Touch of Green


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 Little strips of tissue floated down to the floor in a mess that Josie knew her mother would have a fit over if she saw. Her fingers worked endlessly at the tissue, rolling and tearing bits off of it in an anxious gesture that she had never quite gotten under control. It was unladylike if her parents were to be believed, and gave too much away. But the box of tissues was right there and she was tucked away in a balcony where no one could see her anyway.

            It was maddening. Josie knew she shouldn’t be up here, basically hiding from everyone, and overthinking. She didn’t have that right. She didn’t have the right to even be remotely upset about this situation. The whole thing was her own fault. She was the one who was convinced it would be better to wait, to push every single one of her parents’ buttons when it came to her lack of suitors just so she could wait for this one to finish school.

            He’d brought a date. The very thought had her fingers clenching, trying to keep from shredding the tissue too quickly. It would be rude to shred the whole box worth. She hoped the help wouldn’t be too upset when they found the mess.

            “I would say green isn’t your color, Josephine, if you weren’t wearing it.” Josie nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of her sister’s voice from over her shoulder. Beverly was second only to their brother in skill when it came to sneaking up on people, and that was because she so preferred the dramatics. “Shall I be more direct?”

            “No,” Josie sighed, her fingers going still when her sister claimed the armchair next to her, smoothing out the fabric over her dark green dress. Beverly didn’t need to get any more direct than the knowing look in her gaze. She knew that jealousy wasn’t a good look but she couldn’t help it.

            Her sister didn’t say anything for a moment, just quietly sipped on her glass of bubbly and eyed the mess on the floor. This was one of their favorite places to hide when the parties dragged on. They could still listen to the music and watch all the people but far enough way they could relax without the pressures of society. Which made it perfect for Josie to wallow.

            “I have an idea,” Beverly’s voice was calm, even as she picked up the box of tissues from the small table between them and tossed it down the hall. There was a small moment of silence as both girls listened to it bounce and thump against a wall somewhere. “Why don’t you go down there and tell Wallace how you really feel? Enough of this waiting around.”

            Just the thought of doing that made Josie’s heart pound and she was shaking her head before Beverly had even finished. There was no way, no way in hell she could do that. “He brought a date, Bev, I’m not going to go ruin that girl’s night just because her presence irks me.”

            “Besides the fact we all know he’s been hung up on your since we were children, I was informed that it wasn’t a date,” Beverly held out her glass and Josie took it, relinquishing the last of her tissue to Beverly’s other waiting hand. While she sipped gratefully from the glass, Beverly tucked the last chunk out of sight and sat up so that she could see the crowd better. “Though, he probably should have made that clear with that poor girl.”

            Despite already knowing what she’d see, Josie’s eyes followed her sister’s line of sight to the pair in question. Wallace was in his element, he thrived on the fun of parties and this one was no exception. He spoke with his hands when he was excited, so she knew he was in the middle of some story from the way he moved.

            The girl at his side though made her wish for the tissue back. Just to give herself something else to focus on than the adoration in those pretty blue eyes. They’d been introduced, Josie had done her part as the hosts’ daughter and made conversation with everyone before she made her escape, but Josie couldn’t remember that girls name for the life of her. In her defense, she’d been in a bit of a daze when she realized that Wallace had a girl on his arm.

            “I’m not ruining her night,” Josie finally murmured, ignoring Beverly’s snort in favor of downing what was left in the glass. She didn’t have a right to anything. Josie and Wallace weren’t dating, in fact, she’d artfully avoided dating in favor of giving him the time and space to finish school before telling him how she really felt. If he ended up with another girl before that day, then it was not meant to be.

            She couldn’t hold him to things he’d said when they were children, that would be silly. They’d lingered though, his feelings, had become more obvious over the years and she’d found it harder to keep silent about her own. Moments like these, where she knew that other women saw how amazing he was, made her wish she had. Then it wouldn’t be a question anymore. She’d know if he really wanted her or if it was just a boyhood crush on a girl who never gave him a yes or no answer to their relationship.

            Meeting Beverly’s gaze, one shoulder rose and fell in a lopsided shrug. The movement caused the strap of her dress to drop and she thanked the universe for the small reason to look away again. “She obviously likes him and is having fun, I don’t have the right to go and spoil that.”

            “I beg to differ. They’re all having fun down there and you’re here, shredding tissues because you’re jealous. So go down there and get him.”

            “Leave it alone, Bev, it’ll pass and I’ll come back down.” The promise sounded weak, even to her own ears, but she tried anyway. It wasn’t the first time she’d retreated here to take a break and calm down the green-eyed monster that had taken hold.

            “The two of you are so stupid. Can’t be honest with each other or yourselves.” Beverly’s voice was sharp but Josie refused to flinch. At least she hoped she did. The words stung more this time since they were the same ones she’d been telling herself for awhile now. “You both are cowards; don’t give me that look Josephine, I meant what I said. This needs to stop.”

            Blinking in surprise, Josie only stared in confusion as her sister marched over to snatch her glass back and then disappear into the hall with little more than a swish of fine fabric. She was used to sharp words and her sister getting annoyed with this dance that they’d been doing, but Beverly had never reacted quite that way. Had never marched away like that.

            “Oh no,” the last small pieces of tissues flew from her lap as she shot to her feet, the mess on the floor scattering with the hem of her dress. Beverly, and their younger brother Blaise, had both been telling her the same thing for months now; that she needed to just come clean with Wallace. However, it was Beverly that had threatened just a few weeks back that if Josie couldn’t keep it together, then she was the one who was going to spill the beans. “Bev!” Rushing down the hall, she could only hope to catch up to Beverly before she made it back to the party. Unfortunately, there were a lot of routes and only one of her. “Beverly! Get back here!”

83. Blood & Oath


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“I finally have an idea that just might work.” Anders looked out over what land he could see. “The Empress doesn’t believe we’re capable of controlling our people or our Mother, who we can’t keep locked in a tower forever by the way.”

“She will remain where she is for as long as she’s a threat.”

“When isn’t she a threat?” Anders searched the clouds for the answers he knew wouldn’t come. Their mother would be a threat till the throne was theirs and even then, his brother would consider her a liability best kept in a gilded cage. “Let me take her to Bionfiorge as a prisoner. The accommodations aren’t nearly as lavish as what your mercy has extended to our mother but they are known across the lands to be harsh. Some say they’re inhumane.”

Tarrin rose from his seat and joined Anders at the window. “No.”


“You are the favored son. You are as likely to free her as you are to confine her where she can’t be found.”

There was a grain of truth in the sentiment but it was for naught. Quelling the unrest benefited them all, their mother included. The Empress would pull her men from their towns and away from their borders. The spies were impossible to stop but there would be less.

“Then let Ekran escort her. We can arrange for an accident to happen, either there or on the water. Word will spread of her death. We’ll do our duty as children to mourn her then our duty as Salathiels to do what’s best for our people.”

“And what’s that?” Tarrin asked mockingly.

Anders smiled a slow, dark smile. One Tarrin soon mirrored as the pair watched the sun rise. “We will take the throne.”

© Maura D.,, 2019
Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts

Up Next: He told me just last week that this would happen!

82. And So It Begins


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They didn’t arrive fast enough. Their failure was evident in the darkened red smears along the wall that led to the aftermath of the slaughter. There was a traitor in the midst, but by the time they received word of the traitor’s plan, it was too late. The traitor had wiped out the coven’s guardians, one by one. Or, from the way the bodies were gathered just at the back of the room, all together in one show of force. Power wasn’t the goal. That would have called for them to be there rather than away from the manor. No, the traitor wanted to leave a calling card.

The coven filed out into the night to watch their manor burn. They’d honor their fallen by answering the call in kind. Blood for blood. Truce be damned.

© Maura D.,, 2019
Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts

Next up — I finally have an idea that just might work.

81. What Fear Sows


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Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

Fear laced fingers clung to themselves as she waited for their judgment. For years she lived among them. And as swift as a tide turns, so did the same ones she called friends. They tore down her door and bound her where she lay. They covered her eyes and without a care, half marched, half dragged her to the village well. There they chained her to a post for all to see.

“Here is the demon among you. This false woman has deceived you into thinking she is one of you. Cut her and see for yourself how she heals herself. See the unnatural blue rim to her eyes. That is the power of something unworldly. This thing, this abomination, will doom us all if it isn’t cast out.”

The words of a stranger bore more weight than fond memories. One by one they cut her. Her wounds didn’t heal. They forced her head back to gaze into the eyes that once smiled at them. Her cries didn’t matter.

Cut off her head, one shouted.

Sacrifice her, said another.

The stranger stood at her side, a glow in his own eyes, while the villagers argued over what fate already claimed. Her blood called for her from the soaked patch of earth beneath her, and like an obedient child, her body caved. Down she fell, her vision fading as partial payment to death. The villagers she once held so highly were the last thing she saw.

They were the abominations. They were the demons.  And they she cursed.

© Maura D.,, 2019
Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts

Next up — They didn’t arrive fast enough.

80. Marcus the Burglar


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Cover: Maura D. via Photos by Jeremy Bishop and Tom Quandt on Unsplash

“Push it and see what happens.”

Marcus looked up from his crouched position so Sybil could see how against the idea he was. “That would a be a B&E.” It was one of the last things he thought he’d be defining for a former cursed cat, and yet, there he was. “Breaking and entering. Ever heard of it before you upset the wrong person?”

Sybil bounced in place before shaking her head like she was trying to shake a bug out of her hair. It figured that she wouldn’t. The girl, if she really was one, knew enough to guide him to the kid he was looking for, but nothing about the single law he knew existed whenever she got cursed. “It’s this.”

“Pushing on a window?” Her cat like smile made him shake his head. “I know what it is, silly, but you still have to do it.”

Great, he thought, his palm already pressed against the window pane. It felt warm under his touch. He attributed that to the unobstructed view the sun got of it. The sun, much like him however, didn’t get to see much of the inside. The window was fogged up. Maybe it was by design. Maybe it was thanks to two different temperatures meeting. Or, he thought as he checked to make sure they weren’t being watched, it was by magic. Someone was in there, and whoever it was didn’t want people to see.

With a sigh, Marcus rocked back on his heels and plopped down. “Are you sure?”

“As sure as I am that you owe me.” Sybil practically sang.

He partly hated her for it, but she was right. There were a few times when he thought she was a red herring his own curse placed in his life. She guided him from one place to another. All of which turned out to be one dead end after another, and somehow, here they were. The Tyler kid Kenna told him about was right there. Somewhere.

Sybil’s face suddenly filled his vision. Marcus leaned back enough so he could breathe without smelling tuna. A remnant of her years as a cat, or so he happily told himself. She remained bent over him, her face upside down to him, a knowing grin waiting expectantly.

“Yeah, yeah…” he grumbled. They had a law to break. What was one more law in the grand scheme of things? He was a random teenager creeping around the basement window of a nice enough house. Nothing too weird about it at all.

He kept telling himself that as he broke down and pushed.

There was a large part of him that thought it was stupid to think a window would push inward. Something just felt wrong about it, and stupid. But the small part that doubted felt triumphant when he was done leaning into the now open window.

“I knew it.” Sybil bounced down into a crouch next to him. “Now enter.”

As much as I wanted to argue, and I really did, I was kind of excited. This was a real lead. Tyler and whatever fairy that was attached to him were inside. Somewhere. There was just one problem. “Uh, Sybil?”


“I’m too big. You have to go.”

“That doesn’t sound like a question.”

I sighed. Why must everyone I have to deal with be so annoying. “Sybil?” She was already smiling at me. I ignored it because, honestly, I was too close to something real to fight her. “Could you please wiggle through the window, find the door, turn off any alarm, and let me in?”

A rasp like mew was her response. I passed her the collar turned bracelet and watched as the magic took hold. The air shimmered and bent in a way only magic could before it blurred and I was left staring at a small feline with golden eyes and hair. She took her time stretching. My bet was to get used to being in her cat skin again.

Normally, I’d try to sympathize with her, but I needed her to hurry up. We couldn’t stay outside forever. Correction, I couldn’t stay outside forever.

Sybil eventually slipped in, and after a few near nail biting minutes, she was running up to me in human form. Naked.

“Sybil.” I hissed, spinning around. “What happened to your clothes?”

“I hated them so I got rid of them. Now, come on.” She put her hand in mine and dragged me behind her. I was thankful for it since I couldn’t risk looking up from her bare feet. A naked girl was now leading a teenage boy into a house. That definitely wasn’t more suspicious than said boy creeping around a basement window.

My mind ran on my sister and I groaned. I could practically hear her snickering at my luck. I finally got a girl naked, and I wanted nothing to do with her. “When we get inside, can you please put your clothes back on?”

“What’s in it for me?” She fired back.

“Whatever,” I mumbled.

“Oooh,” she cooed, “I like whatever.”

We thankfully crossed the threshold of the backdoor by the time she was done enjoying my torment. I just hoped whoever Tyler was would be worth it.

© Maura D.,, 2019
Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts

Next up — I never meant to offend anybody, honest.