[community profile] mini_nanowrimo: week 3

Nov. 15th, 2008 10:01 pm
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"I miss you," Erin said.

It was the single most liberating thing she'd ever said.

"I miss you," she said again, and took a deep breath. "I miss you, please come back?" She didn't wait for an answer. "I'll be better this time, I swear. I am better. I hardly ever fall apart anymore. I'm stronger now. I...I can live without you now...but I don't want to."

The answer was almost inaudible, but she imagined that it was I miss you too.

"I don't cry in the middle of the night anymore. There are whole hours when I forget about y...when I forget about us. When I forget about being alone... I'm okay, you know? I'm self-sufficient. So when I tell you I miss you, you should know it's not because I need you. But...I just miss you."

She stopped talking and waited with breath held, wondering desperately what the answer would be.


Once upon a time (and don't all good fairy tales start that way?) Maas was a god.

Okay, so technically he still is. Technically not all that much has changed since the old days, for him. It's not like he was popularly worshipped in the old days. Or even particularly known at all. Even today, ask the world's foremost mythology experts about Maas, and they will say, "Who?"

Maas had never been particularly good at being a god. Maybe that's why he favors the phrasing I used to be a god. It frees him from expectations. Including (especially?) his own.

These days, he keeps a low profile. He pretends to be human. He isn't in contact with any of the other old gods, even though they're all keeping low profiles as well – he's pretty sure their reaction to any contact from him would be about the same as the mythology experts'. He tries his luck at a series of jobs, but honestly he's about as good at being human as he is at being a god. It just never works out for him.

Playing human is interesting, though, in a way that being a god never was. Humans are weird, and funny, and almost completely unpredictable. Sometimes, when he's in between jobs, he entertains himself by finding ways to mess up their lives and then watch as they put the pieces back together again. Sometimes they astonish him with their ingenuity. Sometimes they don't manage to put the pieces back together. He feels bad for those ones, but he can't stop himself from meddling.

They're just so fascinating. And so much better at this than he is. How do they do it? How do they live their short, meaningless lives with such meaning? Hold down jobs or don't, marry and raise a family or don't, celebrate or mourn, fall in love or live for themselves alone or live for the universe in general – no matter what they choose, they all seem to do so with such certainty, even the ones who think themselves uncertain, and Maas envies them that. They are who they are, and he has never, ever had that.


Tasha used to say it was my fault, what happened.

She didn't mean it to be cruel. Tasha never meant anything to be cruel, it was one of the things everyone loved about her. She loved everyone, our Tash, and I don't think it even really occurred to her that other people didn't love everyone to the same degree she did. She didn't ever seem to realize that you could say things just to be cruel.

But she would say it was my fault, and then hug me, because she loved me regardless.

That should have been reassuring, I guess. But Tasha loved everyone, really. It sort of took the specialness away.

People meeting her for the first time thought Tasha was weird. Maybe they were right, I don't know...I'd known her for so long that any weirdness didn't seem to register with me. Sometimes I tried to see her through their eyes; looked at the battered bomber jacket, the sunglasses even indoors, the extensive body art. But it always just looked like Tasha to me. She wasn't weird, she wasn't beautiful, she was just sweet, loving, one-of-a-kind Tasha.

She tattooed my name on her upper left arm, at right angles to the name of the guy she went to our high school prom with. I'm not sure if there's any symbolism in that. I've never asked. I doubt if I ever will. Anyway, there are so many names tattooed on Tasha's arms that it'd have to be at right angles to someone's name, right? My name looks really cool there on her arm, though, in a Celtic kind of script, surrounded by rich swirls. His name is in block letters decorated with tiny, intricate flowers. She designs all her tattoos herself.

Tasha said I was beautiful. I never quite believed her.

Tasha doesn't say it was my fault anymore. I don't know who she blames now. I don't know if she blames anyone. We don't talk about it. Everyone's very careful. We don't talk about it...definitely not around her. Nobody mentions the name Devlin.

Tasha loves everybody, you see. And while everybody doesn't love Tasha, those of us who do love her far too much to hurt her by bringing up old, painful memories like Devlin.

Devlin's name isn't tattooed on Tasha's arm. Most people don't realize Tasha has Devlin's name anywhere on her body. They think it would hurt her too much.

I don't correct them. I think I'm the only one who knows, because I'm the one who put it there. She asked me to, you see. It's on her hip, where nobody's likely to see it unless they're looking for it. It's not a tattoo, it's a scar. She drew Devlin's name where she wanted it, applied a local to herself, and handed me a scalpel. She said I was the only one she trusted to do it, because it was my fault, what happened, and because it was my fault, what happened, I did it for her. I didn't do a very good job. I'm not very good with knives. But she talked me through it, and in the end, there it was. DEVLIN, in slightly jagged, uneven letters on her hip, where it will never go away.

It's the only body art she has that isn't on her arms.

I loved Tasha a lot, I guess.

I didn't love her enough to make up for the fact that Dev never did.


Tasha loves everyone, you see, she always has, but she loves everyone in roughly the same way. Me, for example – she adores me, dotes on me, cuddles me, but in pretty much exactly the same way she adores, dotes on, and cuddles everyone else. It doesn't make me special. It just makes her Tasha.

Devlin, though, Tasha loved Devlin in a way she didn't love anyone else. Idolized her, really. Worshipped the ground she walked on. Tasha thought Devlin could do no wrong. Tasha wanted Devlin's attention and love more than anything else in the world.

And Devlin, well, Devlin didn't love anyone. Everybody knew that. Devlin didn't even love herself. I'm not sure Dev ever figured out exactly what love was or why everyone was so hung up about it. Dev had a lot of problems.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Devlin, too. Not the way Tasha did, of course, but the way you loved a screwed-up little sister who you don't entirely understand. I still don't really understand why Tasha fixated on her to the degree that she did, but she did, so whatever. Not my problem – except, of course, that it completely was.

Because if anybody could have saved Dev, it should've been me.

Because it was my fault, what happened.


So I forget. Are we in love?

No. That would just make things complicated, you know?

Right. So...this is strictly an acquaintanceship.

I dunno, I think we've passed acquaintanceship.


I wouldn't go that far...

I forget, do you like me or just tolerate me?

I like you, I guess.

Gee, thanks. So what's this meant to be, then?

I dunno...I like it. Whatever it is. I just...I dunno.

Well...will you be my 'it's complicated' on facebook then?

...you need to stop reading xkcd.

Haha. Never.

Was that whole thing just a setup to get you to that line?



i used to write poetry
i don't anymore
it got to the point where everything
i was writing
was repetitive
and clichéd
and i hated
just the look of it
i erased far more words
than i kept
i used to write in pen
now when i write –
if i write –
it's in pencil
the paper smudged with eraser dust
and full of holes from rubbing too hard
i hate the way eraser dust smells
i hate the smeary look it leaves behind
i used to think i had talent
i don't anymore
why did i ever bother to try?


The sea was gray and choppy, the sky was an unappealing nothing color, the wind was blowing fiercely, and Trista stood on the beach and shivered.

"Take me back," she whispered, and then "I changed my mind, I want to go back!" she shouted, but the wind whipped the words from her mouth and they were gone.

"Take me back!" she screamed, but she couldn't even hear herself and, crying, she prepared to give up. "I want to go home," she said, barely even a whisper. "Take me home. Take me back to the way life used to be."

As if in answer the wind howled all the louder and a sudden spray of seawater hit her full on. She shrieked in surprise, jumped backwards, and suddenly everything went silent and still.

Trista stood motionless.
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