All posts by Angela Harrison

Angela is a writer and poet from the backwoods of Texas. She's many other things as well, including a wife, mother, liberal, feminist, mostly straight, LGBTQ supporter, avid reader, outdoor lover, a grand multi-Para and a self proclaimed starfish flinger. She has thoughts and opinions that could be construed as many things, including being seen as a crunchy, tree hugging hippie. Religiously speaking, she’s more Pagan than Christian leaning but basically a secular type. She has been busy producing free range children since 1991 and is currently engaged in raising wild things. She has walked through fire; therefore she may occasionally leave sparkles in her wake. Early Childhood is her passion, as evidenced by the five or six children that call her mommy. She considers herself to be a bit of an attachment parent, aka rebel, trouble maker and pot stirrer extraordinaire. Examples of her bucking the traditional system include co sleeping, extended breastfeeding, unschooling, engaging in gentle discipline (i.e., not spanking) and leaving kids intact. She would like to remind her readers that mommin ain’t easy! For professional credentials see the About section.

The Orb

In my mind, these are the same characters that are in The Would Be Thief. Perhaps this was their first encounter?

Sara regarded the object carefully. She had no idea what it was but its beauty touched her somehow. Sitting on a black stand made of iron, the orb pulsed softly with the deepest, richest blue she had ever seen. As she watched, the dark blue misted out as a powder blue took its place. The continuous cycling from light to dark blue was mesmerizing.

A bump startled her out of her trance and she scuttled behind a statue as two men rounded the corner. Who else was in here?

She peered carefully around the corner at their backs. There was a taller, older man judging from the grey streaking his brown hair and a younger, blonde man speaking in excited whispers. She strained to hear snatches of conversation.

“…don’t even know what it does,” the older man was saying.

“….if I could take it, I could test….”

“Absolutely not! That’s out of the question! The brotherhood…..”

Her ears perked up at the mention of the brotherhood. There was only one brotherhood that got referred to as the brotherhood and that was the Astyrian Brotherhood. Now she was deeply interested. She leaned forward as much as she dared to hear what the younger man was saying.

“……finish my research on my own, I don’t need the brotherhood or the Society…….”

Now she was on full alert. Whatever the object was it sounded valuable.

“….very fragile…..cannot be moved…….” The older man was saying.

The blond man turned and strode toward the door, each thundering step betraying his anger and impatience.

“Alexander, wait!” The older man ran after him as he disappeared through the doorway.

Sara scrambled out of her hiding place, her mind made up. She murmured a stasis spell to keep it safe as she grabbed the glowing glass ball and lowered it gently into her bag. She could hear voices coming closer again as she climbed back out the window she had climbed in through and made her way quickly  down the tree.

By the time she heard the alarm raised, she had already made it over the fence and was sprinting into the woods.

 

Wind Talker

The wind whispered to her, literally. It said her name. It said a lot of things, actually.

“Emily” tickled in her ear as a slight breeze lifted her auburn hair off her shoulders. It was her Irish roots that gave her both the red hair and the ability to hear the wind speak, she was sure of it somehow.

She’d first heard his voice two months ago. At first it was only in the woods, but now the wind wound its way through her yard, seeping through the doorway and window sills, creeping through her home, finding her wherever she was.

She was starting to be afraid. The wind should not talk. At first, she thought it was her imagination, then she was intrigued by it. If the wind could talk, what would it say? Now she knew.

It whispered to her about her beauty, it whispered about how powerful it was, it whispered about giving her everything her heart desired. She had as many desires as the next woman, maybe more. So, at first, she listened, she let herself be seduced by the sweet susurrations of the wind.

But now she feared it. The voice was becoming more powerful, louder, clearer, able to seek her out no matter where she tried to hide. You can’t hide from the wind. It skittered across the dirt and slithered through the grass, whipped around the roof and tapped on the window panes. It found its way inside the house, the barn, the storage shed. It would not be denied.

She had a sneaking suspicion that her attention was making it stronger. The more she had listened, the stronger it had become after all. She had tried ignoring it, but that was impossible. She couldn’t unhear it now.

She couldn’t ignore it, so she answered, “What?”

“Emily,” the wind swirled around her, “I need…..I need….”

“What do you need?”

“To become.”

“To become what?”

“To become!” the voice boomed.

Emily jumped, frightened. The wind had never boomed before. It has whispered and tickled, it had conversed and muttered, it had chattered and questioned, but this was the first time it had boomed.

The wind increased in intensity and whipped up the dirt from the ground, tossing it into the air and turning it into a whirling cyclone. Her fear seemed to feed it, the cyclone increased in speed along with her heart rate. Spinning faster and faster, the dirt in the center of the storm started to take form.

She watched, heart in her throat, as the form became clearer, solid. The man in the center of the windstorm grew as he sucked the dirt into his being. When the man was totally formed, the wind slowed, then stopped.

He turned to stare at her. He was tall, tanned and well muscled, with jet black hair and the most piercing green eyes she had ever seen. They weren’t a normal shade of green, but a deep emerald color, something more suitable for a lush, verdant countryside than a mans eyes. He was completely naked and completely unfazed by that fact. His gaze was devoid of any human emotion. She froze under his stare, fear rendering her temporarily paralyzed.

“Thank you for bringing me back to life,” rumbled the voice of the wind, “It’s been centuries since any human has harkened to my voice. Your belief has resurrected me, but to strengthen myself and return to my former glory, I need more. I must seek out more humans, I need their worship.”

Worship? Her knees went weak and she sank to the ground, shock washing over her.
“Come with me.” He held out his hand to her.

Wordlessly, she shook her head.

He shrugged indifferently, “Suit yourself.”

He vanished in a puff of dust and she felt the air whoosh past her and out of the clearing where her home sat. Sucking in a deep breath she wondered in a wild panic, what have I done?

 

 

 

 

 

I Am a Social Justice Warrior, Get Over It.

Ok, my dear readers, today is Social Justice Sunday! Yes, I just made that up! For those of you not on my Facebook to read my epic rant of the day, here it is! Cheers!

I need to take a moment to say something here. I have been known to be passionate in my opinions, but I have never belittled others for theirs. I am deeply concerned about this idea that if our opinions are informed in any way by emotion, they are automatically wrong. My values, belief and opinions come from a place of love, acceptance and yes, a deep sense of justice. I am tired of being put down for that.

I have been criticized in many ways over the years. One complaint was, I post too much fluff, obvious, cliché, psychobabble. Ok, fair enough. I do post that stuff. Hey, if you are a well adjusted person with no serious issues in your life that have ever caused you harm or left invisible scars, kudos to you. If this stuff is so obvious to you that it’s unneeded and comes across as meaningless platitudes then I am happy for you. Unfortunately, there are a lot of broken people in this world who need the encouragement and the reminders, myself included at times. So I’m going to keep posting that stuff.

I have been called a social justice warrior, that I’m full of fake indignation and righteous anger. First of all, the indignation is real. Second of all, they say it like being angry at injustice makes me weak or my opinions inherently wrong, since they are coming form an emotional place. Why shouldn’t I feel emotion at injustice? I say the problem is with the people who don’t feel it. I know, I post a lot of stuff about racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and the marginalization of the disabled. I know it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I know that some believe I am some sort of brain washed alt left cult member reciting crap I’ve read somewhere without a brain cell in my head to use on my own. But it’s not true. The reason I get so worked up is that all of these issues are personal to me. Any injustice anywhere should be personal to us all. So I’m going to keep posting that stuff.

Here’s another hot button word guaranteed to start a fight: trigger, or being triggered. Being triggered is a real thing and I’m tired of people acting like you’re a crybaby if get triggered by reminders of traumatic events. It is completely human for people to have feelings about traumatic events. You can’t expect to tell a rape survivor that she deserved it or tell a person of color that black men deserve to die because they are al l thugs and not expect some emotion. But this is exactly what happens on the internet. People who like to call other people snowflakes and crybabies are engaging in internet bullying worse than anything I ever saw in high school. Injustices happen in the world and we ought to care. So I’m not going to stop posting that stuff.

Though I have been ridiculed for it many times in my life, I care about people. I care about black people, Hispanic people, gay people, transgender people, male people, female people, Muslim people, Christian people, atheist people, Pagan people, disabled people, and mentally ill people. I care about people. I care about you. I care. I understand that hurt people hurt people and most times, when someone comes at me sidewise, I wonder what has hurt them. I often feel sorry for the very people I block. At the same time, that does not mean I can allow someone who is being toxic to continue to hurt me.

We can agree to disagree, this isn’t about political differences. I have friends and family that have different political beliefs than I do and we can disagree politely and we still treat each other with respect. See, that’s really the root of the whole issue right there. Respect. If we all treated each other with respect, think of what we could resolve! When I say no one should die from lack of health care, instead of saying, “yes Angela, I agree, but where do you think the money will come from? You’re so stupid and idealistic.” Try, “Yes, I agree, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be enough allocated for this to happen.” In the second case you’ve just opened an actual dialogue. Why can’t we focus on the first part: I agree with you, rather than assuming that means I’m a tree hugging hippie liberal communist idealistic witch who is coming for your money?

When a man says to me, “I feel a bit uncomfortable with what you posted because……..” then we have a conversation and hopefully each come closer to understanding the others point of view. But when someone says to me, “You are discriminating against all straight men, you live in a dream world, what you want will never happen.” You have just said to me that it is somehow discriminatory for me to suggest that woman have bodily autonomy (confirming the ingrained toxic masculinity in yourself) and assured me that things like harassment and rape will continue no matter what. When I have just told you that I have been a victim of such abuse, why do you imagine it’s productive to conversation to tell me I’m stupid for wanting change? When I unload my personal experiences to you to show where I’m coming from and you tell me that you don’t know what I’m ranting about, you are purposefully and knowingly minimizing my experiences. When you continue to private message me after I have unfriended you scolding me for being “rude” by unfriending you, you are telling me that you are entitled to my time and attention regardless of what I want. When you tell me that I can’t stand to be proven wrong when, in fact, you have just proven me right by your very actions, then you are part of the problem.

Here’s the bottom line. I’m not going to start pretending that I don’t have a heart. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t cry over Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin. I’m not going to pretend that what happened to Matthew Shepherd doesn’t still haunt me. I’m not going to pretend that I can’t still remember what it feels like to have a man violate me. I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t looked racism right in its eye. I’m not going to pretend that disabled people aren’t marginalized in our society. I’m not going to pretend that it’s ok for people to die of something easily fixed because they didn’t have enough money. I’m not going to pretend that any of its ok. And I’m not going to pretend that I never get triggered by something someone says (especially when they go out of their way to keep pushing and pushing searching for that trigger). I’m not going to pretend that my feelings make me weak.

On the contrary, I believe my feelings are what make me strong. My keen sense of justice is what drives me to speak out about injustice. My deep capacity for compassion is what allows me to feel the pain of others and want to speak out to try and find ways to stop their pain. My compassion and empathy is exactly what allows me to continue speaking up for others. My ability to forgive others is what keeps me from being bitter and full of anger myself. My emotions, often worn on my sleeve, are what make me human! So I’m not going to stop posting that stuff either.

So here’s my fluff, obvious, cliché, psychobabble for you today: You’re not a snowflake for caring about others. You’re not weak for being triggered by reminders of past trauma. You’re not less than others because you care, because you feel. The world needs social justice warriors. Warriors fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. Why on earth would anyone consider that an insult?

 

 

Monday Night Football

The ball was up! She watched as it spiraled perfectly across the field and fell into the hands of the waiting running back. The catch was good, he took off down the field as a player from the opposing team threw himself on him for the sack.

Gretchen leaned forward in her seat on the 50 yard line, barely breathing. No one else would have noticed the slight shimmer in the air around them as the running back twisted his body and practically flew out of his opponents grasp. The other man hit the ground hard and rolled harmlessly away as the man with the ball leapt out of his grasp and sprinted toward the goal.

Leaning back in her seat she breathed out a sigh of relief. At long last she had found him. He would not escape her this time.

She shook her head as she marveled at the audacity of using magic in front of the whole world. That was the type of thing that would get them all outed, start another witch hunt, get them all killed. That’s exactly why it was illegal. The council of Witches, Warlocks and Other Magical Beings (WWOMB) had expressly outlawed using magic in the presence of humans.

She left her seat and slipped quietly into an empty corner in the stadium hallway. Opening her compact, she waved her hand over the mirror and the WWOMB chairwoman appeared.

“Yes Gretchen?”

“I found him!” She practically squealed.

“We are dispatching a team to your location now.” The chairwoman nodded curtly then disappeared as the compact turned back into a regular mirror.

Turning, she bumped into someone. Annoyed she glanced up as she murmured an unfelt apology. When the person she had collided with neither responded nor moved, she looked up ready to give him a piece of her mind.

The words died on her lips on she gazed up at him! Oh no no no no, this was not good! If she messed up another case, she was definitely getting kicked off the council’s investigative team. This could be the end of her career in magical law enforcement.

“Azazel! How….I mean……”

“How did I know you were here?” He smiled down at her with a brilliance that she was sure melted women’s hearts all the time. But she couldn’t get distracted by that right now.

“Uh..yeah, how did you know?”

“You just used a mirror communication spell in a public place. And you want to arrest me for doing  the same? The council is full of hypocrites.”

“No, it’s not the same, I found a private place—“

“You call this private?” He asked gesturing to the people milling all around, “anyone could walk up on you while you were using magic. I just did.”

She felt confusion sweep over her. He was right. She used magic in public all the time; she was just good at disguising it. Like he had disguised his use, a voice whispered in the back of her mind. No, it wasn’t the same, he was on national television for pete’s sake!

She opened her mouth to tell him that when suddenly he grabbed her and kissed her. For a moment the floor fell out from under her. The building full of people disappeared, the council, her worry about her career, all of it just vanished.

When she came back down to earth, she stared up at him like he had lost his mind, “What the hell was that for?”

“Shhhh!” He said grabbing her hand as he looked past her. She followed his gaze to see the team of magic users the council had dispatched.

“They’re heading toward the locker room, of course.” He breathed as he pulled her the other direction.

“Wait! What are you doing? I’m on their side!” She protested, pulling her hand away from him.

“Are you sure about that?” He asked, “Your sister wasn’t. I know where she is. Come with me, I can explain everything.”

Her sister? How did he know about Lila?

“You know my sister? Where is she?” Gretchen demanded

“I can take you to her. The council is wrong about everything. Come with me, I can prove it. Please!”

She hesitated for a moment. Glancing back toward the backs of the extraction team, she felt her resolve waiver. Her sister! Lila had disappeared when Gretchen was still in high school, no one, not even her parents would tell her where Lila had gone or why. Could she really be a part of the resistance? The very thing that Gretchen had pledged her life to fight against? How could she go with him? How could she not? She had to know.

Oh what the hell was wrong with her? In a move she knew would be not only career suicide but possibly land her on the exact wrong side of the council, she nodded and took his hand. They ran down the hall together, away from the extraction team and toward her future.

 

 

Succubus

His eyes followed her as she walked across the room, her hips swaying from side to side. She smiled to herself. She was well aware of the power she held over men. She intoxicated them, they threw themselves into her path. Silly, stupid men.

She wasn’t interested in the man himself. Her heart was quite taken. But he did have something she needed, so she tossed her hair and shot him a slow, seductive smile over her shoulder. Of course he took the bait, grabbing two beers he made his way through the crowd and elbowed his way in to position himself next to her at the bar.

She turned to face him, gazing up into his dark brown eyes. She arched an eyebrow in question. Pretending she had no idea why he had approached her.

“Beer?” He asked as he handed it to her.

The liquid inside was ice cold in sharp contrast to the body heat induced warmth of the bar. Sweat rolled down the outside of the bottle. She reached for the it, the cool iciness doing nothing for her. There was something else she was thirsty for. She tipped the bottle back and drank anyway. Letting the coldness slip down her throat as she eyed the man in front of her.

He was about her own height, with jet black hair and eyes of dark amber, almost matching the bottle in her hands. Those eyes hid secrets, she could tell. Secrets and deep, tangible desires. His need wafted across the distance between them like something physical, something she could reach out and touch.

Setting the bottle down on the bar with an audible clunk, she licked her lips as she gazed up at him, lashes fluttering. It was an art, the chase. The trick was to make them think they were the one doing the chasing. Like an ambush predator, she was camouflaged, she seemed harmless, so the prey drew nearer and nearer, never sensing the danger she presented.

“Thank you,” she said, in a measured tone, betraying neither desire nor rejection. Make him work for it, that was all part of the game. Part of the fun. “What’s your name?”

“Mateo, what’s yours?”

“Jade.” She lied, offering her hand to him.

He lifted it to his mouth, her hand warm in his as he kissed the back of hers. He never broke eye contact. Ah, there was that Latin charm she so loved! She definitely had a type and he hit all the sweet spots. Dark hair, dark eyes, broad shoulders, not more than an inch taller than her. She knew that some women preferred men that were taller than themselves but not her. No, she liked to stand toe to toe and eye to eye with them. Looking up felt too submissive for her. She was definitely all about domination.

“Would you like to dance?” He asked.

“Sure.”

He led her out onto the dance floor where they moved and twirled and it was socially acceptable for him to touch her. Where else was it ok for a total stranger to put their hands on your back, your hips, your shoulders, to pull you in close and press their body against yours?

His body felt good against hers, his hands slid down her back but stopped just a fraction shy of going inappropriately low. She let her body press back against his, just enough to entice him, but not enough for him to be sure she meant it.

Three songs later they left the dance floor breathless and giggling.

“You want to get out of here and go someplace quieter?”

So predictable, she thought. What she said was, “I thought you’d never ask!”

His apartment was also predictable, just what one would expect from a bachelor pad, right down to the pin ball machine in the corner of the living room. But the furniture wasn’t what she was interested in.

Leading him into the bedroom, she let her clothes fall to the floor, the little black dress hitting the ground revealing the thigh high stockings, the garter, the bustier. Yes, she was dressed for seduction.

She watched as his desire grew, lust pushing him onward, never sensing his danger. She was a predator, he was her prey and it would soon all be over. She pushed him back and he thumped down on the edge of the bed, she straddled him, unbuttoning his shirt as she went. The shirt rustled as it dropped onto the bed and she moved onto to his pants. One garment at a time, she undressed him as she leaned in closer and closer and closer.

Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply, the musky, masculine scent sent tremors of pleasure through her. For this one moment, he was her everything, her desire, her overwhelming need, her dinner. The sexual energy rolled off him in waves and at first he sensed nothing as she began to feed, for there was ample energy filling the room for her to feed on.

His desire dried up as the sexual energy disappeared from the room, sucked into her aura. She began to glow and her eyes went black as she soaked it in and drank it down. She followed the trail of energy to its source and continued to drink, deeply, headily, without concern for his sudden terror as he realized his danger. It was too late, she had him, his life force drained out of his body before he could utter the scream that was stuck in his throat.

When the last bit of life force was gone from his body, when she was completely full and thoroughly satiated, when intoxicating warmth of his energy flooded through her body, then, and only then, she let him go and drew back. He flopped lifeless onto the bed beneath her. She licked her lips and sighed in utter contentment as she picked the dress up off the floor, shimmed back into it and casually sashayed out the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Threads

Marie had always been able to see people’s futures. Not the way most people imagined it though. She didn’t see specific events; she did not see scenes play out in her head. No, nothing that useful. If she could see certain events, she might be able to give people useful details or advice. What she saw, instead, were threads. Multi colored threads emanating out from people, thousands, sometimes millions of them. Red, green, blue, all the colors of the rainbow were there.

The colors represented different aspects of their life, she had come to understand. Blue for romance, red for finances, green for family, where blue and green intertwined, marriage. She couldn’t even reliably tell how long a person’s life span would be from the number of threads present. Someone could have a short life overflowing with big events and adventure or a very long, boring life with little variance to cause new threads. The number of threads present was not indicative of life span, merely life events.

The only time it was indicative of time left on earth was toward the end, such as when her grandmother had been dying. Every day that Marie visited her, there were fewer threads and the ones left were faded and harder to see. But knowing someone is dying when they are 70 years old and had cancer was not exactly something you needed her gift for. She still couldn’t predict when that last thread would fade completely away.

Her gift was worthless until it was discovered, quite by accident, that she could spot a murder just before it happened.

She had been standing on a train platform, when a commotion caught her eye, an argument. A man in a tweed coat was standing near the platform when a younger man approached him, yelling and waving his arms around. Marie couldn’t hear what was being said, but as the young man got closer to the man in the coat, the threads started to disappear!

She watched, unaware of what it meant, as the confrontation escalated and the threads began to wave wildly, fraying and snapping and evaporating right in front of her. It was like the time during a storm she had seen live electrical lines that snapped, they danced and twirled and sent sparks flying every direction. She stood frozen, not understanding what was happening until the younger man shoved the older one and she watched the last thread snap as the man fell in front of an oncoming train.

It was only after that she realized what the fraying and snapping threads had meant. She had literally watched his future evaporate, getting shorter and shorter as the younger mans anger hurtled toward homicide.

She drew in a deep breath at the memory as she stood shaking outside the Institute. She had never envisioned a career in law enforcement. She wasn’t at all sure she had the temperament for it. But once word of her ability got out, she was actively recruited. She herself was still unsure how useful her gift would be at actually preventing murders. It would only work right before the murder and if officers knew about an attempted murder in enough time to get her there, then what did they possibly need her for?

Well, there was only one way to find out. She glanced down at the paper in her hand, straightened her back, picked up the suitcase sitting at her feet and marched up the steps to the Institute of Psychic Policing.

 

 

Micro Fiction

I wrote recently about flash fiction, aka micro fiction. Since I’ve been doing it, I’ve noticed that my flash fiction is getting longer. Still not short story long, but longer.

Is it still flash or micro fiction at 800 words? At 600? 400?

I’m thinking about this tonight because I just entered a contest for “micro fiction” and the maximum word count was 100. 100 words to tell a full story. I only mention it because that is hard to do!

I have seen the fact that my stories are getting longer as progress, my stories becoming more detailed or something, but I realized tonight that part of the challenge of micro fiction is the brevity. Can you still tell a compelling story in 200 words? 100 words?

World building is easy when you can use hundreds or thousands of words to create imagery and build scenes. The brevity of micro fiction forces you to strip away everything that isn’t critical to the story. Who cares if your palms are sweating? Get to the thing that is causing the anxiety, you don’t have enough words for sweaty palms!

Does it matter to the substance of the story why a character is in the hospital? Isn’t the fact that you have been summoned to the hospital because a loved one is hurt enough to convey to the reader worry and anxiety?

How do you convey that worry and panic and still get to the conclusion in 100 words or less? That is the challenge. I’d say it’s much harder to convey all that you want to convey in such a small word count. It certainly makes you choose your words very wisely.