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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 01:46 pm:   

Okay, let's keep 'em short and punchy -- here's where you can share a paragraph or three from your daily output from the October Novel Dare. Give us a taste of the best stuff you've written today! One excerpt per participant, per day.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 01:46 pm:   

From THE WANNOSHAY CYCLE:

In the brutal white light of a late-morning blizzard, Father Joshua was dreaming of his old friend Johndo. He could see him clearly in the dark space behind his eyes, the soft-spoken Wannoshay whose skin had been ravaged by exposure to Earth's unforgiving atmosphere and sun. Johndo had been telling him about the arduous flight from their world, as he and his fellow beings were packed together like cattle in the sleep-ships. For some reason, Johndo kept wanting to look behind them, as if they were being pursued.
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SarahP
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 06:57 pm:   

David edged to the corner and peered back the way he'd come. The street was narrow and clogged with mud and filth, the houses crowded together and leaning, strings of ragged laundry hanging across, and the occasional grimy tavern sign creaking in the wind. Not many people were about--there never were--just a few filthy children, an old woman wrapped in a shawl, and a man carrying a broken-down bedframe on his back. No dark sinister figures.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 08:35 pm:   

Watch for signs for where to stop, it said. Wick wisps floated up in airy flurries but the candle did not stop. Somewhere near its base a line was drawn, telling him softly he must blow it out, for the candle’s sake, for the savior of wax, and he let it burn.
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Nancy
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 10:32 pm:   

At that instant, a humanoid emerged from the shadows of the casino and weaved his way through an empty lounge toward the bar. As if the exertion of crossing the room were almost too taxing, he fell heavily against the counter with an elaborate show of relief. A bleary smile pasted across his face and reeking of Daxian whiskey, he leaned toward Tandy.
“Hey, baby, what’s a bi-pedal life form like you doing in a dimension like this?” he slurred and, finding himself immensely amusing, snorted with laughter.
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Kathy Gabriel
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 05:21 am:   

Staying in the bunk was impossible, though. He kept thinking about that light, the strange light. If he had been seeing things, then knowing that he was seeing things would surely make it look different, or even disappear. He waited until night and crept from the bunk into the cargo hold to find out.

It was still there, as strange as ever. But kindly somehow. Yes, kindly.
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Jamie Rosen
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 07:11 am:   

Jessica spoke up without thinking. "Maybe that's what this is."

One of the figures turned to her. "A tourist trap?" Terry asked.

"Well, a trap at least. Maybe a mousetrap."

They all looked at the BDO, looming before them, blocking out the stars in half the sky and growing closer still.

It was Meg who said what was on all their minds.

"And we're the mice."
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Xanne
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 04:21 pm:   

Expressionless, Helain focused his eyes upon King Cromas Iac Morgenroth, his dark pupils reflecting the flickering flames of the central hearth. He was moving, the soles of his feet in contact with the stone of the floor. Mother Stone, I am a servant of Sarm. Hear my plea. Make my flesh as hard as your children, who are the rocks and pebbles of this world...

Make me immune to fire.

Now Helain came to it. One foot, then the other, he walked into the blaze.

~ from Chapter 4, The Adamant (novel in progress)
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Simon Owens
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 04:28 pm:   

"Don't play with a whore's forgetfulness," she said.
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SarahP
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 06:32 pm:   

Mistress Groat looked around the room with a proprietorial air; David sat up, found his spectacles and put them on, and then, familiar with his landlady's ways, leaned back against the wall, prepared to listen to a harangue.

"Where's your shoes, then, lad? An' your coat, an' your waistcoat, an' your hat? Hmmm?"

David shrugged. He didn't feel like explaining, and she'd not believe it anyway: attempted kidnapping by a peer of the realm, magical doings, pursuit by warlocks in black capes? Not likely.

"Robbed, was you?" She advanced to the bed, and stood looking down at David, bony fists on her hips.

In a way, he had been robbed. David nodded.

Mrs. Groat narrowed her eyes. "Look a bit peaked, you do. If you likes, I can send the boy down the tavern for a bit of grub. Got a couple pence on you?"

David had only lived in Mouse Hole for four months, but he had learned one rule very quickly. Never, ever tell your landlady when you've got a bit of cash on hand.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 12:25 pm:   

He could quit with the blonde. After that last drag in the convertible when driving her home. That would be it. He’d play rock on the AM and he’d have the top down and it would be smooth. The embers would fly away into expanding red beauty before smothering out on the highway. Forland Street, easy.

So easy.
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Kathy Gabriel
Posted on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 01:45 pm:   

A board came loose, and there was the warm light of a lantern. To be free once more, to smell fresh ocean air instead of her slops jar. Then another board was torn way, and another. She was greeted by a friendly and largely toothless grin and a large hand extended to her. The eyes in the face widened, and the grin dropped into open-mouthed astonishment. "It's a woman!"

Nar scoffed. "Women don't knit."

Wynora took the hand and struggled to her feet, clutching the side of the crate as she stumbled. "Some women knit," she said with all the dignity her fear and joy could afford her, "and I am one of them."
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SarahP
Posted on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 04:04 pm:   

Old Sol was watching him with sharp eyes. "I could loan you a wig, too, if you'll take it."

David ran a hand through his hair, cut unfashionably short. "No," he answered. He knew his short, dark hair looked odd, and it made him look even younger than he already did, but the problem was, when he had magical element in his system, which he often did, it tended to make a wig sit rather precariously atop his head. Better to have the occasional spark in his own hair than a wig popping off his head every few minutes.
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Nancy
Posted on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 10:48 pm:   

She had been splayed across the plush wine-coloured chaise lounge waiting for the first rush of her high. The glittering (and almost prohibitively costly) stimulant took the lethargic edge off the all the booze and kept her from passing out on stage. She wasn’t entirely sure how many more times she’d get away with that. Headlining gave her considerable leeway, but then, she’d used up a lot of that leeway. Madame LaTiffe probably would not tolerate another incident.

Starr heaved herself up from the cushions and tried to walk a straight line to her dressing table. The rush was slow in coming—it had a substantial amount of alcohol to work its way through. Reaching the vanity with its set of 360-degree mirrors, she slumped into the chair and scowled at her multiplied reflection. Every angle of her scowled back.

Shit, she looked as skanky as she felt.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Sunday, October 05, 2003 - 01:07 pm:   

They found the scholar strewn across the pavement, one of his arms still groping to the handlebars while another lay on the other side of the road. His helmet had caved in and what was left of his jaw hung loosely down by his chest.

“How grotesque,” Burmese remarked.

“Yet somehow fitting,” said Forster.
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Kathy Gabriel
Posted on Sunday, October 05, 2003 - 01:49 pm:   

Now they were sailing to a port in the south where it was said that wheat could still be had. Jarno was thinking that when they got there he'd like to help the sailor who found him to find another lad. There was no chance that Jarno could ever love the feel of the waves beneath a ship, nor the cry of diving gulls nor the smell of the ports with their old fish and sea lions. These things were forever ruined, always to be tied together in his mind with throwing up.
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Xanne
Posted on Sunday, October 05, 2003 - 09:45 pm:   

She brought her wine glass elegantly to her lips for a sample. Nellwyn had allowed her a taste, and so Ange tried to maintain the disdainful expression other ladies had worn at the Gala when they had sipped their wine. Unfortunately, no one seemed to notice. Nor did they notice the high style in which Ange wore her hair, a curly woven design her sister insisted upon doing earlier in the afternoon. An emerald clip held it altogether, placed here like an insignia to mark Nellwyn’s work. Ange deliberately retouched it with gloved fingers. With her neck bare and exposed to scrutiny, she was conscious of feeling small and delicate, but with her blood-relations about her, she suffered no fear.

Her quickened perceptions darted from person to person, thrilling in the sounds of words and especially names, the faces and hands and silverware, all interacting, all traversing this enormous table. She flushed, loving everything about this scene. Her bright brown eyes took in details: the small braids in Merrett’s hair, the fine earring dangling from Nellwyn’s earlobe, Balir’s glossy black boots, Old Malachi’s complicated white robed costume. It was exhilarating to be aware of how near everyone was. Out of every possible place in the world, they had chosen to convene here, in this room, together, as if all the years apart held no more sway.

~ brand spankin' new material from Chapter 5, The Adamant
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 12:35 pm:   

"Drop it," the soldier next to Shontera said, but the young woman's voice had lost its authority. A whitish-light poured off of the object in his hand, spreading up his arm. When the light reached his chest, something twinged in Joshua's face, and dropped the ropy thing, which Shontera now recognized: it was almost identical to the piece of alien hair she had found at the abandoned site up in Waukegan. Her length of Wannoshay hair was still buried deep inside her own coat pocket.

The soldiers sprang into action now, moving with the herky-jerky motions of those awakened from a deep sleep by a siren. Two of them held Joshua by either arm, keeping him from falling over, while two others poked the quivering hair tentacle on the ground. Snow had melted in a rough helix pattern around where the tentacle had landed, and it gave off a series of sputtering sparks before the white energy bled away from it.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 01:34 pm:   

Plumbing cascaded through memory to give the house an identity. There were no weaknesses in the water flow, no delay to tell you of age or wear. And when you stared into its porcelain depths you could decide whether or not a toilet had a meaning. They breathed through flushing and refilling, and no yellow stains could tell you otherwise.
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mark siegel
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 05:49 pm:   

The lobby was jammed with conventioneers. People were greeting other long-lost people after a year of being stranded on the desert islands of their real lives.
At least there were no costumes yet. He had a vague feeling of unease about the costumes. Was it because he himself felt costumed in his secret agenda, the happily married collaborator in the fantasy novel _Bank Book_?
“If America is a sanitarium, this is Ellis Island,” Serena muttered.
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Nancy
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 10:14 pm:   

Del made his way back to his place. His occupational permit gave him eight levels of vertical ascension, his residence being on the lowest of these. Of course, he had free access to any of the levels below that—anyone who wanted to go slumming, that was his or her prerogative, no permit needed (though slumping too far into the relative depths inevitably raised suspicion). Del purposefully maintained a place high enough to give him access to the higher paying customers while not so high that his journeys down to gutter level would alarm the security forces.

He shared a roomy loft space with Foxx, another over-qualified technician, who got his ya-yas out by remaining perpetually plugged in. As remote tech-support (his façade employment) he had to spend his paid hours online anyway. Foxx was so adroit at the maneuvering about the virtual realm that he could field the demands of a dozen frustrated customers, hack into several random corporate accounts, all the while playing magister-rank on Wyvern’s Revenge.
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Mary Madewell
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 10:16 pm:   

His shirt, which had been clean and fresh when they left that morning, smelled like the stale farts of a three-hundred-pound Indian man who’d had curry for breakfast, lunch, and dinner his entire life. Dark rings of sweat stood out under the armpits, and he could imagine the stains from other damp cracks on his body, the stains he couldn’t see. His slacks smelled as bad as his shirt, if not worse, and he regretted the stiff shoes he’d chosen for their shine instead of his old faded loafers. Who gave a shit about shiny shoes in the Tennessee mud, anyway?
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SarahP
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 03:22 am:   

Thunder crashed directly overhead, waking David from his distraction. The elemental squall had arrived, and the wind was whirling around Covent Garden, whipping up bits of trash and paper, running wild fingers through his short hair. He wrapped his coat about him and retreated from the edge of the hole; as he crossed the empty square, a bolt of element danced down from the clouds. David darted away, trying to evade it, but the bolt zinged after him and then, almost playfully, pounced, setting his body all a-tingle as it entered him.

For a moment, David felt unreasoning joy as the element scintillated from his head to his feet; he felt his hair stand on end and saw cobalt sparks fizzing from the tips of his fingers; his feet felt suddenly light, as if he could race the wind itself--and win.

"Stop it," he told himself firmly.
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mark siegel
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 08:46 pm:   

The woman looked tough and squashed, the kind of person who might win a watermelon-eating contest and then spit the seeds twenty yards in a tightly grouped pattern right through the cardboard silhouette of a man.
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 03:52 am:   

What? Who am I?

She thought this as the power continued to surge, pulsing in every cell of her body, ears ringing. Only this time there was amazement since, instead of drowning, Margaret was soaring thirty feet in the air, high above the waves. The cruise ship was at least half a mile away and already receding into the distance while the sun had just broken over the metallic horizon.

"You are probably wondering what the hell's going on," said a calm kid's voice right behind her. "I know I was totally freaked out the first time I did it, too."

Still suspended in the air, Margaret turned her head and saw the boy who had jumped in. He was floating in the air about two feet away from her, hands folded, sneakers and socks waterlogged, t-shirt and shorts dripping wet, hair plastered to his skinny face, and a sly grin on his face.

That's when it hit her all at once, and Margaret screamed.

. . .

Excerpt from today's new material, MARGOT PHOENIX RISING, Chapter 2:
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 04:11 am:   

And yet she lived, and her breath seemed to have stilled yet she watched them. One of the doctors listening to her chest exclaimed suddenly, in horrified awe, "Her heart! It is stopped!"

"But no, it cannot be!" said the others.

There was absolute silence in the Hall, and the winter wind had long been silent outside, as though swallowed by a void.

And she shook them off then, shook off their useless touches and ministrations, and threw down the bloodied crumpled rags, and got up.

The Infanta stood in the Silver Hall, covered with her own life blood, while her heart had stopped many moments ago, and her lungs did not fill with breath unless she consciously willed it.

There was no need for heartbeat, nor for breath now.

The Infanta stood before them, dead and yet living, while they crossed themselves in terror.

"I will see the Birthday Gifts now," she whispered.

. . .

Excerpt from the most recent material, COBWEB BRIDE, Chapter 2.
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mark siegel
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 04:26 pm:   

She watched rush hour traffic ooze along like smegma down the leg of the city
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SarahP
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 07:53 pm:   

The day after elemental storms, Sir John's courtroom was always packed with warlocks and witches; the magistrate's Bow Street Runners served as his long arm, reaching out into the city to grab by the scruff of the neck and drag before the law any transgressors of the strict rules governing the use of magic.
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SarahP
Posted on Thursday, October 09, 2003 - 07:09 pm:   

Sally returned his welcome with a bright smile and gave his extended hand a brisk, brief shake. "Thank you for inviting me, Mr. Bolton-Bresque. I do not think you will be disappointed."

"You invited yourself, Miss," interrupted another man. He was tall and swarthy, ascetic in a plain black suit of clothes. Turning to the other man, he said, "You've been imposed upon, Bolton-Bresque. She's a charlatan, a fake."

"You should wait to see what I have to say before you decide that," Sally put in.

"Yes, Wolf," Bolton-Bresque agreed. "Her ideas sounded most fascinating, you know. Her letter--"

The tall man snorted. "Her ideas. She's no more than a performing dog." Sally opened her mouth to protest, but he continued. "I saw the letter, Bolton-Bresque, and its mode of expression was far too determined, too logical; it was certainly not the letter of a woman; I expect she's stolen the ideas of some male relation of hers, or perhaps even--"

Knowing what he was going to say, Sally interrupted.
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Nancy
Posted on Friday, October 10, 2003 - 03:29 am:   

“They still sticking to the thrill motive?” Fallon asked. “Real creative.”
Walker took a sip of his drink, letting the liquid simmer on his tongue before swallowing. The scorching descent soothed the sharper edges of his irritation. “In the absence of anything else. Even the front-liners are caving.”
Fallon had the mac lit and was eyeing the smoldering tip. “Just some mad scientist on a spree.” He took a long drag. “She still on base?”
“We think so. No trace on outgoings.”
“The cartels?”
“Our links report all quiet.”
“Mine too.” Fallon exhaled a stream of smoke through is nose like an irritated dragon. That nagging sensation had been intensifying all day and now it felt as if his brain was trying to break through his skull and make a run for it. Even still, he was reluctant to tell Walker. He was riding a hunch. He hated riding hunches. People who rode hunches were total flakes.
“It’s not her, Walker.” There, he said it.
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Friday, October 10, 2003 - 04:32 am:   

EXCERPT from MARGOT PHOENIX RISING, Chapter 2:

Andy shrugged. He really was just a kid, looking no older than his early teens, scrunching up his nose and squinting in the quickly brightening glow of the dawn sky. "Yeah, I know it's hard. Sorry, lady. Sorry you had to go through it. But at least you just got to almost drown, while I got beaten to a pulp first by a bunch of school bullies who left me in an alley behind some dumpsters. When I transitioned, my body was so messed up that when I flew home my mom nearly had a heart attack seeing me hover on the doorstep. Okay, I mean, I wasn't really hovering obviously or anything, I just pretended I was standing up on my own, so as not to scare her. But I just looked like crap, you know...."


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SarahP
Posted on Saturday, October 11, 2003 - 03:56 pm:   

The men in the audience fell silent; the air in the room felt thick with anticipation. "And now," Wolf whispered, "I shall demonstrate the natural Reservoir." He held the glowing ball over his head for another moment, then flung it to the floor, where it exploded into a whirling torrent of cobalt sparks.

The freed element fountained up to the ceiling, then whizzed about the room, just over the bewigged heads of the Fellows, who shrieked and cast themselves to the floor. At the other end of the room, the element paused, gathering itself into a corner, and then, as if finding its bearings, streaked toward the Reservoir
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SarahP
Posted on Sunday, October 12, 2003 - 02:23 pm:   

The only human Reservoir in England lay on his back in bed, his bare feet propped up against the wall, staring at the ceiling. A molding ran around the top edge of the room, a froth of white-painted plaster ending in a cornice of plump cherubs and flowers over the door. The walls were papered in flocked velvet and the floor was expensively carpeted; shelves of leather-bound books lined one wall and a desk well supplied with paper, pens, and ink was pushed up against the other.

There was nothing wrong with the room, really. Except for the door, which was locked.
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 04:08 am:   

EXCERPT from COBWEB BRIDE, Chapter 2:

Like the wind the man came riding. He swept through the darkness of the village Oarclaven, waking Percy from her freezing sleep as she sat on her father's porch.

He wore red and gold, muted by the night and yet the design of his livery and the pennant he bore was recognizable as the Duke Vitalio Goraque's own colors.

"Neither side wins!" he cried. "It's a riot, but neither side wins! Witchcraft and unholy abomination is upon us!"

. . .

EXCERPT from MARGOT PHOENIX RISING, Chapter 2:

"Keep going," Margaret said. "That guy, those swords, those bad guys, that 'it' thing you have."

"It's not funny," said Andy. "You have no idea--"

"Exactly. I have no idea what anything is and until you tell me everything, including more about why I breathed water like a fish and then flew in the air like an airplane just half an hour ago -- until I know more, this is all ridiculous crap. Let's start with who that injured man was, and that woman with a sword, and why were they fighting over you."

. . .
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SarahP
Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 07:25 pm:   

A noise from below interrupted his measured steps and his calculations. David darted to the door and put his ear against it. Nothing. Then another crash from downstairs echoed through the empty house, followed by the sound of stealthy footsteps out in the carpeted corridor.

David stepped back from the door, ready to fight whatever came through. It was the Coven, most likely, come to collect him for Solent.

With a crash the door burst open, the lock splintered.

"'Ello, Treadwell!" George, the landlady's nephew, stood broad in the doorway, an axe in his hands.

David stared at the other man, astonished.

"Well, come on, me cock," George said, grinning. "You wants out, dontcher?"
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 05:38 am:   

EXCERPT from COBWEB BRIDE, Chapter 2:

As the light outside deepened, there were harsh sounds of metal and many horses -- heavy cavalry. The Duke's knights were returning.

Niobea looked up once, slowly, her gaze drawn to the windows, but she did not go to open the shutters. This was an ongoing wake and death was in the house. Or so she thought.

. . .

EXCERPT from MARGOT PHOENIX RISING, Chapter 2:

"Oh, I need to use the bathroom," said Andy, thinking lightning-fast, and before Margaret could blink he moved into the tiny closet and locked the door behind him. He was good.

Angie frowned and gave Margaret a look.

They opened the cabin and there were two crewmen wearing security uniforms.

. . .
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SarahP
Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 07:40 pm:   

[Hey, Vera, my turn!]

David woke up with a blinding headache and a gap in his memory, wearing only a shirt and breeches, lying on freezing cobblestones in a pool of cold vomit and a mound of horse manure.

Oh no, not again.
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Nancy
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 10:18 am:   

A deep breath engaged the operating system and she followed the sub-routines to optics. It had already been close to the surface, brought there by her curiosity over the gnome’s disappearance. She hated using optics for escapes, though, because she’d have to sustain a tight field for an indeterminate duration. She set the perimeter at the inner edge of her etheric body and nudged the index of refraction toward 1. For all light rays coming toward her at an angle qI, Tandy had to remove its reflection; the refraction angle (qr) had to match the incoming angle as much as possible, allowing each ray to pass through her. It was hard to keep up as light rays keep pouring in, and each time she moved she had to adjust for the new angles.

Hugging her satchel close so it would be included in the field, she slid out the foot-port just as three geeps marched toward her place in the hive. Instinct told her to bolt, but experience told her the field would be more effective the slower she moved. She pressed herself against the wall—light may pass through her temporarily transparent form, but a grazing elbow wouldn’t.
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SarahP
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 07:42 pm:   

“Young person at the door, sir,” O’Brien answered. “Treadwell's his name, he says. Never seen him before. Shall I send him packing?”

Sir John cocked his head, alert. “Treadwell, you say? A very young man, is he? Accent of the middling sort, with a bit of Yorkshire in the vowels? Rather soft spoken?”

“That’s the one, sir.” O’Brien had long since ceased to be amazed at his master’s ability to identify individuals by their voices. Legend said that Sir John could recognize the voices of the thousand guilty parties who had been tried in his courtroom. And the innocent ones as well, of course.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 01:20 pm:   

"Supposed to be empty," the nearest soldier muttered. "What's going on, captain?"

Ally was still holding up the hair-tentacle. "I guess this is my ticket to ride, eh?"

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, the lower level of the mother ship shimmered, and a black circle formed where the ground met ship. The circle widened until it was large enough for a person to walk into, unhindered.

The mother ship, Ally thought, is now open for business.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 07:07 am:   

Father Joshua kept having things happen to him that he thought would never happen ever again. Like the twinges of pain that entered his chest when he'd held up the Wannoshay hair tentacle that had been jumping around in his coat pocket like a fish pulled out of the water. Or the electric buzz that being so close to a ship of the People caused in his fillings, a sensation he'd forgotten since the camps had arisen. Or the fact that he was sitting across from Colonel Cossa once again, talking about the Wannoshay.
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SarahP
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 03:47 pm:   

Sally turned and gave David a cheerful smile; he gave her a blank look in return. "It's eulectric wire," she explained, hesitating before deciding to continue. Ah, well, her chattering was better than silence. "It must be kept cold, or it evaporates. That's why I didn't want you touching my device yesterday. Just the warmth in your hands is enough to melt it. You shouldn't even breathe on it, really."

He looked faintly interested, so she went to the window, opened it, and pulled the bucket up by its rope. "See? I keep it out here, where it's cold."

He came to stand next to her and looked at the little nests of eulectric wire arranged in the bottom of the bucket. "What do you do in the summertime?"

Sally grimaced. "Exactly." When she figured out how to keep the metal cold in July, she would have made her fortune.
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Nancy
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 09:12 pm:   

It became increasingly obvious that retreat might be a sensible option. Despite the Exarpey’s superior armour and the relative spit-ball force of the fragile P’dokeen craft, repeated slammings began to wear on the shields. Like piranhas on a water-buffalo, the P’dokeens were about to take down and devour the Exarpey. Their only hope was to make a break for UNIX territories.

“Wouldn't the woman be able to help us?” asked Grennfl.

An uneasy silence broke over the bridge.

Truth was, no one knew the extent of the passenger’s power. Perhaps they didn’t want to know. Perhaps knowing that she could save them travel costs and could reportedly fuse flesh together when threatened was enough.

“Leave the witch out of it.”

Vlax vocalized it, but the others at least half-sympathized with the sentiment.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 07:31 pm:   

The instant she held the hair-tentacle aloft, a white surge of energy covered her and spread out in all directions with a hot blast of wind, like the impact radius of a bomb. Falling snow turned to water, dropping to the now-wet ground like rain inside the hot, twenty-foot glow created by Brando's hair. With a synchronized clatter, every single pulse gun held in the hands of the soldiers and police officers dropped to the wet, snowless pavement.

"What the hell did you do, miss?" the lead soldier whispered into the sudden silence.

Everyone turned toward Ally, standing inside the warm circle of alien energy that came from the quivering tentacle in her hand held high above her head. Feeling like a fool, she lowered her arm.

"I wish I knew," Ally said.
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Xanne
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 07:37 pm:   

He shifted suddenly, his hand grasping the back of her head and bringing her face forward. His mouth clamped down upon hers. There could be no greater triumph than this—woman over man. Her skin bristled with sensation as his hands roamed over her, as his hunger and lust grew again. She found herself forgetting everything, considering only the next moment and the one after that. She became a series of practiced movements, practiced tenderness. The only question ruminating in her mind was: where had she not kissed him before? Her mouth dragged a wet trail down his throat to his collar bone, searching for any undiscovered flesh, any new sensitivity.

His head dropped back, exposing the tendons of his throat. “More than that, Vespera.” He looked down at her. “You were designed to be the very soul of Elsinaire.”

She paused, hearing that revelation and adoring it. Her green eyes cut up to his face. “Yes,” she said, crawling back upon all fours. She positioned herself practically for what she intended. “Yes, I am Elsinaire. And I choose you, Your Majesty … I choose you.” As she leaned forward, her silky black hair tumbled over his upper thigh. He moaned, and the moment her mouth found him, she felt his hand grip her strands as if he would never again let go.

~from Chapter 6, The Adamant
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mark siegel
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 05:43 pm:   

She stripped off her shirt. As simple gestures go, it was a cataclysmic understatement, something like spilling red wine on the white carpet of the soul.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 06:34 pm:   

The eight Wannoshay wore long black robes and rested on metal chairs that looked as if they had been pried up from the floor. They must have been old, because they were more hunched over than the 'stream images Toshera had seen before, and their hair was lighter and shorter than any of the black hair-tentacles she'd seen anywhere else.

They had been waiting for them, that much was obvious. The eight aliens stood in the middle of the room, and Toshera could see that there was something different about the third eyes of each of the aliens. Their eyes glowed, and even from this distance, she could see a tracery of white surrounding the black irises of the sideways eyes.

We found the Elders, Toshera thought, squeezing her mother's hand. And they were beautiful.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 06:22 pm:   

"Alissa Trang." She moved the piece of Wannoshay hair from her right hand into her coat pocket with a crooked smile before shaking his hand. "I came all the way down here from Canada. Nice to meet you, Father." Her eyes widened with amazed glee for a second as the ship loomed higher and higher above them. "Can you believe this is happening? Jesus H -- Um, sorry, Father."

"Nice to meet you too, Alissa."

"That's Skin and Shermie up there," she said, pointing and still wearing her crooked grin. "Skin's the pissed-off looking white guy."

"And that's Shontera and her girl Toshera back there." Joshua showed her his piece of Wannoshay hair, and her grin disappeared. "Looks like we all had the same thing in mind today, huh?"
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N.C.
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 08:59 pm:   

“Do you have an explanation for this?” Del demanded. “Do you?”

“I’m sure—”

“You are not sure. How can you possibly be sure? How can ‘sure’ have anything to do with this? Hunh?”

“Del…” Foxx reached out a consoling hand, but Del brushed it aside.

“There are plastic icicles hanging from the ceiling, Foxx. Orange, plastic icicles.”

Foxx automatically looked up. Above him hung, like peach-coloured stalactites, what used to be ceiling tiles. He nodded and stepped back.

Grimly, Del prepped the inhaler and pressed it to the woman’s nose. After three, sleep-sluggish breaths, she began to stir. Simultaneously, they heard a horrendous commotion in the kitchen.
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SarahP
Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 11:47 am:   

Sally remembered with a jolt her conversation with David the previous day. "Oh! You must also warn Sir John. David said he suspects Solent's coven is up to something more than just blowing up Parliament. Solent's plan could be more than just a demonstration of power but might include actual disruption of the government."

"Well, blowing up Parliament is a disruption, wouldn't you say?"
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SarahP
Posted on Sunday, October 26, 2003 - 03:28 pm:   

"Don't know nobody named Treadwell," the man said, folding hugely muscled arms across his chest. "So take yerself off."

This was altogether too much. Sally felt like stamping her foot; recalling what the ground was like, she refrained. "Now see here," she began. "I have it on very good authority that he lived here, and--"

"Good authority?" he interrupted. "'Oo said so?"

"The Bow Street Runners."

"Oh, aye?" The big man shook his head. "That lot don't have much _authority_ round here."

"Well, I don't work for the Runners. Look you, David Treadwell is in trouble and needs help. Are you going to assist me, sir, or must I look elsewhere?"

The man had started to turn away; as she spoke he turned back, head cocked. "'E's in trouble, you say."

"So you do know him!"

"Maybe I do, maybe I don't." He raised his fist and shook it. "But you'd better tell me more, sharpish, or you'll be talkin' to this."
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SarahP
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 06:45 pm:   

She wanted something more than a pocket pistol to protect herself from . Yes, like maybe a cannon.
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SarahP
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 06:46 pm:   

[Hey, there's a word missing up there! Here it is again...]

She wanted something more than a pocket pistol to protect herself from that. Yes, like maybe a cannon.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 09:20 am:   

The Old Capitol Town Center in downtown Iowa City had never seen this kind of business before. The camera zooms closer, focusing on the four-fingered gray hand held palm up, reaching out for something. And then, with a flash of battered black gloves, the hand is holding over a dozen pink capsules. The camera pulls back in time to show the actions of the other alien hand as it passes the gloved figure something dark and lumpy. The camera moved closer again, smooth and confident, yet the object wrapped in brown paper -- payment? -- wasn't identifiable.

A sigh from the perspective of the filmer, something that should have been edited out, but a choice has been made at some point not to do so. Wantaviewer's work carried that kind of untampered authenticity.
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N.C.
Posted on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 03:27 pm:   

Tasty as ever.” He knew he sounded like a bad commercial actor, pitching his voice with feigned enthusiasm, but it was as scripted a response as her entreaty had been. “You still make the best bowl on both Krulls.”

“Best in whole Gimel-quad,” she corrected.

“But of course!” Fallon forced a chuckle.

Okay, now for the jokey familiarity, Fallon thought, recalling the method from his last trip.

“You have funny face,” she cajoled mock-playfully. “You ugly as a Gboil’s ass!” She cackled, delighted at her simile.

He resisted the desire to roll his eyes. “What did your papa fly in on, a skrag jet?” he returned.

“Klorgl go to you for stupidity lessons.”

“I bet your soup could make a Echdnii’s puke.”

Her expression clammed right up.

Oops. He forgot. Insult appearance, insult parentage, insult personal characteristics, but never, never insult the food. It didn’t matter if the cooking were subterfuge for a million different professions: you didn’t dis the grub.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Monday, November 03, 2003 - 06:18 am:   

In the last second of 'stream footage remaining -- before the camera was apparently overwhelmed with light and energy and ceased to work -- the four distracted aliens have turned completely toward whatever it was that had distracted them moments earlier. When the camera freezes for a final time on a screen of white peppered only with faded dots that on further examination turn out to be sets of black alien eyes opened wide, the twelve eyes of the distracted Wannoshay are half-lidded, as if preparing for sleep. If you look closely enough you can see their bodies in the process of hunching over, while the others stand tall on two legs, arms outstretched for the energy soon to come from the levitating alien at the moment of his death.

The scene remains locked in that moment, and even the thought of looking away refuses to enter your mind.

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