Sing Sweet – #15MF

fifteenminuteficlets

15 Minute Ficlets is a weekly challenge based on the original 15 Minute Ficlets LiveJournal Community.  Since this community has been defunct since 2013, I’ve decided to resurrect the challenge on my blog as a weekly Sunday writing challenge.  If there’s interest, I’ll turn this into a meme (link up in the comments if you try it!).  In the meanwhile, the rules:

Based on a single word, write a story in fifteen minutes.  The word count is irrelevant.  Just write your heart out for 15 minutes and be inspired by the word.  You never know what you’ll end up with!

This week’s word: maelstrom

You have 15 minutes.  Go!

(I apologize for missing last week… I’ve been extremely under the weather these last few weeks and haven’t been getting online frequently.)


Her mother ran her fingers over the ivory keys with the skill and grace expected of any lady.  As she watched the way her mother’s fingers glided, Winnifred took a deep, unseemly breath, and just like that, the music stopped.  The lid to the piano closed, hiding the keys beneath a cover of polished mahogany.

Her mother sighed one of her exaggerated sighs that could only mean the depth of disappointment her precious daughter brought to her.  Winnifred leBrenne didn’t need telepathy to tell that she would never be good enough for her high-strung mother.  She stood, and looked down at her young daughter, her eyes like stone.

You will never be good enough.

The thought would have once made Winnie cringe, but it was a common mantra now.  The Lady leBrenne looked her daughter up and down the way a butcher might eye a cow he was about to slaughter.  She was tall, as tall as her tycoon husband, with slender tanned legs and perfectly soft golden hair that fell in little ringlets just past her shoulders.  She had grey eyes, like a maelstrom, and her personality was just as unpredictable.  Her fingers were long and thing, and with them now she picked up the silver diapason and tapped it gently.  A clear, crisp note rang through the warm springtime air, and her mother closed her eyes.

“Do you hear that note, Peach?” her mother always called her ‘peach,’ or ‘berry,’ or some other fruit with a sweet flavor. “It is the sound of perfection.  It is the beautiful call of the sirens on the waters.  You must never stray too high above or too low beneath this note, or else you will sound like a gull.  Do you understand?”

Even at the age of twelve, Winnifred’s mother spoke to her as though she were an ignorant infant.  Music was the only skill her mother insisted upon teaching her personally, and as a result, it was her most miserable subject.  Her father said she sang like a pretty little meadowlark, but she knew her mother despised him for his gentility.  She will never learn if she is babied, her mother often thought.  She also knew that her mother thought she could marry her daughter off to some well-placed Duke, or perhaps the Prince of Kyrix himself.  She loathed the idea of being placed in such a way that she was her mother’s pawn.

Often, she sang poorly just to vex her mother.

“We will try it again,” her mother said, sitting back down at the grand piano and placing the forked diapason beside her.

It is useless.  She could not charm a codfish. 

Winnifred bit her tongue, swallowing a quip that certainly would get her ears boxed.  She hated that punishment more than all the others, for it made her ears ring for days and that sound, added to her endless headache from the chatter in the grand mansion around her, led to fits of dizziness and nausea.  Her mother thought her weak as a flower for the time she would spend bedridden with illness, but if she could only shut the voices off, she would have been a perfectly happy young lady.

“Tea time, mistresses,” one of the maids called into them.  She bore a polished silver tray with a hand-painted porcelain teapot, two cups and saucers, and two buttery scones that made Winnifred’s mouth water.

“Just set it over there,” her mother gestured with a flick of her wrist.  She never bothered to learn the names of their servants.  To Winnifred, she added, “We will not break for tea until you sing properly.”

The ultimatum understood, Winnifred filled her lungs and when the piano began to sing, so did she.


When I write short stories, I usually like to carve moments out from the novel ideas I have running around my head.  Winnifred leBrenne is one of the many characters from The Sin Series, the story that has been running through my mind since I was nine.  Winnie was never intended to be a lead characters – she was just the kid sister of one of the other mages – but she blossomed and grew and has because one of my more important characters.  She was raised as an heiress with an expectation of greatness, the weight that she sheds at her first opportunity.  The above is simply another moment in her pre-story life.


If you give it a go anytime this week, link up in the comments and I’ll add you in the post!


CHECK OUT THESE OTHER FICLETS!

“Maelstrom” – Michelle @ Faerie Fits

Ready – #15MF

fifteenminuteficlets

15 Minute Ficlets is a weekly challenge based on the original 15 Minute Ficlets LiveJournal Community.  Since this community has been defunct since 2013, I’ve decided to resurrect the challenge on my blog as a weekly Sunday writing challenge.  If there’s interest, I’ll turn this into a meme (link up in the comments if you try it!).  In the meanwhile, the rules:

Based on a single word, write a story in fifteen minutes.  The word count is irrelevant.  Just write your heart out for 15 minutes and be inspired by the word.  You never know what you’ll end up with!

This week’s word: halting

You have 15 minutes.  Go!


Harleyquinne touched up the black charcoal around her eyes, angling the corners up a little to make her eyes look bigger and more startling.  She tilted her head to the side and smiled.  Her pale grey eyes flashed and she grinned.  Next week when they played for the Royal Court, she would use the gold leaf paint as well so she sparkled and shimmered, but that was for royalty only and the charcoal gave her a pale, ghastly look.  Add to it the light of the fire she’d be juggling and the whole thing would feel otherworldly.  Perfect.

The door to their wagon creaked and her twin brother stepped in, halting only briefly to scrape some mud off his boots.  She caught a flash of irritation in his reflection in the polished tin before he said, “Dancers are nearly finished.  You ready?”

Harley nodded.  “I’ll be out in a min, Ri, don’t worry.  I’m never late.”

And it was true, she never was, but her brother still grunted and sat down on the bed.  She felt his eyes on her, like she was a child.  Their father trusted her to do what she needed to do but Riley always watched her.  She knew he wanted to be the fire juggler and it offended him that his sister brought in the greatest share of coin to support the family.  Riley was a do-all for the caravan:  sets, costumes, announcing… he went where he was needed.  It was what their father had done when he was their age, but it was not as prestigious as being one of the headline performers.

For what it was worth, it often pained Harley that she had the gift and he didn’t.  Up until their eighth summer, they had shared everything.  But the moment sparks flew from her fingertips, she was rushed away to a rigorous schedule of training and performance… and he was left behind.

She knew she was stalling.  Sighing, she adjusted the coin-decorated long skirt she wore for her fire dance, quickly wove her hair into a pair of simple braids and twisted them together, and turned around.  As expected, her brother sat glaring at her, hands on his upturned palms, looking bored and a little green around the edges.

“I’m ready,” she told him.

She hoped he knew that that her words meant, for the thousandth time: I’m sorry.


When I write short stories, I usually like to carve moments out from the novel ideas I have running around my head.  This is the viewpoint of a character from The Sin Series, a story I have been writing and rewriting since I was nine. Harleyquinne Cathors is a gypsy girl with the girl of elemental magic: fire.  She travels with her family and performs for coin and since she is a performer and a rover, she usually manages to stay clear of the executions and witch hysteria.  Harley’s one of my favorite characters, and when in doubt on a word (halting? ugh) I usually turn to her.


If you give it a go anytime this week, link up in the comments and I’ll add you in the post!


Check Out These Other Ficlets!

“Halting” – Michelle @ Faerie Fits