“I wouldn’t expect an answer right away,” said Bill. I turned to see him standing at the door where he’d left me. “He tends to let us learn patience along with prayer.” Bill stepped forward into the wan light, his pulled-down hat making the covered eye seem like a deep pit.
“I don’t think there’s much time for patience,” I said.
“Most people don’t.” He stopped at the end of the pew where I was sitting. “It doesn’t change His timing.”
“Who are you talking to, young Merlin?”
“I’ve heard that’s one of the signs of insanity,” said Robin. “Then again, it’s not nearly as fun as hallucinations, so I think it shouldn’t even count.”
I clenched my fist, then relaxed it. I hadn’t realized mortals could read my emotions so easily. “You know I’m a Valkyrie,” I said, “and what that means.”
“Except I’m not anymore, not really.” I broke eye contact and drank from my glass. “I have one more soul I have to collect, when his time comes.” I watched Gabriel’s face as realization swept over him, then horror and confusion. “And I know that day will come, so when I look at you I can’t decide whether I want to prevent it from happening or speed it along.”
“So, you’re my angel of death?” he said, his color starting to return.
“In a manner of speaking,” I conceded.
“Well,” he said, gathering himself, “I’d say something about having a good-looking angel, but then you’d probably kill me here and now.”
“Assuredly,” I said.
“You sound like Dad,” Kaya said, stretching her arms wide and yawning. “He never gives the full answer.”
“The Puck is as the Puck does,” D’Artangan said.
I turned back to face her. “I’d like to know what the Puck is doing now.”
“So would others both friendly and Unseelie.”
Kaya and I both stared at my sister as though she might fall over in a seizure.
“Did I say that out loud?” D’Artangan asked. She shook her head, showering the mat with dried up sunflower petals. “I really must work on keeping my mouth shut one of these days. I think I’ll see if Mistress Akachi needs any help in the kitchen.”
She rose to her feet with the inelegant grace of a girl who is clumsy, knows it, and doesn’t care.
“Does she ever make more sense to you than she does to the rest of us?” Kaya asked as we watched D’Artangan weave through the sleeping mats.
“Rarely,” I said. “And sporadically.”
These next few come from a story I mentioned in the Writer's Tag post Monday, inspired by a sketch of Mirriam's that compared her idea of the Beast with the version presented in the new Disney film. I said that I shipped her version with Maleficent, and then had to start writing that story. I've tentatively titled it "Paper and (T)horns."
Ok. Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. Boy loses girl. Girl curses boy. Literally curses him. To an eternity as a transmogrified beast.
You thought I was joking about the curse? Well, I thought Molly was joking about having fae blood. But that’s putting the rose before the thorn.
With all this talk of names, you may be curious as to mine. You may ask my name, but I cannot give it.
Beasts have no names.
Roger was out of his depth. Molly’s shrewdness had been honed over years of managing her father’s backstage interactions—or lack thereof. No amount of money could lower her guard. No charm could bespell her to allow me entrance to her father’s sanctuary. Only earnestness, open-faced honesty, and open-handed humility—if anything—would prevail.
I reached into my bag and pulled out a handful of paper sheets of various sizes and shades. The bag often drew attention when I was out—not because of its pattern (a black and white version of the TARDIS), but because men of my station were not supposed to carry their own bags, no matter how eccentric our pursuits. But as I said in that famous interview with Ellen, “Art doesn’t care about your station or your schedule. It demands to be made NOW.” So I always kept materials on hand for whatever medium tickled my monomaniacal fancy. For the last year, it had been origami.
Thanks for reading! Come back next month on the last Saturday for more snippets. Like what you read? Let me know in the comments. Didn't like it? Let me know that, too. (There's no improvement if I don't know what fails.)