort of intelligence behind those black-ringed eyes.

I wondered whether it was a boy or a girl, and then it was my stop, and I dreamed myself home, pondering names for the amphibian as I walked.
There was a smattering of drizzle - that horrible fine stuff - and then I was letting myself in through the front door, taking off my shoes and hanging up my coat.

I put my bag on a chair and took out the salamander, placing it carefully on the kitchen table while I poured myself a glass of milk. It felt nice to have another living being in the house, after so long by myself - even though the little creature didn’t really make much noise.

“You know,” I said, out loud. “I think I’ll call you Sal. I had a dog called Sal once… well, Sally, but you know.” All of a sudden, I felt stupid for talking to the salamander, but I carried on anyway. “She was a Labrador. Sort of yellow, like you, actually.” I took another gulp of milk. “Was Samantha right, then? Can you extinguish fire?” Sal blinked at me, and I could have sworn she nodded her head. “Handy, that.” I finished the milk and rinsed out the glass with cold water. “I don’t suppose I can keep you in that jar the whole time, can I?” Sal blinked again. “No,” I said, putting the glass upside down in the drainer. “No…”

I sat down heavily on one of the chairs and rested my chin on the table. Sal looked out at me, her yellow skin reminded me of jaundice and her throat moved as if she was trying to say something.

“I suppose it’s just you and me then,” I whispered. “I’d better get you a tank or something.”


I think that, if you were to ask me how I knew that the egg had been opened, I would not be able to tell you. I can imagine it, in my mind’s eye - those cogs uncurling and twisting around each other in an intricate dance - the sudden heat that would spring from it, searing the air into a desert haze. The egg would unfold, gently, nothing about its movement suggesting danger. There would only be the shimmer of heat - cleansing, birthing fire - as life itself was brought into the light. All I felt was an unquenchable sense of relief come over me like a flash thunderstorm, there one minute and then gone, leaving behind only the faint scent of sulphur, and the blinking of a salamander.

Lune the Guardian
26th April 2009, 08:31 PM
Oh, I'm still in love with the phoenix imagery, the last paragraph in general, and especially the final line with the blinking of the salamander. It has a really haunting feel to it and it resounds a lot for me.

This time around there was a lot more foreshadowing for the ending. I can't give a 100% neutral opinion since I've read the story before, but I do think that you did a much better job preparing us for the ending.

I really like how quickly and effectively you established Samantha's character. Henry is still an enigma to me, though - he seems like the curious sort and I wonder how he decided that it was time for the egg to move on. Like Samantha, I would have expected him to be quite reluctant, but in the end he kind of accepted most of the things that she told him, without too much complaint. He showed reluctance, but he just knew that he would trade in the egg, and I guess I'd like to see what fueled that decision.

A couple of minor errors that I spotted:

"The salamander is rumoured to be able to extinguish flames with its body, and it's blood, if smeared on the skin, can protect from fire"

Should be possessive "its", not contraction "it's".

“ 'I suppose it’s good job I’m nice then, isn’t it?' ”

It's a good thing I'm nice? Something along those lines? I don't think "job" was the word that you were looking for, seems like a typo or a half-a-thought that didn't go through.

Overall I love your language, and I admire your impressive work, as always ^^

Weasel Overlord
27th April 2009, 05:34 AM
Sob, your reviews make me so happy!!! ^_________^ Thanks so much!! [/over-use of exclamation marks] <--- totally just had to stop myself writing "urinating dog" there... stupid Pratchett. *kicks*

Oh the shame, a grammar mistake! *corrects hurriedly* If anyone asks, you didn't see that!

@ "good job" aah, that's a Northern British colloquialism - Henry's from Manchester, so he'd be very likely to say that. But I still missed off "a", ahah, so thanks for pointing it out!

Hm, I see what you mean about Henry's character. I'll try and add some more work in about him, methinks. Or at least about his motives. Thanks again for the review. You totally made my so-far-very-early day. :D

Lune the Guardian
27th April 2009, 10:14 AM
Urinating dog... o_O XD Who is Pratchett? What story is that reference from?

As for the good job... ohhhhhh. Yeah, there was still a word missing somewhere, but I didn't know about that colloquialism! Thank you, now I do. ^_^

I think working in something about his motives would definitely work. Most of his character is already there, it's just the part about knowing that he'll give up the egg that makes him a little bit confusing. I think the part where he feels stupid for talking to the salamander is hilarious, but then he keeps talking anyway, which is awesome and it made me laugh. ^_^;

I wasn't around when you started posting your work, but I went back and read the stuff that you posted that I was able to find. It's really a pleasure to read your stuff :) I am impressed at how many different kinds of stories you can write.

Weasel Overlord
27th April 2009, 10:39 AM
Ahahah, it's Terry Pratchett (he writes the Discworld books). Urinating dog is, uh... how they write an exclamation mark in the Counterweight Continent (it uses a picture-based writing system) - mostly seen in Interesting Times. And now I've shown the full extent of my geekery... ¬_¬

Oh my word, such praise! You've made my day again!! Well, afternoon. You know. *waves hands vaguely* You know, that's a very good way to make me really want to post more stuff up here...

I see what you mean about the knowing part. Hrm. I'll keep that in mind when I go back to do my edits. :D Thanks for being such a great reviewer!! You rock!! ♥