Friday, November 18, 2011

Inheriting a Legacy #FridayFlash

Just a little something I came up with today. Please let me know what you think, and as always, feel free to be extra stabby with your critiques. It's the only way to help both of us grow.

The library annex in her mother’s home was as organized as a regiment in the heat of battle: The book shelves had the correct labels, and some of the books were properly shelved, but the majority were scattered about the room. The tables were full of pots and bowls with sticky residuals from when her mother cast her last batch of spells. And wax from candles, long since burned down, dotted the carpeting.
The one thing always in the same place, a beacon of order in the chaos of the library, was her mother’s prized spellbook. The large, black, leather-bound tome rested on the marble book holder, closed with the lock holding it tightly shut. Zelda ran her hand over the cover and tapped the golden lock. She took one of her mother’s ornate daggers and pierced the tip of her finger, letting a drop of her blood fall onto the ancient metal, still polished and shiny.
The lock unlatched and the book opened itself. A faint green glow emanated from the pages accompanied with a tingling feeling running up Zelda’s spine. The magic from the book sparkled throughout her whole body.
“What do you think you’re doing?” The door to the library crashed open with her sister Victoria standing on the threshold.
“I’m going to become a witch, continuing our mother’s legacy.”
“I can’t let you do that.” She said, stepping into the library.
“Victoria, it’s what mother would have wanted.”
“Our mother was a bad person. I can’t let you descend into that world as well. Let me get rid of that book for you.”
Zelda wrapped her fingers around the edge of the book’s while marble stand. “She wasn’t a bad person, and I too will stay good. The world needs people like her, whether you agree with our methods or not.”
Victoria rolled up the sleeves of her blouse. “Then you leave me no choice.” She conjured up a small cyclone in the middle library. “Give me that book.”
The wind sucked up the contents of one of the tables and swirled towards Zelda. She ran to corner of the room and hid behind a chair. Peeking her head out, a small block of wax hit her in the head. She tried to stand, but her legs wobbled and she fell back down. As the cyclone came closer, she tried to get up once more, this time stumbling out towards her sister.
Victoria pulled her hands down, extinguishing the cyclone. She wrestled with Zelda and tried to pin her to the ground, but she broke free. “Zelda, I know it’s hard to resist. It’s in our blood to become witches, but I can’t let you. Sometimes we have to let our heritage die.”
Zelda backed away towards the spellbook, running her hands once more over the open pages. Victoria, bringing her hands back into the air, restarted the cyclone. But before it could get started, Zelda hovered her hands over the ancient pages and chanted one of the incantations.
Around her, the wind stilled, even as the room turned into a massive torrent of circling matter, banging up against the walls and shattering the windows on the far side. Once the spell was finished, a green column of light shot forth from the book and into the ceiling, dispersing the cyclone entirely. On the opposite side of the room, Victoria’s eyes turned red and a small ball of fire grew in the palm of her hand. “You have no idea what a book like that is worth do you? It is the key to unlimited wealth, and I’m not going to let you waste it like mother did.”
The ball of fire shot forth from Victoria’s hands, smashing into Zelda’s chest. She grabbed onto the book, but the impact knocked her back against the wall; a single page torn from the book remained in her hands. She noticed the smell of burning flesh even before the pain registered in her mind, collapsing her to the floor.
Victoria strolled towards the book and ran her finger around the edges, but it slammed shut with the lock clicking back into place. “Looks like I’m going to need you alive after all, sister.” She said, looking out the broken window. “At least until I can permanently unlock this damn book.”
Zelda rolled onto her side and scanned the torn page still in her hand. Despite the pain, a slight smile crept across her lips. She whispered the first part of the incantation, shouting the final word as loud as she could. Victoria spun around but it was too late. Blue light with crackling silver sparks swirled around her as she shrunk down, hands turning into sticky, webbed feet and a tail growing behind her.
Zelda staggered to her feet and dabbed some blood from her forehead onto the lock, opening the book. A small brown newt crawled up along the pages as Zelda searched for spell to heal magical burns. “I might as well keep you around too, Victoria. You might be useful as a pet.”


Raven Corinn Carluk November 18, 2011 at 5:18 PM  

Huzzah, comments!

You've got a few typos here and there. Like priced instead of pierced. But I have typos all the time too.

Good story, nice and fun.

I wondered a little if Victoria was a bad witch, or if she was a sorceress wanting a witch's spellbook. The idea behind that seemed not fleshed out enough.

Zelda kept throwing me off. I know we can't necessarily avoid names, but I can only think of Princess Zelda when I hear or see that name.

And just because I'm a vocabulary nerd, I wanted to see you say lectern once for the book stand.

More fun stuff, please. This is good, and I wants more.

Unknown November 18, 2011 at 5:48 PM  

Raven: Thanks for the stabbylove! Typo fixed, and with Victoria, that's a great point you bring up, also if I ever go through and edit this later, I'll for sure change it to lectern. Amazingly I never connected the name to the video game when I wrote this, but yea, I see how that would screw with somebody. Thanks a lot!

Larry Kollar November 18, 2011 at 8:18 PM  

Victoria seems to be a little inconsistent. She wants to get rid of the spellbook, but she has (and uses) the power she considers evil? But I think Zelda had better feed her sister to the cat or something, she'll find a way to get loose somehow!

Fun story. Looks like Raven caught your typos. If Sticky Vicky was supposed to be constant, you might need to fix that too.

Tim VanSant Writes November 18, 2011 at 11:26 PM  

Nice tale of opposing forces. I understood why you used the green and red, but not what blue is supposed to represent.

Chuck Allen November 18, 2011 at 11:47 PM  

An interesting sibling rivalry going on here. I liked the intensity of their battle. It took me a moment to figure out what Victoria's real motive was, but I think that added to the chaos of the battle.

Icy Sedgwick November 19, 2011 at 10:42 AM  

I love magical battles and the pacing in this one was great. Plus Victoria got her come-uppance and that's always good - plus, turning her into a newt was a nice touch. Makes such a change from the usual frog or toad! My only criticism is the phrase "sticky residuals" - can't help thinking "residue" would flow better.

Unknown November 19, 2011 at 6:32 PM  

Great piece, Michael. I'm a huge witch story fan so I hope you continue this. This would make a great first chapter.

The other comments are spot on in their assessment of Victoria. I think you can easily fix this by adding a few foreshadowing comments when she's introduced. Something from Zelda's POV would work, like an internal thought (or she can just say it) saying, "Nice try, sis, but I see right through you."

Excellent descriptions. I could visualize everything perfectly. Good job!

Helen A. Howell November 19, 2011 at 8:06 PM  

Yep Victoria sounded a bit mixed up to me, wants to be good but acts a bit evil.

Oh why can't siblings agree with each other eh!

Fun story.

Adam B November 19, 2011 at 8:57 PM  

I agree with other commentators about the distinction between the main characters, but the pacing and the action was very well done. And the ending has a nice light touch of humour that works well.
Adam B @revhappiness

John Wiswell November 19, 2011 at 11:20 PM  

If you want some #stabbylove, I didn't like you leading with the long simile, especially when it only really expresses that the books are scattered. The simile also brings a military context to mind that doesn't augment their ensuing dialogue. The exchanges themselves are fine, and click nicely into your grim action sequence. The sooner you deliver us to this, the better it will all come off.

Unknown November 22, 2011 at 9:03 AM  

Far: This is actually a very interesting comment paired with some of the others I've gotten. I think I need to add a 'pinch' of motive for her original statements. Thanks for the comments.

Tim: That's good, because I didn't know why I used those colors :) My subconscious is smart like that sometimes.

Chuck: Thanks for the comments. Yea, I think I should fix it up at some point to give a little more motivation. Confusion is not good in this case.

Icy: Interesting, I thought I was going cliche with newt (Monty Python) but I suppose it is better than those other amphibians. Good point on the residuals too!

Rachel: You are spot on with the motivation thing with Victoria and good suggestion. Thanks for the comments.

Helen: Thank you for letting me know your thoughts on Victoria. Gives me a good gauge on just how much I should clarify that without hitting the reader over the head with it. Oh, and I so would have turned my brother into a newt.

Adam: Thanks, and yea, will work on Victoria.

John: Thank you for bringing the #stabbylove! Very insightful about the simile being way out in the middle of nowhere with respect to this story.

Tom Gillespie : @tom_gillespie December 6, 2011 at 12:54 AM  

There's a lot of movement in this story which rolls along nicely.. I like the cheekiness of the girls, and the overall playfulness of the piece. In terms of #stabbylove, I concur with John about the simile.. I always think that similes are problematic, and have a tendency to distract and falsify the voice. Also, not quite sure a about a "beacon of order".. what does that mean?
Hope that helps.

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