Sheep Knitting in Top Hat

Psst! I painted this plate, guys–praise me for it!

Sheep in Top Hat Knitting

Every year the Workshop I work for goes down to London for a ceramic-painting Christmas outing; and this was the sweetest of the fruits of my labours. A little ‘meh’ next to the fruits of the professional artists I work for, but my Mum liked it, and at the end of the day that’s about as much as I can hope for all that matters. 😀

Seriously though, none of the pens they had wanted to work for me; it was so frustrating! Anyway, Happy Bah Humbug to both my religious followers, and anyone else who happens by–hope to be giving you all a short story for the new year!

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Novel ‘The Three Dead’: First 998 Words

Hey, it’s not my fault the text I wrote only reaches 1K two words into a new sentence. You know, except for the fact that… I wrote it that way.

Huh. Guess it is my fault.

In that case, I hereby declare 998 the new 1000. Huzzah!

Anyway, I couldn’t decide whether the intro for my NaNoWriMo 2015 project was more of a prologue or a chapter one, so I have decided to take a third option and call it ‘Chapter Zero’.

And just like Coke Zero, this has nothing added to it–nothing by way of editing, proofreading, revision, etc.–with the idea that in about a billion years I’ll revisit this opening, polish it up and show you all the difference. Won’t that be something to look forward to, as we all meander unsteadily towards our graves?

Speaking of which, here’s the NaNo blurb for the novel of my writings, ‘The Three Dead‘:

*~*~*

“As you are, so once were we;
As we are–so shall ye be.”

Thus speak three skeletal beings to three young hunters cavorting in the forest. But when one hunter asks the question–does that mean the three dead are the future selves of the three living? Or are they unrelated others who died long ago?–the dead have no answer.

They have no answer because they know no answer; not who they are or were, how they died, or why they now walk the earth reminding the living of their eventual fate. Consumed by curiosity the three dead begin their journey to discover their nature and purpose as, unstuck in time, they wander the fourteenth century looking for themselves.

But they are not the only ones searching. Five friars out of Bavaria, two orphans of the Black Death, three students from the University of Montpellier and the three living themselves are among those investigating the appearances of these skeletons, while a party of ill-fated Englishmen carry a shroud to a mysterious buyer in the Alps, even as the world around them seems to be coming to an end.

Well. Perhaps ‘seems’ isn’t entirely accurate.

*~*~*

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/bd/30/57/bd3057c4e2b1823d883b71a5e9619ce8.jpg

Is it just me, or does wedding-cake hat-guy look like he’s pleasantly surprised to see the three strangely mannequin-like corpses? Like they were his old college buddies he just ran into unexpectedly in the street?

Well, with that deeply insightful comment out of the way, here’s those 998 or so words I was telling you about…

*~*~*

Chapter 0

 

Softly, a trickle of dirt no more voluminous than to have filled a thimble fell from the hollow socket where the Taller One’s right eye had been. Not that This One had ever seen the Taller One with eyes, but it was assumed there had once been eyes there, given the nature of their existence.

“Are they coming this way?” asked the Smaller One.

The Taller One turned his skull towards the other slowly, letting a few more grains of dead soil slip off his cheekbone.

“Can you not tell?” he asked in turn.

Had either the Taller One or the Smaller One had eyes, This One imagined that they would have locked them, as the living did. This One had something—a feeling?—that such a lock, which might as well have existed even if the accidents of it did not, was something it would be sensible to dispel, and so let their senses branch out into the woods themselves to answer the Smaller One’s question.

Until just recently it had been a fine, clear day. Although This One knew of ‘seasons’ they could not quite remember how the living labelled them, and so could not make a guess as to which one these woods dwelt in. This One was rather of the opinion though, that it was one of the two softer seasons—the ones that bridged the harsh bright with the bitter dark.

There was a cold wind rattling the leaves though. This One knew because, not two miles off, he saw—or felt?—one of the living pull their cloak around themselves with a shudder.

This One stepped up onto the root of a very old tree; finger-bones scraping against cracked bark.

“They’re following the beast.” Fox, This One remembered. Reynard. “Some ways north-east of here, heading west. It’s come as close to us as it’s going to get.”

The three of them should make the move to head them off, was implied in the announcement.

Both of the other Ones turned to This One as if they didn’t quite understand what they had meant. At least, that’s how This One felt the others had reacted, often This One wasn’t quite sure how to interpret what the other two did or said. They had what they assumed were feelings, yes; but who was to say how reflective of reality those were—if at all?

Fact was, it didn’t really matter. The three had a job to do, and they did it; usually without conversing even this much.

Usually…

How many times have we done this, again? This One wondered.

But that didn’t matter either. The Taller One soon pointed their dust-filled sockets out to the north-west where the living were, and the Smaller One followed suit within a moment. There was something comforting to This One about that.

“Dusk is approaching,” the Taller One announced. “There is a clearing they should reach as soon as the light falters. We should wait for them there.”

This One was happy to follow the Taller One’s lead. They withdrew their bones from the tree to wrap their shroud around themselves more tightly—they didn’t want to lose it to the forest with the speed they might move at if the Taller One decided to go quickly.

Then, as they adjusted the border of the garment that had been slipping off their shoulder, a few of the scarlet threads snapped where they had become brown and withered with decay. This One stilled at the sound of the tearing cloth. Their fingers gripped the fabric tighter, their arm relaxed. Out of habit, This One turned their head to inspect the damage, though they no more had eyes than the Taller One did.

There was no part of the shroud’s deep red that was not stained by the long wait beneath the earth; small streaks of the mess of insects clinging to every thread, and where the cloth had got so bad that you could no longer see the red in it there were many rips and patches frayed away.

But some of it still looked red. The feeling This One had looking at the new wound was, they would have said, the opposite of comfort.

The Smaller One noticed the matter too; perhaps had heard the tear. This One was embarrassed to be caught with their thoughts clearly lingering on it; considering their shroud was the most well-preserved of all their garments, and the few scraps of once-white cloth that clung to the shoulders and pelvic bones of the Smaller One quite clearly the least, though supplemented by their rosary and talisman.

It wasn’t as though any of them would say anything about it, of course. That wasn’t the sort of thing that Three Dead did.

“Let us depart,” said the Taller One. Whether they’d noticed the tear or not, This One couldn’t say—could only attempt to adjust the shroud by pulling at a sturdier part of the fabric, more gently than before. It seemed that it would hold.

They put it from their mind as they prepared to glide. When they wanted to, the three dead moved like water fowl landing on a lake, only at far greater speeds. This One was pretty certain they knew which of the many clearings in these woods the Taller One had meant; the fox they were chasing was poised to skirt its edges within a degree’s shift of the shadow on a sundial.

Would the living actually go into the clearing if they were focussed on the fox though, This One wondered. It had happened that the three had missed their targets on occasion and had to catch up with them again later; sometimes even days later. This One knew it annoyed both the others when that happened; the Taller One took their calling very seriously, while the Smaller One tended to follow the Taller One’s suit in that too.

“Hurry, cousin! The damned beast is getting away!”

*~*~*

(The Taller One, Smaller One and This One get actual names by the end of the chapter, don’t worry)

Yeah, it needs some work. But who likes work? That’s what I say, and it’s that attitude that’s carried me so far in life. I mean, I have a job and everything…

Poem: On Time

As in, ‘on the subject of time’, rather than ‘I got this in before the deadline for my next blog post by the skin of my teeth-on time’.

Unlike my other recent poems this one doesn’t rhyme until the last two lines; and though I honestly prefer rhyming poetry, I feel this one expresses my half-asser self better.

Yeah… so. It’s a poem. Enjoy.

On Time

(And for those of you who prefer your poetry legible…)

*~*~*

ON TIME

*~*~*

Endlessly slumbering Time. Your dreams accelerate;

Day by day I struggle to find a moment to complain about it,

Amidst my own dreams;

Let alone to make the attempt to realise them.

Years pass; whole forests of imagination are swallowed,

To the very last leaf, by Your sands.

One tells oneself the silver sparkling dunes are prettier anyway,

But by the time only the ashen shells of the sturdier trees remain–

What else can you say?

Well. Things live in the desert too; buried in dark hollows.

Some can brave the moonlit wasteland to dig them up;

Others try to outrun the onslaught–for as long as possible.

Me, I shed my leaves at work: one eye on the clock;

Each letter writ in the blood I squeezed from a steel block.

*~*~*

 

Teardrop: The Magdalenian Conspiracy (Part II)

In the last post ( https://racheliliffe.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/teardrop-the-magdalenian-conspiracy-part-i/ ) I missed the perfect opportunity to make a reference to that periodic table-blaspheming YA dystopian novel, ‘Delirium‘–what with the heroine of that book’s name being ‘Magdalena’.

And now, the thrilling conclusion…

Chapter Sixteen

Our hero goes on a school trip to the local Science Museum with her friend Luke. Who’s Luke, you might ask? I have no idea. I’m almost certain he’s never been mentioned before, and I’m pretty sure he’s not at all important.

They’re looking at a bunch of crap that’s been dug up from a shipwreck that’s four thousand years old. The crap, I mean—presumably not the ship. Some guy heckles the tour guide as if he’s making some deep political statement by interrupting a lecture, and oh. What a surprise, it’s Ander. He’s such a rebel; he makes my heart throb. For realz.

No, wait—I’m just having another heart attack. Damn you, Disney Princess-mandated medical experiments!

Chapter Seventeen

Ander’s explanation of what the fuck is going on is delayed by pages of description of their surroundings, of course. Then:

“She did this.”

“Who?”

“No one.”

Great conversation! They meander off into the wilderness so Ander can, eventually, tell her that she’s in danger from Brooks. Because the wave that mildly injured him in Chapter 10 was magical and has turned him into… uh…

Anyway it’s the halfway mark. Yay!

Chapter Eighteen

Well, that explained everything, thanks Ander!

Somehow though, Eureka is less than impressed with the ‘explanation’ and reports Ander being a stalker to the police. No, wait—Cat has to practically force her to do it; not because she’s afraid for her, of course, but because she’s crushing on a guy who works at the station.

And he says Ander sounds like a swell guy and he hopes they don’t catch him. So they’re all idiots.

On Eureka’s way home she gets attacked by glowy-eyed people and saved by Ander. They shout cryptic bullshit at each other, and then we transition without warning into the next section of Madame Fraud’s translation.

In this section, Princess Author was almost forced to marry Prince Jock but randomly fell in love with Prince Mysterious for no reason. That’s about it.

Chapter Nineteen

The next day at school Eureka seems to not care at all about the attack of the glowy-eyed people and instead has a long boring conversation with Brooks in which he is creepy.

Chapter Twenty

It’s High School Party Time! Yay! Bring out the drugs!

Or in this case bring out the pointless padding, I guess—same thing really.

Also, Brooks is creepy again.

Chapter Twenty-One

Eureka has a dream flashing back to the accident in which Ander saved her, but is woken up by Madame Fraud’s stupid bird. Apparently, he’s a magic bird that leads her to a secret meeting with Her Kookiness, so she can say that she’s made a world-changing discovery in the book and it’s too dangerous to send translations via e-mail anymore.

It seems Generic Princess and Prince Dumbass had an obstacle to their twu wuv besides Prince Jock—Delphine, a character cursed with being much more interesting than anyone else in the book by way of her magic powers. She’s obsessed with the Prince although he’s in love with the Princess thanks to having seen her one time when he and Delphine were making out.

Delphine puts a curse on them that will destroy the world if Princess Author ever cries. As you do.

Or it will destroy Atlantis at least, because that’s where this book is from, and Madame Fraud says she’s too scared of what will happen to keep up her dumb translation—probably because she’s run out of shit to make up.

But Eureka says she wants more bullshit, so Madame Fraud tells her to go boating with Brooks next week—because that will turn out so well, I’m sure.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Ander shows up to be mysterious while Eureka’s on a run. He tells her to try getting the thunderstone wet, which kind of sounds like a euphemism to me…

Chapter Twenty-Three

Evil Stepmother is pointlessly petty and ridiculous at dinner that night, and Eureka hears ‘Hold on‘ in ‘the code of the rain‘.

Whatever that means.

After endless padding, she decides to test the ‘thunderstone can’t get wet’ hypothesis and finds that, not only can it not get wet, it also gives its holder magic water repelling powers.

Yay?

Chapter Twenty-Four

Madame Fraud’s bird shows up again.

“What’s that, birdie? Madame Fraud’s stuck down a well?!”

No, she’s not stuck down a well, but her lair has been ransacked and she’s MIA—likely arrested by the police after years of swindling unsuspecting YA heroines.

Well, she was MIA until Eureka found her bloodied corpse in the next room, at least. There was so much padding I suppose I just assumed she must have searched the whole house in that time. Eureka fails to call the police, of course, because…

Because she has too much internal monologue-ing to do!

Chapter Twenty-Five

For some reason Eureka is determined not to get involved with the police, so when they somehow fail to investigate a crime they know nothing about, Eureka fills in an anonymous report; and is then shocked when the police connect her to Madame Fraud.

Still, the police apparently decide investigating a murder isn’t that important, so Eureka doesn’t talk to them just yet. Instead she follows Madame Fraud’s advice to spend the day sailing with Brooks, and seeing as anyone with half a brain would realise that he’s become dangerous, she brings her younger half-siblings with her.

What a great sister!

Brooks has cleverly decided to name his boat ‘Ariel’ after that of the poet Shelley, seeing as he’d had such a great time on it, (in 1822 it sank in a storm and he drowned). Sure enough, there’s a storm and the twins are swept overboard, so Brooks and Eureka dive in to save them.

With the Power of the Thunderstone, Eureka finds the brats, but Brooks disappears, leaving only the words ‘BROOKS WAS HERE’ carved onto the Ariel.

No, not really, that was just a Shawshank joke I’d been waiting all book to make. Anyway, the survivors manage to swim to an island, and I think we can pretty much declare Madame Fraud a fraud. The clue was in the name.

Chapter Twenty-Six

Dad comes to pick up the kids and drive them back home, where Evil Stepmother is surprisingly not evil and Eureka wangsts until she decides to talk to Ander.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Fortunately Ander has decided to come to her—by sneaking in through the window without warning like a rapist. He also has the Macguffin Book, which I guess puts him at the top of the list of suspects for Madame Fraud’s murder—oh wait, Eureka doesn’t even consider it.

Anywho, the book speaks of a bullshit ‘chosen one’ prophecy that—wait for it, wait for it—happens to describe Eureka exactly. What a twist!

Also if she cries she’ll open up a fissure in reality or something. Who knew?

So this causes her and Ander to have twu wuv’s first kiss, which in turn causes Eureka to remember that he was the one who saved her from the opening-kill prologue. He also says more cryptic bullshit about Brooks that’s immediately forgotten as soon as he says he can open Plot Device #3, the necklace.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

As if we were reading the novelisation of ‘Young Frankenstein’, thunder claps in the distance as soon as Ander makes his announcement. Pathetic Fallacy FTW!

So there’s a bit of paper in the locket that says ‘Marais’, and Ander doesn’t know shit about it. He does confirm that the guys who attacked them a few chapters ago were the ones to do away with Madame Fraud; and that explanation is good enough for Eureka, so they go back to wuvvy duvvy-ness. Aww.

Unfortunately the wuvvy duvvy-ness is interrupted when Eureka feels the gills along Ander’s neck. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

Eureka isn’t alarmed by this until he tells her that Brooks now has gills too—because that’s just weird. Ander explains how he’s descended from Atlanteans, and was raised by his aunts and uncles, one of the latter of whom supposedly murdered Madame Fraud. They descend from the Prince in the book, and Eureka’s descended from the Princess; who apparently got shipwrecked and never stopped looking for each other—although evidently they did stop to pork some other people during the search.

I’m now convinced Ander is the murderer, because we all know Madame Fraud made that shit up. He must have tortured it out of her before he struck the final blow!

Oh, and Brooks has been possessed by an Atlantean. Not a ‘Seedbearer’ like Ander; one who was still living in Atlantis when it sunk. Or something. The only way to save Eureka is to go to Turkey to meet the guy who was proto-Ander the last time this book happened and proto-Eureka (Dead-Mum’s great-aunt Byblis) was killed by plot-device.

Possibly after starting World War II. Somehow.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

After affirming their wuv the next morning, Ander and Eureka discuss Brooks again. Ander says ‘fuck him’, basically, (in the ‘then let him die!’ sense. Not the… other sense), since he’s been possessed by the King of Atlantis, but Eureka wants to save her bff. The argument lasts all of one page, before Ander convinces her to leave him to his horrible fate by saying—

‘Scary stuff is totes happening and I have no time to explain it!’

Even though he had all night to explain it. What a wanker.

They go downstairs to see Eureka’s dad, who at first is going to call the police on Ander, then immediately accepts him for no reason. Then Cat drops by to say her family is evacuating because of the massive storm that’s conveniently arrived.

While our heroes drink coffee, Dad takes Eureka into another room to say that Dead Mum used to spout crazy gibberish about seeing ‘the boy who would break Eureka’s heart’ hanging around. I guess that means Dead Mum knew Ander was stalking her daughter all her life… somehow. Is he supposed to be ageless? Or did his family just reject child labour laws?.

Anyway, one time Dead Mum drew a picture of the stalker and it looked like Ander (Dad knows because he… kept the picture in his closet for all these years. Uh………..) . It’s a good thing Mum never told Eureka jack shit about any of this, or this book wouldn’t have had a lick of suspense!

Oh wait, it was so predictable it already didn’t.

Also, Seedbearers kidnap the twins. Oh noes!

Chapter Thirty

Well, the bad guys apparently had the twins in their grasp for so long that they were able to chain them up in a complicated trap outside, and their Parents of the Year didn’t notice.

Ander tells Eureka that it’s way more important that she survives than anyone else because… uh, she’s the main character, and therefore she should let the twins and anyone else die to save her own life.

What a guy!

He then reveals that the Seedbearers actually have names, and supposedly characters to go along with them—since the author forgot to give them any development until now, I guess.

They exchange clichéd dialogue at each other until their leader, Albion, decides to engage in some child abuse in case we forgot he was the villain, and punches the twins. Evil Stepmother runs to save them and is immediately blown up and killed. Aww, she was my favourite character!

Ander then pulls out a  deus ex machina gun with magic Seedbearer-killing bullets that will kill all the Seedbearers if even one of them dies.

Where the fuck did that come from!?

Chapter Thirty-One

Eureka manages to get hold of the gun, but the Seedbearers are confident she won’t kill them because of her love for Ander, which is really powerful for… some reason. Seriously their love has no development. At all. They’re just in love ’cause destiny or something.

Instead Eureka uses her Princess Peach crying powers to flood the world, or possibly just her back yard. All the good guys take refuge in her stone-powered anti-water bubble, the entire bayou is practically underwater, and pointless conversation ensues, rounded off with Ander telling Eureka she must face Brooks in a Final Battle.

So… how many people did Eureka just sentence to a watery grave? I’ve got to admit, I can kind of see where the Seedbearers were coming from with the ‘kill Eureka’ plan…

Epilogue

Brooks falls about the place wangsting over being possessed and over how much he loves Eureka and she’s just the most special thing to ever exist in the whole world ever.

Bleugh.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Well, since the Seedbearers failed to save the world by killing Eureka, I guess I’d better do it myself.

Dawn: No need, freak! As you already guessed while reading the book, Eu-freak-a is in fact Princess Peach; a heretic and traitor to the Disney Princess holocaust! Me and Elsa are going to take care of her later this afternoon.

Hmm, many a true word spoken in jest. Wait a minute, Princess Peach isn’t a Disney princess; she belongs to Nintendo or something, doesn’t she?

Dawn: Oh, we liberated all the major princess-supported franchises during our coup d’état. Which reminds me—you’re going back to the lab for another session with Mad-Scientist Princess Barbie!

NOOOOOO! Why do you do this to me, Dawn!? Haven’t I suffered enough for giving ‘Angelfall‘ two stars!? Must I be tormented forever more!?

Dawn: Not my call, freak—these are the orders of Princess Isabella.

Isabella? Who’s Princess Isabella?

Dawn: From your stupid book about elves and monsters, that’s who. Blame yourself for creating her to be such a bitch!

… I suppose I did bring that one on myself. Until next time, dear readers!

Dawn: Whatever. I’m off to meet with Madame Blavatsky—she’s got this great opportunity for funding the Disney Princess holocaust with the help of a Nigerian prince…

 

Teardrop: The Magdalenian Conspiracy (Part I)

In my last review my fictional self was placed into medical experiments by Disney Princesses for giving a book more than one star on Goodreads, thanks to the (sudden and yet inevitable) treachery of my imaginary cohort Dawn Talbot. Fortunately for me, the wonder that is ‘Teardrop‘ is, shall we say, unlikely to entrap me into making the same mistake twice.

The blurb doesn’t make it clear exactly, but I’m betting mermaids, which would be new. Well, new for me. Mermaids or angels, because they follow me around everywhere and I’ll never escape! Never!

The condensed review on Goodreads is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1064662197

*~*~*

Prologue

The subtitle tells us we are in ‘prehistory’, which must be why three sentence fragments later we’re in a prehistoric car heading to an airport.

A boy, ‘Ander’, part of a group called ‘Seedbearers’ (if you know what I mean, *wink, wink*) is waiting for some terrible disaster that he apparently knows is going to happen. They must have told him he was going to be in a YA paranormal romance novel…

The disaster is going to happen to a car containing his one twu wuv and her archaeologist mother; and needs to happen or the world will be destroyed. Of course. Ander and his buddies are going to use the power of ‘Zephyr’ (the west wind?) to craft a wave to…

Do something boring enough for the explanation to be interrupted by Ander’s reminiscing on how he’d been ordered to stalk this random girl and learn all the mindless minutiae of her life that no one cares about. Also, the wave is going to kill her and her mother, because they’re dangerous, and they know how to fix cars!

Ander’s aunt Chora is also mentioned—the closest thing to a mother Ander has, he loves but does not like her, and it’s important we get all this down here since there’s no other opportunity for it, seeing as she pretty much doesn’t appear in the novel.

Much more is revealed, through this wave (geddit? 😉 of exposition; for such horrors as ‘suspense’ and ‘mystery’ are not right for the glory that is Teardrop.  And even better than that—poorly structured exposition that reveals so much I’m not even going to type it all down here; that way at least this commentary will have some suspense!

Anyway the wave hits the car and Ander loses his nerve and saves the girl. What a guy. He’s my hero.

Chapter One

Our heroine with the stupid name of Eureka is off to great start in YA life, her mother murdered by a stalker twu wuv who also tried to kill her. Turns out she’d already seen a million therapists for the horrific trauma of her dad remarrying, and now that something’s happened that actually requires therapy, she has decided to become a Stoic.

Yep, I’m sure that’ll work out.

She had also decided to commit suicide, which doesn’t seem very stoic.

Anyway, exposition about Eureka’s life that I’m pretty sure will have no bearing on the plot follows, including the time her track Coach didn’t believe she wanted to give up track after her suicide attempt—giving us this gem.

‘Coach’s sad smile suggested that after a suicide attempt, a girl’s decisions weighed less, like bodies on the moon.’

I think that one’s almost as good as ‘sacrifice to gravity’.

Then there’s more exposition about Eureka’s character, so we don’t actually have to be shown her having a personality later, and also her hair, which is hair. She flashes back to waking up with her dad and half-siblings who ‘smelled liked they always did, of ivory soap and starry nights’.

*head-desk*

Anyway, the therapy session drones on as easy exposition for Eureka’s life. Ah, exposition. How Patch and I missed thee.

Chapter Two

Wangst, wangst, wangst, wangst… wangst, wangst, wangst, wangst.

Shit, I could spork every line of this prose bit by bit, but we’d be here all year. Eureka drives away until she gets into a car accident with Ander. And we have insta-hate! Ladies and gentlemen, take your bets on how long it takes before the insta-hate turns to love!

(Me, I’m going to be out £20 if it takes less than three or more than five conversations).

Unfortunately, neither her stepmother nor her father are picking up their phone, so she starts crying. Ander wipes her tears away like a creeper. Aww.

Chapter Three

Eureka flashes back to a long time ago when her parents were arguing during a hurricane and her mother started smashing her dad’s stuff up and slapped her, telling her to Never Cry Again. What a terrible loss to the world dear Mummy must have been!

(I’m betting the tears have some kind of magic world-destroying power, but we’ll see how it goes)

Chapter Four

The sky goes dark, ‘maybe some kind of eclipse’, suggests Ander. Because those random eclipses happen all the time, don’t ya know? Anyway, magic tear powers; called it.

After a long passage about Eureka’s name, the local pervert rides up to see what’s happening, followed by a guy called Big Jean, who tows the car. Eureka decides to get a ride with Ander, rather than Local Pervert. I’m honestly not sure which would have been the dumber option.

They ride along, Ander brakes to avoid hitting a squirrel and acts like a weirdo, but they reach their destination intact until Ander reveals he’s on a rival track team! It’s Romeo and Juliet all over again!

Chapter Five

We meet Cat, Eureka’s Black Best Friend with Curves in All the Right Places. (okay, it says ‘curves in places Eureka didn’t [have them]’ but still). She’s a sassy matchmaker character, so… black Vee Sky then? They have a Boring Conversation until a girl called Maya Cayce shows up; a girl who hates Eureka—a Dawn character? Ooh, I shouldn’t get my hopes up!

She’s in love with Eureka’s guy-friend Brooks, and used to be friends with Eureka when they were small. I’m sure she’ll have a huge effect on the plot.

Then a random storm starts up, helping Eureka get out of having a photograph taken of her. Yay?

And she sees Ander across the field, notes that he’s apparently impervious to water, and then he reaches out to catch her… tear…

Wait, what?

Chapter Six

Eureka goes home to exposit useless shit about her dad and siblings until her buddy Brooks drops by to borrow a cup of exposition about his character. In summation, he’s an absurdly perfect friend, and has hypoglycaemia.

Then there’s a knock at the door.

It was………………………………………………….

Chapter Seven

Ander!

She asks him how he knows where she lives, and he replies by… insta-hating Brooks? He’s going to be one of those awful clingy jealous types, isn’t he.

Ugh. Teardrop, I was willing to accept him stalking Eureka, crashing his car into her and being part of the conspiracy to kill her and her mother, but now you’re starting to make him distasteful!

Anyway, he’s come to return her wallet (which I’m guessing he probably stole), but not before he starts screaming insanely at Brooks, asking ‘how long have you been with her’? Shouldn’t he already know about Brooks’ existence? What kind of a stalker is he?!

Eureka meanwhile angsts that he might have seen her embarrassing student ID photos, delves off into an inner-monologue about a neighbour, and then berates Brooks for not being nicer to Ander.

Yes, really.

After that Eureka’s evil stepmother comes home to make sure Eureka didn’t ’embarrass’ her at the therapist’s office.

Yes, really.

Chapter Eight

In this chapter we read Dead Mum’s will, in which it was specified that flashbacks to her and her own mother’s funeral would contain at least two pages of exposition. Also Eureka’s aunt is there, whom Eureka describes as a ‘cruel parody’ of her mother, because she commits the ultimate sin of being Not Hot, and wearing low-cut tops! The monster!

Also there’s an uncle. Soon the lawyer starts bequeathing stuff; Dead Mum leaves all the money in her account to the uncle (I’m assuming there’s a trust for Eureka, otherwise wtf?) and a mysterious letter. To Aunt Ho, she leaves some jewellery, the car that’s now under the ocean, and a mysterious letter.

Eureka gets a bag of Macguffins; a Very Important necklace, (maybe it means she has a soul mate?), a Very Important book (that ‘didn’t even register on the scale’ of carbon dating, so I suppose it’s billions of years old) and a ‘thunderstone’ (so she can turn her Eevee into a Voltreon, no doubt). Also a mysterious letter.

Which isn’t that mysterious really, just useless and sappy.

Chapter Nine

25% done already, what a breath of fresh air!

Well, the only way to respond to such a touching letter is with flashbacks, exposition and boring conversations. Eureka then notices a postscript to the letter with a mysterious instruction to not open the thunderstone until Christmas. Or ‘the right time’, at any rate.

Uncle character tells Eureka that the ancient language the book is written in is not indecipherable, as he saw Dead Mum taking notes on it one time. Cat suggests they go to her convenient polyglot boyfriend for more help, but first they try to find Ander, only to be told that, like all Paranormal Love Interests, he doesn’t really exist.

This probably could have taken about five pages, if not for Cat’s constant annoying blabber about nothing.

Chapter Ten

Eureka, Brooks and the twins go to the beach, where Eureka observes how Ander is probably a crazed sociopath, but for some reason she’s falling in love with him anyway. Guess those two meetings they’ve had, one in which he crashed into her car, the other in which he acted like a psycho, really turned her on.

Then another tidal wave strikes the beach and Brooks is mildly injured. Oh noes!

(I’m betting Ander was behind it somehow)

Chapter Eleven

Eureka has a boring conversation with Brooks, interspersed as so many things are in this book with excruciating details about her room, Brooks, her feelings, her stepmother’s favourite meteorologist, everything I’ve come to expect from Teardrop really.

They take a look at Plot Device #2, which has some illustrations that look vaguely like Brooks, and he acts strangely enough that it becomes immediately obvious he’s connected to the whole… whatever is going on. Oh my. I am so shocked.

Then somehow they have twu wuv’s kiss? And Eureka has now always liked him in that way even though she’d made a point of saying she didn’t before?

And then suddenly they start arguing and Brooks gives her a Reason You Suck speech; and there are a lot of reasons, sure, but not the ones he gives—such as the not taking the Macguffins seriously enough!

Then he flounces.

Good riddance.

Chapter Twelve

In this chapter, Eureka fails to understand metaphor and analogy, saying she doesn’t need to find her way out of a foxhole because foxes can live in foxholes, and they do alright for themselves!

She calls Cat up so Cat can remind her about her Plot Device boyfriend Rodney. They go to see him, during which time Eureka spends more time flashback-ing, describing the furniture and wangsting than she does listening to Rodney.

Though that probably isn’t too bad—after failing to recognise the writing the book is written in, he tells them about an expert in dead languages he knows.

Instead of, you know—a cryptographer. I mean, I somehow doubt this book is the Voynich Manuscript or anything. And if you don’t know what that is, look it up, because it’s much more interesting than Teardrop.

Chapter Thirteen

The master of linguistics in question calls herself ‘Madame Blavatsky’—either she’s a kooky pseudo-academic fortune-teller, or this book is about to get very interesting!

(Spoilers: This book does not get interesting.)

Madame B fawns over her pet exotic birds, smokes, and says things like ‘There is no death, no life either. Only congregation and dispersal’. She then takes out her crazy-wise-old-person-character checklist to make sure she hasn’t missed anything.

Anyway, because she’s psychic, she’s able to immediately know exposition about the Plot Device; like how it wasn’t bought at a flea market and had actually been in Eureka’s family forever. You know, I think we may have just found out the eventual fate of Ever from Evermore

Old Ever proclaims the language to be a cousin of ‘Magdalenian’, the people of ancient southern Europe who a minute’s search on Wikipedia reveals did not have a written language, nor even any language we can reliably reconstruct. Now, Wikipedia isn’t exactly the world’s bastion of accuracy, but in this case and combined with my own learnings, I think we can safely call bull-shite.

So Madame Fraud charges them $7.50 a page for her ‘translation’ of what we now ‘know’ is called ‘The Book of Love’ (issued by the Ministry of Love?). Incidentally, she also tells Eureka that Ander’s been stalking her for ages. I guess Eureka can trust her on that one—not because she’s psychic, but because she’s a character in YA paranormal romance, and by this time they probably just accept that that kind of thing is happening.

Then with no kind of lead in we are suddenly treated to Madame Fraud’s translation of the first bit of the book, written by a woman almost as boring as Eureka about her love for a prince or some such crap.

Chapter Fourteen

In this chapter, Evil Stepmother says, ‘As long as you live in my house, you follow my rules’. Eureka calls the line ‘soul-chilling’, which hardly makes her the epitome of Stoicism, to put it mildly.

She goes back to the Therapist, who manages not to be the worst therapist in YA (despite being mostly useless) by pointing out that Eureka is close to developing narcissism. However, as that’s practically a pre-requisite for YA heroines, Eureka responds by whining that no one understands her.

Then he pretty much tells her she’s going to die in a gutter, which is absurd for a therapist but pretty funny to me, so Eureka flounces, wishing Madame Fraud could be her therapist instead.

Chapter Fifteen

Eureka and Cat have a boring conversation, until Brooks shows up so they can have a boring reconciliation.

Then Maya drops by to give Brooks an ‘X-rated hug’.

What does that mean? Did she jump on his dick in the middle of the school hallway?

Well, on that exciting note we leave things until tomorrow, where Part Two of the ‘Teardrop‘ commentary continues.

The NaNoWriMo of Argon

https://i2.wp.com/d1lj9l30x2igqs.cloudfront.net/nano-2013/files/2015/11/NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner.jpg

As the image above is worth a thousand words, and I no longer have to keep up my daily wordcount by writing those thousand words, I shall return to fanfiction my numerous awe-inspiring original projects presently, after leaving my dear followers with an account of my experience of this fearsome month, written in the style of Jim Theis’ ‘The Eye of Argon‘ (http://ansible.uk/misc/eyeargon.html)

(I take no responsibility for anyone who may die laughing in reading ‘The Eye of Argon‘. Several of my barbarian comrades came very close)

*~*~*

The swirling pools of boiling gold that formed the scarlet orb, named ‘sun’ by some, withdrew its coils of heated shimmer in terror at the approaching dusk. Brave-hearted Rachelignr, the unsung Englisholian writer of barbarian fame bent the glistening sinews of her fleshy, manipulative fingers over the taunting keys of her crepuscular laptop, dulled and catastrophic thoughts abuzz with the permutations of thought related to her tangled, twisted, aggrogonious novel that lurked in the dingy shadows of her sinister and sacreligious id and ego.

“Mrifk!” she ejaculated, bustily–blubbering clusters of uncompassionate letters streaming like wisps of the most elegantly spun silk of the horned tarantulas that live craftily, luring naive prey to grotesque ends in the darkest corners of the Englisholian empire. “Thou NaNoWriMo approaches, wretch! Accept the defenestrating chaos of despair!”

Though she was, for many a day, ahead of the steep incline that set points–not arbitrary, but cunningly contrived along a parallel point–the creeping arms of sallow failure, grim and clammy in their mocking swamp of death contrived emporiously to wrap around her soft and lifeless limbs and guarantee her a place among her many slain comrades, strewn about the frigid haunts of the local CB2 Bistro, their entrails lain in pools of crimson gore.

In such a way did the teaming swarms of rainbow powdered fluff, efulgent with their horde of glassy eyes, pitch pupils jangling back and forth like the fair maiden Carthena’s luscious breasts in the arms of her barbarian lover, the unstoppable army of Plot Bunnies bore their mouth-knives, eager to bite into blood-gorged flesh.

“Thou shalt ne’er prevail, slut!” they cackled; their shrill and mincing voices legion in the unseen glow of the cerulean laptop.

Not cowed by their dancing tongues of prophesied doom, Rachelignr bashed her swollen digits along the malicious letter-makers and brought forth words an infinite amount of monkeys may very well have secreted with their mischievous ways.

“Away with thee!” she bellowed, lungs shaking, bosoms heaving, “Thou verminous rejections of Hell; thou shalt all taste death in the jaws of the violet oblong of completion!”

“Alack!” shrieked the mirthful lepus scourge, felt arms cast to the deaf ears of their abominable sky-gods. “Your slothful procrastination was orchestrated all along, reserving your strength for a final assault!”

“Aye,” agreed Rachelignr, “And may these fifty-two thousand words avenge the gnashing souls of my fallen, noble brethren.”

Exploding into explosions of pastel fibres the horde was brought to naught; the novel validated, and Rachelignr’s honour was avenged as airborne blobs of dead bunny devastation thickened the air.

“Rest in peace, Grignr,” she sighed.

And with that, the worthy barbarian and her overlarge chest of magnificent breastage departed NaNoWriMo victorious.

*~*~*

THE END

(OR IS IT!?)