This is a culmination of my too many interests. It's is an in-between place. It's more focused than my Myspace blog, but less so than my author blog. Here you can find artwork, photography, writing, poetry, book covers, manga and pointless videos. All of these things mesh together to become a reflection of their creator in an in-between place colored like shadows and flavored like frappuccinos and chocolate. It's one heck of a world.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Attic Treasure

flash fiction

Alex came down the stairs slowly, the giant purple feather in his hand, and a concerned look puckering his tiny eyebrows. His sister, Alisia, sat at the dining room table, elbow deep in gooey pumpkin seeds as she worked on her Halloween jack-o-lantern.

She glanced up as he came to a stop near her, and fastened her eyes on the prize in his hand. “What’s that?”

“I dunno. I found it in the attic.”

Alisia’s voice dropped to a horrified whisper, “The attic? You’re not supposed to be up there! You know better!” But her admonishment could only last so long. “So let me see!”

She grabbed for the feather, but Alex stepped away quickly. “No! Your hands are all messy! You’ll ruin it!”

The girl glared and opened her mouth to shout for her mother, but realized at the last second that mom would only take the treasure away. “Oh, all right. I’ll be right back – don’t you move!” And she marched away to the kitchen.

Alex stood patiently for under a minute, then he wandered to the doorway and peered into the front room where his mother sat on the couch watching TV and having her weekly phone conversation with her sister. There was a funny old guy on the screen, in some movie that Alex didn't recognize.

“-I’m telling you, Steve Martin would even be good in bunny ears! You just don’t have any taste!”

Alex pondered whether this mysterious person was someone he should know, and why he’d be in bunny ears, but his thoughts were interrupted when someone suddenly yanked the feather from his hand. He spun on the spot, ready to shout, but found Alisia standing there, one finger to her mouth.

“Come on,” she whispered, then grabbed him and hauled him through the house and out into the backyard. The autumn trees dropped leaves on their heads as they found a good open spot, and plopped down to examine the feather.

Alisia turned it over in her hands, then smacked her brother in the back of the head. “It’s a quill, you dork!”

Alex rubbed his injury and scowled. “A what?”

“A quill. It’s an old fashioned ink pen.” She rolled here eyes dramatically. “Go get some paper and I’ll show you!”

They argue momentarily about why he had to go, but in the end he lost, so it was only so many wasted words. He slumped into the house, fetched his drawing tablet with the big red Indian on the front, and slumped back out to his sister.

He smacked her on the head for good measure, then handed the tablet over. “Here.”

She glared, but didn’t retaliate, only opened the tablet to a blank page and then set about demonstrating. “See this pointy bit? That’s like the bottom of the ink pen. It’s the nit, or something like that. And you dip it in ink – oh crap!”

Alex’s eyes went wide and he covered his mouth. “You can’t say that word!”

“Yes I can, when something aggravating happens. Mom does it all the time,” she explained in her best grown-up tone. “But that doesn’t matter. We need ink.”

He surveyed the feather, then the paper and turned it over in his mind. Ink pens didn't need ink, they had ink already, so why did this one? He made up his mind that for all her big talk, Alisia had no idea what she was talking about. Without a word, he snatched the quill from her hand and proceeded to trace a large, sloppy circle on the paper.

A sloppy, red circle.

“See?” he announced triumphantly, ignoring Alisia’s wail. “It doesn’t need ink!” He made a smiley face, and added curly hair on top, just like his. “Look, it’s me!” He glanced up, expecting to find Alisia and an insult, but his sister was laying on the ground doubled up, her arms wrapped around her mid section.

He shook her leg. “Hey, what are you doing?”

“It hurts!” she cried.

Alex scowled. “Ah, you’re just being a cry baby because I got it to work!” He turned back to his masterpiece and flipped to a clean piece of paper where he wrote as he spoke, “A-lis-ia is a bi-ig cry-y b-a-by.” He glanced up to see her rolled over on her side, positively sobbing now, then he added a portrait of her, complete with a big wart on her nose.

“What’s going on out here?”

Alex looked up to see his mom striding towards them. “Alex! Did you hurt your sister?”

“No,” he sulked. “She’s just throwing a fit because I figured out the quilt-nit thing.”

His mother brushed the nonsense sentence aside, and hurried to her daughter. Alisia continued to cry, and Alex went back to his drawing, adding a few embellishments, like some devil horns. And then his mother screamed.

He looked up to see her kneeling next to Alisia, her hands covered in blood. “Oh my god! Alisia! Hold on honey!” And then she scooped the girl up and ran inside without even shutting the door behind her.

Alex looked at his drawing, then back up, and for the first time felt genuine concern for Alisia. She was bossy and pig headed, but she was his big sister. He abandoned his drawing and wandered into the house, the quill clenched in his small fist. He stopped in the dining room and watched through the kitchen doorway as his mother laid Alisia on the table and peeled off her shirt to reveal deep, bleeding gouges.

His dad got home just then, and quickly ha the situation under control. He soothed his near-hysterical wife, helped her clean up their crying, hysterical daughter, and then he turned and met his son’s concerned eyes. He offered him a soft smile and jerked his head to indicate that he should go wait for him in the front room.

He was there in a few minutes, and the first thing he did was hold his hand out. “I think you’d better give me what you found in the attic, Alex.”

His first instinct was to hide the quill behind his back, but under his father’s steady gaze he slowly brought it out again. “Here.”

“Thank you.” He looked the quill over, then stuffed it into his pocket. “What have we told you about the attic, Alex?”

“It’s dangerous,” he mumbled.

“That’s right. I hope you can see now just how dangerous it is. You do realize that this quill is what hurt your sister, don’t you?”

The boy’s eyes grew wide. “What? But how?”

“This is the devil’s quill, son. It draws in the blood of the person who held it last. If I were to draw something right now, it would use your blood.”

“And it would hurt?” Alex ventured.

“Yes, a lot.” He saw his son’s worried face. “But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to put this back where it belongs, and we’re not ever going to discuss it again, do you understand?”

Alex heaved a sigh of relief and nodded.

“Good.” His father ruffled his hair affectionately. “Just wait, when you’re old enough both you and Alisia will be able to join the coven and worship the great Melachial. Until then….” He waited for Alex to finish.

The boy sighed again, though more from disappointment this time. “Stay out of the attic?”


His dad did as he promised; he put the quill back where it belonged and the incident was never spoken of again. However, Alisia had a hard time explaining to her future husband why she had a scar that looked very much like a bad drawing of a warty girl with devil horns.


Sharon S. said...

ooh, that was good . Love the new banner at the top!

Joleene Naylor said...

Thanks! It is very, very loosely based on the banner that actually goes with this blog layout - the guy does awesome work!

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