The Talisman

Talisman by Sarrah Nussbaumer

Mace ran a finger over its smooth surface. His symbol, his luck, his talisman. The first bounty he’d ever taken from a raid. He grinned and turned back to his current prisoner, a girl about eighteen, chestnut brown hair, slim build, dark brown eyes that burned with hatred toward him.

Her name was Brissa. She’d gone to his school, they’d known each other a little. Enough that he’d remembered her the moment the others mentioned her. She was an idealist. One who thought that utopia could be achieved and war stopped forever, if only the two sides would talk and settle their differences.

Bah, talk. It was a woman’s idea. Talk didn’t belong in war. No matter how despicable war was, humans were greedy, always seeking more. Land, money, power. War would exist until the end of time because humans would always fight and no amount of talk could change that.

But Brissa had never understood that. She still thought her utopia could exist. Dumb girl. She’d learn the lesson now. She could have had respect, if she hadn’t turned traitor, gone to play peacemaker ‘carrying messages’ on both sides. Her precious cause would be extinguished without second thought and she’d shut up then.

He turned to his comrade, a fellow young soldier, “Go get yourself a drink. This one couldn’t escape me if I had one hand tied behind my back.”

Brissa glared at him, with that same angry passion she used to get while she tried to save a dying animal, while they were kids. Mace shook his head. Age hadn’t changed her a bit. She might be a woman now, but she was still that same fiery tempered tomboy on the inside.

His comrade hadn’t noticed the glaring, too happy going to help himself to the ale. A chance to drink instead of being on duty? A dream come true.

Spinning on his heel, Mace turned back to Brissa. One finger lifted her chin as he forced himself to carelessly inspect her face. There had been a time when her features were more familiar to him than the back of his own hand, but he hadn’t seen her in three years, and those years had changed her greatly.

“Tell me,” he began flippantly, as if torturing an old friend was something he did every day, “why would you throw your life away, just to end up here?”

She jerked her chin away, “Because I would rather die for something that has meaning, than live in pointless luxury.”

He grinned, so like Brissa. Of course she would. “Ah, so die saving a small child, why would you betray your own people, knowing you would end up being tortured? You knew. There was more to your decision than that.”

Her eyes shifted away but she didn’t answer.

Mace frowned, he’d hoped he could get her to talk about nothing important, so that when he had to ask the harder questions, the names of her comrades, she might list them off without forcing him to do what his commander required of him.

He gripped her chin between his index finger and thumb, tilting her face up at him, “Brissa let me make it abundantly clear, you are here because you have information. Information that you *will* tell me. Whether you tell me willingly or not I will report to my commander with what he asks for, or this will be incredibly painful for you, got it?”

She glanced at the floor. Of course she got it, he thought, she bore the scars. She wasn’t a new prisoner. Every one of these sessions had driven that fact into her mind. He sighed and rubbed his talisman again.

“You still carry that…..thing.” She noted, glancing at the twisted piece of metal. It had once been something, made of silver or white gold, but during the raid it had been melted down in a fire, leaving a twisted object with the shape of an incredibly small wishbone, but at the very top was a small hole. He’d put it on a chain around his neck. He never took it off.

He ignored her subject-change and turned off his feelings. The emotions that ran through him, pity, regret, anticipation. All blocked out. He had to be cruel.

He turned around, “Have you ever felt like glass, so easy to break, but trying so hard to appear solid?”

Now it was Brissa’s turn to hesitate, and Mace got his answer immediately. She’d already been broken in a way. There was nothing left that could ruin her. Her family was dead, he knew that personally, and she’d already withstood enough pain, they couldn’t hurt her worse without killing her.

He pounded the table angrily. Why did he have to get assigned to her? Of all the prisoners there, why her?

“Yes Mace.” He jumped at her whisper, “Of course I feel like glass. Only I don’t feel like the glass that is unbroken, and trying hard to remain so. I’m the shattered glass. Broken beyond repair. I know what fate awaits me.”

He nodded and pulled off his talisman, running his hands across the surface. Of course she knew. But he had to begin, because if he didn’t, they would know and she would only be hurt worse in the long run. He scanned his orders once more and pulled the iron from the fire. As he approached her, he murmured, “I’m sorry.”

She looked at him, not with fire in her eyes, but with compassion and sadness, “I know.”

He pressed the talisman in her scarred hands, then did what he had to do.

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The above piece was a combination entry to Inspiration Monday, and Indigo Spider’s Sunday Picture Press. Thanks to both of you. =)

And as a disclaimer, I did not choose to end it like I did, it was just the only thing that fit the story and the characters. I wanted him to let her go.

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Just Breathe & Other Randomness

Randomness first:

Yesterday was my sweet sixteen and I had the best birthday of my life to date, and I’ve yet to even celebrate it! I felt so loved by my friends and family, and going to the mall and randomly shopping places, walking around, doing my normal freakish nonsense with a great friend, was an awesome way to spend my morning. Then to add a friend walking into my house with a giant cupcake and a massive chocolate bar to wish me happy birthday just made my day. The only thing I wish was different was that my dad was in Canada on business, which wasn’t so great. But that’s okay, because if I’ve learned one single thing in sixteen years of life, it’s that life goes on. The messed up stuff always goes away and things are as good as new eventually.

So, now that I’ve wasted all you guys time with some of my thoughts, enjoy this scribble like item–not sure what to class it as–it’s almost in a journal form….but of a character…and very short. Anywho, no more rambling about nonsense:

Just Breathe

* * * * *

Survive. Just breathe. Don’t panic, it’s all part of the plan. His plan. How do I know that? Have I seen the plan? Do I know the plan? Nope. That’s the scary part. No one does.

The plan is there, and I’ve seen glimpses of its intricate weavings when I realize years later, what little things changed my life. But no one, and I mean absolutely no one, knows the whole plan. Only He knows it. And sometimes, like right now, it’s hard to believe even He has. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe there is a plan. But I still believe. I have to believe.

So now I’m back to surviving. To standing here, reminding myself that it’s okay to just breathe. Sure, things look bad, but who am I to judge that? Who am I to say, ‘I know best’? Even for me, I know I don’t. Because I don’t know the plan, and I don’t know which way the road will go. All I know is that right now, I’ve got right and almost right, staring me in the face. Daring me to choose the wrong path.

Pick a side. Take a step. Just breathe.

Inspiration Monday XVI

A completely weird, just for fun piece that I wrote. Thought I’d show it to you all as my Inspiration Monday piece of the week. =) I couldn’t think of a title for it so this is a nameless piece off of Outstretched Fingers (yeah my own prompt) and Unmentionable.
* * * * *

B-E-E-P!!! B-E-E-P!!!

Feet down, head off of my pillow. Stand, shuffle to my closet. Pull out my faded coveralls. Put on the coveralls. Wait for the black light to turn on for us.

My name is Myrial Jinks, and I live in a world that has no light.

The Lantern switches on and all of us girls in year twenty-five finish strapping our coveralls, clicks sounding as we press the button, each signaling that we are dressed and ready for the day. Shuffle on through the muck until breakfast at precisely 7:15am. I braid my hair while we walk across town to the dining hall.

My world is orderly, never late, never early. Always the same. Every morning, children in years 0-3 are in the nursery, while children of years 3-10 attend school. Years 10-15 are at work in the mines, producing power so the black light will glow for us every morning. Those of us that are in the higher years, years 15 – 25, are being trained. I do not know what for, but they are being trained. I am being trained.

All of us file into a long,dim and grimy building where we are given a plate of very slimy oats and old coconut milk. Eating it is a tasteless, rubbery affair that we repeat every day. It used to make me throw up. But since I was three years old I have eaten this same stuff every single morning. I loathe slime.

Since I am twenty-five now, I am nearing the end of my training. Soon I and the others will leave this world and move on. I hope we will go to a world of light, instead of this muddy and dark one. Even more I am excited to see my brother Tom and his friend Sam. Since they left last year I realize more than ever, how much I depend on their teasing to keep me from being bored in this life.

Breakfast is over now, and we clear our plates, moving on to the training gym. As year twenty-fives we are no longer training ourselves, we stopped training in year twenty-two and our job now is to train the other years. Today I am working with the year seventeens. I hate working with the year seventeens. They don’t like me and they are always shoving me down.

There is only one person here, that is older than the rest of us. A man called Garretch. I don’t know how old he is, perhaps forty or forty-five. He lives in a mansion outside of our barracks. It always has lights on, even on the days when the black light stays off to save power.

He only comes out to talk to us from his balcony, when there’s been a power outage, or a riot. The year seventeens and eighteens like to start riots sometimes. Once I was even in one, because Tom and Sam dragged me with them.  When they lived here I used to do lots of things.

At the end of today, I get to leave. Once and for all. Maybe I can go to my world of light. Right now I have to focus on staying away from a pair of year seventeen boys who think it is funny to force me into the corner and dump mud on my head before they case my braid in it. In this situation, all I can do is run.  Stupid year seventeens.

Four hours later, I get off work and go wash the mud from my braid. After that I am to report to the mansion. Garretch will be showing us how to get to our next jobs. Information about these jobs is little, or even none. I still don’t know what I’ll be doing. As long as I get to see Tom and Sam again that’s fine though.

Garretch tells us to walk through a door, into the light. What we do while we walk through the hall that follows is unmentionable. Then, we will start our new lives.

A few people before me, then it’s my turn. Take off my coveralls, put on something new, a pair of shorts and a tank top–I feel underdressed–then grip the door knob. Feel the sweat of the person before me. They must have been even more nervous than me. The door knob is nearly soaked.

“Myrial Jinks would you hurry up please???” Garretch taps his foot impatiently.

Here goes nothing. Turn the handle until the latch clicks. Walk through the door, and it shuts behind me. The hall goes dark. I don’t like the dark. I’ve seen too much of it. Keep walking. Don’t freak out.

I curse when I hit a wall. Feel along it to find where I am. There’s a handle on it. Not a wall, a door. Open the door. Click. The hall floods with light and I step into my new life, meeting the outstretch fingers of my brother and friends that left last year.

My life as a teenage freak…..uh, writer

This post is to commemorate two events that are pretty important in my life. First, on June 21 I will turn 16, and no I really don’t have plans. Secondly, June 28 will mark the six month anniversary of  when I wrote A Rebel’s Death (no worries, I’m aware that it needs a rewrite) and in my eyes officially became a writer.

I decided to write about the ways that becoming a writer has turned me into a freak, which I’m surprisingly happy about. Some of these aren’t a big deal, and may not even be too different from before I started really writing.

  • I never leave my house (or my room) without some device to write down phrases and inspirations.
  • My arms are (to my mum’s great disappointment) usually covered in notes.
  • If I like a song it’s usually because it inspires me to write.
  • I stopped changing my writing’s natural flow and just let it come when it wants. Whereas before when I would try to write it was always very forced.
  • I dream about scenes in my book, and think about how to writ what I’m experiencing, even when I sleep.
  • My characters are so real to me that even my friends talk about them like they are real people.
  • My moods now change based on what scene I’ve been writing lately. If my character is depressed, I’m a lot harder to talk to. If they’re happy, I get hyper. All that good stuff.
  • If I can’t sleep it’s because I’ve been thinking about plots and forgotten that it is 3am and I will be getting up tomorrow morning.
  • I read less. This one isn’t necessarily good.
Of course there’s other stuff that’s changed in my life too since then, but those are most of the ones that relate to how I think and write now vs. when I thought maybe it would be cool to write a book for fun last September. Big difference I must say!  =)

Pianolover’s Inmon XVI

The first one inspired by “I Can’t draw love, but I know it when I see it” (Thankyou Pete) and the second one was inspired by a line in the first one (I underlined it for you). The first one is kindof weird and I’m not sure what the point of it is but thanks for reading anyway.

It’s Everywhere

What is it like to be normal? I never have been. I’ve always seen things. Seeing other people’s happiness is why I will never be classified as “normal”. When I see someone, I can see their lives.

I see the young writer, who was just published the first time. I smile at the young man, who just had his first kiss. I’m just as proud as the musician I see who is so proud of the work he spent hours perfecting.

I’m seeing Joy. Or at-least, that’s what I think it is. That’s another reason that I don’t fit in; that I am an outcast. I can’t understand this thing that people call emotion. But I’m not sure I want to. It doesn’t seem as good as some people say it is. Because joy isn’t all I see. I can also see, what do you call it? Anguish? Sorrow? Pain?  Whatever you call it, it’s everywhere. But I don’t want to feel it. I can almost feel it. I can see it.

It’s in the back-alley where the mother grieves for her lost son. It’s in the parking lot where the perfect relationship ends for no reason. It’s hiding inside the widower in the office, pretending everything is alright.

So that’s probably why I’m not “Normal”, because I’m the only thing without pain in this pain-filled broken world.

“Normal”

When I wake up in the morning, I hop in the shower. Then I’d eat a quick bowl of cereal before rushing upstairs to brush my teeth and grab my back-pack. But I’m not perfect. I forgot to make my bed after my Mom told me too.

I have a specific spot that I sit in on the school bus, just like most of the other kids. I blow bubbles in-between chatting with my friends. And we talk about the same things most of the other boys talk about. You know, normal things. Sports, hobbies and friends. We talk and laugh about how Joe’s 2nd string cornerback for our school, how hard barre chords are on guitar and how Troy’s friend embarrassed himself.

Although I could hang out with them all day, we have to go to school. In math, I pass notes occasionally just like most of the kids do sometimes. I’m not really one to stick out. I got a C in English. But I do have a favorite subject. I like history. But I have to wait until after lunch.

So I grab the same “Mystery-meat-casserole” that all the other kids are forced to try. My eyes scan the lunchroom as I look for Troy and Joe. But I can’t find them so I just sit at a random table. But as I sit down, one of the kids at the table yells at me, “Freak! You can’t sit here your too much of a weirdo! Only normal people can sit here!”

Sigh- highschool drama.

Mindstorm – Inspiration Monday XV

This piece is abnormal for me.  It’s not something that I’ve tried before, nor do I have even the slightest taste of what it’s like, so it was a little weird to write.  Not sure how it turned out.

It was prompted by ‘mindstorm’ but other ones slipped in as well so I highlighted them.  🙂

Inspiration Monday fifteen hmm…..wow.  That’s a lot of inspiration.

Mindstorm

The rain is falling still, but lightly now.  The storm blew over and left my mind to thunder on its own.

What happened to family?  I wonder, picking at one of the worn shingles in my hiding place.  They always told me, family is forever.  They were forever.  I don’t understand.

I want to slip sideways in time, back to when this mess wasn’t my life.  When we were all still happy.  But I’m stuck here, swamped in the muck of my parents ugly divorce.  My so-called-life is chaos.  I haven’t even told my best friend yet and my parents will sign the first papers tomorrow.  Their stupid, petty, idiotic fights will keep them from settling things quickly, however.  They’re dragging me down.  I’m sixteen, don’t they think maybe I’m old enough to choose who to live with?  It would be so much faster than this months long fight they’ve been in, and they months they’ll keep fighting.

Of course, who would I choose? And how would I explain to the rejected parent why I didn’t choose them?  Maybe it’s better this way.  I dont’ want to choose.  I don’t want to have to choose.

This is so stupid!  My parents are so busy battling each other, they don’t even notice that they’re ruining my life. Since when do they not care? Did I do something that made them fight?  Made them hate me and hate each other?

The last thing they expected was to get a divorce.  Or, so Mom keeps telling me.  God, the last thing I expected was this.  They promised it would never happen to them.  And me?  I was stupid enough to believe them.

Inspiration Monday XIV

Well, this is my last minute Inspiration Monday post as I desperately attempt to juggle life and writing.  It’s not that good honestly–it’s ridiculously short and not really coherant–and I don’t really feel like posting it, but I suppose I’d better.  I can look back and be horrified by it.

Overexposed

Well, I got what every girl ‘wants’.  I’m the talk of the school, by far the most well known.  It’s horrible, but I guess that’s what happens when you break up with the quarterback of the varsity team.  You end up as the butt of every joke, the point of all mean gossip.  My stupid, dramatized, talked about break-up with Drew is the only reason people even give me the time of day.

 I want to crawl under a rock and die.  How did this happen?  We were perfect together.  No one thought we would EVER, in a million years, break-up.  Idiot. One thing happens and he dumps me.  He won’t even say why.  Apparently everyone and their mother knows.  It’s all they talk about.

My life is such a mess.  I lost my best friend to this break up.  He was so easy to talk to, now we act like we have no idea the other exists.  But what can I do?  I’m part of the drama and there’s no running.  My life is overexposed just so they can use it for free entertainment.